Terms and Conditions
Yes, even in far-away Kazakhstan, our lives are constrained by attorneys and the need for “fine print”, but perhaps that is just as well for us all. However, we’ll do our best to write in clear English rather than legalese, and if any of these points concern you, please discuss and clarify with us prior to booking and buying travel with us.
Please keep in mind that ours is a young and new country and we’re still learning some of the best practices that the western world now luxuriates in, especially when you and we start to go “off the beaten track”. It can get harder to fully quality control your experiences in such cases, and sometimes a positive attitude is an essential thing to pack and bring with you! If nothing else, the occasional glitch may give you something to talk about when you return home.
Our Experience is Your Protection
We have been in business since 2002. To put that in context, Kazakhstan became independent in 1991, so our corporate history is only a little shorter than that of our country.
Our almost 18 years in business have seen tremendous changes in our country and region, and we’re not boasting when we say “we’ve seen it all”.
We can’t guarantee that nothing will go wrong, but we can offer to do all we can to help in the event of problems.
Occasionally we’ve had challenges and problems in the past, because we are necessarily dependent on actual providers and the services they operate in the countries we provide services within. If, for example, a train is late or cancelled, there’s nothing we can do about that except wait for the next train. If someone’s luggage is lost by an airline, or stolen from a hotel, that’s again something that sometimes happens. If a road is under construction and congested – well, you get the picture….
The key thing is to take such challenges in your stride, to remain positive and willing to enjoy the rest of the experience, perhaps (eg) buy some replacement clothes, and then move forward with the rest of your travel enjoyment.
We ask that you understand we will do all we can to make your travels as positive an experience as possible, but any time we step out our front doors, we introduce variables into our lives, even more so in foreign countries with different concepts of customer service. The key part of your enjoyment of any tour and travel experience is to not let the inevitable problems that may occur interfere with your enjoyment of the rest of the tour.
On occasion, matters interfere with our ability to operate tours as shown. We therefore reserve the right to alter an itinerary at any time for any reason, although we will at all times attempt to ensure that any changes or substitutions are of similar interest.
If an included item needs to be omitted for any reason and can not be compensated with what we consider to be a fairly equivalent item, then you will be refunded our underlying cost of that omitted item.
Imagery and Information
The photographs and video shown and information provided on this web site and related promotional materials depict typical scenes as described, but the subject matter may not necessarily be experienced or seen, as illustrated, while on our tour. No warranty is made concerning weather.
Please note that we may take publicity photos during our tours for subsequent public display. Your image may appear in these photos, but you would not be identified by name. In addition, other tour members will be taking pictures for their own purposes. You agree to appear in these photos, and if you wish to not appear in photos, will advise ourselves and other tour members in writing so we know to not inadvertently include you.
Pricing, Payments and Refunds
We generally show pricing in US dollars, although of course our underlying cost prices are almost always in local currency.
Any significant changes in exchange rates will see such pricing necessarily change to reflect the exchange rate movement, and any adjustment in our costs from our suppliers will also need to be passed through to you too.
Prices are locked in when final payment has been received from you, but are subject to change prior to that time. If you wish, you are welcome to pay earlier than required so as to lock pricing in place.
A 20% deposit is required on all products. The balance is due 30 days prior to the commencement of travel.
If you are booking within 30 days, full payment is due immediately upon confirmation.
Payment should be net to us (after allowance for fees) in an agreed currency and by an agreed method. Most international payment methods may incur a fee to either you or us, and sometimes both, and some take more time than others to be arranged. We’re reasonably flexible as to how you make payment, and we should of course agree on this before you send money.
In the event we subsequently need to refund money back to you, we’d generally choose to refund back via the same method as you used to send money in the first place, but again, we’re flexible and will discuss with you at the time.
Travel vouchers will be sent to you via email, approximately ten days after payment has been received.
You can change the names of participants at any time prior to document issuance for a $25 per name change fee.
You can change the travel arrangements we have made for you at any time prior to full payment being made, subject to applicable cancellation and change fees, which vary depending on the travel products affected and their applicable policies, and will in all events also include an administrative fee on our part of not less than $50. If you anticipate the need to make changes between booking your tour and actually taking the tour, please discuss with us the likely feasibility and costs of any changes or cancellations.
Subsequent to full payment being made, changes of any type may or may not be possible, and may require the payment of a higher fee plus courier fees for documents to be returned to us and to suppliers then sent back to us and on to you.
Once payment has been received, if you cancel your participation prior to one month before tour commencement, you will receive a refund of not more than 50% (depending on individual operator policies) upon the return of all tour documents, unused.
If you cancel after that time, or do not return all tour documents, unused, our ability to refund depends on if we can resell your space to other travelers (and on the policy of the ultimate product providers). If we can resell your space at full price, you’ll still get a 50% refund; if we can’t, no refund will be paid.
No refund is given for cancellations subsequent to 48 hours prior to the start of the advertised ‘Day 1’ of the tour, and/or for any unused portions of a tour.
Note – we and/or our suppliers may occasionally cancel tours, particularly if minimum group sizes are not achieved, or perhaps in the case of bad weather or other events beyond our control. In such cases you can choose between a full refund or to apply the amount to a similar alternate tour product or date.
Cancellation and change fees and associated costs may be reimbursable by a travel insurance policy, depending on circumstances. For this and all other reasons, we recommend you purchase travel insurance accordingly.
If you’re read this far, you already know we do not promise to “make you whole” or to fully recompense the entire extent of any losses you may experience. For that reason, and for all other reasons of prudence, we recommend you purchase comprehensive travel insurance to provide some degree of financial compensation and mitigation in the case you experience any losses, and also to cover the cost of medical expenses and possibly emergency evacuation and repatriation.
Note that some policies also allow for you to cancel your travels for any reason or as a result of pre-existing medical conditions, providing partial or full recompense in such cases, but for this coverage to be activated, you are typically required to buy the insurance within 7 – 14 days of paying the deposit for the tour.
Inclusions and Exclusions
Only those items specifically stated to be included are included in the travel products we arrange for you. All other items not so specifically stated are not included and if you choose to avail yourself of them would be at extra cost.
Activities, Health and Meals
You should be in good health and modestly fit in order to participate in the walking components of our tours; if you have health or mobility constraints, please advise us prior to your travels so we can customize your experience to reflect and cater to those issues.
We also note that there are regrettably seldom good facilities for people with disabilities, and the ADA is a concept that is still way in the future of most of the rest of the world. Do not assume that if you have any disabilities they will be accommodated. Let us know prior to confirming and paying for your travel if you have any special needs or constraints.
Note that many foreign countries do not provide experiences that are as ‘safe’ as in the US. It is not uncommon to see slippery surfaces, uneven steps, and poor or no handrails, for example. Ice is another hazard if present (as it often is in the winter months). You need to be aware of such challenges and be responsible for your own safety.
Unless advised otherwise, special vaccinations are not mandatory, but you may consider it prudent to check with your healthcare professional and to follow any courses of protective vaccinations he/she recommends prior to traveling with us.
If you have any special dietary or other preferences for meals, please let us know prior to when you make final payment so we can advise the hotels and restaurants accordingly. We will help you to meet your needs, but can not guarantee that this will completely and consistently occur. Other countries aren’t necessarily as sensitive to dietary issues as the US is.
Your Responsibilities Include
It is your responsibility to get yourself to the commencement place for each of the items we arrange, at or prior to the tour commencement time, and to observe the tour timetable during the course of the tour.
It is your responsibility to ensure you have the necessary travel documents that may be required (a current passport not due to expire until six months after the end of your travels is always safest, and with sufficient blank pages in it for visa stamps), and to obtain any necessary visas authorizing your travel to the countries in the tour.
It is your responsibility to have arranged any vaccinations that are either mandatory or recommended by your healthcare professional. It is your responsibility to arrange and pay for your own medical care should you become unwell on the tour. While we will do what we can to assist, we are not healthcare professionals and our ability to assist is tempered by our requirement to continue to maintain the touring experience for other tour members.
It is your responsibility to comply with the reasonable requirements and requests of any tour leader, attraction operators and guides, and if you don’t understand any such requirement, it is your responsibility to request and obtain the necessary clarification.
Our tours leave promptly at the advised times from each stop. It is your responsibility to be on the vehicle/vessel/etc on or prior to each departure time. If you miss any departure time it is your responsibility to make your own arrangements to catch up with the tour, and no refund will be given either for missed tour components or the costs you incur after so missing any part of the tour.
It is your responsibility to exercise care and prudence while traveling. Not all foreign destinations have the same high standards of care and safety that are usually to be found in the US, and you need to be self aware and to realize that in some countries, the obligation is on you to be careful and cautious, not on service providers to attempt to foresee and prevent imprudent acts. Care and prudence includes being aware of theft/crime risks, being careful when visiting places that might have slippery/uneven walkways and stairs, keeping away from the edges of tall things, watching out for low beams in buildings, and all other things where problems and mishaps may occur.
Just like in your home country and everywhere else in the world, it is your responsibility to be aware of and to obey all local laws.
If you encounter any problems, you agree to immediately advise us of these problems so that we can mitigate and hopefully resolve them.
If you do not notify us of problems in a timely manner, then our subsequent liability and obligation to you is limited only to that which may apply subsequent to our being notified. If such redress is now no longer available to be offered to you due to the passing of time, we have no obligation to offer you alternate compensation instead. In other words, and as an example, don’t tell us the next morning that your hotel room was unsuitable the previous night.
Limitation of Our Liability
We act only as agents for the principals offering the services and products included in travel arrangements we make for you, and have no direct control over their products and services.
Trip to KZ, our staff, contractors, and officers, and the various companies involved in providing services offer no warranties express or implied and reserve the right to amend their products and services in any way at any time as they may choose in their sole and unfettered discretion. Participation on any arrangements we make for you is on an “own risk” basis and participants are responsible for ensuring that they act in a prudent and appropriate manner.
We are not liable for any matters outside our control, including acts and omissions of suppliers, and matters related to war or terrorism or natural disaster or civil disorder and or the fear of war or terrorism or natural disaster or civil disorder, whether reasonable or not, and any other Acts of God.
You agree we are not liable for any acts or omissions, and agree to indemnify us and hold us harmless from any matters arising from your own acts or omissions or those of your fellow tour members or other people in general. You further agree that in any case where liability may be found, our liability will in no case exceed that reasonable amount of profit we earned from your payment to us that relates to the product or service causing the loss or damage or other problem suffered by you.
Acceptance of these Terms and Conditions
Your forwarding payment to us is your act of acceptance of our terms and conditions. You agree that you have conveyed these terms and conditions to all people traveling with you, and the payment for each of the people traveling, whether it be paid directly or jointly, is evidence of each person’s acceptance.
Any disputes or other matters arising from the operation of these tours or involving our company and its personnel, will be heard within the jurisdiction of Almaty, Kazakhstan, and will be interpreted under our local law and practice and judged in the light of the normal standards of conduct and liability at the places where the matters at issue occurred, these standards typically being lower than in the US.
In the event that any term or condition is varied or voided, the remaining terms and conditions will remain binding on you and us.
Other Tour Terms and Conditions
Each travel product may have additional terms and conditions that specifically relate to that particular item. In such cases, if the additional terms conflict with these terms, then the more restrictive terms will over-ride the less restrictive terms.