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Terms and Conditions

1. Reservations

These require a booking form and a deposit which is non-refundable (see also sections 3 and 4). Booking requests with deposits will be considered in order of their receipt and, for this purpose, telephoned requests will be noted as from the date of the telephone call, provided they are followed by receipt of the appropriate booking form within seven days. A booking form is accepted and acceptance becomes definite only from the date that we have confirmed acceptance in writing and issued a confirmation invoice. At this point, a contract between the applicant and us comes into existence. All contracts and matters arising from it are subject to English law and the exclusive jurisdiction of the English courts. We reserve the absolute right to decline any bookings for any legal reasons whatsoever, at our sole discretion.

2. Payments

Payment of the balance of the tour cost is due not later than twelve weeks before the departure date. No further reminder will be sent and, if payment is not received by the due date, I reserve the right to treat the booking as cancelled and charge a cancellation fee, the amount of which will not exceed the total cost of the holiday. You are therefore strongly recommended to take out travel insurance at an early stage to cover you in event of cancellation (see also section 13). See also section 13.

3. Refunds

Deposits are non-refundable but are transferable (see also section 4). Deposits are transferable to another specified tour but are subject to deductions for any expenses incurred by me. Balance payments are also non-refundable except at our sole discretion, but are transferable in accordance with Transfer of Bookings (see also section 4). Insurance is therefore essential.

4. Transfer of Bookings

Tour participants may transfer their booking to another person if they are prevented from proceeding with the tour due to sickness or accidents suffered by them or their close family or for other unavoidable reasons such as jury service. However, if there is a waiting list for the tour the place must first be offered to the people on that waiting list. If there is no waiting list and the participant can find another person to take up the place, any additional costs incurred by us relating to the transfer have to be paid for by the transferee. Reasonable notice must be given to us about such a transfer and cannot be made within 70 days of departure.

5. Consumer Protection

The air holidays and flights in this brochure are ATOL protected, since we hold an Air Travel Organisers Licence granted by the Civil Aviation Authority. Our ATOL number is ATOL 5406. When you buy an ATOL protected flight or flight inclusive holiday from us you will receive an ATOL Certificate. This lists what is financially protected, where you can get information on what this means for you and who to contact if things go wrong. We, or the suppliers identified on your ATOL Certificate, will provide you with the services listed on the ATOL Certificate (or a suitable alternative). In some cases, where neither we nor the supplier are able to do so for reasons of insolvency, an alternative ATOL holder may provide you with the services you have bought or a suitable alternative (at no extra cost to you). You agree to accept that in those circumstances the alternative ATOL holder will perform those obligations and you agree to pay any money outstanding to be paid by you under your contract to that alternative ATOL holder. However, you also agree that in some cases it will not be possible to appoint an alternative ATOL holder, in which case you will be entitled to make a claim under the ATOL scheme (or your credit card issuer where applicable). If we, or the suppliers identified on your ATOL certificate, are unable to provide the services listed (or a suitable alternative, through an alternative ATOL holder or otherwise) for reasons of insolvency, the Trustees of the Air Travel Trust may make a payment to (or confer a benefit on) you under the ATOL scheme. You agree that in return for such a payment or benefit you assign absolutely to those Trustees any claims which you have or may have arising out of or relating to the non-provision of the services, including any claim against us, the travel agent (or your credit card issuer where applicable). You also agree that any such claims may be re-assigned to another body, if that other body has paid sums you have claimed under the ATOL scheme. For further information, visit the ATOL website at www.atol.org.uk.

6. Tour Cancellation

We reserve the right to cancel any tour for which there are insufficient reservations not less than eight weeks before the departure date. In the event of us cancelling, all deposits, insurance and other payments made to us will be refunded in full.

7. Cost Increases

These may occur unexpectedly. When calculating our tour prices in advance, we try to anticipate the rising costs of airfares, ground transportation and accommodation. Price changes may also occur because of fluctuating exchange rates. If unexpected cost rises do occur, we may have to increase the tour cost. If it is necessary to increase the tour cost, you will be notified not less than twelve weeks before the departure date with an explanation of the amount. Should it be necessary to increase the tour cost by more than 10%, participants may withdraw without penalty. Tour cost rises of up to 2% will be absorbed within the original stated price.

8. What the Tour Price Includes

The tour price includes all travel, accommodation and meals as specified in the itinerary of each individual tour and the services of the tour leader(s) throughout. The following items are not included in the cost: travel insurance, passport and visa costs, vaccinations and medication, excess baggage charges, telephone calls, laundry, drinks and food (unless specified in the tour details), tips and items of a purely personal nature. Please note that the flight prices quoted in our brochure are only guidelines and are the allowance we give participants who decide to arrange their own flights. Additionally, if the tour involves internal flights, these are generally not included in the flight price unless stated otherwise in the brochure so if you have chosen to arrange your own international flights you will be invoiced for the actual cost of the internal flights. Under no circumstances whatsoever will a refund be made if the actual cost of the flights are less than that quoted in our brochure. 

9. Tour Alterations

The tour price includes all travel, accommodation and meals as specified in the itinerary of each individual tour and the services of the tour leader(s) throughout. The following items are not included in the cost: travel insurance, passport and visa costs, vaccinations and medication, excess baggage charges, telephone calls, laundry, drinks and food (unless specified in the tour details), tips and items of a purely personal nature. Please note that the flight prices quoted in our brochure are only guidelines and are the allowance we give participants who decide to arrange their own flights. Additionally, if the tour involves internal flights, these are generally not included in the flight price unless stated otherwise in the brochure so if you have chosen to arrange your own international flights you will be invoiced for the actual cost of the internal flights. Under no circumstances whatsoever will a refund be made if the actual cost of the flights are less than that quoted in our brochure.

10. Passport, Visa and Health Requirements

All participants are responsible for, and must be in possession of, a full passport, valid for at least six months beyond the end of the tour. In addition, participants must obtain any necessary visas and vaccination certificates required for the tour. Because of changing requirements, and the fact that the tour details are published so far in advance, the visa requirements stated in our brochure may be out of date. While we will provide more up to date guidance in our final tour information letters, it is participant's sole responsibility to check the accuracy of this and obtain the necessary visas. As we are not medically qualified, it is the participants' absolute responsibility to seek medical advice regarding vaccinations and medication to ensure that they are prepared by the date of departure. Any medical information supplied in our brochure, or in subsequent correspondence, must be considered as a guide only.

11. Tour Information

General and more specific information will be made available to all tour participants. This may include details such as climate and clothing requirements, recommended reading, bird species we are likely to encounter, flight/ferry information, etc. Please note, however, that there is absolutely no guarantee whatsoever that specific bird species will be seen. Events such as floods, storms, fires etc., may prevent the tour from visiting certain areas resulting in specific bird species being missed and we will not accept responsibility for this. Any list provided is merely an indication of the species we may encounter on a tour. See also Section 9.

12. Accommodation

Accommodation will be in medium-standard hotels/motels, often with private facilities and TV, unless specified in the tour details. Single rooms are normally available at extra cost. If you are travelling singly, but want to share a room, every effort will be made to find someone of the same sex for you to share with; if this is not possible, however, I will have to charge you a single supplement. If you have reserved a single room on a tour and one is not available, you may expect a pro-rata refund for that day. Please note that medium-standard hotels in less developed countries may not have the accustomed level of facilities, and the food may not be quite as varied as anticipated. On rare occasions the accommodation that has been reserved for the tour may not be available and in the circumstances the leader will endeavour to obtain alternative accommodation of a similar standard although it may be of a lesser standard.  

13. Insurance

Travel insurance is absolutely essential and we will insist that suitable cover be arranged for all destinations outside the UK and should include Force Majeure (see section 20 below). This will ensure that the necessary protection is provided against loss of deposit and medical costs, which can be enormous should you fall ill during the tour. Please note that travel insurance rarely provides sufficient cover for expensive optical equipment; you are therefore recommended to add this to your home insurance policy under the 'All risks' section prior to departure. We will insist on proof of travel insurance cover being in effect prior to departure and, as a service and without recommendation and not as an agent, we can provide travel insurance. The travel insurance we provide is refundable if we have to cancel the tour, unlike most other policies. For full details click here.

14. Restrictions on Participation

Our tours do not normally entail strenuous activity but, if this cannot be avoided, it will be made clear in the tour details. Nevertheless, participants must be able to complete moderate walks of several miles a day, sometimes on uneven or slippery surfaces, to meet the schedule of the tour. If you have any health problems or physical limitaions, you are required to advise us prior to booking. To cater for the needs of all levels of birdwatcher, our tours sometimes involve long days in the field and travelling long distances. Subject to the itinerary of the tour, however, we can usually arrange for a half or a full day's rest for those who wish to opt out at any time. Small groups do, of course, call for consideration from all to ensure that everybody enjoys the tour. Your cooperation in not participating in any antisocial behaviour, such as smoking in the bus, is therefore expected. We reserve the right to send home at their own expense any person who will not conduct themselves in an acceptable manner, at the leaders sole discretion.

15. Group Size

The maximum group size is usually 16, excluding leaders. A suitable maximum group size to enjoy the tour will depend upon the location and is provided as a guide only in our brochure. Generally, any group size over 12 will have a second leader. We reserve the right to change leaders without notice and increase the group size.

16. Birdfinders Responsibility

We will take all reasonable steps to ensure that all services provided are of an acceptable standard. We cannot, however, accept liability for physical injury, loss, damage or expense resulting from any event whatsoever beyond my control. Insurance is therefore absolutely essential.

17. Participants' Safety

The safety of participants on all Birdfinders tours is of paramount importance so we operate all tours under Foreign and Commonwealth Office travel advice www.fco.gov.uk to ensure that you are covered by your travel insurance. No tour will run against Foreign and Commonwealth Office advice and no refunds of deposits or final balance payments can be made if participant(s) are disinclined to travel when the Foreign and Commonwealth Office do not advise against travel. All birdwatching tours have an element of danger as they involve climbing in and out of boats and vehicles, walking on uneven steep, muddy, rocky and/or ice-covered paths. Advice will be given on the terrain if requested but it is the participant’s ultimate responsibility to ensure that he/she is in a physical condition to undertake the activity (see section 14) and Birdfinders take no responsibility for any injuries sustained.

18. Data Protection Act

Your records are maintained on a computer database and are used solely for the purpose of marketing by Birdfinders and are not divulged to anyone else. If you wish your records to be amended or deleted please advise us.

19. Errors and Omissions

Whilst the greatest care is taken in the preparation of our brochure, mistakes can occur. Unless the error or omission has a major effect on the tour to the extent that the number of species seen is materially affected then no claim for compensation can be entertained.

20. Acts of God and Force Majeure

We cannot accept any responsibility for loss of deposits, loss of final payments, curtailment of holidays, additional costs incurred for delays and repatriation, loss of property, injury or death caused through acts of God or Force Majeure.


ATOL PROTECTION

All the flights and flight-inclusive holidays on this website are financially protected by the ATOL scheme. When you pay you will be supplied with an ATOL Certificate. Please ask for it and check to ensure that everything you booked (flights, hotels and other services) is listed on it. Please see our booking conditions for further information or for more information about financial protection and the ATOL Certificate go to: www.atol.org.uk/ATOLCertificate