Expectations and Rules
Our Go and Write! philosophy is that kindness, respect, and a positive attitude take you far in just about every situation. We do our best to create the conditions for everyone to have a great experience, but travel and group dynamics can be tricky, so if you tend to get grumpy when things aren’t going perfectly, our retreats may not be for you.
On any Go and Write! tour, you assume certain obligations and responsibilities to Go and Write! and to your fellow tour members, including, but not limited to, the following:
- We often choose accommodations and visit sites with historic character, and some of these offer fewer chain hotel-style amenities, so be prepared to accept such things as slow—or no—Wi-Fi, weak—or no—air conditioning, carrying or rolling your own luggage over uneven pavement, hauling it up and down stairs, etc. Rooms and beds overseas and in historic accommodations are also often different than what we’re used to in Canada and the United States, and this means it’s quite likely your room will be different than someone else’s.
- Please be aware that the retreat might involve brisk walking tours, climbing stairs, getting on and off transportation, and, perhaps, standing and walking for hours inside museums and outdoors in all weather. We also can’t guarantee the places we visit will be accessible, and there may be street noise outside our hotels.
- You are strongly encouraged to bring only one suitcase due to luggage restrictions on coaches. You are responsible for managing your own luggage.
- If you need help, you must bring an able companion who can be entirely responsible for providing the assistance, as we cannot do this for you.
- We plan our writing retreats to enable you to have some time with the group and a reasonable amount of independent time. Be prepared and able to navigate towns and cities on your own.
- Go and Write! retreats are not like other traditional travel tours. The focus of our retreats is on writing, and this is much appreciated by the majority of our participants.
While we encourage non-writers to attend, and we also schedule several group events, readings, and many opportunities to socialize during our retreats (sometimes even with music and song), we regularly emphasize the importance of respecting others’ need for space, quiet, and alone time, even in our venues’ common areas. This encouragement—to recognize and respect boundaries, even as we get to know each other better and develop bonds—is deliberate on our part.
Finding time as well as physical and mental space to write is something many of us struggle with in our daily lives. Participants are trusting us to help them find this time and space on our retreats, and we appreciate that and take our role as the group leaders seriously. Our experience has taught us what works best to help writers get the most out of a retreat, and the delicate balance of introspection plus social time is easily upset by really talkative people or folks who can’t help but dominate every social situation or conversation.
If you find it hard to be alone and quiet with your own thoughts, if you struggle to understand and respect boundaries, or if you require a lot of social time and attention from others, Go and Write! retreats may not be a good fit for you.
- No smoking or vaping is allowed on the coach, in the accommodations, or where other tour members are present.
- While we do our very best to help everyone on our retreats have a great trip, it sometimes happens that someone can misbehave or do things that are incompatible with the safety, comfort, or convenience of other members of the tour. In those circumstances, we have the exclusive right and discretion to expel someone from a tour at any time, without refund.
- While traveling, we encourage practicing high health and safety standards. All participants are responsible to research the implications of COVID-19 and other public health risks, including rules around vaccinations and boosters, on travel restrictions at home and abroad before and at the time of travel. Ensure you have everything you need so you aren’t turned away from establishments or airports. All participants agree to follow safety precautions and health directives set by guides, by Go and Write!, and/or by local officials within the hosting country or by airport and airline officials. Examples may include maintaining proper physical distance, the use of face masks that cover your nose and mouth, regular temperature checks, proper hand-washing / sanitizing, quarantining if you are showing symptoms of COVID-19 or other contagious illness, and/or being seen by a health professional at your own expense as a condition of continuing on with the tour. The possible precautions and directives required are not limited to the examples included here.
- Ensure you have all of the documents you need, including proof of vaccination, identification, and any required testing, and that you renew your passport if it is due to expire within 6 months of the travel date. Be aware that some airports require a government-issued photo I.D., in addition to your passport. Also, please note that each country, state, province, venue, and airport has its own set of expectations—some of which might even change in the days leading up to our retreat—and it is your responsibility to ensure that you meet all of those requirements.
Refunds, trip insurance, and other information
Life can throw curveballs at us. For that reason, we HIGHLY recommend that all participants get travel insurance as soon as they register for a Go and Write! retreat, and check to see how the insurers handle COVID-19 and other public health risks. We recommend not only trip medical insurance but trip cancellation / interruption / baggage etc. insurance as well. We’ve had situations where people have not purchased trip insurance and have had an unexpected medical condition crop up, or an immediate family member has experienced a sudden illness, and they’ve been unable to travel. A proper insurance policy, purchased at the right time, might have allowed them to recoup a great deal—if not all—of their investment. All participants are responsible for researching and making arrangements for their own insurance.
Your non-refundable portion of your deposit is 100% non-refundable. If you cancel up to 6 months before a trip for any reason, any other payments you’ve made to us are returned to you, less the non-refundable deposit and payment processing fees. If you cancel from 4-6 months before a trip, we will return 75% of any fees paid less your non-refundable deposit and payment processing fees. If you cancel within 4 months, any fees paid cannot be returned. If the retreat needs to be postponed, we will make every attempt to reschedule. We can only offer refunds if our providers also refund monies to us.
Due to contractual obligations with our suppliers, we cannot make exceptions to the cancellation policy, regardless of the reason.
While we present our information in good faith, sometimes things happen that are beyond our control. Circumstances may force us to change certain aspects of the tour; in such a case, we’ll do our best to offer a comparable alternative.