In uncertain times you need even more confidence that things will run like clockwork on your trip, and that we've got your back. As a result, we've looked at every facet of the Original Diving holiday experience and adapted and improved our services accordingly, so you can travel with absolute confidence that the trip will run smoothly; that the actual process of getting there and back will be as pain-free as possible, and, above all, that you can trust the travel company arranging the trip. Thanks to our consultant's destination-specific expertise, our new and improved Flexibility Promise (see below), our unparalleled travel industry intel, our Additional Services, our global team of local Concierges and, of course, our ABTA and ATOL bonding (awarded contingent on our financial strength) we can provide exactly that confidence.
Your Money and Our Flexibility
Mandatory Hotel Quarantine
Coronavirus Cover Travel Insurance
The Airport Experience
Accommodation Coronavirus Compliance
Value for Money
Your Money and Our Flexibility Promise
Even in normal times tailor-made travel is all about
flexibility, but over the next few months we want to provide even
more assurance. Welcome to our new Flexibility Promise, designed to
give you even greater confidence to travel again after lockdown.
These terms supersede the relevant parts of our normal Terms &
Conditions between the specified dates.
Here's how it works…
- For new bookings made between now and July 31st 2021, and for departures from now until December 31st 2022, you have full flexibility to change your trip up to 30 days prior to departure. You can, for any reason, change your destinations to any other, and to any other departure date up until the end of 2022, and there will be no charge. *
- For new bookings during this period, while you still need to pay a 20% deposit at the time of booking, your final balance will now not be due until 30 days before travel (this is usually 60 days).
- For new bookings where we are unable to fulfil the trip due to new travel restrictions being put in place 28 days or less before departure, we will postpone your trip - again at no charge * - to any departure date until the end of 2022, or offer credit against a future departure, or refund all monies paid. †
* Our ability to do this is subject to the terms and conditions offered by our suppliers. We always aim to negotiate the most favourable terms with our suppliers but where they offer less flexible terms and conditions, we will communicate this clearly at the time of booking:
- If the new booking is of greater value, you will need to pay the difference; and if it is of lesser value, we will refund the difference.
- If you know that you don't want to travel on a booked holiday, but aren't sure where you want to go on the new trip, you can cancel - with no charge - up to 30 days before, and we will hold the funds as credit for a future trip with a departure date on or before 31st December 2022.
† This refers to restrictions imposed by the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO - formerly the Foreign & Commonwealth Office), such as advising against all but essential travel to a destination; or restrictions put in place by the destination country that will prevent the fulfilment of the trip. With regards other restrictions such as quarantine measures, or domestic restrictions for travellers from outside the UK, we will not refund monies paid but will, of course, work with clients to postpone their trips, imposing no fees ourselves but with you required to cover any difference in cost for the new trip.
Mandatory Hotel Quarantine
From 15th February 2021, people arriving in England from any of the countries on the Government's Red List must isolate in a dedicated isolation hotel for ten days. All passengers will be required to take Covid-19 tests (which need to be pre-ordered) on days two and eight of their quarantine period. There are significant fines and a potential jail sentence for providing false or misleading information. The same rules apply for anybody arriving into Scotland whose journey originated anywhere internationally, including those transiting via England.
At present all international travel from the UK is banned, but when things open up again after May 17th we're here to provide clarification for what may be a fast-moving situation. First of all, it's important to note that rules may differ in different parts of the United Kingdom. The regulations below are those currently in place for travel to and from England, so please seek clarification for what the position is regarding Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Please also note that there are different types of test to ascertain whether someone has coronavirus. Proof of negative results to these tests (such as PCR, LAMP and lateral flow tests) are a requirement in different scenarios; specifically, before leaving the UK, on arrival into some destinations, before departure back to the UK, and then on arrival back in the UK. Read below for more information on each scenario and where and how to arrange tests. Our current advice is to use a coronavirus test kit provider recommended and affiliated to the airline you are flying with for your trip. This allows you to link the results to your flight booking, and most airlines are also offering discounted rates on buying test kits through their partner suppliers.
Tests Before Departure
- Many destinations now require proof of a recent (between 48 and 72 hours) negative PCR test on arrival before they will allow travellers from the UK to enter the country. You must provide proof of the negative test result - associated to your passport number - on arrival in these destinations or risk not being allowed entry.
- You can order a home PCR test kit or visit a clinic if you happen to have one near your home. We do not work with any specific companies providing these tests, but the Government has published a list of suppliers of the test who have declared that they meet the Government's minimum standards for providers.
- Important note: We are not responsible for any issues you might have with purchased test kits, including their efficacy or delays in their arrival or results. You use these services entirely at your own risk, and the providers can be very busy, so you will want to get your in-person test booked or home test kit ordered as far in advance as possible to avoid disappointment.
Test Before Returning to the UK, and filling in your Passenger Location Form
- If you are returning from any destination you will require proof of a recent (within 72 hours of the start of your journey) negative covid test before returning to the UK. If you do not present proof that you have tested negative, you may not be able to board your transport back to the UK.
- It is your responsibility to find a test provider and to make sure that the test meets the relevant standards. Please refer to the Government advice page on returning to the UK for more details.
- Please note that all passengers also need to have filled in a Passenger Locator Form before returning to the UK, to prove their arrival date.
- If you are returning from any destination, you will need to pre-book a PCR test (although the Government are looking at widening the types of tests you can take) to take within two days of your return to the UK.
- If you are returning from a Green List country this is the only requirement on your return other than submitting your Passenger Locator Form.
- If you are returning from a country on the Amber List, you need to isolate for ten days after your return, and in addition to the PCR test within two days of your return you will need to do another test after eight days. The Government has published a list of suppliers who offer combination two- and eight-day PCR test kits. In order to take advantage of the UK Government's Test & Release programme to reduce quarantine time from ten days, you will need to show a negative test taken on the fifth day after your return to the UK. Again, the Government has published a list of suppliers of the test who have declared that they meet the Government's minimum standards for providers. Please note you need to book your Test & Release test before you travel back to the UK so you can enter the details of the test when you opt into the scheme on the Passenger Locator Form. The results will normally be delivered within 48 hours after which - if you test negative, of course - you can leave quarantine. If you test positive after five days you will be able to have another PCR test after eight days. Please also note that these approved services can be very busy, so you will want to get this squared away as far in advance as possible.
- For passengers returning from Red List countries, as above you must quarantine in a Government-specified hotel at your point of arrival into the UK for ten days. You will still need to take a pre-booked PCR test on or before the second day of your return (as for the Green and Amber Lists) but you cannot take advantage of the Test to Release scheme. You will need to take a further PCR test after eight days, and if you test negative you will be released from quarantine after day ten. As above, the Government has provided a list of suppliers of the two and eight-day PCR test packs, and these must be booked in advance.
Coronavirus Cover Travel Insurance
While the changes outlined above in the Flexibility Promise section are intended to give you increased flexibility when booking, travel insurance is still crucial, and now even more so. Unfortunately, many travel insurance companies currently won't cover for coronavirus-related claims. That's where we come in. Original Travel is an Introducer Appointed Representative of Campbell Irvine Ltd, who are authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority and who now offer a range of new travel insurance policies that can include cover for cancellation or curtailment of a trip to a destination where there is no FCDO advice 'against all but essential travel' due to contracting coronavirus, or through being quarantined or refused permission to travel due to infection or suspected infection. You can even buy a 'top-up' policy that adds coronavirus cancellation cover to an existing travel insurance policy. In addition, if you want to consider travel to a country or countries where the FCDO currently advise against all but essential travel, Campbell Irvine can also quote for travel insurance that can offer general medical and coronavirus cover. They can also now quote for travel insurance for non-UK residents.
Click here to get a Campbell Irvine Direct single or multi-trip travel insurance quote. You can read more about the activities that are covered here, or see the FAQs here. Alternatively, call Campbell Irvine Direct on +44 (0) 20 7938 1734.
The Airport Experience
There's no getting away from the fact that getting away will - at least in the short-term - look different, and nowhere more so than at the airport. We can all expect longer queues due to social distancing, negative test result checks, smaller or no hand luggage allowances and more. All this means our airport additional services and other clever travel hacks will be even more important to help you better navigate the constraints of coronavirus, and to create even more of a bubble of confidence around your travel plans. Please note, however, that the situation at airports is changing rapidly, so these services are all subject to availability.
We have partnered with Airportr to offer our clients the possibility to have their luggage collected from home and checked in (certain airlines and home locations only) so you can make your own way to the airport luggage-free, avoid check in or bag drop queues and go straight to meet your personal greeter. Please ask your consultant for more details if this service might be of interest.
Meet & Greet
As standard on all Original Diving bookings you will be met prior to check in by your personal greeter. It's a service we've included in all bookings for a couple of years now, and its time has truly come. With the airport landscape likely to change regularly as health and safety restrictions come and go, having someone who knows the airport inside and out to take you by the hand (metaphorically, of course - don't forget that social distancing) will be gold dust. Currently subject to availability.
Fast Track Check in & Security
These are Original Diving additional services even if you are flying in economy class. Your greeter will find you the best check-in desk to speed through the process, and then whisk you through the fastest security lane. If you've already checked your bags in from home using the Airportr service then you can head straight to and through security with your personal greeter. Currently subject to availability.
As above, as part of your Original Diving booking you have access to a luxurious lounge, where you can relax in peace and privacy before your flight, even if you're flying in economy class. Currently subject to availability.
Airlines have been known on occasions to sit families or couples apart. To say this is annoying is an understatement. As part of your Original Diving booking, we will pre-select seats together for you.
There's More, if You Want It
We can also offer additional assistance at the airport you are flying home from (fast track check-in and security, and lounge access, as from the UK), and fast track through immigration on your return to the UK. Please ask your consultant for more details on these additional services. Currently subject to availability.
There are alternatives to all of the above, of course. You could forego flying altogether and travel in Europe by train or on a road trip from the UK or, for the ultimate indulgence and bubble travel experience, we also work with the best private jet charter agency in the UK.
Our global network of clued-up Concierges have long been a key ingredient in the Original Diving secret sauce, but in the new normal they are going to be even more crucial. The Concierges pride themselves on knowing the tucked away treats and local haunts that tourists don't even know exist. In short, the sorts of places and experiences you'll appreciate now more than ever.
The safety of our clients has always been paramount, which is why we have worked with the industry-leading travel risk assessment specialists for well over a decade, to request and expertly analyse risk assessment self-audits from the properties we work with. The emergence of coronavirus makes this process even more important, and the self-audit now includes a section on the minimum requirements a property needs to have in place to mitigate the risk of guests being exposed to coronavirus. This is being rolled out now for properties reaching their self-audit renewal dates, and we will be fast-tracking key properties through this process to give you additional peace of mind.
Choose to tailor-make a holiday with Original Diving and the world really is your oyster. You can go where you want, when you want, to do what you want for as long as you want. We've never created the same trip twice and nor would we want to; we like to curate each holiday to your exact specifications. At this precise moment, when we're all realising just how much we've missed visiting other parts of this wonderful world, that's more important now than ever. Holidays are precious, and you want to know you can make the most of those first times away. Book with Original Diving, a serial award-winner for the last 17 years, and you can have confidence that it will be the trip of your dreams.
Value for Money
Value for money will always be a key consideration for anyone booking a holiday (or anything else, for that matter), but so too should added value. Book a holiday with Original Diving and - as standard - you enjoy all the above additional services from fast-track and lounge services at the airport (even if you're flying economy) through to the services of a clued-up Concierge in every destination you visit, who can open doors only the locals know. In addition, we are constantly negotiating and renegotiating our rates and keeping our ear to the ground for discounts with suppliers to stay super-competitive. Let's call it 'added value for money'.