Policies & Procedures
Terms and Conditions Agreement
Table of Contents
Reservations and Payments
Methods of Payment:
Processing Your Payment:
Purchasing Vacation Vouchers
Can Vacation Voucher Purchases be Refunded?
How are Vacation Vouchers Applied?
Expired Vacation Vouchers:
Funds from Vacation Voucher Purchases:
Take a Memory Home Voucher (Memory Voucher):
Payment Errors and Bounced Check:
Interest-Free Payment Plans:
Trip Changes and Cancellations
Cancellation by Traveler:
Trip Changes by Traveler:
No-Show & Late Traveler Policy:
Cancellation Due to Failure to Pay and/or Provide Traveler Information:
Cancellation by Special Journeys:
Cancellation Due to Force Majeure Events:
Cancellation Due to Events other than Force Majeure Events:
Trip Changes Beyond Special Journeys’ Control:
Illness, Hospitalization, Behaviors Issues, and Level of Care Issues on A Trip
Exclusion from Activity for Safety Reasons:
Illness During a Vacation:
Cruise & International Medical Costs:
Emergency Room Visits or Hospitalization During a Vacation:
Emergency Room Visits:
If the Traveler is Hospitalized:
Behavior Issues During a Vacation:
If a Traveler is Engaged in Disruptive Behavior:
Termination of Vacation Due to Behavior Issues:
Disclaimer Regarding Non-Termination of Vacation Despite Behavior Issues:
Property Damage Due to Behavior Issues:
Unanticipated Level-of-Care Issues During a Vacation:
Use of Electronic Tracking Devices for Traveler Safety:
Disclaimer Regarding Non-Termination of Vacation Despite Unanticipated Level-Of-Care Issues:
Traveler Returning Home During a Trip:
Sailing/Cruise Fees, Gratuities & Taxes:
Medical Costs on Cruises:
Travelers Using Supplemental Oxygen:
Traveler’s Using Feeding Tubes:
Care and Staffing
Traveler Details Document:
Medication Packaging and Transporting:
Food Intolerances and Allergies, Notice of Risks:
Travelers Using Oxygen:
Repairs for Wheelchairs and Mobility Equipment:
ADA Accessible Rooms:
Hotel Room Assignments:
Traveler Assistance with Luggage:
Special Journeys Operations
Descriptions and Photographs of Vacations in Marketing Materials:
Photography on the Trip:
Services Prior to the Trip’s Departure Date:
Post-Trip Photo DVDs:
Special Journeys is Not a Destination Expert:
Errors and Omissions:
Disclaimers and Limitations of Liability
Special Journeys’ Limited Role:
Lost/Damaged Personal Property:
Personal Visits with Family or Relatives:
Medical Emergency Consent:
Use of Safety Belts:
Risk of Transmission of Infectious Disease:
Traveler’s Assumption of Risk:
Traveler Release and Waiver of Liability:
Indemnification of Special Journeys:
Dispute Resolution Policy and Waiver of Class Actions
Informal Dispute Resolution:
Governing Law in Arbitration:
Class Action Waiver:
Arbitration Administration and Rules:
Arbitration Location and Procedure:
Arbitrator’s Decision and Governing Law:
Fees In Arbitration and Expenses Outside Arbitration:
Confidentiality of Arbitration:
Exceptions to Agreement to Arbitrate:
Judicial Forum for Disputes If Class Waiver Invalidated:
Severability and Survival:
|Bus Vacations||Air Vacations||International or Cruise Vacations|
|Deposit Due at
|Preview My Vacation‘ Starts||6 months before the trip departs||6 months before the trip departs||6 months before the trip departs|
|Preview My Vacation‘ Ends||8 weeks before trip||8 weeks before trip||8 weeks before trip|
|Sign-up Deadline||21 days before trip||45 days before trip||95 days before trip|
|Traveler Details must be submitted, and all follow-up questions responded to by:||14 days before trip||30 days before trip||45 days before trip|
|Deadline for final payment,
or payment plan approved by Special Journeys, along with required partial payment
|14 days before trip||21 days before trip||91 days before trip|
|Cancellation Fee After Deadline Date||$100 + any expenses that cannot be refunded by suppliers||$200 + any expenses that cannot be refunded by suppliers. Airfare is not refundable.||$500 + any expenses that cannot be refunded by suppliers. Airfare and cruise fare are not refundable.|
Note 1: The Preview My Vacation‘ Program provides a series of trip material that involve the travelers in preparing for the trip so that they can fully anticipate and get excited about their upcoming vacation.
Note 2: Vacations that involve an airline flight or cruise are identified on our website and in our booklet. Specific details about your flight are provided with each trip’s itinerary (released approximately two weeks before the departure date). Travelers who sign up for a trip with a flight or cruise must provide their full name (as appears on their ID Card, Driver’s License, or Passport), date of birth, and gender. Inaccurate information may result in being denied boarding a flight or cruise. Special Journeys is not responsible and will not provide a refund if a traveler is denied boarding due to inaccurate or incomplete personal information.
At Special Journeys we look forward to providing trips that explore new places in a safe and structured manner.’ Our travelers are individuals with intellectual, developmental, and/or physical disabilities. They are present to enjoy their trip and have a memorable vacation. We want our travelers to enjoy their experience and get as much as possible out of it. We are a true vacation experience provider; we are not a respite provider. When travelers are sent primarily for respite purposes, we reserve the right to send them home during the vacation, without refund. In order to ensure that the trips proceed smoothly and, in a manner where everyone has fun, it is essential that you agree to send travelers with us ONLY if they meet the following criteria:
- Have appropriate social skills and be considerate of others on their vacation.
- Be able to travel in a small group setting within the 1:4 traveler to Travel Companion ratio that we plan for the trips. Travelers who need a 1:1 staffing level must bring their own 1:1 dedicated caregiver. There is an additional fee required for the 1:1 caregiver.
- Routinely sleep or rest through the night.
- Be at least 19 years old.
- Be medically or behaviorally inappropriate either for vacationing in general or for the specific vacation they are attending.
- Engage in uncontrolled screaming or shouting that cannot be redirected within four prompts so that it does not significantly disrupt the other travelers’ vacation.
- Be violent to themselves or others or have aggressive or self-abusive behaviors that would be disruptive to others on the vacation.
- Have inappropriate sexual behaviors or issues.
- Have legal obligations or issues that are not disclosed to Special Journeys
- Have issues with wandering that are not fully described in the Traveler Details. Travelers who may wander from the hotel must bring a 1:1 Travel Companion. There is an additional fee required for the 1:1 caregiver.
- Have food allergies that affect them when they are in close proximity to or touch the food.
Our Special Journeys Tour Leaders have led over 350 chaperoned vacations. Our experience has taught us that we can provide the best possible care for our travelers ONLY if we have complete, detailed, up-to-date information about them. We use this information as a guiding light showing us how to care for the traveler ‘ not providing these details is like blowing out the candle on us.
Even with good information, we still have limitations that are inherent in guided group vacations:
‘ Our team cannot be in each hotel room on a 24×7 basis. Our Tour Leaders and Travel Companions need to sleep, care for other travelers, handle luggage, and perform many other tasks. Opening hotel doors in the middle of the night to check on folks both wakes up the travelers in the room and also keeps our team from being rested to care for the travelers the next day.
‘ When we go to places such as theme parks, stadiums, theaters, airports, and other large venues, there can be thousands of people all around our group. We can’t always control everything in these locations.
‘ It is critical that the traveler’s medications be packed correctly before we pick up the traveler. Our team is unable to identify whether pills will run out during the trip, whether certain medications were not packed, or whether certain medications were packed in separate locations that were not identified during our pickup process.
‘ We cannot realistically track a traveler’s bowel movements while on trips.
Special Journeys, LLC is the ‘Sales Agent’; Special Journeys Tours is the ‘Tour Operator’; Special Journeys Transportation, LLC is the ‘Transportation Provider’; Special Journeys Travel Companions Association is the ‘Travel Companion Provider’; collectively these companies are referred to as ‘Special Journeys’.
Your agreement is with Special Journeys, and a contract is formed when you make a reservation with us that we accept or when you send in funds for a trip to be selected at a later date. Signing up for a vacation, sending in full or partial payment for a specific vacation, or sending in funds for a trip to be selected later shall constitute acceptance by the traveler of the Terms and Conditions Agreement. The Terms and Conditions Agreement cannot be varied except in writing by an officer of Special Journeys.
These Terms and Conditions provide important information to you, including your agreement under the Dispute Resolution Policy to resolve any disputes by individual arbitration and to waive the right to participate in any kind of class action. ‘By agreeing to these Terms and Conditions, you agree to resolve all disputes through binding individual arbitration, which means that you waive any right to have those disputes decided by a judge or jury, and that you waive your right to participate in class actions, class arbitrations, or any type of representative actions.
We reserve the right to change the terms of this Terms and Conditions Agreement, consistent with applicable law. You agree that sending in a trip payment, signing up for a vacation or attending a vacation after such changes become effective constitutes your acceptance of the changes. If you do not agree with a specific update to this Agreement you may reject the change by sending us written notice within 30 days of the change to the Special Journeys address for Notice in the Dispute Resolution Policy, in which case this Agreement, as in effect immediately prior to the changes you rejected, will continue to be in force. Be sure to return to this page periodically to ensure your familiarity with the most current version of the Terms and Conditions Agreement.’ Any changes to the Terms will be effective on a going forward basis.
The failure of Special Journeys to enforce any right or provision of this Terms and Conditions Agreement will not be deemed a waiver of such right or provision. In the event that any provision of these Terms and Conditions is held to be invalid or unenforceable, then that provision will be limited or eliminated to the minimum extent necessary, and the remaining provisions of these Terms and Conditions will remain in full force and effect. Should any conflict arise between these Terms and Conditions and those contained within our brochures, these Terms and Conditions shall prevail.
Except as provided in the Dispute Resolution Policy and Waiver of Class Actions section below in this Terms and Conditions Agreement, a lawsuit, if any, by you or Special Journeys against the other will occur in state or federal court in Douglas County (Omaha), Nebraska.’ You and Special Journeys agree that the jurisdiction and venue of these courts is exclusive.’ You and Special Journeys agree that the laws of the state of Nebraska, without regard to principles of conflict of laws, will govern this Terms and Conditions Agreement in any lawsuit that might arise between you and Special Journeys, including applicable statutes of limitations.
The headings and subheadings in this Agreement are included for convenience and identification only and are in no way intended to describe, interpret, define or limit the scope, extent or intent of this Agreement or any provision hereof.
Sales Agent, Special Journeys, LLC Limited Role
Special Journeys, LLC, a Delaware Limited Liability Company, serves only as sales representative, does not provide any goods or services for your vacation, and is not responsible for any activity beyond its limited role in arranging reservations and ticketing. Special Journeys, LLC shall not be responsible or liable for any act, omission, or default of any other entity whether or not it is affiliated with Special Journeys, LLC. Special Journeys, LLC has an office mailing address of: PO Box 583, Boys Town, NE 68010.
Tour Operator, Special Journeys Tours, LLC Role
Your Special Journeys chaperoned vacation is operated by Special Journeys Tours, LLC, a Nebraska Limited Liability Company. The Tour Leader(s) for your vacation are employees of Special Journeys Tours, LLC. Special Journeys Tours, LLC has an office mailing address of: PO Box 583, Boys Town, NE 68010.
Transportation Provider, Special Journeys Transportation, LLC Role
All ground transportation involved in your guided tour will be provided by or contracted for by Special Journeys Transportation, LLC, a Nebraska Limited Liability Company. Special Journeys Transportation, LLC has an office mailing address of: PO Box 583, Boys Town, NE 68010.
Travel Companion Provider, Special Journeys Travel Companions Association Role
The Travel Companions who assist travelers on the vacation are provided by Special Journeys Travel Companions Association, a Nebraska Non-Profit Organization. Special Journeys Travel Companions Association has an office mailing address of: PO Box 583, Boys Town, NE 68010.
You represent and warrant that (i) you are at least 19 years of age; (ii) you possess the legal authority to create a binding legal obligation; (iii) you will use the services provided by Special Journeys in accordance with these Terms and Conditions; (iv) you will only use Special Journeys to make legitimate reservations for yourself or for another person for whom you are legally authorized to act; and (v) you will inform such other persons and/or their guardian about these Terms and Conditions that apply to the reservations you have made on their behalf.
The departure date is the date indicated on the final trip itinerary.
Throughout these terms and conditions, we define our clients on the vacations as either ‘Traveler’ or ‘You’.
Travel insurance protects you from certain financial risks and losses associated with traveling. If you buy travel insurance, we recommend TravelSafe, which describes its insurance policy this way:
Trip cancellation coverage can reimburse for prepaid, unused, non-refundable trip payments or deposits.’ The cancellation must be for a Covered Reason (which depends on the specific policy terms).’ There are specific notice conditions that must be met such as time limits and methods of communicating cancellation.
Trip cancellation coverage is effective until the scheduled departure date and time of your trip. If you are unable to continue your trip for a covered reason, but travel has begun, you may qualify for trip interruption.
If You Have a Medical Emergency While Traveling
If you get sick or injured while traveling, travel insurance protects you from the unexpected costs of care. It can reimburse your trip cost if you have to cancel due to a covered reason, or it can cover medical bills incurred while traveling.
If You Have Delays
Delays can bring unexpected costs your way. Travel insurance reimburses you for additional accommodations and meals when you are delayed during your trip for a covered reason.
If Something Happens to Your Things
Baggage delay, lost or stolen luggage can put a damper on your trip. With travel protection, you can get reimbursed for your things.
When purchasing a travel insurance policy, it is critical to ensure that the policy does NOT exclude pre-existing medical conditions. You can usually accomplish this by paying for the insurance within a specific time period after signing up for the trip.
We recommend travel insurance for travelers with pre-existing health issues that are concerned about cancellation issues. We recommend that all travelers purchase travel insurance for cruise vacations. We highly recommend that all travelers on International vacations purchase travel insurance.
Travel Insurance typically costs 5 to 10% of the total trip cost. Another, more expensive option, is a ‘Cancel for Any Reason’ policy which still has a deadline for cancelling but does not require that you meet a pre-qualified, valid reason for cancelling as covered by your policy.
Special Journeys does not sell travel insurance, and these types of policies are very date sensitive. We recommend contacting TravelSafe Insurance (www.travelsafe.com or 888-885-7233). Other companies offering travel insurance include: Travel Guard by AIG, Travelex Insurance Services, and Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection.
We ask that travelers follow all health instructions while on vacation, whether physical signs or requests from our team. To travel with Special Journeys, you voluntarily assume all risks related to exposure to COVID-19. Full details of hygiene protocols can be found on our website.
Part of travel is the unknown. Special Journeys cannot fully control what happens even in ideal circumstances. Special Journeys is not responsible for problems that arise due to circumstances beyond our control, including but not limited to delays, missed connections, or missed attractions or events because of weather, road conditions, traffic delays, flight delays, mechanical problems by third party vendors, cruise ships not docking at specific ports, TSA screening delays, security issues involving clearing individuals to fly; or Customs and Border Patrol delays, item seizures, or fines. In the event of these situations we will do our best to substitute, rearrange, and provide the best possible vacation based on the options available.
On pickup and drop off days we can run behind because of traffic, weather, vehicle issues, delays, traveler care needs, delays involving other stops for pickup and drop off, or other unforeseen events that may alter your assigned pickup or drop off time schedule. We will do our best in these events to contact the caregiver listed on the Traveler’s pre-trip form.
Special Journeys assumes no liability for any loss, damage, delay, or cancellation resulting in whole or in part from an Act of God or any other force majeure condition, including, without limitation: fire, volcanic eruption, environmental pollution or contamination, inclement weather, earthquake, low or high water levels, flood, water or power shortages or failures, tropical storms or hurricanes, riots or civil commissions or disturbances, and any other acts of a similar nature, sabotage, arrests, strikes or labor disruptions, restraint of rulers or peoples, expropriations, acts of terrorism, war, insurrection, quarantine restrictions, government health advisories, epidemics, pandemics, or warnings or alerts of any kind of nature, government seizures, refusal or cancellation or suspension or delay of any government authority or any license, permit or authorization, damages to its facilities or the travel supplier and its facilities, or any other unforeseen circumstances or any other factors unforeseen by Special Journeys that impacts negatively on, or hampers, its ability to fulfill any of its contractual conditions. In the event that any of these conditions apply, Special Journeys shall be excused, discharged, and released from performance to the extent such performance is so limited or prevented, without liability of any kind including liability to make any refund.
Special Journeys is acting as your agent only and has no liability or responsibility for the performance of services by the airlines including, but not limited to, accident, death, personal injury, property damage, or flight cancellation or delay. Your airline ticket and associated terms and conditions constitute the entire agreement between you and the airline (and not Special Journeys).
Airlines impose their own terms and conditions of carriage, which are separate and apart from these Special Journeys Terms and Conditions. Please carefully read their additional terms and conditions, which can be found on the airline’s website.
Cruise Lines impose their own terms and conditions, which are separate and apart from these Special Journeys Terms and Conditions. Please read their additional terms and conditions carefully. Special Journeys only uses Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines and Disney Cruise Lines.
The hotels, restaurants, venues, attractions, event providers, and other suppliers providing travel, lodging, attractions, or other services are independent suppliers (“Suppliers”) who are not affiliated with Special Journeys in any way. The services provided in connection with the itineraries, including but not limited to events, attractions, hotel accommodations, restaurants, and other services are purchased from various Suppliers.
Although Special Journeys endeavors to choose high-quality Suppliers, Special Journeys does not have the right to control their personnel, equipment, operations, or performance and therefore makes these travel arrangements upon the express conditions that neither Special Journeys nor our employees and affiliates shall be liable for any delay, mishap, inconvenience, irregularity, errors, omissions, bodily injury, illness, emotional distress, death, damage, or any other loss experienced to person or to property occasioned through the conduct or omission or default of any Supplier, each of which is subject to laws of the state or country where the service is provided. This liability falls on the Supplier.
The type of loss over which Special Journeys has no control and for which Special Journeys cannot be and is not responsible includes, without limitation: (i) any act or omission on the part of any Supplier of products or services or other party who is not under the direct control of Special Journeys; (ii) any defect or failure of any vehicle, equipment, property or building, product or service which is owned, operated, or otherwise used by a Supplier; (iii) any other cause, condition, or event which is beyond the direct control of Special Journeys.
You acknowledge that some third-party providers offering certain activities on the vacation may require you to sign their liability waiver prior to participating in the activity they offer. You understand that any violation of any such Supplier’s rules and restrictions may result in cancellation of your reservation and your being denied access to the applicable services. If the traveler has a guardian, such individual acknowledges that because of logistics it is impossible for anyone other than the Traveler attending the trip to sign these liability wavier forms.
Upon receiving any check, Special Journeys will automatically send out a receipt. If the traveler has not yet submitted a Traveler Details document, the receipt will be sent to the address information listed on your check. You can submit payment or partial payment for a trip in any amount at any time.
Checks sent to our Omaha PO Box are guaranteed to be deposited the same day that they are received. Checks and other mail sent to our Boys Town PO Box may not be processed or received immediately. When checks are sent to the Boys Town PO Box they are always forwarded to the Omaha PO Box for processing which causes an additional 2-3 day delay.
If the exact date the funds are withdrawn from your account is critical, consider sending a Cashier’s Check from your bank. Your bank will withdraw the funds immediately from your account. If you mail a check from Omaha, Nebraska to our Omaha PO Box it can take 2 to 3 days for the envelope to be received on our end. Mail sent from rural areas may take 5 to 7 days to be received. Special Journeys has no control over the United States Postal System and their delivery times.
You can make a payment via a check (either personal or corporate from a payee / guardian / conservator / agency), cashier’s check, or money order. We do not accept credit or debit cards.’ We do not have the ability to do automated checking withdrawals.
All payments received by Special Journeys shall be applied to the purchase of one or more Special Journeys Vacation Vouchers. Each Special Journeys Vacation Voucher costs $100. Each Vacation Voucher can be applied to a single vacation that you select at any time prior to the fifth anniversary of said voucher’s purchase. Each Vacation Voucher is solely redeemable for a fractional share of a vacation that you attend. The quantity of Vacation Vouchers required for each trip is listed separately for each trip. Vacation Vouchers are non-refundable, non-transferrable to another person and they expire after five years. For additional information about the Vacation Vouchers, refer to the next section. Once a selected trip’s deadline date passes, all designated or tendered Vacation Vouchers become subject to our Cancellation and No-Show/Late Traveler Policy. During any time period when the Governor of the State of Nebraska declares that a State of Emergency exists due to a pandemic, the expiration date of all Vacation Vouchers shall be tolled, that is, we will stop the running of the time period.
Everyone deserves (and often really needs) a vacation! It is something to look forward to ‘ a goal and a break from everyday life and routines! Most of our travelers need to save funds in advance for a vacation. If our travelers were unable to save funds for a trip (like any other individual who goes on vacation), their only option would be to take a no-money-down vacation and pay the entire balance off upon return. Unfortunately, this type of program does not exist, so our travelers would never be able to take a vacation. Vacation vouchers are not countable assets from the perspective of governmental benefit programs because they meet the legal requirements.
No, because they must not be countable assets, Vacation Vouchers are non-refundable and non-transferrable, and they expire after five years.
All Vacation Vouchers are processed in accordance with First In ‘ First Out (FIFO) accounting rules. As an example, let’s say you purchased Vacation Vouchers on two occasions – one year ago and yesterday. When you attend a trip the first Vacation Voucher(s) you purchased (a year ago in the example) would be applied towards your trip.
In our many years of operations we have found that only a very small number of Vacation Vouchers expire unused after five years. In the event a Vacation Voucher would expire unused after 5 years, Special Journeys will take one of two actions regarding these funds, in its sole discretion. The first option is to transfer the funds to a specific Nebraska Non-Profit, namely – Special Journeys Travel Companion Association. This non-profit provides the volunteer Travel Companions who assist travelers on trips. The Association has no paid employees and uses donations to recruit and screen Travel Companions. The second option is to utilize those funds to makes trips safer for both travelers and Travel Companions. Examples of past safety investments include travel-friendly, anti-slip shower matting; collapsible (bus-friendly) luggage carts which allow us to offer VIP luggage delivery/reloading service at each hotel; custom food software that tracks detailed food components and allergens for each menu item at over 20 restaurants so that travelers with allergies or food restrictions have an additional, automated safety check.
The funds from the sale of Vacation Vouchers are supervised and audited by Thomas Mann, a licensed Nebraska attorney with 25 years of legal experience. Tom and his wife, Lexi Mann, have served as tour leaders for Special Journeys, LLC since 2004.
Throughout recorded history people have traveled to distant lands and brought home objects linked to their journey. These travel mementos are far more than mere merchandise. To the traveler they take on a personal, cultural and even spiritual meaning that goes well beyond the physical object itself. Souvenir mementos are not just objects ‘ they are personalized forms of storytelling that enable people to make sense of the world and their own journey through life and distant places.
A Memory Voucher is individually priced, based on the total cost of the traveler’s vacation. Only one Memory Voucher can be purchased per individual vacation. Memory Voucher values range from $5 to $100. You can determine the applicable Memory Voucher cost by subtracting the last two digits of the total trip cost from 100. For example, a total trip price that ends in ’60’ would have a matching Memory Voucher value of $40. If your trip price is an even $100, you have the option of converting another Vacation Voucher to a Memory Voucher to allow you some extra spending money for the trip.
Memory Vouchers can only be paid for by application of a Vacation Voucher. On trips our custom money tracking software will spend/apply Memory Voucher funds before any other funds (spending money) that you may have brought on your trip. A Memory Voucher must be used in full before the end of the trip as it is non-refundable once the trip begins, it cannot be transferred to another individual, and it expires at the end of the vacation. A Memory Vouchers is a non-countable asset from the perspective of governmental benefit programs.
We recognize that many of our travelers have their funds managed by a payee and/or guardian. Obviously processing errors and human mistakes occasionally occur. In the event this occurs the individual who has made the error needs to contact Special Journeys, LLC within forty-five (45) days and certify that an error was made. In this event, the transaction will be cancelled, and the funds will be returned to the same account name of record that the check was issued from. If payment is made via a check that cannot be cleared (bounces), the entire transaction shall be declared null and void. In the event of a bounced check, the party sending the check will be responsible for any bank fees or costs incurred by Special Journeys, LLC.
We recognize that many of our travelers may not be able to manage the cost of a vacation before the start date of the trip they wish to attend. Subject to approval by Special Journeys, you can attend a trip and pay off the remaining balance of your vacation upon return. In order to qualify for a payment plan a traveler must complete two steps. First, they must have their signed and returned Payment Plan Agreement approved by Special Journeys before the final payment date (as indicated in the table on Page 1 of this document). Payment Plan Agreements can be obtained by contacting our office or replying to one of our pre-trip emails. Second, the traveler must have paid at least the minimum amount required before the final payment date. Travelers who utilize a 3rd party professional payee service or have an agency act as payee must have at least 60% of the total trip cost paid before departure. Travelers who do not utilize a professional or agency payee service must have at least 70% of the total trip cost paid before departure.
As long as payment is received in full within one year after the trip’s departure date there will be no interest due. If the full payment has not been received one year after the trip’s departure date then interest will be retroactively applied from the date of the trip’s departure at the rate of 14% compounded monthly. Further, any traveler with delinquent payments agrees to pay for all cost of collection including court filing and reasonable attorney fees. Special Journeys, LLC reserves the right to, in its sole discretion, refuse extension of this or any payment plan to travelers who have previously failed to pay in full for a previous vacation within one year of their return, as well as the right to require full pre-payment in advance for travelers who have cancelled multiple vacations, or are otherwise deemed to be a credit risk.
Travel reservations may be cancelled at any time by written notice by the person who made the booking. If a reservation is canceled, after the final payment is due, cancellation fees will apply (see ‘Summary Booking and Cancellation Table’). Notice of cancellation must be made in writing directly to Special Journeys.
Multiple cancellations, especially cancellations after the deadline date, by an individual traveler may cause a custom cancellation policy to be created for that specific individual. In the rare event when this may occur, the traveler will be notified of their custom cancellation policy.
If the reason for your cancellation is covered under your trip insurance policy, you may be able to reclaim any cancellation charges from your insurer. You are responsible to make the claim to your insurer.
Travelers can change trips at any point before the trip’s sign-up deadline date. If a traveler changes trips, any Vacation Vouchers which have been designated or tendered by or on behalf of the traveler will be applied in full towards another vacation. If the change is made after the sign-up deadline date, we will credit or reissue towards another trip any Vacation Vouchers which have been designated or tendered by or on behalf of the traveler less that number of Vacation Vouchers representing funds which have been paid over by Special Journeys to its suppliers on a nonrefundable basis and less any cancellation fee or restocking fee incurred by Special Journeys. Please note that airfare and cruise cabins are non-refundable costs. In addition, Special Journeys reserves the right to hold back the greater of either (a) up to 20% of the designated or tendered Vacation Vouchers as a cancellation fee or (b) a single Vacation Voucher to cover internal cost associated with cancellations.
Travelers who are ‘no shows’ on the day of departure will not receive a refund.’ Travelers who are late on the day of departure are considered no shows. This means that all tendered or designated Vacation Vouchers are forfeit and will not be refunded or re-issued.
Travelers who arrive at a pick-up point without the proper ID must be dismissed from the trip without refund. If you have any questions about proper identification, please contact our office.
If you have not submitted by the respective deadline date (a) the Traveler’ Details document, and (b) full payment or the payment amount required under an approved payment plan by the respective deadline dates , or (c) you have not responded by the deadline date to any required follow-up questions concerning details about the traveler (see ‘Summary Booking and Cancellation Table’), Special Journeys has the right to cancel your reservation. In this situation the traveler will be responsible for all cancellation fees. Special Journeys will not be responsible for the cancellation.
Special Journeys reserves the right, to modify or cancel any trip (definite or not), accommodation, in-destination activity, or arrangement at any time. We have managed hundreds of trips over our many years of operations. The only reasons we have cancelled a vacation were because of natural disasters or some other situation making it impossible to travel to a destination. Any rescheduled vacations have been due to national health emergencies, such as pandemics. Because we typically announce vacations approximately a year out, sometimes trip dates have to be shifted a few days because of schedule changes to events or attractions or because a large event has been scheduled at a destination city (for example a convention scheduled in Orlando or Las Vegas) that makes it impossible for us to obtain airline seats. In these extremely rare situations, a slight date change has always allowed the trip to proceed.
If Special Journeys cancels or reschedules a vacation as a result of a Force Majeure Event (examples include but are not limited to uncontrollable events such as war, labor stoppages, or extreme weather), we will contact you about rescheduling the vacation. If it is impossible or impractical for the traveler to reschedule the vacation, then the Traveler will not be responsible for the cancellation fees. If the Traveler wishes to choose a different trip, please contact Special Journeys. If a flight and/or cruise was involved in the original trip, you may not be able to change to a different type of trip because of specific change policies may apply from the airline or cruise line.
If a trip is terminated mid-trip due to a Force Majeure event, we will cover the expenses involved in returning the traveler’s home as soon as this can be safely completed. In the event of these situations we will do our best to substitute, rearrange, and provide the best possible vacation based on the options available.
If the cancellation by Special Journeys is not as a result of a Force Majeure Event, Special Journeys will provide an alternative comparable vacation, if available. Special Journeys is not responsible for other travel arrangements of you or any other party who relied on published vacation dates which are affected by our cancellations.
Special Journeys shall be responsible to the traveler for supplying the services and accommodations described in the itinerary, except where they cannot be supplied or the itinerary is changed due to delays or other causes of whatever kind or nature beyond Special Journeys’ control. In such circumstances, Special Journeys will seek to supply comparable services, accommodations, and itineraries, and there shall be no refund.
Special Journeys endeavors to continually improve trip itineraries, services, and features. If improvements can be made, or if circumstances beyond our control make changes necessary, we reserve the right to vary itineraries and to substitute hotels. Vacations in early spring and fall seasons are potentially operated in cool weather conditions. This includes our Alaska and Fall Colors trips. As a result, itinerary variations may occur due to weather. Certain activities may not be precisely as described or may not be available due to weather conditions or other circumstances beyond our control. If your enjoyment may be diminished by such limitations, please check with us before making a reservation.
On most of our trips, we do not have a nurse present. We determine our staffing level based on our travelers’ needs as described in the Traveler Details, and our team does not have the ability to increase staffing levels while we are on a trip. In situations where the traveler is ill, in the emergency room or hospital, or because of behavior or level of care issues is unable to participate in an activity or event, no refund is available for the unused portion of the vacation.
Special Journeys may exclude a traveler from all or part of an activity if the individual is physically unable to participate or if the individual’s participation poses a threat to the health or safety of themselves or others. The decision, made solely by Special Journeys, to exclude an individual will be determined through an individualized assessment based on reasonable judgment that relies on current medical evidence and the best available objective evidence to determine the nature, duration, and severity of the risk, the probability that potential injury will occur, and whether reasonable modifications of policies, practices, or procedures will mitigate the risk. No refunds will be given if the decision is made to exclude a traveler from an activity for safety reasons.
On a Travel Day ‘ We will keep the traveler with the group if they are physically able to travel, segregating the traveler from the others as much as possible. Unless the issue appears minor, such as a headache or upset stomach, we will contact the person listed as the emergency contact on the pre-trip paperwork.
On an Attraction Day ‘ If necessary, the traveler can stay at the hotel with a Travel Companion.
Continuing Illnesses ‘ If a traveler’s illness continues longer than one day, we will discuss how to proceed with the agency staff, parent, or guardian. In some situations, the traveler may need to return home early; all travel-related costs and care responsibilities are explained in the ‘Traveler Returning Home During A Trip’ section.
Medical care on all cruises and most international vacations is not covered under Medicaid. The traveler and/or guardian is responsible for all payments required for medical care.
If a medical emergency arises, we will take the traveler to the closest Emergency Room. We will make every reasonable effort to reach the traveler’s emergency contact as soon as possible. If the emergency contact cannot be reached, or if Special Journeys or the attending health care provider believes that immediate care is required, the traveler and/or guardian grant permission to the health care provider selected by Special Journeys to order the required medical treatment: hospitalization, anesthesia, injection, surgery, and/or medication.
The traveler is responsible for all costs related to the emergency room visit and/or hospitalization and any additional or related medical costs.
A Special Journeys Tour Leader or Travel Companion will accompany the traveler to the emergency room or hospital. If this occurs on a travel day, depending on the itinerary, our tour group is typically unable to keep on schedule if we stop for longer than two hours. After this time the main tour group will resume the vacation without the traveler.
All communication with the hospital, nurses, and doctors is the responsibility of the traveler and/or guardian.
If the Traveler Is Released Within 24 hours ‘ If possible, the traveler and our representative will rejoin the group. The ability to rejoin may depend on vehicle availability and other logistical issues. However, travelers who cannot be transported in a car are unlikely to be able to rejoin the tour group unless the itinerary involves a return to the location of the hospital. If the traveler cannot rejoin the group or chooses to return home, all travel-related costs of returning home and care responsibilities are explained in the ‘Traveler Returning Home During A Trip’ section.
If the Traveler is Hospitalized More Than 24 hours’ We will assume that they will not able to rejoin the group and need to return home directly. Special Journeys will provide staff, if possible, for only the first 24 hours of hospitalization. After that time our representative will need to rejoin to group to maintain our staffing levels, and the agency and/or guardian is responsible for arranging replacement staffing. All travel-related costs of returning home and care responsibilities are explained in the ‘Traveler Returning Home During A Trip’ section.
Our #1 goal is to keep our travelers and Travel Companions safe. We understand that small behavior issues and outbursts can occur with individual travelers. However, the other travelers and our team must not be afraid of personal injury, have their vacation constantly interrupted, become injured, or be bullied.
Often a behavior problem escalates over time – it starts small and continues to become more disruptive. If a behavior problem escalates and we have been in prior contact with the agency and/or guardian regarding such behaviors, we require the agency staff and/or guardian to be available via phone to talk to the traveler and calm them down or end the disruptive behavior.
‘ We will contact the emergency contact and/or guardian to convey our concerns and coordinate with them regarding the traveler.
‘ Travelers who vandalize, damage, or steal property must reimburse the owner for the damage immediately or as soon as the value of the damaged items has been established. Travelers must indemnify Special Journeys for the full amount if any claim (including legal costs) is made against us. Criminal proceedings may be instigated.
‘ If the traveler becomes physically aggressive and/or is dangerous to themselves or others, we reserve the right to take reasonable steps to protect ourselves and others. Travelers and/or their guardians agree not to hold Special Journeys or any of its related entities liable for any actions taken under these terms and conditions. Criminal proceedings may be instigated.
‘ Special Journeys is not responsible for any costs incurred if a traveler is removed by a supplier from an aircraft, ship, train, or attraction venue.
‘ We may terminate the vacation and travel arrangements of a traveler who, in the reasonable opinion of Special Journeys or our suppliers, may cause danger, disruption, or distress to anyone else; who causes damage to property; or whose behaviors have been misrepresented in the Traveler Details.
‘ If a traveler becomes unmanageable while on vacation, Special Journeys may utilize county or city facilities and/or crisis units if necessary. If these facilities are utilized, Special Journeys will contact the guardian who will then be responsible to work with the county, city, or state facility for arrangements home. The traveler and/or guardian is responsible for all costs from such facilities or units.
‘ All travel-related costs of returning home and care responsibilities are explained in the ‘Traveler Returning Home During A Trip’ section.
‘ We recognize that less than ideal situations may arise when a traveler’s behaviors are unsafe and/or interfering with the vacation of others and yet:
- a)the behaviors do not rise to the level where the traveler should be left with a facility,
- b)no facility can be arranged to accept the traveler,
- c)the guardian is unable or unwilling to meet the group and remove the traveler from the group, and/or
- d)our group is headed back to our starting location, and for logistical reasons it is more convenient or quicker to retain a traveler with the group.
‘ In these situations, we specifically disclaim any and all liability regarding the fact that the traveler was not removed from the group.
Travelers who intentionally or unintentionally lose, damage, or destroy property are financially responsible for repair or replacement costs for their own or others’ property. We accept no responsibility for lost, stolen, damaged, or destroyed property.
Our trips depart with a pre-arranged staffing level based on the attending travelers and their level of care that is disclosed to us. If a traveler’s functional level and/or level-of-care has been misrepresented on their Traveler Details, or if the traveler becomes non-cooperative or is generally unsafe to themselves and/or others regarding their care, it is not possible for us to increase staffing levels during a vacation for logistical and availability reasons.
Our team has multiple travelers to care for, so we may not be able to modify reservations to better accommodate unexpected care needed by one traveler. Furthermore, if a traveler needs specialized equipment that we were not advised the traveler might need, we may not have packed such equipment.
As a vacation progresses, certain travelers may become tired, and their abilities may become more limited. We reserve the right to have the traveler take time to rest during the day if it is in their best interests. The traveler and guardian understand and consent to the fact that this may cause the traveler to miss all or part of an activity listed on the trip’s itinerary.
When level-of-care concerns arise on a vacation, we will contact the agency and/or guardian to discuss the situation. At Special Journeys sole discretion, if we determine that we are unable to safely or adequately care for the traveler, the traveler may need to be sent home. If Special Journey determines that a traveler has level-of-care issues that we cannot support, it shall be the responsibility of the agency and/or guardian to meet the tour group and take the traveler home. All travel-related costs of returning home and care responsibilities are explained in the ‘Traveler Returning Home During A Trip’ section.
During many years of experience we have learned that travelers who wander or just get confused can occasionally be separated from the group. Large venues and locations with many people around, such as theme parks and ball games, present additional levels of such possibilities. When the situation warrants for traveler safety, Special Journeys reserves the right to use electronic devices that can quickly locate the exact location of a traveler.
Even if we determine that we are unable to provide the unanticipated level of care a traveler needs, we recognize that care may still be required, and we specifically disclaim any and all liability regarding the additional care needed:
‘ before the traveler departs Special Journeys’ care,
‘ if the agency and/or guardian is unable or unwilling to meet the group and remove the traveler from the group, and/or
‘ if our group is headed back to our starting location and for logistical reasons it is more convenient or quicker to retain a traveler with level-of-care issues.
The traveler and/or guardian understand and agree that the traveler may not be able to participate in all group activities and that the care from Special Journeys Travel Companions may be modified, reduced, or eliminated as required for safety concerns.
The traveler or guardian shall be responsible for the travel and other cost incurred for the agency staff and/or guardian to travel to meet the group, as well as all subsequent travel expenses returning home.
The traveler or guardian shall be responsible for all of the traveler’s costs incurred by returning home including, but not limited to, transportation, lodging, meals, and any outside staffing required.
Special Journeys typically does not make individual flight reservations for each traveler. This means that, if the trip involves a flight, the original flight reservation for the traveler and any Special Journeys representative typically cannot be transferred or credited to a different flight.
If the traveler requires medical transport home, it is the responsibility of the traveler and/or guardian to cover this cost. There shall be no refund for the unused portion of the vacation.
Tour Leader and Travel Companion supervision, transportation, attractions, lodging, taxes, and all meals are included in the trip price. Basically, everything you need to have a great vacation! The exact details about what is included and what extra fees can apply are explained below.
Transportation: Special Journeys will provide all ground transportation listed on the itinerary.
Hotel Accommodation: Prices are per person, based on two persons sharing a room with private bath or shower. Special Journeys typically only reserves two-bed rooms. If a situation requires, or we choose to book rooms with one double bed, these rooms will be allocated to solo travelers and couples, at Special Journeys sole discretion.
Special room requests (such as adjacent, connecting, or lower-floor rooms) must be made when we book the rooms. Special room requests are not guaranteed and are based on availability at time of check-in. In our experience, adjacent and connecting rooms are rarely an option. Even when they are an option, they are seldom available.
Substitute accommodation may be used sometimes. We try to use hotels of similar standard when substitute accommodations are required.
Hotel Frequent Traveler program points are not earned with hotels on Special Journeys trips.
Hotel room sizes, standards, facilities, and services provided may vary from country to country and region to region and are often local in style. Accommodations outside of the USA may not be in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and may not have wheelchair accessibility.
On cruise trips the ‘hotel’ is the cruise ship. A phone number for the specific ship can be obtained on the applicable cruise line’s website.
Air Transportation: For trips involving a flight, all air transportation outlined on a trip’s itinerary is included and covered by Special Journeys. Due to the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) Secure Flight rules, airlines must collect required personal information from travelers. For more information regarding TSA’s Secure Flight rules, visit tsa.gov.
Meals: All meals are included in the vacation price. Any special meal requirements, including intolerances or allergies, must be fully described in the Traveler Details document. On cruise trips all of our meals, except during any prescheduled group or personal shore excursions, will be on-board for health and safety purposes.
Events, Sightseeing, & Attractions: The costs for all attractions, experiences, entrance fees, and events are included as detailed on the itinerary. Some included activities require a signed liability waiver with the activity provider; participation in these activities is at your own risk.
Transfers: All transfers between airports, hotels, railway stations, and piers are included in the vacation price.
Porterage: Luggage handling at each hotel and porter service at airports and cruise ports is included.
Luggage Allowances: On bus trips the traveler can bring a reasonable amount of luggage for the trip. For vacations involving a flight, your vacation price covers the cost of one normal sized suitcase weighing 50 pounds or less. For long flight trips, the pre-trip paperwork will notify you if your vacation price will cover the costs associated with a second suitcase. On flight trips travelers can bring one bag or suitcase onboard as long as it meets carry-on size requirements. Travelers who bring a carry-on bag must be able to carry or transport this bag on their own.
Tips and Gratuities: Special Journeys handles any tips to outside parties such as at meals and at airports, cruise ports, or with transfer services.’ The Travel Companions and Tour Leaders are never tipped on a Special Journeys vacation.
Taxes and Fees, Fuel Charges: All taxes, fees, and fuel charges are covered by your vacation price.
Early Pickup/Late Drop-off: In certain markets due to logistical reasons, Special Journeys may need to pick up or drop off a traveler outside of the dates indicated on the itinerary. In these cases, Special Journeys will contact the affected traveler and the lodging and food expenses involved with the early pickup or late drop off will be covered by the vacation price.
Travelers Whose Pickup Is After the Trip Starts or Drop Off Before the Trip Ends: In extremely rare cases travelers may reside in locations where the tour group will reach them after the itinerary start date and/or before the last date on the trip itinerary. In these situations, Special Journeys will contact the affected traveler and adjust the price of the trip to reflect the lack of a hotel stay and meals.
For virtually all travelers, the only items not included are snacks and souvenirs. The main exception to this policy is for travelers who need a dedicated Travel Companion because they require a 1:1 staffing level.
1:1 Staffing ‘ Travelers who require a dedicated, 1:1 Traveler Companion must pay an additional charge for the travel costs associated with this 1:1 Travel Companion. Contact Special Journeys for the exact costs involved for the specific trip you are interested in attending. For additional information about 1:1 staffing refer ahead to ‘1:1 Staffing’ under the ‘Care and Staffing’ section of this document.
Specialty Food: Appetizers, desserts, and specialty drinks (such as milkshakes, alcohol, ‘virgin’ drinks) are not included in the price of trip. If the group stops at a restaurant where milkshakes will be included as part of the meal, the travelers and Travel Companions will be notified, and everyone will have a choice between either a soda or a milkshake. We strongly discourage travelers from purchasing specialty food and drinks because of the disruption this causes, as nearby travelers may be on dietary or other restrictions.
Travel Insurance for Cancellations: Travelers who purchase travel insurance are responsible for all costs associated with this insurance. Special Journeys does not sell travel insurance. Refer back to the discussion of travel insurance in ‘Vacation Booking Agreement & Definitions’.
Extra Luggage Charges on Flights: Your vacation price covers the cost of one checked suitcase (of normal size) that is under 50 pounds in weight. On longer trips the pre-trip paperwork will notify you if your vacation price will cover a second suitcase (normal sized, under 50 pounds). Travelers who bring more suitcases than your vacation price covers will be responsible for the additional baggage fee that the airline charges. On international flights this can be $100 or $200 per additional bag for each flight.
Fines for Smoking in Hotel Room: If a traveler smokes in a hotel room, the traveler is responsible for the hotel cleaning fee. The traveler shall also be responsible for any charges for items damaged or destroyed as a result of the traveler’s smoking.
Damages to Hotel Room: Travelers are responsible for any damage they cause to hotel property and other facilities or for misappropriations of hotel property.
Incurred Expenses: If we incur any uncovered charges on a traveler’s behalf during a vacation, the traveler will receive an invoice for such charges after the trip. These charges include but are not limited to: excess baggage charges on flights, pay-tv charges, phone charges (mainly applies to cruises and international trips), and charges for pulling fire alarms.
Medical Supplies and Charges: Any medical charges the traveler may incur on the trip, including specific medical supplies which are required but not sent, are the responsibility of the traveler. If a traveler uses any type of diabetic care, wound care, ostomy bag, or catheter bag, and does not bring enough supplies (such as bags, tape, skin barriers, wipes testing strips) for the entire trip, it is the traveler’s responsibility to pay the cost of purchasing such supplies on-trip.
Special Dietary Supplies and Food Related Medications: It is the traveler’s responsibility to provide all specialty dietary and medical items required on the trip, for example: fiber, prune juice, or cranberry juice, and pudding or applesauce packets that are used at medication times. Do not assume that even if the traveler has funds available, these items can be purchase immediately when needed.
Wheelchair and Scooter Rentals: It is the traveler’s responsibility to cover wheelchair or scooter rental at theme parks or other locations which rent these items. We are not able to monitor the activities of travelers who use scooters. However, we reserve the right to immediately terminate usage of a scooter if we notice inappropriate or unsafe usage. We are not responsible for injuries to any third parties if the traveler rents and/or operates a self-steered scooter.
Soft Drinks on Royal Caribbean Cruises: Soft drinks and/or the unlimited soda package are not included on Royal Caribbean cruises. This is our policy to be fair to our travelers because not everyone wants the trip cost to include this large expense. Once onboard a Royal Caribbean ship, soda can either be purchased by the glass or via the unlimited soda card. The unlimited soda card for 2020/21 runs $13 to $15 per /day + a mandatory 18% gratuity. For a five-day cruise that would be $88.50. Unfortunately, soda cards are not available on a per-day basis. The Disney Cruise Line does not charge separately for soft drinks.
Passport Costs: All costs involved in obtaining or renewing a passport is the responsibility of the traveler.’ This includes but is not limited to passport application fees, postage costs, photography costs’ and costs to obtain required documents such as a birth certificate.
Independent Shore Excursions on Cruises: If a shore excursion is listed on a trip’s itinerary, your vacation price covers all costs associated with that excursion. Traveler may purchase independent (non-group) shore excursions from the cruise line if Special Journeys has available staff to accompany the traveler. In this case the traveler is responsible for their individual shore excursion cost. Special Journeys will cover the cost of the shore excursion for the staff accompanying the individual, unless the traveler has a dedicated 1:1 Travel Companion. Travelers who have a dedicated 1:1 Travel Companion are responsible for covering the cost of the shore excursion of that 1:1 Travel Companion.
Medical costs for Cruises and Overseas Trips: Medicaid cannot be used to cover medical expenses on cruise ships or when travelers are overseas. Travelers are responsible for all emergency, hospital, and medical costs on all of our trips.
Roaming Fees, Cellular Access, and Wi-Fi: On cruise and international trips we highly recommend that travelers do not take electronic devices with cellular access. Services may not be available on some devices. When service is available, roaming, international and, other related charges can reach hundreds of dollars in just a few minutes. Special Journeys is unable to monitor and control devices in the traveler’s possession and is not responsible for these charges and fees. Wi-Fi is available on cruise ships for an additional charge. Most international hotels have Wi-Fi available for free but Special Journeys has no control over this service.
For every trip involving an airline flight each Traveler MUST have a current, state government issued, photo ID that is valid for the entire duration of the trip.
If a traveler is denied boarding because of ID issues and/or a difference between the traveler name provided to Special Journeys and what is displayed on the identification, no refund will be available to the traveler.
Travelers who arrive at a pick-up point without the proper ID must be dismissed from the trip and no refund will be given. If you have any questions about proper identification, please contact our office.
On bus trips we request, but do not require, that Travelers bring a state identification card or driver’s license.
When a passport is required for a trip, this will be identified in the trip description and in the pre-trip paperwork. Upon request, Special Journeys has a document available that will walk you through the entire Passport Application process. Travelers are responsible for obtaining their own passport and all costs associated with obtaining a passport.
We strongly recommend that travelers obtain a Passport Book, instead of a Passport Card. Passport Books are you ticket to the entire world, via any travel means available. Passport cards cannot be used for international flights. Passport Cards are only valid in twenty countries and only by land or sea travel. Passport Books are only slightly more expensive, and both are valid for ten years ‘ so get a Passport Book!
As a rule, passports must be valid for six months beyond the date the traveler will exit the U.S. Certain foreign countries can also impose additional entry requirements related to a traveler’s US Criminal history. For example, in Canada there are certain felony or misdemeanor convictions that will bar you from entry. If this is a concern please determine that the traveler can enter Canada before signing up for a Canadian trip. Examples of entry restrictions include: DUI, theft, possession of stolen goods, assault, and drug possession charges.
The Real ID Act was passed in 2013 to ensure that state driver’s licenses and identification documents are secure. The enforcement requirement for US Domestic Airline travel (TSA Checkpoints) has been delayed for multiple years. When Real ID requirements are enforced in the US all travelers shall need to have Real ID compliant driver’s licenses or identification cards.
On certain cruises, travelers can legally travel without a passport. However, the traveler must have a state issued identification card or driver’s license that is valid for the entire length of the vacation. The traveler will also need to have a state issued birth certificate that has a raised official seal showing that is an officially issued document. Copies of a birth certificate are not valid travel documents. Special Journeys recommends obtaining a relatively recent birth certificate since certificates issued 25 or 30+ years ago had many different formats and may be questioned by US Border Patrol.
Seating is solely under the airline’s control. Not all airlines offer pre-assigned seats. Specific seat assignments are not guaranteed and are subject to change without notice if there is a schedule change, equipment change, or other unforeseen circumstances. In order to keep the group together on a flight, Special Journeys does not allow travelers to upgrade to another class of service or pay extra for specific seat assignments in a separate part of the airplane.
Itinerary changes due to flight delays and schedule changes is solely under the airline’s control. If an airline makes a pre-departure schedule change, Special Journeys may need to change the vacation departure date. Special Journeys will make its best efforts to adjust on-trip itineraries caused by flight delays, flight cancellations, and flight schedule changes. Flight delays, flight cancellations, and schedule changes are the responsibility of the airline. Special Journeys will not be responsible or liable for such delays or rescheduling.
Frequent Flyer miles can be accrued on most air carriers. Upgrades using mileage are not permitted. Many airlines do not automatically add frequent flyer numbers to records for flights booked and ticketed by Special Journeys. It is the traveler’s responsibility to request frequent flyer credit from the airline. Special Journeys shall not be responsible for matters concerning frequent flyer miles.
Special Journeys presents electric wheelchairs, manual wheelchairs, and all other mobility and medical equipment to the airline for transport. Any damage or lost items are solely the responsibility of the airline. Upon landing at our destination airport, the traveler is responsible for notifying Special Journeys that their wheelchair, medical or mobility equipment is damaged in any manner. There are specific time limits regarding reporting damage. Special Journeys will assist the traveler in reporting damage while we are at the airport. In our experience all damage claims or lost item claims must be reported to the airline before we depart from the airport. Special Journeys will not be responsible or liable for damage, destruction, or lost items on vacations with an airline flight.
Special Journeys prices cruise accommodation based on two guests sharing a twin cabin. On Royal Caribbean cruises we request ‘Beds Apart’ (as opposed to ‘Beds Together’) when cabins are booked. If the stateroom attendant has not physically separated the beds when the cabins are prepared, we will make this request and the stateroom attendant will typically make this adjustment while we are eating dinner. If the stateroom attendant is overwhelmed, the Special Journeys Tour Leaders will personally rearrange the room and separate the beds.
Your vacation price covers all gratuities required for each cabin. It also covers all Cruise Fees, or ‘Non-Discountable Amount’ as referred to by the cruise line, which is a mandatory fee charged by the cruise line. It also covers all cruise taxes, which refer to certain taxes, fees, and charges imposed by governments or quasi-government authorities, relating to any aspect of your cruise, for example, customs fees, head taxes, inspection fees, immigration and naturalization fees, harbor maintenance fees, and taxes. Government fees and taxes are subject to change without notice. If the cruise taxes increases, Special Journeys will cover this additional cost. Likewise, if a small refund of cruise taxes is credited back (overpayment), Special Journeys will receive (recover) this amount.
If a shore excursion is listed on a trip’s itinerary, your vacation price will cover all costs associated with that excursion. Traveler may purchase independent (non-group) shore excursions from the cruise line if Special Journeys has available staff to accompany the traveler. In this case the traveler is responsible for their individual shore excursion cost. Special Journeys will cover the cost of the shore excursion for the staff accompanying the individual, unless the traveler has a dedicated 1:1 Travel Companion. Travelers who have a dedicated 1:1 Travel Companion are responsible for covering the cost of the shore excursion of that 1:1 Travel Companion.
Cabin assignment is strictly controlled by the cruise lines. Special Journeys reserves the right to assign and rearrange specific travelers to specific cabins at any time. Special Journeys may also, in its sole discretion, reassign a Travel Companion to any cabin at any time.
Special Journeys has no control over a cruise line’s schedule. The cruise operators have reserved the right to cancel or reschedule any cruise departure. If this event occurs, Special Journeys will reschedule our vacation. Adjustments to the specific cruise ship utilized, cruise itinerary, length, and cruise ports visited may need to be made. The cruise operator also reserves the right to cancel any departure up until the date of that departure due to force majeure or other circumstances beyond the control of the operator that prevent the operation of the cruise, including governmental and administrative decisions. The cruise operator is not liable for failure to provide the services or accommodations offered to the extent that such services of accommodations cannot be provided due to force majeure or other circumstances beyond its control. Special Journeys will not be responsible or liable for such changes or rescheduling.
Medicaid will not cover the costs of medical care on cruise ships or in foreign countries. The traveler is responsible for any medical costs incurred and Special Journeys shall have no responsibility for covering any traveler’s medical costs on cruises or in foreign countries.
Travelers who need supplemental oxygen on cruise trips must notify Special Journeys before the sign-up deadline date so that we may provide adequate notice to the cruise line. For additional terms and conditions concerning oxygen, refer ahead to ‘General Information and Conditions’ under the heading ‘Travelers Using Oxygen’.
Travelers who use feeding tubes do not receive a discount on the cruise fare cost. This is a cruise line policy that Special Journeys has no control over.
Special Journeys may choose to book cruise cabins with on-board credit assigned to some or all of the cabins. Any on-board credit applied to a cabin or an individual traveler belongs to Special Journeys and is used to cover trip costs, shore excursions, and other cruise related costs.
Our trips are planned so that there is one of our tour leaders or volunteer Travel Companions for every four vacationers. The actual ratio for any specific trip can vary slightly, but not significantly. This ratio applies on the vacation itself, not on transportation to and from the main tour group.
We cannot provide 24-hour supervision or in-room staff. Travel Companions assist travelers while in the community and with cares while at the hotel. During overnight hours Travel Companions stay close by, based on how rooms are assigned by the hotel. We generally do not have Travel Companions sleeping in the rooms with travelers unless this has been pre-arranged, and a Travel Companion is available. Travelers needing supervision overnight must bring a 1:1 Travel Companion. There is an additional fee required for the 1:1 caregiver. Any requests to share a room with a spouse or friend must be made in writing and sent in with the trip signup form.
The Traveler Details document must be completely filled out and returned to us prior to any vacation. Travelers who have not submitted a completed Traveler Details document by the deadline date will be dropped from the trip. The individual(s) completing the document must disclose all information pertaining to the traveler so that Special Journeys can assure everyone has a safe, comfortable, and enjoyable experience. We specifically disclaim responsibility for any situation that may occur due in whole or part to inadequate disclosure of information.
We will follow dietary and shopping/budget requirements listed in the Traveler Details document and pre-trip materials to the best of our abilities. We are not responsible for travelers deviating from their dietary plans or situations when a traveler secretly consumes food or beverage items not in their dietary plans. If travelers hold their own spending money, we assume no responsibility for any items they purchase and/or consume. If you have concerns regarding the traveler’s food and drink consumption, we recommend that you allow us to hold their spending money.
Travelers who need a high level of care and constant assistance require a dedicated (1:1) Travel Companion, which they are responsible for providing. There is an additional cost required for 1:1 Travel Companions to cover the additional travel costs.
Travel Companions assist at the hotel with personal cares such as showering, dressing, and grooming. At meals they assist with ordering and general cutting assistance. During the day they assist at attractions and with shopping. Our standard ratio is groups of 3 to 4 travelers for each Travel Companion. 1:1 staffing for a traveler is necessary when a Travel Companion would not have time to assist that traveler as well as an additional 2 to 3 other travelers.
In our experience, almost all travelers who use a wheelchair full-time require a dedicated, 1:1 Travel Companion. Examples of exceptions would be individuals who transfer by themselves or with minimal assistance and who require minimal assistance easting and toileting. Another common situation requiring 1:1 staffing is a traveler whose behavior requires constant supervision.
Factors that are considered in determining whether a 1:1 Travel Companion is required are:
‘ Eating assistance ‘ Does the traveler require food/liquid texture modification (dysphasia); can the traveler eat on their own without assistance; do they use a feeding tube?
‘ Behaviors ‘ Does the traveler require line of sight supervision; do they have controllable outbursts or aggression that need regular staff assistance; do they need to be monitored for wandering constantly; would the traveler leave the hotel room/hotel during the night?
‘ Care Issues ‘ Does the traveler need total assistance with cares in the hotel room; does the traveler require total assistance showering, transferring, dressing and/or toileting?
For all travelers who are not self-medicating, the traveler’s medications must be individually pre-packaged according to the time and date of each scheduled dispensation time and marked with the traveler’s name. The guardian/parent/caregiver is responsible for making sure this is completed accurately. One extra day’s supply of medicine should be included for bus trips in case of an emergency or trip delay. Two extra day’s supply of medicine should be included for flight trips and/or cruises in case of an emergency or trip delay.
Travelers who need medication to be given by Special Journeys and travelers who need reminders only for their medication must have their medications held by Special Journeys. All medications must be given to the Tour Leader or person responsible for check-in. Special Journeys policy is to hold all traveler medications only in our custom-made medicine bags and not in a traveler provided bag. Medications must not be packed in a traveler’s suitcase. Travelers who normally self-medicate can continue this practice on trips and can package their medications in the way or manner that they are familiar with. For all trips involving an airline flight, self-medicating travelers must carry their medications in a carry-on.
Special Journeys is not responsible for medication packed in checked luggage on flight trips. We are not responsible for medications placed in a suitcase or other bag that is not identified at pickup.
Medications will be administered only at the following times: before breakfast, at mealtimes, 10 am, 2 pm, 3 pm, 4 pm, and bedtime. Unless instructed otherwise, we will give ‘Once a Day’ medication at breakfast.
Our medication time window is the industry standard: one-hour window of the times specified above. While we are onboard aircraft this medication window may need to be adjusted slightly due to circumstances out of our control. We must follow flight crew directions and cannot control turbulence, delayed landing/takeoff times, or access to the airplane aisles.
Flights travelling across four or more time zones require additional planning regarding medication times. Our team will space medication times as best we can, given the potential interference of onboard mealtimes, takeoff/landing times, flight delays, local time upon landing, as well as on-trip delays such as turbulence, aisle access, and flight crew instructions.
Special Journeys is only responsible for dispensing medication provided and identified at pickup. Special Journeys is not responsible for errors in packaging or labeling on pre-packaged medicine.
The Special Journeys team makes every attempt to identify ingredients that may cause reactions for those with food intolerances and allergies. We make every effort to instruct restaurant managers and food production staff on the severity of the food issues of our travelers.
However, there is always the risk of contamination. There is also a possibility that manufacturers of the commercial foods used in restaurants could change their formulation at any time, without notice. Furthermore, US law only requires food labeling to identify eight food allergens, so commercial foods can contain other allergens that are not listed on the label. Travelers concerned about food intolerances and allergies must be aware of these risks.
Special Journeys does not assume any liability for adverse reactions to foods consumed or items one may come into contact with while travelling with Special Journeys.
Travelers requiring supplemental oxygen during a vacation must notify Special Journeys in advance. Travelers using oxygen tanks must arrange for delivery to our hotel each night. Travelers using portable oxygen concentrators must bring extra batteries (beyond what the rental company normally provides) because in our experience the batteries provided do not hold a full charge. Travelers using portable oxygen concentrators are advised to arrange a secondary battery charging device (in addition to the concentrator) so that spare batteries can be prepared for usage.
Travelers who need supplemental oxygen on an airline flight are responsible for ensuring that their equipment is FAA compliant. Additional information can be found at https://www.faa.gov/about/initiatives/cabin_safety/portable_oxygen/
Travelers who use nighttime supplemental oxygen concentrators must notify Special Journeys in advance. As these units can be extremely fragile, Special Journeys does not take responsibility for any damages or repair required upon return home. Travelers on trips with an airline flight must arrange for a nighttime oxygen concentrator at our destination city (including delivery to the hotel and arranging pickup upon our departure). Travelers on cruise trips must notify Special Journeys before the sign-up deadline date that a concentrator will be used in the cruise cabin so that we may provide adequate notice to the cruise line. Travelers who have a nighttime concentrator with them when picked up by Special Journeys for a flight or cruise trip acknowledge that Special Journeys will attempt to transport the unit, but the unit may not survive the transit.
Travelers are responsible for ensuring that all wheelchairs and mobility equipment are in proper repair. While Special Journeys routinely has travelers using wheelchairs and mobility equipment, we are not experts in their care and repair. Travel involves new situations and conditions that are not routinely encountered by the traveler using a wheelchair or mobility equipment. In our experience, 40 to 50% of wheelchairs and mobility equipment need on-trip adjustment or repair (such as improperly adjusted brakes). Many travelers are also sent with the oldest such equipment available.
If Special Journeys attempts repairs to brakes or other poorly maintained parts, Special Journeys is not liable for improper or incomplete repairs. Special Journeys disclaims any liability for injuries or accidents caused by poor maintenance or equipment in poor condition.
All hotels have a limited number of ADA accessible rooms. We allocate ADA rooms according to greatest need, and when possible, we reserve one unoccupied room with a roll-in shower. When multiple travelers need a roll-in shower, we coordinate shower reservations for those travelers as we arrive at the hotel. In our experience, almost all roll-in shower rooms have a single king-sized bed. So, 1:1 staff who need to overnight in the same room as their traveler should expect to sleep on a cot or roll-away. Connecting rooms are rarely available and should never be counted on. We are not responsible for room availability issues due to hotel maintenance issues, overstays, or human room assignment errors.
We reserve the right to assign rooms at our sole discretion. We reserve the right to move travelers at our sole discretion. We also reserve the right to assign a Travel Companion or Tour Leader to room with a specific traveler when, in our sole discretion, the situation warrants.
Each night and morning Special Journeys will provide luggage portage service at the hotel. At airports, cruise ports, and during transfers, Special Journeys will take responsibility for moving luggage. On rare occasions due to time constraints, staffing availability due to traveler needs, or other conditions, we may ask independent travelers to assist with luggage. In such circumstances such traveler shall be volunteering their services to assist with their own and other traveler’s luggage. Travelers volunteering to assist in such a manner are not employees, agents, or contractors for Special Journeys.
Overnight accommodations are at clean, well known hotel chains. All travelers have their own, regular bed with two people per room. Please contact us for single room pricing details. Special Journeys reserves the right to rearrange roommates at any time during the vacation. Special Journeys reserves the right to place a staff member in any room deemed necessary in our sole discretion.
Special Journeys follows Federal law regarding controlled substances. Our vacations cross multiple state lines, each of which enforce their own laws. Flight trips and cruise vacations are subject to inspection by TSA and US Customs and Border Patrol. We do not permit federally illegal substances that may be legal in your state for recreational or medical purposes. For example, if you have a physician-ordered prescription for medical marijuana you are not allowed to bring this item on your trip.
Any traveler that consumes or is in position of illegal substances during a vacation may be sent home at their expense, or if under the influence, be placed in the care of local authorities. Travelers are responsible for any costs that accrue because of the use of or being in possession of illegal substances. Special Journeys specifically disclaims the creation of a bailment for any federally illegal substance(s) we are given to pass as a part of the traveler’s medicine. From a law enforcement perspective this means that legal possession of the substance(s) is solely the responsibility of the traveler.
The consumption of alcoholic beverages by participants is strictly prohibited, unless it states otherwise on the Traveler Details document. Only light consumption will be allowed in those cases.
Travelers may smoke only on planned rest stops and during designated free times in allowable areas. Smoking is never allowed by Special Journeys in any hotel. We always book non-smoking hotel rooms whenever possible. Smoking is not allowed on motor coaches or other vehicles used on the vacation. Most attractions, restaurants, hotels, cruises, and other locations/venues are 100% smoke free or only allow smoking in designated areas.
If a traveler who smokes needs staff supervision during the daytime hours, Special Journeys will provide assistance for the traveler in walking to and returning from a designated smoking area (if such area is available and the Tour Leader determines, in their sole discretion, that there is time available to smoke). During nighttime hours Special Journeys shall take no responsibility for assisting a traveler in smoking or for enforcing the non-smoking policies.
Special Journeys warrants that the services shall be generally as described in the brochure and on the website, though in view of the vagaries of travel, not necessarily precisely as described and subject to changes and the other terms and conditions herein. Photographs seen in Special Journeys brochures or website may not necessarily depict the same experience that travelers will have due to the very nature of travel. Pictures and descriptions of locations, facilities, and activities do not constitute an implied or express warranty. To the maximum extent permitted by law, all other warranties, express and implied, including warranties of fitness for a specific purpose and merchantability are expressly excluded. There is no warranty that extends beyond the description of the face hereof.
By participating in a Special Journeys vacation, you consent to having your name, face, likeness, voice and/or appearance captured in any photographs and videotapes (or portions thereof) in any format, including, but not limited to, print, digital, or film media now existing or hereafter developed; and you further acknowledge and agree that such photographs and videotapes (or portions thereof) may be shared with other participants in the adventure.
The Traveler grants to Special Journeys a royalty-free, perpetual right and permission to use any and all photographs, video images, likeness, or other recordings of me (‘Materials’), in whole or in part, whether in original or modified form, in connection with my attendance on vacation(s). I grant to Special Journeys the unrestricted right to use ‘ including, without limitation, copyright, publish, re-publish, broadcast, transfer, alter, distribute, display, perform, reproduce, and incorporate into other works ‘ the Materials in any medium now known or in the future invented, including without limitation, print, digital and Internet, for any purpose, including without limitation: publication, promotion, advertising, marketing, trade and solicitation without compensation or further permission from me.
We commence providing services to you as soon as we accept your booking and a deposit is paid. This includes work undertaken prior to travel to arrange and coordinate the delivery of your travel arrangements.
After the trip, Travelers will receive a DVD containing digital photos taken during the trip by the Tour Leader and the volunteer staff. Travelers can also share their photos with the group by notifying the Tour Leader. DVDs will be sent out after the trip ends. These photos can be printed on your computer, uploaded to an Internet photo printing site, or brought to a local store that prints digital photos. They provide and exciting memory of your Special Journey!
On trips our main focus regarding photography will be with using Special Journeys’ cameras so that we can include the photos on the photo DVDs. As a result, and because of time constraints, we typically cannot take photos with each individual traveler’s camera. On occasion individual Travel Companions may assist individual travelers with photos, but due to their needing to assist multiple individuals this cannot be done on a constant basis.
Special Journeys has no subject matter expertise concerning specific locations, attractions, venues, or events. Special Journeys has no special knowledge of dangers during travel or at destinations.’ On occasion we do have limited prior knowledge of locations from past visits. Past experience should not be construed as sufficient to provide advanced warning or consideration of the specific needs regarding a new tour group or specific travelers in a group.
In case of human or computer invoicing error, Special Journeys reserves the right to re-invoice for the correct price. Every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of Special Journeys brochures and website; however, Special Journeys cannot be held responsible for printing or typographical errors, or errors arising from unforeseen circumstances.
Special Journeys, LLC., a Delaware Limited Liability Company, serves only as sales representative, and is not responsible for any activity beyond its limited role in arranging reservations and ticketing. Special Journeys, LLC shall not be responsible or liable for any act, omission, or default, whether negligent or otherwise, of any other entity whether or not affiliated with Special Journeys.
Special Journeys is not responsible for any costs arising from the loss or theft of any Traveler’s personal property during the vacation.
Special Journeys shall have no liability or responsibility for a Traveler when they are absent from the vacation for visits with family or relatives.’
In case of a medical emergency, you understand that every reasonable effort will be made to reach the emergency contact(s) listed on the Traveler Details document. In the event that your contact(s) cannot be reached, or if Special Journeys, the attending physician, and/or the health care provider believes that immediate care without delay is required or appropriate, you hereby give permission to the physician or health care provider selected by Special Journeys to secure medical treatment, hospitalization, and/or anesthesia; and, in addition, you hereby consent to injection, surgery and/or medication.
Where the traveler occupies a motorcoach or other vehicle seat fitted with a safety belt, neither Special Journeys nor the vehicle operator nor its agents or co-operating organizations or service providers will be liable for any injury, illness, or death, or for any loss or damages or claims whatsoever arising from any accident or incident, if the safety belt is not being worn at the time of such an accident or incident. This exclusion and limitation of liability shall not be used to imply that the operator or its agents or affiliated entities are liable in other circumstances.
You hereby acknowledge the inherent risk of transmission or exposure to the COVID-19 virus (aka ‘Coronavirus’), or any other infectious diseases, and agree to indemnify and hold harmless Special Journeys and their affiliates, agents, volunteers, contractors, parent organizations, licensors, owners, employees, management, board of directors, related entities, and all other persons or entities acting in any capacity on their behalf, from any loss, liability, damage, or cost, including attorney’s fees, that you may incur arising out of or related to any illness or death caused by an infectious disease contracted on your Special Journeys vacation, or that you transmit to others, whether caused by the negligence of Special Journeys or otherwise. You agree to take all reasonable precautions in preventing the spread of any infectious diseases, and you affirm that you are not currently and have not in the previous two weeks exhibited any Coronavirus, common cold, or flu-like symptoms, including but not limited to fever, cough, sore throat, respiratory illness, or difficulty breathing. If you have any signs or symptoms of infection, or if you have had them or cared for or been around someone who is infected, you agree to stay home. You also agree to comply with all Executive Orders and guidelines issued by the Governor and Department of Health of your local state, and the Federal Government with respect to Coronavirus and other infectious diseases.
As a traveler I understand that my experiences may involve activities, meals, transportation, nighttime lodging arrangements, and interactions that may be new to me, and that these experiences come with risks and uncertainties beyond what I may be used to dealing with every day. I realize that no environment is risk free and understand the importance of following the directions of the staff and volunteers.
Physical activity and travel, by their very nature, carry with them certain inherent risks, dangers, and hazards that cannot be eliminated regardless of the care taken to avoid injuries. I acknowledge that Special Journeys vacations entail both known and unknown risks which could result in illness, aggravation of an existing illness or condition, disease, physical injury, emotional injury, permanent disability, death, or damage to me, to property, or to third parties. I understand that employees and volunteer Travel Companions are responsible for their own care as well as for the care of other travelers and that they may not be able to provide me with constant supervision.
Additional risks may arise including, but not limited to, hazards of traveling in undeveloped areas, hazards of travel by boat, train, bus, car, passenger van, aircraft and other means, animals, animal interactions, forces of nature, unrest, differing levels of sanitation, differing safety standards, risks associated with water, drinks, food, plants, insects and animals, diseases and transmission of disease to you, accident or illness in areas of difficult evacuation or poor medical facilities, acts of governments; all occurring during the trip or while coming to or returning from the trip. YOU ARE VOLUNTARILY PARTICIPATING, KNOWING THERE ARE RISKS. YOU AGREE TO ACCEPT ANY AND ALL RISKS.
In consideration of the services of Special Journeys and in exchange for the opportunity to participate in this vacation and the associated activities, and intending to be legally bound, I HEREBY FULLY RELEASE, WAIVE, DISCHARGE AND COVENANT NOT TO SUE Special Journeys, their affiliates, agents, volunteers, contractors, parent organizations, licensors, owners, employees, management, board of directors, related entities, and all other persons or entities acting in any capacity on their behalf, from any and all liabilities, damages, claims, demands and any and all harm to you (known or unknown) with respect to any bodily injury, personal injury including death, illness, or property damage, that may be sustained by me, arising out of or in any way related to the vacation, INCLUDING ANY SUCH DAMAGES, CLAIMS, DEMANDS OR INJURIES, INCLUDING DEATH, CAUSED IN WHOLE OR IN PART BY THE ORDINARY NEGLIGENCE OR OTHER ACT OR OMISSION OF THE RELEASED PARTIES. This release of liability includes any and all claims for personal injury, including death, or property damage whether arising in tort, negligence, contract, equitable claims or any other legal claim under statute or common law.’ I understand that this agreement does not apply to injuries caused by intentional or grossly negligent conduct. This release and discharge of liability, assumption of risk, and agreement not to make a claim is entered into on behalf of you and also binds your next of kin, estate, personal representative, executors, heirs, and assigns.
You agree to indemnify, defend and hold harmless Special Journeys from and against all liability, costs, property loss, medical bills, attorney’s fees, expenses, liens, and damages of any kind or nature whatsoever, and from any suits, claims, administrative actions, and demands, whether or not in litigation, arising out of, or related to, your involvement in your vacation with Special Journeys.’ This provision shall afford Special Journeys the right to pursue a claim. Your indemnification obligations continue even when you are done vacationing with Special Journeys.’ This indemnification is entered into on behalf of you and also binds your next of kin, estate, personal representative, executors, heirs, and assigns.
‘PLEASE READ THIS SECTION CAREFULLY, IT AFFECTS YOUR RIGHTS. Your vacation is being made available and priced by Special Journeys based on your acceptance of the following arbitration clause.
Special Journeys is committed to make Travelers happy. Rarely, despite Special Journeys’ best efforts, disputes may arise that require resolution. For that reason, Special Journeys has established the following Dispute Resolution Policy (‘Policy’) intended to resolve disputes in the most rapid, efficient, and cost-effective manner possible.
For the purpose of this Policy ‘Dispute’ means any assertion of a right, dispute or controversy between Traveler and Special Journeys arising out of, affecting, or relating to Special Journeys’ website, Traveler’s vacation, signing up for a vacation, sending funds to Special Journeys, or any other aspect of the relationship with Special Journeys. ‘Dispute’ includes any controversy concerning the validity, enforceability, or scope of this Policy or this Terms and Conditions Agreement. ‘Dispute’ also includes debatable claims of every kind and nature including, but not limited to, initial claims, counterclaims, cross-claims and third-party claims, and claims based on upon contract, tort, intentional tort, statutes, regulations, common law, or equity.
For purposes of this Policy references to ‘Special Journeys’ includes the company’s affiliates, agents, volunteers, contractors, parent organizations, licensors, owners, employees, management, board of directors, related entities, and all other persons or entities acting in any capacity on the company’s behalf.
Before any Dispute is submitted to a formal procedure, you and Special Journeys will attempt to resolve it through good faith negotiations. Both Parties agree to try to resolve such Dispute informally by first sending a notice to the other clearly marked ‘Notice of Dispute’ and containing a brief written statement setting forth the name, address, and contact information of the party giving it, the facts giving rise to the Dispute, and the relief requested. You can send such notice to Special Journeys either via email at email@example.com or via mail at Special Journeys, LLC, PO Box 583, Boys Town, NE 68010. Then Special Journeys will respond via email at the address specified in such notice or the address Special Journeys has on file for the relevant Traveler. Special Journeys will send such notice to you at the address Special Journeys has on file for the relevant Traveler.
You and Special Journeys agree to use reasonable, good faith efforts to settle any Dispute through consultation and good faith negotiations within sixty (60) days of submission of such notice. If a Dispute is not resolved within sixty (60) days of such submission, you or Special Journeys may resort to the other alternatives described in this section.
In the arbitration, this Terms and Conditions Agreement and the rights of the Parties hereunder shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the law of the State of Nebraska, exclusive of conflict or choice of laws rules. The Parties acknowledge that Special Journeys vacations and this Terms and Conditions Agreement both evidence a transaction involving interstate commerce. Accordingly, notwithstanding the provision in the preceding sentence with respect to applicable substantive law, this Terms and Conditions Agreement, this Policy, and any arbitration conducted pursuant to the terms of this Policy shall be governed by the Federal Arbitration Act (9 U.S.C. ” 1-16).
In the very unlikely event that the Parties do not reach a mutually satisfactory agreement through informal discussions, both Parties agree to resolve Disputes through binding arbitration described as follows. Arbitration is more informal than a lawsuit in court. Arbitration uses a neutral arbitrator instead of a judge or jury, allows for more limited discovery than in court, and is subject to very limited review by courts. Arbitrators can award the same damages and relief that a court can award. Any arbitration under these Terms and Conditions will take place on an individual basis; class arbitrations and class actions are not permitted. THIS MEANS THAT YOU AND SPECIAL JOURNEYS ARE EACH WAIVING THE RIGHT TO A TRIAL BY JURY.
NEITHER YOU NOR SPECIAL JOURNEYS SHALL BE ENTITLED TO JOIN OR CONSOLIDATE CLAIMS BY OR AGAINST OTHER INDIVIDUALS OR ENTITIES, OR ARBITRATE ANY CLAIM IN A REPRESENTATIVE CAPACITY, INCLUDING, WITHOUT LIMITATION, AS A REPRESENTATIVE MEMBER OF A CLASS OR IN A PRIVATE ATTORNEY GENERAL CAPACITY, IN CONNECTION WITH ANY DISPUTE. Further, unless both you and Special Journeys agree otherwise in writing, the arbitrator may not consolidate more than one (1) person’s claims and may not otherwise preside over any form of a representative or class proceeding.
The arbitration will be administered by the American Arbitration Association (‘AAA’) in accordance with the Consumer Arbitration Rules and AAA Consumer Due Process Protocol (if you are a Traveler) or Commercial Arbitration Rules (if you are a professional’ or other business) (“AAA Rules”), as applicable and then in effect. (The AAA Rules are available at http://www.adr.org or by writing the AAA at 1633 Broadway, 10th Floor, New York, NY 10019). In the unlikely event that AAA declines or is unable to administer the arbitration of a Dispute under this Policy, then the arbitration shall be conducted by a single arbitrator who is either agreed upon by you and Special Journeys or has been appointed as provided in the Federal Arbitration Act. The arbitration shall follow the rules and procedures of the arbitration administrator in effect on the date the arbitration is filed, except when there is a conflict or inconsistency between the rules and procedures of the arbitrator administrator and this Policy, in which case this Policy shall govern.
A Party who desires to initiate the arbitration must provide the other Party with a written Demand for Arbitration as specified in the AAA Rules. The arbitrator will be an active member, in good standing, of the bar for any state in the continental United States and shall be either a retired judge or an attorney who has been actively engaged in the practice of law for at least fifteen (15) years. The arbitration organization shall appoint the arbitrator. Each Party to the Dispute shall have the right, on a single occasion, to veto the designation of an arbitrator so selected. Any determination as to whether this Policy is valid or enforceable in part or in its entirety will be made solely by the arbitrator, including, without limitation, any issues relating to whether a Dispute is subject to arbitration; provided, however, the enforceability of the Class Action Waiver set forth in this Policy shall be determined by a Court of appropriate jurisdiction.
The seat of the arbitration shall be in Omaha, Nebraska, unless you and Special Journeys agree otherwise or the AAA Rules, as applicable, provide otherwise. The arbitrator will have the discretion to direct a reasonable exchange of information by the Parties, consistent with the expedited nature of the arbitration. You and Special Journeys agree that both Parties shall have an absolute right to retain expert witness(es) regarding travel and/or the special needs field and to have such report of each expert(s) be submitted to the arbitrator. Further, you and Special Journeys agree that upon request, due to the unique nature of special needs vacations, either Party has the right to have a telephone or video conference hearing with any expert(s) before or during any final arbitration hearing.
Any Dispute and defenses that can be asserted in court can be asserted in the arbitration and the arbitrator will consider all applicable Federal, State, and local law in rendering an award. The arbitrator shall be entitled to award the same remedies that a court can award, including public injunctive relief. The arbitrator’s award will consist of a written statement of the disposition of the Dispute and a concise written statement of the essential findings and conclusions on which the award is based.
The arbitrator shall apply Nebraska law consistent with the Federal Arbitration Act and applicable statutes of limitations and shall honor claims of privilege recognized by law. The arbitrator will render an award within the timeframe specified in the AAA Rules. Judgment on the arbitration may be entered in any court having jurisdiction thereof. Any award of damages by an arbitrator must be consistent with the “Disclaimers and Limitations of Liability” section in this Terms and Conditions Agreement. The arbitrator may award declaratory or injunctive relief in favor of a Party only to the extent necessary to provide relief warranted by the Party’s individual claim.
Subject to the right of appeal under the Federal Arbitration Act, the arbitrator’s written decision will be final and binding unless you or we take an appeal from the award by making a dated, written request to the arbitration organization within thirty (30) days from the date of entry of the written arbitral award. A three-arbitrator panel administered by the same arbitration organization shall conduct an arbitration pursuant to its Code and issue its decision within one hundred twenty (120) days of the date of the appellant’s written notice. The arbitrator panel shall be appointed by the arbitration organization and shall consist of active members, in good standing, of the bar for any state in the continental United States and shall be either retired judges or attorneys who have been actively engaged in the practice of law for at least twenty (20) years. The panel’s majority vote decision shall be final and binding, except for any appeal right under the Federal Arbitration Act.
Each Party’s responsibility to pay the arbitration filing, administrative, and arbitrator fees will depend on the circumstances of the arbitration and are set forth in the AAA Rules. Except as otherwise set forth in the AAA Rules or under applicable law, you and Special Journeys shall each bear and be solely responsible for its own attorneys’ fees, costs, and expenses incurred in connection with any Dispute. However, if the arbitrator, at the request of the prevailing party, finds that the losing Party brought a claim or asserted a defense frivolously or for an improper purpose, then arbitrator must order the losing Party to pay both Parties’ arbitration fees and may order the losing Party to pay the prevailing Party’s reasonable attorney’s fees, unless such an award of fees is prohibited by applicable law or the AAA Rules.
Except as otherwise expressly set forth in this Policy, in the event that either you or Special Journeys files a judicial or administrative action asserting a claim that is subject to arbitration (other than a claim listed in the Exceptions provision herein) and the other Party successfully compels arbitration, then the Party filing that judicial or administrative action must pay the other Party’s costs and expenses incurred in seeking to compel arbitration (including, without limitation, reasonable attorneys’ fees, expenses, and court costs).
You and Special Journeys recognize that the Travelers are protected individuals. Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in the AAA Rules, you and Special Journeys agree that any arbitration proceeding, any documents exchanged or produced during an arbitration proceeding, any briefs or other documents prepared for an arbitration, and any arbitral award shall all be kept fully confidential and shall not be disclosed to any other party, except to the extent necessary to enforce the arbitration provision, arbitral award, or other rights of the Parties, or as required by law or court order. This confidentiality provision does not foreclose the American Arbitration Association from reporting certain consumer arbitration case information as required by state law.
Nothing in this Policy precludes you or Special Journeys from bringing issues to the attention of federal, state, or local agencies. Such agencies can, in the event that the law allows, seek relief against us on your behalf. The following Disputes are excluded from this Policy (including, without limitation, the Informal Dispute Resolution provision herein) and may only be decided by a court of competent jurisdiction: (i) either Party may bring an individual action in small claims court, unless such action is transferred, removed, or appealed to a different court; and (ii) each Party may bring suit in court against actual or threatened intellectual property infringement (for example, trademark, trade secret, copyright or patent rights) without first engaging in arbitration or the Informal Dispute Resolution process described above.
If any court or arbitrator determines that the class action waiver set forth in this Policy is void or unenforceable, then the Dispute will not be subject to arbitration and must be brought in the appropriate federal or state court in Omaha, Nebraska. Claims brought in state court may be removed to federal court if removal jurisdiction exists. Both you and Special Journeys consent to venue and personal jurisdiction there. Both Parties agree to waive the right to a jury trial.
If any provision in this Policy, other than the Class Action Waiver, is found to be unenforceable, the remaining provisions shall remain fully enforceable. This Policy shall survive expiration or earlier termination of this Terms and Conditions Agreement for any reason or for no reason indefinitely.
I HAVE CAREFULLY READ THIS AGREEMENT AND FULLY UNDERSTAND IT.’ I AM AWARE THAT THIS IS A CONTRACT BETWEEN TRAVELER OR THEIR GUARDIAN AND SPECIAL JOURNEYS. I AM AWARE I AM RELEASING LEGAL RIGHTS AND THAT THIS AGREEMENT CONTAINS A RELEASE OF LIABILITY. I AM ENTERING INTO THIS AGREEMENT, INCLUDING ALL TERMS AND CONDITIONS OUTLINED, BECAUSE I WANT TO VACATION WITH SPECIAL JOURNEYS.’ IF SIGNING ELECTRONICALLY, I ACKNOWLEDGE THAT I HAVE AUTHORITY TO ELECTRONICALLY SIGN ON BEHALF OF THE TRAVELER.
THESE TERMS AND CONDITIONS FORM A CONTACT, THIS CONTRACT CONTAINS AN ARBITRATION PROVISION WHICH MAY BE ENFORCED BY THE PARTIES.
Effective June 1, 2021