FAQs

COVID-19

We always keep the health and safety of travelers as our priority and we keep ourselves informed as to the travel status of each country to keep you updated to the best of our ability. Please consult individual government sites for official information. Bookings will only be accepted when the country to be visited has allowed international guest arrival and without quarantine. For our domestic guests, you may make a booking as soon as local authorities permit domestic travel. We have supplied our community partners with guidelines for deep cleaning. If you would like a copy of our guidelines, please contact us.

Please visit tripsguard or IATA for up-to-date information

Sustainable Rural Development International Limited is a social enterprise and the BSST Program targets rural communities that can involve, by their nature, strenuous activities and travel to off-the-beaten-path destinations. It is therefore imperative that you understand exactly what is involved and are confident that you can fully participate. If having read the literature, you are unsure about a trip’s suitability, please contact us with any questions. We’ll help you work out all the things you need to know for your trip, but it’s useful to know that you can always get the latest travel advice from the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office including security and local laws, plus passport and visa information, by checking www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.

What is a social enterprise anyway?

A social enterprise is simply any business that is motivated as much by people and the planet as by profit. We operate to normal business standards and aims but SRDI also happens to be a not-for-profit. For us, it means that any profit is put straight back into the business. Every amount earned by a non-profit like us is fed back into the organization supporting that goal. The fees you pay are reinvested into the pursuit of our mission. Like any other business, we have costs to cover. So what is a non-profit? We are an enterprise with financial goals. But our enterprise is social in nature; reaching those financial goals means reinvestment into our organization and serving our mission improving human and environmental well-being.

Donations

We are delighted to accept donations from customers and supporters of our empowerment activities. As a social business, SRDI cannot claim gift aid on donations, nor can an individual making a donation receive tax relief. A social business is a business whose overarching goal is a social one. The donations we receive are channeled into two broad areas: 1. Expanding development 2. Supporting the communities in the BSST Network

About My Booking

What is included in my booking?

Accommodation terms may vary but appear on the website. To provide the best experience and to help our communities, we only accept a minimum 2-night stay booking. You are free to stay longer but no matter if you stay the minimum or longer, the accommodation, breakfasts, and the Get to Know the Community experience are standard. The full-day Get to Know the Community experience includes the social life, environmental and cultural activities in the community and can include wine tasting, learning how to prepare (and eat) local dishes and classes to make a local craft which you can take home as a souvenir. Unfortunately, we do not include transport or extra meals but can arrange such with your host.

What if I need to change my booking?

If you wish to make any changes to your booking, please let us know as soon as possible but in any event at least seven (7) days prior to your travel and we will do our best to accommodate you but cannot guarantee that we can find an alternative. All requests for changes should be sent on our contact form.

What if I need to cancel my booking?

If you need to cancel your booking, please let us know as soon as possible. This is required in writing and you should refer to the General Terms and Conditions with regards to any cancellation charges that may apply. As a matter of policy and to protect our community partners, any cancellation made three (3) days or less prior to arrival will incur a 100% penalty and if between four (4) and ten (10) days, a 50% penalty will be applied. We strongly urge you to purchase travel insurance that includes cancellation in the cases of COVID-related issues. In all cases, because we have already incurred expenses, the SRDI fee and the Community Fund contribution are non-refundable and we will deduct all bank transfer charges from the refund. For cancellations, please use our contact form.

What Happens Next

Booking confirmation and invoice

Unfortunately, we cannot guaranty that a booking attempted four (4) days or less before arrival can be processed. This is because we must first confirm with the community partner that your choice is available and the turn-around time may be insufficient. In all cases, you must submit a Request to Book after which you will be transferred to our third-party processor to complete the payment. Your credit card will be authorized (this may appear as a payment on your card by the issuer) but we only will capture your funds when the choice is available. This normally happens within 48 hours. If the choice is not available we will offer an alternative, if there is sufficient time before arrival. In all events, if we do not capture your payment within 7 days, your card will be released and you will not incur any cost. All requests will be issued an invoice through our third-party processing system (Stripe).

Who looks after me now?

Once you have paid we will send you information on your destination, suggested transport, and travel pointers. We are always an email away for any questions or help you may need and local representatives of the community are there to make sure your visit goes smoothly.

In Georgia, our local partners Bridge Innovation and Development are there to help in emergencies or other issues in the destination: 8 Marika Baratashvili Dead End, Tbilisi; T: +995 322 180 360, E: info@bridge.org.ge

Passports

If you are a British national you should make sure your passport is valid for at least six months after the date of your scheduled return home. If you are not a British national, other regulations may apply to you and you should check with the nearest embassy of the country you intend to visit.

Visa requirements

Obtaining any visas that are required is your own responsibility. Be aware that visa regulations can change, and may do so at short notice and sometimes without announcement. We cannot be held responsible for mistakes by embassies, third parties, sudden changes to regulations, or actions of border officials which are all beyond our control.

Travel insurance

It is an essential condition that you have a valid travel insurance policy to cover the cost of any emergency medical treatment including COVID as well as covering any cancellation penalties. You are strongly advised to take out your policy at the time of booking confirmation to protect your payments in the event of cancellation. You should advise your carrier of the terms and conditions of our cancellation policies

Training and fitness

Our communities are in rural areas and as part of our commitment to sustainable practices, we emphasize walking. In addition, accommodation may design a community experience that involves more strenuous treks. Only you know your current fitness levels and capabilities. Where altitude is involved, your ability to acclimatize is going to have a much greater impact on your progress than fitness. Consult your physician to determine the level of activity you can undertake.

Travel health and vaccinations

We do not give specific health advice as everyone’s circumstances vary. You should check with your embassy website for any health warnings and suggestions. We recommend that you contact your physician for up-to-date advice on all vaccination issues for the country you are due to visit. Each country has its own COVID restrictions and you are advised to keep up-to-date on current restrictions to Ukraine, Georgia and Turkey.

Water purification

Plentiful clean drinking water is of course a requirement to stay healthy in any country. For Georgia, Turkey, and Ukraine, you can purchase bottled water (or carry your own in reusable containers to avoid single-use plastics) but there are usually plentiful shops that sell a variety of mineral water.

Your own first aid or medical kit

We recommend that you carry a small first aid kit for personal use. Of course, cities and towns in Georgia, Turkey, and Ukraine normally have a pharmacy. For some items, you may need to consult your doctor for a prescription. The following list is intended as a guide only: Plasters (band-aids), including blister plasters for walking trips; sterile dressings and bandages; simple pain killers e.g. paracetamol or ibuprofen; antiseptic cream; antihistamine cream (for insect bites); sunburn protection; anti-diarrhea pills and hand sanitizer. Please ensure you carry any essential personal medication in your hand luggage rather than checked-in bags.

Travel money and currency

You will need to take enough money to cover the cost of meals not included in the trip cost and for drinks, tipping, and other incidentals including shopping and optional activities. Many countries have ATM machines, particularly in major cities, and this can be an ideal way to access cash abroad, although bank charges are sometimes quite high. In addition, credit cards are now very widely accepted, particularly in larger cities. You should always inform your card issuer or bank of your travel plans to assure your card is not blocked.