Dear friends and guests – 2020 has been a pretty difficult year for the travel industry! It’s fair to say that no-one saw Covid-19 coming, or could have foreseen just what impact it would have on holiday-makers and providers. With information and policies changing every week, it’s hard to keep up, so please read on for our Q&A on how we are continuing to offer flexible booking and socially distanced holidays in some amazing and undiscovered destinations. The safety of our guests is our highest priority!
Are your holidays still running? Yes! Montenegro’s borders and tourism industry are open to anyone from a safe-list country (this includes the UK and all EU countries). As a well-established, family business with a decade’s experience in delivering sustainable, low impact holidays in Montenegro, we are in the fortunate position of owning our activity base, “Villa Miela”, outright and have a lean core team with no need to furlough staff. Of course a large number of bookings for 2020 have very sadly been forced to postpone to 2021, but thanks to a hardcore of very determined guests, we and our guides have still been keeping busy! You can keep up to date with what we’re up to at the moment by following us on Facebook or Instagram, as well as our semi-regular blog posts. We are taking holiday and day tour bookings until the end of October 2020 and then again from 1st April 2021.
Can I travel to Montenegro? Yes! At the time of writing, UK, EU and Russian residents are permitted to enter Montenegro without further restrictions. Some countries such as the UK are currently requesting their residents to self-isolate for a period of time on their return from Montenegro – please refer to government advice from your country of residence to see if this applies to you. Ryanair, Jet2, easyJet, Wizzair and many other airlines are operating regular flights into Podgorica and Tivat airports.
Are your holidays safe? Yes! As specialists in small-group outdoors travel in remote locations, it could be said that we’ve been practicing socially distanced holidays for years! Whether you go for our multi-activity trips, our all-hiking or our all-kayaking weeks, you are guaranteed to be heading exclusively to low-risk areas where there are little to no people, let alone cases of Covid-19. Like many other countries in Europe, Montenegro has seen a recent rise in cases which is now levelling off – the vast majority have been located in cities such as the capital Podgorica, as well as Plevlje, Rožaje and Berane – none of which we visit. We and our guides follow all Covid-19 health and safety guidelines set by our industry body, the Adventure Trade & Travel Association (ATTA), which you can read here.
What measures are you taking to prevent the spread of coronavirus? All our equipment is carefully disinfected and wiped down between trips, as are our transfer cars. When travelling by car we wear protective masks as proscribed by law, but these are not required when out and about in the National Parks. All accommodation options are thoroughly cleaned and disinfected according to national Covid-19 guidelines. Handwash solutions are provided as standard on every trip. As much as possible, different family groups do not share facilities – when this is unavoidable, we have careful timetabling in place to ensure that everyone has clean, safe access to whatever they require.
What if there is more than one party of guests sharing your activity base “Villa Miela”?
Villa Miela is a small accommodation usually shared by around 8 guests divided into two or three parties, making distancing easy. Before arrival, guests’ private bedrooms, bathrooms and keys are given a thorough ‘Covid-19’ clean including full disinfection and high temperature washing of bedding/towels. Our staff will not enter your room after this unless you ask us to provide additional cleaning. Further peace of mind can be provided by the enhanced cleaning regime we are operating for all shared guest spaces such as the living room, terrace furniture, sun-loungers and yoga deck, with regular disinfection throughout the day. Our shared guest kitchen is available on a ‘reserve and clean’ basis for self-catering, as is the outdoor BBQ (to which we have added a travel gas stove so that two parties of guests can self-cater for dinner at the same time), while our extensive outdoor space means separate parties of guests can dine outside and distance at the same time, e.g. with one set based on the terrace and the others on the deck. Our swimming pool is maintained to the highest standards of hygiene with constant cleaning of the water and, again, is being made available by reservation.
Can I get travel insurance for Montenegro even if it isn’t currently on my country’s “safe” list? Yes! It’s actually not that unusual for people to want to travel to places that for one reason or another have a temporary “orange” (or even “red”) status. UK companies like Battleface, Travel General and Campbell Irvine all provide surprisingly cheap travel insurance even for countries that are not on the UK’s FCO list (from £25pp per week). It is important to check whether cover would be provided for Covid-19 related costs and give full consideration to what this means if it is not. It is important to note that Montenegro has committed to pay for all coronavirus-related healthcare and, if needed, quarantine requirements for visiting foreigners (see here) – however, the cost of repatriation is to be born by the visitor.
What if, because of Covid-19 or changing travel policies, I’m unable to travel having booked with you? Given the uncertainty surrounding coronavirus, we want to reassure you that by booking with us you have the maximum peace of mind, so we are currently offering the following flexible booking payment options, which supercede our standard Terms & Conditions. These terms will be reviewed on 31 March 2021.
We will offer complete flexible booking for existing and new reservations. You will be able to postpone or reschedule your booking to any date starting Sunday within a 24 month period of your original booking, without extra charge. Please only note that the end cost of your holiday may change if you move from low-high season or vice-versa. For all new bookings we will ask for a 30% deposit on booking with the balance due no later than 4 weeks prior to your arrival (our usual terms are 6 weeks). If you reschedule your trip thereafter, your balance would be due 8 weeks prior to your arrival date.
IF YOU CANCEL:
If after paying the balance due for one of our holidays you are forced to cancel your booking for Covid-19 reasons (including flight cancellation) we will refund you 100% of your balance payment. We would then ask you you to reschedule your holiday as part of our flexible booking initiative, but if that were to prove impossible, your deposit would also be refunded.
If you cancel for any other reasons our standard terms and conditions would apply.
IF YOUR HOLIDAY CANNOT TAKE PLACE:
As a British registered travel company, if we are forced to cancel your trip, we are bound by UK law and regulations, which states currently that a refund of your deposit should be made within 2 weeks in the event that your holiday cannot take place. However, as an aid to travel companies, all of whom are struggling with this unprecedented situation, the European Commission, ABTA and ATOL are advising all customers to accept credit notes instead of deposit returns, to use on a new booking in the following 24 months (see our flexible terms, above), with refunds for such credit notes applicable any time in the next 12 months.
Phone: +44 (0)20 3287 0015
WhatsApp: +382 (0)69 402364
Undiscovered Montenegro Ltd is a UK registered company.