Zephyr and the COVID-19 Pandemic

Updated April 9, 2021

The travel world – indeed the entire world – has been turned upside down with the COVID-19 pandemic. We understand this has greatly impacted you, as it has greatly impacted us.

However, with our safety precautions below, including a mandatory vaccination or COVID test for travelers on all 2021 tours, we are able to safely operate tours this year. Following are our procedures for keeping you safe.

Mandatory COVID Test or Vaccination

For our 2021 tours, we will require one of the following for all participants:

  • Proof of vaccination, including the required second or booster shot.
  • A negative COVID PCR test result within 72 hours of the tour start. If you cannot obtain a test locally, we will provide information on how to do mail-based tests that are quite reasonable at $119. (Note for kids on family tours, we might revert to a series of rapid tests.)
  • Proof of recent (within 90 days) COVID infection and recovery.

Health of Participants

  • We will encourage our travelers to be extra careful in the two weeks prior to the tour and during travel to the tour location.
  • We will require all tour participants to certify prior to the tour that they do not have any symptoms of COVID and have not been in contact with anyone they know is infected.
  • We will have a thermometer on site to take the temperature of tour participants. (The CDC considers a person to have a fever at 100.4 degrees.)
  • We will train our staff to recognize the symptoms of COVID-19 and be prepared to screen tour participants.

Airline Flights

Most of our tour participants fly to their destination and we are not in control of that aspect of travel. However, airlines and airports are taking extraordinary steps to keep passengers safe, including not selling tickets for middle seats, new electrostatic sanitation after each flight, mask requirements, and passenger screenings. Studies have suggested the the risk of contracting COVID on flights is actually fairly low. We highly suggest you book tickets on airlines that limit capacity on flights.

Tour Safety Precautions

  • Our small-group tours are safer than larger bus tours or cruises and outdoor, active travel is by its nature safer since biking, hiking, snowshoeing, kayaking, and other activities can all be done with more social distancing.
  • We will provide an introductory briefing on the first day of your tour about precautions we should all take.
  • We will have face masks, hand sanitizer, a first aid kit, and a thermometer available on the tour.
  • We will move as many activities (introductions, morning meetings, etc) outside as possible.
  • We will sanitize our van daily.
  • We will eliminate handshakes, hugs, and glass sharing.
  • We will ask all participants to have a face mask available for certain situations such as when we are in vehicles.

Hotels and Restaurants

Hotels and restaurants, too, are taking extraordinary measures to keep patrons safe beyond just extra cleanings. For hotels this includes special rules for elevator capacity, removing handheld items such as pens, leaving rooms empty for 24 hours before someone checks in, and virtual checkins. For restaurants this includes reduced capacity, encouraging outdoor dining, and face masks for employees.

  • We will communicate with our hotels and restaurants to ensure they are following updated recommendations for maintaining safety.
  • We will eat as many meals as possible outside by doing more upscale picnics, outdoor dining, or take-out in local parks.
  • If we do eat indoors we will eat in smaller groups.
  • We have reduced our single supplements to encourage single travelers to book single rooms.

Ground Transportation

  • Where possible, we will reduce van rides requiring everyone to be inside at once.
  • Where possible, we will use larger vehicles or more vehicles so each person can have their own row.
  • We will run shuttles more often with fewer people in each run.
  • We will require masks while in vans and will sanitize vehicles daily.

Higher Risk Travelers

If you are at higher risk or just have a low risk tolerance, you are welcome to implement even stricter measures on tours. You can choose to drive yourself to a domestic tour, including from hotel to hotel. You can choose to eat with your own travel party at dinner or take meals back to your room. You can choose to skip any group activities we have planned.

Travel in 2021

We purposefully created our 2021 schedule based on the pandemic, and we are confident we can run most or all of these tours. If we do cancel a tour on our schedule, you can receive a full credit or refund, your choice. For 2021 we were able to set a schedule that combines safety with appealing destinations.

  • We have only domestic departures for the first six months of the year. Most of our international trips are scheduled from September through December.
  • We have added more domestic tour locations to accommodate the increased interest in staying local.
  • We have identified tours that require fewer or even no shuttles at all, so you never have to get in a van or restaurant.


We have always been focused on safety, with our guides being trained in first aid and CPR. We are prepared to offer you small-group adventure travel vacations in as safe and responsible a manner as possible. Most importantly, we know you want to travel and we will be there for you when you are ready!

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