Enhanced Health and Safety Protocols
We have established enhanced health and safety protocols for the group to mitigate the risk of exposure to COVID-19 during your trip. These protocols are in line with those issued by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) and the United States Tour Operators Association (USTOA). We also continue to monitor the guidelines of the U.S. Department of State, the CDC, and WHO. Although these guidelines may be stricter than those required by local authorities in your destination, it is our obligation to go above and beyond to travel safely and responsibly.
In the months leading up to your trip, our team will be monitoring the situation at home and abroad to ensure that your program meets the following standards:
- Your destination has been deemed low risk per the U.S. Department of State (Travel Advisory Level 2 or lower). In addition, the group will always be accessible to ventilator-equipped hospitals.
- All members of the group, tour staff and service personnel that you encounter as part of the tour will be asked to adhere to strict safety and hygiene guidelines.
- All hotels, restaurants, transportation, and sites visited will be screened prior to arrival to ensure health and safety protocols are being followed.
- Social distancing will be followed throughout the tour. Where this might be challenging (e.g., on the coach, at restaurants, or at public museums), everyone will be required to wear face coverings. While we ask you to bring your own face coverings, we’ll have a few extra disposable masks if you lose yours!
- You may opt out of any part of the program where you feel uncomfortable. Please remember, however, that unused portions of the trip are not refundable.
- All tour staff have been briefed on how to handle a traveler who presents with COVID-19 symptoms.
- All travelers must complete a waiver and be vaccinated against/tested negative for COVID-19 within three days prior to arriving at the destination. Please read the Commitment to Traveling Responsibly page for more information.
World Travel and Tourism Council’s Safe Travels Stamp
Your tour operator, Academic Travel Abroad, has received the World Travel and Tourism Council’s Safe Travels stamp. Companies with the Safe Travels stamp have adopted the health and hygiene global standardized protocols recommended by the World Travel & Tourism Council. These protocols also take into account World Health Organization (WHO), the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) guidelines.
Traveler Commitment to Health and Safety
While our enhanced safety and health protocols have been created to keep the group as safe as possible while on tour, all travelers have a shared responsibility to follow our recommended guidelines to keep healthy before, during, and after the trip. Although we cannot eliminate the risk of traveling during COVID-19, we can mitigate the risk if we all work together. Please make sure that you have read and understood the information regarding your personal commitment to travel.
Time at Leisure
While on your tour, you will have time for independent exploration and meals on your own. It is imperative that all individuals continue acting responsibly during free time to avoid jeopardizing the safety of the group as a whole. Your Tour Manager or local guide can provide tips on places to visit and eat during these times. Please also consider the following:
- Maintain a 6-foot distance from others in public spaces and wear a face covering if distancing is not possible
- Clean your hands often with soap and water or hand sanitizer
- Avoid touching your own eyes, nose and mouth
- Limit the use of public transit
- When planning for meals on your own, check to ensure the restaurant is open and whether advanced reservations are required. Many printed guidebooks will be outdated. Also, confirm that enhanced cleaning procedures have been implemented and social distancing can be practiced during your meal. Choose outdoor seating, if available. Alternatively, consider take-away options or hotel room service where available.
- Always have your emergency contact card (provided by your Tour Manager) with you so you may contact someone in case of an emergency