We are delighted that the Department for Education has updated its guidance on educational visits, with overnight educational visits in the UK able to recommence from 17th May 2021.
As part of Equity’s book with confidence initiative we offer flexibilty and reassurance with the Equity Covid Guarantee.
General Contact and Travel Information
Safety is of great importance at Equity, as such we are currently following the UK Government’s current social distancing measures.
For general enquiries please contact us via email, through our live web chat system or call 01273 648248. For any queries about trips due to depart in the near future please email firstname.lastname@example.org. This mail inbox is regularly monitored and will be forwarded onto the relevant member of staff working on your booking. Please make sure to include your booking reference number (where applicable). Please note that as a result of data protection laws, we can only discuss specific trip details with the named Group leader on the booking.
For ABTA guidance on the current situation, please use the following link: https://www.abta.com/news/coronavirus-outbreak
Before you travel, please be aware that the UK Government has introduced new rules for customers arriving into the UK from 8th June. It’s now mandatory that you provide information about your journey alongside your contact details before you land here. When returning to the UK from a country which has been flagged by the UK Government as a Covid-19 risk, you must self-isolate for 14 days. Please refer to the FCDO website which lists all the current countries where return travel to the UK is subject to self-isolation requirements.
Please go to www.gov.uk/uk-border-control for more information, including exceptions.
What are our updated procedures?
Until further notice, we have put in place specific procedures for the safety of all our groups and as part of our normal business operations. Typically, these procedures may include but are not limited to:
- • Social distancing measures (currently 2m in England but this varies from country to country); distancing can be for example in guest dining areas with one-way systems and use of a same seat policy throughout trips.
- • Personal hygiene measures encouraged for staff and guests throughout their trip i.e. frequent washing of hands and/or use of numerous hand sanitisers in key locations and touch points, luggage handling procedures and single use headsets.
- • Effective sanitisation measures and regular sanitising of hand touch points and luggage, sanitisation confirmation stickers, contactless payments, contactless or off-site check-in/out points.
- • Cleaning and disinfection measures for guest accommodation, coach cabins and seating areas which are cleaned with effective COVID-19 chemicals.
- • PPE (personal protective equipment) measures will be provided by Equity and face masks to be worn within accommodation areas, onboard flights, public transport and coach hire are essential.
- • Limited capacity/attendee measures at public gatherings and in enclosed spaces.
- • Health check measures procedures in place on-site to regularly symptom/temperature check guests and staff with possible isolation/quarantine measures in place for any suspected infection.
Please refer to our Health & Safety booklet for more information.
Moving forwards, we understand that you may need extra support to plan trips. Contingency planning and risk assessment templates are a vital part of this additional support.
The School Travel Forum (STF) has been working in alignment with and endorsed by National Guidance (OEAP); Peregrine Risk Management, to develop a framework to support schools in contingency planning and school trip risk assessments. This new and updated framework includes a useful collection of guidance, risk assessment example templates and a helpline which can be found on our school trip risk assessment page.
We have collated a collection of frequently asked questions and their answers below, to help answer any queries you may have in relation to Covid-19 with Equity. Please contact us if you would like additional information.
I want to cancel my booking what should I do?
Unless we have contacted you to say your booking has been cancelled any cancellations are subject to our standard booking terms and conditions.
When will you tell me if my holiday is cancelled?
As the situation is changing quickly, we are keeping an eye on the current situation for each destination we operate to. If your booking can’t take place due to FCDO restrictions in place at time of imminent departure we will be in touch then. Imminent departure is deemed as 5 days prior to departure. If your trip is affected prior to imminent departure we will pro-actively contact you as soon as we can. We want to thank you for your continued patience whilst we work through any affected groups.
I don’t want to wait until imminent departure for my trip to be cancelled what are my options?
If you do not want to wait to hear from us then you do have the option to change your trip, whether there is a charge for this will depend on the type of booking made. Please contact our dedicated team on email@example.com with your proposed new travel dates and they will investigate the costings for you.
I already moved my booking once, will I have to pay to move it again?
If you have already paid an administration fee to move your trip once we will not charge another amendment fee, we would however need to look on an individual basis for any other fees related to a trip move.
Should I still pay my balance even though I am unsure if my trip will go ahead?
Yes, you should continue to pay your balance. If your balance is due and you do not pay it, your trip may be deemed cancelled by the group. If you are unsure about paying your balance its still best to pay by the time its due. For peace of mind, it is good to know that all our package trips are ATOL protected if you are travelling by air and ABTA protected if you sail from a UK port. This means if we must cancel your trip due to FCDO restrictions in place at imminent departure you are entitled to a refund.
Are there any websites with additional information I should look at?
You may find some useful information on the ABTA website https://www.abta.com/news/coronavirus-outbreak
Where can I get the latest information on what measures are in place for my destination?
Please note that different countries within the UK currently hold their own quarantine rules and list of countries and territories where travel is exempt or self-isolation is required.
Your first point of reference are the following websites:
What steps should I take to prepare for travel to and from my destination?
It is currently mandatory in the UK to wear a face mask on public transport and in shops. These rules apply to many destinations overseas.
For our groups travelling in 2021, we will supply each traveller with masks, hand sanitiser and antibacterial wipes for their trip. If you have any further questions about this please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
What social distancing measures will be implemented on my trip?
Social distancing measures will vary quite considerably from country to country and type of supplier. As the picture is changing all the time, we would suggest that this is something that is discussed and worked through depending on the numbers within your group and particular itinerary.
Please note that excursions, airports, restaurants, attractions and museums may have different rules in place. The advice and rules may change as the situation develops. As an example, there may be some practical adjustments required for eating out at restaurants, as a result of restricted numbers per group, therefore, it may be more practical to split up into subgroups. We will talk through what is appropriate for your group nearer the time of travel.
What support will I get from Equity in the event that FCDO guidance to my destination changes?
Before you travel: We understand that you will need more details if your trip is imminent. If FCDO advice changes, we will be in contact to discuss whether any specific adjustments are needed before you travel.
Whilst on your trip:If FCDO guidance changes whilst you are away, please rest assured knowing that our Duty Office team are here to give you 24/7 support for the duration of your trip.
Will our staff need to be medically trained or have a school nurse/medic attend?
This is a school decision. First aiders are always recommended for extra safety.
What on tour support/training do you offer since the outbreak of Covid-19?
We offer all Party Leaders a Zoom or telephone catch up call before travel, where we will offer advice and guidance in relation to your destination, itinerary and any other queries you may have.
While on your trip, our support is available 24/7. We have many years experience dealing with the unexpected on trips. We will work tirelessly to ensure you are always safe.
Will we need to do temperature checks?
It is possible they may be carried out at certain destinations and airports. Nearer to your time of travel we can advise whether this is expected.
Will our group need to self-isolate on return from our destination?
Your group will only need to self-isolate for 14 days if the destination you’re travelling back from is listed as a country where you must self-isolate on return on your government’s website. Please refer to the following websites:
Nearer your date of departure we will be able to discuss options and give advice if you have any queries.
How will we get home if someone in our group contracts Covid-19?
While every step is taken to protect your group, in the unlikely event of a child/adult contracting Covid-19 whilst abroad, we have a 24-hour advice phone line in place. We would discuss with the Party Leader how best to address the situation safely. We would also have to follow guidance in the respective country, so a plan will be discussed and agreed nearer the departure date.
Please rest assured knowing that we have many years experience dealing with unexpected illnesses and accidents, and we are well practiced at working with Party Leaders whilst abroad, should an incident occur.
How will transport be affected for large groups?
We feel our health and safety practices, and many years of experience; contacts and handpicked transport suppliers put us in the best position to take on a new way of travelling. We will be in contact with you before your departure date to discuss the latest safety requirements.
Coach travel:We will assess your group numbers, ensuring everyone is safe when travelling. It may also be required for everyone to wear a face mask. For extra large groups we will look at larger coaches or multiple options.
Please note, we only use coach providers that follow the latest health and safety guidelines. Furthermore, in the unlikely event that a driver falls ill, as with any illness, there will be a replacement option/contingency in place.
Air travel:Airports and aircraft carriers are constantly reviewing their practices to keep passengers safe. We will contact you before your departure date to talk about any procedures to be aware of.
How will ski fit work?
Each country/resort and ski fit supplier will have different requirements. These may require you to wear a mask and set times/smaller group sizes upon entry to ski fitting. We will be able to advise closer to the time on what procedures are in place.
Will evening entertainment be affected?
We will be in touch with you to discuss suitable entertainment options for your group. We will be checking on your behalf to make sure all the additional safety checks are in place to ensure everything runs safely and smoothly.
Any other queries?
If you have any other queries please contact email@example.com. Please note that as a result of data protection laws, we can only discuss specific trip details with the named group leader on the booking.