Terms and Conditions
Please read these conditions carefully as they set out the respective obligations. The booking conditions apply as part of our contract with you and all persons named on your booking. The contract will come into force once we have received and acknowledged your deposit payment and is governed by English law. Any disputes arising are subject to the jurisdiction of the English courts.
What we provide
We provide all flights, transfers to and from the airport and accommodation, travel to site and return. Accommodation as detailed on your booking confirmation. Meals include breakfast, packed lunches and evening meals while on the volunteering projects. Meals on extended trips are as detailed on your booking confirmation. The post volunteering trip is included with accommodation, board, transport and extra services as listed on your booking confirmation.
What you must provide
You must bring and wear safety equipment onsite. For health and safety requirements you must provide your own safety boots and hat, health insurance and PP3 dust masks. You must ensure that privately owned safety equipment is in good order, looked after and secured when not in use. You must have completed the medical form, supplied all medical certificates at least eight weeks prior to
departure. You must have at least six months validity on your passport (from the date of arrival). You must organise any necessary travel visas and bring all travel documents (save a copy electronically as back up). Please provide a copy of all documents via email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Your booking and payments
When you submit your request for a volunteer project booking you will be required to pay a non-refundable deposit of £500 per person. Occasionally an additional amount may be required as a deposit to secure your booking arrangements. We will advise you of this at the time of booking. For bookings made within eight weeks of departure, the full balance will be due when booking. When you make your booking, we will endeavour to confirm all elements of your booking, however, the arrangements are subject to availability at the time of booking. Occasionally we may not be able to confirm all elements of your booking, these will be shown as ‘to be confirmed’ on the Booking Confirmation Invoice that we send you. As soon as these elements of your booking have been
confirmed to us, we will advise you. The person making the booking is responsible for all payments. The full balance is due eight weeks before your departure date. This can be paid either by cheque (payable to Hashtag BigSmile), by credit card, debit card, cash or bank transfer. There are no charges for payment by credit card. If the full balance has not been paid eight weeks prior to your departure date, we reserve the right to treat your booking as cancelled by you, in which case your deposit will be lost and you must pay the cancellation charges as detailed below. It is a condition of our acceptance of your booking that you arrange adequate travel insurance. If you fail to take out travel insurance, or your insurance is not adequate we will not be held liable for any losses incurred.
Volunteer price and website accuracy
Whilst we reserve the right to change our prices at any time due to fluctuations in exchange rates or other unforeseen costs, the price as shown on your booking confirmation and invoice will not be altered unless there are changes in government taxes, duties, levies, additional charges imposed by airlines or if you make amendments. The prices and information shown on our website and any other promotional material that we publish may have changed at the time of booking. Every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of
prices; however, errors do occur. Please check the price and details fully at the time of booking.
Changes by you
If you wish to make any changes, you must notify us as soon as possible. We will do our best to assist, however, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to meet any such requests. An amendment fee of £50 per person per amendment will be payable as well as any costs incurred by ourselves due to the change.
Cancellation by you
If you or any member of your party need to cancel your chosen project once it has been confirmed, the group leader must immediately advise us. The notice of cancellation will only be effective when it is received in writing. As we incur costs from the time we confirm your booking, the following cancellation charges will be payable:
Where the cancellation charge is shown as a percentage, this is calculated from the total cost
payable by the person(s) cancelling.
Period before departure that cancellation is notified to us:
56 days or more : Loss of deposit plus any costs incurred by us
56 - 43 days : 50% plus any costs incurred by us
42 - 22 days : 75% plus any costs incurred by us
21 - 0 days : 100%
Depending on the reason for cancellation, you may be able to reclaim these cancellation charges (less any applicable excess) under the terms of your insurance policy. Claims must be made directly to your insurance company. Please advise us if you require a cancellation invoice for your insurance provider. Where any cancellation reduces the number of full paying people to below the number on which the price or any discounts agreed for your booking were based, we will recalculate these items and re-invoice you accordingly.
Changes and cancellation by us
From time to time it may be necessary to amend your booking, we reserve the right to do so at any time. Most of these are minor changes, but if they are major changes, we will inform you straight away. A major change is one that we make to your project arrangements before departure that involves changing the departure airport (except changes between London airports), or a difference of more than twelve hours to the departure time, or a change to the accommodation. A major change does not include any Government influenced change of airport or schedule or an accommodation change imposed on us by a supplier.
If affected by a major change, you have the choice of either:
a. Accepting the changed arrangement as notified
b. Purchasing another available date from us
c. Cancelling your booking, which may incur some charges (e.g. non-refundable air tickets).
If we have to make a major change or cancel your project, compensation will not be payable and no liability beyond offering the above mentioned choices can be accepted where we are forced to make a change, or, cancel as a result of unusual and unforeseeable circumstances beyond our control, the consequences of which we could not have avoided even with all due care. No compensation will be payable if we cancel as a result of your failure to comply with any requirement of our booking conditions entitling us to cancel (such as paying on time) or if the change made is a minor one. A minor change is any change which, at the time of booking, we could not reasonably expect to have a significant effect on your confirmed trip.
Travel Insurance is essential and provides protection against financial loss resulting from your trip being cancelled or delayed, theft of valuables, medical expenses, legal costs and personal liability expenses you may incur whilst overseas. Most comprehensive travel insurance policies include an emergency assistance element to ensure that you are cared for and returned home in the event of a
medical emergency. It is a condition of booking that you and all members of your party are adequately insured when you
book your trip and we request that you advise us of your insurance policy details prior to travel.
Unless expressly stated elsewhere in our booking conditions, we cannot accept liability or pay any compensation where the performance or our obligations under our contract with you is prevented or affected by, or you otherwise suffer any damage or loss, as a result of "force majeure" In these Booking Conditions, "force majeure" means any event which we or the supplier of the service(s) in question could not, even with all due care, foresee or avoid. Such events may include war or threat of war, riot, civil strife, actual or threatened terrorist activity, industrial dispute, natural or nuclear disaster, adverse weather conditions, fire and all similar events outside our control.
Our liability to you
We have made every effort to ensure that your arrangements have been made correctly. We accept responsibility for the arrangements provided in this contract and for those arrangements to reach a reasonable standard, regardless of whether the services are supplied by us or by our agents or suppliers. If any part of your trip is not provided as advertised and or confirmed on your booking confirmation then we will provide reasonable compensation, if this has affected the enjoyment of your trip, up to a maximum of the full trip cost. We accept responsibility for the acts of our employees, agents and suppliers, except where they lead
to death, injury or illness. Our liability in all cases shall be limited to the cost of your travel arrangements as booked with Hashtag BigSmile. We accept liability for death, bodily injury or illness to you and/or other persons named on the booking due to the negligent acts or omissions of our employees, agents and suppliers, whilst acting within the scope of their employment on the provision of your travel arrangements. We will accordingly pay you such damages as might have been awarded in such circumstances under English law.
We shall not be liable where this was caused by the act(s) and/or omission(s) of the person(s) affected or those of a third party not connected with the provision of your travel arrangements and which were unforeseeable or unavoidable or an event which either ourselves or the supplier of the service(s) in question could not have foreseen or avoided even with all due care. All arrangements
are subject to the conditions of the relevant supplier(s), some of which limit or exclude the supplier’s liability to you, usually in accordance with international conventions. You are deemed to have accepted these conditions, which are available on request from the supplier(s). In such cases however we will, wherever possible, offer you reasonable assistance.
Should you have a complaint, you must inform the airline, hotel, transport company, Hashtag BigSmile, or our local representatives immediately so that there is a chance to resolve the issue straight away. If the issue cannot be rectified on-site, all complaints must be notified and received in writing to us within 14 days of your return from your trip. We are unable to consider complaints or claims for compensation if we have not been notified during your stay and received written notification within the timeframe as detailed above.
Accommodation is generally available for check-in from 16.00 on the arrival day and check-out is generally up to 11.00 on the day of departure. This depends on the accommodation.
We reserve the right to terminate the trip of anyone whose conduct causes damage to the accommodation, or annoyance to other clients, or employees that is deemed unacceptable by the establishment’s management. In such instances, we will be under no liability to provide any further part of that person's arrangements, or for any costs incurred by that person as a result of doing so.
The times quoted on your final itinerary are local times. It is essential for you to check in at least two hours before the flight departure time (three hours for long haul flights). Please check your tickets carefully to ensure you have the correct flight information. It is possible that flight details may be changed at late notice.
We cannot accept any liability and we are not able to offer you any additional assistance to that offered by the airline in the event of flight delays, cancellations or denied boarding. If your flight is delayed, cancelled or boarding is denied by the airline in circumstances which would entitle you to claim compensation from the airline under EC Regulation No 261/2004, you must contact the airline directly for the compensation or other payment due to you. Any sums you receive from the airline represent the full entitlement to compensation arising from such cancellation, delay or denied boarding. This includes any inconvenience or effect on any other arrangements. If a delay entitles you to cancel your flight this does not automatically entitle you to cancel any other arrangements even if they have been made in conjunction with your flight. Airlines have the legal right to deny boarding to a passenger who they consider may be a risk to airline employees or other passengers.
Carriage of luggage, is at the airline's discretion. Please check the airline's policy regarding baggage and ensure that you have reserved the correct luggage items and that you comply with the airlines weight allowances. Baggage allowances vary depending upon destination and airline. We will endeavour to inform you of each airline’s policy on luggage and equipment carriage, but we cannot be held responsible for additional charges made to clients by airlines for luggage not booked in advance or complying with weight or size conditions.
We reserve the right to decline to accept any person if their conduct is disruptive and affecting the enjoyment of others. We do not accept any liability for any extra costs incurred as a result of said behaviour. Any client who is denied boarding on the travel aspect shall be deemed to have given notice of cancellation of their booking and at that moment full cancellation charges will apply.
Please advise us of all special requests at the time of booking. We will pass these requests to the relevant supplier, however we cannot guarantee that such requests will be granted or that the supplier (airline, hotel, transport company etc.) is able to facilitate the request.
Passports and visas
For all up to date passport, visa and health requirements applicable for travel outside of the UK please visit: www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice
It is your responsibility to ensure that all members of your party are in possession of the necessary valid travel and health documents before departure. All costs incurred in obtaining such documentation must be paid by you. We regret we cannot accept any liability if you are refused entry into any country due to failure on your part to carry correct documentation. If any member of your party is not a British citizen or holds a non-British passport, you must check passport and visa requirements with the country to which you plan to travel.
You accept full responsibility for obtaining all such documents visas and permits etc and are solely responsible for any adverse consequences resulting from missing or effective documentation. We cannot accept any responsibility or offer a refund if you cannot travel due to not obtaining the correct documentation or are refused admittance to any country due to not having the correct
Building work in or in the proximity to any properties featured in our programmes can occur at any time. When we have been made aware that such works are likely to occur during your trip and may, in our opinion, significantly affect you, we will contact you with the details. If you are unhappy with the situation, we will endeavour to offer you alternative accommodation (with you paying a supplement or receiving a refund in respect of any price difference). Building works are carried out by third parties over whom we have no control.
Building work can start and stop at any time and if we have not been made aware of any potential disruption, we regret that we cannot pay any compensation or otherwise accept liability even if you are offered alternative accommodation or a refund as a result.
Your travel documents will either be emailed or posted to you approximately 14 days before your departure date. Please ensure that you check your documents carefully on receipt and let us know if you have any questions prior to travel.
All monies paid to Hashtag BigSmile c/o Hashtag Travel Group, are fully protected in compliance with The Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations 1992. Hashtag Travel Group is a member of the Travel Trust Association TTAQ563X. All monies received by a Travel Trust Association member are deposited into a Trust Account, a bank account designated to hold the
customers money in Trust until their trip is completed. An appointed Trustee is appointed and must authorise any payments from the Trust Account to the Travel Trust Association Member. In addition to being held in trust, you also have a financial guarantee from the Travel Trust Association.
When you buy an ATOL protected flight or flight inclusive package from us you will receive an ATOL Certificate. This lists what is financially protected, where you can get information on what this means for you and who to contact if things go wrong. We, or the suppliers identified on your ATOL Certificate, will provide you with the services listed on the ATOL Certificate (or a suitable alternative). In some cases, where neither we nor the supplier are able to do so for reasons of insolvency, an alternative ATOL holder may provide you with the services you have bought or a suitable alternative (at no extra cost to you). You agree to accept that
in those circumstances the alternative ATOL holder will perform those obligations and you agree to pay any money outstanding to be paid by you under your contract to that alternative ATOL holder.
However, you also agree that in some cases it will not be possible to appoint an alternative ATOL holder, in which case you will be entitled to make a claim under the ATOL scheme (or your credit card issuer where applicable). If we, or the suppliers identified on your ATOL certificate, are unable to provide the services listed (or a suitable alternative, through an alternative ATOL holder or otherwise) for reasons of insolvency, the Trustees of the Air Travel Trust may make a payment to (or confer a benefit on) you
under the ATOL scheme. You agree that in return for such a payment or benefit you assign absolutely to those Trustees any claims which you have or may have arising out of or relating to the non-provision of the services, including any claim against us, the travel agent (or your credit card issuer where applicable). You also agree that any such claims may be re-assigned to another body, if
that other body has paid sums you have claimed under the ATOL scheme.
Hashtag BigSmile Terms and Conditions Specifics
Because of the nature of volunteering and the vulnerabilities of the people and communities lived and worked amongst (including other volunteers you may be sharing accommodation with), we reserve the right to refuse applications and/or registrations from volunteers or prospective volunteers whom we consider unsuitable.
Local staff and accommodation hosts may also terminate your trip at any time of any volunteer who appears to be a risk to himself/herself and those they are volunteering for or who is bringing the organisation they are working for or Hashtag BigSmile into serious disrepute. This could include aggressive or intimidating behaviour towards children/fellow volunteers and local people, delayed volunteer contributions where applicable, slanderous comments about the institutions they are volunteering for, no regular volunteering presence, disruption of other people’s enjoyment, suspicion of any child-related protection issue whether of a safety/sexual/bullying nature, lewd behaviour, alcoholism affecting them or those around them etc. It is also at the discretion of local staff and accommodation hosts to continue hosting volunteers who are not actively volunteering where opportunities have been made available to do so. Furthermore, because the nature of most volunteering involves working with vulnerable children and young adults your Project Manager, if concerned, may alert Hashtag BigSmile that volunteering at future similar projects is not recommended. We will not enter into discussion once a decision has been made by local staff. We cannot accept any responsibility if your place on the trip and/or stay at any accommodation is terminated as set out above. No refunds of any kind will be payable. We will not accept any responsibility for any expenses, costs or losses of any nature that you may have incurred or incur as a result of a trip being terminated as set out above, including any return or onward travel expenses. It is the responsibility of all volunteers to inform their local Project Manager if they are concerned about any other volunteer’s behaviour where they are placing themselves or those around them at risk.
Acceptance of risk
You accept that the nature of volunteering in developing countries is adventurous and involves a significant amount of personal inherent risk. You also acknowledge that there will be limited on site support at most locations, health services may be basic or lacking, training will be lacking or informal at best and the safety standards of local accommodation and transport will be considered haphazard at best and considerably lower than UK standards.
Although a contact person is usually available for advice on emergencies, sickness and crime, when not present or immediately available, you accept responsibility for managing immediate arrangements by yourself and you must inform the Project Manager immediately. You must ensure that you have adequate travel insurance to meet such eventualities and adequate funds to cover consultations for minor health complaints where insurance may not be applicable. If you are in doubt regarding the type of insurance cover you have and how to make arrangements abroad, you should consult your insurance policy before or during travel and call your insurers for advice.
Authority at the project
At all times the decision of the local Project Manager where you are volunteering will be final on all matters likely to endanger the safety and well being of all of the volunteers. You agree to abide by the authority of the Project Manager and local staff in all matters. You must also at all times strictly comply with the laws, customs, and regulations of the country you are visiting. If you are affected by any condition medical or otherwise that might affect other people, you must advise us at the time of booking. Should you fail to comply with the above or commit any illegal act during your trip or if in the opinion of the Project Manager or local staff your behaviour is causing or is likely to cause danger, distress or annoyance to others we terminate your participation on the trip. We cannot accept any responsibility in the event that your trip is terminated as set out above. No refunds of any kind will be payable. We will not accept any responsibility for any expenses, costs or losses of any nature that you may have incurred or incur as a result of a trip being terminated as set out above (including any return or onward travel expenses).
You are also responsible for obtaining all required vaccinations and certificates which are required for the whole of your trip. Any information or advice given by us regarding vaccinations, climate, clothing, special equipment, etc. is provided as a courtesy to you.
We cannot accept any responsibility for any errors or omissions as to the information provided. Please note requirements as to vaccinations do change. You must check the up to date requirements of the country or countries that you are travelling to or through. We cannot accept any responsibility or offer a refund if you cannot travel or are refused admittance to any country due to not having the correct vaccinations.
Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) Travel advisories
If the FCO (www.fco.gov.uk) advises against all or non-essential travel to a country or area you will be entitled to withdraw from any trip affected by such advice or we may decide to cancel such trips. In this case we will offer an alternative trip (if available). Except as set out above we are not responsible for any expenses, costs, losses or compensation of any nature whatsoever that you may
incur or request as a result of cancellation or withdrawal from a trip following such advice from the
We apply a common sense approach when considering cancelling trips following advice from the FCO. We will also seek advice from the relevant British Embassy in that country. If we have information that advice is likely to be downgraded, we may delay the offer of an alternative trip. If you decide to travel against the FCO advice you should be aware that this may affect your insurance
cover. You may also face a much greater level of risk to your personal safety.
By volunteering with Hashtag BigSmile you understand that you will be travelling to a developing country in most cases and accept the associated risks in travelling outside your home country and familiar environment. Please ensure that you stay with the group and notify the Project Manager of any time that you need assistance to do things outside of the allocated area and accommodation.
You must bring and wear safety equipment such safety boots and helmets that you bring with you on the trip. You must ensure that privately owned safety equipment is in good order, looked after and secured when not in use. You undertake not to volunteer under the influence of drink or drugs and not to smoke in front of children, vulnerable adults or in enclosed spaces where it can affect other people. There may be rules in place regarding the use of alcohol or restrictions regarding entry to accommodation and curfews and you agree to abide by the rules of the project during your visit. Please use your common sense to decide whether your safety, or the safety of others, is at risk by the activities and things you do during your trip.