Safe Travel with smarTours
We’re ready to travel again. And we’re ready for you!
The health and safety of our travelers, team members, local partners, and the communities we visit are our top priority. On this page, we’ve included policies and practices implemented by our team, and steps we’ll ask you as our travelers to take to protect one another. We will continue to monitor ongoing news as well as entry restrictions and local guidelines for visiting venues and using transport as they continue to evolve. Don’t forget, COVID-19 vaccinations are required for all travelers on our tours beginning in 2022.
Better understand what to expect at each stage of your trip from once you’ve booked your trip through returning home.
Take a look at some of our most frequently asked questions from what precautions we’re taking to what happens if someone gets sick.
See helpful resources from smarTours, partners, and others from picking a destination to staying safe on tour.
WHAT TO EXPECT
We’re here to help you every step of the way. Scroll down to learn more about what you can expect from our team and the precautions we’re taking to keep you and your fellow travelers safe. Have a question that hasn’t been answered here? Send us a quick note and we’d be delighted to get back to you!
BEFORE YOU DEPART
2021 smarTours Traveler Poll:
Nearly 90% of travelers surveyed said they were happy they traveled internationally in 2021. Learn more
GET VACCINATED – IT’S REQUIRED!
We require that all guests be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 prior to travel to protect you, our other guests, our guides and partners on the ground, and the local communities we visit. If you’re not yet fully vaccinated, book a vaccine appointment near you!
PROTECT YOURSELF WITH TRAVEL INSURANCE
smarTours has partnered with TripMate to offer travel insurance to all smarTours travelers for a low, flat rate. Review TripMate’s policy, or if you have a preferred travel insurance partner, purchase from your preferred partner! Our priority is that you’re protected from the unexpected.
GET TO KNOW THE ENTRY REQUIREMENTS
From vaccines to visas, entry requirements may be required and enforced by airlines, government agencies, and local businesses. As we near your departure date, we’ll send you these details by email but note they can change quickly and we highly recommend you continue to check-in prior to departure. In the meantime, you can get an idea of the current requirements by visiting our travel restrictions by country page which is updated daily. Need to make a change? Learn more about our flexible booking policy and how we’re waiving change fees for travelers! Definitely plan to bring along your vaccine documentation and a couple of masks in case they are required for entrance to specific venues.
REVIEW OUR CODE OF CONDUCT
Our Code of Conduct may sound official, but it just asks that you be kind to and considerate of other travelers, your tour director, our staff, and the locals! We’ll also ask that you comply with any local mandates and your tour director’s requests which are made for the group’s tour experience. We want everyone to have a great time and stay safe.
PACK YOUR BAGS
It’s never too early to start thinking about what to bring! We recommend checking what the local weather will be (you can enter your destination here for a sneak peek) and that you plan to layer so you’re prepared for those afternoon highs and evening lows. You may also want to check that you have all the right adapters and/or converters (Hint: the U.S. typically uses A/B plugs and has 120V/60Hz). You can learn more about the outlets and voltage in destinations across the world here! Don’t forget to pack extra masks – as some destinations require double masking!
GET YOUR FINAL DOCUMENTS
We’ll send you your final documents by email at least 10 days prior to departure (earlier when possible!) They’ll include any applicable e-tickets, the day-by-day itinerary plus emergency action plans, and more. You can expect them to come from the same email address that your confirmation emails, invoices, and other reservation information come from. Open one of our previous emails and add us to your contact list to ensure you don’t miss a thing!
2021 smarTours Traveler Poll:
94% of travelers surveyed said they felt that in the destinations they visited, attractions and restaurants were open enough to enjoy their trip. Learn more
Can’t speak for other tour companies but we were very comfortable with the protocols taken to ensure our safety and health with smarTours. – Samantha M. (Nov. 2021)
Airlines and governments across the globe are taking precautions to keep you safe (whether you’ve booked your flights with us or not!) While the U.S. federal mask mandate is no longer in effect, masking requirements and other safety precautions can vary from airline to airline, and travelers should look to and respect the airline’s safety requirements. Plan to bring a mask just in case!
TRUST IN YOUR TOUR DIRECTOR
Our Tour Directors are responsible for delivering an amazing travel experience while taking precautions to keep you safe and well. In addition to their Tour Director duties, they are trained about new health and safety regulations and receive support and insight from our local partners. They will continue to do everything they can so that you can enjoy your trip comfortably and completely.
LOCAL TRAVEL & TOURING
You can expect to travel by bus on any panoramic tours, to special sites, and to your hotel and our team will disinfect the bus daily. Masking requirements vary from destination to destination and we ask that you look to your Tour Director for guidance and respect his or her instructions on when and where masks are required or when you can remove them if you’re comfortable. Plan to bring a few masks, and of course your vaccine documentation, just in case it’s required, and as always, if you’re more comfortable wearing your mask, you are welcome to continue wearing it! We’ll have extra sanitizer available where we can and your tour director will avoid crowded sites when possible.
AT YOUR HOTELS
We’re working with our partners to make contactless check-in available when possible and daily housekeeping services can also be suspended on request. We also include links to the hotels used for each tour on our tour page so you can learn more about the steps each hotel is taking to ensure your health and to see the amenities and services available.
ENJOYING YOUR MEALS
From decadent gelato in Italy to delicious Pastéis de Nata in Portugal, we know that food is an integral part of any trip abroad. That’s why we’re focused on ensuring your food and wine experiences meet our hygienic standards and can be enjoyed safely.
RETURNING TO THE U.S.
As of December 6th, 2021, all travelers returning to the U.S. from abroad must complete a COVID-19 test within one day of departure. For all travelers purchasing an air-inclusive package, we’ve arranged testing per the CDC’s requirements, and land-only travelers are invited to participate if the timing works with your return to the U.S. as well. Note there may be an additional cost for this test, usually between $50 and $100. Details on return testing will be included in your final documents.
SHARE YOUR FEEDBACK
Tell us all about your trip! We’ll send you an email after your tour asking you to fill out an online survey. We want to know everything from how the hotels and guided tours were to how satisfied you were with the COVID safety protocols. We’d also love to hear about how many new friends you made and what travel tips you’d share with future smarTours travelers. We need your feedback to make sure we’re providing the best trip possible.
2021 smarTours Traveler Poll:
94% of travelers said they would recommend traveling internationally now to a friend. We hope after your trip, you will too! Learn more
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
We’ve included some of our most frequently asked questions below. Click the questions below to view the answer. Click the question again to collapse the answer. Don’t see what you’re looking for? Submit a question and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can!
What are the safest destinations I can travel to?
There are many factors to consider when choosing the right travel destination for you. We highly recommend you consider a destination’s infection rates (you can check with the World Health Organization) and see which destinations have earned the World Travel & Tourism Council’s Safe Travels stamp by adopting their standardized hygiene protocols (we’ve earned their stamp as a tour operator!).
Know that when you travel with us, your smarTours guide is on the ground helping you navigate the destination and making adjustments to help you avoid crowds and still see your bucket list sites as much as possible. You can see our 2022 Travel Guide for destination ideas and recommendations!
Do I need to be vaccinated to travel with smarTours?
Yes, we require that all guests be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 until further notice, with no exceptions. Being fully vaccinated not only protects the safety of your group, but will also help everyone enjoy their trip as many destinations, points of interest, and individual venues now require proof of vaccination within a certain timeframe.
How do you know if you’re fully vaccinated? Please reference the CDC guidelines on keeping your vaccine status up to date. Currently, we are requiring that you receive the last required dose of your COVID vaccine no less than 14 days and no more than 270 days prior to departure. A majority of our destinations have imposed this 270 day limit on vaccine validity, so being up to date will help avoid any issues before you depart. If more than 270 days have passed since the last required dose, plan to obtain a booster shot at least 14 days prior to departure.
Some destinations may have stricter requirements for entry, including a few that have indicated that vaccines are valid only for 180 days, and that booster shots within that time frame are required to travel. In these instances, the requirements of the destination prevail.
CDC recommendations and destination requirements can change quickly. For trips that are more than 6 months out, we recognize that availability of and guidance on additional boosters that may be required to comply with the above is still unclear. We will review and revise this policy frequently as the situation evolves. You can learn the current entry requirements for your destination by visiting our travel restrictions by country page which is updated daily using data from our partner, sherpa°. smarTours will share guidance for specific trips prior to departure.
What precautions can I expect the smarTours team to take while I’m on tour?
We’re working with our partners across the world to ensure the following enhanced safety and hygiene protocols are observed in the destination(s):
- smarTours will require that buses and other modes of transportation be disinfected daily.
- Tour guides will avoid crowded locations as much as possible.
- Daily housekeeping services may be suspended by request.
- Contactless check-in will be available when possible.
- Buffet meals will be limited or suspended where alternatives are available.
- Masking and social distancing practices will be in effect as noted in the safety practices all travelers should observe.
What safety practices should I expect myself and other travelers to observe?
- Travelers must follow our partner and tour director requirements with respect to mask-wearing and social distancing, as advised during the trip.
- Travelers should carry masks with them during touring and transfers to ensure that they are prepared if a mask is required for any portion of their trip, or in specific venues.
- Travelers are also required to comply with any local government regulations regarding the use of masks, social distancing, and vaccination requirements, such as providing proof of vaccination at venues when required.
What happens if another traveler becomes ill prior to or during the trip?
For peace of mind, we strongly encourage all guests to purchase travel insurance and have a full understanding of their medical, trip interruption, and cancellation coverage prior to travel.
In the event that a passenger becomes ill or shows symptoms of Covid-19 prior to travel, we ask in good faith that the passenger get tested, and notify smarTours immediately of a positive result and withdraw from the trip.
Should a passenger become ill or show symptoms during the tour, smarTours will work closely with our local partners to manage the safety of everyone in the group. Procedures on each tour will vary based on the local regulations and resources, but will follow these general protocols:
- The Tour Director will ensure the individual(s) are tested and isolated prior to receiving the results. A traveler or travelers who test positive cannot return to the tour.
- The tour group will be made aware of identified potential risks and have access to additional testing if requested (at their discretion and cost or that of the local authorities).
- If an individual needs to quarantine and receive treatment the Tour Director will arrange for that, however, travelers are liable for the cost of quarantine and treatment. For this reason, we strongly recommend you obtain travel insurance when booking your trip.
- smarTours will work with individuals who are unable to return to the tour and have booked the smarTours air package to secure alternative travel arrangements where possible.
Where can I learn more about destination-specific travel and entry requirements?
Additional destination-specific entry requirements may apply, as well as requirements enforced by airlines, government agencies, and local businesses.
Because local requirements are updated regularly, special requirements for each destination will be communicated immediately prior to departure. They can also be found on our travel restrictions by country page, which is updated daily.
When will I get my final documents and what kind of resources and information can I expect to find in them?
Final documents are sent to each traveler by email. To ensure you receive your final documents, please make sure we have the correct email address on file for you and any traveling companions and add us to your contacts list!
Your documents will be sent at least 10 days prior to departure to ensure the information provided is up-to-date for your trip, but we’ll try to email you your final documents two weeks prior to departure if can!
Included in your final documents, you’ll find:
- List of health services and institutions available at each destination
- Your tour director’s name and contact information
- On the ground emergency contact information
- Flight e-ticket (if you booked the air-inclusive tour)
- Day-by-day itinerary
- Hotel information
We want travel to be as stress-free as possible! See below for some helpful resources about picking a destination to travel to, getting there and any travel requirements, tips for staying safe, and more!
Health & Safety Recommendations & Articles
SafeTravels by World Travel & Tourism Council
We’ve joined with the World Travel & Tourism Council and USTOA to ensure safe and seamless travel in the new normal. The SafeTravels Stamp was created for you, the traveler, to recognize destinations and businesses around the world which have adopted the SafeTravels health and hygiene protocols. We want you to feel confident in getting back to travel, so when you see the stamp you know you can look forward to a safe travel experience.
Information updated May 9, 2022. smarTours will continue to update this page and its policies as the global situation evolves.