These are extraordinary times, and the current global situation has had a swift and dramatic impact on the travel industry, Greenheart Travel’s programs and operations. In response to the current situation, we are working to offer more flexible booking and deferral options for our travelers when possible.
Given the unprecedented global impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) we have updated our Cancellation and Deferral policies. These COVID-specific policies are immediately in effect for Greenheart Travel start dates, effective May 6, 2020, and will be extended if needed. This policy applies to the following programs: Language Camps, Work Abroad, Teach English in a Homestay, Volunteer Abroad, Teach Abroad, and TEFL Courses.
At this point, it is difficult to predict how long travel advisories and other travel barriers will be in place. Greenheart Travel will continue to monitor the situation and make changes as necessary. Greenheart Travel is keeping a close eye on the situation and will suspend or defer program intakes if it is determined that it is not safe or possible to travel at that time.
COVID-19 Related Decisions for Upcoming (non-High School Abroad) Programs
In collaboration with our in-country partners, we will make a decision about whether a program will run 6 weeks before each program start date. The factors in making this decision will include but are not limited to: Host country travel and entry restrictions for foreigners, inability to safely execute the program, etc. If, for example, self-isolation or quarantine is required of the participant upon arrival to the host community, their program start date will likely be deferred to a date where it will not be required
Program Date Cancellation by Greenheart Travel or its Partner
Should Greenheart Travel cancel or suspend your program before your program start date due to health or safety concerns; or travel is not possible due to ongoing travel restrictions or advisories, your start date will be deferred, and you will be eligible for one of the following options:
- You can rebook your program for a later start date (any available start date of your choice before the end of the next calendar year), immediately. Any prior payments made to Greenheart for your program will be immediately applied as full credit to the future Greenheart Travel program that begins before December 31 of the following year.
- You can hold on to your travel credit until you are ready to re-book on a future program. Any payments made to Greenheart for that program will immediately apply as full credit to any future Greenheart Travel program that begins before December 31 of the following year.
- If you are not eligible to travel at the later date, your program fees, less 50% of the application deposit, may be eligible for a refund*.
Please note: Greenheart Travel cannot reimburse for any expenses incurred beyond fees explicitly paid to Greenheart Travel. Please be sure to purchase trip cancellation insurance, or only make bookings that are fully refundable in case of changes or cancellations.
Program Withdrawal or Cancellation by Participant
In the case that a program is still running, we are still responsible for fees and payments to our in-country partners. Much of your program fee is spent upfront, in making arrangements for your arrival and placement. If Greenheart Travel has not deferred your start date and the program is still running, but you no longer want to or are no longer able to participate, you may:
- Defer or change your program to any other start date or program within the next 12 months, at least 6 weeks before the intended start date at no extra fee. For programs with host family placements, deferrals must be requested before a placement is made, otherwise, a cancellation/deferral fee will apply. Greenheart will retain all program deposits and fees received prior, applying them as a credit to the new program date or program, which must begin before December 31st of the following year.
- Choose to cancel your participation in that program, and our normal cancellation and refund policies will apply*
* Due to limited staffing and administrative capacity, please expect significant delays in processing any refunds.
A Note from Greenheart Travel
We thank you in advance for your patience and understanding as we navigate this situation. Our customers are extremely important to us, and we are offering as much deferral and refund flexibility as we are able to during this very challenging and uncertain time. Never in our 35 years of operations have we seen a global event that has impacted and jeopardized the travel and the cultural exchange industry so wholly, with every one of our program destinations impacted simultaneously.
Our programs take a lot of work leading up to the start dates, and we are navigating the unknown while trying to remain agile and ready to be up and running on a moment’s notice. We know that signing up for a program may involve taking a risk that it could be canceled or you might be unable to go, and we are also taking a risk in organizing and planning your program on your behalf. Bottom line, we have staff and it costs money to organize your program, even ahead of you leaving. We are glad to take on this risk together.
If your program is canceled, we know how disappointing that is, but we hope that you will consider deferring your program if it is an option for you. We are also happy to help you find another program that might work better for your schedule! This will help us to continue operations, continue to employ our remaining staff in the US, support our partners and host communities around the world, and it will enable us to offer the programs we love and want to see continue well into the future.
While this is a huge blow to our industry, the importance of travel and cultural exchange is not going away. We don’t know exactly when normal travel will become possible again, but when it does, we will be here and ready to continue this important work. Together with our staff, partners around the world, and our community of travelers, we will overcome this.