Here at Gapforce, we are committed to reducing the risk Covid-19 presents to our range of programs. We have put in place a number of preventative measures and we hope the answers below will provide you with some useful information.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
You should let your friends and families know that you won’t have constant access to the internet while you’re on your trip. Whilst Wifi is widely available in most countries, not every place you visit will have free wifi so you may wish to bring an unlocked phone and purchase a local pay as you go sim card. As we take pride in exploring off the beaten track locations as part of the experience, there will definitely be times where you are out of contact so we encourage you to let loved ones know in advance times when will be out of communication for a few days so they don't worry. Gapforce staff and project partners will always have a way of getting messages out in case of an emergency.
The minimum age to join a program (except school groups) is 18 and are open to all nationalities, with a large majority joining from the UK, Europe, USA and Canada. It is your responsibility to ensure you meet the passport, visa and immigration requirements for your chosen destination and we also require you to complete our medical form and have this signed by your doctor confirming you are fit to participate. For diving programs, there is an additional dive specific form to complete.
There is no fixed date by which you need to apply to join a program but places are subject to availability and we therefore recommend booking once you have decided the program you want to join to save any future disappointment. As a guideline, most people book 3 – 6 months prior to the start of their program but it is possible to book as much as 12 months or as little as one month in advance. You only need to pay a 10% deposit when you book to secure your place and this will also grant you access to your online portal. As well as securing your place on the program, your deposit also secures the price and means you can start planning and getting excited about your adventure.
Your initial point of contact will usually be one of our program advisors who are well-travelled themselves and passionate about the benefits that travel brings. Their job is to make sure you have all the necessary information to enable you to make an informed decision about which adventure is the right one for you. Once you’ve decided on your adventure and booked your place, you will connected with a dedicated member of our operations team who’s job is to guide you through the planning and preparation stages and makes sure you have everything you need before you go. Attention to details is their specialty and they go to great lengths to ensure a smooth pre-departure experience.
Gapforce is committed to the highest levels of safety and security. We cannot remove risk from overseas travel altogether but by following a clear set of processes and management systems, we aim to reduce your level of risk compared to independent travel in the same location. To guide us, we follow the standards set by BS8848 "Specifications for visits, fieldwork, expeditions and adventurous activities outside the UK".
Yes. Through our membership of Protected Trust Services (PTS), we offer full financial protection for all customer money paid to us through Package Travel Regulations compliance and the PTS trust account. In the unlikely event that Gapforce was go become insolvent, any money you have paid towards an unused trip to Gapforce will be returned to you from the trust. Businesses must have extensive experience in travel and undergo stringent financial and risk checks to qualify as a member of PTS. Our PTS membership number is 5482.
We are committed to exert a positive impact on the regions, countries and communities which we visit. For us it is paramount that the local organisations and communities we partner with benefit from our cooperation. We achieve this working with authentic local service providers and project partners who’s policies and codes of practice align with our sustainability goals.
The good news is that each day more and more countries are relaxing their covid restrictions. Having said that, the effects of covid on travel are likely to continue for some time to come. And as we adapt to this new post covid world, the policies and procedures we have in place to mitigate the risks associated with covid will continue to adapt too in line with official UK and local guidance. You can read more about how we are responding to this in our separate covid FAQs section.