Last updated: March 25, 2020
Dear Academic Expeditions and Discovery Expeditions Travelers,
We have responded to many individual inquiries regarding the COVID-19 outbreak, and as this is a rapidly changing situation, we continue working to address everyone’s concerns as quickly as possible.
As the situation unfolds, we hope that this page may serve as a resource for our travelers to know the risks, our preparedness, our cancellation terms and the impact of travel insurance. We will continue to monitor the guidance from the CDC and update this page with changes.
If you have additional questions or concerns, please contact the Group Leader for your particular school to find out what their plan and strategy is for travel.
Here’s what we are doing:
As new reports of Coronavirus (COVID-19) continue to develop, the health and safety of our travelers remains our first priority. We are actively following the guidance of the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the World Health Organization (WHO) to help ensure the actions we are taking are in line with the latest recommendations. We are also in close communication with our partners on the ground across the country and around the world.
We will not send travelers to any areas that we wouldn’t visit with our own families or have been deemed unsafe by the CDC, Department of State, or WHO.
Who should I contact with questions?
Please contact your school’s Group Leader if you have concerns or questions. Your group leader and the Program Directors are in touch regularly, and they will be the best resources for you.
Is my trip still running?
It is our policy that all our trips will run as planned, unless an official travel ban or pertinent geographic quarantine makes it unfeasible. This is not to dismiss the risks or concerns, but it is a stance of careful readiness in response to current mandated travel restrictions, or rather the lack thereof.
We are working with Program Leaders to communicate any trip changes directly, as we are handling each on a case-by-case basis.
For continuing updates on the situation, please visit the CDC’s site: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html
I am worried about traveling this year. What should I do?
First, please contact your school’s Group Leader as they will have the most updated information about your trip. We are committed to student safety and will not take anyone to a location that is not deemed safe for travel.
Vendors across the world have increased their cleaning protocols in response to COVID-19. Buses are being cleaned and sanitized nightly. Airlines have HEPA air filer systems installed on aircraft and have increased the frequency at which they are conducting deep cleaning of aircraft to nightly. We are working exclusively with vendors who are committed to upholding the highest safety and sanitary procedures, and maintaining a clean and healthy space for all.
What is the cancellation policy?
We understand many travelers are considering what would happen should they decide of their own volition to cancel their travels.
Academic Expeditions/Discovery Expeditions offers a company sponsored cancellation policy and affiliated refund policy directly determined by the number of days prior to trip departure that our finance office receives written notice of cancellation. Over 120 days we retain $100, 119-61 days we retain 25% of trip price, 60-31 days we retain 50% of trip price, and 30 days or less we retain 100% of trip price. This policy is found under our terms and conditions in your Registration and Group Travel Agreement.
Our full Terms & Conditions can be found here: https://academicexpeditions.com/terms-conditions/
How does Travel Insurance relate to cancellation?
If Standard TripMate Insurance is included in your trip price, it offers coverage based upon specific occurrences of medical, legal, financial and travel events and refunds 100% of monies paid to date less premiums.
Note that the Standard TripMate Insurance may not apply to all cancellation scenarios related to COVID-19. Each case is filed and handled directly between the traveler and the insurer, “TripMate.” Read about TripMate’s general coverage in relation to COVID-19: http://www.tripmate.com/main/coronavirus/
You can also learn more about the specifics of the plan that was chosen for your trip, by going to our insurance page https://academicexpeditions.com/insurance/ and follow the steps to view your particular travel protection plan.
For travelers who opted to purchase the additional Cancel for Any Reason (CFAR) benefit, no prerequisites or explanation is required for cancellation. This additional policy allows travelers to cancel, no questions asked, up to 48 hours prior to departure date and receive 75% of any remaining trip costs that were not refunded based on our cancellation terms. The CFAR benefit was an optional selection at the time of your initial registration. Note, the CFAR option is not currently available for residents of New York.
How do I know if and how my trip is insured?
We understand that most travelers registered months ago, and may not remember what insurance was offered or selected originally. To find out, follow these steps:
- Log in to your account at https://mytrip.academicexpeditions.com/
- Click on “My Trips” and scroll to your traveler under the trip in question.
- Click “Edit”
- Scroll down to Product Add-ons and look to see if the box to the right of the insurance option is checked. If it is checked, you already have it. If the box is empty, you do not have it.
NOTE that this section is for referencing purposes only; you are not able to click and change what the selection is here. Adding CFAR benefit to your trip is only an option before 60 days prior to the trip start, and it must be done manually on our end through direct contact with our finance staff.
I am having a difficult time reaching customer service. What do I do?
As you might expect, our phone lines and inboxes are experiencing an unprecedented level of inquiries regarding the coronavirus situation. We appreciate your patience, and are striving to respond as quickly as possible. Please know that we are doing everything we can to provide the best service possible.
Should you have additional questions, please don’t hesitate to contact your Group Leader, as they are in constant communication with us regarding your trip.
Thank you for your continued trust and loyalty. Finally, and most importantly, we hope that you, your families and friends remain healthy and safe.
The Entire Academic Expeditions and Discovery Expeditions Team