Can I get any of what I have already paid refunded?

Last Update: August 06, 2020 - 10:30 AM EDT

Unfortunately, that is not possible based on the way we structure how our guests pay deposits and balances, and how we pay our suppliers. When you pay us a deposit, we also pay deposit in your name out to our suppliers. What we pay on your behalf is non-refundable for us. When we reach the 90 day mark, and we charge the balance of your trip, once again, we pay all of our suppliers for the balance. Keep in mind that these are not large corporations. They are small mom and pop farmers, small restaurants, little boutique hotels that are run by a husband, wife and the kids, etc.

They have stocked up and prepared for us, and if we leave them hanging by doing some kind of "corporate power play", we put them out of business, and that is quite simply not in our hearts. We are not holding on to your money, we have already paid those that will provide all the services for the vacation you will be taking. This is why even deposits are not refundable if they are within 180 days of the vacation taking place, because we need to pay out those costs immediately.

This is the very nature of what attracts most of our guests to us. That we are not part of the giant corporate tourism machine. That everything we do revolves around families. We simply cannot change when things get difficult. Rather, we choose to step up and do all we can to support them. Fortunately, the vast majority of our guests already know this about us. It is why we have such an amazing following of friends and family that travel with us over and over. Because we are real, even when it is hard. But we also do understand that some new guests don't know that about us... yet. To get an understanding of that, we would ask you to spend some time on our Facebook page, where you will see that we... our team, our guests, and our suppliers are one big family. Where you will see the outpouring of love that goes in both directions, especially in these difficult times. You will see that this is not about bottom lines and refunds... it is about finding a way for all of us to get through this together.

Please know that CDV is not holding your money, we have paid it out.

Under normal circumstances, none of that is refundable to us, and it is a total loss unless someone else takes your spot for you. The hotel you would be staying in gets paid, and the room remains available, the food is paid for, and all other costs… as if you were there.

For this reason, under our normal policy, at most we can only transfer 20% of your deposit to another vacation with us, so long as it is not too close to the vacation date. Once we are 90 days from the date, we cannot transfer the deposit OR the balance. Quite simply, because we have already paid for it. This standard policy makes it so that if you cancel, for us it is as though you never reserved in the first place. That 20% helps offset most of the costs we cannot recuperate when you change dates. We don’t take anything, and we don’t lose anything.

However, in this unprecedented time with the coronavirus, our suppliers have been incredibly flexible with us, and are allowing us to defer all of these deposits and balances to different dates. So if you paid a deposit, they are honoring that deposit for a future date. If you have paid your balance, they are honoring that full balance for a future date. So instead of offering at most, 20% to be credited for a future vacation in such circumstances, we are temporarily offering a credit of 100% on tours we postpone , but we cannot issue monetary refunds.

We ask our guests to recognize that this is also based on a gesture of good will our suppliers have extended us, because standard agreements do not cover losses due to “Force Majeure”, things like acts of God, or governments limiting the ability to provide a service. Each of our suppliers had the right to tell us that the many tens of thousands we have already paid them would be a total loss for us. But they graciously wanted to help us to help our own guests, and allowed us this flexibility in an act of good faith.

If they refunded us, every single one of them would be bankrupt overnight.

We have a similar clause in our vacation terms with our guests, that would legally allow us to not offer to postpone our guests vacations in a situation like this. But we are all in this together, so we are doing everything in our power to make this work for everyone, just as our suppliers are for us.

Otherwise, we would also be bankrupt overnight, and would be unable to postpose the vacations for our guests.

Postponing your trip does not make us whole.

It just helps us survive this. Part of the collective amount our guests pay us also goes to our fixed expenses. We have to keep the lights on, pay the insurance, etc. While the coronavirus pandemic will affect most companies for as long as it lasts, for us it will wipe out an entire year. This means that with almost all of our guests moving their trips to 2021, we will have very little availability for new guests in 2021, so our 2021 vacations will have to cover 2 years of our fixed expenses. It will be tough, but we will get through it together.

What About Travel Insurance?.

We ask all of our guests to remember that what you have already paid us is nonrefundable based on the agreement when you booked the trip. We are relaxing that policy significantly to get us all through this.

Because of the fact that these payments are normally nonrefundable, we make a very strong suggestion that all of our guests obtain the best travel insurance they can as soon as they book:

  • It is listed twice on the dates, deposit info & pricing info page of every vacation on our website, and has been since 2011.
  • It is on several of our FAQ and knowledge-base pages throughout the website
  • When you make a reservation with us, it is boldly listed as the first thing you should do on the page that confirms your reservation.
  • There is a full paragraph with links in every confirmation email we send
  • It is listed in our terms

We make getting insurance such a strong priority throughout our website and communications specifically because we have seen so much. When we faced the emergency of all flights to Europe being grounded because of a volcanic eruption in 2011, we were sure to practically beg all of our guests to get the best insurance possible from that day forward. When guests choose to cancel, or for any reason cannot take the trip, including government shutdowns, we feel horrible for them. When they tell us they did not get the proper insurance we so strongly advised, we are in a terribly awkward position, because this is specifically why travel insurance exists. Sometimes guests do not opt for insurance, or good enough insurance, in order to save money. We get it, we really do. But that is what insurance is for. When we choose not to get insurance, we are gambling with the money we paid, because we have no idea what life will throw at us.

We send out links to this kind of information in those emails:
Do I Need Travel Insurance?

Here is the cancellation policy from our website and confirmation emails:
Deposit & Cancellation Policy

Here is the detailed terms of service that they link to:
Terms of service for our vacations

Here is the temporary “relaxed” policy we enacted for the benefit of our guests for the Coronavirus pandemic:
Coronavirus Relaxed Cancellation Policy

If You Have Travel Insurance

If you do not want to take the travel credit we are offering, or gift it to someone else, and you would like to file a claim with your travel insurance, there are some things to consider.

If you have the “Cancel for Any Reason” type of policy that we urge our guests to get, you should have no problem filing a claim. When you do file the claim, let us know that you have, and what insurance company it is. At some point they are likely to contact us to get proof that you qualify. Typically they will ask us for proof of when you made your deposit with us, and the total amount paid. We will absolutely give them what they need with no delay.

If you have a travel insurance policy that is lesser than “Cancel for Any Reason”, you will need to contact your insurance provider and find out if you are covered due to the government imposed travel restrictions or cancellation by providers. If your vacation is outside of the period covered by these restrictions (currently it is set at July 15), it is likely that your reasoning will be deemed as “fear of travel,” and probably will not be covered. If that is the case, we would suggest that you wait, as the restriction period may be extended and allow you to be covered once that happens.

Also not that some travel insurance companies are relaxing their policies like so many of us in travel, so it would be a good idea to contact them.

If You DO NOT Have Travel Insurance

We urge you to take advantage of the 100% travel credit we are extending. Remember, you do not need to choose dates now, and if you wish, you can gift it to someone else. All deposits and payments made at this point by all of our guests are past the refundable dates based on both our original cancellation policy and our relaxed policy.