Health & Safety Information
Since our start, smarTours has remained committed to keeping the health and safety of our travelers, partners, and teams as a top priority. In an ever-changing world, this commitment includes maintaining a deep understanding of every destination we visit, continuous monitoring of any changes or escalations in these destinations, and consistent communication with both our guests and our larger teams regarding all aspects impacting health and safety on our trips. We will never send out a departure that we feel jeopardizes the health and safety of our smarTours family.
Our responsibility to each other and the nature of group travel
Any illness while traveling can disrupt your travel dreams and leave you disappointed. The nature of group travel requires us to think like a temporary family and to look out for each other. This includes agreeing to remove ourselves from the group when ill to protect the others in the group. Included on this page are our health and safety policies and guidelines for our travelers.
COVID-19 Policies & Guidelines
To reduce the spread of COVID-19 and keep our travelers, Tour Directors, drivers, and the communities we visit safe on our group tours, smarTours will continue to follow all current CDC guidelines concerning COVID-19, including testing, masking, and isolation, as necessary. Below, learn more about what to expect and about policies and guidelines related to the pre-trip, on-tour, and after-tour portions of your trip. You can also learn more about traveler responsibility and about travel protection.
Pre-Trip Policies & Guidelines
COVID Vaccines: We currently do not require a COVID vaccination prior to travel, but we strongly encourage all guests to stay up to date with all current recommended vaccines and health guidelines.
Other vaccinations may be required for your destination. See destination-specific information in the “Before You Depart section of our tour pages or see the CDC’s recommendations for your visited destination(s).
Hygiene Protocols: We work closely with our partners in every destination to ensure good safety and hygiene protocols on all modes of transportation and at our carefully selected accommodations.
Travel Protection: No one plans to get sick while traveling, but it can happen which is why we hope our travelers are protected from the unexpected with a travel protection plan. We can’t cover expenses related to contracting COVID-19 or another illness on your trip which can include additional lodging, transportation, meals, flights, and more. We recommend our travelers purchase a travel protection plan from either our partner, Trip Mate, or from their preferred travel insurance provider.
Stay Informed: Visit our Travel Restrictions by Country page for the most up-to-date international travel information, including any remaining COVID-19 restrictions or entry requirements.
What to Pack:
- At least 3 COVID-19 self-test kits per person. While on tour, your tour director may ask you to test and if you do not have a self-test kit, it may delay your participation in group activities. U.S. residents can order free test kits.
- A small supply of well-fitting, high-quality masks.
On Tour Policies & Guidelines
- If while traveling, anyone starts to exhibit symptoms, our Tour Directors can request any individuals exhibiting symptoms and their roommate take a test. Travelers must comply with a request to test from our Tour Directors and/or the larger smarTours team. Any traveler who refuses to test will be required to isolate for a minimum of five days.
- If a traveler tests positive for COVID-19, they will be required to isolate for a minimum of 5 days. Anyone sharing a room with a COVID-positive traveler will also be required to test.
- smarTours and our partners on the ground will work to assist with the necessary arrangements, but the expense will be covered by the traveler
- Other travelers on the trip will be alerted to a positive test. Our Tour Directors can assist with locating services for any additional testing needs
- Travelers will be required to mask on transportation and in confined spaces for the remainder of the trip to protect the entire group from further spread and infection. If a guest refuses to wear a mask when requested, they cannot continue with the tour group
- After completing isolation or presenting a negative test, our traveler may return to the group but must wear a mask as per CDC guidelines.
After Tour Policies & Guidelines
If we are alerted to a positive test result upon return from a trip, we will alert fellow travelers regarding a possible exposure so that they can take the necessary actions
To participate in our group tours, you must agree to:
- Follow all safety precautions and health directives set by your tour director and/or smarTours
- Test for COVID-19 with a self-test kit if requested by your tour director and/or smarTours
- Seek testing by a health professional if you are exhibiting any symptoms of contagious illness (such as COVID-19) and/or to confirm a positive self-test, as requested by either your tour director or smarTours (this may also be necessary later for insurance claims)
- Isolate from the group if you test positive for a minimum of five days following a positive test or present a negative test
- Not participate in any group activities (including bus travel) during the five days
- Wear a well-fitting, high-quality mask (such as an N-95) when you return to group activities
- Make your own arrangements (hotel, transportation, meals, medical) during isolation and/or for any altered return travel, at your own expense. smarTours and our partners will assist as much as we can with these arrangements, but they must be paid directly by the traveler at the time of service.
Compliance: Failure to comply with any of these requirements may result in you being asked to leave the tour and in such instances, smarTours will not credit or refund any portion of the tour cost paid by you. All unused services are non-refundable, and all expenses, including cancellations and return expenses, will be the responsibility of the traveler.
More on Travel Protection
We recommend you purchase travel protection. If you become ill during travel and need to isolate yourself from the group and/or change your travel plans, any alternative hotel, meals, and/or transportation arrangements must be organized by you at your own expense. A travel protection plan can often assist with medical emergencies and reimburse costs that are covered by the plan. Please verify coverage details with your travel protection provider.
Trip Mate If you purchased the comprehensive travel protection plan from smarTours, visit our Travel Insurance page to review details on coverage, receiving emergency assistance, filing a claim, and more.
Key Terms for Trip Mate’s Coverage include:
- For coverage for COVID-19, you will need a lab test (verified by a medical professional)
- Trip Interruption: If eligible, this coverage, up to the full amount of your trip cost, can cover your return flight home (same class as existing), a flight to meet the group following isolation, additional transportation, etc.
- Trip Delay: If eligible, this coverage (limit depending on plan) can cover accommodations and meals during an isolation period (as long as this is not booked at the same hotel for the same nights previously booked under the group tour).
- If eligible, travelers can claim under both of these covered terms.
- In addition, a traveling companion that also purchased the plan has many of the same coverages. The provisions that allow for sickness as a covered reason (Trip Cancellation and Trip Interruption) let a traveling companion also make a claim. For example: If two people plan to travel together and one person needs to cancel due to COVID-19 before the trip, the non-sick traveling companion can also do so and it could still be considered a covered reason.
For travelers who purchased a Trip Mate Protection Plan through smarTours, Generali Global Emergency Assistance is included and is a 24-hour hotline. They can help to make transportation arrangements for a medical evacuation, which also includes repatriation of remains, dispatching physicians, transporting minor children if the sick traveler is/or will be hospitalized for 7 consecutive days, and bringing someone to the sick party’s bedside if they are/or will be hospitalized for 7 days or more. Emergency Assist also performs:
- Medical monitoring (If a traveler is sick they can monitor the case to make sure they are receiving adequate medical care)
- Translation services
- Medical or dental referrals
- Assist with replacement medication, medical devices, and or contacts/eyeglasses (This is just to get the items to the traveler. The traveler would still be responsible for paying for the items or services).
- Relay medical information such as medical records or insurance.
If you did not purchase a travel protection plan from smarTours prior to making your final payment, you can still purchase one directly through our partner, Trip Mate, prior to your date of travel.