Dear Sustainable Traveler,
Thank you for choosing Big Five as your provider of choice. The tourism sector represents 20% of the global labor force today and will by the of end of the decade represent 1 out of every 3 non-farm payroll jobs globally. Sustainable tourism goes a step further. It applies that labor force and the dollars behind every journey, towards positively impacting the local communities and natural biodiversity it serves. I am very proud that Big Five Tours & Expeditions is considered a sustainable tourism pioneer. You can learn more here.
Before you book your journey, it is important to note that we do ask for deposits for every booking, a non-refundable commitment that allows us to secure your services. We prefer not to hide behind our terms and conditions, but rather to explain the need for them and why we they don’t waiver regardless of economic or global conditions.
- We don’t offer “gimmicks” with our deposits such as limited time waivers or discounts. We don’t need to. Our philosophy has always been, when you are ready to proceed, let’s do a deposit. If space is tight or if anything requires an urgent decision, we will communicate it. You are always in control. When you make the deposit, we make sure those funds are sent to the sources to confirm your services.
- Though we have excellent credit with all our providers, we choose not to utilize it. Instead, as a responsible travel company, we prepay services in order to have access to top guides, best drivers and a top tier standing with the hotels we collaborate with, in both contract rates and in exclusive service. This practice ensures any service we provide for you in your final itinerary has been paid for before your arrival and reconfirmed repeatedly before you depart. Our 24-Hour White Glove Service® guest assistance program ensures that level of service.
- All our deposits must be non-refundable with strict cancellation penalties. Otherwise, we are disrupting cashflow for everyone in the supply chain, which is crushing when you consider 70% of our adventures are in third world countries that average 30%+ in unemployment. Tourism is a top five export for many of these countries. We want to make sure your funds reach the locals to help them provide for their families.
- At Big Five, we don’t have or need a policy stating that you can postpone your journey after booking. We have been through downturns and upswings alike and have allowed guests on a case-by-case basis to postpone journeys up to 12 months from original travel date without penalty since we began in 1973. A computer is not generating an algorithm to decide your cancellation policy or how lenient it will be – a human being is. We will always do the best we can to help accommodate you, our traveler, in large part due to the excellent relationship we have with your travel advisor, while ensuring we protect the local tourism industry in the countries we serve so they are there to serve you when you do actually travel.
- We recommend some form of elevated travel insurance such as cancel for any reason from your travel advisor to ensure your investment is protected. We don’t add this to the cost of the deposit and hide the cost or details in the small print. Your travel advisor will have access to unbiased information and the best coverage and can set you up on the right policy to cover even the services we are not providing.
Whether you are a repeat traveler with Big Five or a first-time traveler, our philosophy is simply, you and your travel advisor are our world. We want you fully informed and ready to proceed before making that non-refundable deposit. Our booking forms are very detailed and might even come across as tedious. We do require signatures and initials, as we want you to read them in entirety. We may be the only travel provider out there that will try to talk you out of booking with us if we are not the right fit for you.
Thankfully, the travel advisors you have used to book your Big Five journey are a creative and caring group who love working with our process and they do an amazing job telling us about your personality and needs.