Terms and Conditions
Client cancellation and refunds
Transfer of bookings
Financial security and bonding
What the tour price includes
Passports, visas, and health requirements
Restrictions on participation
Reservations: Reservations for tours require a booking form and a deposit of £400 of which £100 is non-refundable. Occasionally, larger deposits may be required, as in the case of cruises. Booking requests with deposits will be considered by Sunbird in order of their receipt, and for this purpose telephoned requests will be noted as from the date of the telephone call, provided that they are followed by receipt of the appropriate booking form and deposit within ten days. The Sunbird office’s telephone number is: + 44 (0)1767 262522.
A booking is accepted and becomes definite only from the date when Sunbird has confirmed its acceptance in writing. At this point a contract between the company and the participant comes into existence. The contract and all matters arising from it are subject to English law and the exclusive jurisdiction of the English Courts. Sunbird reserves the right to decline any booking at its discretion.
Payments: Payment of the balance of the tour cost is due upon receipt of our invoice. We will normally* send you an invoice about three months before departure. If payment has not been received by 70 days before departure we reserve the right to treat the booking as cancelled and charge the appropriate cancellation fees. At present we do not accept payment by debit or credit cards. Payments can be made by cheque or bank transfer. Details for a bank transfer will be added to the final invoice.
* In some instances we may invoice a tour ahead of the normal three month period. We do this mainly because the tour is viable and we want to secure flights, or allow those participants booking their own flights to take advantage of any special deals. When we do send out invoices early we will also tell you at that time the date when the tour will be confirmed, which is also when all monies may be non-refundable.
* If a participant books on a WINGS tour, featured only on the WINGS website and therefore priced in US dollars, the exchange rate at the time of invoicing will be one used to convert the dollar price to pounds sterling.
If notice of cancellation is received more than 98 days before departure, the deposit less £100 per person is refundable, less any penalties we incur due to your cancellation (such as on air tickets, which can be as high as 50% or even 100%). If notice of cancellation is received between 98 and 70 days of departure, the full deposit is non-refundable.
In both instances the balance of the deposit can be transferred to a new booking for another specified tour scheduled to depart within 18 months of the start date of the original tour. Should you have to cancel from that second tour the original deposit cannot be transferred a second time and becomes non-refundable.
If notice of cancellation is received 70 days or less from departure, neither the deposit nor most of the balance of the tour costs can be refunded, though we will refund separable costs such as on individual airline tickets or room charges, in so far as monies are returned to us by the providers of these services. We cannot refund inseparable costs such as those for ground transportation, leader’s expenses or other fixed-cost services. In most cases the refundable portion will be less than 50% and may be zero. Please note that on some tours, our ground agents may need to purchase air tickets or permits as soon as you book using the passport information you have supplied. If after supplying your passport details you have a new passport issued due to damage or loss, you may incur extra costs if said air tickets or permits also need to be re-issued.
Travel insurance protects you against the risk of loss due to cancellation for medical and other unavoidable reasons (see below).
Transfer of bookings: The Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations 1992, that came into force on 31 December 1992, created a new right for tour participants to transfer their booking to another person if they are prevented from proceeding with the tour due to sickness or accidents suffered by them, or their close family, or for other unavoidable reasons such as jury service. However, if there is a waiting list for the tour the place must first be offered to the people on that waiting list. If there is no waiting list and the participant can find another person who wishes to take up the place, any additional costs incurred by Sunbird relating to the transfer have to be paid for by the transferee. These are most likely to relate to flights as penalties are frequently charged for changes of names on air tickets. Reasonable notice must be given to Sunbird about such a transfer and cannot be made within 28 days of departure.
Financial security and bonding: Conderbury Limited (trading as Sunbird) is the holder of Air Travel Organisers’ Licence number 3003 and as such is fully bonded in accordance with the requirements of the Government and the Civil Aviation Authority. This means in the unlikely event of Conderbury ceasing to trade, the money of people booked on tours including flights is protected by the ATOL Bond.
For the those who choose to book tours without flights (by joining the tour in the country concerned) we operate a Clients’ Account into which all advance payments are placed and are not withdrawn until after the completion of the tour. This is in line with The Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations 1992, which came into force on 31 December 1992.
Tour cancellation: We reserve the right to cancel any tour or tour extension for which there are insufficient reservations - normally 70 days before the departure date but sometimes longer. Please note that, although unlikely, this could occur after the final invoices have been sent out if the tour is running on small numbers and if someone cancels just before the 70-day deadline. In case of cancellation, all deposits and other payments will be refunded. Please also note that the cancellation of a tour’s pre-tour or post-tour extension does not alter your rights or obligations with respect to the main portion of the same tour.
Cost increases: Sunbird breaks the cost of its tours down into two parts - the basic cost, which includes everything except the international flights from the UK, and those flights which are then shown as a separate cost.
The reason for this is that flight costs can vary dramatically. When we publish the flight price on the website, we give our best estimate of what the air tickets will cost us when we come to book and pay for them around two months before departure. When we come to invoice the tour, we charge you what the flights cost us. This means that if we are able to obtain flights at a lower price than we originally estimated, that saving is passed on to you.
With the basic cost of the tour, increases are very rare but can sometimes occur. One of the main factors that can affect the basic price is a change in exchange rates, which have been very volatile in recent years. These may result in increases or decreases of the basic price. Sunbird will absorb changes of up to 2% of the basic price, but will pass on all of any greater fluctuations to the participant. Should it be necessary to increase the basic price by more than 10%, participants may withdraw without penalty. Any increase or decrease in tour price will be shown on your final invoice.
What the tour price includes: The tour price includes all travel as noted in the itinerary, airport departure taxes, accommodation with private bath or shower in comfortable hotels or their equivalent, unless otherwise indicated, meals and drinks, tips (see below) tour materials, and the services of the leaders. The following items are not included in the tour price: travel insurance, passport costs, visas, immunisations, excess baggage charges, optional excursions, telephone calls, drinks, laundry, room service, snacks and anything of a purely personal nature. If you have any questions about the inclusion of any item, please contact us.
Tipping: Sunbird includes all tour-based tips in the tour price. This means the leader will take care of tips for waiters and porters and also that we do not make collections from the group for drivers, local guides etc. at the end of the tour. The only tips you may want to give are for any personal service such as a drink in the bar or room service or any assisted activity outside the main framework of the tour. The leader will be able to advise you on a suitable amount for this.
Tour alterations: Changes in itinerary may occur even though our tours are carefully planned. If major changes are necessary before the start of the tour, participants will be informed and may withdraw, without penalty, if they so choose. While every effort is made to make the tour descriptions as accurate as possible, participants should be aware that, occasionally, factors beyond our control may result in changes to the itinerary after the start of the tour. Should a major change of itinerary or schedule be forced upon us while the tour is in progress as, for example, by an airline strike, weather delay or political crisis, the additional costs, if any, are the responsibility of the participants. Please note that when two leaders are listed, the second may not accompany the tour if there are insufficient participants.
If the named leader is suddenly unavailable to lead the tour due to unexpected illness etc, we will do our utmost to find a suitable replacment. While a change of leader may be grounds for cancellation, please note that if this happens after a date 70 days before departure, some or all of the income from your booking may be needed to ensure the tour continues to run. In addition, we cannot guarantee that we can retrieve funds paid on your behalf to the ground agent, who will in turn may have already paid for services such as hotels etc. In these circumstances we may not be able to make a full refund should you decide to cancel.
Group size: We believe that the right leader-to-participant ratio is essential to the enjoyment and success of any birdwatching tour and our maximum group sizes vary from tour to tour to allow for such things as habitat type, transport configuration etc. The maximum group size is noted at the top of each tour page. On tours with two leaders, the second leader may only join the tour if numbers warrant. In some instances where we have one place left on a tour and we receive a booking from a couple, we reserve the right to increase the maximum group size by one to accommodate them.
Passport, visas and health requirements: All participants are responsible for, and must be in possession of, a passport valid for six months after the conclusion of the tour. In addition they must obtain any necessary visas and vaccination certificates required for the tour. With confirmation of your booking, we send you a pack of information about the tour, which details all of these requirements (see below) and we advise anyone travelling abroad to consult their own GP or local health centre for the latest information. Please note that on some tours, our ground agents may need to purchase air tickets or permits as soon as you book using the passport information you have supplied. If after supplying your passport details you have a new passport issued due to damage or loss, you may incur extra costs if said air tickets or permits also need to be re-issued.
Tour materials: Tour Information notes about your tour will be sent to you with confirmation of your booking. These will contain all the necessary information about passports, visas, and health requirements as well as details covering climate, clothing, recommended reading, etc. A bird list will also be sent to you. Should you wish to see any of these documents before you make your booking, copies are available on request from the Sunbird office. Final Information, meeting instructions, flight details, air tickets, luggage labels, and additional material, if any, will be posted approximately three weeks before departure.
Flights: For most of our tours we use scheduled flights. On a few tours we use budget airlines, or charter flights - normally because direct scheduled flights don’t exist or because charter or budget flights are more frequent or more suitably timed. In every case we use ECONOMY class seats and we provide you with a return ticket that has been paid for in full prior to the start of the tour.
In most cases, airline tickets cannot be re-routed or transferred to another airline. All flights must be used in sequence as booked. Failure to do so may result in of all remaining sectors being cancelled and restrict any possible refund.
All flight timings given to you either in writing or verbally are for guidance only and may be subject to alteration. Flight times can be changed by the airline at any time without warning as they consolidate flights or introduce new schedules. The latest timings will be shown on your tickets which will be dispatched to you approximately three weeks before departure. Even then it is possible - although very rare - that flight times may be changed even after tickets have been dispatched.
Please note that if you have booked travel to or from the point of departure that is subsequently affected by any changes in flight times, Sunbird cannot be held liable for any charges or costs incurred. This also applies to anyone who books their own international flights separate to the group flights.
Sunbird does not make any arrangements if delays occur at the airport on the outward or return flights. Normally the airline will provide meals and any necessary overnight accommodation. In addition, most travel insurance policies include a limited benefit for the purchase of essential items in the event of delays - please contact your travel insurance provider for full details.
Accommodation - Single Rooms: In recent years we have been receiving many requests for single rooms. Unfortunately, some hotels are unwilling to guarantee more than a few single rooms until quite close to the tour departure date, when they can be sure that they have rooms to spare. Some hotels will never give more singles than twins; a requirement that has occurred on several recent tours. Participants should be aware that while we will do our utmost to secure sufficient single rooms this may not always be possible, and you might occasionally be asked to share. A refund of the single room supplement in proportion to the number of shared nights would, of course, be made.
Please note that if you are travelling singly, and want to share a room, we will try to pair you up with another participant who also wishes to share. However, if there is no other single person on the tour who wants to share, we will have to charge you the single room supplement.
Insurance: Travel Insurance is essential these days and we insist that suitable cover is effected as soon as you book your tour. This will ensure that necessary protection is provided against loss of deposits that you would incur, as detailed in our terms and conditions. In addition, medical costs that might be incurred, should you fall ill during the tour, can be so high as to make it foolhardy to travel without such cover.
Bullerwell Insurance Brokers are familiar with our tours and would be pleased to advise you on any travel insurance queries - or any other matter relating to insurance. Their contact details are: Helen Fisher, Bullerwell Insurance Brokers, 13 Goldington Road, Bedford, MK40 3JY. Telephone: 01234 866964 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Restrictions on Participation: Restrictions on participation are a matter of common sense and we have no absolute ones. Our tours do not normally require strenuous physical exercise, but if it cannot be avoided this is made clear in the brochure description. Participants should be able to complete gentle walks of up to half-a-day’s duration and to meet the simple schedule of the tour. If you have a health problem or other physical limitation, please advise us in detail and in writing. We will provide any information that you or your doctor may need to judge your capacity to participate fully in the tour. Anyone failing to notify the Sunbird office of matters which seriously affect their ability to participate in the tour faces the risk of being sent home at the start of, or during, the tour at their own expense.
On all our tours we ask participants to rotate seats in the vehicles each day, taking it in turn to sit in the more popular seats in the front and the less popular ones in the rear. This requirement applies to everyone so if there is some reason why you can’t take your turn in the back of a vehicle (e.g. a bad back or travel sickness) please inform the Sunbird office at the time of booking to see if we can accommodate you on the particular tour of your choice. We regret that anyone failing to inform us of such limitations before the tour will be expected to rotate seats in the same way as everyone else.
Small group tours can sometimes call for a certain amount of toleration of, and consideration for, other participants in order to ensure that everyone on the tour has an enjoyable time. We reserve the right to send home, at their own expense, persons unable or unwilling to conduct themselves in a manner compatible with the satisfactory operation of the tour.
Please note that in line with widespread conservation practices, the collecting of specimens of flowers and insects is prohibited on our tours. The export of such material is illegal in many of the countries we visit, as is its importation into the United Kingdom.
Our Responsibility: Many people and companies over whom Sunbird has no direct control are involved in the planning and provision of your tour. Sunbird has taken all reasonable steps to ensure that the suppliers of all services provided are of an acceptable standard. Sunbird accepts responsibility for the standard of services provided to you. We will also accept responsibility for any proven negligent acts or omissions of our employees, agents and suppliers in respect of claims arising as a result of death, bodily injury or illness to you or any member of your party.
However, liability will only be accepted if you can prove that the death, injury or illness was caused by the negligence of Sunbird, its employees, agents or suppliers. No liability can be accepted for negligent acts or omissions of air or sea carriers, or providers of hotel accommodation, whose responsibilities are governed by international conventions such as the Warsaw Convention as amended by the Hague Protocol 1955, the 1961 Berne Convention, the 1962 Paris Convention and the 1974 Athens Convention.
We cannot accept any liability for loss, damage, or expense, resulting from war, threat of war, terrorist activities, riots, civil unrest, natural and nuclear disasters, fire or adverse weather conditions, closure of airports, industrial disputes (including air traffic control disputes), technical or maintenance problems with transport, cancellation or changes of schedule by airlines, financial failure of airlines, or for any unusual and unforeseeable circumstances beyond our control, the consequences of which could not have been avoided even if all due care had been exercised, or due to an event which, even with all due care, we could not foresee or forestall. Any additional expenses incurred as a result of such events are the responsibility of the participant.
ATOL Conditions: If we, or the suppliers identified on your ATOL certificate, are unable to provide the services listed (or a suitable alternative, through an alternative ATOL holder or otherwise) for reasons of insolvency, the Trustees of the Air Travel Trust may make a payment to (or confer a benefit on) you under the ATOL scheme. You agree that in return for such a payment or benefit you assign absolutely to those Trustees any claims which you have or may have arising out of or relating to the non-provision of the services, including any claim against us, the travel agent (or your credit card issuer where applicable).You also agree that any such claims may be re-assigned to another body, if that other body has paid sums you have claimed under the ATOL scheme.
Complaints: Should you be dissatisfied with any aspect of your tour please inform the leader straight away. If the leader is unable to solve the problem to your satisfaction please inform the Sunbird office in writing as soon as you return home.