1. How can I feel confident enrolling on an EF tour now?

First, we're making temporary exceptions to our cancellation policy to offer additional flexibility for customers planning tours in 2022 and 2023. Read about the risk-free enrollment period and the other programs we’ve developed to help protect your travel investment.

Of course, the world is changing around us and we are all adapting to a “new normal”. For us, that means activating hundreds of local EF staff on the ground in virtually every country an EF tour visits. Working with local partners and suppliers we’re preparing for and adapting to whatever that new normal will be. When travel comes back, EF will be ready to lead the way.

And, this fall we will continue to innovate and provide new ways to help teachers recruit online and offer virtual learning experiences for teachers working out of the classroom. 

Finally, we’re leading the charge on student safety. With our extensive global presence, our best-in-the-industry experience coupled with our strong, long-established relationships with some of the largest airline, hotel, and transportation companies, global governmental agencies, and health organizations we are actively shaping new worldwide cleanliness and safety standards. In addition, we’re proud to have earned the World Travel & Tourism Council’s Safe Travels stamp—the world’s first ever global safety and hygiene stamp for Travel & Tourism, designed specifically to address COVID-19 and similar outbreaks.

2. How is EF handling the financial impact of the pandemic on the travel industry?

By operating as we always have: with our sole focus on creating the best possible experiences for our customers. Through 55+ years of careful management and our wide portfolio of educational products globally, we have a strong foundation and we are built for a strong future.

Our company is family-owned and has been successfully navigating world events for decades. We simply don’t have distractions like obligations to investors and creditors like other companies in the industry which means our entire global team can continue to dedicate themselves to delivering life-changing experiences and exceeding customer expectations, even in the most challenging times.

3. My group is scheduled to travel. Are we still going?

Given the evolving nature of the situation, our operations and safety teams around the world continue to assess matters on a daily basis. In the event that the international and domestic travel bans and restrictions, governmental orders, and public health advisories will not be sufficiently lifted in time for your tour to depart as scheduled or that these or other external events make it impracticable for suppliers to provide their services at all or in a manner that does not meet our safety and quality standards we will notify your group no later than 45 days prior to departure. If this happens, your Group Leader will work with you to re-evaluate your plans and options for travel. You may also contact us to proactively reschedule your tour to a later date so that you and your group can get the full and powerful experience of exploring the world together. As a reminder, your group also has all our Peace of Mind options available to them if you would like to proactively reschedule your tour and/or elect to receive Future Travel Vouchers. We recommend that you stay in contact with your Group Leader for the most up-to-date information regarding your tour.

4. What should I do if my group has not yet rescheduled our tour?

Rest assured, there is nothing you need to do now. Given the circumstances, it may take your Group Leader some time to work through the details of rescheduling your tour. We recommend you stay in communication with your Group Leader on next steps.

5. What is an EF COVID-19 Future Travel Voucher?

As an additional measure, in response to the COVID-19 situation, we have amended the terms of our Future Travel Vouchers for all travelers who had their original tour departure date affected by events related to the COVID-19 pandemic. A COVID-19 Future Travel Voucher is issued electronically in the amount of all monies paid to EF (including all non-refundable fees). COVID-19 Future Travel Vouchers may be used toward a travel program with a variety of EF products or it may be redeemed for a cash refund of all money paid to EF (less an amount that varies based on your tour's original departure date). COVID-19 Future Travel Vouchers are transferable to immediate family members and to students or faculty in the same school district as the traveler to whom they are issued. To view complete details of all the ways to redeem your voucher, visit our Future Travel Voucher website.

6. Where can I find the details about my COVID-19 Future Travel Voucher?

All the information about your voucher including value, terms and flexibility can be accessed on your traveler secure site.

7. What are my refund options?

We know that the decision to travel in the next few months is a very personal one. That’s why we have enhanced our policies at this time so that you can elect to take a COVID-19 Future Travel Voucher even if your group is currently continuing to travel as planned.

Taking a COVID-19 Future Travel Voucher instead of canceling allows you to protect your full investment. This voucher is in the full amount paid for your trip. And, it means you can travel at a later date that works for you—giving you the option to use the voucher on a variety of EF Programs. In addition, COVID-19 Future Travel Vouchers can also be redeemed for a cash refund option. For travelers who were originally scheduled to depart through May 14, 2020 you may exchange your voucher for a refund of all monies paid to EF, less $565. For travelers with original departure dates on or after May 15, 2020 you may exchange your voucher for a refund of all monies paid, less $500.

If at 45 days prior to a group’s upcoming departure, governmental orders as stated in the COVID Peace of Mind program would make group travel to a location on your group’s itinerary impossible or impracticable such that a postponement of your tour program is necessary, Group Leaders or travelers will have the following options:

  • Change the travel dates or tour itinerary of your group's current tour; or
  • Cancel your tour with each traveler receiving or reinstating a transferable COVID-19 Future Travel Voucher for 100% of all money paid to EF; or
  • Cancel your tour with each traveler receiving a cash refund for all of the money paid to EF less $350

Rest assured, refunds and vouchers are issued on request with standard processing times. When travel is back and you are ready to redeem your voucher, EF will be ready to show you the world.

8. Why can't I get all of my money back?

We begin planning your tour as soon as you enroll, to ensure the highest quality service at the lowest price. As a result, we incur substantial non-recoverable costs and expenses in planning, preparing, and pre-paying amounts for our tour programs from the time of enrollment to departure, which can span well over a year or more. This includes the people needed to work with the program Group Leaders to design and plan the tour, the people needed to support travelers and their families as they prepare for the tour, and the sourcing staff needed to vet, select, and then negotiate group-based contracts with suppliers and other vendors in destinations around the world. In addition, EF has continued to make considerable investments in our safety resources and infrastructure as we prepare for travel in this new COVID world. The refund option we have worked hard to make available to our customers during this unprecedented time allows us to partially cover the costs related to the already incurred and non-recoverable expenses and payments to our staff and suppliers, as well as the investment we have always made and continue to make in itinerary, date, and destination flexibility.

The refund option is just one of multiple enhancements we have made to our standard policies to provide expanded options to our groups during this unprecedented time. We are offering very flexible rebooking options, holding pricing through 2023 for any of our groups that want to move their tour to a later date and making an exception to our standard terms 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: COVID-19 Future Travel Vouchers will be issued for all monies paid to EF, including all non-refundables. Additionally, travelers may now exchange their COVID-19 Future Travel Voucher for a refund of the majority of their program fee. Visit our Future Travel Voucher page for full details and to explore all of the ways you can use your voucher.

9. Why are some groups eligible for a different refund amount based on when travel was to happen?

EF Educational Tours incurs significant costs and expenses in planning and preparing for tour programs from the moment the first traveler enrolls and over the average two-year timespan prior to departure, much of which cannot be recovered in the event a program cannot depart as originally scheduled. This includes unrecoverable investments in staff and infrastructure costs associated with each tour program and also the booking of large volumes of flights, hotels, and activity entrances that occurs months, if not years, in advance to provide a high-quality group travel program at the lowest price.

For our spring tours in 2020, much of the cost had already been incurred before tours became affected by the events of the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, flight space had been secured and allocated, hotel rooms were blocked, entrance tickets had been purchased, Tour Directors had been selected and trained and thousands of hours of staff’s time had already been spent on the details of our groups’ tours. However, the additional time we have had prior to later departures has allowed us to avoid incurring, reduce, or negotiate additional flexibility with respect to costs and other investments on those tours. As our unavoidable or non-refundable costs for those later departures will be lower, we feel it is the right thing to do to pass these additional savings to our travelers that were scheduled to depart after May 15.

10. I purchased Global Travel Protection; can I file a claim due to COVID-19?

EF Educational Tours’ travelers are offered insurance through a plan provided by Specialty Insurance Solutions and underwritten by United States Fire Insurance Company. Benefits of the policy prior to tour include the ability for a traveler to receive a refund of your program price less non-refundable fees if a traveler needs to cancel from tour due to reasons that can include but are not limited to serious injury or illness requiring hospitalization and involuntary employer termination or layoff. On tour the policy provides coverage for incidents such as lost baggage and flight delays as well as coverage of hospital bills, doctors’ fees and medical transportation for illnesses or injury. Based on the circumstances, travelers who are diagnosed with COVID-19 prior to tour or parents who have recently lost their job may qualify for cancellation coverage. For a full explanation of benefits provided under this policy or to submit a claim click here.  We recommend that you reach out to Specialty Insurance Solutions directly if you have any additional questions regarding your specific circumstances.

11. How can I feel confident about my investment if COVID-19 is still impacting travel?

As the situation evolves, we’re continuing to adapt and enhance our policies to meet the changing needs of our customers, which may include extending our COVID-19 Peace of Mind program to impacted customers. Read our most updated policies here.