Frequently asked questions about COVID-19 (Coronavirus 2019)

Updated March 27, 2020


Since our founding over 55 years ago, our number one priority has always been, and continues to be, the health and safety of our customers. The reason why so many people travel with EF is due to our decades of experience in keeping our customers’ safety a priority when world events occur—including health epidemics like the SARS outbreak in 2003 and the H1-N1 outbreak in 2009 and environmental events, such as the volcanic ash in Iceland that shut down air travel to Europe in 2010. For decades we have navigated our groups through all types of issues that have arisen, helping our travelers experience the world as safely as possible.

Given our worldwide network of local offices in nearly every destination we travel to, we have the ability to make real-time, on the ground adjustments as necessary.

 

1. What is EF doing in reaction to the COVID-19 outbreak?
Within three days of President Trump’s March 11 restriction on travel to the U.S. from Europe, EF brought all of our European travelers – including those in the UK - back to the U.S. We also returned all of our travelers in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico early from tour.

The decision was also made to postpone all tours departing in March through May and to extend our Peace of Mind program to travelers on all March through May tours cancelled due to coronavirus. We have further extended the Peace of Mind program through April 30, 2020, to all 2020 travelers, regardless of departure date.


Additionally, we have enhanced the options available to 2020 travelers whose tours are cancelled before April 30, 2020, under the Peace of Mind program in several significant ways. Please review our Peace of Mind website to review these enhancements.

2. What options does our group have if we want to cancel tour prior to April 30, 2020?

All travelers scheduled to depart through September 30, 2020, who cancel by April 30, 2020, have the following options under our Peace of Mind:

  • Rebook for future travel with EF. To better support you, we have made the decision to honor your current tour price for any rescheduled date through 2021.
  • Choose to have each traveler receive a Future Travel Voucher worth the full value of all monies paid to EF, including non-refundable fees, and redeemable for (1) travel on any EF Tours or EF Language Schools Program or (2) a cash refund. The cash refund value of a Future Travel Voucher is dependent on whether a traveler was planning to travel to tour via flight or bus and on departure date: 

     For Travelers Planning to Travel Via Flight:

    • Cancelled Tours via Flight Scheduled for March 1 – June 13, 2020: cash refund option equal to all monies paid to EF less $750.
    • Cancelled Tours via Flight Scheduled for June 14 – July 23, 2020: cash refund option equal to all monies paid to EF less $500 and all non-refundable fees (such as the $95 deposit and purchased insurance) capped at a maximum refund reduction of $750.
    • Cancelled Tours via Flight Scheduled for July 24 – September 30, 2020: cash refund option equal to all monies paid to EF less $300 and all non-refundable fees (such as the $95 deposit and purchased insurance) capped at a maximum refund reduction of $750.

    For Travelers Planning to Travel Via Bus:

    • Cancelled Tours via Bus Scheduled for March 1 – April 30, 2020: cash refund option equal to all monies paid to EF less $250.
    • Cancelled Tours via Bus Scheduled for May 1 – September 30, 2020: cash refund option equal to all monies paid to EF less $250. If the refund to which you are entitled under our Booking Conditions is greater than the cash refund value of Future Travel Voucher, you will receive the standard cancellation refund.
To further explore all of your redemption options, please visit our Future Travel Vouchers page.

3. What options does our group have if we decide to cancel our tour after April 30, 2020?
Tours cancelled after April 30, 2020, will have the standard options available under our Peace of Mind Program and Cancellation Policy.

Under EA’s standard Peace of Mind program, every EF group has three options that can be activated up until 45 days before tour if they have safety concerns:
  • Change the date of the tour
  • Work with EF to amend an existing itinerary or change to a different itinerary or destination
  • Choose to have each traveler receive a future travel voucher worth all monies paid to EF less non-refundable fees (such as the $95 deposit and purchased insurance) that may be used for travel on any EF Tours or EF Language Schools Program.
See the Explore America Booking Conditions for the Cancellation Terms that may apply to your group.

4. My tour departs after May 31, 2020, what should I do?
Our recommendation is to see how the situation develops before making any decisions.

With that said, you have options under our Peace of Mind program (described in detail above), which we have extended to travelers who are scheduled to depart through September 30, 2020, so long as you choose to enact Peace of Mind by April 30, 2020. Additionally, we have further amended our policy so that any fees associated with cancellation of your tour, regardless of your departure date, will not increase between February 24, 2020, and April 30, 2020. This means that the cancellation terms that applied to you on February 24, 2020, will continue to apply to you through April 30, 2020.

5. I cancelled my tour and I no longer have access to my online account. How do I get my account information?
We apologize for any confusion or stress this has caused. We are aware of this technical glitch and are working hard to address it immediately. Your account access will be restored as soon as possible.

6. Why can’t I get all my money back?
We begin planning your tour as soon as you enroll, to ensure the highest quality service at the lowest price. For example, EF Explore America books large volumes of flights, hotels and entrances months, if not years, in advance. Many of these at a group booking level which is subject to different cancellation rules than typical consumers. For this reason, EF has designed its cancellation policies to take into consideration the investments we make in your tour long before it departs. Currently we are in an unprecedented situation that is affecting everyone across the globe. As such, we have made adjustments to our standard policies to provide expanded options to our groups during this time.

In addition to freezing our cancellation fees so that they do not increase through April 30th, we are also offering very flexible rebooking options, holding pricing through 2021 for any of our groups that want to move their tour to a later date and making an exception by offering Future Travel Vouchers to any individual traveler who cannot travel on their group’s future tour. We have also now made the vouchers even more valuable – Future Travel Vouchers will now be issued for all monies paid to EF including all non-refundables. Additionally, travelers may now redeem their Future Travel Voucher for a refund of all monies paid to EF minus $750 for groups traveling to tour via flight ($250 for groups traveling to tour via bus). This amount allows us to only partially cover costs related to non-recoverable payments to our suppliers, our staff, and the investment we continue to make in itinerary, date and destination flexibility.

¿Prefieres leer en español? Vea nuestra declaración de COVID-19 (Coronavirus 2019) aquí.


For inquiring journalists please email mediainquiry@ef.com.