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We at Cultured Travel are seasoned travelers ourselves and seasoned travelers with groups. All of our experience points to one thing which can prevent issues from occurring while on tour – having awesome and responsible travelers who obey and abide by our guidelines. If each traveler would abide by all of the guidelines we have set forth, many safety concerns become almost a non-issue. However, the reality is that no one person can control the actions of others or predict the actions of others with 100% accuracy.
We value personal responsibility on the part of our travelers, but we also want you to be aware that we have done everything on our part to ensure all of those who do abide by the behavior guidelines are able to travel feeling confident and safe. We constantly monitor health and safety conditions and rules in all of our destinations and would not travel to a place we deem unsafe in any way. Additionally, a Cultured tour director will be on each adventure. Each director is familiar with the locations traveled and will act as a first point of contact in the event of any emergency.
Prior to departure for international destinations, all travelers are advised to enroll in the U.S. Department of State Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) which “is a free service to allow U.S. citizens and nationals traveling and living abroad to enroll their trip with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.” Those enrolled are thus able to do the following: “receive important information from the Embassy about safety conditions in destination country, help make informed decisions about travel plans, help the U.S. Embassy contact the traveler in an emergency, whether natural disaster, civil unrest, or family emergency and help family and friends get in touch with the traveler in an emergency.” See https://step.state.gov/ for more details.
Prior to departure, all participants will be asked to download WhatsApp and the Life 360 app or similar group management or location app. While it is very important to us that our travelers are not incessantly on their cellular devices missing out on the awesomeness in which will surround them, cell phones are an excellent tool for staying safe while traveling and it is expected as such that travelers will ensure to the best of their abilities that they will have cell phone service while on tour. Cultured Travel is not responsible in any way for cell phone charges while on tour.
The hotel address and phone number will be provided to participants prior to departure. Hotels in all destinations have been carefully chosen for their location, safety, and security. If someone is separated from the group and unable to reconnect, the meeting point is the hotel or another designated meeting point for the day/time. Prior to departure, each traveler will be provided with a detailed map of each day’s itinerary using Google Maps (App encouraged to be downloaded). This should assist in the unlikely event someone does get separated (and in our experience, those who are following behavior guidelines will not get separated) and needs to reunite quickly as will the Life 360 or other similar app all participants should have.
For individual emergencies, the remainder of the group would continue with the planned itinerary while appropriate actions are carried out in regard to the individual. Employees of Cultured Travel will have cell phone service providers with international data and roaming which applies to and has been used in all areas of travel. That being said, Cultured Travel cannot guarantee functionality of cell phones as that would be outside of the control of our company.
In any other case of emergency, local emergency numbers will be provided to all travelers. For example, all domestic travel will have the emergency number of 911. In Istanbul (Turkey), 112 is the phone number which is used for emergencies as 911 is in the United States. We will defer to emergency services for the nearest hospital and or police assistance.
While English is not guaranteed to be spoken, it is understood to be common in most international destinations. If we are traveling somewhere where English is not the primary language, we will have access to someone who will be able to translate for us if needed.
All participants are encouraged to report any concerns regarding safety immediately to their tour director(s).
As travel can certainly be unpredictable, we do not recommend you leave home without purchasing travel insurance. Another option for added safety and security while traveling would be a membership from COVAC Global which specializes in evacuation and repatriation for a variety of reasons all over the globe. See https://covacglobal.com/agents/cultured-travel/ for more information.