Updated December 17, 2020
The travel world – indeed the entire world – has been turned upside down with the COVID-19 pandemic. We understand this has greatly impacted you, as it has greatly impacted us and our ability to run tours.
After having canceled all our tours from March through June, we safely ran domestic tours this past summer. However, given the sharp rise in infections we have again halted tours through January. However, you CAN confidently book now for next spring and beyond. We feel confident we can run tours during that time period. If we do cancel a tour on our schedule, you can receive a full credit or refund, your choice.
Following are our procedures for keeping you safe.
Our small-group tours are naturally safer than larger bus tours or cruises. Our average tour size is around eight passengers.
Health of Participants
You will be in contact with other participants but by keeping each person healthy, we hope to keep everyone healthy in our own travel bubble.
- For our scheduled group tours available to everyone, we will require a negative COVID test or proof of vaccination once they become widely available. If you cannot obtain a test locally, we will facilitate mail-based tests that are quite reasonable at $119. This testing or vaccination policy is an option for private groups.
- We will require all tour participants to certify prior to the tour that they do not have any symptoms of the coronavirus and have not been in contact with anyone they know is infected.
- We will have a non-touch thermometer on site to take the temperature of all tour participants. (The CDC considers a person to have a fever at 100.4 degrees.)
- We will train our staff to recognize the symptoms of COVID-19 and be prepared to screen tour participants.
- At some point, it might even be possible to test each person at the start of a tour. Airports might also initiate this.
Most of our tour participants fly to their destination and we are not in control of that aspect of travel. However, airlines and airports are taking extraordinary steps to keep passengers safe, including not selling tickets on middle seats, new electrostatic sanitation after each flight, mask requirements, and passenger screenings. We suggest you book tickets on airlines blocking middle seats if possible.
Tour Safety Precautions
- We will provide an introductory briefing on the first day of your tour about precautions we should all take.
- We will have face masks, hand sanitizer, a first aid kit, and a thermometer available on the tour.
- We will move as many activities (introductions, morning meetings, etc) outside as possible.
- We will sanitize our van daily.
- We will eliminate handshakes and glass sharing.
- We will ask all participants to have a face mask available and will ask you to use it in specific situations such as shuttle rides to and from activities.
Hotels and Restaurants
Hotels and restaurants, too, are taking extraordinary measures to keep patrons safe beyond just extra cleanings. For hotels, this includes special rules for elevator capacity, removing handheld items such as pens, leaving rooms empty for 24 hours before someone checks in, and virtual check-ins. For restaurants this includes reduced capacity, encouraging outdoor dining, and face masks for employees.
- We will communicate with our hotels and restaurants to ensure they are following updated recommendations for maintaining safety.
- We will increase the number of meals we eat outside of restaurants by doing more upscale picnics or take-out al fresco dining. This might actually be a positive!
- If we do eat indoors we will eat in smaller groups.
- We have reduced our single supplements to encourage single travelers to book single rooms.
- Where possible, we will reduce van rides requiring everyone to be inside at once.
- Where possible, we will use larger vehicles or more vehicles so each person can have their own row.
- We will very likely require masks while in vans and will sanitize vehicles daily.
- In fact, on some of our tours you can actually drive yourself rather than ever getting in a van. Just ask us.
Higher Risk Travelers
If you are at higher risk or just have a low risk tolerance, you are welcome to implement even stricter measures on tours. You can choose to drive yourself while on tour, including from hotel to hotel. You can choose to eat with your own travel party at dinner. You can choose to skip any group activities we have planned.
Travel in 2021
We believe domestic travel will strongly rebound in the spring of 2021 and that international travel will become more widely available during the summer. To be safe, we are planning domestic trips only through June of 2021 and moving most of our international trips to August or later. We are ready and prepared to create an amazing vacation for you.