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TERMS & CONDITIONS

WHAT OUR LAWYERS WANT US TO SAY

Approach Tours is a registered trademark and is operated by Jerry Van Dyke Travel Service Ltd. (hereinafter “Approach Tours”, “Approach”, “we”, “our”, “us”) in Canada.

The terms and conditions listed below outline the nitty-gritty details of our group tours and our service levels. Please read them carefully as all customers who book one of our group tours accept the policies as listed as well as how they are meant to be applied. The terms and conditions are accepted and take effect as soon as a booking agreement in formed between both parties.

 

 

AGREEMENT

Your agreement with Approach Tours is formed when you (“your”, “traveller” or “customer”, including the primary passenger as well as all other passengers on whose behalf the primary passenger is making travel arrangements) pay the required deposit for a specific booking, and the deposit is accepted by Approach Tours.

 

BOOKINGS, PAYMENTS & FINAL DOCUMENTS

Deposit amount and final payment

To formally book Your spot in one of our group tours, a deposit of $300 per traveller must be paid at the time of booking. The deposit is non-refundable and non-transferable. Your final payment must be received at our office no later than 90 days prior to published departure date at the time of your booking (“Final Payment Date”). If you book your tour after the Final Payment Date, you must pay the full amount of your tour at the time of booking.

Visa, MasterCard, American Express, bank drafts, cheques and electronic bank transfers are all accepted. Cheques should be made payable to “Approach Tours” In case of payments by bank transfer, please note that the associated fees will be your responsibility. By providing your credit card number verbally or in writing to our travel agent, you agree to respect the terms and conditions and authorize the payment of the deposit and the final payment for your booking.

All bookings not paid in full by the due date are subject to our cancellation policy, as well as the associated cancellation fees. Referral discounts cannot by applied to a tour once the final payment has been made, but don’t worry – we will credit your account for a future tour – your credit is never lost!

Final travel documents

Digital copies of your final group travel documents will be forwarded to you 2 to 3 weeks prior to departure. 

 

CUSTOMER RESPONSIBILITY

Traveller disclosure and responsibility

We want to make sure that your experience with us is as delightful as possible. To help us do that, it is your responsibility to clearly mention to our travel agent any requirements, tastes, needs and/or expectations that you may have regarding the planned trip before booking. Make sure to explain any particularities that could affect the validity of your travel tickets and the smooth running of your experience (for example, if you are a national from a country other than Canada, if you have any travel restrictions, if you have any special needs / allergies, etc.) so that our travel agent can advise you properly.

Our tours are designed to be enjoyed by as many different types of travellers as possible. That being said, you are responsible to ensure that you can participate in our tours as they are designed – that includes packing accordingly (we will help you with a detailed packing list of must-have and optional items to pack for your specific tour) as well as ensuring that you have an appropriate level of physical fitness for the tour that you choose to book (by no means are we looking for athletes, although athletes are welcome to join!) – we simply want to make sure that you can enjoy the activities we have planned for you!

Some of our tours have requirements and/or particularities that are unique to the destination, so it is your responsibility to read all the documents and communications provided regarding your selected tour before and after booking. For any questions regarding vaccines and medications that may be required for a specific destination, please contact your nearest travel clinic. Approach Tours makes no claims and is released from all responsibilities relating to the taking of vaccines or drugs prior to or after departure, while at home or abroad. Approach Tours representatives do not offer any special care, medical assistance nor medical advice.

Fun, safety and the law

We love having fun and sharing our passion for travel, but we also take safety and respect seriously. Because of that care for everyone’s wellbeing, there are a few guidelines that we refuse to bend on.

Travellers are expected to behave in a reasonable manner towards other travellers, Group Gurus, Tour Guides, Local guides, service staff and all other people they encounter during our tour. If, in the opinion of the Group Guru, a traveller behaves in a way that is detrimental to the enjoyment or safety of others, the Group Guru will discuss the issue with the traveller. If the issue is not resolved immediately, a written warning will be issued. If the behaviour continues, the traveller will be removed from the group and they will be responsible for any arrangements necessary beyond this point. All expenses and losses incurred by their conduct will not be reimbursed or compensated by Approach Tours. We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone, at any point during the tour, including on initial departure.

Also, it is important to remember that no matter how awesome our group is, we are not above local and international laws. Any repercussions as a result is their responsibility and cannot be passed along to Approach Tours.

Passport

So we can take care of all the trip planning, we require a photocopy of your valid passport no later than 120 days before your departure. Due to airline security measures, the name on your passport name must match the name on your airline ticket. Change fees for incorrect passport information will be your responsibility (unless we had the correct information at the right time in hand and we made the mistake). Name changes submitted after final payment date will be subject to a minimum $300 name change fee. Also, in line with service supplier regulations, each passenger must be in possession of a valid passport for a minimum period of 6 months after their anticipated return date.

Tourist visa(s)

Some countries require a tourist visa (we will let you know if it’s the case for your tour). If our destination happens to require a tourist visa, it will be included in our tour for Canadian citizens. If you happen to be a national from another country, you will need to obtain your own visa(s) in time for our anticipated departure date. If, for any reason, you do not have a valid passport or tourist visa (if it is required), the airline or border security may refuse you access to the aircraft or entry into a country and you will not be issued a refund.

Travellers opting out of our included flights

All our tours include flights to and from our destination, however, you can choose to book most of our tours as “land only”. If you choose to opt out from our included flights, we will issue an air credit and you will be fully responsible for making your own flight and ground arrangements to meet the group at the first night’s accommodation. We are not be responsible for travellers arriving late due to delayed flights and we will not cover their missed travel days, missed accommodation costs, extra costs as a result of any delay, or for costs you incur due to changes to our tour start/end dates and or location. We recommended that you purchase tickets without restrictions.

Smoking and vaping

All our coaches are non-smoking and non-vaping. Stops are available on route for photo breaks, bathroom breaks and to stretch your legs. Use those windows of opportunity to smoke ’em if you got ’em.

 

WHAT’S INCLUDED WITH EVERY APPROACH TOUR

Private car service to and from the airport

We want to make sure that you get to the airport on time, in style and stress-free. Travellers living within 100 kilometers from their departure airport will be picked-up by a chauffeur in a private car (as long as a private car service is available is their area). Pick-up times will be confirmed in your final documents 2-3 weeks before departure. If you live more than 100 kilometers from your departing airport or if there is no private car service in your area, we will issue a home pick-up service credit and you will be responsible for making your own arrangements to get to and from the airport.

International and domestic flights while abroad

Your international flights and your domestic flights while abroad as part of the tour, as confirmed during the booking process, are included in the price of your tour. As with all service providers, airlines, flight schedules and connections are managed by the respective companies and are subject to change without notice and are entirely beyond our control. Approach Tours is not responsible for any flight delays, modifications or cancellations. It is your responsibility to check flight schedules twenty-four (24) hours before your departure.

Your included international flights depart from (and return to) Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ). You don’t live near Toronto? No problem. We offer the opportunity to travel from other select cities in Canada for a fixed $100 supplement (we call this our Gateway supplement) in order to join our group flight. Our gateway supplement covers economy class flights from Vancouver International Airport (YVR), Calgary International Airport (YYC), Ottawa International Airport (YOW) or Montréal–Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport (YUL). Connecting feed-in flights must arrive and depart on the same day as our planned international flights, or as close as reasonably possible (depending on our group flight itinerary for your tour). Your connecting feed-in flights will be selected and arranged for by our team at Approach Tours. The $100 gateway supplement is only available up to our final payment date for your tour (this means 90 days before your tour is due to depart). After that date, we may be able to arrange for connecting feed-in flights from YVR/YYC/YOW/YUL, but the price will unfortunately be at the regular market rate (we want to be able to offer you the fixed $100 gateway supplement, so please don’t wait until the last minute to ask for it!).

Our air contracts do not allow us to make seat selections. We will communicate your preferences to the respective airlines but cannot guarantee a seat number. We therefore recommend that you arrive at least 3 hours in advance at the airport and choose your own seat at check-in. Flights from airports other than Toronto (YYZ) are available in limited quantities, based on flight and airline availabilities.

On-board meals offered during a flight are the responsibility of the airline. If you have any food allergies or intolerances, let us know and we will ensure that a special dietary request is made directly with the airline. Since we can not guarantee that the airline will fulfill our special request, we recommend that you pack some easy to carry snacks just in case – we hope it doesn’t happen, but we have your best interest at heart!

Upgrading to your seats?

Terms and conditions for seat upgrades vary greatly by airline, so ask our travel agents about the specific terms and payment schedules for your experience.


Tourist visa(s)

Some countries require a tourist visa (we will let you know if it’s the case for your tour). If our destination happens to require a tourist visa, it will be included in our tour for Canadian citizens. If you happen to be a national from another country, you will need to obtain your own visa(s) in time for our anticipated departure date.

Baggage allocation

Your tour includes one (1) included checked baggage and one (1) personal carry-on travel bag per flight. It is your responsibility to ensure that your checked baggage and personal carry-on travel bag meet the airline’s size, weight and content regulations. If any of your baggage is deemed by the airline to exceed their limits or regulations, it will be up to you to pay any supplemental checking and registration fees (we consider this to be an Optional upgrade).

Luxury coaches

Luxury coaches are used for all group land transportation (trips and transfers) unless indicated otherwise. Note that there is no reserved seating, except for the Group Guru, Local Guides and any other accompanying people. We reserve the right to adapt the size of the vehicle according to the number of participants. Because your comfort is #1 is our books, we promise to only book coaches that have a few extra seats.

Accommodations

All hotels and accommodations listed in our itineraries are quality 4-star establishments. Sometimes a specific area we visit might not have any 4-star accommodations to offer, in which case we always stay with the closest equivalent. Keep in mind that when you travel outside Canada, you may find different living standards, practices and conditions, with respect to the utilities, services and accommodations. It all adds up to the spice of life when discovering other cultures!

Typically, room check-ins are at 4pm and check-outs are at 12pm. We act as an intermediary between you and the various service providers. Only hotels are responsible for assigning rooms according to the category reserved; we can not guarantee a specific situation or outcome – but we will always go to bat for you! If you wish to upgrade your room, it will be at your own expense (again, we consider this to be an Optional upgrade).

Welcome cocktail

Let your hair down and enjoy a drink on us. Because of local laws in certain areas, some welcome cocktails may be non-alcoholic. As the saying goes: “When in Rome…” (luckily, Rome has no qualms with wine).

Meals

All our tours include 3 square meals per day (group breakfast, group lunch and group dinner) as of the moment we last at our destination! We want to keep you well fed during your time with us, that being said, we know that appetites can vary – especially when you are having fun. We don’t issue refunds for any skipped meals, and we don’t cover the cost of meals should you decide to venture out on your own to enjoy a meal.

Tips and gratuities

As much as we aspire for the Canadian travel industry, we aspire just as much for the local communities that we visit year after year. That’s why it is important to us that all service providers are fairly compensation for their excellent service. As such, we cover all tips and gratuities for services rendered to our group while we travel. If you feel like leaving an extra tip after a meal or an outing, it is entirely up to you. Tips and gratuities for services that you receive during your free time are your responsibility. You are never obligated to tip, but it is always appreciated when you do.

Travel insurance

This is one of the most important items that you never want to think about when travelling. All our tours provide medical, trip interruption and baggage travel insurance coverage through Manulife Financial. We know it can be a dry read, but please make sure you read the policy wording to ensure that you understand what is and is not covered and how it applies to your specific situation.

If you feel that you might require additional coverage to what is being provided, we strongly recommend that you take the appropriate steps to purchase additional coverage. If you already have coverage through an employer or retiree group, don’t forget to bring your proof of coverage with you. We will provide a travel insurance credit should you decide to opt out of our included group travel insurance coverage, but keep in mind that one travel insurance may cover items that the other travel insurance does not. We’ll let the insurers work that part out if need be (but hopefully not!).

As a brief overview, our group travel insurance through Manulife Financial provides coverage for:

  • Up to $5 million of emergency medical coverage
  • The remaining portion of unused travel arrangements in case you have to interrupt your tour mid-way due to a covered risk
  • Lost, stolen or damaged baggage
  • Lost, stolen or damaged personal effects

Our included group travel insurance coverage does not provide trip cancellation coverage. Should you choose to not insure your tour with appropriate trip cancellation coverage in a timely manner, you waive the right to any and all claims with Approach Tours as a result of your cancellation. You are solely responsible for your cancellation fees.

 

WHAT’S NOT INCLUDED WITH YOUR APPROACH TOUR

We want this section to be as short as possible, so we’ll cut straight to the chase – there are 3 things that we don’t cover:

  • Personal expenses such as alcohol; travel souvenirs; food & drinks in-between meals; room service; meals, activities or travel arrangements enjoyed during your free time or while you choose to break away from the group. Note that we reserve the right to change airlines and/or schedules and routings should it be deemed necessary. We are not responsible for any expenses you incurred if any of the above changes impact your personal travel arrangements not included in our tour’s itinerary.
  • Optional upgrades such as a better seating class during flights; upgrades to your accommodations; baggage surcharges; etc.
  • Costs associated to losses not covered by your travel insurance. That means any portion of your medical or non-medical expenses that are not covered by our group travel insurance (such as deductibles; coverage exclusions; denied claims; cost to replace lost, stolen or damaged items; etc.). However, we do cover the cost of our group travel insurance policy that provides coverage for a variety of incidents as per the insurer’s policy wording.

That’s it!

 

TOUR AND ITINERARY CHANGES MADE BY APPROACH TOURS

Cancelled departures

We do our best to not pull the plug on a tour (we look forward to it just as much as you do!). However, if we are forced to cancel a departure, we will give you the option to join another departure (whether for the same tour or for another one) or we will reimburse the total amount paid to us in connection with the cancelled tour. We will not provide any other financial compensation.

Acts of God, labour issues, civil unrest or other conditions beyond our control

We hate pulling a switcheroo once we confirm something, but sometimes it’s beyond our control. Sometimes we have to change our planned itinerary because of circumstances beyond our control. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Acts of God (snowstorms, fires, floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, tsunamis, earthquakes, and all the other types of storms that we hope never to happen)
  • Labour issues (strikes, lockouts, difficulties or shortages)
  • Mechanical failures (explosions, fires, collisions, breakdowns, failures or damages, whether the supplier is directly impacted or not)
  • Civil unrest (commotions, riots, insurrections, wars, government restraints, political disturbances, acts or threats of terrorism, inability to secure or failure of supplies including fuel)
  • Advisories (Government advisories, travel advisories, health advisories or other announcements)
  • All other types of Force Majeure events that disrupt our planned operations

Approach Tours, nor our service providers, are liable for any delays or inabilities to fulfill any part of the itinerary. Rest assured that when we’re dealt lemons, we will always do our best to make lemonade.

Pre-departure changes to published information

We make every effort to ensure that the information contained in our brochure, travel journal and corporate website is accurate at time of publication. The itineraries, airlines, dates and departure cities are published as guidelines only and are subject to availability. As much as we don’t like making changes after the fact, we reserve the right to modify the services, descriptions, dates, and/or rates at any time after their publication in order to ensure the smooth progression of the tour, as well as for other reasons. If this does happen, customers who have already booked will be notified as soon as possible. In the event there is a discrepancy between the information included in our brochure, tour journal and/or corporate website that is unrelated to a change above, the content of the tour journal prevails. These decisions are always made with your safety and best interest in mind. Approach Tours is not be held responsible for any loss to passengers as a result of these changes, cancellations or substitutions. 

Post-departure changes to itineraries and dates

Rarely, but sometimes, an itinerary change can happen during the trip as a result of unforeseen events which can result in the local operator and/or guides to make changes, substitutions, cancellations to the itinerary that are final and without recourse. These decisions are always made with your safety and best interest in mind. Approach Tours is not be held responsible for any loss to passengers as a result of these changes, cancellations or substitutions. We do not own nor operate any of the services described in the itineraries and therefore are not responsible or liable for acts or omissions on behalf of the service owners or operators.

Published prices

We list all our prices in Canadian dollars. In line with our all-inclusive approach as well as in accordance with the regulations of the Travel Industry Council of Ontario (TICO), our published prices include all features listed in the respective tour itinerary (in addition our signature inclusions!). Our prices are based on the cost of our service providers, exchange rates, fuel costs, taxes and other charges in effect during the creation process for our upcoming tours. Our prices also include the legally required contribution that contributes to the Travel Agent Compensation Fund. Prices are listed per person and are based on double occupancy.

 

TRAVELLER REQUESTS FOR BOOKING CHANGES, CANCELLATIONS & REFUNDS 

Life happens. Sometimes things come up and you may have to modify or cancel your booking. Here is some information that is important to know:

Flight changes

Airlines may charge fees should you choose to deviate from the group air schedule. These fees are non-refundable and should always be insured. If you incur such a fee prior to making final payment, it will be added to your cancellation fee.

Tour changes

If you decide to change your departure date for your booked tour, or if you decide to change your tour destination altogether, our refund policy is the same as our cancellation policy.

Cancellations policy and refunds

We’ll be disappointed if you need to cancel your trip with us, but more importantly we’ll want to do what we can to help you out. If you need to cancel your trip with us, we require a written cancellation notice that will be effective on the date that we receive that written notice, and a cancellation fee based on the total tour value may apply. This cancellation fee is non-transferable and non-refundable. The reason we have to charge a cancellation fee is because we must pay our suppliers on specific schedules. We’re simply covering the incurred costs.

If you cancel your booking:

  • Between the moment you confirm your booking and your tour’s Final Payment Date: Your deposit is non-refundable, but you are off the hook for the remainder of your tour price!
  • Between 1 and 24 days following your tour’s Final Payment Date: 50% of your tour price (before any applicable discounts) is non-refundable, but the rest stays in your pocket!
  • 25 days or more following your tour’s Final Payment Date: The entire tour price is non-refundable (we hope things change and that you will be able to join us afterall!)

If your travel sidekick needs to cancel their trip: We feel for you. If this happens and you still want to explore the world with us (we’d love to have you!), you may be required to cover a single occupant supplement.

Unused services during the trip

We don’t issue refunds for any unused services (in whole or in part) during the trip.

 

TOUR COMPLAINTS AND CLAIMS

Complaints

We want you to feel good about your time with us. We can only fix what we know, so it is your responsibility to immediately notify your Group Guru when a problem occurs at destination, so an immediate solution may be reached. If a problem cannot immediately be resolved, you must still inform your Group Guru so that they can assess the situation and escalate through the proper channel if need be. If, for whatever reason, it is impossible to solve the problem during the trip, you must send the details of your complaint in writing to Approach Tours within 14 days following your return home.

Claims

Claims will only be considered if Approach Tours has been notified of the problem at the time it occurred and that, despite appropriate intervention, the situation could not be resolved on the spot. No other complaints or claims will be processed.

 

RELEASE OF RESPONSIBILITY

Approach Tours is not liable or responsible for any injury, damage, loss, accident, delay or irregularity which may be occur either related or unrelated to the tour, as a result of anything beyond Approach Tours’ control. Customers specifically release Approach Tours from any and all claims for loss or damage to baggage or property or from personal injuries or death, or from loss or delay, arising out of the acts, omissions or negligence of any independent contractors, service providers or other providers of services or facilities. All arrangements made for you with independent contractors, including medical services, are made solely for your convenience and are done at your own risk. Medical personnel are independent contractors. Approach Tours specifically disclaims all liability for damages for emotional distress, mental suffering or psychological injury of any kind. Tickets, vouchers, and any other travel documents are subject to all terms and conditions of the respective suppliers (some of which may limit supplier’s liability). Under no circumstances shall Approach Tours be construed as a carrier under a contract for safe carriage of the customer or their belongings. Approach Tours and the service supplier and owners and Operators of the services identified in our collaterals shall be entitled to any and all liability limitations, immunities and rights applicable to them or any of them, as well as any other applicable nation’s laws limiting liability. Approach Tours and the Operators and the owners of the services identified in the itineraries shall be entitled to claim the benefit of whichever law, regulation, treaty or doctrine provides the greatest legal protections to them.

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