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Austin Adventures’ Policies on Coronavirus (COVID-19)
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Austin Adventures’ Policies on Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Please consider supporting Austin Adventures, our partners around the world, and the vulnerable tourism industry during these tough times. Rescheduling your trip instead of canceling truly makes a world of difference. Plus, you’re really going to need a vacation once these stressful times pass us by! 

Your friends at Austin Adventures

We are monitoring the ever-changing situation with Coronavirus and the potential impact to travel around the world. We commit to keeping this page updated in the event that changes occur and we learn more about this fluctuating situation.

What you’ll find in this update:

  • A Message from Founder Dan Austin
  • Austin Adventures’ Most Up-to-Date Travel Policies
  • FAQ’s Specific to the Current Coronavirus Situation

First, a quick note from our Founder Dan Austin:

For over three decades, you have trusted Austin Adventures with your precious vacation time. You have expected us to keep you safe and secure while exploring the best this world has to offer. This is not an assignment we take lightly, regardless of what the circumstances dictate. Our team has worked together to ensure the best possible experience from the time you first pick up the phone to the time you say those tearful goodbyes at the end of a memorable vacation. We all get the value of meaningful travel, but we recognize that this luxury can’t come at just any cost.

I will not make light of a serious situation. My heart goes out to everyone adversely affected by this nasty virus. My sincere thanks are extended to those on the front lines chaired with treating and taking care of those contracting or exposed to COVID-19. As things unfold, we are all seeing the impact close to home emotionally and economically. We will do whatever we can to continue to support all those fighting the good fight.

All that said, we have taken a hard look at various policies in place; some have been implemented for decades and have always been some of the most customer-friendly in the business. At times like this, that’s just not enough. We will continue to monitor the Coronavirus situation and its impact on the world of travel and your much-deserved vacation. Our mantra around the office at this time is: “This too shall pass.” We remain confident that we’ll make it through this together and will come out stronger on the other side.

Without further ado, below are Austin Adventures’ most up-to-date “lightened” travel policies:

First of all, it should be noted that due to Austin Adventures’ “family vibe”, we work with every guest, who we consider an extension to the Austin family, to figure out what works best for you and your individual situation on a case-by-case basis. We can be a bit flexible, but we still need to stand by our policies in order to work with multiple interests (accommodations, guides, subcontractors, etc.) The following lightened policies are what we decided on, after a long, hard look into our overall operations:

Deposit Schedule

  • Scheduled departures: a $500 per guest deposit is requested to hold your reservation for Domestic and Europe trips
  • Custom departures: 25% of total trip cost is requested to confirm your reservation (less any custom trip development fees)

Final Payment Schedule

  • Final Payment remains due at 90 days before travel; however, until further notice, we will allow a courtesy 30-day grace period, allowing final payment to be made up to 60 days from date of travel.
  • Bookings made within 60 days require full payment at time of booking.
  • Please note that considerations for alternate payment schedules will be considered upon request.

Rescheduling & Lightened Cancellation Policies

  • Option 1: Reschedule your trip
    • Up to 60 days prior to departure date, we are allowing a no-questions-asked rescheduling of your trip with no penalties or fees.  If you do not know your future travel date, your deposit funds will be placed in an escrow account  without having to commit to where or when. Your trip credit can be transferred to any adventure, any time. We will honor 2020 prices through 2021. Once an alternate trip is booked, it is subject to standard cancellation policies.
  • Option 2: Cancel your trip
    • If you decide to cancel your adventure outside of 90 days, our normal $300 per person cancellation policy applies. Alternatively, we can put your entire deposit amount in escrow to be used for travel in 2021.
    • Between 90-61 days from travel if you wish to cancel on a trip scheduled to “run,” we will place 25% of your funds in an escrow account to be used as credit to any future adventure. We will refund the remaining 75% of your payment.
    • Between 60-31 days from travel if you wish to cancel on a trip scheduled to “run,” we will place 50% of your funds in an escrow account to be used as credit to any future adventure. We will refund the remaining 50% of your payment.
    • From 30 days until time of departure, if you wish to cancel on a trip scheduled to “run,” we will place 50% of funds in escrow for future travel and 50% will be forfeit to cover nonrefundable trip costs.

Austin Adventures Trip Postponement

We will do everything in our power to not postpone a trip within the 30-day window. In the unlikely event that Austin Adventures must postpone a trip due to federal, state, or local authority, governmental intervention, national park closures, or our own decision, we are offering the following policy:

  • For trips postponed by Austin Adventures within 30 days of travel, 100% of your funds will be kept in an escrow account. A credit equal to 110% of the price you paid for the actual tour can be used for another trip through 2022. Once an alternate trip is booked, it is subject to standard cancellation policies. The full value of the credit must be applied to a new reservation prior to December 31, 2021. Pricing for 2020 trips will be held through 2021.

For more information about our standard and published policies, you can find them here. Due to these unprecedented times, the above policies supersede any previous policies you may have seen or received  prior to the revised date above.

** Please note that we are making every attempt to abide by the above “lightened” travel policies. In this ever-changing situation, we reserve the right to make changes to these policies as necessary. Some international and custom trips operate by differing policies. Please talk with your Adventure Consultant for details.

We want to reassure you that your health, safety, and well being remains our top priority. Fortunately, the vast majority of our adventures take place in nature’s playground and we will spend our days as far away from crowds as humanly possible. We will not compromise any detail to simply “pull off a departure” PERIOD. The one thing we do better than anyone, in our humble opinion, is communicate.

We don’t like surprises and know you don’t either. We won’t cancel your trip on a whim without detailed and frequent conversations and input with you. There are just too many options to work through. We are sticking to the basics at this time in following the ABC’s:

  • Anticipate
  • Be Honest
  • Communicate

On behalf of myself, my family, and the entire team, we THANK YOU for sticking with us during these challenging times. We won’t let you down. As always, we will make ourselves available 24/7 for any additional questions or concerns you may have. It’s that simple:

Dan Austin Founder & CEO    [email protected]       1-406-671-6067
Kasey Austin, President           [email protected]    1-406-860-6853
Carol Austin, Sales & MOM    [email protected]     1-406-671-6068

Safety and Operating Plans for Running Trips in 2020

Now that we are in the position of executing trips here in the United States, we wanted to share a few key documents with our travelers. We will be doing our part in operating our programs at the highest safety levels we possibly can. Please peruse the following documents if you’d like to know more about the efforts we’re taking to run trips in our national parks this summer:

Here are a few Frequently Asked Questions that we’ve been answering on a daily basis:

Have you had to cancel any trips yet?

Unfortunately, yes.  We run international trips around the world and with all of the recent restrictions and travel bans in many of the countries we offer trips, we had no choice but to cancel trips in the affected regions during the months of March, April, and May. In addition, we made some preemptive decisions to cancel several trips in “hot zones” where we anticipate recovery could take a bit longer. We are working with all guests on a case-by-case basis on plans for future trip credit or refunds, where available. If we’ve seen one “good” thing come out of all of this, it’s that our partners internationally have really stepped up to offer trip credit and reschedule trips as needed. The international adventure travel community is pretty tight-knit and everyone is working overtime to ensure that all guests are taken care of.

Are you still operating your trips?

As of this update, yes. At this time, we have canceled all trips through May 31st. Beginning in June, unless local conditions prevent operations, we are running trips as scheduled.

Should I book my flights now or wait?

Although most major airlines have very flexible policies at the moment, we recommend waiting to book your flights. First off, as flight inventory and demand re-balances, flight schedules will change.  Better yet, prices should continue to lessen as the summer approaches.

Do you recommend purchasing trip insurance?

We have always suggested purchasing trip insurance, as you really never know what could happen to alter or delay your travel plans. Having a policy in place is just good for peace of mind! We sell into TripMate’s travel insurance policy. Before purchasing insurance through our recommended provider, or any provider you so may choose, you should carefully review what is covered and what’s not covered. Any specific questions should be directed to your insurance provider.

With the current Coronavirus situation, you may want to consider the “cancel for any reason” (CFAR) coverage. This is more expensive than our normally recommended policies and only covers 75% of the nonrefundable portion of your trip, but it may be the right choice for you.

We also offer a Medical Evacuation Membership Program through MedjetHorizon at an additional expense, which offers 24/7 travel security and crisis response consultation, as well as coordinated in-country services for crisis events.

Please talk to your Adventure Consultant for more details or reach out to your insurance provider for answers to specific questions.

Where is Austin Adventures getting its’ information on Coronavirus/travel updates and how can I find trusted information myself?

We have far too many sources to list, including firsthand feedback from our team on the ground in your destination. We have an extensive network of partners, staff, and properties that we consult with on a daily basis, in addition to following numerous news feeds and travel websites.

In order to stay well-informed yourself, we recommend following the below sources:

If I leave the country, can you guarantee I can get home?

While there are no guarantees in this world at this time, we always have an eye looking forward and partners in location to keep you taken care of no matter the situation.  If it looks like there is any potential closures or restrictions up and coming, we are the first to know and will communicate the same with you.  As noted above, the optional Medjet evacuation membership is an extra insurance to help in a wide range of situations.  We have not left anyone stranded in 30 years and we won’t start now.

When should I book my trip?

This is the one thing that hasn’t changed.  Your best options are to book your trip as far out as possible, guaranteeing you the best trips and dates available. We are pleased that many regions and trips are still quite popular and either sold out or selling well.

We at Austin Adventures want to thank you for your continued support; we all need it now more than ever.  We are often referred to as the First Family of Adventure Travel, a badge we wear with honor. When you choose to travel with us, you become part of the family – just ask our loyal alumni.  We are committed to treating you and yours as an extension of our family and that means we spare no effort, Coronavirus pandemic or not!

Thank you and stay safe and healthy our friends!

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