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Coronavirus Preventive Measures, Protocols and Standards

We, at Active Albania, put the safety, health and security of travellers at the highest priority.

We envision travel with safety and security procedures while providing an authentic and meaningful experience to the traveller across the journey, and in a manner that supports the livelihoods of local people by enabling sustainable economic growth, and provides nature-based development. The following protocols has been made in accordance to The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) Protocols For The New Normal and the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA) draft Adventure Travel Covid-19 Health And Safety Guidelines, and they take into account the Albanian, North Macedonian, Kosovo and Montenegro Governmental measures and recommendations for prevention of the spread of COVID-19; the World Health Organisation, the US’ Centre for Disease Control and Prevention and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control guidelines.
The borders are open for all citizens, however for those coming from a COVID-19 high risk countries a test or a 14 day quarantine is required.
Please check if your country is on this list with the appropriate Albanian / Northe Macedonian, Kosovo, Montenegro Embassy for your country. We will update this protocol as new information arrives and the situation changes. An activity that takes place in a popular area may pose a greater risk of social interaction with visitors or activity participants, thus increasing the chance of virus transmission. This is why Active Albania tours are organised off-the-beaten-path destinations. While our team is working hard to mitigate risk, you too have an important role in keeping yourself and others safe while you travel.
How you can prepare when planning a holiday to Albania and for cross boarder tours:

Prior to booking travel, you may consult with your primary care provider and consult local and official advice to determine whether you fall into a vulnerable or high-risk group and should travel or not.
It is recommended that you have valid travel insurance for the destination and trip type on which you are embarking. The pandemic has added additional complexities surrounding insurance as no policy covers all COVID-19 travel risks so check your policy carefully and ensure you understand who will pay for additional costs if incurred.
Don’t you have an insurance? Do not worry. Active Albania is collaborating with World Nomads and you can but it directly here: https://activealbania.com/travel-insurance/
Check our COVID-19 Refund Commitment here: https://activealbania.com/book-and-travel-with-confidence/

Be sure to pack your own face coverings, such as masks, a well tied synthetic or cotton face mask, neck gaiters, or Buffs.
Don’t forget to bring a small bottle of hand sanitizer to keep close to you at all times.

Disease prevention protocol for staff and your local hosts:

Regular health checks for staff especially prior tours are recommended.
Stay home policy for anyone displaying any symptoms as per World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines;
Obligated 14 day quarantine for anyone that has been in contact or potentially exposed to SARS-CoV-2.
No office rule / work from home (whenever possible) for non guiding activities;
Maintaining physical distance and obligatory mask wearing (except during physical activities).

 

Disease prevention protocol during tours:

Online payment, whenever possible is requested.
Groups are kept in smaller numbers, up to 10 people.
Groups with more than 10 people, whenever possible are considered as two groups, and treated as such.
COVID-19 health check for guides and travellers prior tours are recommended.
Choice of venues are made based on availability of open-air facilities.
Check on COVID-19 prevention protocols with partners and suppliers is made prior tours and activities, for which a checklist is made to facilitate this.
Open buffet meals and self-service meals are avoided.
Choice of rural households is prioritised over restaurants.
Checking in at accommodation is done ahead of arrival by e-mail and with a scanned copy of your passport (room changes are not made possible).
Choice of sites and places to visit is on open-air locations.
Guide replacement and/or traveller exclusion and enforcing stay home policy if displaying any symptoms as per World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines.
Participants are screened for high temperature using a contactless thermometer on a daily basis, and/or prior activity.
Maintaining physical distance at all times.
Communication between guides and travellers is done via radio devices.
Face protective masks are made available for every participant (if available FFP2/N95 masks).
Face protective mask wearing recommended when not pack rafting, biking or hiking.
Obligatory face protective mask wearing is when closed to other people and when residing in closed areas.
There is no obligation to ware face protective masks while pack rafting, biking and/or hiking.
Obligatory physical distancing between riders is minimum 2 meters, but recommended 20 meters to avoid cloud droplets.
Face protective mask wearing is recommended when riding in urban areas.
All equipment is personal and it is not intended to be exchanged among guides or travellers.
Sanitising liquid is made available to the participants.
Participants are requested to wash their hands with soap or the disinfectant regularly, in particular prior meals.
Protocols and standards are shared and made known during every briefing of the activities and tour.
COVID-19 prevention procedures are included in the briefing checklist.
Clean and disinfected equipment tool set is made available for self servicing of the equipment for outdoor activities during tours.
Routes are chosen in a manner that will minimise exposure to other people, and to traffic.
Sites and locations where stopping are chosen on the basis of the size of the group, to be able to accommodate the number.
Loading and unloading of luggage and equipment is best done by a designated person using face protective mask and gloves.
External people should be considered as unfamiliar with COVID-19 prevention measures, and treated as such.

 

Equipment (pack rafting, white water rafts, camping, neoprens, cags, life jackets, helmets, etc) cleaning and disinfection protocol:

Equipment returned from rental is treated as contaminated material.
Equipment is washed with soap and water after every use, where each piece is soaked in soap for at least 30 seconds prior rinsing.
Equipment is maintained always using gloves and face protective masks.
Equipment is disinfected by spraying an alcohol based solution (minimum 70%, preferably 96%) at the point of delivery of the rented equipment.
Tools for maintenance are sanitised regularly after use.
The workshop is sanitised regularly after use.

Some of our frequently asked questions.

Who travels on an Active trip?
Our trips are designed to be an outstanding experience for everyone, if you are 18 or 88, to us it is important that you are safe and that you are enjoying yourself.
How do I book flights?
We recommend to research flights online first and then check in with us here at Active HQ. After years of helping travellers achieve their dreams we certainly know a good flight deal when we see one. Also, please be aware that travel insurance is a must on all our trips and means you can travel with peace of mind.
What's included?
Our trips fares include just about everything, specifically:
  1. Professional Certified Guiding
  2. Top notch accommodation
  3. Meals and snacks (except on days specified in our itineraries where we have found people enjoy sampling the local cafes, eateries and bars)
  4. All your activities (although there are optional extras available if you want more)
  5. Transportation for the entire trip, starting from the airport where you will be arriving
  6. All you need to do is arrive and bring some pocket money for souvenirs, a few drinks here and there if you want them and for a few meals.

What is the accommodation like on Active Albania trips?
We have different accommodation styles depending on the trip and day-to-day – activities. You’ll stay in a variety of places from high-end hotels to guesthouses, local motels and friendly lodges. Our focus is on getting you out into amazing places in the most stunning parts of Albania, and it is not necessarily about fancy accommodation! We want you to have a good place to rest and rejuvenate at the end of a busy day, and to make sure we are fully charged for the next day’s activities, so you’ll always find yourself in a clean, comfortable room, quite often with a spectacular view. We also want you to soak in the local culture and experience what makes Albania stand out from other countries, its authenticity and unbelievable hospitality.
Who else will be on the trip?
Our trips attract a wide range of people from all different backgrounds, countries and ages, which makes our small group adventures all the more interesting and fun. All our people tend to enjoy active lifestyles, great food, good company and new experiences. If this sounds like you, then you’ll be in good company. If you’re feeling nervous about travelling in a group, then you won’t be the only one and we can assure you that it almost always works out to be a positive and life enriching experience. There’s also plenty of time to enjoy your own company if you don’t want to do group time for the whole time and you can go at your own pace on the trails. We’re really flexible and can ensure your trip is everything you want it to be, and hopefully more.
Do I need any outdoor experience and what level of fitness do I need?
You certainly don’t need any technical skills (such as kayaking lessons or rope skills) though some outdoor experience in hiking would be an advantage or a good idea to try before you arrive. This is so you can be familiar with your hiking boots and have them well worn in (blisters are really no fun), setting a comfortable and sustainable hiking pace and making sure you are all set to have the best possible time. It’s difficult to specify a fitness level as there’s no universal rule, but we’ve found time and time again that people who enjoy active lifestyles involving walking, gym sessions, swimming, travelling, bike riding or keeping fit, usually love our trips. Our trips can be challenging in places, though with a few practice hikes under your belt before you arrive, you’ll find yourself in good shape to enjoy yourself thoroughly.
Will it be too active for me?
This is the question we get asked the most! Our trips are designed for real people who enjoy the outdoors, so you don’t have to be a triathlete in training or anything (though if you are, that’s all good too)! You’ll find our trips are active, challenging in places (like on the Vjosa rafting trip) and will leave you rejuvenated, refreshed and full of energy by the end. Age and experience is not important, as long as you enjoy being outdoors, are open to trying new things and want to feel a fantastic sense of achievement at the end of every day then our trips are for you. We always recommend doing practice hikes and a bit of training before your trip so you can enjoy your experience all the more. Our fantastic guides will encourage you on your way, make sure you are comfortable and well informed, and ensure you are having the trip of a lifetime. You will be in good company!
How much do meals and coffees cost in Albania?
The average price for a coffee in Albania is from 70 cents to 2$, a pint of beer will cost you from 1.5$-4$ and the average meal will cost you about 10-15$ per person. Albania is still one of the most affordable places in Europe, this how we manage to offer you an exclusive experience at the best price possible.
How does Active Albania ensure proper safety and hygiene on its tours?
As we re-start touring, we will continue following travel and health advice from government authorities: https://shendetesia.gov.al/

Anyone who travels with us also has a duty of care to other travellers and our team to continuously comply with local regulations and laws, in addition to the COVID-19 Health and Safety guidelines that we publish for touring with us in the destination. This ensures that everyone can enjoy their travels and still stay safe.
How does Active Albania ensure proper safety and hy-giene on its tours?

In line with recommendations from the World Health Organisation, we are implementing increased hygiene and sanitation standards, with a specific focus on the World Travel & Tourism Council’s (WTTC) Safe Travel protocols for tour operators and of the Adventure Travel Trade Association. Specific details of the hygiene, safety and well-being measures that will take place on your tour can be found in our COVID-19 Health and Safety guidelines.

Our Active Albania guides include detailed information on:
- Arrival health screening and monitoring
- Hand and respiratory precautions
- Social distancing on tour
- Sanitation of transportation and luggage
- Included meal arrangements
- Limiting contact/ physical touch
- If facemasks are required and where

Will I need to undertake any COVID-19 testing or screening when I arrive?

At the start of your tour you will be asked to report any COVID-19 symptoms as well as any close contact with someone who has sus-pected or confirmed COVID-19. If you are displaying any symptoms or have any health concerns at this time, we will assist you to seek medical advice and you will not be permitted to join the tour. All travellers are expected to continuously monitor their health throughout their travels and report any related symptoms to our team immediately.

Will I be refunded if I am unwell before my trip and unable to travel?

If you are unwell prior to travelling, please contact us to make alternative arrangements as you will need to stay at home. If you do opt to travel under these circumstances, you will not be able to join the tour and will be referred for medical care in-country. Please refer to our Booking Conditions for more details on our cancellation policy.

Will I be covered by my travel insurance if I get COVID-19 while travelling?

We recommend that you check directly with your travel insurance provider for more details about the specific cover, as many insurance companies are amending their policies to better accommodate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

What if there is a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 on my tour?

If you or someone else on your trip has symptoms of COVID-19 while travelling with us, we will assist in seeking medical care. We will follow the advice of local health authorities on whether a COVID-19 test is required, whether there is a need to self-isolate or quarantine or whether there is a risk to other travellers in the group. Should COVID-19 be confirmed, full health and safety protocols will be followed, including informing local health authorities and the group of the potential exposure. Extensive sanitisation protocols such as deep cleaning and disinfecting accommodation and transport will then be undertaken. Please note that while we will assist to ensure that you get all the medical care you require but all expenses for testing, treatment or self-isolation will be at a personal cost.

If I test positive for COVID-19 on my trip, will I get my money back?

If you are unable to continue travelling with us due to a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 we can offer you a credit for the unused days of your tour. Further we will assist you to get all the medical care you require in country though all expenses relating to your care including testing, treatment or self-isolation (in country or at home) will be at a personal cost.

Am I expected to wear a mask on tour?

In some destinations it may be compulsory to wear a mask in public or in certain places. If it is compulsory to wear a mask in public or elsewhere this information will be noted in our COVID-19 Health and Safety guide. Where a mask is required, you will need to source your own from home. Familiarise yourself with how to safely wear, handle and dispose of masks if wearing them when travelling. Your international carrier, departure airport or a transit airport may require that you wear a face mask, for information as to whether this is a requirement, please check with your airline.

Do I need to bring hand sanitiser?

Yes. We are working with our local teams to provide hand sanitiser though in some locations it is still in short supply. We recommend bringing your own personal supply for times when it is not available.

Will I need to bring cash on tour?

Yes. We recommend that all travellers have a contactless FX free debit or credit card to use whenever possible although there will be occasions where merchants do not accept credit/debit cards and you will need to use cash. In developing countries the need to use cash will be more frequent. When handling cash always use hand sanitiser afterwards.

As a solo traveller, can I share a room with another solo traveller?

We are no longer offering to match up solo travellers in twin share rooms. All of our tours now offer a Single room option. If you are travelling solo you will be required to purchase a single room for your personal use.

Will there be a limit to the number of travellers in a vechicle?

We will abide by the local laws or requirements regarding physical distancing on transport .

Will my itinerary be changed due to COVID-19 related travel restrictions?

We may need to make some changes to the activities or destinations included on your trip to comply with advice from local authorities or updated health and safety protocols. We will endeavour to keep travellers updated before departure as our local teams continue to keep abreast of regional developments, including any closures or changes to sights and attractions. Although an open mind and sense of flexibility will help you get the most out of your trip, we will always aim to operate our tours exactly as per the original itinerary.

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