COVID-19 RESOURCES

Travel During COVID-19 FAQs

As travel reawakens in most parts of the world, we are very excited to welcome you back! In the last few years, the world has certainly changed, and we know that comes with a host of new questions about travel—from what proof of vaccination or testing is required, to what happens if someone were to contract COVID-19, to what we are doing to make our trips as safe as possible. Below you will find answers to some of the most commonly asked questions.

Traveling with experts is more important today than ever. Our team in the Berkeley office is here to help you prepare and answer any additional questions you have before the trip, and as always, our team of expert leaders and guides are truly the best in the business, adept at navigating any potential challenges on the ground. We look forward to welcoming you on our adventures in 2022 and beyond!

TRAVEL REQUIREMENTS (TESTING & VACCINATIONS)

  • Wilderness Travel requires all travelers to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. We adhere to the CDC’s definition of “fully vaccinated,” which includes two doses of Pfizer or Moderna or at least one dose of Johnson & Johnson. We took this step to prioritize the health and safety of our guests and our travelers and our team abroad.
  • Wilderness Travel strongly encourages all travelers to receive a booster to maximize your protection against COVID-19. At this time we require guests to be fully vaccinated as defined by the CDC, which does not require booster shots. We will continue to monitor CDC and WHO guidelines and update our policies as needed.
  • Note: Some countries we visit do require booster shots. Please visit our travel requirements by country webpage to review entry requirements.
  • For the majority of the countries we visit around the world, vaccinated travelers are required to show proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR or antigen test before leaving the US and complete a health declaration form.
  • Please visit our travel requirements by country webpage for entry requirements. Please note that rules are constantly changing, and while we will do our best to keep this page up to date throughout the year, we also suggest you visit the resource links we provide for each country for current requirements. We will also provide up to date requirements in your Final Documents packet sent approximately three weeks prior to departure.
  • Here are some additional sites to visit for specific information on entry requirements for different countries:
  • We also encourage you to check with your airline for any additional testing requirements. Note the requirements can change without notice.
  • The country you are traveling to may have their own testing requirements. Please visit our travel requirements by country webpage to review specific entry requirements.
  • To help ensure that all travelers are healthy prior to joining a group trip, we recommend that you take a COVID-19 test prior to leaving home. However, if the country you are traveling to does not require a test prior to arrival, Wilderness Travel will not be asking to check test results ourselves.
  • Testing is now widely available throughout the US. Our recommendations on best practices are: 1) find a testing site where you can make an appointment, 2) book early, and 3) look for sites that offer same day or 24 hour turnaround times if possible (it is worth it to pay for a more expensive testing option with a guaranteed fast turnaround time).
  • Resources to find a testing location near you:
  • Testing is also available at retail pharmacies nationwide (e.g., CVS and Walgreens). But again, we would recommend a guaranteed turnaround time if possible.
  • If you are unable to find a testing site near you, LabCorp has at-home testing kits with a one- to two-day turnaround for results, but please note that is one or two days after the sample is received at the lab.
  • More information can be found on the CDC’s website.
  • The United States requires all travelers returning to the US to show proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR or viral (antigen) test taken no more than one calendar day prior to departure to the US. Alternatively, documentation of recovery from the virus within the last 90 days is also accepted. Airlines will confirm this documentation prior to boarding.
  • If you recently recovered from COVID-19 and are not able to provide a negative test, you may instead travel with documentation of recovery from COVID-19. You must provide: a) your positive COVID-19 viral test result taken no more than 90 days before the flight’s return departure to the US, and b) a letter from a licensed healthcare provider or a public health official stating that you have recovered from COVID-19 abd are cleared to travel.
  • Airlines will confirm required documentation prior to boarding. More information can be found on the CDC website.
  • Wilderness Travel and your Trip Leaders will arrange testing for travelers who are departing immediately following their WT trip. Note all testing fees are at an additional cost. Some tests can be prepaid, others need to be paid locally.
  • If you have arranged for independent travel on your own following the trip, we will be happy to help direct you towards online resources for obtaining the required test, though you will need to arrange and pay for the test on your own.
  • Typically you don’t need to take an additional test in transit if you don’t leave the airport. However, it’s possible that you will need to follow different testing protocols if transiting through different countries on the way to your Wilderness Travel trip. To ensure you are up to date with these changing requirements we encourage you to check in with your airline, as they will be able to provide you with all current country-specific requirements for your specific connections and layovers.
  • Sherpa’s website is an additional resource that provides the most up-to-date requirements. Enter your connecting country to search for any additional travel requirements.

IF YOU OR ANOTHER TRIP MEMBER CONTRACTS COVID-19

  • If you were forced to cancel the trip due to illness (COVID-19), Wilderness Travel’s normal cancellation and transfer fee schedule would apply.
  • We strongly urge all of our travelers to purchase travel insurance. If you or a family member were to contract COVID-19 prior to or on the trip and your doctor says you cannot travel, this is typically considered a covered reason by most insurance companies for trip interruption or cancellation, and you would be eligible to file a claim to receive reimbursement for the prepaid and non-refundable insured trip. Our group plan with Travelex covers COVID-19 related illnesses. If you book with a different travel insurance company, make sure that they include COVID-19 coverage. For any insurance related question, please contact the insurance company directly.
  • If you test positive for COVID-19 during the trip, we will first help arrange for a PCR test to help confirm that it was not a false positive.
  • With a confirmed positive test, you will be required to self-isolate until you meet the local and CDC criteria for discontinuing quarantine. Most countries will give you the choice of self-isolating at a government-operated facility or in an accommodation of your choosing that will accept you with your positive status. Your Trip Leader or our local staff will be on hand to assist you.
  • Please note that you are responsible for the costs of testing, any medical treatments, and all room and board, flight changes, and other arrangements related to quarantining.
  • We strongly urge all of our travelers to purchase travel insurance with COVID-19 coverage. If you were to contract COVID-19 while on the trip, this is typically considered a covered reason for trip interruption, and you would be eligible to file a claim to receive reimbursement for the missed trip days, medical expenses, and other expenses related to any quarantine ordered by a doctor or local government. Note reimbursement for hotel expenses and meals during quarantine typically have a limit of $200/day (maximum $1000 per person) so may not cover the full cost of these expenditures.
  • You would need to contact your travel insurance company to initiate the claim. You will also need to have a local doctor provide a letter confirming the diagnosis (COVID-19), and that you can’t continue on with your trip.
  • If members of the group are exposed to COVID-19, our Trip Leaders will arrange for all group members who are exposed to be tested. We will follow local regulations and guidance on whether there is a need to self-isolate.
  • We will also conduct sanitation protocols such as deep cleaning and disinfecting of the van and accommodation.
  • Please note that you would be responsible for the costs of testing and any costs related to quarantining if required.
  • If you are unable to continue traveling with us due to a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 on your trip, we first ask that you file a claim with your travel insurance provider for the missed days of the trip. We strongly urge all of our travelers to purchase travel insurance. If you were to contract COVID-19 while on the trip, this is typically considered a covered reason for trip interruption, and you would be eligible to file a claim to receive reimbursement for the missed trip days, medical expenses, and other expenses related to any quarantine ordered by a doctor or local government.

CANCELLATION POLICIES

  • We plan to run all of our 2022 Spring, Summer, and Fall departures as planned.
  • With our expertise and precautions in place, in place, we were able to successfully run trips to 40 different countries last year. While travel takes a bit more planning these days, Wilderness Travel will be on hand to help you with details before you leave and during your trip.
  • Your safety is our first priority. Wilderness Travel will cancel a trip if borders are not open to US travelers, if we feel we cannot operate the trip safely up to our standards, or if enrollment has dropped below the minimum needed to run the trip.
  • If Wilderness Travel canceled a trip we would try to do so as early as possible, typically at least two months prior to departure. We will update trip members if we anticipate this might be a possibility.
  • In the event that Wilderness Travel was forced to cancel a trip due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, we will offer a full refund of your trip costs, less any penalties by hotels or local service providers that we are unable to recover.
  • We will use good faith efforts to recover and refund as much money as possible in light of these circumstances, and have had extremely high success rates in getting full refunds or full credits in this circumstance throughout the pandemic.
  • If your group has not reached the minimum size, we will alert you before your final trip balance is due.
  • In the event of low enrollment, Wilderness Travel would do our best to run the trip, in order to not disappoint our guests or our partners. We may be required to offer our guests the options of either contributing a “small group surcharge” in order to run the trip or receiving a full refund and canceling the trip.
  • If it is not possible to operate the trip and we were forced to cancel, Wilderness Travel would provide a 100% refund to all guests.
  • Wilderness Travel prides ourselves on having the most generous cancellation policy in the industry. We offer a 100% refund up until 90 days before departure on most programs (some exceptions apply). If you are concerned about travel, we encourage you to wait until closer to this 90 day point so you can assess what the situation looks like at that time and make a decision then.
  • If you are still feeling hesitant approaching 90 days, we completely understand and encourage you to transfer to a future departure date or simply cancel and wait until you feel comfortable to travel again!
  • If you were to cancel within the penalty period while your trip is set to operate, Wilderness Travel’s normal cancellation and transfer fee schedule would apply.
  • We are closely monitoring travel advice from the US government in addition to speaking directly with our partners in country about the situation on the ground. Our trips are primarily based in the outdoors, which has allowed us to feel comfortable running a number of trips to Level 4 destinations over the past year with precautions in place. To minimize the risk to our guests and partners abroad, we are requiring groups to be fully vaccinated and have COVID-19 Safety Protocols in place. We will of course be keeping watch on developments and make changes if necessary.
  • As of January 1, 2022, the State Department has issued a Level 4 advisory on over 80 countries around the world, including places like Canada, the UK, France, Switzerland, Namibia, Tanzania, etc. A country is put on the Level 4 list if it has reported more than 500 new cases per 100,000 people within the past 28 days (which the United States would fall under as well).
  • For our small ship cruises, Wilderness Travel acts as a travel agent in facilitating cruise bookings. Cancellation and refund policies for cruises are set by each individual cruise operator. Because of that, these terms and conditions differ from our standard policies for land-based small group adventures which are listed in our regular catalog. The Terms and Conditions for any cruise you book through Wilderness Travel is always included with your confirmation packet. Feel free to ask our office for another copy if needed.

HEALTH & SAFETY DURING YOUR TRIP

  • Our top priority is to make your experience as safe as possible. Wilderness Travel will send out a COVID-19 Safety Protocols document specific to each itinerary and we encourage you to visit our COVID-19 Safety Protocols webpage. Some general protocols include:
  • COVID-19 Vaccine Requirement:
    • Wilderness Travel requires that all travelers are fully vaccinated.
  • Small Group Sizes:
    • We pride ourselves on having some of the smallest group sizes in the industry. We average just ~8 travelers per Small Group Adventure.
  • Enhanced Sanitation Measures:
    • We have worked with local partners, including hotels, to ensure that their cleaning and sanitation measures meet our standards, including thoroughly cleaning and disinfecting rooms between guests and regularly sanitizing public areas.
    • The vehicle and group equipment such as food and beverage containers will be cleaned and sanitized daily.
    • Hand sanitizer will be supplied and easily available at all meals and in the vehicle.
  • Vehicles:
    • Throughout the duration of your scheduled Wilderness Travel group departure, no passengers except for your traveling party and your Wilderness Travel team will occupy the vehicle at any time. Note that on some private journeys or cruise based itineraries, you may not have exclusive use of the vehicle for some or all activities.
  • Leaders & Staff:
    • All Wilderness Travel Trip Leaders are required to be fully vaccinated.
  • Food Service:
    • Wilderness Travel staff has been trained on, and will adhere to, local and international guidelines for safe and sanitary food preparation and serving.
    • Dining will be arranged at establishments with outdoor seating whenever possible, weather permitting. We will only offer indoor dining at establishments that are strictly adhering to social distancing and limited capacity guidelines.
    • Table arrangements and seating may split the group in order to follow local and restaurant policies.
  • Wilderness Travel will follow local guidance regarding the use of masks in public places. Masks are typically required in public transportation, indoors in public places such as restaurants and museums, and when in crowds and where social distancing is not possible. As a general rule, all travelers should have their own mask available to them at all times.
  • All Wilderness Travel Trip Leaders are required to be fully vaccinated unless they have a medical condition that prohibits them from being vaccinated. For this subset of leaders, they will be required to have tested negative for COVID-19 within 72 hours before they start a trip.
  • Drivers on the trip who are not official Wilderness Travel leaders must either have been vaccinated, or have tested negative for COVID-19 within 72 hours before they start a trip. Drivers will be required to wear masks in the vehicle and with the group.

OTHER TRIP CHANGES DUE TO COVID-19

  • We ask that all travelers in 2022 approach their trips with a flexible attitude. Many attractions, restaurants, and hotels were closed for over a year, and some may be reopening with a smaller staff, or perhaps not at all.
  • Our team on the ground has been re-scouting each itinerary to make any required changes as a result of COVID-19. We will do our best to point out any major changes, such as possible hotel changes, changes to transportation, changes to activities, etc. in your Final Documents.
  • Local regulations may change at any time, so we appreciate your understanding and flexibility if not all changes are fully anticipated or articulated in advance of the trip. Our team of Trip Leaders and guides are true experts in their regions, adept at navigating potential challenges on the ground. They will be sure you are taken care of from start to finish.

TRAVEL INSURANCE

  • We strongly urge all of our travelers to purchase travel insurance. We have partnered with Travelex to offer a plan which includes coverage for COVID-19. Under this plan, COVID-19 is a covered reason for trip interruption or cancellation and will be treated in the same way as any other illness under the policy. If you were to contract COVID-19 prior to or during the trip, and your doctor verifies that you could not travel, you would typically be eligible to file a claim to receive reimbursement for the prepaid and non-refundable insured trip, any missed trip days, medical expenses, and other expenses related to a quarantine according to policy limits.
  • Please visit Travelex’s COVID-19 FAQ page, which answers some commonly asked questions.
  • For specific questions, you can contact Travelex’s Customer Solutions Center at 1-844-877-1885 or customersolutions@travelexinsurance.com, and refer to the plan number 353A-0320. For more information on state-specific policies, please visit this webpage.