Traveling with Holbrook during COVID-19

July 23, 2020

Dear Holbrook Travel community,

While many of us are hopeful to travel again soon, we know it may be several months or longer until group travel programs resume operation. Each day, there are new developments in the countries where we operate, with news on government restrictions lifting and in-country providers announcing their safety measures.

Ensuring a safe and risk-free travel experience is our highest priority. We are working carefully in all our areas to ensure safety protocols are in place. Below are the steps we are taking to provide confidence for our travelers to move forward with making plans at this time.

 

1. Flexible booking policies
Registrations made between now and January 31, 2021 for any travel date in the future are fully refundable with no cancellation penalties until the final payment deadline. This may not apply to select specialty or custom programs.

2. Smaller groups
We have always operated small group travel for reasons of impact and community engagement. Now, on most programs, we are planning 10-14 average group sizes with a maximum of 16 travelers. If requested, we can limit size below 10.

3. Increased hygiene measures
Rooms and transport vehicles will be sanitized daily. Plus, where possible, more vehicles will be used to allow for further distance in seating. All participants will be advised to wear face masks when in close proximity. In each destination, we are following extensive cleaning and sanitation protocols.

4. Itinerary adjustments to avoid high-touristed areas
Most of our programs do not focus their time in large cities. On the days where we do visit high-traffic areas, we are adjusting the program, either by going at off-peak hours or visiting an alternative location.

5. Dining protocols
We are working with our suppliers and restaurants to follow safety protocols, including extra room at tables or private seating. All food preparation follows strict protocols, including mask usage.

6. Included post-departure insurance
All of our programs include medical and evacuation insurance. If travelers become ill with COVID-19 while traveling, claims will be considered on the same basis as any other covered sickness.

7. Single-friendly policy
We have increased the number of single rooms available and lowered fees wherever possible. In the event that you wish to share and we cannot match you, we are waiving the single supplement fees.

8. Independent and private groups
We have increased our offerings for those who wish to travel in a private group with family or friends. Additionally, we have extended the final payment deadline on most of these programs to 45 days before departure (not including cruise programs). Please refer to your contract terms for details.

 

We hope these measures will alleviate many of your concerns and give you confidence to reserve programs in advance. As always, please don’t hesitate to call your Holbrook Travel consultant or customer service representative. Our office is working a Monday – Thursday week and will be closed on Fridays until further notice. Thank you for your patience and understanding, and stay safe.

Giving our community up-to-date statements remains a challenge as information is continually changing. We continue to follow announcements by the U.S. Department of State, the World Health Organization (WHO), the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and authorities from each country for updates and direction, and we are in close contact with our field partners in our destinations.

 


Safety & Security with Holbrook Travel

Holbrook Travel has been providing the highest degree of safety and security for our travelers since 1974. While no environment — at home or abroad — is ever completely risk free, our extensive experience, risk management standards, and precise safety protocols can provide a worry-free travel experience. Strict safety policies, personal inspections, and extensive guide training are just a few of the things we do to eliminate potential risk factors to travel.

Liability Coverage

Holbrook carries a $5 million Liability and Errors & Omissions policy. On request, we welcome qualifying organizations to be added to our policy for the duration of the trip.

Safety Precautions

Your well-being is of the utmost importance to us, and we’ll do everything we can to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.

Our U.S. Office

  • We keep abreast of political and national developments in all destinations and exercise great caution in the interest of our travelers.
  • Before your departure, we’ll provide you with a list of emergency numbers within the country you’re visiting and the number for our 24-hour answering service.
  • If an emergency occurs at home during your program, family can contact our office, and we will contact you in-country.

Communications

  • Our emergency phone line has a member of our staff available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
  • All accommodations have a telephone or other means of communication on the premises.
  • All leaders, guides and/or drivers have a cell phone or radio device for emergencies.
  • Internet is widely available in most destinations.

Our Guides

  • In the unlikely event of an emergency, our in-country guides are professionally trained and adhere to strict guidelines.
  • Guides are fluent in English and bilingual in foreign-language countries.
  • Guides are trained and licensed.
  • All guides attend annual training programs.

Accommodations

  • All hotels are regularly inspected by our team.
  • All hotels and lodges have plans for:
    • Safety and security
    • Incident management
    • Guest communications
    • Visitor policies
    • Medical procedures

Transportation

  • Our drivers are fully licensed and insured, experienced, and highly knowledgeable of the areas visited.
  • Vehicles are inspected regularly and meet or surpass local safety standards.
  • In most cases, transfers are private.
  • Transfers are always scheduled during daylight hours.

Boats

  • Boat crews have mandatory safety drills.
  • All vessels must meet or surpass local certification requirements.
  • Live-aboard vessels have regular marine safety inspections with a formal inspection checklist.
  • Snorkeling safety standards are in place.

General Safety Tips

Staying healthy

  • Wash hands often with soap and water.
  • Use hand wipes or waterless anti-bacterial gel frequently.
  • Protect yourself from mosquito bites and sunburn.
  • Keep feet clean, dry, and protected to prevent fungal and parasitic infections.
  • Bring a copy of your prescriptions and keep it with your carry-on luggage.
  • If you get diarrhea, drink bottled water and stick to a bland diet.
  • Drink plenty of bottled water during your flights and trip. Dehydration is one of the biggest causes of fatigue and jet lag.
  • Do not drink or brush your teeth with anything other than bottled water.

Traveling with diabetes

  • Bring a letter from your doctor stating the supplies you will be carrying.
  • Bring hard candy or glucose tablets in your carry-on luggage and during long activities.
  • Bring a blood sugar testing meter and plenty of testing strips and batteries.
  • If you are insulin dependent:
  • Bring more than one bottle of insulin.
  • If you are on a pump, bring extra supplies such as batteries, reservoirs, and infusion sets as they might be difficult to find.
  • Bring syringes as a back-up method to deliver insulin if your pump malfunctions.
  • Bring a cooling packet to help protect insulin from getting too warm. The Frio cooler is small, lightweight, and easy to use.

Avoiding theft

  • Leave expensive jewelry and watches at home.
  • Keep all valuables in a money belt that you can hide under your clothes.
  • Make copies of all documentation and keep it separate from the originals.
  • Carry a small amount of cash in an accessible pocket rather than accessing your money belt while shopping.
  • Bring important items (passport, wallet, etc.) with you or leave them locked in a safe. Don't leave these items in your room.