FTLO Travel Advisories + Alerts
NOTICE: DUE TO COVID19, For the Love of Travel is postponing all trips through August 15th, 2020
Given the unprecedented impact of the Coronavirus pandemic, we will be making updates to this page. If you have questions about any trips beyond August 15th, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Additionally, in response to the unpredictable nature of the pandemic, some of our Booking Terms & Conditions have been revised to adapt to the constantly evolving nature of this pandemic.
Travelers of postponed trips will receive credit to put towards a future trip. This travel credit will be valid through December 31st, 2022.
We appreciate your understanding and patience during this time. Please know that our small team is working tirelessly to address the needs of our FTLO Family - travelers, trip leaders, local suppliers and each other. We will get through this together and look forward to exploring with you on the other side.
The most recent letter from our Founder, Tara:
Dear FTLO Community,
Tara here again. As things are starting to turn a corner, I wanted to give another update on FTLO and our trips this summer.
I’m sure many of you have questions about upcoming summer trips and I want to take a moment to shed some light. Country borders are starting to open up and every day, it’s looking more and more like trips will be able to start running again. That said, the future is impossible to predict and we will be making final calls on whether or not a trip can operate on a rolling 30-day basis. The health and safety of our travelers, team, and local communities is, as always, our number one concern and we will be making trip decisions with this as our guiding light.
Once we start running trips again, we will be making some operational changes until further notice, including the following:
Increased sanitation standards for partner hotels
Requirements around mask use on trips
Traveler/trip leader health screenings before joining the group
Protocol and training for trip leaders specific to COVID-19
Health-related itinerary adjustments (Don’t panic - because our groups are small and we book all activities privately, it is unlikely there will be any major itinerary changes. Any change we make will be at or above the standard of our current itinerary and will be communicated to you in advance.)
We will be sending out more information for each trip as we get closer to the departure date. Please know that as much as we strive to take care of you, travel doesn’t happen in a bubble and it is impossible for us to completely eliminate the risk of exposure while traveling. For this reason, we will be asking everyone to sign an additional waiver acknowledging the risk of infection.
Now, I know that even if we deem it possible to run a trip, some of you may not be comfortable going abroad this year. To give you more flexibility in your travel plans so that you’ll be able to go when best works for you financially and psychologically, we have relaxed our trip transfer policy. For trips through October, you have until 45 days before departure (instead of 90) to switch your trip or cancel for travel credit that will be valid through December 2022. We want you to get the most out of your FTLO trip, even if that means waiting a little longer to take it. If you don’t plan to travel this year, the earlier you can let us know, the better so that we can plan ahead.
As a few people have asked about full refunds, let me explain our situation. Even though we take great care in putting together our itineraries and hiring trip leaders to show you an amazing time, we are an intermediary. We do not own hotels, drive vans, or teach cooking classes. We find amazing local partners and we pay deposits on your behalf to make sure you there is availability on the day we go. Part of what makes the FTLO experience so special is that we work very hard to find the most unique, best value options and we work directly with suppliers to make sure the quality stays consistently high. Working like this also allows us to make sure your tourism dollars are always going to support the local community, which is a core value we deeply care about. If you are an alum, you’ve hopefully experienced the magic of these small proprietors and the love with which they share their country and culture with us.
The price of doing business like this is that in some cases we pay said deposits well in advance to make sure we can get the dates needed for our groups. Normally, this isn’t a problem. However, during a pandemic, when borders are closed and we cannot operate trips, it has complicated things by limiting our ability to issue refunds since that money has been distributed on your behalf.
For this reason, to the extent you’re financially able, if your trip cannot run as planned, please consider postponing or taking travel credit for a future trip. It is a great help to us and the small suppliers who make your travel memories possible and we promise to reward your patience with the most amazing trip ever when you’re ready to travel again. And to those whom have been upset that we’ve had to turn down full refund requests, please know we take no joy in doing this and threatening me, my team, or the company doesn’t help an already difficult and emotional situation.
One final note: travel is going to come roaring back. The desire for new experiences and connecting with new people is an immutable human trait and even a global pandemic can’t suppress that need. In fact, of the 800 of you who responded to our survey, 70% said this pandemic has made you want to travel more (and only 6% said less.) Let’s look ahead and get excited about the beauty of travel - the random adventures, funny encounters, mouthwatering cuisines, increased understanding, serendipitous connections, novelty and unknown. There may have never been a time when we needed these things more. So don’t despair - your next adventure might be a bit farther out than you planned, but it’s coming. And I promise it’s going to be worth the wait.
For the love,
We have compiled below a list of resources for travel advisories in both the countries of our itineraries and major transit hubs that may be affected.
CDC: Affected Countries
U.S. State Department: Map of Travel Advisories
Government updates from trip destinations:
Updates from major transit hubs: