Gapforce program

Covid-19 FAQs

Do I need to be vaccinated or tested before I can participate on one of your programs?

All Gapforce participants must be fully vaccinated against Covid-19, with at least 14 days between the last dose of the vaccine being administered and the start of the program.

To reduce the risk of the virus being brought into the group at the start, all Gapforce participants are additionally required to provide evidence of a negative Covid test taken within 3 days of the program start date. The test can be a PCR or antigen (including rapid lateral flow) test. Many airlines and borders have similar requirements, so the same test evidence can be shown to Gapforce if it meets these requirements. If you test positive for Covid in the days before travel, you will need to make a claim for cancellation through your insurer, if your policy includes this cover.

What are the current entry requirements for my destination?

Our participants come from across the world and may have different travel and entry requirements imposed on them both at the destination and at home upon their return. These requirements can change frequently and at short notice. It is the responsibility of participants to meet and comply with all of these requirements before they can join the trip, therefore we recommend all participants regularly monitor the official advice provided by their own government e.g gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice (for UK travellers), travel.state.gov (for US travellers), smarttraveller.gov.au (for Australian travellers) or equivalent sources for travellers from other countries, on the travel restrictions and requirements they will need to meet for their own nationality, both to the destination and upon their return home, before they travel.

What happens if government restrictions prevent me from reaching my destination?

If prohibitive entry restrictions are imposed by your destination country government that will significantly impact the performance of your program (eg. arrival quarantine of more than 48 hours) then you can either cancel and receive a full refund of monies paid to Gapforce, or transfer your booking to a future date within 2 years of the original start date. Equally, if your home country imposes restrictions preventing you from travelling to the destination, you can either cancel and receive a refund or transfer your booking.

You must notify us of your need to cancel for this reason no more than 8 weeks, but not less than 4 weeks before departure, unless new restrictions are introduced after this time.

Can I change my booking to a different program or date?

You can change your booking up to 8 weeks (56 days) before departure and transfer all monies paid to Gapforce towards the same or any other Gapforce trip of similar or greater value departing within 2 years.

If you wish to change any part of your booking within 56 days of departure, you must inform us as soon as possible. Whilst we will do our best to assist, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to meet your request.

If you are due to travel in 2021 or 2022, the usual administration fee charged for changes will be waived.

What happens if I wish to cancel my booking?

If you no longer want to travel and choose to cancel, our standard cancellation terms & conditions apply, for which the amounts payable are:

  • More than 56 days before start date – Deposit only
  • 56 days to 29 days (inclusive) before – 50% of the full Price (excluding the Deposit)
  • 28 days to 15 days (inclusive) before – 75% of the full Price (excluding the Deposit)
  • 14 days or less 100% of the full Price (excluding the Deposit)

What happens if Gapforce cancels the trip?

If the viability of a trip looks uncertain, you will receive regular updates on the situation from Gapforce in the weeks and months leading up to your departure. Unless you have insurance that includes cancellation cover, we recommend you contact the Gapforce office to confirm that your program will be going ahead before you book flights or make other travel arrangements.

If Gapforce cancels a trip, we will inform participants as soon as possible. Participants will be given a period within which they can re-book and transfer all monies paid to Gapforce towards any Gapforce program, or receive a full refund of all monies paid to Gapforce.

Is my money protected if Gapforce becomes insolvent?

Yes. In accordance with the Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements Regulations 2018, all monies paid to Gapforce as detailed in your booking confirmation are protected via our membership to Protected Trust Services (membership number 5482).

What insurance cover should I get?

It is your responsibility to research and purchase adequate travel insurance for your program. At a minimum, your travel insurance policy must include repatriation and medical expenses, including if you are to fall ill with Covid-19 abroad. In addition, we highly recommend your policy covers for cancellation and curtailment as a result of you contracting covid before or during your trip, including quarantine costs should your stay need to be extended. This is in addition to our standard requirement for policies to include cover for cancellation, curtailment, repatriation and medical expenses for other non-covid reasons.

If available, we recommend you take out enhanced cover for other covid-related situations, such as cover for quarantine costs if you are deemed a close contact or test positive during the program. It is the responsibility of the participant to research different insurance policies and levels of coverage so they can find the right policy for their own circumstances, bearing in mind that the participant will be liable for any costs that arise from situations not covered by their insurer.

What steps are Gapforce taking to ensure the health & safety of participants?

Travel will continue to have inherent risks and the decision whether to travel is a very personal one.

Whilst Gapforce is taking measures to reduce these risks, we cannot remove them entirely, however the safety procedures and processes we follow, and which have been externally assessed as complying with the British Standard 8848, mean that travel with us should be safer than independent travel to the same location. For more details about our comprehensive safety processes, please read here:

www.gapforce.org/gb/safety-and-support

We have reviewed allof our health and safety processes, protocols and action plans to ensure we identify, manage and respond to the risks that Covid-19 could directly or indirectly pose to the health and safety of our participants, with particular attention paid to social distancing, hygiene facilities, and PPE & sanitation protocols in place at accommodation, on transport and during activities. Information on the specific steps we are taking as part of this review are available on request. Details of the additional risk management processes that will be in place on a specific trip will be shared with participants before departure, as well as during the trip in regular briefings by the Program leader.

Despite the preventative measures in place, Gapforce cannot guarantee you will not become infected. By joining a Gapforce program, you acknowledge the contagious nature of Covid 19 and understand the risks of travel during this pandemic and will not hold Gapforce responsible if you become exposed to or infected with the virus or if your program is otherwise disrupted as a result of Covid-19.

Will my trip be affected by the pandemic?

Travel restrictions and requirements due to the Coronavirus are changing frequently, and differs by destination and nationality. We cannot guarantee that itineraries will not need to be changed, or last minute changes will not be made if our leader assesses a situation not to be safe. If any changes are necessary, your leader will be on hand to get things back on track as quickly as possible and to ensure you are having the best time possible in the process. In return we ask that participants remain understanding and flexible in this evolving situation.

If we do need to change itineraries or activities, we will ensure what it is replaced with is of equal or better value than the original. If we become aware of any changes that will need to be made before departure, we will inform you of these as soon as possible.

Will I need to wear a face mask?

In some situations, yes.

Although everyone on your program will be vaccinated, vaccines mostly reduce the risk of serious illness from the virus; those who have received the vaccination can still catch the virus and become ill, as well as spread the virus onto others, who could then become seriously ill themselves. For these reasons, all participants will be expected to take precautions throughout the trip and follow local protocols, including wearing of face masks and social distancing, that aim to protect themselves and others. The protocols you will be required to follow will be outlined both before and during your trip.

What happens if I or someone else in the group displays symptoms of Covid?

Participants who are suspected of having Covid-19 or who may have been exposed to Covid-19, may be required to supply additional Covid-19 test results during your program at your own expense if we decide that the circumstances warrant such a test. If we have reason to believe you could be a serious risk to yourself or others following likely exposure to the virus, even if you are not displaying any symptoms, we may require you to self-isolate until a Covid test can be taken to confirm your result.

If you display symptoms of Covid, we will require you to self-isolate until your symptoms subside and/or a PCR test can be taken to confirm your result. We can arrange accommodation and testing for those required to self-isolate, but participants will be responsible for all additional accommodation, testing and any other costs incurred and must be paid for directly by the participant. As this scenario is outside of our control and we will still be providing support, no refund will be provided for any activities or services missed during this period.

If required, we will assist you to access appropriate medical care as quickly as possible and liaise with your insurer if necessary. We will follow local advice and requirements for you and for anyone else in the group who may be a close contact. This advice may differ from that followed in your home country.

Participants are responsible for all testing, self-isolation/quarantine and medical expenses that arise as a result of Covid (including Covid symptoms) or Covid-related requirements from authorities, therefore you must have ready access to funds of at least US$2000 whilst travelling for this and other emergencies.

What happens if I or someone else in the group tests positive for Covid or is required to self-isolate?

If you are required to self-isolate during your program, Gapforce will arrange suitable accommodation, ensure you are provided with food and ensure that your wellbeing is looked after for the duration of your isolation. We will try our best to find suitable accommodation at the same site as the rest of the group, but where this is not possible, you may need to stay in a local hotel or hostel where you will be cared for by your accommodation provider but with remote supervision and support from your Program Leader.

What happens if I need to take a Covid test before my flight home?

If you require Covid testing before your return flight home or onward destination, you will need to arrange and pay for these yourself. Your Program Leader can provide advice to help you organise this in-country, if required. It is the responsibility of the participant to ensure their Covid-19 test meets the required specifications and timeframe for their onward destination after the program. Gapforce cannot be held responsible for any test results that are late or fail to meet the participant’s flight/border entry requirements. In this circumstance, Gapforce can provide assistance with finding accommodation and rescheduling travel arrangements, but all additional costs will be on the participant’s own account.

What happens if I test positive in the days before I fly home and required to isolate?

If you have to isolate beyond the last day of the program, we will help you to find somewhere suitable to stay with access to food and care for the duration of your isolation, as well as assist you with making any new travel arrangements for your return home. We will ensure that in-country support remains available to you for the duration of your isolation, up to 14 days after the end of your program. All expenses incurred by the participant after the last day of the program, including that night’s accommodation, will need to be paid for by the participant directly and reclaimed through insurance, if this coverage is included in the policy.

What can I do now to prepare for my upcoming trip?

  • We recommend that you keep track of the UK Government‘s (FCDO) latest travel advice for your destination at www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice. As well as any active travel alerts, this will provide you with the most up to date information on entry requirements (for UK residents and citizens) and any travel risks related to the destination. If you reside outside the UK, we recommend you also monitor your home government’s travel advice for the destination and also for your return home
  • Make sure you know what travel documents will be required for travel e.g. visa, passport, proof of vaccination status. It may take longer to process applications for these documents, so be prepared for delays and queues and apply for these documents as soon as you can.
  • Complete your medical form and have it signed by your doctor. Make an appointment at least 8 weeks before the start of the program with your doctor or travel health professional to discuss any inoculations or medications you will need. If you have an underlying condition that makes you vulnerable to being severely ill with Covid, discuss your participation on the program with your medical practitioner. Information on the travel health risks at the destination can be found at the TravelHealthPro website. We would also recommend you familiarise yourself with the travel health advice provided by your own health department e.g. CDC.
  • Research your insurance options
  • Research Covid testing options and providers

 

Please refer to our Covid Terms & Conditions for full details. If you have any other questions or would like further information, please contact us by emailing operations@gapforce.org