The developments since the end of 2019 with the emergence of the new coronavirus - also known as COVID-19 - have required the world to adapt fast to an ever-changing situation. In travel, we are experienced in dealing with such events and at Out Of Office we have taken proactive steps to ensure our clients are kept informed of recent developments.
We follow advice from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (in the UK) and the State Department (in the USA) to ensure our clients travel plans remain as uninterrupted as possible. We also regularly consult the World Health Organisation (WHO) for advice on the disease itself.
As well as government organisations, we also remain in close contact with our ground suppliers in each destination as well as national tourism authorities to ensure that we are providing up-to-date information to our clients.
There are a limited number of places where the advice is not to travel. It's a condition of booking with Out Of Office that all our clients take out their own travel insurance policy as we are not able to advise on individual circumstances.
Some countries have entry restrictions in place that prevent travellers who have been in certain countries from entering their destination. The situation is changing regularly and so please look at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office or the State Department for up-to-date advice.
What happens to my trip?
If no specific travel advice about a destination has been issued by the government where you reside, then your trip is likely to go ahead without cancellation. In this circumstance we would recommend following local advice and exercising precautions as suggested by the WHO. These include regular hand washing, covering your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing and avoiding close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing.
In a situation where you no longer wish to travel, we would recommend contacting us as soon as possible for us to investigate your options. You may be able to postpone your trip to a later date depending on your itinerary. There may be costs associated with changing the itinerary to different dates. The trip cannot be postponed indefinitely and forward dates will need to be selected prior to your trip's departure date.
We can also investigate whether it's possible to change your destination of travel. In these circumstances you may be required to pay additional costs for moving destination. In this situation, the earlier we are contacted the more likely we are able to move the trip to an alternative destination.
You may also be able to cancel your trip with us. In these circumstances, our standard cancellation policy applies. It is worth contacting your travel insurance company to see whether your policy will cover any charges.
What if the USA or UK governments issue advice that says not to travel to my destination?
In these circumstances we will contact you to keep you informed of the next steps. If you are already in destination, it is our priority to help you leave that country. We will follow government advice and will help you liaise with your travel insurance company to make the process as quick as possible.
If you are to travel imminently, we will discuss your options which may include postponing your trip or suggesting alternative destinations for you to visit.
As with any of these trips we will actively engage with our clients and ensure you are kept informed of your options. We will treat each trip on a case by case basis.
All trips booked with us remain liable to our terms and conditions. It is a pre-requisite of booking with Out Of Office that customers have adequate travel insurance in place at time of booking which covers cancellation and circumstances such as coronavirus.
What provisions does Out Of Office have in place to deal with this situation?
As a business, we have a number of policies and procedures both internally and externally to handle this situation. We have a dynamic and diverse team that all have the ability to work from home should there be any impact to our business from a professional perspective.
We also have a 24/7 out of hours service that is ready to offer support to any of our clients at any point during their trip.
The safety of our clients and our staff remains paramount and as a business we will continue to work to ensure there is as little disruption as usual. We thank you for being a client of Out Of Office and for supporting our business - we are dedicated to supporting you in return.