Updated 8th September
2020 has continued to be a year of change, and we are all still adapting to the “new normal”. Remember your face covering, slather on the hand sanitiser, elbow bumps and outdoors get-togethers - these small routines have become an important part of daily life for us all. As cafes, parks, schools and even offices start to re-open, some aspects of life feel reassuringly familiar.
Yet covid-19 continues to pose challenges. After a summer of sunshine, the question now for a lot of us divers is where can I travel to? Progress has been made in international travel. Planes are starting to fly, and several dive hot spots opened their borders over the summer. Around the world dive centres and liveaboards have scrubbed, refurbished, and lavished TLC on their boats and operations. Crews have undergone extra training. Each operator works carefully with their local authorities and governments to ensure they are proactively making your holiday covid secure, before re-opening their doors.
But we need to be patient for some of our fave destinations to re-open to British divers. Hang on in there. Air bridges are a vital part of helping us all decide where we can go for our warm water fix. Incredible dive times are coming. We will be blowing bubbles again soon. As soon as it is permitted, the global diving community is ready to welcome you.
We are also still offering £0 deposit holidays to some selected destinations not yet on the FCO approved list. We are happy to place a courtesy hold on a place for you without any commitment. When travel restrictions are lifted, we will be in touch to confirm your spot. If you cannot make it any more, you can simply drop the space without any penalty. Give yourself something to look forward to. We've got a host of amazing winter sun destinations and our 2021 schedule is packed full of super deals and tantalising destinations.
Q:I have an upcoming holiday to a destination that is not on the latest quarantine free and FCO approved travel lists?
A: Do not despair. Just as before, advisories and airline schedules are still being changed regularly, and travel advice is intended for imminent travel only. This means anyone with an upcoming holiday in the next week or two. The UK government intends to keep reviewing the destinations we are allowed to travel to, and host countries are also constantly reviewing the entry requirements. If anything changes that encompasses your travel dates and destination specifically, we will of course be in touch with the lead name on your booking.
Please remember - whilst you may feel your holiday might not proceed, we do need to wait until it is officially affected by travel disruption before we can start to look at the options. The situation globally is changing week to week and nobody knows exactly when travel to any specific country not on the FCO lists will reopen.
We will continue to work with each and every diver on a disrupted holiday to find a solution. Once we know for sure that your holiday is affected, we will ask you if you can reschedule your departure dates. For anyone rebooking their holiday at this point we are honouring the price you originally paid. We encourage you to support the many fabulous and experienced guides, dive resorts and boat operators all around the world. We want these incredible teams to be there for you when the time comes that we are able to go diving again.
Scuba Travel are both ATOL and ABTOT bonded and all our existing holidays have been secured. Despite some confusing media reports, if you have booked a bonded package holiday, your payments are financially secure. If you reschedule your holiday, you will be issued with a new ATOL or ABTOT invoice and certificate and your holiday remains bonded, no matter what happens.
If we have not yet contacted you, be assured. You have not been forgotten. You are on our radar.
Do I still need to pay my final balance on my booking?
A:Balances on our holidays are normally due 90-100 days before travel. For travel between now and 30th August, and where possible (and depending on the suppliers involved in your holiday), we have been deferring these balances forward. For travel scheduled to depart from 1st September, your balance is due as per your balance date on your invoice. We will continue to review the situation and take a flexible approach for our holidays until we know you can safely travel to your chosen destination.
Q:Are you a key worker?
A:We all know key workers may not be able to travel due to their working commitments. Don’t worry.
Please call us if you are a key worker and we are happy to reschedule your holiday and discuss the options for you now.
Q:What happens if I contract covid-19 before travel?
A:If you are diagnosed with covid-19 prior to your travel, please contact us as soon as possible and we will be able to advise you of the process with us. We are happy to reschedule your holiday to an alternative future date, including 2021. In many cases we are able to do this at no extra cost to yourself. You may also wish to speak to your travel insurance provider, if you are looking to make a claim on medical grounds.
Q:What happens if I contract covid-19 on holiday?
A: As the FCO travel advisory has changed for specific destinations, more and more travel insurance polices include cover for any medical costs if you contract covid whilst overseas. However, as always - the level of cover and small print varies hugely between insurance providers.
Don't travel without appropriate cover.
You must have a travel insurance policy in place to travel on one of our holidays. We strongly encourage you to check it meets your possible requirements whilst overseas.
Q: Countries are introducing entry restrictions and enhanced screening procedures – will this affect me?
A: Customers should keep up to date with the latest FCO travel advice updates for the destination they are travelling to, as restrictions can change at short notice. Should any restrictions directly apply to you or members of your party then speak to your travel company to discuss your options.
As a precautionary measure enhanced health screening procedures have been put in place at arrival and departure areas in many countries. Travellers should comply with these processes and take relevant preventative measures to reduce the risk of exposure.
Many countries are introducing traveller pre-registration as part of their track and trace strategies. Before you go on holiday you must complete the required form online for pre-authorisation to enter your chosen destination. Failure to do this may result in refusal of entry.
Up to date links can be found on the UK FCO’s website and in your destination’s entry requirements. We advise you register online with your destination around 3-4 weeks prior to departure to ensure you are up to date with the latest entry information.
Q: Where can I find out more about the safety procedures and protocols in place on my holiday?
Simply head to your chosen destination - liveaboard, hotel or apartment - and click on the tab that says “covid information”. We are updating our website regularly with all of the information as we dive operators open up again and resume departures. This information will be under constant review and is dated for your reference.
Q: What if I'm unsure about going on my holiday?
A: The Government advice is based on its objective assessment of risk and will always put the safety of UK citizens first. The Government will advise against travel to a destination when it judges the level of risk to be unacceptably high. If there is no Government advice against travel to your destination, you’re free to make the choice not to go, but there's no obligation on your holiday company to give you a refund. Normal cancellation charges will apply.
The safety of travellers is a priority for travel companies, and our decisions will follow British Government advice – so people can book their package holiday with confidence, safe in the knowledge that they will be looked after should the FCO travel advice change in the destination they are planning to go to.
Q:Can I cancel my holiday even though you are still planning for it to go ahead?
A:At a time like this, people understandably feel unsure. If you decide you don't want to travel, let us know. Be aware the normal terms and conditions will apply for cancellation by you.
Q:Will I be covered by my travel insurance if I decide to cancel?
A:Travel insurance policies vary enormously and we strongly advise you to contact your insurer before you make any decisions.
It is highly unlikely that you will be able to claim any cancellation charge on your insurance as there isn’t normally cover for disinclination to travel but you can check the terms of your policy.
Q: I have a pre-existing medical condition and do not want to travel – can I get a refund if I cancel my holiday?
A: As with the above advice, you’re free to make the choice not to travel, but if the FCO are not advising against travel to your destination then there is no obligation on your travel company to give you a refund. Normal cancellation charges will apply.
If your GP has advised that you do not travel, and provided you with official documentation to confirm this, then you will need to check the terms of your travel insurance policy to see if you can claim any cancellation charge back.
Q: There are a number of public areas and attractions that have been closed in the destination that I am travelling to – can I get a refund if I cancel my holiday?
A: This would not normally give you the right to a refund. If excursions or attractions that are included in the price of your holiday are closed or can’t go ahead, and this significantly changes your package holiday or impacts your overall experience, then you might be entitled to a refund. If you are aware of such limitations, then speak to your travel company to discuss your options.
Q: Will I need a PCR test prior to travel?
Some destinations are requiring PCR testing as part of their revised entry requirements. Please be careful to ensure you meet all testing requirements prior to embarking on your journey.
Keep up to date with the latest pre travel advice with the UK FCO and TravelHealthPro
A number of commercial COVID-19 tests are available. Testing for international travel purposes is only available as a private service with private providers e.g. some private GP services, travel clinics or other private testing services. There would be a charge made for the test and any paperwork issued.
Still got a question? Just drop us a line or call. Let's talk!
If anyone would like to speak to us, all of our team are aware of the situation.