Frequently Asked Questions
How do I find out more about a specific tour?
On our website we have specific pages dedicated to Israel / Turkey tours etc. If you click on this page you will find 4 different tour package price categories (Compact / Comfort / Luxury / Deluxe). Each tour package category has tours underneath it for the year. Select the tour date that appeals to you and it will open a new page with specific tour info and a downloadable PDF itinerary and registration form. Or, email firstname.lastname@example.org with the specific tour you are interested in (eg: Luxury tour in June) and we will send you the relevant documentation.
How do I register for a specific tour?
Fill In the registration form and sign on the page where you acknowledge the terms and conditions and send a scanned copy to us on email email@example.com or whats app a picture of the signed form to 076 880 1542. Please include a proof of payment for your deposit. A registration can only be completed once deposit payment is made.
Do I need a valid passport to register for a tour?
You will need a valid passport to travel on a tour – however you do not need to submit a passport copy to register for a tour (only your signed form). We do urge you to supply your passport copy via scan email or whats app as soon as possible. If you still need to apply for a passport, we encourage you to book your place on the tour so long and go get a passport from Home Affairs as soon as possible (as it can take from 1 week to 3 months depending on a backlog).
How do I pay for my tour?
To join a tour, you need to pay a deposit to secure your place, and a second deposit one month later to secure your air ticket. Final payment of a tour is due no less than 75 days prior to departure. You can pay your whole tour price upfront in full via EFT if you wish (and thereby “lockdown” your tour price) or you can pay the deposits as specified above (with the final tour price being subject to the ROE on the final invoice date).
You must pay for your tour via EFT. We discourage cash deposits as any cash deposit fees charged by the bank will accrue to your account. If you pay by credit card you will be liable for the merchant fee charge (approx. 3.5%). We do arrange payment plans for clients who wish to pay in installments.
I don’t have a roommate / friend to travel with. What now?
A tour is priced per person sharing; if you do not have a travel buddy to share with, we will do our best to find you a roommate of the same sex to share with. If we (or you) cannot find a roommate, you will be liable for a single supplement fee. If you prefer your own room, you can book a single room at an additional supplement fee imposed by the hotels. The fee varies per tour (hotel) and is available upon request from our office.
Do the tours incur heavy walking?
Most of our tours to Israel, Turkey, Greece, Europe and Egypt involve a fair (but easy paced) amount of walking each day. We encourage travellers to start walking in advance to improve fitness and to bring anti-inflammatory and pain medication in case you struggle. If the walking is too much on a tour, we can provide taxi services on site (for your own account) but most people cope with the pace. We host an “easy walking / seniors tour’ every year for Israel departures. Please see our website or email firstname.lastname@example.org for an itinerary.
How have your tours been affected by COVID-19?
Although most of our tours have been postponed to 2021, we are confident that we will resume group tours next year from May onwards. If you sign up for our newsletter database (email email@example.com to sign up) we will send you regular updates on tour dates, pricing and plans for the future.
Which countries currently accept South African travellers?
At present this information is constantly in flux as countries update entry requirements based on infection rates and reciprocity. The most reliable and up-to-date information will be available from our offices. We are hopeful that touring will resume to “normal” frequency in 2021 as the world grapples with tourism plans for the future and more sustainable lockdown regulations.
Will I need a COVID-19 vaccine to be allowed to travel internationally in the future?
At this stage there is no official global ruling that a vaccine will be necessary for travel (though of course there is a lot of speculation). Having said that, we do not believe a vaccine will be necessary as many global travellers will reject the idea of a vaccine, and Christians in particular will refuse to have a vaccine. Due to a global backlash against a vaccine, we anticipate that airports and governments will rather enforce a negative PCR COVID-19 test (not older than 72 hours before date of departure). But, to reiterate, no-one can say definitively what the future will look like as far as testing and vaccines are considered. We are hopeful that as countries defeat second wave infections and herd immunity is reached in populations, COVID-19 will not be a major hamper on international travel in 2021.
Will I need to take a COVID-19 test prior to departing South Africa on a JOY! Tour?
At present, South Africans (citizens and residents), as well as foreign national travelers, do not require a COVID-19 test to depart South Africa. However, it may be a requirement of some airlines and countries of destination. Our offices will provide full details upon inquiry for a tour as they may differ for each tour destination. We are hopeful that regulations will ease and normalize by the time we resume touring in May 2021.
What happens if I test positive for COVID-19 at the airport prior to departing for a flight / holiday / JOY! Tour?
Although no-one can be sure of the rules by the time we travel in May 2021, we are hopeful that regulations will ease and normalise by the time we resume touring in May 2021.
At present, at the airport of departure in SA, travellers will be screened and anyone exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms will be prohibited from boarding. Any additional requirements will be stipulated by the airline and/or country of destination. The airline is responsible to ensure that all passengers comply with the COVID-19 requirements of entry for the country of destination before boarding and will not allow passengers to board who do not meet these requirements. Travellers should also be aware that testing may be conducted at some international airports upon arrival in that country.
If I am booked to fly but my PCR COVID-19 test is positive (72 hours prior to departure) who covers my “sunk” costs for my flight and holiday that I cannot complete?
Because of constantly changing rules, there is no guarantee from airlines or travel insurance companies that your costs will be re-imbursed should you be prohibited from boarding a flight or completing your booked holiday. Some airlines will allow you to reschedule a flight once you have completed a mandatory quarantine period and your new PCR COVID-19 test comes back negative. Although most suppliers (airlines / hotels / car rental companies) are trying to be more flexible with their cancellation and postponement terms, we encourage you to thoroughly research the implications of testing positive before a flight.
If I am cleared to fly but I am tested at an airport upon my arrival into a new country and test positive for COVID-19, will I be deported or forced into mandatory quarantine?
Although no-one can be sure of the rules by the time we travel in May 2021, we are hopeful that regulations will ease and normalise by the time we resume touring in May 2021. At present, if a traveller arrives in a country that conducts airport screening and COVID-19 testing, and if that traveller tests positive, they will either (a) be placed into a government quarantine facility at their own costs in that country, or (b) will allowed to quarantine at a selection of COVID-19 approved hotels of their choice at their own cost for 14 days or until such time they re-test negative.
Can I contract COVID-19 on the airplane? Does air travel not pose a greater risk of contracting a disease?
Scientific research has shown that the chances of being infected on a flight are extremely low (less than 1% chance). There have been millions of flights since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak resulting in less than 50 confirmed cases of transmission in-flight. There are several reasons why this is the case:
- Seating position – Most of the time on board, you are seated facing forward rather than facing another person. This makes a big difference in terms of the chance of breathing in someone else’s expelled breath.
- Seat backs – A further barrier to COVID-19 spread is that high seatbacks act as a solid barrier.
- High airflow rate – Research has shown that the airflow in an aircraft (from ceiling to floor) is less conductive to droplet spread than other similar environments or modes of transport.
- Air exchange – Modern jet aircraft deliver high airflow and replacement rates, combined with hospital-grade High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters that are 99.9+% effective at removing viruses, bacteria and fungi. Cabin air is exchanged every 2-3 minutes.
Why do you recommend travel insurance when I join a tour?
On most of our tours we include group travel insurance up to 69 years of age. Some of our cheaper tours do not include travel insurance, but you will have the option to purchase travel insurance at a preferred group rate through our offices. Travel insurance is vital in this ever-changing world as it covers a range of possible unforeseen circumstances such as medical issues, lost luggage, missed flights etc. Each travel insurance policy differs in what it may cover, so we encourage you to read through the brochures carefully and decide if you wish to buy a “top up” policy or purchase your own comprehensive cover policy. On a JOY! Tour, if group insurance cover is included, it is very comprehensive – but if you have concerns you can speak to our insurer for more detail. If you are over 69 years of age, you can purchase a “senior” insurance policy through our offices that will cover your age bracket.
I belong to a medical aid, can I just get cover from them?
Travel insurance and medical insurance are two different things. Travel insurance includes medical insurance (hospitalisation / medical treatment in a foreign country / medical evacuation etc) and it also includes travel cover such as lost luggage / missed connection or flights / costs arising from delayed flights etc. Though we do recommend travel insurance for every passenger, if you want to save costs and your medical aid will cover you internationally for free, this will suffice – but remember to check all the terms and conditions carefully to make sure your medical aid cover is sufficient internationally. At present you do not have to have any form of cover to travel to Israel or Turkey on a group tour, but it is strongly suggested as you will incur massive costs in a foreign country if you have no cover at all. Joy Christian Travel PTY Ltd accepts no liability, costs or damages for any client who has no travel or medical insurance / insufficient travel or medical insurance cover.
Will my travel insurance policy cover COVID related issues?
Some travel insurance providers do make small provision for COVID (or pandemic) related events. When looking for travel insurance that covers these related events, consider the following:
- Travel medical: cover your expenses if you or a travel companion, such as your spouse or child, contract COVID-19 while travelling and require medical care or evacuation.
- Trip cancellation: cover any expenses incurred as a result of cancelling your trip prior to departure because you, or someone you care for, contracted COVID-19.
- Trip delay: cover any expenses incurred as a result of changing COVID-19 regulations e.g. travel bans.
Will travel insurance cover my costs if I decide to cancel my tour out of fear to travel / disinclination to travel?
Most travel insurances will not cover disinclination or fear to travel – and the included group cover on our JOY! Tours will certainly not cover this. The exception with insurance cover is a ‘cancel for any reason’ (CFAR) insurance. This is usually available as an optional upgrade to a standard travel insurance plan and may cost up to 50% more than a standard plan. It usually has to be purchased / activated from 48 hours to one week from the time you pay your initial deposit. CFAR insurance can cover you for 50-75% of your total travel costs. However, CFAR is not yet a common insurance product in South Africa and there is much fine-print involved.
Are suppliers changing their cancellation and booking policies?
Each airline, tour operator, car rental company etc will have its own change and cancellation policies, and many are being more lenient when it comes to deposits or postponements as a result of COVID-19 (though we cannot say how long they will keep these lenient policies in place – hopefully indefinitely!) Please be sure to read and understand all the terms and conditions of your ticket or group tour booking upfront so that there are no surprises down the line. Joy Christian Travel PTY Ltd cannot and will not be held liable for any costs incurred due to cancellation / incomplete fulfilment of a tour due to a positive PCR COVID-19 test and denied boarding / entry into a country.
What are the cancellation charges for a JOY! Tour?
We have standard Terms and Conditions for travel that are attached to each tour registration form when you download a tour itinerary from our website or receive it via email. When you book a tour with JOY! you must sign and acknowledge these conditions for travel for legal purposes. We always endeavour to offer fair terms and conditions regarding cancellations or postponements of travel plans for a passenger, however we are often bound by the terms and conditions of the suppliers (airlines and hotels).