A note from our founders regarding COVID-19
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Heart of Travel has chosen to be prudent and exercise extreme caution in order to protect the health and safety of our travelers, staff, and freelancers. We will not be conducting any group tours in 2020 and all 2021 tours are tentative, depending on the status of the pandemic as we enter the new year.
As of now, Guatemala, where we are headquartered, has closed its borders and suspended both international and domestic tourism until further notice. If and when the borders reopen and local tourism resumes, we will be shifting our focus towards day tours and small private tours here in Guatemala, in hopes to keep us afloat. From there, we will be motivating people to purchase group trips in 2021 with our new flexible refund policy.
Cuba has also done a wonderful job of containing the virus and is slowly reopening to international tourism. We may resume private group tours for families and close friends traveling in the last quarter of 2020, depending on the situation in both Cuba and the U.S.
If you have signed up for a trip in 2020 then you’ve already received an email from us discussing your options. For people considering joining a trip in 2021, we realize that committing to travel during a time of such uncertainty is not easy for anyone, therefore we are making adjustments to our reservation and cancellation policies which you can read more about below.
Heart of Travel has been devastated by this pandemic, like so many individuals, families, and businesses. However, we are excited to be offering some new products and services soon which you can enjoy from the comfort of your own home. We know that, when the time is ready, we will come back stronger than ever before in the tourism industry and can’t wait to make new memories with all of you! We thank you all for your support during this time.
New Refund Policies
With so much uncertainty in the world right now we understand that signing up for a trip is a tough commitment for many during this time. We want our travelers to start feeling excited and hopeful about travel again which is why we’ve made some adjustments to our refund policy in order to give you greater peace of mind.
Trip Postponed by Heart of Travel
In the event, a Heart of Travel trip is not possible due to COVID-19 (be it due to border closures or because we’ve determined the trip is not in the best interest of travelers and/or employees) we will notify participants immediately of the cancellation or postponement of the trip. In the event, the trip is canceled less than 59 days prior to the start date the trip will not be refundable but rather postponed. Likewise, you can receive a full 100% credit for the amount paid, good towards any other Heart of Travel trip to any destination at any time.
If the trip is canceled with 60 days of notice or more, travelers will have the option to receive a full refund, join the trip at the postponed date or transfer the amount paid to an alternative trip.
Trip Cancelled by Client
In the event, a Heart of Travel trip is not canceled but you have chosen not to join the trip for whatever reason, including COVID-19 the following policy will apply:
- Cancellation 90 days or more before the trip start date: Fully refundable
- Cancellation 60 – 89 days before the trip start date: Loss of deposit, the rest of the trip payment is refundable
- Cancellation 59 or fewer days before the trip’s start date: No refunds guaranteed but the option for the group to collectively postpone the trip or as an individual, you could apply 100% of your payment towards a future trip to the same destination or 70% towards a Heart of Travel trip to an alternate destination
The reason we cannot guarantee a refund with less than 60 days’ notice (be it a client cancellation or a postponing of the trip by Heart of Travel due to force majeure) is that Heart of Travel has to begin paying out third party vendors such as hostels, homestays, transportation companies, etc. However, if you select the “cancel for any reason” option on your travel insurance policy they should cover any losses in the event you choose to cancel with less than 60 days’ notice instead of going on the trip at the new day or accepting the credit voucher.
We are committed to keeping you safe
We want you to book our trips with confidence, knowing that we are doing all we can amidst the global COVID-19 pandemic to keep you healthy and safe while traveling with us. As a small group tour company, client safety and health have always been a top priority to us, as is the health and safety of our employees and freelancers. Now, we are ready to take things even further and we will be implementing the following protocols on all upcoming tours:
What does this mean for Heart?
Running a small business is hard. Running a small business with a staff that is made up predominantly of women and POC is even harder. Running a small business that relies on convincing people to travel to parts of the world that are often portrayed in a negative light is extremely hard. Running a small business with high ethical standards that pays its employees and third-party providers above the industry standard is perhaps the hardest.
At Heart of Travel, we’ve always been the underdogs and on top of all the challenges mentioned above you can throw in a couple of earthquakes, occasional political unrest, and a volcanic eruption or two. Yet we’ve always managed to fight, and prevail, not only for ourselves but for others.
We are incredibly grateful for the support we received early on when the pandemic first hit and it’s thanks to people’s generous donations, along with grants and some government assistance, that we have been able to stay in business. Currently, we are hard at work to launch two new exciting projects in order to keep our business afloat and help the communities we work with at the same time! Keep your eyes peeled for our online academy for Spanish Language Learning as well as an exclusive line of handmade artisan goods for your home.
Heart of Travel is no longer accepting donations, as there are many other people with greater needs than us at this time. If you’re interested in making a donation to support those most affected by the pandemic here in Guatemala we recommend doing so here at the GoFundMe page for Sumate Antigua. Sumate Antigua is a local, grassroots organization that is feeding families and helping to deliver other necessary goods to those most affected by the pandemic.
If you would like to make a monthly contribution to Heart to help keep us going while we are in our creation phase you can visit our Patreon and get access to exclusive content for our patrons!