Coronavirus FAQs to help you navigate and plan your overseas travel
The year 2020 was not the best year for many people, and the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic has trickled into the beginnings of 2021 with lockdowns and travel restrictions still in place. Unfortunately, no-one really knows what 2021 will bring us, and the long-term repercussions of the pandemic are yet to unfold. In the meantime, the best we can do is stay safe.
But just because we are still trying to navigate the unknown, doesn’t mean that there isn’t hope! Though travel restrictions are still in place at the moment, there is every possibility that travel will soon return to normal.
To help ease your concerns, here are some answers to FAQs to help you plan your overseas travel with Ecologia Youth Trust.
We strongly recommend you regularly consult sources such as your Government’s website and WHO,
to stay up to date with the most current advice on travel and staying safe.
When will it be safe to go abroad?
Unfortunately, we are unable to give you a concrete answer as the situation is ever changing worldwide. We are hoping that people will be able to travel more freely by August 2021, but we are also very mindful that this may not be the case. The good news is that the Volunteering team at Ecologia are keeping up to date with the situation here in the UK, as well as in our partner countries where you can volunteer at our
projects, and we will do what we can to best advise you as you plan your travel with us. But for now, stay hopeful! Even if travel continues to be restricted this year, it gives you plenty of opportunity to save and plan!
What if my trip needs to be cancelled or postponed?
We really hope that this won’t be the case, but we never know what might happen.
Most airlines will refund your ticket of allow you to hold it until a future date. You can apply for your visa to Kenya two weeks before departure, or even on arrival. Visas to Russia are not as flexible. In normal circumstances, the deposit paid by volunteers is non-refundable once the Russian visa invitation is ordered, with the balance of the volunteering programme to be paid to Ecologia Youth Trust 6 weeks before travel.
As the current climate brings many uncertainties and last-minute changes, we endeavor to be flexible where possible. Therefore, if you have paid a deposit and Ecologia Youth Trust has already ordered a visa invitation on your behalf, the deposit will be non-refundable.
However, if the deposit has been paid but the visa invitation has not been ordered before travel circumstances change (i.e. a country closes its borders), then £150 of the £250 deposit will be returned to the volunteer.
If the Volunteer has fully paid for the programme 6 weeks before travel, and borders are closed after the 6 weeks, then they will be refunded the full cost minus the deposit.
If the programme is fully paid for and you decide yourself to cancel the trip but it is still safe to travel (e.g. if borders haven’t closed or you haven’t received a positive COVID-19 test result), then it will be down to the discretion of Ecologia Youth Trust whether you will be refunded.
I can’t make it home due to travel restrictions – what should I do?
If you have managed to travel to our project – congratulations! However, it may be the case that while you are overseas, the situation may change and you find yourself unable to travel back home as scheduled due to border closures. If you’re stuck, our project partners will do their best to look after you while you are with them, but please feel free to get in touch with your embassy or department of tourism about how best to get home. If you feel safe where you are, make sure to stay up to date with the coronavirus outbreak in your host country. Follow all local quarantine policies, and be prepared to
remain abroad for an indefinite period. Most countries will offer visa extensions to accommodate travel restrictions, but this isn’t guaranteed, so please do some research regarding visa extensions for COVID-19 if you find yourself stuck and contact us for help if you need it.
What if I need to quarantine while overseas?
Don’t worry, our project partners are able to provide a safe space for you to quarantine when you arrive at our projects and before you leave to head home.
If you’re ready to start planning your travel and volunteering experience with us, we’re ready to help you! Contact us at [email protected] and we’ll do our best to answer any questions you have.
1. Buy travel insurance
2. Social distance!
3. Be aware of the cancellation policies
4. Be prepared for the situation to change
5. Carry hand-disinfectant, masks, and wet wipes to stay safe
6. Drink water from sealed bottles – take a water bottle with you!
7. Don’t touch your face
8. Feel unwell? Self-Isolate! Stay at home or in your accommodation until 7 days have passed or symptoms have disappeared completely.