Tour Information and Policies

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Note that booking policies are subject to change. When you book on a trip, we will send you an up-to-date booking form, and you should read it through completely before signing it and returning it. You will be bound by the booking form that you sign, as it supercedes the information on this website or in our printed tour catalog. We will not consider a booking to be confirmed until we receive both your deposit and your signed and dated booking form. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us by e-mail at [email protected] or by phone at 1-800-348-5941 (US & Canada) or +1-409-515-0514

TROPICAL BIRDING
TROPICAL BIRDING undertakes to create a trip itinerary, to provide a trip leader to guide expeditions and to arrange for all travel services and accommodation. TROPICAL BIRDING reserves the right to substitute other suppliers of arranged services, and to alter the itinerary when deemed necessary or advisable. The passage contract used by the airline shall constitute the trip participant’s sole contract regarding international air travel.

TRIP PRICE
The price of the trip includes all transfers, accommodation, tour materials and the service(s) of a leader, entrance fees to parks and reserves mentioned on the itinerary, as well as meals as indicated on the final itinerary. The price represents a complete package; itemization of individual costs is not available. Not included are flights between your home and the tour’s starting and ending destinations. Domestic flights required by the itinerary are almost always included in the tour price; there are however a few exceptions where it is more cost-effective to combine these with the purchase of your international ticket. All flights included or excluded from the tour price will be indicated on the final itinerary. Travel expenses such as departure taxes, passports, visas, immunizations, insurance, medical costs, evacuation, optional excursions, room service, beverages, laundry, excess baggage, tips, telephone calls and expenses of a purely personal nature or arising from the delay or extension of a trip due to causes beyond our control are not included. Routine tips for meals are included, but those for your porters, drivers, leader and local guides are not. If you have questions about the inclusion of gratuity for any cost item, please do not hesitate to contact us.

TRIP PRICE INCREASE
Due to a variety of possible circumstances beyond our control, the total trip cost is subject to change, although this is only as a last resort. Participants will be notified if any changes to the trip cost will be incurred. TROPICAL BIRDING tries its best to anticipate the rising costs of service in every country it operates, but when unexpected increases occur we will reserve the right to increase our price by 10% of the tour price. If greater increases are necessary, participants will be allowed to withdraw from the tour without cancellation penalty.

If you wish to avoid the cost of a single room (single supplement), we will attempt to find a roommate for you, but please be aware that this is not always possible and if we are unable to find a suitable roommate for you, you will be required to pay the single supplement. Please note rooming preferences will be honored to the best of our ability, but not guaranteed. In some remote locations (e.g. field stations), this may not always be possible, and sharing arrangements need to be accommodated. Whenever TROPICAL BIRDING is aware of these situations, participants will always be informed prior to booking. When unexpected sharing has to occur (particularly in remote locations where communication is difficult) the lack of availability at a particular hotel or lodge is usually not notified to us in advance and is only discovered on arrival. Under these circumstances, your leader will do their best to accommodate the group’s preferences.

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RESERVATIONS and PAYMENTS
To secure your reservation, a non-refundable deposit of 20% of the total trip price as well as the signing of the booking form containing the assumption of risk and release section, are required. Certain tours (e.g. Bhutan, Australia, and Papua New Guinea), as well as custom tours, require a 30% non-refundable deposit. Registration forms, with their corresponding deposits, are accepted in the order they are received.

TROPICAL BIRDING reserves the right to refuse or decline bookings for any reason whatsoever, at our sole discretion. A booking is accepted only from the date that TROPICAL BIRDING has confirmed acceptance in writing and issued a confirmation invoice and payment schedule for the tour. Only at this point does the contract between the participant and TROPICAL BIRDING come into existence. If payments are not received according to the payment schedule outlined in the booking form, TROPICAL BIRDING reserves the right to treat these bookings as cancelled and charge cancellation fees as outlined in the booking form.

The full balance is due 150 days prior to the departure date. Payments for bookings made less than 150 days prior to departure are due in full at the time of booking. Regrettably, failure to make deposits or payments on time may result in the cancellation of your reservation, and cancellation fees will apply.

IMPORTANT: WHENEVER YOU MAKE A PAYMENT, WHETHER IT BE AN IINITAIL DEPOSIT OR FINAL PAYMENT, YOU MUST INFORM US BY PHONE, EMAIL, OR FAX THE AMOUNT OF THE PAYMENT, FORM OF THE PAYMENT, AND THE DATE IT WAS SENT. FAILURE TO DO SO WILL RESULT IN A DELAY IN CONFIRMATION OF RECEIPT OF YOUR FUNDS.

We accept payments by check (personal checks are fine) or wire transfer. Unfortunately, due to high bank surcharges, we cannot accept credit card payments at present. All checks must be in US dollars and drawn on a US bank. Please contact us for payment details.

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INSURANCE
All trip participants are responsible for their own personal travel insurance to cover accident, medical expense, evacuation, repatriation, and loss of effects. We suggest you check your health policy to determine if it provides any overseas coverage. In addition, we strongly recommend trip cancellation/interruption coverage. We cannot stress how important this is to protect your investment. Please note that most traveler insurance companies require policies to be purchased within a short period following booking, depending on the insurer, so bear this in mind when booking and applying for travel insurance.

CHANGE OF ITINERARY or LEADER
TROPICAL BIRDING reserves the right to make tour changes if the need should arise due to unforeseen circumstances. If the trip leader/guide determines it is best to deviate from the activities described in the trip program, he/she will make reasonable efforts to substitute an activity of comparable interest and satisfaction to the trip participants. If significant changes are necessary prior to the start of any tour, participants will be informed. If a change of itinerary or operation mode is imposed upon us for any reason, such as airline strikes, weather or political unrest, the additional costs, whichever these may be, shall be the participants’ responsibility. Finally, TROPICAL BIRDING reserves the right to assign or substitute any of its leaders to any tour.

GROUP SIZE
A suitable maximum group size to enjoy a tour will depend very much upon the location and type of habitats visited. On set-departure tours, the maximum number of tour participants is 12. When there are more than nine participants, a second leader will be provided. On tours that spend time primarily in forest environments, maximum group size is typically eight or nine tour participants, with one leader. Customized tours can be arranged on request with a participant to leader ratio in accordance with the clients’ wishes.

MEDICAL CARE
All applicants with medical problems that could interfere or limit participation in the tour, or with communicable diseases, are required to make them known to us. The trip leader/guide has the right to disqualify anyone at any time from certain activities, if he/she has reason to believe that the person is not capable of safely participating in the activity. TROPICAL BIRDING makes no representation that there will be a doctor on any particular trip, and we assume no liability whatsoever regarding provision of medical care. If a participant is injured or becomes ill, TROPICAL BIRDING or the trip leader/guide may, at participant’s cost, arrange medical evacuation or other emergency services.

RESTRICTIONS AND PARTICIPATION
Our tours do not normally entail very 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 participate fully in the activities of the tour. To cater for the needs of all levels of birdwatcher, our tours sometimes involve long days in the field and travelling long distances.

AUTHORITY OF TRIP LEADER/GUIDE
Please let the trip leader/guide know of any problems or dissatisfaction; he/she will usually be able to remedy the situation. If a schedule change is necessary, he/she will ordinarily consult with trip participants. However, on matters relating to the safety and proper conduct of the trip, the leader’s decision is final. TROPICAL BIRDING accepts no responsibility for a participant who breaks the laws or regulations of any country visited, who is judged detrimental to the safety or welfare of others on the trip, or whose behavior impedes the operation of the trip or the rights, welfare or enjoyment of other trip participants. Such a person may be asked to leave the trip and TROPICAL BIRDING shall not be liable for any additional expenses incurred by a person excluded from further participation on a trip, including but not limited to, ground costs and airfares.

TRAVELER’S RESPONSIBILITY
Trip participants’ responsibilities include: selecting a trip appropriate to their interests and abilities; determining that particular destinations and activities are appropriate for them; determining that they are in sufficient health and fitness to undertake the trip and particular activities along the way; acquiring necessary passports, visas and immunizations; securing adequate insurance coverage; bringing appropriate clothing and equipment; passing through customs. Participants are responsible for the fate of any personal belongings they choose to bring on the trip. The primary focus of our set-departure trips is birding with a secondary focus on other aspects of natural history, culture, and/or photography. Unless otherwise stated in the tour itinerary, these must not interfere with the primary focus of the trip.

DOCUMENTATION
A passport valid for six months after the date of departure is required for all trips. It is the responsibility of the traveler to determine their visa requirements for all destinations and countries visited within a tour, though TROPICAL BIRDING can help you with this upon request.

IMMUNIZATIONS
Many destinations require a Yellow Fever vaccination certificate if the traveler has been in a Yellow Fever affected area in the last two years or if the traveler is arriving from a Yellow Fever infected area. Anti-malarial tablets are highly recommended for travel in Africa, Madagascar, and parts of Asia and South America, and may be regarded as a necessity on some tours. Please consult your physician to obtain advice on the instance of Malaria, and the prophylaxis options in Malaria areas. You should also consult with your physician about the advisability of vaccinations against tetanus, polio, hepatitis, cholera, typhoid and other diseases.

CANCELLATION BY TRAVELER
We require written notice of cancellation, which is effective upon receipt by us. If you need to cancel your booking, you must inform us immediately via email or fax and we will confirm your cancellation. Based on the date that we acknowledge your cancellation notice, cancellation fees will apply per person. This policy and fee schedule also applies to pre-trip and post-trip extensions as well as any transfers from one tour extension to another.

  • For cancellations received 150 days or more prior to the first day of the tour, the cancellation fee will be your non-refundable deposit.
  • For cancellations received 149 days or less prior to the first day of the tour, the cancellation fee will be the full cost of the tour.

Please note that bank charges may be deducted from the refund you receive. Under no circumstances can Tropical Birding waive or reduce cancellation fees, so it is highly recommended that you purchase trip cancellation/interruption insurance.

CANCELLATION BY TROPICAL BIRDING
We always try to run a tour even if few people have signed up, and sometimes at a loss. Certain tours are designated as “guaranteed departures” which means they will never be cancelled due to insufficient bookings. Trip cancellations by Tropical Birding are a matter of last resort. However, we simply cannot run some tours without a minimum number of bookings, and if we fail to reach that number we will be forced to cancel the tour. If this should happen, you will receive a full refund of any payment made. Participants should note that the cancellation of a pre- or post-tour extension due to insufficient participation, or any other reason, does not alter your rights and obligations with respect to the main tour. Airfares may not be refundable by airlines, so we strongly recommend that you acquire trip cancellation insurance that covers this.

TOUR ANNULMENT DUE TO CIRCUMSTANCES BEYOND TROPICAL BIRDING’S CONTROL
If a tour cannot commence due to circumstances beyond our control, including but not limited to technical or maintenance problems with transport, changes imposed by rescheduling or cancellation by air or sea carriers, government action, industrial dispute, war or threat of war, civil strife, terrorist activity, riot, natural or man-made disaster, severe weather conditions, or any situation considered threatening to the safety of our participants and/or staff, the tour will be annulled. In the event of an annulment, then Tropical Birding will refund all payments minus all expenses incurred by us. Where non-refundable prepayment has been made by Tropical Birding, most of the tour costs will not be refundable. In these instances documentation will be provided by Tropical Birding to allow participants to claim on their travel cancellation/interruption insurance. Please note that we cannot be responsible for any airline cancellation fees or other travel expenses you may face if the tour you signed up for does not run. For this reason, we strongly advise tour participants to take out travel and trip cancellation insurance.