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Coronavirus 2020 - Projects Abroad response

By Projects Abroad | 07th February, 2020
Updated on 07th May, 2020

[This blog is updated regularly; however, the situation can change at any time.]

The last few weeks since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic have been a challenging time for all organisations involved with travel. Projects Abroad is no different. Our projects are still operating and needing volunteers but we are faced with global travel restrictions beyond our control.

Our main focus for the last few weeks has been on repatriating volunteers and interns from our destinations and making alternative arrangements for anyone booked to travel prior to 1st June 2020. This is now thankfully near completion.

At the moment, we’re contacting and discussing options with our volunteers and interns booked to travel between 1st June 2020 and 30th September 2020. We appreciate your patience and understanding while we are working on this.

We understand that this is a hugely difficult time for everyone around the world. Despite the challenges and hardship, we remain passionate about the value that travelling and experiencing a new culture can bring to people’s lives. We’re determined to keep offering safe, hassle-free projects that make a difference in the developing world. Now, more than ever, the communities in which we work need the help of volunteers like you.

From 1st June 2020, we expect our projects to be open and ready to accept any volunteers able to travel safely.

We are very much aware that the situation is constantly changing and the current global travel restrictions will not be lifted in every country at the same time and in the same way. If you are considering joining, please contact us. One of our Project Experts will explain your options and offer tailor-made advice for planning your trip.

 

“The health and safety of our volunteers and interns is always our top priority. We’re in constant contact with the WHO, FCO and local embassies globally, and our staff receive daily updates and health advice. With this information, we adjust our safety strategies if necessary as well as keep you informed if anything changes.

With unforeseen situations like these, we believe in the importance of flexibility. We’ve relaxed our terms and conditions and waived our amendment fees for all changes due to the Coronavirus. We’re also offering postponements of up to 24 months for anyone who wants to delay their trip. This means, if you have any hesitation or the advice of local authorities change, you can change your dates, project or destinations without any administration fees. We want you to have total peace of mind about your project and safety.”

- Greg Thomson, CEO

We continue to receive questions from upcoming travellers about the impact of the Coronavirus on their projects and international travel. To ease your concerns, we’ve compiled a list of the most commonly asked questions with our responses below. Please feel free to contact us for more information.


How has Projects Abroad responded to Coronavirus?

From the beginning of the outbreak, we’ve taken every precaution to ensure the safety of our volunteers and staff. We’ve helped repatriate volunteers and made alternative arrangements for anyone set to travel up to 1st June 2020.

We’re keeping a close eye on the updates and advice provided by the World Health Organisation (WHO), Foreign Commonwealth Office (FCO), and other authorities regarding this pandemic. We’re monitoring travel restrictions around the world and communicating any potential issues to our volunteers as soon as we know about them.

Currently, we expect our projects to be ready to accept volunteers from 1st June 2020. However, we know that there are a number of global travel restrictions that may prevent you from joining a project. We’ll review this date as more information becomes available. To ensure ease and flexibility:

  • All changes to your trip with us are free of admin fees.
  • You can choose to postpone your trip for up to 24 months and even change to a different project or destination when you’re ready to travel again.

To offer even more flexibility, if you book with us at any time in the month of May 2020, to travel at any point from 1st June 2020 onwards, we’re offering a fully-refundable deposit. Read more about this here.

We’re contacting all volunteers already booked to travel with us up to 30th September 2020 to discuss options and give advice. If you have any questions you can always contact us and we’re happy to help.

Box of masks donated in response to the Coronavirus

Can I still travel?

At the time of writing there are still a number of global travel restrictions that may prevent you from travelling.  We hope that these will be eased in the coming weeks and enable more people to reach our destinations. Our projects will be available from 1st June 2020 for any volunteers able to travel safely.

We are on hand to offer advice and we also recommend checking with your local health department, as well as your airline. We’ll continue to monitor updates from the FCO, CDC, WHO, and other local health departments around the world. If any new information or advice arises, we'll let you know immediately. 


Should you still book a trip with Projects Abroad?

Yes. Our projects will be available to run from 1st June 2020, travel restrictions allowing. In many cases, volunteers and interns travelling with us plan their trips a number of months in advance.  Therefore, now is a common time to start booking your trip for later in 2020 or for 2021.

In order to make this easier, we’re offering a fully-refundable deposit for all projects booked in May 2020, for travel on any dates after 1st June 2020You can read more about this offer here.

We’re also allowing all volunteers and interns the option to postpone their trip for up to 24 months with no amendment fees. If you book now and decide later that you want to postpone your trip, you can even switch to a different project or destination when you’re ready to travel again.

We’re determined to keep offering safe, hassle-free projects that make a difference in the developing world. We believe that the Coronavirus crisis has underlined the importance of traveling with a company that you can trust and that has safety at its core. We take care of your safety in numerous ways while you’re abroad with us, not just during times of crisis. We keep in touch with you every step of the way to keep you safe and informed, from the moment you sign up, until you fly back home. 

If you have questions about our projects or just want some advice, we’d love to hear from you.


Can I change projects, destinations, or postpone my project?

Yes. Our projects will be ready to accept volunteers from 1st June 2020, but travel restrictions may force a change to your plans. To make this process easier, we’ve relaxed our terms and conditions and waived our amendment fees for all changes due to the coronavirus. This means that you can change your dates, project, or destinations without any administration fees. We can also offer the option to postpone your project for up to 24 months with no amendment fees.

We very much hope you don’t decide to cancel your trip. Your help is still needed. However, we understand if you choose this option and you can find our cancellation terms here.


What if I have already booked my flights? Can I change them?

Many airlines aren’t charging a fee for flight changes due to Coronavirus. However, this will vary from airline to airline and will also depend on the terms and conditions of your specific ticket.

If you’ve booked your flights through us, our travel team will be in touch with you and can help you with any changes.

If you’ve booked flights independently, we strongly advise you to contact your airline directly to find out what their policy is regarding postponements, cancellations, and refunds.

If you have not yet booked flights, we advise that you delay doing so until we have a better idea of when travel restrictions are set to end.


Where can I find more information on Coronavirus?

The World Health Organisation has created this informative video to explain what is known about COVID-19, with links to further information in the video description. 

The Foreign Commonwealth Office provides up to date information about the UK government’s travel advice for all our destinations.

Please feel free to contact us if you would like any help choosing a project or are concerned about international travel plans you have already made.

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