For the time being, travel is going to be a bit different than we’ve experienced before. As the world collectively dusts itself off and starts looking over the horizon, here’s what ACIS is doing to ensure groups will have a positive, safe and life-changing travel experience in the year ahead.
Group Leaders: Reschedule with Ease
If 2021 plans are interrupted for any reason, you’ll be covered by our Peace of Mind policy, which we’ve made even better than before. Up to 45 days before departure, you can move your overseas trip to a different travel date in 2021 or 2022, all for the same price you originally paid. For needed changes closer to departure, we will always work with any group leader or school administration to adapt itineraries in the interest of group safety.
New Participants: Enhanced Cancellation Policies
Given the uncertainties that may exist around international travel in the year ahead, we’re making an exception to our standard cancellation policies. We’ve extended our most generous cancellation/refund amounts that are usually in place until 130 days before departure all the way until 65 days before departure.
Rolling Participants: Special Protections for You
2020 participants who opted to join their group leaders for a rescheduled trip in 2021 need some added certainty as well. That’s why we’ve extended the enhanced cancellation policies we put in place for 2020 groups until 65 days before your 2021 travel date too. Talk to your group leader or visit the FAQs below if you have any questions about the specific cancellation policies in effect for your group.
Traveling on Your Own Bus in 2021 Has Never Been Easier
We understand that traveling with just your own group will be a higher priority in the year ahead, so we’re making it simpler than ever to do just that. Register just 20 participants for a 2021 tour – on any of our international trip types – and you can guarantee your own private bus and tour manager. For trip-planning purposes, this offer ends on October 1, 2020 for spring travel and December 1, 2020 for summer travel.
ACIS was amazing. The tour manager Jana and I were in constant contact with ACIS. Our goal was to make the best decisions as we continued to get relevant information and still try to maximize and enjoy our experience in Europe.
Participants who register for a 2022 tour by January 1, 2021 can withdraw with a full refund if they do so by April 1, 2021.
Peace of Mind Plan
Our Peace of Mind policy allows group leaders to move their trip date or destination at any point up to 45 days before departure and pay only for the difference in travel costs.
Private Tour with 20
Register just 20 participants on an overseas tour by April 1, 2021 and you can guarantee your own private bus and tour manager.
Tour Manager Protocols
All tour managers are being updated with new procedures for groups to follow daily to maximize health on tour.
We’re building out plans for masks, hand sanitizers, temperature checks and social distancing.
No Mixed Group Rooming
We won’t combine participants from different groups in hotel rooms.
Coordinating with Partners
We’re reviewing plans with hotel, transportation and activity providers and adjusting itineraries where needed.
Our worldwide duty officer system operates around the clock to react instantly to concerns.
Handling Illness on Tour
Included health protection provides immediate care and transportation to bring sick participants home or parents to sick participants if need be.
Your Deposits are Safe
ACIS and our parent company, AIFS, is a reliable and financially stable organization with over 50 years experience. Through the years, AIFS has accumulated over $200 million in assets. Nearly half of these assets are held in a combination of cash and high-quality, A-rated, fixed income securities. In addition, AIFS holds a $51 million general liability insurance policy with Lexington Insurance Company covering school districts and teachers.
A message from ACIS President, Peter Jones
I’ve built my life around travel. I met many of you on my journeys around the globe. Partnering with group leaders is the best part of what we do.
We’re confident that travel will take off again in the year ahead. We’re also aware that many aspects of travel will need to adjust for the foreseeable future. The name of the game is going to be flexibility, adaptability and, of course, safety. We’re happy to share our plans for a new ACIS travel experience in 2021 and beyond. I can’t wait to see you out on the road again when you’re ready.
What are your 2020 refund policies if I choose to cancel?
We have significantly enhanced our cancellation policy for participants on our Comprehensive or Basic Protection Plans. (Our Ultimate Protection Plan, which was available to all participants during the registration process, offers even greater cancellation flexibility.) Our refund schedule for trips outside of USA/Canada is shown in this chart. These cancellation policies exist to cover the non-refundable costs that we pay in advance on behalf of our clients, and to support our staff who plan these trips for months in advance and who are working right now to provide new options for travelers who have been affected over the past several weeks.
These enhanced cancellation options remain in place for all groups until 30 days before your scheduled departure date. At that point, travelers continuing with their trip would be subject to our standard cancellation policies, which are viewable on our Travel Protection page.
Is there any way to avoid losing money when I cancel?
Yes! Participants may elect the following option and receive a total refund in combination of cash and ACIS/AIFS Voucher.
How can I use these travel vouchers?
Our travel vouchers give you a chance to springboard toward future travel with ACIS or our parent company, AIFS. You can use the voucher on any ACIS or Encore Performance Tours program outside of the USA and Canada. Vouchers can also be used on college-level programs, namely AIFS’ College Study Abroad and Global Experience’s international internship programs. Study abroad programs are offered in 22 different countries, with short-term, semester and academic year options. Internships are available in 13 different locations and cover career fields ranging from business to non-profit to technical fields. Our vouchers are fully transferable, meaning you can sell them to a friend who is interested in any of these programs too. Vouchers just need to be redeemed for travel starting before December 31, 2022.
When will I receive my refund?
Refunds are typically processed within 45 days of when we receive your official notice of cancellation. However, Massachusetts’ governor has issued a stay-at-home order for all non-essential businesses that has been in effect since March 24. This has limited our ability to print out refund checks (we’re based in Boston), but we are doing everything in our power to process refunds as quickly as possible while ensuring the safety of our community.
I’m traveling on one of your USA/Canada programs. Have you made adjustments for these programs too?
We have increased our flexibility on these programs as well. Your group leader will have the details of the plan we’ve worked out for your group.
What if something happens to me or our group while we’re overseas?
ACIS maintains a worldwide safety network so we always have local support no matter where you are traveling. Our 24-hour Duty Officer systems operates in the U.S. and overseas non-stop to deal with any emergency quickly and professionally. Additionally, all participants are enrolled in an international medical insurance plan coordinated by AXA, our round-the-clock, 365-day travel assistance provider.
In the event you are quarantined, ACIS will work with local and international authorities to get you home as quickly as possible. If housing is not provided, ACIS will secure your accommodations and cover all costs. We will also buy you a new return ticket, if necessary. If you are a minor, ACIS will fly over a parent and cover the cost for their hotel and flights for the full duration of the quarantine as well.
Culture of Care in the Time of Coronavirus
Two ACIS teachers tell us what it was like being in Europe with a group when the travel ban was announced. “ACIS were very calm, friendly and accommodating.” Read More.
Culture of Care in the Time of Coronavirus Part 2
A history teacher’s experience being on the road when the coronavirus hit. “ACIS took it to another level for me.” Read more.
Teachers in Their Own Words
Teachers answer how their students have benefited from educational travel, what makes ACIS stand out from competitors and how ACIS help teachers meet classroom goals. Read More.