A massive thank you to everyone who is supporting our industry


The Oyster team have been overwhelmed by the support of travellers old and new, and we’re driven daily by the fact that so many of you want to get back in the saddle and on the move once more. We’re convinced that change is around the corner, and that all who love international travel just need to continue to ride the wave and stay strong. We’re very optimistic for the future of our industry and intend to carry on providing fantastic experiences, just as we have been doing since 2006.

This page is designed to provide you with up to date advice on navigating how and when to book, where and when you can travel, and how preparation for a new kind of travel looks. This information is provided for those who are already booked with us and also those about to join us on a path to adventure.

If you would like to receive infrequent emails regarding updates on the pandemic and travelling with Oyster, please fill in the link to our mail out list below or email the team at:

[email protected]


I’d like to book an adventure


We would love you to! And we encourage you to complete an application form so that we can proceed with the next steps of setting up your personal, online information portal. You will no doubt be aware that border situation remains unknown, but rest assured, we are keeping a close eye on the changing government advice and providing as much travel flexibility as necessary.

At Oyster we are continuing to monitor the British Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office advice closely and are adhering to their recommendations as and when they unfold. For our travellers from overseas, we are following the advice of your home governments too, however as a UK based organisation, we feel bound to following the UK government advice, and therefore our protocol applies to all travellers whether they are from the UK or any other country.


Update on Summer travel 2021


From 17th May, the UK government has categorised destinations into three levels of risk: green, amber and red. These colours demonstrate the UK government’s rules for quarantine and self isolation upon entering the UK and information can be seen here.

Critically for the travel industry, these colour codes tell us which countries people can visit for leisure purposes. As things stand at the moment, the UK government states that you should not travel to red or amber countries for leisure purposes.

Countries on the green list do not have this limitation and travel is permitted to these destinations. It is important to note two things:

  • Being a green listed country does not mean that these destinations are admitting travellers – it is important to check the entry requirements for the destinations
  • If you change planes in a red or amber country on your way back from a green country, you will be expected to follow the arrival rules for the country that you have flown in from

Oyster destinations on the green list are below. Destinations with an * next to them are NOT currently welcoming UK passport holders. If you do not hold a UK passport, you need to check the entry requirements for the destination to see if you are permitted entry.

Green list Oyster destinations:

• Australia*
• New Zealand*

*Entry currently not permitted to UK passport holders

Statuses are changing rapidly however, and we feel confident that the FDCO will move more countries to the green list and that more destinations will open their borders as the successful vaccination programme continues to unfold.


Open Projects


Below is a list of countries where our partners are welcoming participants who can access them. These projects have taken all feasible measures to be prepared for Covid-19 travel – you can read more about the steps taken on the specific webpages.

It is important to note that there may be specific entry requirements such as quarantine and the rules will depend on your nationality and where you are travelling from and currently there is an international travel ban for UK residents.

Already there?

If you are already in-country and would like to join one of our programmes, do let us know. Many programmes are fully operational.


Volunteer with wolves in Portugal
Marine conservation in Portugal
Food waste reduction volunteering in Portugal


  • See Spain rules here
  • See UK government rules for travel -currently UK nationals are not permitted entry, but this does not apply to all nationalities, particularly other EU countries

Diving to fight plastic pollution in Barcelona 

South Africa

  • See South Africa rules here
  • See UK government rules for travel -currently British government advises against all but essential travel, but other governments may not

Volunteer with monkeys in South Africa
Big 5 conservation volunteering in South Africa
Game ranger course in South Africa
Veterinary experience in South Africa
Marine conservation in South Africa
Volunteer sports coaching in South Africa
Volunteer with kids in South Africa
Veterinary internship in South Africa
Volunteer with elephants in South Africa

For families: Volunteer with monkeys in South Africa
For families: Big 5 conservation experience in South Africa


  • See Namibia rules for arrival here
  • See UK government rules for travel -currently British government advises against all but essential travel, but other governments may not

Elephant conservation volunteering in Namibia
For Families: Elephant conservation volunteering in Namibia


I have an adventure booked


At Oyster, we are continuing to monitor the British Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office advice closely and are adhering to their recommendations as and when they unfold. For our travellers from overseas, we are following the advice of your home governments too.

In line with industry norms, your trip will be considered as going ahead until 21 days before departure. If at this stage the destination is not on the green list, the destination is not welcoming travellers or you would have to quarantine on arrival, your trip with Oyster will be cancelled and you will have the following options. Please note, these options are available to you before this date if you would like to take action sooner – just let us know what you would like to do.

Uncertainty can be unnerving, so we wanted to be absolutely clear about the options available to you today. Many of our participants have chosen to postpone their trips already whilst we are in the height of this uncertainty, but there are other options available to you as well:

Option  Changes to payment schedule 
1.     Postpone your trip to a new date in the future Any payments due will also postpone in accordance with your new start date
2.     Postpone your trip to an unspecified date in the future, within the next 18 months Your payment schedule will also be postponed until we put new dates in place
3.     Change your trip entirely, including destination and dates Your payment schedule will be amended according to your new dates and trip
4.     Stick with your travel dates as they are currently We can amend your final payment due date to be 3 weeks prior to your departure – please ask if you would like us to do this.


There is much to be positive with in the successful roll out of the vaccination programme and the lockdowns in place around the world to control cases. We are optimistic for travel in 2021, and are looking forward to helping you to get overseas as soon as it is possible!


Our flexibility


Changing the details of your trip

We can change the location or date of any adventure up until 28 days before departure, this will be free of charge.

Postponing your trip

If you would like to postpone your trip to an unspecified date in 2021 or 2022, you can do so, this will also be free of charge.

What happens if Oyster has to postpone / cancel my trip?

We remain hopeful that your trip can go ahead as planned until 21 days before your departure. At this point we will review recommendations from the UK government and the situation on the ground. For UK residents, if the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office advises against all but essential travel to your destination, we shall contact you to discuss your options going forward. For non-UK residents, we will follow the guidance of your home country government and expect you to keep informed of their advice.

Is my trip financially protected if I postpone?

Yes. Oyster have always used the best financial protection available for our customers. For those who book flights with us, the trip is fully ATOL bonded. For those who book their own flights, the trip is covered by International Passenger Protection. This means that your payments are 100% protected. If Oyster were to become insolvent, you would receive 100% of all that you paid to Oyster through the ATOL or IPP financial protection scheme. Please be rest assured however that we have every intention to continue trading for years to come!

Potential reasons for cancellation or postponement

  • Travel restrictions may be imposed by either your home country of your trip destination country
  • Government in your home country decides to restrict all but essential travel at short notice
  • Any closure of destination borders that prevent entry
  • Flight cancellations with no alternative options

What do I need to know about booking during  a pandemic?


As the situation regarding the pandemic is evolving all the time, we suggest that future travellers take these steps to give maximum peace of mind:

  • Book a comprehensive travel insurance policy. Read through the policy carefully to make sure that it covers you for the eventualities that you are most concerned about.
  • Book flights that can be changed easily, or delay booking your flights until closer to your departure date. If the travel situation evolves, this should not come at a great cost to yourself if you need to change your travel destination.
  • In most cases you will likely require a Covid test taken 72 hours before travel. You will also be expected to take hand sanitiser, masks and surgical gloves.
  • You should register for email travel alerts from your local embassy to receive updated travel information regarding your chosen destination. Due to the frequent updates for both countries of origin and destination, Oyster believes this to be the most reliable and fastest way to be right on top of current guidance.
  • Book early where possible to benefit from our expert advice and information on your trip and destination.
  • We are well placed to have a thorough understanding of the Covid situation at our projects and we can guide you towards the best resources to help you make the right decisions.
  • Oyster is offering maximum flexibility for those who book with us. See the section below “I have an adventure booked” for details of how your trip planning will progress.
  • We are working with our projects to ensure robust safety procedures are in place before the return of volunteers and participants. You will be informed of these. Please be assured that we are only reopening projects when strict Covid procedures have been put in place.


Roger, Anne, Georgie and Aimee

Updated 7th June  2021

Receive our Newsletter
  • View our Privacy Notice to see how we store and use the data you provide.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.