It is essential that you read these Booking Conditions carefully before booking a tour with Drive the Balkans Ltd (trading as Drive Albania). As an Albania and Balkans specialist travel company, we’re obviously keen for you to be 100% satisfied with your holiday, and understand every aspect of what we offer. When you sign our booking form, you will have warranted that you have read and accepted these Booking Conditions on behalf of all persons named on the booking. This information forms part of our contract where it relates to your confirmed booking.
Drive Albania Booking Conditions
Drive Albania is the trading name of DRIVE THE BALKANS LTD, a limited company incorporated in England (company number 9107404). The registered address of Drive The Balkans Ltd is 16-18 Palace Gates Road, London N22 7NB.
DRIVE THE BALKANS LTD is a specialist tour operator which operates out of the United Kingdom (UK) and is directed predominantly towards UK customers.
These Terms & Conditions apply to all the scheduled Tours advertised on the Drive Albania website, and any other Tours arranged by DRIVE THE BALKANS LTD, such as extensions of our scheduled Tours, or non-scheduled private Tours, and our trekking Tours. These Terms & Conditions do not effect your statutory rights.
The Contract between Us (DRIVE THE BALKANS LTD, hereinafter referred to as ‘the Company’ or ‘Us’ or ‘We’ in respect of these Terms & Conditions) and the Client (You, the person whose signature appears on the booking form) will be governed by English law and any disputes will be resolved by English courts exclusively. If any part of these Terms & Conditions is found to be invalid or unenforceable, the remainder of them will not be affected and will remain valid and enforceable.
These Terms & Conditions, and any further Terms & Conditions notified to You by Us prior to your entering into a Contract with Us, will be binding to both parties once a Contract is made between us.
Our Terms & Conditions are updated occasionally. The Terms & Conditions which will apply to your holiday are those on our website at the time of booking. By proceeding with any booking, you confirm that you have read and agreed to our Terms & Conditions.
1.1 YOUR CONTRACT IS WITH DRIVE THE BALKANS LTD.
1.2 The Client, You, the person whose name the Tour is booked in. You confirm that you have authority to book the Tour on behalf of all other persons within your party, and for whom you will be responsible for in accordance with these Terms & Conditions.
1.3 The Client must be aged 21 years or over (please see 17.9 for minimum driver age).
1.4 The Client will be responsible for making all payments due to Us in accordance with Our Contract.
1.5 It is the Client’s responsibility to ensure that all details You supply DRIVE THE BALKANS LTD, such as names, addresses, email addresses, documents, are correct.
2.1 A ‘Tour’ is a combination of at least 2 of the following, booked through Us at an inclusive price:
(c) other services which form a significant part of the booking, such as providing a guide.
2.2 The Date of Departure as stated on this website or in the case of private Tours agreed between Us and You before We confirm Your booking is the date of the commencement of the Tour.
2.3 Tour itineraries published on this website, or in the case of private tours agreed between Us and You before We confirm Your booking, constitute only an indication of what the Tour is planned to accomplish and do not constitute a contractual obligation on the part of DRIVE THE BALKANS LTD.
2.4 All Tours are subject to availability.
3.1 A Contract will be deemed to exist between both parties and be binding on both parties once You have paid a Deposit and We have confirmed Your booking.
3.2 The Contract comprises:
(a) these Terms & Conditions;
(b) the specific Tour itinerary booked, or a bespoke itinerary agreed between DRIVE THE BALKANS LTD and You.
3.3 A Deposit is 20% of the Tour cost per person.
3.4 Payment of a Deposit will be treated by Us as confirmation that You have read, understood and accepted all Our Terms & Conditions.
3.5 Once a Contract is made between DRIVE THE BALKANS LTD and You, We will use reasonable skill and care to perform our obligations to You in accordance with these Terms & Conditions.
3.6 DRIVE THE BALKANS LTD reserves the right for whatsoever reason and at our sole discretion to return the Deposit to You and refuse acceptance of your booking at any time, including after the commencement of the Tour.
4. PRICES & PAYMENTS
4.1 Prices quoted for Our Tours on our website and publicity material are correct at the time of publication. In the event of any changes to the prices of our Tours, We will notify you prior to accepting your booking.
4.2 The price, and what this price includes, will be confirmed to You by Us at the time of booking and set out in our booking confirmation.
4.3 We guarantee the price of Your Tour stated in our booking confirmation.
4.4 The Client will ensure the full GBP Sterling amount is received by DRIVE THE BALKANS LTD after all bank charges and interest rate fluctuations are taken into account.
4.5 All payments prior to Your Tour will be quoted and received in GBP Sterling. However, any extras and activities during your trip will be quoted and received in local currency.
4.6 Our prices do not include: visa fees; taxes or compulsory charges introduced by governments or regulatory bodies after you have booked a Tour; tips; personal expenditure; extras not specified in the Tour price; personal travel insurance.
5. BALANCE OF PAYMENTS
5.1 The Client will pay the balance of the Tour price no less than 60 days before the Departure Date. If the booking is made less than 60 days before the Tour Departure Date, the Client must pay full price on booking.
5.2 If the balance of the Tour price is not paid 60 days prior to the Tour Departure Date, DRIVE THE BALKANS LTD will regard the Contract as cancelled by the Client, and will retain the deposit.
6. CANCELLATION – BY THE CLIENT
6.1 The Client acknowledges that the payment for the Tour is an intrinsic part of the Tour’s income and that DRIVE THE BALKANS LTD will have incurred the largest part of its costs before the Tour Departure Date.
6.2 If you wish to cancel your booking following the issue to You by Us of your booking confirmation, and prior to 60 days before the Tour Departure Date, We will require your authority to cancel the booking in writing, and will retain Your deposit.
6.3 Deposits are non-refundable. If You cancel your booking, cancellation charges will be imposed as shown below:
(a) 60 days or more prior to departure – loss of deposit.
(b) 59-28 days prior to departure – 50% of Tour cost.
(c) Fewer than 27 days – 100% of Tour cost.
6.4 If your booking was made by an external agent such as a travel agent, all changes and cancellations must be made through them – it is Your responsibility to check any cancellation fees they may levy at the time of booking.
6.5 If You have booked a private Tour, You agree that if You cancel Your booking you will compensate us for any losses and expenses incurred in the planning and arranging of that Tour.
7. CHANGES – BY THE CLIENT
7.1 In cases where a member of your party cannot travel for any reason, We will transfer the booking to another person who satisfies all the conditions applicable to the tour, if We are given reasonable notice in writing prior to the Tour departure date. The Client and the Transferee shall then be jointly and severely liable for any additional costs arising from such a transfer. The Transferee will sign a new booking form.
7.2 Subject to availability, DRIVE THE BALKANS LTD will transfer your booking to another Tour departure date, if given notice prior to 60 days before Tour departure date, for a fee of £50 and any additional costs incurred by the Company.
7.3 DRIVE THE BALKANS LTD will consider each change request on a case-by-case basis, subject to these Terms & Conditions.
7.4 After the departure date, no refund for any unused portion or part of the Tour or services to be provided will be given. If the Client of their own volition makes any alterations to or departs from any portion of the Tour, such alteration or departure will be entirely at the Client’s expense and liability, and the Client will forthwith communicate in writing the reason for leaving the Tour.
8. CANCELLATION – BY DRIVE THE BALKANS LTD
8.1 In the event that we cancel your Tour for any reason other than our insolvency or any circumstances beyond our reasonable control (see 10: Extreme Circumstances & Force Majeure), we will refund to You the full price paid by You for your Tour, including any deposit(s).
8.2 In the event of cancellation caused by unforeseen or uncontrollable circumstances (see 10: Extreme Circumstances & Force Majeure) the Company will endeavour to reimburse any monies that it can retrieve from its suppliers.
8.3 In the event of any cancellation, the Company will not accept liability for any consequential expenses that the Client may incur as a result of cancellation, or for any other loss or damage howsoever caused arising out of cancellation. In all cases it is the Client’s responsibility to have suitable insurance to cover any additional losses not covered by the Company’s policy of reimbursement due to cancellation.
9. CHANGES – BY DRIVE THE BALKANS LTD
9.1 Although DRIVE THE BALKANS LTD takes reasonable care to ensure Our Tours follow the set schedule and route, or in the case of private Tours the schedule and route agreed prior to booking, sometimes changes have to be made due to local conditions and other considerations. We reserve the right to make changes to our Tours at any time, including to the route and schedule and/or swapping accommodation. We will endeavour to inform you of any changes as soon as is reasonably possible prior to your Departure Date, though we are not obliged to do so.
9.2 The Client agrees that the nature of the Tours offered by DRIVE THE BALKANS LTD require a degree of flexibility and that the content and timings of the Tour (including arrival times, changes in route, changes in method of transportation) may be materially and consequentially affected as a result of weather, Force Majeure, local political conditions, natural disasters (including landslides, floods and earthquakes), strikes, border difficulties, mechanical breakdown, sickness or other unforeseen circumstances. You must be prepared to accept this flexibility and to to accept that the Company cannot be held responsible for delays and alterations in the schedule, or for expenses incurred as a result of any delay or alterations arising from such circumstances.
9.3 If we have to make a major or substantial change to the Tour before the Tour departure date we will notify you as soon as is reasonably possible and offer you one of the following options:
(a) to agree to the changes and to accept their impact on the Tour, including any impact on the price of the Tour;
(b) to transfer Your booking to another Tour offered by DRIVE THE BALKANS LTD (subject to availability);
(c) to cancel Your Tour completely and to receive a full refund including all deposits and any other fees charged, provided that the major change is not due to civil or political unrest or Force Majeure or any other reason beyond the control of the Company, and provided they do so within 21 days of notification.
9.4 The Company will in its sole and absolute discretion (acting reasonably) decide what constitutes a major change of itinerary, and the Client agrees to accept the same.
9.5 The Company reserves the right to alter itineraries after departure, without refund, if it is believed by the Company to be in the interest of the Client to do so. If an itinerary has to be changed during a tour, the Company will decide the new itinerary. The Company should in its sole and absolute discretion decide what constitutes a major change of itinerary (and the Client agrees to accept the same). Should a Client choose not to participate in the revised itinerary and cancel the Tour, no refund or compensation will be payable in respect of unused hotel accommodation or any other services on a tour.
9.6 No refund or compensation will be payable by the Company to the Client in respect of any unused hotel accommodation or other unused services on a Tour.
10. EXTREME CIRCUMSTANCES & FORCE MAJEURE
10.1 DRIVE THE BALKANS LTD will not pay compensation or accept liability where any change or cancellation is beyond our reasonable control, including but not limited to: strikes and industrial action; acts of God; war; riot and civil unrest; malicious damage; compliance with any law or government order, rule regulation or direction; fire; flood; storm or other adverse weather conditions; adverse weather conditions affecting any airport or port or other transport link; flight delays; acts of terrorism; police or security alerts or precautionary measures.
10.2 Under no circumstances will DRIVE THE BALKANS LTD be held responsible for any delay, deviation or cancellation due to weather conditions; nor can any trip be cancelled or amended by You at any time on the basis of weather conditions.
10.3 In the event of an airline cancelling a flight, forcing DRIVE THE BALKANS LTD to cancel a Tour, the Company will only reimburse monies it can retrieve. It is the Client’s responsibility to have suitable travel insurance to cover any additional losses.
10.4 Very rarely We may be forced to change or terminate Your Tour after departure but before the scheduled end. This is extremely unlikely, but if it does occur, We regret that we will be unable to make any refunds (unless we can retrieve monies from our suppliers; see point 10.1), pay you compensation or meet any costs or expenses you incur as a result.
11. COMPANY TOUR LEADER
11.1 DRIVE THE BALKANS LTD will appoint a Tour Leader(s) who will represent the Company. The Client agrees to accept the decisions of the Tour Leader, who shall have absolute discretion and authority to secure implementation of the Company’s obligations as determined by the Terms & Conditions.
11.2 The Tour Leader’s decisions regarding the safety of the Tour are final.
11.3 If Your physical condition or behaviour is such to affect the well-being of Yourself or other members of the group on the Tour, the Tour Leader may ask You and/or Your party to leave the Tour without recourse to refund or other compensation.
12. RESPONSIBILITIES – DRIVE THE BALKANS
12.1 If the contract We have with You is not performed or is improperly performed by Us or our suppliers We will pay you appropriate compensation if this has affected the enjoyment of Your Tour, subject to these Terms & Conditions.
12.2 Our liability, except in cases involving death, injury or illness, shall be limited to a maximum of two times the cost of Your travel arrangements.
12.3 The Company does not accept liability for compensation should there be no fault on the part of the Company or its suppliers and the reason for the improper performance of the Tour arrangements was either the Client’s fault, the actions of someone unconnected with the Tour arrangements, or could not have been foreseen or avoided by the Company or its suppliers even if all due care had been exercised.
12.4 The Company’s responsibility does not start till you meet the group at the designated start point. We are not responsible for any additional expenses incurred in getting You to the meeting point.
12.5 The Company’s responsibility ends at the designated end point.
12.6 Modes of transport. For each 4×4 Tour, DRIVE THE BALKANS LTD will provide 4×4 vehicles that are fit for purpose, in good repair, and locally insured. The Company cannot guarantee the makes or model of any 4×4 vehicles used on a Tour in advance.
12.7 Sometimes other modes of transport might be used, such as minibus or boats, as shown in the specific Tour itinerary.
12.8 The Company is obliged to exercise reasonable care in selecting competent sub-contractors to provide transport and any other services related to the Tour, given local conditions.
12.9 The Company does not accept responsibility for the acts and/or omissions of any third parties or external agents with whom you may have made any bookings or arrangements direct.
12.10 The terrain through which Our Tours travel makes mechanical breakdowns/problems impossible to avoid. Air-conditioning can sometimes fail; the Company cannot be held responsible for its failure and it might not be possible to repair till after the Tour is completed. In the event of a mechanical defect or breakdown the Company will do its best to repair and/or replace the vehicle at its entire discretion. Clients must understand that replacement parts and qualified mechanics are often hard to find in remote areas, and that they may have to be extracted using local vehicles which do not meet the standards of the vehicles DRIVE THE BALKANS LTD usually provides for Tours.
12.11 The Company will not pay any refunds or compensation to the Client for any loss of use of its vehicles due to mechanical defect / breakdown / accident. The Client must understand that due to the nature of the areas in which the Company operates, finding a suitable replacement vehicle might not be possible, and the route of the Tour might be changed due to the lack of suitable replacement vehicles.
12.12 The Company’s Tour Leader is responsible for ensuring that the Client follows correct local legal procedure in the event of any accident involving other vehicles, persons or property. The Company cannot be held responsible if the Client fails to follow the instructions of the Tour Leader in such an event.
13. RESPONSIBILITIES – THE CLIENT
13.1 The Client’s booking is accepted on the understanding that they realise the potential risks and hazards that can be involved in Tours by off-road vehicle, or trekking Tours, including injury, loss or damage to property, discomfort and inconvenience.
13.2 The Client’s booking is accepted only on the understanding that they recognise that safety standards in the Balkans are not the same as in the UK.
13.3 The Client’s booking is accepted only on the understanding that they recognise that safety standards in Balkan hotels are not the same as they are in the UK, and features like fire escapes are sometimes not available.
13.4 The Client will comply at their expense and their liability with all legislation, visa requirements and immigration, customs and foreign exchange regulations of the countries visited. Should there be any failure to comply or any contravention by the Client of such laws, requirements or regulations, subject to the provisions of these Terms & Conditions, the Company shall have the right to require the Client to leave the tour without recourse to refund or other compensation.
13.5 The Client is responsible for Your behaviour and that of your party. We and our suppliers reserve the right to remove You and/or any member of your party from any transport, accommodation or any part of the Tour if You or any member of Your party is drunk or under the influence of drink or drugs, if You are (or we reasonably believe that You are) in unlawful possession of drugs, or are behaving violently, disruptively, dangerously, irresponsibly or in any manner which presents a risk to others or is causing a nuisance or annoyance to others. No refund will be given or compensation paid and no costs or expenses for which You have become liable or which are incurred by You will be made by the Company or be recoverable by You from Us in such circumstances.
13.6 You are responsible for checking the times and dates on your itinerary, particularly incoming and outgoing flight details. We do not accept liability for any errors resulting in You or Your party missing Your flights.
13.7 If You have any special requirements (dietary or otherwise) you must inform us of these at the time of your booking. While We endeavour to meet your requirements, We cannot guarantee that they will be met, and We are not liable to you in this event.
13.8 Our Tours take place in the Balkans, where local conditions vary hugely, and suppliers may be less time-conscious than ourselves. We ask that those who travel with Us do so with a spirit of adventure, in a positive frame of mind, and in good humour.
13.9 Our representatives and Tour Leaders may sometimes take photographs and films of You during the Tour. These may subsequently be used in our advertising or marketing materials, on our website, blog, or across social media platforms. If You do not consent to our using such materials in this manner, it is Your responsibility to inform Us in writing prior to the start of your Tour.
13.10 Should any damage occur to a vehicle or equipment as a result of the direct or indirect negligent, wilful, reckless or malicious use of the vehicle or equipment by the Client or any member of their party, the Client shall reimburse the Company for all losses howsoever incurred, including any losses which the insurer refuses to cover.
The price of Your Tour is subject to surcharges on the following items: government action; currency; fuel for road vehicles; hotel charges. Even in these cases, we will absorb an amount equivalent to 2% of the Tour price. Only amounts in excess of 2% will be surcharged. If this means paying more than 10% on the Tour price You will be entitled to cancel your Tour within 14 days of the invoice date issued, with a full refund with the exception of your deposit.
15.1 DRIVE THE BALKANS LTD will endeavour to resolve any complaint as it arises. In order to do this We need to be made aware of the complaint. The Client agrees to the following procedure:
(a) The Client will ensure at the earliest opportunity any perceived failure in the performance, or improper performance in the Contract, whether by the Company or its suppliers, is communicated to the Tour Leader as soon as possible. The Tour Leader and the Client will then make prompt efforts to resolve the complaint.
(b) The Client agrees to give written details of any unresolved serious complaint via email to DRIVE THE BALKANS LTD as soon as possible.
(c) In the event that the complaint remains unresolved the Client agrees to set out their complaint in writing to the Company within 7 days of completing the Tour.
15.2 The Client agrees that the above provisions are reasonable and that any failure by the Client to comply with them will, at the Company’s discretion, exclude any rights arising out of this contract.
16. FOREIGN & COMMONWEALTH OFFICE ADVICE
16.1 The Client acknowledges that they are responsible to make themselves aware through Foreign Office advice, State Department warnings and any other sources available to them in regard to the safety of any countries visited on a Tour.
16.2 DRIVE THE BALKANS LTD accepts no liability if the Client chooses to cancel a booking because of FCO or State Department advice or is not adequately insured to travel.
17. INSURANCE & RISK
17.1 DRIVE THE BALKANS LTD does not offer insurance cover. You must be fully insured for your trip. It is Your responsibility to make sure that all of the activities you will be carrying out are covered by Your insurance policy. Your insurance should include adequate cancellation insurance, emergency evacuation and repatriation costs, as well as medical expenses, accidents and the safety of your luggage, and cover the planned duration of the Tour plus at least one additional day.
17.2 The Client acknowledges there is an element of personal risk in participating in a Tour. The Client accepts and consents to the personal risks inherent in the implementation of this contract, and accepts the limitations of the Company’s liability set out herein as being reasonable.
17.3 The Client accepts that they may travel to remote areas knowing that access to evacuation and/or suitable medical supplies and support may not always be available and is likely to take a considerable amount of time and use wilderness extraction techniques.
17.4 The Company reserves the right at any time to require the Client to produce a doctor’s certificate certifying that the Client is fit to participate in the Tour.
17.5 The Client will provide the Company prior to the Tour Departure Date with the names, addresses and telephone numbers of their next-of-kin or persons to be notified in the event of an emergency.
17.6 DRIVE THE BALKANS LTD will not arrange activities it deems to be ‘High Risk’ as part of its tours, including but not limited to activities such as rafting, canyoning, rock climbing. If You wish to partake in such activities during a Tour, you do so of Your own violation and at Your own risk.
17.7 Our suppliers and local representatives are instructed not to act as our agents in booking any alternative activities other than those approved and offered by Us and which You have purchased directly from Us. Any assistance they may offer at Your request in relation to such activities does not imply they have acted as Our agent or with Our authority or approval. We are not responsible for such activities and have no liability to You in respect of them.
17.8 Where the Company is found liable for loss and/or damage to any luggage or personal possessions (including money and/or tickets), the maximum amount we will have to pay you is GBP£50 per person affected, as Our assumption is that You will have adequate insurance at the time of booking.
17.9 All drivers must be aged 21 and over, with at least 2 years’ driving experience.
18. PASSPORTS, VISAS & HEALTH MATTERS
18.1 Vaccinations, passports, visas (where applicable) etc are entirely the Client’s responsibility and must be arranged prior to departure. DRIVE THE BALKANS LTD can take no responsibility for cancellation of your Tour in the event you are not allowed to fly. If you are unable to travel due to being unable to obtain (or not having) the appropriate documents We reserve the right to retain the full cost of Your Tour.
18.2 Some Tours offered by DRIVE THE BALKANS LTD are physically demanding. The Company is not liable for any costs, delays or illness resulting from your failure to meet requirements.
18.3 Women 28 weeks or more into pregnancy at the time of return travel must have a doctor’s certificate confirming that they are fit to travel.
19.1 No persons, save with the express permission in writing of the Owner or a Company Director of DRIVE THE BALKANS LTD, has the authority or is empowered to waive or vary any of these conditions.
19.2 DRIVE THE BALKANS LTD is not responsible for the content, policies or services of any sites linked to or accessible via our website drivealbania.com
19.3 The Client acknowledges that prior to booking they have been given general information on passport and visa requirements for the Tour, and of any health formalities required, and knows of no reason that would cause the Client to be unable to comply with these requirements.
Photographs used on this website and elsewhere in our promotional materials are intended to give an overall impression rather than details of a specific place.
21. DATA PROTECTION
We observe the requirements of the Data Protection Act 1998 in respect of all personal data held by us at any time. We may use your email address to notify you of our services, offers and promotions from time to time. If you do not wish to receive this emails, please let us know, though you can also unsubscribe at any point.
Drive The Balkans Ltd, October 2017