We always keep the health and safety of travellers as our priority and will keep you advised as best as possible regarding any restrictions or issues. However, please consult individual government sites for official information. Please visit tripsguard or IATA for up-to-date information
Sustainable Rural Development International Limited is a social enterprise and the BSST Program targets rural communities that can involve, by their nature, strenuous activities and travel to off-the-beaten-path destinations. It is therefore imperative that you understand exactly what is involved and are confident that you can fully participate. If having read the literature, you are unsure about a trip’s suitability, please contact us with any questions. We’ll help you work out all the things you need to know for your trip, but it’s useful to know that you can always get the latest travel advice from the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office including security and local laws, plus passport and visa information, by checking www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.
Winter rules simply mean that certain destinations can have weather-related disruptions, such as heavy snow, ice or extreme cold, or its activities such as the Get-to-Know the Community experience may not be available for the same reasons or due to the seasonality of the activity. We don't want you to expend time and a potential charge to your credit/debit card if activities, accommodations or travel in general to the destination will be subject to changes that we cannot anticipate. Therefore, whenever a destination has the notation "WINTER RULES APPLY" in the community description, please contact us first using the "Contact Us" tab on the menu. Provide your dates of travel, the number of guests, and the activities you would like to attend. We will reply to you within 48 hours.
A social enterprise is simply any business that is motivated as much by people and the planet as by profit. We operate to normal business standards and aims but SRDI also happens to be a not-for-profit. For us, it means that any profit is put straight back into the business. Every amount earned by a non-profit like us is fed back into the organization supporting that goal. The fees you pay are reinvested into the pursuit of our mission. Like any other business, we have costs to cover. So what is a non-profit? We are an enterprise with financial goals. But our enterprise is social in nature; reaching those financial goals means reinvestment into our organization and serving our mission of improving human and environmental well-being.
We are delighted to accept donations from customers and supporters of our empowerment activities. As a social business, SRDI cannot claim gift aid on donations (UK), nor can an individual making a donation receive tax relief (US). A social business is a business whose overarching goal is a social one. The donations we receive are channelled into two broad areas: 1. Expanding development 2. Supporting the communities in the BSST Network
This can happen when the accommodation informs us of changes due to a variety of economic issues, including currency fluctuations and we never lock our partners into a rate contract or list them by the percentage commission they pay because our goal is to support the local economy. On other sites, for example, the commission is also factored into the price - but those commissions can be 15% or more. Our commission is only 3% so our partners receive fair value. Also, we are not just a booking site - we offer a genuine, locally developed experience, are here to help you with questions and our partners will go out of their way to make your stay interesting.
Accommodation terms may vary but appear on the website. Additional activities can be selected but payment is only made at the destination, not to us. To provide the best experience and to help our communities, we only accept a minimum 2-night stay booking. We would love for you to stay longer but no matter if you just stay the minimum, the accommodation, breakfasts, and the Get-to-Know-the-Community experience are standard. The full-day Get to Know the Community experience includes the social life, environmental and cultural activities in the community and can include wine tasting, learning how to prepare (and eat) local dishes and classes to make a local craft which you can take home as a souvenir. Except when explicitly included (such as for Alaverdi, Georgia), we do not include transport and meals outside breakfast and what may be included in the Get-to-Know the Community experience is not included - but we would be pleased to arrange such with your host.
If you wish to make any changes to your booking, please let us know as soon as possible but in any event at least seven (7) days prior to your travel and we will do our best to accommodate you but cannot guarantee that we can find an alternative. All requests for changes should be sent on our contact form.
If you need to cancel your booking, please let us know as soon as possible. This is required in writing and you should refer to the General Terms and Conditions with regard to any cancellation charges that may apply. As a matter of policy and to protect our community partners, any cancellation made three (3) days or less prior to arrival will incur a 100% penalty and if between four (4) and seven (7) days, a 50% penalty will be applied. The period is measured from receipt of the cancellation - not when you send it. We strongly urge you to purchase travel insurance that includes cancellation in cases of health-related issues. In all cases, because we have already incurred expenses, the SRDI fee and the Community Fund contribution are non-refundable and we will deduct all bank transfer charges from the refund. For cancellations, please use our contact form.
Unfortunately, we cannot guarantee that a booking made four (4) days or less before arrival can be processed. This is because we must first confirm with the community partner that your choice is available and the turn-around time may be insufficient. In all cases, you must submit a Request to Book after which you will be transferred to our third-party processor to complete the payment. Your credit card will be authorized (this may appear as a payment on your card by the issuer) but we only will capture your funds when the choice is available. This normally happens within 48 hours. If the choice is not available we will offer an alternative, if there is sufficient time before arrival. In all events, if we do not capture your payment within 7 days, your card will be released and you will not incur any cost. All requests will be verified through our third-party processing system (Stripe).
Once you have paid we will send you a pre-travel package on your destination, suggested transport, and travel pointers. We are always an email away for any questions or help you may need and local representatives of the community are there to make sure your visit goes smoothly. Please try and ask us as much as you like prior to submitting a Request to Book.
In Georgia, our local partners Bridge Innovation and Development are there to help in emergencies or other issues in the destination: 8 Marika Baratashvili Dead End, Tbilisi; T: +995 322 180 360, E: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are a British national you should make sure your passport is valid for at least six months after the date of your scheduled return home. If you are not a British national, other regulations may apply to you and you should check with the nearest embassy of the country you intend to visit.
Obtaining any visas that are required is your own responsibility. Be aware that visa regulations can change, and may do so at short notice and sometimes without announcement. We cannot be held responsible for mistakes by embassies, third parties, sudden changes to regulations, or actions of border officials which are all beyond our control.
It is an essential condition that you have a valid travel insurance policy to cover the cost of any emergency medical treatment including COVID as well as covering any cancellation penalties. You are strongly advised to take out your policy at the time of booking confirmation to protect your payments in the event of cancellation. You should advise your carrier of the terms and conditions of our cancellation policies
Our communities are in rural areas and as part of our commitment to sustainable practices, we emphasize walking. In addition, accommodation may design a community experience that involves more strenuous treks. Only you know your current fitness levels and capabilities. Where altitude is involved, your ability to acclimatize is going to have a much greater impact on your progress than fitness. Consult your physician to determine the level of activity you can undertake.
We do not give specific health advice as everyone’s circumstances vary. You should check with your embassy website for any health warnings and suggestions. We recommend that you contact your physician for up-to-date advice on all vaccination issues for the country you are due to visit. Each country has its own health restrictions and you are advised to keep up-to-date on current restrictions in Ukraine, Georgia and Turkey.
Plentiful clean drinking water is of course a requirement to stay healthy in any country. For Georgia, Turkey, and Ukraine, you can purchase bottled water (or carry your own in reusable containers to avoid single-use plastics) but there are usually plentiful shops that sell a variety of mineral water.
We recommend that you carry a small first aid kit for personal use. Of course, cities and towns in Georgia, Turkey, and Ukraine normally have a pharmacy. For some items, you may need to consult your doctor for a prescription. The following list is intended as a guide only: Plasters (band-aids), including blister plasters for walking trips; sterile dressings and bandages; simple pain killers e.g. paracetamol or ibuprofen; antiseptic cream; antihistamine cream (for insect bites); sunburn protection; anti-diarrhoea pills and hand sanitiser. Please ensure you carry any essential personal medication in your hand luggage rather than checked-in bags.
You will need to take enough money to cover the cost of meals not included in the trip cost and for drinks, tipping, and other incidentals including shopping and optional activities. Many countries have ATM machines, particularly in major cities, and this can be an ideal way to access cash abroad, although bank charges are sometimes quite high. In addition, credit cards are now very widely accepted, particularly in larger cities. You should always inform your card issuer or bank of your travel plans to assure your card is not blocked. Small shops are unlikely to accept credit cards so you should carry a reasonable amount of cash to pay for small items.