COVID-19 - Keeping you safe
As we consider travelling once again, it's natural to prioritise your health and safety on tour – more so than ever before. This is our top priority too, but we want to do more than just tell you this. We’ll prove it with a number of key actions designed to keep you safe and well.
For any questions you may have around travelling with us in 2022, we have a selection of dedicated FAQs that should provide answers and you can find them by clicking here.
Whilst the risk of contracting COVID-19 on your travels can never be completely eliminated, the risk of transmitting the virus can be significantly reduced. In 2021 our team of experts created a 10-step initiative, including ‘travel safe’ kits with daily masks and sanitisers, new hygiene protocols for all our hotels and cruise ships, and opportunities for social distancing on our tours, and these measures will continue in 2022 in whichever destinations COVID-19 remains a factor. No tour operator is doing more to preserve your peace of mind and enable you to book and travel with confidence.
FREE ‘Travel Safe’ kits for every traveller
On 2022 tours to destinations where COVID-19 is a consideration, the wearing of face masks and regular sanitisation of hands and surfaces reduces the risk of transmission considerably. Our kits, packed in a fully sanitised environment, comprise a face mask for every day of your tour, including travel days, flight-friendly bottles of hand sanitiser and packs of anti-bacterial wipes. These kits will also include a marker pen so that plastic water bottles can be identified and filled remotely on a daily basis to minimise contact. Every one of our guests on applicable tours will receive a ‘Travel Safe’ kit in the weeks before departure.
Enhanced Health and Safety audits
We have always, in partnership with two globally renowned organisations, applied rigorous health and safety checks to our hotels, airlines, cruise ships, coaches, excursion transport and any other significant aspect of an Andante Travels tour.
Now though, we are going even further, by requiring that these services pass COVID-19 hygiene and cleanliness tests as part of our health and safety protocols.
Distanced seating on coaches
The average group size for an Andante tour is 17-18 guests, and the overwhelming majority do not exceed 25 guests. Where possible and in destinations where COVID-19 is a consideration, we will be securing a 52-seater coach, so everyone has the option of two seats to themselves.
This preserves an element of distancing across the coach but, as the distance to the guests in front and behind may be as little as one metre, we recommend that face masks from your ‘Travel Safe’ kit are worn throughout coach journeys.
We may be able to arrange self-drive options on UK and selected European itineraries for those who wish to maintain complete social distancing during travel.
Simply follow the coach or a pre-supplied map in your own car or a hire vehicle and join the rest of the group at attractions and hotels.
Please call us to discuss the options on your chosen itinerary.
‘Get me home’ service and private airport transfers
In the unlikely event that you are denied entry to your destination, or you are forced to curtail your holiday as a result of COVID-19 symptoms, you may wish to avoid public transport on your journey home. We can arrange a private transfer service to take you to your front door. This private home transfer service is also available to book if you simply wish to ensure social distancing on your way to and from the airport. There will be an additional cost for this service, but our option is competitively priced.
COVID protocols at our hotels, and aboard our cruise ships
We are working with every single one of our hotel and cruise suppliers to ensure minimal COVID-19 transmission risks. We expect the very highest standards of food hygiene, gloved and masked staff, lower floor rooms to minimise lift usage, larger lecture spaces to allow for a measure of social distancing and so on.
See below for further details.
Packed lunches and flexible dining options
Though we acknowledge that communal dining is an integral part of the Andante Travels experience, if it is not possible to dine in a COVID-safe way, we will provide packed lunches (prepared in an enhanced hygiene environment) instead. We are also looking to offer opportunities to opt out of communal dining on selected itineraries, so you can better control your social distancing at meal-times by dining independently. There may be a reduction in price for choosing to do this, but it will depend on the arrangements we have with our suppliers and the number of people opting out – let us know if you would like to opt-out of meals at time of booking and, if applicable, a deduction will be applied when you holiday balance becomes payable.
Flexible balance payment date and COVID-friendly refund conditions
If there are signs of COVID-19 in the area you are due to visit, we will contact you with a change to your balance due date. To give us more time to assess whether it is possible to run your tour, we can postpone the payment of your balance from 10 weeks before departure to six weeks.
COVID-testing and training for tour staff
All of our Tour Managers, Guide Lecturers and any other tour staff will be tested within 72 hours of departure. They will be fully briefed on COVID protocols and up to date with public health guidelines pertaining to your tour.
Constant monitoring and post-tour tracing
Dedicated Specialist Journeys staff produce daily reports on the COVID-19 situation in every one of our destinations, along with any regulations or restrictions specific to airlines, attractions and local authorities. We can therefore provide you with the most useful and up-to-date advice on testing requirements and plan contingencies in the event of staff or guest symptoms and the closing of a hotel, restaurant or other venue. In the event of a localised outbreak, we will be able to change our itinerary and arrangements swiftly to avoid possible exposure. We will also be in touch with you upon your return – if you show any symptoms and need to self-isolate, we can let all your fellow travellers know, so that they can do the same.
Andante have enabled us to be able to visit wonderful places, understand history and cultures and visit off the beaten track sites. Our guide lecturers have shared their knowledge and enriched our journeys into the past, as have the local guides. Tour managers have looked after our needs, found interesting restaurants and introduced us to local cuisine. We’ve met many interesting fellow travellers and have had truly memorable and stimulating trips. Brian and Angela Haigh
COVID protocols at our hotels, and aboard our cruise ships
- Pre-cruise and daily medical screening for guests (twice-daily for crew)
- Mandatory hand sanitising on embarkation/disembarkation and at the restaurant
- Half-capacity, daily-sanitised coaches for excursions, and site visits out of ‘rush hour’
- Daily UV sterilisation of public areas, hospital-grade disinfectant use in guest room cleaning and twice-daily sterilised wipe-down of guest rooms and corridors
- Hourly sterilisation of ‘high touch’ areas including buttons, handrails etc
- Lounge and bar sterilisation before, during and after service
- More distanced restaurant seating and no self-service food – staff with masks and gloves bring all food and beverages (disposable cutlery available on request)
- Daily screening for crew, and enhanced medical training procedures
- Social distancing introduced onboard and all furniture placed a minimum of 1.5 metres apart
- Twice daily cleaning of public areas and cleaning of tables and chairs after every use; multiple daily disinfection of ‘high touch’ areas
- Hand sanitisers at all entrances and exits
- No self-service food – staff with masks and gloves bring all food and beverages – and food to be served in the saloon and outside deck for greater distancing
I am most impressed with your faithfulness of many years and I’m full of admiration for your extensive thoughtfulness, wide-ranging expertise, thorough organisation, unsurpassed planning, clear foresight and positive vision.