Covid restrictions and varying country entry requirements mean that holidays and tours abroad have required extra preparation, however, travel is very much possible, and a team rugby tour is something to aim for in 2022!
Pre-season, mid-season and post-season, team tours are an established part of the rugby calendar and one of the best ways of bonding with teammates and celebrating the successes of the season just gone (or to come!).
Tours are all about having fun whilst away – whether playing at a festival or pre-arranged fixtures on a bespoke tour. It is one of the things that rugby players all around the world have missed most during the last two years of COVID restrictions.
The tour organisers have a key role in the success of tour away. The role includes not only planning all of the details of the tour, but also dealing with all of the necessary admin including coordinating deposit payments, collecting passport details, and passing on relevant information to the team.
The tour organisers are the interface between the team and the festival/tournament/other clubs. In the current pandemic climate, COVID restrictions mean there are a lot more things to deal with.
Tour Operators to the Rescue
Given all of the additional restrictions and rules, your team may want to consider using a tour operator to help make your rugby tour a reality. Using an experienced tour operating company will relieve a lot of the stress of the planning and preparation from the tour organisers and also help you to avoid risk in these uncertain times.
Whether you’re thinking of going on tour for the first time or you are an experienced tour organiser looking to lower your exposure to potential risks, tour operators can provide you with the following benefits.
Working with a tour operator allows you to deal with just one person who, in turn, will coordinate with all the different suppliers that you need to plan your tour, including arranging flights, coach transport and hotels, meals, fixtures and excursion bookings.
They should be your constant contact and available by phone or email, whenever and however works for you.
When you first get in touch, you can inform the tour operator of all of the key information like when you want to go, what you want to do and how much you want to pay.
The tour operator will then provide you with all available options for your budget.
Their first-hand knowledge of the destination country makes a real difference and will ensure that you get the best possible experience and deals – including flights, hotels, transportation, restaurants and entertainment.
Once booked, they then help set out timelines for payments, templates for providing passenger details and they take care of your itinerary for you. All you have to do is organise the touring party!
Companies offering tours abroad are almost always members of ‘ABTA – The Travel Association’. This is the UK travel industry regulator and ensures that tour companies meet their obligations whilst also providing financial protection for customers should anything happen to that company. Always look out for the ABTA logo – without it you may not have any protection should something stop you from traveling. If you’re considering looking at flying on a private jet costs – make sure to do your research, and ensure they offer protection on your booking.
Want to fly? Then the operator has a legal obligation to be affiliated and regulated by ATOL and must display their logo accordingly. This provides you with further financial protection should anything happen to the airline.
On top of the protection provided by ABTA and ATOL and given the current situation with travel, most tour operators are offering a financial guarantee, and this is something you should look out for.
If travel is not be possible or if quarantining will be in place during a planned tour, a company’s ‘Covid Guarantee’ should allow you to postpone or be refunded for your tour.
Booking direct with hotels or airlines, for example, may not provide you with this cover, so this is a significant advantage to planning a tour on your own.
Health & Safety
A basic requirement for any trip away is to know that you are staying somewhere that meets local and international standards for safety and that you are using a coach operator that meets all required standards. A tour operator can provide you with audits, risk assessments and liability insurance certificates, which will give you peace of mind when organising a tour on behalf of other players and staff.
Your tour is financially secured through your tour operator’s licensing, but you still need travel insurance to guard against accidents whilst away or for lost luggage. Specific ‘sport’ travel policies mean that you will also be insured against injury too, so speak to your tour operator about policies that they can recommend.
Whether an integral part of your tour or a social element of your tour away, there is little enjoyment taken from a tour match that is won or lost by a big margin.
A tour operator will have contacts in your destination of choice and can find opposition teams that will result in a closely fought contest that matches your team’s standard and will provide constant assistance before, during and after the match.
Excursions and Leisure
Want more than just a basic tour package? A tour operator can pre-book excursions, provide a tour representative, book meals out or trips away, all whilst making sure that risk assessments are in place and that dietary requirements are adhered to.
FRN Rugby Tour Operator Discount
If you are interested in working with a tour operator or want to speak to one to see what your options are, we recommend you check out our friends at Energy Travel, a ski and sport group travel specialist, and ask to speak with Mike Varley. Check out their company website here: www.energy-travel.com.
We are pleased to offer you an exclusive 10% discount on all of their services if you use code “FRN22”.
Organising a rugby tour is no mean feat but working alongside someone that does it for a living, with extensive knowledge and experience of your destination, can provide peace of mind and a stress-free process. Rugby tours should be fun for everyone, including the tour organisers!
If you are unsure about using a tour operator, just contact them and get more information – even if you don’t end up using them, you may learn some interesting information that can help you plan your tour.
If you do end up going on tour, we would love to hear about your experience! Please contact share your photos with us on FB, Instagram or Twitter – @FindRugbynow.