Coronavirus (Covid-19) Information
Coronavirus and Covid-19 Information
Introduction from Mark Banning-Taylor, Chairman & Owner of Odyssey Traveller (est. 1983)
These are difficult times.
With travellers joining Odyssey Travellers Small Group Tours now from countries all over the world, we continue to appreciate and enjoy your positive contribution to our tour programs of typically between 6 to 14 people. We remain committed to you participating in our programs from wherever you live.
Odyssey is unique and adaptable and we have a full programme online of over 170 tours available for you to book with departure dates and prices through to December 2022. We also have published more than 600 articles and country profiles to read and learn about a current or future proposed destination.
Odyssey small team’s ongoing commitment to looking after you has been reflected in a 98% transfer rate achieved with those booked on tours scheduled to commence in the near future. Our service standards and ability to be flexible and think of innovative solutions in challenging times is reflected in our mantra of “treating others how you would like to be treated yourself”. This remains core to our approach in taking care of you from the time you book to the end of the journey.
For those travellers looking at our pages for the first time, we say welcome, and to our regular travellers and members of our unique loyalty program, we say thank you and welcome back.
Supplemental Terms relating to the Coronavirus and COVID-19
The following clarifies and adds to our existing terms and conditions to deal with the current unprecedented circumstances, including current and contemplated governmental restrictions being put in place to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus.
Tours departing from 16th March 2020 to 15th May 2020
- If you have booked a tour departing between 16th March 2020 and 15th May 2020 you will be able to transfer to a tour with a future departure date, with no alterations to the contents or the cost of the original anticipated tour you purchased.
- Alternatively you can transfer to another of our guaranteed international tours with a full credit at today’s cost of such guaranteed tour with a departure date before 30 September 2021 (excluding flights and insurance).
Tours departing from 16th May 2020
- At this stage all tours departing from 16th May 2020 will continue as planned.
- For the two Oberammergau programs scheduled to commence May 19th 2020 & August 31st 2020, you can transfer to the new departure in 2022 or alternatively you can transfer to another of our guaranteed international tours with a full credit at today’s cost of such guaranteed tour with a departure date before 30 September 2021 (excluding flights and insurance).
- However, given the current circumstances which we are closely monitoring we may apply similar terms as above to the earlier departure dates. We will update this page as soon as is reasonably possible.
Get in touch with us.
You can contact us or over the phone, by web chat or email.
We are grateful for your support and understanding that many of you have and continue to show in the past few weeks. It is very much appreciated by all of us. We will continue to be transparent and open in our discussions with you, the traveller. Please do not hesitate to contact us during this period of adversity should you need to discuss your personal situation.
The original page content follows below:
A Note Regarding the Coronavirus from Odyssey Traveller
This does not constitute official medical or travel advice, and should be read accordingly.
Update March 2020: This note was originally written in February 2020; kindly visit the links below to see the latest advice in this evolving situation.
Odyssey Traveller, like the majority of businesses involved in travel, have received calls over the last few days from clients asking questions about the ‘what if’ scenarios pertaining to the coronavirus outbreak. The novel coronavirus causes the illness that is now called COVID-19. This short note attempts to provide answers and resources to address these questions and worries.
At Odyssey, we have been following the situation in China since the middle of January, progressively reading more and more material in order to understand any potential risk to our travellers in the European summer of 2020. Ongoing medical research from Harvard University, and other educational research facilities, have shown that viruses such as influenza are readily spread throughout the winter months: “at least in regions that have a winter season, the influenza virus survives longer in cold, dry air, so it has a greater chance of infecting another person.”
Below are the links to the two papers we read in order to understand how and why viruses spread in winter. We have also added a link to a Johns Hopkins article comparing the flu and COVID-19.
- The Reason for the Season: why flu strikes in winter (Harvard University)
- The real reason germs spread in the winter (BBC)
- Coronavirus Disease 2019 vs. the Flu (Johns Hopkins)
“Both may be prevented by frequent, thorough hand washing, coughing into the crook of your elbow, staying home when sick and limiting contact with people who are infected.” (Source)
The number of new COVID-19 cases has been falling since the middle of February. Infection levels during winter in northern Europe are negligible, but do, however, present a risk if you are considering travelling to Europe before the spring of 2020.
Below are additional resources so you can be aware of the facts and make informed decisions regarding your travel.
- Smart Traveller COVID-19 and Travel
- World Health Organisation latest updates
- World Health Organisation Q&A on coronaviruses (COVID-19)
If you are not in an area where COVID-19 is spreading, or if you have not travelled from one of those areas or have not been in close contact with someone who has and is feeling unwell, your chances of getting it are currently low. However, it’s understandable that you may feel stressed and anxious about the situation. It’s a good idea to get the facts to help you accurately determine your risks so that you can take reasonable precautions. (Source)
- Smart Traveller advice from the Australian government.
- Keeping perspective on the coronavirus outbreak (Harvard School of Public Health)
We are also setting out general notes concerning how we will operate our tours in 2020.
- We offer tours almost exclusively in the warmer months of Europe during the shoulder season (between the high and low seasons of travel) in an effort to avoid large crowds.
- Except for the start and end of a tour, where we require access to international airports, our programs typically move within small towns and villages rather than the major cities.
- We have no tours to China or the rest of Asia scheduled currently in 2020.
In 2020, under these exceptional circumstances, we are giving you the opportunity to join and/or leave a tour before it reaches a major metropolitan centre. To further clarify, what this means is, a traveller who wishes to join a tour late or leave early in order to avoid major cities may do so by signing themselves off the tour, or advising us that they are joining late.
We will review the situation again in mid-March, unless there is a more pressing reason to reconsider all of the above.
Odyssey Traveller remains committed to offering small group tours to Europe in a positive environment, based on supported research material.
As a regular traveller, you may wish to consider some or all of the following actions:
- Schedule a consultation with your GP and discuss ways of boosting your immune system.
- Have a flu shot early in 2020 (This is usually advisable in any circumstance.) According to the NSW Government, government-funded influenza vaccines will start to become available to providers from mid-April 2020. In Australia, people aged 65 years and over are eligible to receive free seasonal influenza vaccine. (Please check with your local government.)
- Packing a N95 or N99 category face mask, bottles of anti-bacterial hand sanitiser, and wipes in your luggage.
- Increasing your level of exercise at a level within your ability, but at the same time, being aware of your need to be ‘travel fit’. This article from Odyssey may assist: Being Travel Fit
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact:
Mark Banning-Taylor (Odyssey Traveller CEO)
+61 (0) 2 90025840 (9-5 pm, Monday – Friday)