Coronavirus: FAQs Around Trekking And Travelling


All Indiahikes Treks between March 18 and May 7, 2020 suspended.


In the present scenario around COVID-19, we know that the best thing to do is avoid any sort of travel now. Which is why we are suspending all our treks until May 7, 2020. 

There is a time for leisure but this is not the time. All of us must avoid any sort of travel until the Coronavirus crisis blows over. Travel means coming in contact with unknown people and unknown surfaces. We don’t know how far the virus has spread. No matter how optimistic we want to be, it is best to tread on the side of caution.

Which is why we have taken the decision to suspend all our treks for the next one month

To be precise, all upcoming treks between March 18th and May 7th are suspended.


Frequently Asked Questions


1. I have booked for a trek between March 18 and April 16. What are my options now?

We’ve put two options in place for you:

Option 1: Reschedule your trek. 

You could easily choose to postpone your trek. I would suggest you postpone your trek until May. By then we will know if the COVID crisis is over or not. We will not charge you for this. Airlines are not charging for rescheduling flights either. 

This would be your best option, knowing that you won’t lose out on your travel tickets. Over the past week, many trekkers have been doing this. It’s reassuring for them, knowing that they can trek later in the year when the situation has improved and knowing that it doesn’t cost them anything.

To give you more options, you can choose to shift to any other trek, and not just the one you’re registered for. This is a special instrument that we have made for all COVID-19 suspended treks.  

Most of our trek dates for the rest of the year are already open. Go through them and choose what suits you best. 

If there is a difference in fee between the two treks we will either ask you to pay the difference or send you the difference (through a voucher). 

| Note: Please write only your Trek Coordinator. Nobody else at Indiahikes is authorised to make this reschedule / transfer for you.

Option 2: Opt for a specialised COVID-19 voucher 

This is a special trek voucher only for COVID-19 suspended trekkers (between March 18th and April 16th). The voucher has these features:

    • The vouchers are valid for an extended period of 1.5 years/18 months from your date of cancellation. Which means you can use them for treks until July next year.  
    • We’ve also made these vouchers transferable. Our vouchers are usually non-transferable. But we have changed this for the COVID-19 voucher. Which means in unusual circumstances, if you cannot trek, you can transfer it to a friend or family member’s name. 
    • These vouchers are inflation-free. Which means if there is a hike in the trek fee of any of our treks, over the next 1.5 years/18 months, it will not apply to you. We are likely to go for a fee increase later this year. However, this voucher insures you against any fee increase. 

Out of these, we suggest you choose the first option because you don’t have to undergo a loss with your travel tickets. Or else choose the second option. 

 


2. What is the procedure to postpone my trek? 

The best way is to write an email to your Trek Coordinator who will manually shift you to another batch of your choice. In the email, mention your current batch, and the batch you would like to move to. Please note that you can only shift to batches with available slots. So, make your shift before batches are filled up.

 


3. Can I get a refund for a cancelled trek between March 18-April 16, 2020? 

No. For COVID-19 suspended treks, Indiahikes will not refund any trek fee. As you are aware, on any of our suspended treks, as part of our cancellation policy, we only issue a 100% voucher of the trek fee. However, looking at how deep the COVID-19 crisis is, we have tried to make your options as friendly as possible.

 


4. What protocol is Indiahikes following to safeguard trekkers from the Coronavirus pandemic? 

    • Our teams have constantly been screening the travel history (past 40 days) and the health of trekkers. We are also checking those who have travelled within India to the zones most affected by COVID-19. 
    • Further, anyone showing symptoms of cough, cold, shortness of breath or fever are being asked not to come on the trek. We have already disallowed 7 such trekkers, even before they left from their homes. 
    • At our base camps, if trekkers come with any symptoms of cough, cold, fever, they are not allowed on the trek. Fortunately, we haven’t had to turn anyone around, because the pre-trek safety check is making sure no one with symptoms comes on the trek. 
    • We are providing hygiene liners to all our trekkers. These are used as a first layer before entering sleeping bags. Every trekker uses his/her own liner from the base camp till the last. We are washing, disinfecting and sunning these liners thoroughly after every use. 
    • We have issued isopropyl alcohol solution to all our camps. You may know that isopropyl alcohol is the main content of a hand sanitizer. It is a rubbing alcohol and kills germs. All our team members are constantly using these to stay hygienic.
    • We are providing trekkers with warm water after every meal to wash their dishes. This is simply to ensure that they wash their cutlery properly, which becomes very difficult with cold water in the mountains.
    • Our Eco Bags are washed before trekkers can use them. These Eco-Bags help us keep the mountains clean. And our teams are scrubbing them clean with soap after every use.

 


5. I have already made travel arrangements. And I may lose money for cancelling tickets. Help! 

Most airlines are offering to reschedule flights for a negligible cancellation fee. If you have booked flight tickets, please check with your respective airline. We have opened our trek dates for the rest of the year so you may move your trek to a later date without any charges.

 


6. How will I know if my trek is suspended? 

You will receive an email from your Trek Coordinator. We have also announced this on our social media platforms and on our website. Please note that if your batch was starting before or on April 15, it is suspended.

 


7. What if I am unable to use the voucher within the validity of 18 months? 

You can transfer the voucher to any friend or family member. This is a special scenario where the vouchers are made transferable if you are unable to use the voucher.

 


8. I have a trek coming up in April, May and June. What should I do?

We suggest that you postpone your trek until June or later. By then we will know if the COVID-19 crisis is over or not. We will not charge you for this. Many airlines are not charging for rescheduling flights either.

This would be your best option, knowing that you won’t lose out on your travel tickets. Over the past week, many trekkers have been doing this. It’s reassuring for them, knowing that they can trek later in the year when the situation has improved and knowing that it doesn’t cost them anything.

If your trek is scheduled between these 3 months, you would have received an email from your Trek Coordinator. Please reply to the email. Only your Trek Coordinator is authorized to postpone your trek.


9. From when is it advisable to plan for treks?

There is a high COVID-19 apprehension to trek in summer. And that’s sensible. Do not think of treks this April and May.

However, our advice is to start planning your treks from June onward right away. We have opened up our Kashmir treks, the Valley of Flowers, Hampta Pass, Bhrigu Lake, Beas Kund and Pin Bhaba Pass treks.

Planning now will help you get the early slots (these are filling fast). It also helps the mountain folk. In these tough times, when we have suspended treks till mid-April, the reassurance of treks happening again gives the mountains and its people a lot of hope.

Click here to see our treks from June onward.


10. Any helpful tips for trekkers? 

    • Avoid touching too many unknown surfaces. If you do, clean your hands with a sanitiser or simple liquid soap (even outside the Covid-19 issue, I always carry liquid soap in a small old shampoo bottle. I keep it in my pocket)
    • Wash / clean your hands every two hours. Bring your own hand sanitiser, with alcohol content of at least 60% 
    • If you cough/sneeze, cover your face with your inner elbow
    • Maintain distance from anyone coughing or sneezing
    • Wear a mask, sunglasses to limit physical contact with outside elements
    • Avoid sharing cutlery on treks. Trekkers tend to do this to avoid washing their cutlery in the cold weather. But until the Covid-19 scare goes away, eat out of your own cutlery.
    • Be wary of the restaurants and hotels you’re eating at before and after your trek.

 


11. How can I get in touch with you?  

If you have registered for a trek, the best way to get in touch is by dropping an email to your Trek Coordinator or call us on 080-468-01269. Or write an email to [email protected]