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Traveling Responsibly

The COVID-19 pandemic presents global, once-in-a-generation challenges. Determining risk tolerance is a personal decision when looking to travel. Our team of international experts have been ensuring Austin Adventure travel adheres to current safety protocols and is paired with flexible booking policies on international tours. For those of you craving connection and adventure, we’re ready to create your next unforgettable trip when the time is right.

Here are a few vital points to keep in mind about traveling with Austin Adventures in today’s world:

  • Safety procedures remain ramped-up. Our guides have always gone through extensive training to keep guests safe during all activities. But this past year we’ve implemented guidelines on trips and we proudly meet all the Adventure Travel Trade Association’s Travel Safe Guidelines:
    • Extensive sanitizing procedures
    • Adhering to federal and local mask requirements
    • Adequate social distancing will always be a priority
    • Guests are required to fill out a COVID-19 questionnaire before traveling
  • Book stress-free. Seriously. No one should have to deal with penalties when taking the leap and investing in something. Our flexible booking policies allow you to reschedule or cancel without breaking the bank.
  • Don’t worry about the details. We’re staying updated on travel regulations that change and will navigate the little things for you. We will help you meet virus testing and quarantine requirements in international destinations and make sure the group follows local safety protocols.
  • Small is what we do. For decades we’ve only allowed up to 18 people maximum to join our small group departures, and we are proud to keep a 6:1 guest-to-guide ratio, one of the smallest in the industry.
  • We avoid crowds — always have, always will. Enjoy off-the-beaten-path adventures as your expert guides navigate you away from the well-trodden tourist track.
  • Custom and small group travel made easy. National Parks and Western destinations are our favorite tried-and-true adventures, but we travel all over the world to each continent! We also offer hundreds of options to curate a custom private trip for you and yours with all the signature Austin elements (like a guide and plenty of “WOW!” moments).
  • We foster relationships with those who are the heartbeat of their region. These partnerships have proven to be mutually beneficial: We infuse financial support to local services while homegrown hospitality and expertise from locals enhances our travel experience.
    • Whenever possible, we make arrangements with hotels and restaurants owned and operated by locals. Locally grown foods are purchased for picnic lunches.
    • Our tour bikes, trailers, and vehicles are purchased from and maintained by local small businesses.
    • We value local people, hiring and training guides from the tour area who will connect guests with regional culture:
      • Ride horseback alongside fourth-generation ranchers Jack & Martin Davis in Paradise Valley on our Montana Adventure
      • Visit Arenal Vida Campesina in Costa Rica, where you’ll learn about sustainable agriculture and cook alongside a multi-generational family of farmers
      • On our Ho Chi Minh to Ha Long Bay tour interact with a North Vietnamese army veteran in Hanoi to gain a new perspective on the conflict in Vietnam
  • Austin Adventures fundamentally believes in giving back to this world that offers priceless memories, which is why we’ve dedicated ourselves to programs which do just that.
    • Wheels of Change – Founded by Dan Austin in 2011. This non-profit has donated hundreds of used bicycles to rural African communities. Dan’s mission is simple: Provide a means of transportation and enhance access to health care, education, and jobs.
    • Preserve a Park – This Austin Adventures initiative supports conservation in our U.S. National Parks. Past programs have supported non-profit partners such as the Glacier National Park Conservancy in Montana. Each trip to Glacier features an educational element regarding conservation efforts, including an enriching afternoon or evening with experts.
    • Essential Workers Appreciation ProgramCOVID-19 has presented challenges to all of us, but none more so than our essential workers. To recognize those who have risked their lives on the front lines, Austin hosted a contest for Essential Service Providers offering free and discounted travel benefits to nominees.
  • While deciding where to travel is important, it should be just as much a priority to be aware of how we travel. Our portfolio of small group nature-focused tours provides an intimate, low-impact foundation for discovery.
    • Group tours never exceed 18 guests, allowing:
      • More nimble travel than crowded tours, resulting in fewer impacts on local sites and the environment
      • A deeper connection to form between the traveler, the destination, and its native people
      • Long-distance travel in 15-passenger vans, not big tour buses
      • Interactive exploration without the aid of engines by traveling on foot, bicycle, raft, and kayak
    • Avoiding patterns which mass tourism follows by actively choosing to travel “off the beaten path”, easing environmental burdens and positively impacting communities. Options to travel even further “off the beaten path” are available through trip customization.
    • Guests are expected to follow Leave No Trace principles, often taught by LNT certified experts, and we reduce guest waste by providing reusable water bottles on domestic tours and offering “buffet”-style meals with reusable dinnerware.
  • We believe in practicing in the office what we preach on the field, too. Over the years we’ve prioritized inclusion and workplace fairness as well as minimizing the environmental impacts of our business.
    • Our office staff and guide team is 60% female and we proudly hire guides of all nationalities to showcase their native country.
    • Comprehensive benefits are provided for all full-time staff and each employee is encouraged to have a voice in the Austin Adventures “family”.
    • We compost, recycle, and are committed to going paperless for internal and external files such as our trip catalog, travel documents, and guide notes.

 

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Our mission to remain responsible is never complete. New challenges reveal themselves over time. Recently we joined the Future of Tourism association, a group of global travel-industry organizations committed to ensuring that travel in the post-COVID era is conducted sustainably and responsibly.

Austin Adventures is committed to continuing to grow and infusing new impactful initiatives into our signature experiences and quality of service, things our loyal guests have come to expect.

 

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