Will my tour operate?
Like most tour operators who run small group holidays with fixed departure dates, Explore reserves the right to cancel if a departure is not commercially viable (except for “Guaranteed Departures” – see below). This would normally be if there are fewer than 6 or 7 customers booked. However this is dependent on the cost structure of the specific tour and can vary considerably. We continually monitor booking levels and wherever possible consolidate departures way in advance – often before anyone has booked. This minimises the number of customers we have to cancel off tours. Company policy is to only publish dates which we believe will sell and operate. We also have a policy of only cancelling when absolutely necessary. This means that we cancel a far smaller proportion of the tours shown in our brochures than most other similar operators. We aim not to cancel any tour within 8 weeks of departure. This gives customers ample opportunity to consider alternative tours or dates. Please note, we do not guarantee any minimum number of participants for a tour which we may decide to operate with less than the normal minimum.
On our website you can find a whole section of “Guaranteed Departures” under the tour “Prices and Dates” tab. On these tours we guarantee that the advertised "Land Only" itinerary of designated “Guaranteed Departures” will not be cancelled or significantly changed unless we are forced to do so by "force majeure" as defined in our booking conditions. This means there is no minimum group size for these departures and we will not cancel for any commercial reason. This guarantee does not apply to international or UK domestic flights which may be subject to change or cancellation in accordance with our booking conditions.
Although we contract flight and overseas transport and accommodation services well in advance of our brochures being published, changes can and do occur. It is in the nature of the tours that we operate that some elements may change from those published, whether as a result of inclement weather, a change in the local political situation or in flight or train schedules or other circumstances beyond our control. We aim to keep customers as well informed as possible when significant changes occur, but we do ask that all those travelling have a degree of flexibility once the tour is under way – see ‘warning’ below.
Adventure travel warning!
Travel to far-flung corners of the earth involves lifestyles and conditions that are often very different from our own. You must come prepared to cope with unusual situations, local inadequacies and unpredictable events as and when they occur. Even with meticulous planning things can go wrong – so having a healthy sense of humour is a real bonus!
Adventure holidays are definitely not suitable for people who expect to be pampered or demand everything to go exactly as planned. For your own holiday enjoyment and in the interest of your fellow travellers, you must understand this. You should also be aware that some countries around the world have serious security problems. Thieves, muggers and drug pushers are likely to be active in big cities and street markets; and certain areas may be considered ‘out-of-bounds’ for tourists. Most crime is opportunistic. Using your common sense will certainly lessen many of the risks. In recent years, anti-government, nationalist and terrorist movements / groups have also tended to multiply, so that nowadays insurrections and random acts of terrorism make shocking and distressing headline news. Unfortunately, the nature of modern terrorism means no destination can be guaranteed to be safe. We constantly monitor the political situation in the regions we visit and would have no hesitation in re-routing or cancelling a trip if we felt there was the need. If you are concerned about a destination or your safety contact the Foreign Office or the appropriate Embassy.
Peace of mind
Explore is a fully bonded Tour Operator licensed by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and by AITO Trust Ltd.
We hold an Air Travel Organiser's Licence issued by the Civil Aviation Authority (ATOL number 2595). When you buy an ATOL protected air inclusive holiday* from us you will receive a confirmation invoice from us confirming your arrangements and your protection under our ATOL. In the unlikely event of our insolvency, the CAA will ensure that you are not left stranded abroad and will arrange to refund any money you have paid to us for an advance booking. For further information, visit the ATOL website at www.atol.org.uk
Where you book a “land only” tour with us, the arrangements we have contracted to provide will be protected by AITO Trust Ltd providing they were purchased in the UK or direct from Explore if purchased outside the UK. This means your money will be refunded or you will be returned to the departure point of your contracted tour arrangements if already abroad in the unlikely event of our being unable to provide your tour due to our insolvency.
*The air inclusive holidays we arrange are ATOL protected providing either the person who pays for the booking is present in the UK when the booking is made or the first leg of any flight or flights we arrange for you commences in the UK.
Land only tours
Booking on a Land Only basis allows you to make your own way to the tour joining point.
If you are booking ‘Land Only’ we strongly recommend that you only purchase fully flexible connecting travel which can be cancelled or changed without charge. In the event of a change to your itinerary or any other tour arrangements for whatever reason, all cancellation and amendment charges for arrangements not booked by Explore will be your sole responsibility.
Although Explore are unable to assign specific flight or train seats, it is possible to put special requests through to the majority of airlines and train operators. However, these are just requests. If you have specific requirements, please let us know at the time of booking. Please be aware that no guarantees can be made that your request will be actioned and failure to do so will not be a breach of contract on our part. This may sometimes mean your allocated seats are not together with other members of your party. It is therefore highly recommended that you check in for your flight/train as early as possible. If you require specific seats due to a disability / reduced mobility or a medical condition, please make this clear at the time of booking. Subject to safety requirements and availability, EU airlines are required to make all reasonable efforts to arrange seating to meet the requirements of individuals with a disability or reduced mobility and to provide other specified assistance. You may be required to provide written confirmation of your disability / reduced mobility / medical condition and fitness to travel from your doctor.
In flight meals
Although meals are still provided on most international flights, you should be aware that there is a trend towards them not being included on shorter flights, and particularly those within Europe. On many routes with connections within Europe, a meal will be provided on the inter-continental sector, but not on the sector between the UK and the connecting European airport. We cannot therefore guarantee that a meal will be provided on all flights. If you have a special dietary requirement, please let us know at the time of booking. We will send an automated request through to the airline. Please be aware that in most cases airlines do not confirm individual meal requests, so it is worth double checking that the meal has been ordered at check-in.
Flight schedule changes
When you book a flight inclusive tour with Explore, your holiday confirmation will contain provisional flight details, correct at the time of issue. The timings or even the flight numbers or routing could vary several times before departure. Explore will monitor these changes and inform you as soon as possible if there is a change which affects your departure or arrival time by more than 6 hours, moves the tour to a different day or significantly affects the tour itinerary. Smaller changes will not be communicated prior to the final invoice being sent 9 to 10 weeks before departure. Your final invoice will contain the most up to date flight details. Subsequent to it being sent, you will be informed of any further changes. Bearing this in mind, it is advisable to defer booking any connecting travel to the airport or arrangements such as car parking or overnight hotels until you have received the final invoice. Where Explore are arranging domestic regional flights, these will be automatically rebooked to connect with your international flights. Again we would only inform you of this prior to the final invoice being sent if there is a change as described above.
We strongly recommend that you do not purchase non-flexible, non refundable connecting rail, air or bus tickets, as they usually incur cancellation / penalty charges in the event of a change to the departure time or date.
In accordance with EU Directive (EC) No 2111/2005 Article 9, we are required to bring to your attention
the existence of a “Community list” which contains details of air carriers which are subject to an operating ban within the EU. The Community list is available for inspection at http://ec.europa.eu/transport/air-ban/list_en.htm. In accordance with EU Regulations we are required to advise you of the actual carrier(s) (or, if the actual carrier(s) is not known, the likely carrier(s)) that will operate your flight(s) at the time of booking. Where we are only able to inform you of the likely carrier(s) at the time of booking, we shall inform you of the identity of the actual carrier(s) as soon as we become aware of this. Any change to the operating carrier(s) after your booking has been confirmed will be notified to you as soon as possible. If the carrier with whom you have a confirmed reservation becomes subject to an operating ban as above as a result of which we/the carrier are unable to offer you a suitable alternative the provisions of our booking conditions – “If we change your tour” will apply.