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Safety and the COVID-19 Pandemic

Updated December 17, 2020

The travel world – indeed the entire world – has been turned upside down with the COVID-19 pandemic. We understand this has greatly impacted you, as it has greatly impacted us and our ability to run tours.

After having canceled all our vacations from March through June, we safely ran tours this past summer. However, given the sharp rise in infections we have again halted tours through January. After that date, we will resume running private tours. Starting with our February 22 – 26 Snowshoeing in Yellowstone public group tour, we will require a negative result on a COVID test or proof of vaccination on all public group tours.

You CAN confidently book now for next spring and beyond. We feel confident we can run tours during that time period. If we do cancel a tour on our schedule, you can receive a full credit or refund, your choice.

Following are our procedures for keeping you safe.

Small-Group Active Travel

Our small-group tours are safer than larger bus tours or cruises. Outdoor, active travel is by its nature safer since biking, hiking, and snowshoeing can all be done with more social distancing.

Health of Participants

You will be in contact with other participants but by keeping each person healthy, we hope to keep everyone healthy, forming our own travel bubble. This is a crucial step towards having a fun, safe vacation whether you are on a private vacation or one of our select public tour dates.

  • For our scheduled group tours available to everyone, we will require a negative COVID test or proof of vaccination once they are widely available. If you cannot obtain a test locally, we will facilitate mail-based tests that are quite reasonable at $119.
  • We will encourage our travelers to be extra careful during the two weeks prior to a vacation, whether you are on a private or public tour.
  • We will require all tour participants to certify prior to the tour that they do not have any symptoms of the coronavirus and have not been in contact with anyone they know is infected.
  • We will have a non-touch thermometer on site to take the temperature of tour participants. (The CDC considers a person to have a fever at 100.4 degrees.)
  • We will train our staff to recognize the symptoms of COVID-19 and be prepared to screen tour participants.

Airline Flights

Most of our tour participants fly to their destination and we are not in control of that aspect of travel. However, airlines and airports are taking extraordinary steps to keep passengers safe, including not selling tickets for middle seats, new electrostatic sanitation after each flight, mask requirements, and passenger screenings. Studies have shown air travel to be surprisingly safe during this pandemic.

Tour Safety Precautions

  • We will provide an introductory briefing on the first day of your vacation about precautions we should all take.
  • We will have face masks, hand sanitizer, a first aid kit, and a thermometer available on the tour.
  • We will move as many activities (introductions, morning meetings, etc) outside as possible.
  • We will sanitize our van daily.
  • We will eliminate handshakes, hugs, and glass sharing.
  • We will ask all participants to have a face mask available and will ask you to use it when we cannot maintain social distance.

Hotels and Restaurants

Hotels and restaurants, too, are taking extraordinary measures to keep patrons safe beyond just extra cleanings. For hotels this includes special rules for elevator capacity, removing handheld items such as pens, leaving rooms empty for 24 hours before someone checks in, and virtual checkins. For restaurants this includes reduced capacity, encouraging outdoor dining, and face masks for employees.

  • We will communicate with our hotels and restaurants to ensure they are following updated recommendations for maintaining safety.
  • We will eat as many meals outside as possible by doing more upscale picnics, outdoor dining, or take-out al fresco dining in local parks.
  • If we do eat indoors we will eat in smaller groups.
  • We have reduced our single supplements to encourage single travelers to book single rooms.

Ground Transportation

  • Where possible, we will reduce van rides requiring everyone to be inside at once. However, in Montana this is not always possible.
  • Where possible, we will use larger vehicles or more vehicles so each person can have their own row.
  • We will run shuttles more often with fewer people in each run.
  • We require masks while in vans, will open windows when practical, and will sanitize vehicles daily.
  • In fact, on many of our tours you can actually drive yourself rather than ever getting in a van. Just ask us.

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, including from hotel to hotel. You can choose to eat with your own travel party at dinner. You can choose to skip certain group activities we have planned. In general, we are already quite safety conscious but welcome any additional precautions you would like to take.

Summary

We are always focused on safety, with our guides being trained in first aid and CPR. This focused has increased dramatically during this pandemic. However, it is still possible to travel safely and we are in a position to help you make sure your vacation is as safe as possible.