Terms & Conditions
Please read these booking Terms and Conditions carefully, they form an important part of the contract for your travel arrangements.
You can download a downloadable PDF version of these terms here.
All programmes advertised in our marketing materials and on our website are operated by Starfish Asia UK co Ltd, part of the Starfish Group. Starfish Asia UK co Ltd is a registered business in Thailand with company number 0775550001822 and with its registered office at S Group Building, 8th Floor, Suite 802, Petchaburi Road Soi 33, Makkasan, Ratchatewi, and Bangkok 10400. The Company is licensed by the Tourism Authority of Thailand, license number 14/01716. All travel arrangements are sold subject to the following conditions (“Booking Conditions”):
Please Note: Adequate and valid travel insurance is compulsory for all customers and it is a condition of the Company accepting your booking that you agree you will have obtained adequate and valid travel insurance for your booking by the date of departure.
You are strongly advised to insure yourself against any possible risk that may occur and in particular to ensure that you have sufficient insurance in respect of expenses, injury, death, repatriation, cancellation and curtailment and dependent relatives. You may be required to carry proof of insurance with you and produce it if reasonably requested by Company employees or suppliers. You should ensure that you are covered for the complete duration of your travels and that there are no exclusion clauses which limit cover for the type of activities included in your travel arrangements.
To make a booking you can contact us in several ways; directly over the telephone or via our website. The person making the booking (hereinafter referred to as the ‘Lead Name’) must be 18 years old or over and possess the legal capacity and authority to make the booking and accepts these booking conditions on behalf of everyone in their party.
You will need to pay a deposit (which includes an administration charge) at the time of booking which is £150 (or equivalent in other currencies).
Please see the section on ‘Payment and Credit Card Fees’ below for further details regarding payments and payment dates. Please note that depending on when you book, you may be required to pay the full balance of the travel arrangements at the time of booking, please see further below.
Upon receipt of your deposit/full payment, we will start to process your application. However, if you withdraw your application at any stage, as we will have already incurred costs in processing your application and looking for a placement, we regret that we cannot refund your deposit, as we need to cover our costs incurred on your behalf. We will, however, refund your deposit and any other fees paid to date, less the costs of any pre-placement training you have received, if we cannot locate a placement for you.
If we accept your booking, we will issue a confirmation invoice. A contract will exist between us from the date we issue the confirmation invoice or if you book within 28 days of departure the contract will exist when we accept your full payment. When you receive the confirmation invoice please check the details carefully and inform us immediately if anything is incorrect.
It is a condition of your booking that you and all members of your party provide certain information that may be sent to our regional managers who will assess your application. Failure to provide us with requested information 28 days prior to arrival may result in us needing to cancel or postpone your booking.
Your personal safety is of paramount importance to us and therefore it is imperative that you advise us at the time of booking of any condition, medical or otherwise, that might affect your or other people’s enjoyment of your placement or booking.
We believe that all statements made in our marketing materials and website and other marketing materials are factual and correct at the time they are made. Every reasonable effort has been made to describe the booking accurately and to provide the amenities described. We will advise you of any material changes known to us prior to your departure providing there is sufficient time to do so, and, we can contact you.
With the exception of special group bookings (where we develop a programme specifically for your group), if you book 30 days or more before the start date of your programme you will need to pay a deposit at the time of booking as detailed above. We will invoice you for the remainder of the cost of your travel arrangements due before you travel and your confirmation invoice will contain details of the due dates for further payments.
You must pay 100% of the costs of your travel arrangements at least 30 days before the start date of your programme(s).
If the deposit and/or balance are not paid in time we will cancel your travel arrangements. If the balance is not paid in time, we shall retain your deposit.
4. Prices and Surcharges.
All prices we advertise are accurate at the date published, but we reserve the right to change any of those prices. Prices on our website are updated regularly. Before you make a booking we will give you the up-to- date price of your chosen programme including the cost of any peak-season supplements or additional facilities which you have requested. Prices quoted are valid at the time of publication on 1st January 2017.
Changes in transportation costs, including the cost of fuel, dues, taxes or fees chargeable for services, mean that the price of your travel arrangements may change after you have booked. However, there will be no change within 30 days of your departure. We will absorb any cost changes up to 2% of the price of your travel arrangements but reserve the right to make charges over and above this amount. However, if this means that you have to pay an increase of more than 10% of your programme you will have the option of accepting a change to another programme, if we are able to offer one (if this is of equivalent or higher quality you will not have to pay more but if it is of lower quality you will be refunded the difference in price), or cancelling and receiving a full refund, except for any amendment charges.
Dates and itineraries shown for tours are indicative only and subject to change
5. Changes and cancellations made by you
If, after our Confirmation Invoice has been issued, you wish to change your travel arrangements in any way, for example change to another programme or change departure date, we will try to make the change subject to availability but it may not always be possible. Any request for changes to be made must be in writing from the Lead Name and received by us 30 days or more before the start date of your programme. You will be required to pay an amendment fee of £40 (or equivalent in other currencies) per booking for each change and any further costs we incur in making this alteration (including without limitation to cover our administration costs and any costs imposed by any of our partners providing the component parts of the booking).
If the booking to which you transfer is more expensive than the one you originally booked, a further deposit may also be payable. Any alteration requested by you and received by us less than 30 days prior to the start date of your programme or departure date (whichever is the earlier) will be treated as a cancellation of the original booking and will be subject to cancellation charges.
You, or any member of your party, may cancel your booking at any time providing that the cancellation is made by the Lead Name in writing. Notice of cancellation will be effective upon receipt of your written communication. As we start to incur costs from the time the contract is confirmed we will retain your deposit and in addition will apply other cancellation charges as shown below. Where written notification of the cancellation is received:
- 30 days or more prior to the start date of your programme: loss of deposit plus a charge of 10% of the total value of the programme cost.
- less than 30 days prior to the start date of your programme (or failure to join the programme): 100% of the cost of your travel arrangements.
Where you have booked a combination of two or more programmes under one booking, cancellation of your booking will be deemed to be cancellation of all programmes under that booking and cancellation fees will be charged against the total booking cost. Please note that in cases where you have already made changes or deferred the start date of your programme or departure date, cancellation fees will be applied with regard to the original start date of your programme or departure date as applicable.
All communications relating to this contract (in particular any requests to cancel or amend your programme arrangements) must be from the Lead Name in writing and in English and delivered by hand, fax, email or sent by recorded delivery post to our registered address in Thailand.
If once you have started your project you elect to leave, the cancellation charges set out in these Booking Conditions will apply and you will be required to complete a release form which confirms you are cancelling your contract with the company and are not entitled to claim a refund for any unused services.
6. Changes or cancellations made by us.
We reserve the right to cancel your booking or make changes to your booking (including without limitation to any of the facilities, services or prices described in our brochures or website). We will endeavour to advise you of any changes known at the time of booking.
We plan the arrangements for your booking in advance and may occasionally have to make changes, most of which are minor and we will advise you of them at the earliest possible date. If a major change becomes necessary, we will advise you of the change as soon as reasonably possible if there is time before your programme start date. Whether a change is ‘major’ depends on the nature of the trip and may include: a change to a lower standard of accommodation; or a change of location for activities.
If we make a major change to your travel arrangements, you will have the choice of either:
(a) accepting the change; or
(b) accepting an offer of an alternative programme from us of equivalent or similar standard
(c) Cancelling your programme, in which case you will receive a full refund of all monies paid.
We may also have to cancel your travel arrangements, if for example the operation of the programme is dependent on a minimum number of persons booking and that number is not achieved, we reserve the right to cancel the programme. However in no circumstances will we cancel your booking less than 28 days before the start date of your programme except for reasons of consolidation due to minimum numbers not being attained, force majeure (as defined below), failure on your part to pay the final balance or complete all necessary forms, or for any other reason beyond our control.
We strongly recommend that you make no travel arrangements to your point of departure, make any connecting travel that is non-refundable or non-changeable or incurs penalties or incur any costs in respect of visas or vaccinations until such time as your travel itinerary has been confirmed. If you make such arrangements which you are then unable to use due to a change in your itinerary we shall not be liable to you for the cost of those arrangements. If we are forced to cancel your programme after departure we will, wherever possible, make suitable alternative arrangements. If we are unable to make such alternative arrangements or you reject these for good reason then we will return you to your point of departure and refund you for any unused services, if appropriate.
Circumstances amounting to “force majeure” including any event which is beyond our reasonable control or the reasonable control of the supplier of the service(s) in question, including without limitation war, threat of war, riot, civil strife, industrial dispute, actual or threatened terrorist activity and its consequences, natural or nuclear disaster, fire, acts of God, adverse weather conditions, flood, epidemic or pandemic illness and all similar events.
Where you have made a booking involving a volunteering schedule, there may be holidays, festivals and closures that can affect your volunteering schedule. These are often announced at the last minute and we will ensure that a suitable alternative is offered, where possible. If you have had no volunteering work for over two weeks (and this excludes time for holidays both at the placement and your own personal travel), and you have not been offered any alternative volunteering work, then we will refund a maximum of £75 (or equivalent) per week you don’t have work up to a maximum of £250 (or equivalent). Volunteering work is offered and arranged as part of a placement in good faith but cannot be guaranteed due to circumstances outside the control of ourselves and our regional teams. Please note that any payment will take account of the proportion of your placement, which is reasonably affected by any problem for which we are responsible.
7. Our liability, conditions of carriage and limitations
Our obligations, and those of our partners providing any service or facility included in your programme, are to take reasonable skill and care to arrange for the provision of such services and facilities. You must show that reasonable skill and care has not been used if you wish to make any claim. Standards of, for example, safety, hygiene and quality vary throughout the transport and destinations that your programme may involve. Sometimes these standards will be lower than those which would be expected in your home country. The services and facilities included in your booking will be deemed to be provided with reasonable skill and care if they comply with any local regulations which apply.
Our liability, except in cases involving death or serious injury, shall be limited to a maximum of 2 times the cost of your travel arrangements.
We shall have no liability where the cause of the failure to provide, or failure in, your travel arrangements or any death or personal injury you may suffer is not due to any fault on our part or that of ourselves or our partners, because it is either attributable to you, or attributable to someone unconnected with your programme and is unforeseeable or unavoidable, or is due to a force majeure event or unusual or unforeseeable circumstances beyond our control, the consequences of which could not have been avoided even if all due care had been exercised, or an event which neither we, nor our partners could have foreseen or forestalled.
If any international convention applies to, or governs, any of the services or facilities included in the booking arranged or provided by us, or provided by any of our suppliers, and you make a claim against us of any nature arising out of death, injury, loss or damage suffered during or as a result of the provision of those services or facilities, our liability to pay you compensation and/or the amount (if any) of compensation payable to you by us will be limited in accordance with and/or in an identical manner to that provided for by the international convention concerned (in each case including in respect of the conditions of liability, the time for bringing any claim and the type and amount of any damages that can be awarded). International conventions which may apply include, without limitation: in respect of international air travel, the Warsaw Convention 1929 (as amended) or the Montreal Convention 1999; in respect of rail travel, the Berne Convention 1961; in respect of carriage by sea, the Athens Convention 1974; in respect of carriage by road, the Geneva Convention 1973; and, in respect of hotels, the Paris Convention 1962. For the avoidance of doubt, this means that we are to be regarded as having all benefit of any limitations of compensation contained in any of these conventions or any other international conventions applicable to your travel arrangements. Other than as set out above, and as is detailed elsewhere in these Booking Conditions, we shall have no legal liability whatsoever to you for any loss or damage.
If you purchase any optional activities that are not part of your pre-booked itinerary, the contract for the provision of that activity will be between you and the activity provider and not with us. We are not responsible for the provision of such activities or for anything that happens during the course of its provision by the activity provider. The decision to partake in any such activity is entirely at your own discretion and risk. If you do have any complaint about, or problem with, any optional activity purchased locally your claim should be directed to the activity provider and not to us.
We may offer travel arrangements in areas where standards of accommodation, transport, safety, hygiene, medical facilities and other infrastructure may, at times, be lower than those you normally expect. Your booking is accepted on the understanding that you realize and understand the hazards involved in this kind of programme, including injury, disease, loss or damage to property, inconvenience and discomfort. The whole philosophy of this type of travel is one that allows alternatives and a substantial degree of on-trip flexibility. Changes in itinerary may be caused by local political conditions, transport cancellations, mechanical breakdown, weather, border restrictions, sickness, or other unforeseeable circumstances.
Please note that the timings of travel departures are estimates only. These timings may be affected by operational difficulties, weather conditions or failure of passengers arrive in good time.
8. Complaints process.
If you have any complaint during your programme you must inform our regional team or tour guide immediately. If you are not satisfied with their action please contact our Bangkok office team who will aim to resolve your complaint on your behalf. Failure on your part to notify us and our relevant staff will deprive us of the opportunity to investigate your complaint and to take appropriate action to put things right whilst you are on your programme and may affect your legal rights.
If you are not happy with the actions taken in response please follow this up with us within 28 days of the programme end date by writing to us at Starfish Group Asia, S Group Building, Floor 8, Suite 801, Petchaburi Road Soi 33, Makkasan, Bangkok, Thailand, 10400 giving your booking details and all other relevant information. We will acknowledge your written notification within 7 days and aim to provide a full response within 28 days.
9. Visa, Health, Passport, Travel Documentation.
Whilst we are able to provide basic advice to customers regarding passports and visa requirements, you should check with the appropriate Embassy, Consulate or relevant government agency for the exact requirements for your chosen programme and date of travel. It is your responsibility to ensure that you have the correct passport and visas to gain access to any country/region included in the travel arrangements which you purchase from us. If you fail to do so, we have no liability to you for any cost, loss or damage which you suffer, nor will we refund you the cost of any unused portion of your travel arrangements. In some cases, countries will refuse entry to customers who have criminal records. Should you be concerned about this, please check with the Embassy or Consulate of the countries to which you are travelling. The Lead Name is entirely responsible for ensuring that all members of the group have the correct and valid documentation for travel. We cannot accept responsibility for any failure to comply resulting in any costs or fines being incurred and we advise you to check with your passport office or the Consulate in question if you have any queries. Customers travelling overland to certain destinations may need to also pass through controls of other countries en-route so this should be allowed for with any passport/visa applications.
Many countries do not issue visas specifically for volunteers and where you are not undertaking paid work and are entering as a volunteer you will generally be advised to enter on a tourist visa. Please note that you must check with the relevant embassy prior to travel of the current requirements.
We are able to offer advice on mandatory health requirements; however, we are not medical experts. It is your responsibility to ensure that you obtain proper and detailed medical advice at least two months prior to travel for the latest health requirements, recommendations for your destination and any costs. Where you do not do so and either are not allowed to enter any country, or suffer personal injury or death as a result, we have no liability to you for any cost, loss or damage which you suffer nor will we refund you the cost of any unused portion of your travel arrangements. Customers with existing medical problems, pregnant women and anyone who has recently visited other countries should check requirements with their general practitioner.
When assessing whether a booking will go ahead we use information from our local offices in conjunction with advice from the British Foreign Office and other UK relevant government bodies, irrespective of your nationality. It is your responsibility to acquaint yourself with the travel advice provided by these government bodies.
INFORMATION ABOUT YOU
We will update your information whenever we can to keep it current, accurate and complete.
Our Use of Your Information
(1) For the purpose of providing you with our services we may disclose and process your information to relevant parties in the placement process.
(2) Information (such as health or religion) may be considered “sensitive personal data” under some countries Data Protection Acts. We collect it to cater to your needs or act in your interest, and we are only prepared to accept sensitive personal data on the condition that we have your positive consent. By booking with us you also agree for your insurers, their agents and medical staff to exchange relevant information and sensitive personal data with us in circumstances where we/they need to act on your behalf or in the interest of passengers or in an emergency.
If you do not agree to Our Use of Your Information above, we cannot engage/do business with you or accept your booking.
Direct Marketing Materials
We may from time to time contact you with information on offers of goods and services, brochures, new products, forthcoming events or competitions from our group companies. Our website will assume you to agree to e-communications when you make a booking. We will tailor the information we send you unless you tell us not to. This will enable us to send you more personalised and relevant communications. You will be given the opportunity on every communication to opt-out of this personalisation.
USE OF TOOLS / “Cookies” and Links to Other Websites
Our website(s) may contain links to third party websites or micro-sites not controlled or owned by us. For example, reference sites or ancillary products and services sites. It is your responsibility to check the status of these sites before using them. Please read their applicable terms and conditions, etc. carefully.
To ensure that we carry out your instructions accurately, improve our service and for security and fraud, we may review, monitor and/or record: (1) telephone calls; (2) activities using CCTV in and around our premises; (3) transactions and activities at all points of contact; and (4) web traffic, activities, etc. and social media. All recordings and derivative materials are and shall remain our sole property.
Changes to this Policy
Any changes to this Policy will be either posted on our website and/or made available on request.
A booking is accepted on the strict understanding that you undertake to comply with the laws, customs, foreign exchange, drug and all other regulations of any country visited during the programme, as well as all hygiene, safety and security rules. In addition, many of our programmes have their own rules and behaviour guidelines, which are intended to ensure your safety and enjoyment of the programme. You will be advised of any specific programme rules either in your pre-departure information, or during your orientation.
If you commit any illegal act when on the programme or if in the reasonable opinion of the programme leader or our regional teams behaviour is disruptive, threatening or abusive or is causing or likely to cause danger, upset distress or annoyance to others or damage property we may terminate your travel arrangements at any time without any liability on our part. Full cancellation charges will apply.
In these circumstances no refunds or compensation will be paid to you and we will not meet any costs or expenses you may incur as a result of your programme being terminated. We may make a claim against you for any costs and expenses incurred as a result of your behaviour e.g. the cost of diverting ferry to remove you. Criminal proceedings may also be instigated.
If you are affected by any condition, medical or otherwise, that might affect your or other people’s enjoyment of the booking, you must advise us of this at the time of booking.
All customers are expected to adhere to our code of conduct found in these Terms and Conditions and by agreeing to these Booking Conditions you also agree to adhere to our Code of Conduct. This covers, but is not limited to, respecting others’ cultures and beliefs, working responsibly at your project, respecting the accommodation and avoiding drugs and illegal activities. In particular without limitation, the accommodation we arrange for you must only be used by those people named on your confirmation invoice. You are not allowed to share the accommodation with those not participating in one of our programmes or to let anyone else stay there. You are responsible for the cost of any damage caused to your accommodation or its contents during your stay, except damage caused by persons not known to you. These charges must be met by you and may have to be paid locally.
12. Trip Notes
If we issue detailed trip notes, all information contained therein will be deemed to be part of the contract. Trip notes available from our website contain up-to-date definitive information about the itinerary and travel arrangements. Should there be a discrepancy between the information in the website or marketing materials and the trip notes, the information in the trip notes/online account supersedes that in the brochure or on the website and will be considered the most up-to-date and accurate.
13. Special Requests
We will consider special requests such as vegetarian meals when you book. We will tell you whether there is a charge for the request. We can only guarantee requests for which there is a charge, or those that are confirmed in writing.
14. Police/Criminal Record Check
When signing up to any project involving work with children, or vulnerable adults, you are agreeing to undergo an enhanced Police/Criminal Record Check (or equivalent) to ensure your suitability for the placement and will be asked to complete a CRB disclosure application form or equivalent. We reserve the right to delay, or postpone, your programme until the Police/Criminal Records check has been completed. Should you fail the Police/Criminal Records check for any reason, you must either amend your placement to a project that does not require a Police/Criminal Record Check or cancel your placement and the charges contained within the “if you change or cancel your booking” will apply.
15. In-Country Support.
We will offer you support for all programmes which we operate. A national manager or representative leads a team of support staff and guides to facilitate this. Regional managers and their team or your tour guide are responsible for your in-country orientation, arranging and placing you at your project and all other activities that are included. They are there as a source of advice, support, to resolve any issues you may have with your programme and as a point of contact in the event of an emergency. They can help you to solve problems during your placement and if you need to return home, give you any assistance. They will be available during business hours under normal circumstances. In an emergency, they are available 24 hours a day 7 days a week and you will be provided with an emergency contact number to be used for genuine emergency purposes only.
NB: If you are unable to attend your orientation for any reason, we are not obliged to arrange further orientation for any that you missed.
16. Participation requirements
All customers are expected to satisfy themselves prior to booking that they are fit and able to complete the itinerary of their chosen programme as described in our marketing materials and / or website. Anyone suffering from mobility impairment, illness or disability or undergoing treatment for any physical or medical condition must declare the true nature of such condition at the time of booking and make arrangements for the provision of any medication or other treatment which may be required during the booking. Customers aged 17 or under will be required to provide a written parental consent form before a booking will be confirmed. Failure to make such disclosure will constitute a breach of these booking conditions and result in such persons being excluded from the booking in which case all monies paid will be forfeit.
17. Flights & transfers
It is your responsibility to arrange and pay for any flights, including any internal flights. We cannot be held responsible for any action, negligence, or event relating to the purchase, or operation of such flight tickets, or flights that you purchase. Furthermore, we will not be responsible for any costs, or refunds, due to changes, or delays in such flights.
18. Programme specifics
You are responsible for purchasing your own flights to arrive on the start date of your programme and you agree to advise us of flight arrival details and of any changes that may be made to your arrival details at the earliest possible opportunity. Should you arrive outside the agreed start date/time for your programme, or do not advise us of your correct arrival details including in the event of a flight delay whilst you are en- route, you may have to cover transfer costs. Similarly, where you fail to inform us of your flight details at least 7 days prior to the start date of your programme, we may be unable to facilitate the airport pick up and transfer for you.
The accommodation and board basis will be contained within individual programme details. It is your responsibility to advise us of any special dietary requirements. Please be aware that accommodation, food and facilities that you will be provided with will be of a local standard. Please note that you will be required to share a bathroom and/or bedroom.
19. Law & Jurisdiction
This contract, will be governed by Thai law and the courts of the Kingdom of Thailand shall have exclusive jurisdiction over any claim arising out of it.
20. Code of Conduct
This code of conduct sets out the standards of behaviour that is expected of customers, not only by the Company, but also by the regional managers, tour guides, the homestay families and providers of accommodation and, most importantly, the projects that we work with.
The Company is fully committed to responsible travel and sustainable tourism. This code of conduct is designed to help you achieve the most out of your programme in a safe manner. It also ensures that the organisations and people we work with are treated with respect and that consideration is given to other cultural aspects during your placement.
Please note that breaches of the code of conduct may result in your placement being terminated without compensation.
Please adhere to the following:
- Listen to, and follow the advice or requests of your Regional Team and / or Tour Guide;
- Understand that you are a representative of not only the Company but also your country of origin and act accordingly;
- Agree to a zero tolerance policy towards the possession and use of illegal substances. If you are found in possession of, or are under the influence of such substances, you will have your programme terminated immediately;
- Respect, and seek to understand, the culture of the country you are placed in. This involves being tolerant of the customs and behaviours of the local people (your regional team / tour guide can explain the cultural norms and advise you.);
- Follow your project rules; respect the local community regarding consumption of alcohol;
- Be aware of potentially different attitudes towards sexual relationships where you are travelling and understand the effect that any such relationship may have on individuals and the local community;
- Treat all people with respect and dignity;
- Dress appropriately at all times with regard to the culture you are living in;
- Not engage in political demonstrations or illegal activities;
- Understand that the project and accommodation booked and provided is non-changeable in- country without the prior approval of both the Bangkok office and Regional team / tour guide;
- Keep your Regional Manager informed of your plans about trips away from the project / tour and weekends;
- Consult your Regional Manager / support team outside normal working hours only for an emergency;
At the project
Please adhere to the following:
- Endeavour to maintain a positive mental attitude throughout your placement;
- Act as a conscientious member of the project team. You are relied on as a dedicated member of the team;
- Abide by all the rules of the project at which you are volunteering and respect other members of staff and your peers;
- Work hard to achieve not only your own personal goals but also those of the project and the people and / or organisation that you are helping;
- Listen to, and follow, the instructions of your supervisor / contact at the project in addition to those of your Regional team;
- Inform your supervisor / contact at the project if you are at any time unable to fulfill the duties to which you have committed;
- Treat with care all of the materials that you use during your placement;
- Contact the Bangkok team if you wish to extend your placement, which will include without limitation, arranging payment for additional accommodation costs and other support costs. It is not possible to extend your stay without official confirmation.
Please adhere to the following:
- Respect local custom and abide by the rules of the accommodation in which you are staying;
- Check with the regional team / tour guide and other travelers using the accommodation before inviting anybody to your room;
- Be aware that overnight visitors are not allowed;
- Respect the accommodation you are using and pay for any damage you may cause to the property;
- Keep your room clean and tidy;
- Not smoke in your accommodation;
- Stay at the accommodation allocated to you;
- Settle any outstanding bills before leaving the accommodation;
- Be aware that there will be no refunds for accommodation if you decide to go on trips or leave early.