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 2020 Greenheart Travel start dates, effective June 3, 2020. This policy applies to Greenheart Travel’s High School Abroad programs.
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 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 High School Abroad Programs
In collaboration with our in-country partners, we will make a decision about whether a program will run or have a delayed start date as soon as it is possible, but no later than 3 weeks before the original program start date. The factors in making this decision will include but are not limited to: Host country travel and entry restrictions for foreigners, and/or inability to safely execute the program. In some cases, your start date may be delayed to accommodate COVID-related changes in school calendars or potential delays in documents or visa processing. If a start date is delayed to later in the same semester, it will not be considered a program cancellation.
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 same program for the following semester or academic year, for no additional fee. Any prior payments made to Greenheart for your program will be applied as full credit to the future Greenheart Travel program that begins before December 31 of the following year.
- If you are interested in changing to a different program, which commences before the end of the following calendar year, you can apply your credit toward any Greenheart Travel program that you are eligible for. Any payments made to Greenheart for your original program will apply as a credit to your new program.*
- If you are not eligible to travel on any of Greenheart Travel’s programs at the later date, your program fees, less 50% of the application deposit, may be eligible for a refund**.
**Due to limited staffing and administrative capacity, please expect significant delays in processing any refunds.
Please note: Greenheart Travel cannot reimburse for any expenses incurred beyond fees paid to Greenheart Travel. Please be sure to purchase trip cancellation insurance, or only make bookings that are fully refundable or flexible in case of changes or cancellations.
Program Withdrawal or Cancellation by Participant
In the case that a program is still running, you 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 in an attempt to secure and organize your placement. If Greenheart Travel has not deferred your start date but you are no longer able to participate, you may:
- Defer or change your program to any other start date or program that begins before December 31 of the following year by paying the cancellation/deferral fee. These fees vary depending on Greenheart Travel’s partner’s policy, the reason for deferral/cancellation, and the timing of the request. Please inquire with Greenheart Travel for details if you are interested in changing to a different semester or academic year, or to a different program altogether. All payments previously paid to Greenheart Travel will be applied as a credit towards the new program.
- Choose to cancel your participation in that program, and our normal cancellation and refund policies will apply. Please refer to your program terms and conditions for a complete cancellation policy.
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 requires you to take a risk that could result in program cancelation or you might be unable to go. Greenheart Travel understands your concerns – we are also sharing in this risk by continuing to organize and plan future programs without guaranteed payment of program fees. As a non-profit organization, we are limited in our financial resources to support our operations without program fees, and much of our work and operating costs are in preparation for your program. We are glad to share this risk together as we understand how important and impactful these programs are for our participants and hosts.
We know how disappointing it would be to have your program canceled, but if that were to happen, 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 pandemic 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. We will do everything we can to provide you with a safe & impactful experience abroad. Together with our staff, partners around the world, and our community of travelers, we will get through this.