Terms and Conditions
The following booking conditions form the basis of your contract with Adventure Alternative Ltd ("we", "us" and "our"). Please read them carefully as they set out our respective rights and obligations. By asking us to confirm your booking, we are entitled to assume that you have had the opportunity to read and have read these booking conditions and agree to them.
These booking conditions only apply to the trip arrangements which you book with us in the UK and which we agree to make, provide or perform (as applicable) as part of our contract with you. All references in these booking conditions to "trip", "booking", "contract" or "arrangements" mean such trip arrangements unless otherwise stated. References to "departure" mean the start date of these arrangements.
Please note: If your arrangements relate to a fundraising trip on behalf of the Moving Mountains charity then it is a condition of your participation that you meet the fundraising target set by Moving Mountains. If you have failed to meet the fundraising target by four weeks before departure you will be liable to pay any shortfall between the amount you have raised and the target set. If you are unable or unwilling to pay any shortfall then we will be entitled to treat your booking as cancelled by you. In such circumstances the cancellation charges set out in clause 7 will apply. If we do not cancel straight away because you have promised to make payment or raise additional sums, the charges set out in clause 7 will apply on the date we then reasonably treat your booking as cancelled.
To make a booking please follow the procedure shown on our website. The relevant application form needs to be completed and signed by each person travelling. Where you are under 18 at the time of booking, the application form also needs to be signed by your parent or guardian. The completed signed booking form must then be sent to us together with the payments referred to in paragraph 2 below.
Where we have already confirmed the availability of your chosen arrangements and you book within any applicable time limit for doing so, your booking will be treated as firm and a contract between us will come into existence as soon as we receive your completed and signed application form and your deposit. We will then send you a receipt for all payments made and our invoice. Where we have not confirmed availability, your booking will be treated as firm and a contract between us will come into existence when we despatch our invoice to you. Where you book through our website without prior confirmation of availability, any electronic acknowledgement of your booking is not a confirmation of it. Please check your invoice carefully as soon as you receive it. Contact us immediately if any information which appears on the invoice or any other document appears to be incorrect or incomplete.
A deposit of £250.00 sterling or 350 euro per person must accompany the booking. The balance must be received by us four weeks before departure, but bookings made within this period require immediate payment. If, for any reason, the balance (including any surcharge where applicable) is not received by the due date, we reserve the right to treat the booking as cancelled by you and retain your deposit. If we do not cancel straight away because you have promised to make payment, you must pay the cancellation charges shown in paragraph 7 depending on the date we reasonably treat your booking as cancelled.
The price quoted for any trip covers the cost of the planning, the organisation and carrying out of the trip, including group equipment, supplies, accommodation, administration and staff, except for the following, for which the you must be responsible: vaccination fees, travel insurance, cost of travel to and from the start / return point of your trip including your international flights, cost of passport and visas, personal equipment and personal expenses while on the trip and any other expenses specifically excluded on the trip description and/or invoice.
We reserve the right to make changes to and correct errors in quoted prices at any time before your trip is confirmed. We will advise you of any error of which we are aware and of the then applicable price at the time of booking.
Once the price of your chosen trip has been confirmed at the time of booking, then subject to the correction of errors, we will only increase or decrease the price in the following circumstances. A surcharge or refund (as applicable) will be payable, subject to the conditions set out in this clause, in the event of any change in our transportation costs or in dues, taxes or fees or in the exchange rates which have been used to calculate the cost of your trip. Even in the above cases, only if the amount of any increase in our costs exceeds 2% of the total cost of your trip will we levy a surcharge. If any surcharge is greater than 10% of the cost of your trip, you will be entitled to cancel your booking and receive a full refund of all monies you have paid to us or alternatively purchase another trip from us as referred to in paragraph 11.
Where applicable, you have 14 days from the issue date printed on the surcharge invoice to tell us if you want to choose option (b) or (c) as set out in paragraph 11 below. If you do not tell us that you wish to choose either of these options within this period of time, we are entitled to assume that you do not wish to do so and will pay the surcharge. Any surcharge must be paid with the balance of the cost of the trip or within 14 days of the issue date printed on the surcharge invoice, whichever is the later. A refund will only be payable if the decrease in our costs exceeds 2% of the total cost of your trip as set out above. Where a refund is due, we will pay you the full amount of the decrease in our costs. We promise not to levy a surcharge within 30 days of departure. No refund will be payable during this period either.
Travel insurance. It is essential that you have adequate and appropriate cover for your trip including any adventurous activities such as trekking at altitude. Note that the majority of our trips do not require the use of climbing ropes and are all supervised. It is important to have adequate insurance which will cover cancellation costs from the date of booking as well as medical expenses (including evacuation and repatriation). If you travel against FCO advice, the validity of your insurance policy may be affected. Please read your policy details carefully and take them with you on your trip. It is your responsibility to ensure that the insurance cover you purchase is suitable and adequate for your particular needs.
Health: Except as disclosed in your medical questionnaire, you are taken to confirm at the time of booking that you are in good health, physically capable of undertaking all aspects of the trip, and unaware of any reason why you may be unsuited to taking part or may be likely to suffer illness or injury during the trip, taking into account its challenges and purposes. If you are unable to give for this confirmation for any reason or have any medical condition or disability which may affect your trip, you must contact us before you submit your application form so that we can assist you in considering the suitability of the trip for you. If any information given in the application form or medical questionnaire is shown to be materially incorrect or incomplete, we reserve the right to cancel your booking or terminate your participation in the trip, depending on when we become aware of the true position. In this situation, cancellation charges as set out in paragraph 7 will apply and we will not be responsible for any costs or expenses incurred as a result.
Special requests: Please advise us of any special requests prior to making your booking. Where possible, we will endeavour to meet or arrange for our suppliers to meet any such request. Confirmation that a special request has been noted or passed on to the supplier or the inclusion of the special request on your invoice or any other documentation is not confirmation that the request will be met. Unless and until specifically confirmed, all special requests are subject to availability. For your own protection, you should obtain confirmation in writing that a special request will be complied (where it is possible to give this) where it is important to you.
Cancellation of bookings must be notified to us by letter or e-mail by the party leader as soon as possible. Your notice of cancellation will only be effective when it is received in writing by us. Except as set out in paragraph 8 below, the following cancellation charges will be payable.
Period before departure within which written notification of cancellation is received by us Cancellation charge per person cancelling (% of total cost) More than 4 weeks Deposit only 2 to 4 weeks 40% 1 day to 2 weeks 60% Date of departure or later 100%
Depending on the reason for cancellation, you may be able to reclaim these cancellation charges (less any applicable excess) under the terms of your insurance policy. Claims must be made directly to the insurance company concerned. Where a part cancellation of a booking affects the basis on which the price was calculated, we will recalculate and re-invoice you accordingly.
If your withdrawal from your trip is necessary as a result of one of the following reasons, (where satisfactory evidence of that reason is provided) and your travel insurance does not cover the claim, we will at our discretion refund the payments received from you; your death, serious accidental bodily injury, illness, compulsory quarantine, summoning to jury service or witness attendance in court or the death or serious illness of a close relative or fiancé(e) which necessitates your presence at home.
Alternatively, if you are prevented from travelling for any reason (including but not limited to the above), you may transfer your place to someone else (introduced by you) providing we are notified not less than 1 week before departure. All costs and charges incurred by us and/or incurred or imposed by any of our suppliers as a result must be paid before the transfer can be effected. Any overdue balance payment must also be received.
Changes to your confirmed trip can usually be made, both before and after departure. We do not charge any amendment fee for doing so and will only pass on any extra costs involved in providing additional or alternative services.
The itinerary is a guide to which we will attempt to adhere, but it may be necessary to alter this at short notice as a result of circumstances or events outside our control such as adverse weather or road conditions or any of those amounting to force majeure (see paragraph 12), or due to the operating conditions imposed by owners and operators of accommodation, facilities and transport. Your itinerary will, however, be the same in content as far as is reasonably possible, unless circumstances beyond our control make this impossible. Should weather conditions involve you in extra costs such as accommodation, transportation and meals, these will be borne by mutual agreement between us.
Changes and cancellation by us: As referred to above, we may have to make changes to and correct errors in advertised and confirmed details and also cancel confirmed bookings which we must reserve the right to do. Please note, our trips may require a minimum number of participants to enable us to operate them. If the minimum number of bookings required for a particular trip have not been received, we are entitled to cancel it. We will notify you of cancellation for this reason no less than 4 weeks prior to departure.
Most changes are minor. Occasionally, we have to make a "significant change". A significant change is a change made before departure which we can reasonably be expected to have a major effect on your trip. If we have to make a significant change or cancel, we will tell you as soon as possible. If there is time to do so before departure, we will offer you the choice of the following options:-
- (for significant changes) accepting the changed arrangements; or
- purchasing an alternative trip from us, of a similar standard to that originally booked if available. We will offer you at least one alternative trip of equivalent or higher standard for which you will not be asked to pay any more than the price of the original trip. If this trip is in fact cheaper than the original one, we will refund the price difference. If you do not wish to accept the trip we specifically offer you, you may choose any of our other then available trips. You must pay the applicable price of any such trip. This will mean your paying more if it is more expensive or receiving a refund if it is cheaper; or
- cancelling or accepting the cancellation in which case you will receive a full and quick refund of all monies you have paid to us.
Please note, the above options are not available where any change made is a minor one.
If we have to make a significant change or cancel we will, where appropriate, pay you the reasonable compensation depending on the circumstances and when the significant change or cancellation is notified to you subject to the following exceptions. Compensation will not be payable and no liability beyond offering the above mentioned choices can be accepted where (1) we are forced to make a change or cancel as a result of unusual and unforeseeable circumstances beyond our control, the consequences of which we could not have avoided even with all due care or (2) where applicable, we have to cancel because the minimum number of bookings necessary for us to operate your trip has not been reached (see above). No compensation will be payable and the above options will not be available if we cancel as a result of your failure to comply with any requirement of these booking conditions entitling us to cancel (such as paying on time) or where a change is a minor one.
Very rarely, we may be forced by "force majeure" (see paragraph 12) to change or terminate your trip after departure but before the scheduled end of your time away. This is extremely unlikely but if this situation does occur, we regret we will be unable to make any refunds (unless we obtain any refunds from our suppliers), pay you any compensation or meet any costs or expenses you incur as a result.
In these booking conditions, "force majeure" means any event which we or the supplier of the service(s) in question could not, even with all due care, foresee or avoid. Such events may include, whether actual or threatened, war, riot, civil strife, terrorist activity, industrial dispute, natural or nuclear disaster, adverse weather conditions, fire and all similar events outside our control. Except where otherwise expressly stated in these booking conditions, we regret we cannot accept liability or pay any compensation where the performance or prompt performance of our obligations under our contract with you is prevented or affected by or you otherwise suffer any damage, loss or expense of any nature as a result of "force majeure".
Our Liability to you:
We promise to make sure that the trip arrangements we have agreed to make, perform or provide as applicable as part of our contract with you are made, performed or provided with reasonable skill and care. This means that, subject to these booking conditions, we will accept responsibility if, for example, you suffer death or personal injury or your contracted trip arrangements are not provided as promised or prove deficient as a result of the failure of ourselves, our employees, agents or suppliers to use reasonable skill and care in making, performing or providing, as applicable, your contracted trip arrangements. Please note, it is your responsibility to show that reasonable skill and care has not been used if you wish to make a claim against us. In addition, we will only be responsible for what our employees, agents and suppliers do or do not do if they were at the time acting within the course of their employment (for employees) or carrying out work we had asked them to do (for agents and suppliers).
We will not be responsible for any injury, illness, death, loss (including loss of possessions and loss of enjoyment), damage, expense, cost or other sum or claim of any description whatsoever which results from any of the following:your act(s) and/or omission(s); or
the act(s) and/or omission(s) of a third party not connected with the provision of your trip and which were unforeseeable or unavoidable; or
'force majeure' as defined in paragraph 12 above.
Please note, we cannot accept responsibility for any services which do not form part of our contract. This includes, for example, any additional services which any supplier (including any of our regional companies – see below) agrees to provide or arrange for you where we have not agreed to provide or arrange these services as part of our contract. Such additional services will include any activities which do not form part of your contracted trip arrangements which a supplier agrees to provide or arrange for you while you are away. In addition, regardless of any wording used by us on our website, in any advertising material or elsewhere, we only promise to use reasonable skill and care as set out above and we do not have any greater or different liability to you. Many of your trip arrangements are provided by our regional companies such as Adventure Alternative Tanzania and Adventure Alternative Nepal. These companies are totally separate legal entities and are not subsidiaries of or otherwise legally connected with us other than as suppliers of services included in your trip. They operate entirely independently of Adventure Alternative Limited and have their own terms and conditions.
The promises we make to you about the services we have agreed to provide or arrange as part of our contract - and the laws and regulations of the country in which your claim occurred - will be used as the basis for deciding whether the services in question had been properly provided. If the particular services which gave rise to the claim or complaint complied with local laws and regulations applicable to those services at the time, the services will be treated as having been properly provided. This will be the case even if the services did not comply with the laws and regulations of the UK which would have applied had those services been provided in the UK. The exception to this is where the claim concerns the absence of a safety feature which might lead a reasonable participant to refuse to take the trip in question.
Where we are found liable for loss of and/or damage to any luggage or personal possessions (including money), the maximum amount we will have to pay you is £1000 per person affected unless a lower limitation applies to your claim under this paragraph or paragraph 13(6) below. You must ensure you have appropriate travel insurance to protect your personal belongings. For all other claims which do not involve death or personal injury, if we are found liable to you on any basis the maximum amount we will have to pay you is twice the price (excluding amendment charges) paid by or on behalf of the person(s) affected in total unless a lower limitation applies to your claim under paragraph 9(6) below. This maximum amount will only be payable where everything has gone wrong and you have not received any benefit at all from your trip.
Where any claim or part of a claim (including those involving death or personal injury) concerns or is based on any travel arrangements (including the process of getting on and/or off the transport concerned) provided by any air, sea or rail carrier to which any international convention or EU regulation applies, the maximum amount of compensation we will have to pay you will be limited. The most we will have to pay you for that claim or that part of a claim if we are found liable to you on any basis is the most the carrier concerned would have to pay under the international convention or regulation which applies to the travel arrangements in question (for example, the Warsaw Convention as amended or unamended and the Montreal Convention for international travel by air and/or for airlines with an operating licence granted by an EU country, the EC Regulation on Air Carrier Liability No 889/2002 for national and international travel by air, the Athens Convention for international travel by sea and COTIF, the Convention on International Travel by Rail). Please note: where a carrier would not be obliged to make any payment to you under the applicable international convention or regulation in respect of a claim or part of a claim, we similarly are not obliged to make a payment to you for that claim or part of the claim. When making any payment, we are entitled to deduct any money which you have received or are entitled to receive from the carrier for the claim in question. Copies of the applicable international conventions and regulations are available from us on request.
Please note, we cannot accept any liability for any damage, loss, expense or other sum(s) of any description (1) which on the basis of the information given to us by you concerning your booking prior to our accepting it, we could not have foreseen you would suffer or incur if we breached our contract with you or (2) which did not result from any breach of contract or other fault by ourselves or our employees or, where we are responsible for them, our suppliers. Additionally we cannot accept liability for any business losses including self employed loss of earnings.
Delay: We regret we are not in a position to offer you any assistance in the event of delay at your outward or homeward point of departure. Depending on the circumstances, if you are flying with an EU carrier, the airline may be required to pay you compensation and/or refund the cost of your flight and/or provide you with accommodation and/or refreshments in the event of a significant delay or cancellation. However, we have no liability to make any such payments to you and you must pursue the airline or other transport operator concerned for any payment which may be due.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office publishes regularly updated travel information on its website www.fco.gov.uk/knowbeforeyougo which you are recommended to consult before booking and in good time before departure.
Conditions of suppliers: Suppliers, including transport operators, provide their services in accordance with their own terms and conditions. These terms may limit or exclude their liability to you in the event of death, personal injury, delay or loss / damage of personal possessions.
Decisions of Adventure Alternative, behaviour and damage: While the trip is in progress, all decisions are made by Adventure Alternative staff or staff employed by our regional companies and you must act in accordance with all reasonable instructions you are given. The team leader, trip guide or other member of our staff or staff employed by our regional companies may withdraw you from the trip at any time if they are of the reasonable opinion that your continued presence is prejudicing or is likely to prejudice the good order, discipline, safety or successful operation of the trip or the safety or wellbeing of any individual participant(s) or other third party or if you break any law or regulation of any country where the trip takes place. We or staff employed by our regional companies are entitled to withdraw you from a trip in the above circumstances where the information provided on your application form or medical questionnaire proves to be materially inaccurate or incomplete. Where you are withdrawn, you will be required to leave the trip immediately and we will have no further responsibility towards you. No refunds will be made and we will not pay any expenses or costs incurred as a result of the withdrawal. You will in addition have to indemnify us against any loss or expense that may be incurred as a result of your actions.
You accept responsibility for any damage or loss caused by you. Full payment for any such damage or loss (reasonably estimated if not precisely known) must be made direct to the accommodation owner or manager or other supplier or to us as soon as possible. If the actual cost of the loss or damage exceeds the amount paid where estimated, you must pay the difference once known. If the actual cost is less than the amount paid, the difference will be refunded. You will also be responsible for meeting any claims subsequently made against us and all costs incurred by us (including our own and the other party’s full legal costs) as a result of your actions. You should ensure you have appropriate travel insurance to protect you if this situation arises.
We expect all clients to have consideration for other people. If in our reasonable opinion or in the reasonable opinion of any other person in authority, you behave in such a way as to cause or be likely to cause danger, upset or distress to any third party or damage to property, we are entitled, without prior notice, to terminate your trip.
Passport and visa requirements: The passport and visa requirements applicable to British citizens for the trips we offer are shown on the relevant trip page on our website. Requirements may change and you must check the up to date position in good time before departure. A full British passport presently takes approximately 2 to 6 weeks to obtain. If you are 16 or over and haven't yet got a passport, you should apply for one at least 6 weeks before departure. The UK Passport Service has to confirm your identity before issuing your first passport and will ask you to attend an interview in order to do this. If you are not a British citizen or hold a non British passport, you must check passport and visa requirements with the embassy or consulate of the country(ies) to or through which you are intending to travel.
You must ensure you are in possession of all necessary travel and health documents before departure. All costs incurred in obtaining such documentation must be paid by you. We regret we cannot accept any liability if you are refused entry onto any transport or into any country due to failure on your part to carry all required documentation. If failure to have any necessary travel or other documents results in fines, surcharges or other financial penalty being imposed on us, you will be responsible for reimbursing us accordingly.
Health requirements: Details of any compulsory health requirements applicable to British citizens for the trips we offer are shown on the relevant trip page on our website. It is your responsibility to ensure you are aware of all recommended vaccinations and health precautions in good time before departure. Details are available from your GP surgery and from the National Travel Health Network and Centre www.nathnac.org Information on health is also contained in the Department of Health leaflet T7 (Health Advice for Travellers) available from the Department of Health by telephone on 0870 1555455 or via its website www.dh.gov.uk and from most Post Offices. For trips in the EU / EEA you should obtain an EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) prior to departure from the Department of Health (see leaflet T7 and the website www.dh.gov.uk). Health requirements and recommendations may change and you must check the up to date position in good time before departure.
Complaints. In the unlikely event that you have any reason to complain or experience any problems with your trip whilst away, you must immediately inform your trip guide or our local agent (if we have one) and the supplier of the service(s) in question. Any verbal notification must be put in writing and given to our trip guide / local agent and the supplier as soon as possible. If any complaint or problem is not resolved to your satisfaction by the trip guide, local agent or supplier, you must contact us in the UK using the contact details we have provided you with during your trip, giving us full details and a contact number. Until we know about a complaint or problem, we cannot begin to resolve it. Most problems can be dealt with quickly. If you remain dissatisfied, however, you must write to us within 28 days of the end of your trip giving your booking reference and full details of your complaint. For all complaints and claims which do not involve death, personal injury or illness, we regret we cannot accept liability if you fail to notify the complaint or claim entirely in accordance with this clause. In the unlikely event you have a complaint which we cannot amicably resolve, you may, as an alternative to bringing a claim in the courts, use the AITO independent resolution scheme. This scheme enables a dispute to be resolved on documents alone with limited liability for costs. Full details are available on request.
Your contract: We both agree that English law (and no other) will apply to your contract and to any dispute, claim or other matter of any description which arises between us ("claim") except as set out below. We both also agree that any claim (and whether or not involving any personal injury) which arises between us must be dealt with by the courts of England and Wales only unless, in the case of court proceedings, you live in Scotland or Northern Ireland. In this case, proceedings must either be brought in the courts of your home country or those of England and Wales. If proceedings are brought in Scotland or Northern Ireland, you may choose to have your contract and any claim governed by the law of Scotland/Northern Ireland as applicable (but if you do not so choose, English law will apply).
Our website: The information contained in our website and in our other advertising material is believed correct to the best of our knowledge at the time of publication. However, errors may occasionally occur and information may subsequently change. You must therefore ensure you check all details of your chosen trip (including the price) with us at the time of booking.
Overseas standards: It is the requirements and standards of the country in which any services which make up your trip are provided which apply to those services and not those of the UK. As a general rule, these requirements and standards will not be the same as the UK and may often be lower.
Financial security: As a member of the Association of Independent Tour Operators (AITO), and by the provisions of the European Travel Directive 90/314/EEC 1990, we are bound by law to have in place financial bonding to protect clients' money. This arrangement means your money will be refunded to you in the unlikely event of our being unable to provide your trip due to our insolvency.
The Association of Bonded Travel Organisers Trust Limited (ABTOT) provides financial protection under the Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations 1992 for Adventure Alternative, and in the event of their insolvency, protection is provided for the following:
1. non-flight packages commencing in and returning to the UK;
2. non-flight packages commencing and returning to a country other than the UK; and
3. flight inclusive packages that commence outside of the UK, which are sold to customers outside of the UK.
1, 2 and 3 provides for a refund in the event you have not yet travelled. 1 and 3 provides for repatriation. Please note that bookings made outside the UK are only protected by ABTOT when purchased directly with Adventure Alternative.
In the above circumstances, if you have not yet travelled you may claim a refund, or if you have already travelled, you may claim repatriation to the starting point of your non-flight package.
Policies & risk assessments
Here are some of our standard operational policies and procedures:
Participant Selection - for volunteer trips
Venture Stakeholder Diagram - for youth trips
Participant Code of Conduct - for volunteer trips
We have policies and risk assessments listed below kept on cloud for anyone to view or we can send them a pdf of the assessment. All assessments are updated annually according to the requirements of the BS8848 standard.
Health & Medical
Towns & Cities
We also supply our staff with the following documents to assist them in their job.
Staff Guidelines - including briefing procedures, guesthouse management, risk awareness and assessment, first aid, stores & equipment, trip preparation, ongoing trip assessment, conduct and presentation, vehicle preparation, communication and behaviour
Staff Guidelines for the use of PEP - Post Exposure Prophylaxis Anti-Retroviral Medicines and information regarding Universal Precautions
Safari Guidelines and Rules
Health and safety policy
Our first and single biggest objective is the reduction of risk to health and safety as far as is practically possible.
Adventure Alternative has a health & safety policy which can be found below together with how each of these policy points is implemented. Each expedition we run has undergone a strict risk assessment test, and we are compliant with the BS8848 specification which is a new British standard for adventurous activities outside the UK.
Fundamentally we have experienced staff who have been trained in how to look after clients safely, and what to do in the event of an emergency. Almost all of them have been employed in the company for ten years, and they are well aware of the high standards we want to maintain. We also have strong relationships with local communities, health care facilities and authorities such as National Park Rangers. Our priorities are:
INFORMATION AND ADVICE BEFORE YOU GO
- Provide relevant health and safety information to all clients before they arrive in-country
- Advise staff and clients to contact their doctors or travel clinics for immunisations before travelling
- Provide proper kit lists and equipment information relevant to the trip
- Provide information on the various environments to be visited, with respect to safety, local politics, culture, etiquette and social responsibility
- Direct people to the FCO Know Before You Go campaign for up-to-date information
- Ensure that appropriate qualified and/or experienced staffs are employed in the regions where we operate and that all field staff and group leaders are trained in safe operating procedures.
- Ensure that all staff go through an on-site induction, which includes training in the relevant procedures, and a probationary period prior to being given responsibility over a group.
- Improve our operating procedure regularly in each area followed by meetings of all relevant staff to identify corrective actions.
WHEN YOU ARRIVE
- Safety information provided and relevant addresses of medical facilities and company personnel during a general briefing and also special briefings when required
- Identify the risks associated with activities and locations, as well as the development of measures to minimise these risks.
- Produce risk assessments for each location or trip
- Ensure that all staff are aware of the risk assessments and how to fill in an incident form
- Continually update and evaluate the risk assessments
- Make clients aware of safe practises and risk assessments
- Always use reliable and safe vehicles which have the required paperwork
- Ensure trekking teams remain in contact with each other and that whistles, phones and torches are carried along with the first aid kit
- Make sure clients understand the risks associated with additional activities such as snorkelling and swimming, or any hazardous activity, and ensure that all safety procedures are followed
- Comply with all National Park codes of conduct, mountain safety codes of practise and applicable rules for entering areas where a safety policy exists
- Make sure cooking and washing is done in boiled water, and that both staff and clients are encouraged to follow hygienic practises
EVACUATION AND EMERGENCY
- Ensure that there are adequate communication facilities provided to staff, either by mobile phone or satellite phone, and that applicable numbers are all known
- Ensure that all staff are fully aware of where the nearest and best medical facility is
- Ensure that clients are given telephone numbers of our local staff
- All clients have access to a qualified medical person nearby and a member of staff who can provide immediate assistance
- All teams must carry a first aid kit, and first aid kits are also kept in our various guesthouses
- Ensure that all staff understand what to do in order to facilitate an evacuation which is either high priority (requiring immediate evacuation by helicopter), medium priority (fastest route to the nearest hospital) or low priority (most convenient and comfortable overland or over water route)
- Keep records of all incidents, accidents and emergencies
- Carry out a post-incident evaluation to improve procedures in the future
Safety on youth trips
Currently there is no binding legislation for companies offering adventure activities outside the United Kingdom. It is, to a large extent, a voluntary issue of trust between the provider and the consumer. This is because health and safety standards in the UK cannot be adhered to in a foreign country where a) those standards are below that of the UK, and b) where foreign country laws apply.
However there is a British Standard 8848 which applies to overseas expeditions, field and school trips, and there is a rigorous independent examination carried out by members of the Young Explorers Trust. Currently this is the only proper and formal accreditation for expedition safety in the UK. We have been assessed and independently audited to the satisfaction of the Standard.
We also abide by the relevant rulings from the European Directive relating to tour operators, and the UK Package Travel Regulation regarding liability on holidays and our responsibility to all clients, plus we abide by the relevant sections of the Children and Families Act 2014, in particular part 5 relating to the welfare of children.
UK Outdoor Education
At Adventure Alternative we want to show that we are taking the issues of safety and professionalism seriously. Below we have identified the relevant clauses from the UK Outdoor Education Legislation that are pertinent to the youth expeditions that we offer. We make the commitment to abide by those principles and to our best abilities in a developing country. In the text below we have taken quoted excerpts of relevant legislation to our trips to give you the definitive guidance in italics, and beneath we have added our comments to show how our commitment relates to it.
THE REGULATORY FRAMEWORK
The person 'in loco parentis' stands in the place of the parent and owes a duty of care to the child equal to the duty of care owed by a reasonable parent; that is a careful parent.
Every AA staff member is fully briefed about his and her level of accountability to all youth members of our expeditions, and they have all had more than 5 years experience of working with young people and have all had CRB checks.
The legislation introduces a licensing scheme, the aim of which is 'to give assurance that good safety management practice is being followed so that young people can continue to have opportunities to experience exciting and stimulating activities outdoors while not being exposed to avoidable risks of death and disabling injury.'
Adventure Alternative adheres to the principles contained within the licensing scheme, but because the licensing scheme only exists for commercial providers operating within the UK, we take this as a central pillar of our corporate promise to schools and parents. We then adjust it according to the specific needs and requirements of being abroad.
WHO DOESN'T NEED A LICENCE?
Most schools and voluntary youth groups will not need a licence. This is because they will either be exempt, or be providing activities which are not covered by the Regulations......Although, in consequence, the great majority of adventurous activities will be provided entirely outside the regime introduced by this legislation, the maintenance of high standards of safety and competence in adventurous activities remains of paramount importance.
Adventure Alternative considers it our duty to conform to all the correct elements of leadership and instruction that we consider necessary to run our youth trips abroad, and to operate the highest standards of competence and responsibility.
THE REGULATIONS APPLY TO THE FOLLOWING ACTIVITIES:
Caving (underground exploration in natural caves and mines including potholing, cave diving and mine exploration); climbing (climbing, traversing, abseiling and scrambling activities except on purpose-designed climbing walls or abseiling towers); ...trekking (walking, running, pony trekking, mountain biking, off-piste skiing and related activities when done in moor or mountain country which is remote ie. over 30 minutes travelling time from the nearest road or refuge);
Our trips include trekking so therefore we would apply the regulation to that activity being done outside the UK.
WHAT ARE THE LICENSING STANDARDS?
In particular, the licensing authority will look for:
Well implemented systems of risk assessment;
Yes, AA has risk assessments which are tried and tested and monitored annually.
Properly documented safety management procedures;
Yes, we have a safety management system which is available for reading and shows our internal hierarchy for dealing with an incident.
So far as the competence(s) that will be expected or required from instructors are concerned, the Guidance (but not the Regulations) includes a number of detailed tabulations of what would be regarded as appropriate. However, the Guidance also emphasizes that:
'experience is also important; a person who holds the right technical qualification but has little practical experience may not be competent to advise' and also that 'providers may demonstrate the competence of their instructors by externally awarded qualifications, in-house training, experience or any combination of these...the licensing authority should accept whichever means a provider chooses, so long as it is satisfied that instructor competence has been demonstrated.'
We employ qualified and/or very experienced staff for all of our trips which involve trekking or climbing. We train our local guides in first aid and mountain travel, and our western staff have received both first aid training and Mountain Leader training. Our staff have all had in excess of ten years experience managing groups in-country and are involved in both the organisation and implementation of trips.
PACKAGE TRAVEL REGULATIONS AND EU DIRECTIVE ON PACKAGE TRAVEL
The EU Package Travel Directive came into force in June 1990 as a consumer protection measure and was incorporated into UK law in December 1992. It defines the responsibilities of tourism operators in relation to 'packages' which they sell or promote. It has been rewritten in 2015 for implementation in 2018 into the UK Package Regulations.
A 'package' is a prearranged combination of two or more of the following, offered at an inclusive price and covering a period of at least 24 hours or overnight accommodation: transport;
We do not provide airline tickets which would render us liable for an ATOL bond. But we do provide local in-country transport with our own vehicles, principally overland safari trucks which are registered in the UK. We also use local transport such as trains and coaches which we handpick for suitability. Our staff always accompany groups on local transport.
Yes, we provide our own accommodation which are the registered bases for our satellite offices and are safe and protected. We provide tents for all other accommodation on the mountain or in rural areas. We also use handpicked local hotels and lodges and homes with whom we have an agreed level of support and comfort.
Other tourist services which account for a significant proportion of the package.
Yes, we provide the whole package, and we outsource our services to local companies we have worked with and invested in for many years, plus we also guide the trip ourselves with our own staff.
PACKAGE TRAVEL LAW REQUIRES THE TOUR OPERATOR TO:
Provide full and accurate details about packages including terms and conditions;
Our website and trip information packs give day by day itineraries and a complete and full description of all the aspects of accommodation, transport and activities for the whole trip. We keep in close contact with all expeditioners by email or telephone throughout the whole pre-trip planning stage. We also give talks to the school and meet the parents wherever possible.
Provide guarantees for any advance booking monies until the trip has taken place;
We keep all client money in a client account and we have bonding insurance in place. We do sometimes use client money for advance purchases where necessary, for example mountain permit fees and internal flights, but we endeavour to keep the client informed about the progress of the logistics as part of our general correspondence with all the teams.
Be liable as well as responsible for the services supplied by their sub-contractors.
Our sub-contractors are mainly Adventure Alternative local companies with whom we have clear agreements in place about the standards of our trips, safety measures and internal processes by which we organise all trips.
Making a Complaint
If you have any concerns regarding any aspect of our operations or staff we encourage you to contact us as soon as possible and with as much information as possible. This could be during any part of the lead up to your trip, while on the trip, or after you have returned home. It is important that you contact us either directly to the UK office or via your trip leader as soon as possible after the issue has arisen. In this way, we can do our best to address any concerns at the time and minimise any disruption or distress.
Please also note that you are obliged to do so under part 20 of our terms and conditions; a copy is available online and can be sent to you upon request. If you wish to raise a concern or make a complaint after you have returned home, you need to contact our UK office within 28 days of the end of your trip giving your booking reference and full details of the issue to be raised.
In investigating any concern raised with reference to our ventures, we will need to consult with all parties related to the incident or situation. This may include our own UK and in-country staff and also staff of third parties and other clients where relevant. This may be necessary in order to build up a good picture of the circumstances surrounding an incident. We reserve the right to make these enquiries in the interests of completeness.
If you have a concern that you feel unable to raise with any one member of staff or in relation to which you wish to stay anonymous, please contact Adventure Alternative Managing Director Gavin Bate directly. If you have an express interest to stay anonymous from there forward, you must expressly state this in the initial correspondence. Please note that this may affect the ability of ourselves to fully investigate the matter.
We will always seek to resolve any concerns or complaints through amicable dialogue. However, if you remain unsatisfied you can also use the AITO independent resolution scheme. This scheme enables a dispute to be resolved on documents alone with limited liability for costs. Full details are available on request.
Adventure Alternative adheres to the Data Protection Act 1998 and is registered with the Information Commissioners Office (ICO).
Our Registration Number is: Z2125893
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We are members of the Association of Independent Tour Operators which means we comply with their Quality Charter which is laid out below. Being a member of AITO also requires us to have a significant share capital in the company which helps prove our credibility and financial worth, plus we collaborate with the other members on industry issues and share our values around sustainable tourism.
AITO Quality Charter
AITO is the Association for independent and specialist holiday companies. Our member companies, usually owner-managed, strive to create overseas holidays with high levels of professionalism and a shared concern for quality and personal service. The Association encourages the highest standards in all aspects of tour operating.
AITO sets criteria regarding ownership, finance and quality which must be satisfied before new companies are admitted to membership. All members are required to adhere to a Code of Business Practice which encourages high operational standards and conduct.
An AITO member is required to arrange financial protection for all holidays and other arrangements (including accommodation only) booked by customers with the member under the AITO logo. This financial protection applies to customers who are resident in the UK at the time of booking and to most overseas customers who have booked directly with the member. In doing so, the member must comply with UK Government regulations. Members are required to submit details of their financial protection arrangements to AITO on a regular basis.
Accurate brochures and websites
All members do their utmost to ensure that all their brochures and other publications, print or electronic, clearly and accurately describe the holidays and services offered.
Professional service and continual improvements
All members are committed to high standards of service and believe in regular and thorough training of employees. Members continually seek to review and improve their holidays. They listen to their customers and always welcome suggestions for improving standards.
AITO endeavours to monitor quality standards regularly. All customers should receive a post-holiday questionnaire from their tour operator, the results of which are scrutinised by the Association.
In addition, customers can leave detailed feedback, accessible from the homepage of this website, or via a direct link supplied by their AITO tour operator, about their holiday.
Our members acknowledge the importance of AITOs Sustainable Tourism ethos, which recognises the social, economic and environmental responsibilities of tour operating.
All members endeavour to deal swiftly and fairly with any issues their customers may raise. In the unlikely event that a dispute between an AITO member and a customer cannot be settled amicably, either party can call on an arbitration service to bring the matter to a speedy and acceptable conclusion.