In this period of global uncertainty, the timeline for the resumption of international travel remains unclear. But the appetite for overseas adventure continues to be strong, and is increasing as the months pass. After protracted time spent at home, many families are longing for something different, for a different view out of the window.
But is now the right time to book a holiday? Many people have had their fingers burned this year with holidays cancelled at the last minute and money not being refunded for months, if at all.
To address this, we have been working hard behind the scenes to come up with a solution and are delighted to be able to launch our new:
NO QUIBBLE, FULL REFUND GUARANTEE
All new bookings now being taken are fully refundable, no questions asked.
Specific details will be discussed at booking but for now, some FAQs.
Why book now, isn’t it better to wait?
Ironically, many of the smaller boutique hotels that we use are already full or nearly full for key school holiday dates in 2021. This is because so many people have deferred their bookings from this year.
Although there is disagreement on when travel will resume, there is no doubt that there is a huge pent up demand that will at some point be ‘unleashed’. Small hotels will book up incredibly quickly and services may become unavailable.
The advantage of booking now is that you can secure the best available hotels and services and have a wonderful holiday to look forward to. However, you can book safe in the knowledge that you can cancel your holiday and get a full refund quickly, for any reason, if you want or need to.
How can you offer such flexible booking terms?
In normal times, whenever we take a booking, we immediately send a deposit to our suppliers overseas to secure accommodation bookings and other services.
In this current time of uncertainty, we have worked hard with our local suppliers to allow us to take bookings but without having to send a deposit. Normally this would not be possible, but at the moment, hotels, transport suppliers and guides are very eager to do whatever is needed to facilitate the return of international travel.
This means that although we will take a deposit from you to confirm your booking, we will retain the full value of this in our trust account in the UK. We will not send a penny of it overseas. Therefore if you want to cancel for any reason, you can do so and we will quickly refund you.
Does this apply to all new bookings?
There are a small handful of hotels and services that, even now, we cannot book without a deposit. So we are just not booking these at the moment. It’s imperative for everyone in the industry to work together; those that are not being flexible just won’t get our business for now.
Are flights refundable?
A number of airlines (but not all) are offering flexible booking terms for tour operators, which are not available to the public. This means that we may be able to book fully-refundable flights on your behalf.
Although the exact conditions vary according to the airline and route, these flights are usually refundable until 2 months before departure. At this point they either need to be confirmed or cancelled, in which case we will refund you in full.
Your travel consultant will be able to explain the process in more detail.
Is the booking fully refundable up until the day of departure?
For now, yes.
However, at some point we do expect that some degree of normality will return, for example if a vaccine is found. At that stage, our suppliers may ask for a deposit to continue to hold your booking.
If this happens, we will discuss it with you. If you are happy to continue with your booking, but with our standard booking conditions, great. If not, we’ll give you a full refund. Or we’ll speak to our suppliers to try to negotiate special conditions for you.
The key thing is that we will discuss it with you and won’t do anything that you aren’t happy with. Our mission is to send families on exciting holidays that they want to go on. If you don’t want to go, we don’t want to send you. It’s as simple as that.
How quickly will I get my refund?
Your money is stored in a trust account so there are procedures that we have follow to release the funds back to you. These include getting a sign off from an independent trustee. These procedures take 5 working days. So if you ask for a refund today, the money will be back in your bank account within a week.
Does this affect my financial protection?
No, it doesn’t. All your payments to Stubborn Mule are held in a trust account that is independently managed by the Travel Trust Association (TTA) and which provides 100% financial protection. Further details can be found here.
I booked before the pandemic, does this policy apply to me?
This policy only applies to new bookings. Before the pandemic, whenever we took a booking we sent a deposit to our overseas suppliers to secure accommodation and services. These funds are not being returned to us, so different rules apply for pre-pandemic bookings. However, we are working hard to find the best solution for each family that have been affected.