REFUNDS AND SAFETY
Cancellations and refunds
Program Cancellations and Refunds
GEA programs can be canceled up until 7 days before departure for a full or partial refund for a program. A full refund will be given back if the program is canceled 45 days or more before the departure date, minus the deposit which is different for each program and can be found on each program page, flyer and payment page.
Program deposits are non-refundable, except in the event that GEA is compelled to cancel the program due to unforeseen circumstances or in the case of extenuating circumstances on the participant brought on by Covid-19. In both cases a fee of 2.9% of the sum that has been paid before cancellation, will be kept to cover transaction fees.
In the event that you cancel a program you have paid for, you may be able to transfer part of your program costs to a future program. GEA aims to be as flexible as possible and work with our participants in good faith to ensure everyone’s interests are fully considered.
We will reimburse you no later than 30 days from the day on which you cancel the program. You may cancel the program by writing to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will use the same means of payment for any eligible refund as you used for the order.
Timeline of Cancellation and Refund Policy
7 days prior to departure - Non-refundable
8-20 days prior to departure date - 25% of total purchase amount can be refunded
21-30 Days Prior to departure date - 50% of total purchase amount can be refunded
31-44 Days Prior to departure date - 75% of total purchase amount can be refunded
45 or more Days Prior to departure date - 100% of the total purchase price can be refunded (minus the deposit, which differs from Program to Program)
A minimum deposit of $250 is due within one week of being accepted to a program to confirm and hold a participant’s spot. The deposit is more for more expensive packages, and should be at least 15% of a program’s total price. $250 is the starting deposit amount for a main program and each additional pre- or post-trip added to a package is at least $100 more/segment. Deposits may be up to $500 for programs and packages that are more than $2500 in total.
GEA’s payment plans will generally include three payments in total, including the deposit (due one week after being accepted to the program), Payment #2: Which will be at least 30% of the total program price so that with the deposit amount, it covers about half of the total fee owed), will be due approximately two months after the deposit, and generally at least two months before a program begins; Payment #3 is the final payment which also includes any add-on or upgrade fees. The final payment is generally due on the 1st day of the month prior to the program start date. For example, any June programs would have final payments due on May 1st. In some cases, the add-on and upgrade fees may need to be paid closer to the program start date if all options have not been finalized.
In addition to GEA cancellation policies you may want to consider purchasing travel insurance. There are a few different kinds of travel insurance, including trip cancellation, medical and evacuation insurance. You will want to choose which one is right for you. The following link will help you distinguish between the different kinds of policies and will point you towards sites that will help you choose the appropriate company for you:
Health and Safety
GEA chooses locations where we can have spectacular conversations around spectacular scenery. The locations we choose are always on the safe travel list of the US State Department. They are places where we can comfortably lead you to have the experience you have paid for. We team up with phenomenal local partners who know and are connected to all available resources of the area and who know how to keep you safe. In order to provide for your added comfort we ask you for your allergies and food preferences before the start of the journey as well as medical conditions you would like us to be aware of.
GEA takes Covid-19 and other health risks seriously. These guidelines will be adapted to the changing situation. Our objective is to keep everyone feeling safe, happy and comfortable! Last updated November 11, 2022
Why does GEA feel it is fine to travel?
There are many reasons to get on the road again. Here are some of them.
First, it is helpful to look at the risks associated with travel abroad in comparison to the risks we take in our own communities on a daily basis. When planning travel, we find that it is helpful to compare target destinations in light of the states we live in. Many states carry the same CDC Covid or flu counts as your destination, and often much higher.
Second, medical breakthroughs and our own personal efforts have allowed people around the world to start living new-normal lives again. Vaccinations, new remedies, our masking and social distancing efforts have paid-off. Difficult breakthrough cases (after receiving two doses of the vaccine together with the booster) are rare and breakthrough cases that require hospitalization are even rarer.
We believe the benefits of travel outweigh the risks, when appropriately managed. We have come a long way and have collectively learned how to navigate a pandemic and manage risks along the way.
WHAT IS GEA DOING TO ENSURE SAFE AND HAPPY TRAVELS?
GEA will be doing everything we can to navigate the situation on all our spring and summer 2023 programs and to help everyone feel secure and comfortable. This means we may sometimes go above and beyond safety protocols in the US and abroad. GEA is committed to following CDC guidelines even if they are not required in the countries we will be traveling to. In addition to CDC recommendations and local guidelines we are also requiring our participants to follow additional strategies that will help us provide the smoothest possible travel experience.
The following are strategies GEA is requiring from its travelers:
1. We require all of our participants to be vaccinated and to carry a vaccination card. This is needed to enter certain countries. The CDC vaccination card is enough. Many countries require 2-3 doses to enter.
2. We require our participants to abide by local regulations and requests, including masking up, social distancing, using hand sanitizer and meeting outdoors.
3. We ask that our participants purchase additional travel insurance for additional coverage that will help cover alternate flights home and additional hotel nights, should they contract covid while on the program.
The following are strategies GEA has committed to in order to make travel this spring and summer safe and easy:
1.GEA is committed to following local guidelines in all the locations we visit.
2. GEA will assist in all of the additional Covid logistics required for each location for any needs that many arise.
3. GEA has a list of excellent medical centers in each location we visit. This means we are prepared with a list of medical providers for our/your peace of mind.
4. If -despite our combined best efforts- a participant does get sick, GEA has a plan in each location to handle isolation and medical care. This plan includes a contact person in each location who would be assigned to the participant with covid to ensure their needs are met, even in the event that the rest of the group moves on to the next location.
With a long history of taking hundreds of educators on international travel programs we have experience with and are comfortable navigating a number of medical emergencies – we have just added Covid to a list of possibilities (in addition to the ones we have already dealt with on our programs, including kidney stones, broken toes, spider bites, stingray burns and diphtheria).
5. GEA always signs up for the state department travel alert program STEP. In other words the State Department will know where we are and will know how to get in touch with us should something unforeseen happen. GEA also has a personal contact at the US embassy in Helsinki. They will know we are visiting and are aware of our programs.
8. GEA monitors all information coming from our destinations. Our participants will be informed before departure and during the program as to any possible changes to our plans, or additional precautions.
How should our participants prepare for travel?
There are many ways you can personally manage a safe and happy travel experience. GEA will help remind you along the way, as there are a handful of important items to remember.
6 weeks before
If you have not gotten your first covid vaccination this is the deadline. You will need 2 vaccinations, 3 weeks apart. Your last vaccination needs to happen no less than 14 days before departure.
f you haven’t yet, purchase TRAVEL INSURANCE with trip cancellation due to Covid. You can often purchase this in conjunction with your ticket. GEA does not partner with any travel insurance providers, and cannot be held accountable for your insurance needs. However, if you’re looking for a well trusted travel insurance agency, Allianz.com is a good one (https://www.allianztravelinsurance.com). Always read the fine print of your insurance options carefully.
What should you do if you end up having to postpone your travel, despite precautions?
If you do happen to get sick right before departure please let GEA know, and immediately consult the following -in this order- as applicable: 1. your travel agency 2. your airlines 3. your travel insurance. If you have proof of your covid status and tell your airlines on time, you may be able to easily change your tickets or get your money back. Alternatively your travel insurance can kick in and you should be able to get your money back. Please speak with GEA about the cancellation of your program.
After you return home
After you get back home we ask that you take an additional covid test in order to ensure the health of the people around you – especially if your circle of friends includes people with pre-existing conditions or those who are elderly. You will also want to keep on monitoring your health for any symptoms (of covid or other illnesses) and following your state and local recommendations.