Operational Guidelines & New Booking Terms!
Learn what Wildland trips look like right now, what they will look like in the near future and about our current low risk booking terms!
Since the beginning our commitment has been to provide life-enriching hiking experiences with safety always at the forefront. In this spirit, when we reopened after the 2020 shutdown, we implemented new transportation logistics, behavior guidelines, sanitization practices and booking terms that preserved the core nature of the Wildland experience while increasing safety and reducing risk.
Between June and December 2020 we accommodated nearly 3,000 guests without a single verified or suspected case of COVID-19 transmission on a Wildland trip. Due to the success of the guidelines and the ever-evolving situation with COVID-19, we will continue the 2020 protocols (with some improvements) as long as necessary to protect our guests and staff to the greatest extent possible. We invite you to read on to learn more.
“Trekking can be a low-risk activity for transmission of COVID-19 because it takes place in well-ventilated areas, involves little to no gear, is typically done in small groups, is easy to practice while maintaining social distance, is not technical, and does not require close supervision.” – Adventure Travel Trade Association
#SAFE TRAVEL APPROVED
Use of the World Travel and Tourism Council’s #SafeTravel logo indicates that we are following an accepted standard of health and hygiene protocols in the new Covid-19 world. These protocols are based on medical evidence and guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, World Health Organization, and the World Travel and Tourism Council. With over 1200 travel organizations currently using this badge of safety, it offers travelers an objective, 3rd party verification tool to verify companies have implemented science-driven protocols and are meeting high safety standards.
BOOKING TERMS, TRANSPORTATION PROTOCOLS & TRIP CAPACITIES
NEW BOOKING TERMS
We understand these are extraordinary times, and we want to make it as worry-free and easy as possible for you to plan your next trip! In this spirit, we have have reduced our deposit on multi-day trips to $100 per person. The balance is due 60 days before the trip. Once the final payment has been made normal terms and conditions apply. (Any trip that includes the Inca Trail has a $300 deposit, Phantom Ranch $500 deposits and private groups of 10 or more in Patagonia have 30% deposits).
Covid International Travel Update: Due to changing border policies, travel restrictions and disruption to international travel we cannot currently confirm trips outside the USA. We are accepting reservations and monitoring each situation closely. If you make an international reservation, we ask that you please hold off on booking travel or paying your final balance until we have fully confirmed your trip. We will be in contact to convey pertinent information regarding travel as it develops. We plan to make a final decision on if a trip can safely operate based on our high standards of customer service and risk management no later than 45 days before the trip date. Thanks for your understanding and patience in these very unique times!
Current TRANSPORTATION AND CAPACITY PROTOCOLS
- Basecamp and inn-based tours have transportation provided with no more than 2 autonomous groups and a total of no more than 6 total guests per vehicle.
- On backpacking, portered and llama treks, select departures have the option to caravan to the trailhead for a $100/person discount. Guests will be notified at least 30 days in advance of this option.
- Day hike guests will drive themselves to the trailhead (exceptions being Yosemite Day Hikes and Zion Day Hikes, which will include transportation from rendezvous points).
- Backpacking, portered and llama treks have a max of 8 guests per trip.
- Use of face masks to cover nose and mouth required at all times in company vehicles. (This still applies for guests who have received the COVID-19 vaccine.)
- International trips (outside the USA) are being evaluated on a rolling basis approximately 45 days prior to the trip start date.
Planned TRANSPORTATION AND CAPACITY PROTOCOLS
We expect to resume more “normal” transportation services on our trips in 2021, with some minor adaptations. The timing of this change will depend on regional and national conditions. The planned adaptations include:
- Guests who prefer to drive separately will be accommodated.
- Use of face masks to cover nose and mouth required at all times in company vehicles. (This will still apply for guests who have received the COVID-19 vaccine until no longer recommended by the CDC.)
- Trips outside the USA may have different group sizes and transportation protocols due to a destination’s regional laws and/or current rules.
Trip Safety Procedures
PRE-TRIP SAFETY PROTOCOLS
- All guests share a responsibility to adhere to the direction of their guide in following the practices stated herein. Non-compliance with guide direction may lead to trip dismissal. This is a non-negotiable expectation that company ownership will support staff in enforcing. Please see the video below for a better understanding of our policy on this issue.
- Updated guest packing lists are effective immediately to include all items from the trip information packet plus facemasks, hand sanitizer, and antibacterial wipes. 2-3 facemasks are recommended for a 3-6 day trip. Staff will carry extra facemasks and sanitizer for those who need them.
- Inflatable sleeping pads will still be supplied on all camping trips. Pads will sit for a minimum of 7 days between use, and valves cleaned with alcohol wipes prior to use. If you are uncomfortable with this practice, please bring your own pad.
- Any guest who has been in close contact with someone known to have COVID-19, or who has experienced any flu-like symptoms (cough, fever, shortness of breath/difficulty breathing, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, body aches/chills, recent loss of taste or smell) within 14 days of the scheduled trip departure, will not be allowed to join the trip. Please call 1-800-715-4453 if this becomes pertinent.
- Increased cleaning and sanitization of all company-shared workplace spaces, supplied gear, and vehicles has been implemented. These practices include letting certain pieces of gear sit for multiple days after use so viruses might die (rotations), laundering, and the use of diluted bleach, a CDC-recommended disinfectant for use against COVID19.
During Trip Protocols
DURING A TRIP SAFETY PROTOCOLS
- Trip orientation meetings will occur as usual the evening before the trip leaves for the field.
- Physical distancing (minimum of 6 feet) will be practiced at all times unless direct person-to-person interaction is essential, in which case interacting parties will be required to wear facemasks if able. The only exceptions to this will be some company-provided transportation as described below.
- Facemasks must be worn in any business or government building, and in all company owned vehicles. Masks must be worn prior to entering these spaces, while in them, and upon exiting. This protocol applies to all guests, regardless of having received the COVID-19 vaccine.
- Company transportation may or may not be provided. If transportation is not provided, you will be notified in a timely manner before your trip start date. If transportation is provided, we will reduce COVID-19 risk to the extent possible by maximizing guest distancing and limiting total passenger numbers. In some cases, we may also utilize retrofitted vehicles with protective barriers. That said, 6-foot distancing will not always be possible, and barriers will not be present in all vehicles.
- All company-supplied gear to be used solely by one guest, or possibly a family group, will be designated and labeled for use by that guest(s) only. This will include all food related items (bowls, cups, utensils), as well as tents, backpacks, sleeping bags, and sleeping pads.
- A trash bag will be provided and designated for use by each guest. This will be for disposal of personal tissues, baby wipes, sanitizing wipes, or any other item of biohazard concern. Each guest will be responsible for their personal bag and disposing of it properly at the end of their trip.
- Dedicated hand wash stations with soap will be utilized in each camp. Hygiene, as always, will be stressed.
- Group sizes of 10 or more will be split to maintain groups of 10 or less.
- Any guest who develops flu-like symptoms (as defined above) during a trip will be physically distanced from the rest of the group, and from any community spaces or items. Affected individuals will be required to wear a facemask. Staff or a designated person will consult with the local managing agency for guidance on suggested management of the situation and potential evacuation of the affected individual(s). Staff will also carry extra trash bags to put affected individuals gear into. If staff are in the position of providing direct care to an affected guest, they will be physically distanced from the rest of the group for the remainder of the trip.
- Any guest who develops flu-like symptoms (as defined above) and is evacuated by the company will be transported from the field by helicopter or ambulance to the nearest appropriate health care facility. Exceptions include guests who are able to drive their own vehicles or have a family member present and able to drive. Transportation costs will be the responsibility of the guest.
- All staff and guests will be required to wear facemasks when waiting in line indoors or outdoors.
POST-TRIP SAFETY PROTOCOLS
- Any guest who develops flu-like symptoms (as defined above) 14 days post-trip will be required to contact us at 1-800-715-4453 and inform us of their symptoms. This request will be made by the guide during the trip and in a post-trip company email. If informed that anyone associated with a trip has experienced any flu-like symptoms, all staff and guests from that trip will be called to inform them, and required health professionals and/or agencies contacted.