TRAVEL WITH CONFIDENCE
COVID-19 : SAFETY PROTOCOLS & FLEXIBLE BOOKINGS

When you’re ready to travel again, we're here to support you. Our aim is to provide each client with a
memorable and fulfilling educational travel experience and your health, well-being, and enjoyment remain
our top focus — just as they have been since we started in 2000.

We recognize that, for the foreseeable future at least, COVID-19 has significantly changed the travel
experience. We are continuously monitoring the developing situation in all of our worldwide destinations
through guidance provided by the PHAC, CDC and WHO and we have been working with our exclusive
local destination partners to ensure that travel to any destination that we offer is able to re-commence as
safely as possible. Our new Travel with Confidence policy features new health and safety procedures
from the moment you arrive to the moment you leave, with as little disruption as possible from your overall
travel experience. This policy will evolve as time goes on and as we continue to monitor the situation but
what won’t change is our commitment to keeping you safe as possible as you explore the amazing world
that we live in.

 
 

BOOK WITH CONFIDENCE - FLEXIBLE BOOKING CONDITIONS 

Our Book with Confidence policy allows for transferable deposits, balance payment dates closer to departure and improved cancellation penalties, giving you added flexibility and peace of mind. These new flexible booking conditions allow you to confirm your tour through payment of your deposit on a risk free basis as, if you decide when your balance payment becomes due that you no longer wish to travel, your deposit is not lost but is available to be transferred to another of our overseas programs in the future.   

For all tours departing up to December 31, 2021 (no black-out periods!) that have been booked and deposited by December 31, 2020.

Lifetime deposits transferable to another program

If you decide to change your plans and no longer wish to participate in the particular tour that your deposit has secured, your deposit may be transferred to any of our overseas programs (either the same destination at a future date or a different destination) so long as you notify us before the tour balance payment date.

 

Deferred tour balance payment dates

We have negotiated improved terms with our exclusive overseas destination partners so that balance payments are now due later than before. For our land based programs, balance payments are now due 65 days prior to your departure (previously 95 days prior) and for our programs that include a cruise component, balance payments are now due 75 days prior to your departure (previously 105 days prior).    

 

More flexible cancellation penalties

Reflecting our later tour balance payment dates, we have also been able to adjust our cancellation penalties as follows –

 

Cancellation window                     Cancellation penalty 

95-66 days before departure           0% (Previously 25%)

65-46 days before departure         25% (Previously 50%) 

45-31 days before departure         50% (Previously 50%)

0-30 days before departure         100% (Previously 100%) 

 

However, we still do strongly advise the purchase one of the travel insurance policies offered by our insurance partner, Manulife Insurance (Non-medical Inclusive, All Inclusive or Premium Protection plan), at the same time as your travel tour booking is made in order that you have Cancel For Any Reason (CFAR) coverage to protect yourself against these cancellation penalties should you decide to cancel.


Note: Our regular terms and conditions apply to all rebookings made within 30 days of departure. Complete details of our terms and conditions may be found by clicking here  

  

Early Bird Savings Guarantee

All of our programs offer significant savings of $1,000/couple if you book by a certain date (these dates differ by program an are related to the launch date of each particular program) and, as we guarantee that our programs will never be offered at a lower price, you can book early, confident in the knowledge that a better price will never be available closer to departure.  

 

Repeat Customer Discount

Our success since our inception in 2000 has been built on satisfied clients, many of whom not only refer our programs to their colleagues but who also become repeat clients. We believe that your loyalty should be rewarded and therefore offer additional savings of up to $300/person on all of our programs for repeat participants.

   

COVID-19 HEALTH &SAFETY PROTOCOLS

WHAT YOU NEED TO DO 

We ask that you please take personal responsibility for your well-being. When it comes to maintaining a healthy environment, there are many small steps you can take to try to ensure the safety of yourself and your fellow travelers. Here are a few things you can do to help:

  • Bring a mask from home and wear it as often as you can, especially when physical distancing is difficult. In most destinations, wearing a mask will be the expected norm at this stage, whether at outdoor sites or indoors (you will be informed by our Group Leader and local tour escort as to any specific requirements by local health authorities). Make sure you have familiarized yourself with how to safely wear, handle, wash or dispose of masks when wearing them while travelling  
  • Be considerate of physical distancing parameters and do your best to maintain at least 6 feet of distance between yourself and others
  • We encourage everyone to exercise proper hand washing with soap for at least 30 seconds and to avoid touching your face. You should also bring pocket hand sanitizer
  • Bring a personal refillable water bottle
  • Expect regular contactless temperature screening at entrance of any place
  • If you feel ill, or are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, please stay home. We ask that all clients continue to monitor their health throughout the tour and immediately report any relevant symptoms or concerns to your Group Leader and local Tour Escort 

BEFORE YOUR TOUR

  • Pre-Tour Health Screenings: We will ask all travelers to complete a Wellness Declaration Form before joining their tour
  • Air Travel: Specific details will vary by airline, but standard operations typically will include flight attendants wearing masks, sanitizing all surfaces between flights and physical distancing. For links to major airlines for more information about each airline’s specific protocols, see the list below 

WHILE ON TOUR 

Arrival in destination

Each destination will have their own health screening requirements for entry. Screening will likely involve completing a COVID-19 questionnaire upon arrival at Immigration and may include the requirement of evidence of recent negative COVID-19 test results and temperature screening. It is likely that proof of medical insurance (including for COVID-19) may also be an entry requirement. A particular destination’s requirements may obviously be subject to change as each country’s specific situation evolves and we are monitoring each of our planned destinations in order that we may provide you with the most specific up to date information.

Hotels

Specific protocols will vary from destination to destination, hotel to hotel in line with local regulations but overall you can expect the following –

  • Temperature screening upon check-in 
  • Enhanced cleaning protocol in all areas including regularly sanitizing high-traffic areas such as lobbies, elevators, washrooms, restaurants, bars, fitness centres, pool areas, meeting rooms
  • Guest accommodation to be disinfected between stays 
  • Daily deep cleaning and disinfecting of all surface areas inside your room with extra cleaning on light switches, door handles, TV remotes, and thermostats
  • Face masks required for guests in public areas
  • Hotels will follow physical distancing rules
  • Hotel staff will be required to wear face masks in public areas, regularly wash hands and will be subject to regular temperature checks
Coach transportation including drivers and local tour escorts/guides 
  • All surfaces will be sanitized often (at least daily), including regular cleaning of high-touch areas with disinfecting wipes.
  • Hand sanitizer and wipes available on board for clients
  • Hand-sanitizer and a mask will be required every time you board the vehicle 
  • Seating on coaches with a minimum of 1 seat in between clients
  • Drivers and tour escort / guide will wear face masks at all times
  • Briefing on COVID situation on arrival in destination with specifics on local measures
  • No distribution of documents/papers from tour escort / guide to clients
  • Each of our unique programs is led by a Canadian physician from our team of physician Group Leaders / Group Medical Directors (GMDs), all of whom have significant experience in leading our overseas programs. In addition, every tour is accompanied by a Local Tour Escort - local experts in their own destination (many of whom have escorted our tours to that particular destination for many years – continuity in this area is one aspect that makes us unique) who are well trained to handle a variety of unexpected situations — including illnesses and emergencies. They are available 24/7 for guests throughout the tour should any situation arise.
Restaurants

Recognizing the variety of destinations and cultures in which we offer programs, we have always (through our local tour operator destination partners) carefully selected the restaurants to ensure that they meet health, safety, and cleanliness standards with their facilities, staff training, and food preparation and delivery. 

Specific COVID protocols will include –

  • All restaurants to emphasize spacing between tables to allow for social distancing 
  • All seating arrangements and chairs to be disinfected between different clients 
  • Hand sanitizer to be available upon entry to the restaurant
  • Cutlery, glasses and dishes to be set up when client sits down
  • All restaurant staff to wear masks 
  • Clients to wear face masks when not seated at their table
  • Restrooms to be cleaned hourly and contact surfaces wiped/sanitized
  • Wherever possible, meals will be “set meals” (although taking account of any dietary restrictions that are provided to us prior to the commencement of the tour) such that menus are not required. Where this is not the case, menus will either be “one-off”, disposable menus, downloadable menus onto smartphones via QR readers or blackboard menus
Attractions / Site visits (inc special medical activities / facility visits)
  • Briefings/reminders on social distancing and specific safety precautions prior to arrival at each site (this will usually require the wearing of face masks during visits)
  • No queuing by clients, tickets will be purchased in advance by our local destination partner / tour escort where possible
  • Social distancing during visits/walks
  • Clients may be divided into smaller sub-groups when necessary
  • It may be required to book pre-allocated visiting times at certain sites

AFTER YOUR TOUR

Post-Tour Survey - after you return home, you’ll be able to share your opinions of your tour experience, allowing us to constantly improve for the benefit of future guests.

A: The safety of our travelers has always been our top priority. Our Travel with Confidence policy was created to highlight all the measures Doctor-on-Tour has developed and implemented on all of our tours in co-operation with our exclusive local partners in response to the increased focus on health and safety, hygiene, and physical distancing during this pandemic. Featuring new health and safety procedures from the moment you arrive on tour to the moment you leave, with as little disruption as possible from your overall travel experience. This policy will evolve as time goes on and as we continue to monitor local public health recommendations — but what won’t change is our commitment to keeping you safe as possible as you explore the amazing world that we live in.

Our Travel with Confidence policy goes hand in hand with our Book with Confidence policy — which provides travelers with more flexibility and peace of mind when it comes to booking with us by allowing for transferable deposits, balance payment dates closer to departure and improved cancellation penalties as well as being able to book in advance taking advantage of both our significant early booking pricing, and our additional repeat customer savings, confident in the knowledge that a better price will never be available closer to departure.

Our Book with Confidence policy applies to all tours departing up to December 31, 2021 (no black-out periods!) that have been booked and deposited by December 31, 2020.

A: We are continuously monitoring the developing situation in all of our worldwide destinations through guidance provided by the PHAC, CDC and WHO and we have been working with our exclusive local destination partners to ensure that travel to any destination that we offer is able to re-commence as safely as possible. Some destinations or regions may open gradually or partially and, in many cases, only to citizens of certain countries.

As responsible travelers, anyone who chooses to travel with us has a duty of care to themselves and the people around them. We ask that all our travelers comply with local regulations and laws, as well as our own COVID-19 Safety Protocols, to ensure that everyone can enjoy their educational escape, while remaining well.

A: As regulations and requirements continue to change by country, it is difficult for us to say with certainty what guidelines or requirements local public health authorities will put in place in the countries we visit. We are constantly monitoring situations across the world, but you can expect to fill out a Wellness Declaration for Doctors-on-Tour regardless of your destination or point of origin. We do not require a negative COVID-19 test result to travel with us unless it is required by local law or regulation of the country that you are visiting. It is likely that proof of medical insurance (including for COVID-19) may also be an entry requirement. We will notify you of any specific necessary requirements for your destination closer to departure.

A: Our groups have always been relatively small (with a maximum of 32 participants and often less depending on the destination) particularly compared to competitive CME programs that are cruise based. Why? Because a smaller size offers security, access, camaraderie, and a connection with a destination that you just won't get by travelling in large groups or even on your own.

But, so long as COVID-19 is an issue, we will be reducing our group size further to just 25 participants as this will ensure that the seat capacity even on our largest coaches will be set at no more than 50% to ensure ample spacing.

A: Doctors-on-Tour supports the use of masks as one way to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Wearing a face mask provides an additional physical barrier and helps to reduce community transmission. The World Health Organization also recommends wearing masks in destinations when physical distancing is difficult. Therefore, we are requiring (at this time) that once tour departures start up again, that all travelers bring their own face masks and wear them whenever physical distancing of 6ft/2m is not possible, as well as on vehicles. Our Group Leaders and local tour escorts will do the same. We’ll continue to monitor this requirement and will make changes to this policy as appropriate, and as local guidelines and country rules evolve. Please ensure you familiarize yourself with how to safely wear, handle, wash or dispose of masks when wearing them while travelling.

A: We are working with our local destination partners to provide hand sanitizer at accommodation, on transport and at restaurants but we ask that you please bring your own as well - to use, and use often! Thank you for doing your part!

A: Due to the screening measures and additional safety protocols in place, once on the tour, you and your fellow group participants will form your own circle of close contacts for the duration of the tour.

We encourage our group participants to practice physical distancing of 6ft/2m wherever possible and require travelers to wear masks when this isn’t possible. Briefings/reminders on social distancing and specific safety precautions will be performed prior to arrival at each site / attraction / medical visit and as needed so that we continue to adapt and address the evolving guidelines and regulations of each particular country in which we travel.

On our private coach transportation in destination, the seat capacity will be set at no more than 50% to ensure ample spacing.

All restaurants to emphasize spacing between tables to allow for social distancing.

A: We have updated our booking terms and conditions under our new “Book with Confidence” policy to provide additional flexibility and peace of mind to our travelers by allowing for transferable deposits, balance payment dates closer to departure and improved cancellation penalties.

If you decide not to travel more than 65 days before your departure, we will not apply any cancellation penalties and your deposit may be transferred to any of our overseas programs (either the same destination at a future date or a different destination). If your decision not to travel is 65 days or less before your departure, the reduced cancellation penalties that we have introduced under our Book with Confidence policy will apply. Hence we would strongly suggest that you purchase one of the travel insurance policies that we offer through our insurance partner, Manulife Insurance, as all of the policies that we offer (ie Non-Medical Inclusive Plan, All-Inclusive Plan and Premium Protection Plan) provide coverage for cancellation penalties if you should have to cancel due to a Covered Risk, ie a medical, or other listed, reason either relating to yourself or a member of your immediate family. These Covered Risks include if you need to cancel your tour because you become ill due to COVID-19 or if you suffer involuntary loss of employment due to COVID-19 before your departure from Canada.

And, so long as you purchase one of these insurance policies at the same time as your tour booking, you are automatically entitled to the added benefit of Cancel For Any Reason (“CFAR”) coverage whereby, depending on the particular policy you choose, if you decide to cancel your tour booking after you have made your balance payment and up to 7 (or 14**) days or more before departure for any reason, your policy will refund you up to a maximum of 80% (or 50%**) of the cancellation penalties incurred. This is excellent peace of mind coverage to protect you against a large proportion of the cancellation penalties incurred in a situation where the reason for cancellation is not one of the regular Covered Risks in your policy (ie it is essentially "change of mind" insurance).

** CFAR coverage benefits are for reimbursement of 80% of the cancellation penalties for cancellations up to 7 days before departure (Premium Protection Plan) and for reimbursement of 50% of the cancellation penalties for cancellations up to 14 days before departure (Non-Medical Inclusive Plan, All-Inclusive Plan)

A detailed overview of coverage benefits and limitations of each insurance policy that we offer through Manulife may be found by clicking here.

Full details of our booking conditions may be found in the “Book with Confidence” section above as well as in our revised Terms and Conditions.

Our Book with Confidence policy applies to all tours departing up to December 31, 2021 (no black-out periods!) that have been booked and deposited by December 31, 2020.

A: If you or someone else on your tour has symptoms of COVID-19 while travelling with us, we will assist you to access appropriate medical care as quickly as possible. Through our exclusive local destination partner, we will follow the advice of local health authorities on whether a COVID-19 test is required, whether there is a need to self-isolate or quarantine or whether there is a risk to other travelers in the group. We will help contact family and friends if needed as well as support with translation services at hospitals or medical centres and in contacting insurance companies and airlines to make arrangements to return home if required.

Should COVID-19 be confirmed, our full health and safety protocols will be enacted, including informing local health authorities, informing the group of the potential exposure, and sanitation protocols such as deep cleaning and disinfecting of accommodation and transport.

Please note that while we will assist to ensure that you get all the help and support you need, any expenses for testing, treatment or self-isolation will need to be covered by you and your travel insurer, so please ensure you have access to funds while travelling in case of this or other emergencies.

COVID-19 FAQ

 Useful Links