- Stay Inspired: When our world returns to normal, we will appreciate travel on a higher plane. Personally, I vow to intentionally visit places that stretch my boundaries, nourish my soul, special places for transformation. We’ll never take the art of travel for granted again. We’ll all seek a deeper connection with the world when we can finally disconnect from routine and embrace unforgettable experiences.
- Stay Curious: Dream now. Travel later. The magic awaits! It’s important for your serenity to plan your future escapes now. While we suspend our dreams, know AFS is still joyfully working to design new global journeys for years to come. We are strong and can’t wait to welcome you back. It may seem dim now, but we’ve left the porch light on for you.
- Stay Hopeful: For now, we all remain #AloneTogether. Soon we will again be traveling with our AFS friends and welcoming all the new friends who joined our Tribe of Travel Lovers. YOU WILL TRAVEL. “Oh, the places you’ll go.” – Dr. Seuss
REVISED COVID19 POLICIES as of APRIL 2020
We share our travelers’ concerns about upcoming travel with the uncertainty felt by travelers over the effects of Covid19 and as others, we too have temporarily modified our policy for 2020 trips. We are sorry for this unprecedented inconvenience that is beyond our control. The health and safety of our guests are of the highest priority. We continue to monitor the situation to determine if additional modification and updates needed in accordance with changing travel advisement. Land Portion 2020 – We will not cancel any trip when we can move to a later and safer date. We recommend that you also check the current travel policy of your destination for further information. Until this passes, time is on our side. We always encourage our travelers to get travel insurance within 21 days of initial booking via email and Trip Tips that will protect your investment. We’re coping with an enormous volume of inquiries and changes. Please be patient. We appreciate your understanding of this temporal disruption.
My trip has not been postponed and the group is a go, but I’m afraid to join them, can I get a refund? If we feel things are clear according to CDC and the country is open, the trip will go. AFS standard Terms apply.
My trip was postponed to next year and I paid in full, what are my options? The new policy will allow those with existing trip bookings to join same trip at a later date. If you prefer a different trip, we’ll help you find a replacement. Please understand we are unable to process a refund as monies have been paid out to all our suppliers. This is not meant to punish or harm you, it is because of our desire to sustain AFS with many adventures for years to come as well as supporting the global travel industry. We ask that you travel with us later. Unlike cruise lines or airline policies, tour operators get no refunds from foreign suppliers on land services. All tour companies pay for it whether it gets used or not and all now must postpone trips.
After paid in full due date and your trip has been postponed to 2021, your full payment will be moved without penalty. Your 2020 land price will be protected. (New bookings next year may incur an increase if the trip cost from land supplier rises.) If you choose a new trip that is more expensive than the original trip, you are responsible for the difference. If the new trip is less expensive, a future travel credit will be issued for you for the difference to be used at any time in the future.
My trip was postponed and I only made a deposit. What can I do? If unable to make 2021 new dates, you will get a travel credit voucher good until Jan 2023 provided upon your request.
What about my air? – Those on Group Air need to do nothing. We will handle it. Airline policies are changing rapidly. We urge you to check your airlines’ website on current change fees or rebooking options. Each group will be emailed information specific to their trip. If your trip was moved to 2021, airlines will issue a travel voucher typically good for 12 to 24 months.
About air as of April 2020 - Once we email you your new trip dates 11 months out, you can contact your airline to secure flights with trip dates. (Note to those on our international Group Air, you are all set, but do move your domestic air flights to match the 2021 dates.) 1. Wait, you have time! All airlines are swamped now with thousands of calls daily. Whether you contact them online or by phone, they will only address flights departing within 72 hours or less. Note, if airline cancels their flight, you may get a refund. If you cancel you won't. Set it on your calendar to contact them close to your scheduled departure. Change all tickets before December. The value of your ticket is safe. 2. Be mindful of credit windows! All carriers have different rebooking policies. Nearly all allow you to move tickets within 12 months. It’s called an e-change or e-credit. Some state credit window starts from the time your ticket was issued. In that case, you need a longer window. Many like QR, LH, KL, EK and others allow credit up to 18 to 24 months. We expect all airlines should be extending deadlines. 3. How? Call airline reservation or their special frequent flyer phone line. Ask for the agent's name. Explain you want either refund or credit to 2021 dates. If the agent says, "not within our policy," plead for an exception or request a supervisor. Agents follow a script. But they can use a "situational flexibility clause" to allow for deviation. If no luck, call back to speak with a different agent. 4. Be sure you have your EXACT dates ready to present. Many airlines now only allow one free booking change! If you don't use the credit within 12 months, then most will refund or extend.