What if you feel unwell, become ill, require medical attention or just feel sick? What if your sickness means you can't continue your tour with us?

It is rare that anyone gets sick on our trips; just four times since we started out. However, if you should become ill, it's good for you to understand how we handle things so you can be prepared, and understand clearly what will happen in such situations.

The Money Side

If I get sick on a trip would I be refunded for the remaining days of the trip? No, because we are already committed to paying rooms, staff, guides, drivers, car services and other fees. You will need to buy travel insurance that covers sickness that prevents you from either starting or continuing your tour. We can not cancel or obtain refunds on booked and paid hotels, our services such as guides, drivers, car services, are typically pre-paid and non-refundable within the 15 days prior to your private trip starting, 2 months before a group tour starting date. Please ensure you read and understand our booking conditions which include our cancelation policy, insurance  & waiver requirements.

The Insurance Side

Please note that sickness that does not require a hospital visit, or doctor, is typically not viewed by your insurance company as a valid reason to refund you for not continuing a trip. Feeling unwell and staying in the hotel to rest and recover is typically not covered by your insurance and you would not be refunded by us or your insurance company. Sicknesses that require a doctor or hospital visits are normally covered, but it is a decision and refund the insurance company will decide on.

Find the best travel insurance by searching a highly-recommended travel insurance from respected independent review services like the UK's Which? magazine, because such services typically investigate not only cover and customer care but payout statistics and small print exclusion clauses. It's a good idea to call and clarify the details with insurers.

What if you get sick on a group tour?

If someone becomes sick on a group trip, we would assist them in making any arrangements, at their own cost. It is very important that you have adequate insurance cover for your trip, and the means (card) to pay, until your insurance company refunds you.

These are the options we would usually take:

1. If the person is not able to continue with the group: 

We would typically extend the stay in the current hotel for the sick client, allowing the client to recover. The hotel will charge the clients card directly for any extra nights. We will explain to the hotel manager and staff that our client is ill, so they take extra good care of that person and check-up occasionally. If it is the high-season or hotel availability is an issue, we would recommend some nearby accommodation that has availability. We would make the calls and arrange for people to transfer the luggage and the person to alternative accommodation; to be paid by the client to the hotel on arrival. We would also be available to the client 24/7 by phone. Once the person is better, we would organize transport to the hotel where the rest of the group is staying.

2. Attend a hospital in Guilin city to see a Doctor.

In China, it’s advisable to go straight to the very best hospitals in Guilin city, as they have some English speaking staff and departments that are reconmended by international insurance companies. In this case, it’s vital that the person contacts the insurance company at once, as many insurers require pre-approval for non-emergency situations.

Often alternative options arise, depending on our location and what is in the itinerary, and we'll always try to help as much as possible. For an upset stomach, flu or diarrhea, it’s a case of resting and catching up the group when you're well enough. We send a recommended packing list prior to you leaving, and you should carry medication for diarrhea and flu type symptoms with you.  Don't worry too much, because we have only had one father and son who ever became sick as a result of food, and it was not triggered by the food we ate as a group, as no-one else got sick.

Real Past Examples on Group Tours



A  lady was part of a large photo workshop we were running for an overseas photo tour company, they run large groups and she was traveling with 16 other people. Part way through the trip she aggravated an old back injury and resulted in serious pain and lack of mobility. She said she did not need an ambulance but it was serious and requested us to arrange a car to hospital for scans. We arranged a car for her to drive to Guilin city. We offered to hire a Spanish speaking guide from Guilin city or a translator at cost price, but she only required a car because her insurance company claims team gave her access to translators on the telephone. We stayed in contact with her each day. She paid all expenses for the car and her insurance reimbursed her on return to her home country for those expenses only.

A few days later her back pain subsided, she was ready to leave the hospital and go to our next hotel to rest. We called ahead to our next hotel and arranged for her to check-in a day early, she payed the extra night on arrival and later claimed this against her insurance. One of our Chinese guides and a driver were arranged to collect her from the hospital and take her to the hotel, which she paid for in cash and later reclaimed from the insurer. The next evening she was there smiling and waiting for her group and rejoined the rest of the trip; she only missed two days in the rice terraces. 



It’s vital to wash your hands well, and use anti-bacterial hand gel. One occasion (we remember well) was the time someone dropped their lens cap in an old beautiful ancient street gutter, just wiped it off and never gave it a second thought, only to start snacking on some American cookies another client gave her. Everyone eat and drank the same all day, but only she was sick, sick all night.  Luckily she could continue on the tour, because she had medication with her and there was no need for transfer onwards that day. She was very fatigued the next few days, and had to take it easy. 

The reality is that the Chinese street looked pretty, but in China often all types of water and animals pass along this kind of old alleyways, and mud might not be mud. In our experience, it’s personal hygiene mistakes that are more likely to make you sick vs. a meal. 

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