Updated Tuesday 1st April 2020
The world as we know it has now slowed to almost a standstill as the COVID-19 virus continues its spread around the globe.
It has been a really tough month for everyone. The wonderful groups of students we had travelling in Central America, Southeast Asia and Australia / New Zealand had their programs cut short, which meant some rather stressful trips home. Everyone got back home safely which was amazing, albeit back into a weird new world.
Unfortunately, the situation is so much bigger than a program cancelling, as all of our lives now are changed by this virus. We know many of you will be facing lockdowns, financial pressures, decreased work hours, job losses and family members unwell. We want to send some love your way and strength for those difficult situations.
Our own team has felt the effects of the virus strongly, with heartbreaking job losses, emergency flights back home and huge work hours day and night to help groups get home safely. We are immensely proud and grateful for our team to be so committed and professional over such a time.
We know this will all pass soon, so it's important now we listen closely to the advice of authorities to stay safe and help lessen the spread of the virus.
As you are, we are watching the development of the virus closely daily. The situation is developing very quickly, so we are all hoping that it passes just as fast.
In light of the uncertainty you may be feeling right now, we have developed some Flexible Programming Policies, to help provide some certainty and support for you to help you make decisions about booking our programs. The purpose of these policies is to provide further flexibility to our current terms and conditions to ensure you feel confident to make decisions now about the awesome adventures that await post-COVID-19.
FLEXIBLE PROGRAMMING FOR 2020 / 2021
Summer and Fall 2020 Programs
Full program refunds will be available to you, including deposits but excluding the application fee, up until 30 days before departure. We hope this helps you begin to plan your summer with some certainty and confidence.
Pacific Discovery will confirm the program will continue or not at that point. However, due to the current global situation, participants should be aware that the itinerary of their program could, in part or in full, be moved from one destination to another to ensure health & safety requirements are met, or due to travel restrictions that may still be in place.
Fall 2020 Programs
If you choose to cancel your Fall 2020 Program place, our normal terms and conditions will apply in regards to refunds (see below). Please note that our new flexible programming policies are offered, including free transfer to another program intake at any future date in the next two years, subject to availability.
2021 Program cancellations
If you decide to cancel your participation in a 2021 program, the following fees apply at the time (prior to departure) we receive written notice of your cancellation:
If you fail to join the program, join after its departure or leave prior to its completion, no refund will be given.
Students sent home early, or who choose to leave for any reason, including sickness, personal emergencies or injury, will be responsible for all medical costs, and travel costs related to their early departure.
Q1. What happens if, for reasons outside of our control related to COVID-19, Pacific Discovery decides to cancel a program before it runs?
A1. You have a couple of options in this situation:
1. Pacific Discovery can pay a full refund
2. We can transfer you to another program running at the same time but to a different location
3. We could transfer you to a later program
Anyone signed onto a program in these circumstances will be able to transfer without penalty, to the entirety of the amount paid to that date, to another program up to two years from departure date. You are also able to get a refund, as per our standard terms and conditions, although we would certainly very much appreciate your support to look to travel at another date.
Q2. What happens if, for reasons outside of your control related to COVID-19, you can no longer take part in the program you have booked on for?
A2. If a few weeks out from program start date, you find that due to COVID-19* you can no longer join our program, you will be able to transfer without penalty, to the entirety of the amount paid to that date, to another program up to two years from departure date. If you would like a refund instead, the amount refundable is as follows:
* i.e you or someone you look after is unwell, you are in quarantine, or travel restrictions disallow you to reach the travel location.
Q3. I am nervous about putting a deposit down on a program but I also don't want to miss booking a place on a program. What should I do?
We totally understand this. We are now offering a totally refundable deposit up to 90 days out from departure, to allow you some confidence to not miss out on that awesome spot on an adventure of a lifetime. This means you can make a deposit payment and feel reassured you have the spot saved for you. If the situation continues to develop we will keep in touch with any changes and you can choose to cancel your place when suits you if needed.
Q4. What happens if I decide to cancel my place once I have booked on before departure?
A4. If you decide to cancel your participation in a program, our normal terms and conditions apply. In those, it states the following fees apply at the time (prior to departure) we receive written notice of your cancellation:
Q5. What happens if, for reasons outside of our control, Pacific Discovery decides to reroute or change the itinerary of a program that I am booked on?
A5. It is possible that a program itinerary may be subject to small changes, or an entire re-routing depending on the global situation. Our first priority is always customer safety, secondly is meeting the educational and developmental goals of our programs. If we feel for any reason that the itinerary booked will not offer the highest level of health and safety or deliver a lifechanging experience for our customers, we will be looking to offer alternative locations that deliver a similar yet better experience.
ANY FURTHER QUESTIONS?
We know the outbreak is concerning. We are here to talk through any questions you may have in regards to global travel. The situation is changing rapidly, so we will continue to stay updated and let you know of any news we hear.
As members of what we consider a global community, we hope that we can continue to support the people we work with in isolated regions, where our presence there brings business to locals and shared experiences and joy.
We would love your continued support as we face the toughest time the travel industry has ever seen.