Safety and the COVID-19 Pandemic

Updated April 28, 2022

Our 2021 Experience

In 2021 our company (Zephyr United) ran 29 tours and two conferences with over 500 total participants. Based on our guidelines and the efforts of our tour and conference participants, we had only two cases of COVID (both likely contacted in advance) and zero cases of community transmission last year. Our safety policies below are highly effective and our travelers are able to get to and from our tour locations safely. While past success does not guarantee future success, with your help we hope to keep everyone safe in 2022 also.

Mandatory Vaccination or COVID Test

Vaccinations reduce the risk of infection, serious illness, and death. Because your risk of being infected declines if you are vaccinated, you present less of a threat to others. In addition, those who are vaccinated and get COVID in a breakthrough infection are infectious for a shorter time period on average.

  • For 2022 public tours, we will require proof of full COVID vaccination, as defined by the CDC (currently two shots; booster is not required).

  • For 2022 private tours, we will require proof of vaccination, a negative COVID PCR test result within 72 hours of the tour start, or proof of recent (within 90 days) COVID infection and recovery.

This is for the protection of our travelers, our guides, and those we encounter on our tours.

Travel Bubble

Even if you are vaccinated, there is a risk of contracting COVID-19. Therefore, we employ the “travel bubble” practice of keeping our group relatively isolated while on tour and asking you to be cautious in the weeks prior to a tour. Requiring vaccinations or negative PCR tests allows us to eat dinner together, travel in the same vans, and even give post-tour goodbye hugs.  We also suggest but do not require that you do a rapid test at home before your tour. This system worked in 2021 and we fully expect it to work in 2022.

Airline Flights

Most of our tour participants fly to their destination. Studies have suggested the risk of contracting COVID on flights is actually fairly low if you keep your mask on throughout the flight, regardless of what your neighbor does. This has been our experience.

Tour Safety Precautions

  • Our small-group tours are safer than larger bus tours or cruises and outdoor, active travel is by its nature safer since infections are much rarer outdoors.
  • We will provide an introductory briefing on the first day of your tour about precautions we should all take.
  • We will move as many activities (introductions, morning meetings, etc) outside as possible.
  • We ask all participants to have a face mask available. Since our groups are fully vaccinated or tested, it will be up to individuals whether to wear their masks.

Hotels and Restaurants

Regarding COVID-19, spending time indoors is inherently less safe than spending time outdoors. Thus, we encourage you to continue to wear masks when entering restaurants or hotels, regardless of local laws. In addition, we will eat as many meals as possible outside or in sections of restaurants in which we can be separated from other diners. We have also reduced our Single Supplements to encourage solo travelers to book their own rooms.

Ground Transportation

Since our groups will all be either vaccinated or have a negative PCR test result, traveling in the same van should be safe. However, we will ask you to have masks available and it is up to each individual to decide whether to wear masks in our vans.

Higher Risk Travelers

If you are at higher risk or just have a low risk tolerance, you are welcome to implement even stricter measures on tours. You can choose to drive yourself to a tour, including from hotel to hotel. You can choose to eat with your own travel party at dinner or take meals back to your room. You can choose to skip any group activities we have planned.


We have always been focused on safety, with our guides being trained in first aid and CPR. We are prepared to offer you small-group adventure travel vacations in as safe and responsible a manner as possible. Most importantly, we know you want to travel and we will be there for you when you are ready!