Some Additional Notes for Parents
Europe by Eurail Adventure 2022
If a participant becomes ill or injured, the leaders will do whatever is necessary to preserve the participant’s health and safety including, without limitation, obtaining medical treatment at parents’ expense. This could include transporting the participant back to his home for medical reasons. Parents agree to pay or reimburse any extra expenses incurred on the participant’s behalf. Trip insurance is available from private companies that could cover special travel arrangements and medical care. Since we will be in Europe, you might want to look into "medical evacuation" insurance. Since the need almost never happens, it's a relatively inexpensive policy.
Jesse Jorgensen, MD will be one of our leaders. While he is not a walking hospital or doctor's office, it should be comforting to know he'll be with us. This will be Dr. Jorgensen's third Europe trip with us.
Please let us know if there are any medical conditions that would necessitate special consideration and care during the trip. A “permission to treat” form will be required as is a “release of liability.” All forms will be sent to you in early spring.
More You Should Know
There's a lot to read here, but please read this!
Please note that on August 9, 2021, we made the decision that all participants must be fully vaccinated against Covid in ample time ahead of departure.
We cannot be responsible for events beyond our control, including, without limitation, mechanical issues causing a delay, acts of nature, war, strikes, or government restrictions. This includes pandemics or other such world-wide or national emergencies that we can't imagine at this time. We are not responsible for loss or damage to luggage or any other personal belongings including cash.
Please note that the director, Mark Levin, can't personally cover losses if we have to cancel this trip because of unforeseen circumstances. With the pandemic of 2020 we were lucky in that all our vendors refunded all the money we had paid for reservations, etc and parents didn't lose any funds. That cannot be guaranteed for this trip. In the event that the trip has to be canceled because of circumstances out of our control, we will refund every cent we can get back from vendors. But signing up your son for this trip means you understand and agree that the amount we can't recover could be lost. We've never had to include a statement like this before, but the Covid pandemic has changed things.
You should also understand that rules related to travel could be different in 2022 than it is now. Generally the European Union countries are all in agreement with most things, but there's always a chance individual countries could have a different set of rules. There's also a possibility that there could still be Covid rules in place before entry is granted. This is going to be something parents will have to figure out. Signing up your son and canceling because of a rule that MindStretch Travel Adventures has no control over does not release parents of financial liability to MindStretch Travel Adventures. Hopefully Covid type issues will be in our rear-view mirror well before June 2022, but we've seen how quickly events change. As stated above, on August 9, 2021 we made the decision that all participants must be fully vaccinated against Covid 19.
We (meaning Mark Levin) can't cover losses that might occur because of events during our trip that are out of our control. An example could be a transportation strike by one of the national railroads. If we were unfortunate to need a particular train and had to make other arrangements because we couldn't get to where we are suppose to, we could end up having to hire a coach to get us to the next destination or end up staying in the current city for a few extra days until we could move to the next place. That means we could lose reservations at the next city or two. It has never happened, but it could. We've been in Europe when there were transportation strikes before but we were lucky in our timing. Signing your son up for this trip means you agree to reimburse the program for extra costs due to situations out of our control.
The trip fee is figured on best guesses based on past trips. There are plenty of unknowns including what our actual costs will be for activities, lodging, food...well, everything. Also, we are dealing with two European currencies on this trip: euro and Swiss franc. We will only be in Switzerland for a couple of nights. The rest of the trip will be based on the euro. When the trip fee was set, it was $1.18 US to one euro. If the dollar loses more than five cents value between now and trip departure, the fee could fluctuate to reflect that. In the past we've never had to ask for any additional fee, but reserve that right. It wouldn't be all that much per family, but collectively would be a lot to the director. It is also possible that if the dollar had a surge in value, there could be a refund. That actually happened on one of our Europe trips.
Generally speaking, we brag about the behavior of our boys. In fact, it's our promise of good kids and behavior that gets us rooms in certain hotels. We've been turned town in some hotels in the past because they've experienced bad luck with kid groups and/or American kid groups. We are out to change that perception.
Students are expected to obey all regulations and rules and codes of conduct that might be set by the places we visit, the local culture, or by the trip leaders. We have the right to send home with notice to parent or guardian, at parents’ expense, and without escort, any participant who does not adhere to the rules and regulations, or who infringes upon others’ enjoyment of the trip.
If your son has any bullying tendencies, we are not in a position to have him in the program. Our programs have small enrollment and just one boy can upset the entire balance. Bullying is one of those behaviors we cannot tolerate. As a private program, we have the right to exclude anyone we feel will take away from the positive experience of the other participants including the leaders. We might ask parents to give us names and contact information of your son's teachers (or other youth group leaders) so that we can make sure your son is a good fit for our program.
A Note About Lodging:
Every city on this trip will have different accommodations. We will have arranged to have single beds for each student on the trip. But sometimes arrangements get mixed up. In a rare situation, sometimes a boy will share a queen-sized bed with another boy his age. This did not happen during our previous three or four European trips and hopefully we'll be good to go for the 2022 version. If your son is uncomfortable sharing a bed with a friend, he can bring a summer-weight sleeping bag (stuffed into its own sack) to use in the room. (There’s more space on a queen-sized bed for two than in a typical two-person backpacking tent!) The sleeping bag should be packed inside the boy’s luggage. Again, we're planning for everyone to have a single bed for the entire trip.
Boys will be allowed to bring a cell phone on this trip. However, use of those items is limited to down times which will be considered on the jet over and back, on the trains if the travel time is more than two hours, and in the hotel rooms. Phones can come with the boys when we're out touring, but can only be used as a camera. No phone calling, texting, game playing, etc. during our activities. We prefer all electronics stay home and this is our policy for all our domestic trips, but we realize the Europe trip is a different situation. We will take up phones and other electronics if this privilege gets abused. If a boy is bringing a phone, you will need to make sure it is set up for use in Europe and the countries we will visit. If these arrangements are not made ahead of time, you could easily find yourself with hundreds of dollars of roaming charges. It has happened.
Trip Insurance is always a possibility to protect your investment should your son have to cancel after the deadline for cancellations which is March 1, 2022. You should check early with travel insurance companies. Some policies must be purchased within two weeks of paying your deposit. As mentioned elsewhere, most policies won't cover pandemics. Deposits will be due by August 15, 2021.
For more information about our programs in general, check out our Frequently Asked Questions page.