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
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 March 31st 2021, and for departures at any time, while you still need to pay a 20% deposit at the time of booking, but your final balance is now not due until 30 days before travel (this is usually 60 days).
- We will also offer you the full flexibility to change the trip up to 30 days prior to departure. You can, for any reason, change your destination to any other, and to any date up until the end of 2021, and there will be no charge. *
- For all bookings where we cannot fulfil the trip due to changes in travel restrictions, we will postpone your trip - again at no charge - to any departure date until the end of 2021, or offer credit against any future departure, or refund all monies paid. †
- It is important to note that you still need travel insurance to book with Original Diving (and all tour operators), so please see the section below on travel insurance that covers for coronavirus curtailment.
*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 2021. The new trip must be confirmed before 31st March 2021.
† This refers to restrictions imposed by the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO - formely 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.
We're here to provide clarification for what is an increasingly complicated situation. First of all, it's important to note that there are different types of rapid test to ascertain whether someone has coronavirus. Proof of negative results to these tests (PCR, LAMP and lateral flow tests) are a requirement in different scenarios; specifically, on arrival into some destinations (PCR tests), before departure back to England (but not the rest of the UK, as yet), and then to reduce quarantine on arrival back in the UK (LAMP tests). Read below for more information on each scenario and where and how to arrange tests.
PCR 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. At present the NHS test is only available for anyone showing symptoms (in which case you probably wouldn't want to travel anyway) and the proof of negative result is not very detailed so your best bet is to book a private test. These can either be by ordering a home test kit or by visiting a clinic if you happen to have one near your home. We do not (yet) work with any specific companies providing these tests, but for home test kits you could try Lloyds Pharmacy, Rightangled or City Doc. 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 England (but not, as yet, other
parts of the UK)
You now require proof of a recent (within 72 hours of the start of your journey) negative covid test before returning to England. The rest of the UK does not - as yet - require this step. The test can be any one of the approved PCR, LAMP and lateral flow tests. If you do not provide proof of a negative test result you may not be allowed to board a flight, ferry or Eurotunnel service to England. If you are allowed to board and arrive in England without proof of a negative test you may be fined £500. For more information on this requirement, please see the Government website here. If this policy persists once travel corridors are reinstated, your Original Travel consultant will be able to provide the most up to date information on where and how you can take an approved test in your destination and within the required timeframe.
LAMP Tests to
Reduce Quarantine Back in the UK
In order to take advantage of the UK Government's new process to reduce quarantine time from 14 days, you will need to prove a negative LAMP test taken on the fifth day after your return to the UK. The government has published a list of approved suppliers of the LAMP test. We strongly recommend pre-ordering the home test kits to be ready on the fifth day after your return so you can complete the test there and then and avoid the risk of delays. The results will normally be delivered within 48 hours after which - if you test negative, of course - you can leave quarantine. Please note that you will need to have filled in your Passenger Locator Form on your return to the UK to prove your arrival date. 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.
Coronavirus Cover Travel Insurance
While the changes outlined above 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 new travel insurance policy that includes cover for cancellation or curtailment of a trip due to contracting coronavirus, or through being quarantined or refused permission to travel due to infection or suspected infection.
Click hereto 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. With coronavirus social distancing regulations meaning passengers are spread more thinly around the plane, we're likely to see more of this, but 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'.