In registering for a Sierra Club Outings trip and paying a deposit, participant and the parent or legal guardian of a minor participant (those under 18 years of age) (sometimes “you” or “your”) agree to be legally bound by these Terms & Conditions (“Terms”).*
Coronavirus Policies and Your Safety
Your safety is our greatest concern. We are actively monitoring COVID-19 and working closely with the Sierra Club’s Safety, Security, and Emergency Preparedness team as well as a variety of safety professionals and industry leaders to manage our program and protect our travelers and staff. Please see our COVID-19 travel update for the latest information on the status of our trips.
Please understand that fluid and potentially changing international or US federal, state and/or county requirements/guidance or other factors associated with operating programs in the midst or wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, may require Sierra Club to adopt different policies and/or to alter, suspend or cancel its trips at any time.
* As noted above with our change in response to Coronavirus, Sierra Club reserves the right to change select provisions of these Terms temporarily, to meet changing conditions. Except for any changed Terms identified above, the remainder of these Terms (as may be revised from time to time) remain in full force and effect.
Our trips are open to all Sierra Club members. Membership is required for all trip participants 18 years or older. If you're not currently a member, you may include your membership application and dues with your reservation request. If you're using a credit card to make a reservation and you're not a member, you will be required to join at that time. Typically, a person under 18 years of age may join a trip only if accompanied by a parent or designated guardian and with the consent of the trip leader.
How to Register for a Trip
We accept reservations on a first-come, first-served basis. Please give some thought to your interests and preferences. Some trips are moderate, while others are strenuous. A few are only for highly qualified participants. Review the trip description and Essential Eligibility Criteria (EEC) and be realistic about your physical condition and the trip's level of difficulty.
Phone: You can register with a credit card (we accept Visa and Mastercard only) by calling 415-977-5522. Please have the trip number, your credit card information, and your membership number handy.
Online: You can register on the Web using our secure and easy online reservation system.
If you would like to pay by check, please contact us at 415-977-5522 for details.
Note: Your final acceptance and participation in a trip is contingent upon our receipt and review of all required (completed and/or signed) forms and information, including the Participation Agreement, Medical Form and Participant Responsibilities and Information Form, and your full and timely payment.
Every trip requires a deposit for each individual on the trip (including children). The amount of the deposit varies with the trip price:
|Up to $499||$50 per person|
|$500 to $999||$100 per person|
|$1,000 and above||$200 per person|
We apply your deposit to the trip price when we confirm your reservation. All deposits and payments are in U.S. dollars ($). If you make your reservation less than 90 days before the trip starts, the full trip fee is due when you register.
Most family trips include lower prices for children. A "child" is defined as someone under the age of 18 at the time of trip departure.
If you cancel from a trip, you may be charged a cancellation fee. Please read the cancellation chart below.
* Our graduated and time sensitive refund policy is not meant to be punitive. It is intended as liquidated damages and not as a penalty. Sierra Club uses your payments to prepare for trips, pay its staff and vendors, and handle other costs associated with its operations, and it is difficult to ascertain the amount of actual loss to our operations if you cancel. As a result, our policy reflects a reasonable estimate of the actual costs Sierra Club will incur in the event you cancel at various points before departure.
When a space is available on a trip and you pay your trip deposit, we reserve a spot and mail or email (depending on which option is selected) confirmation materials to the primary trip party participant. (If you’re registering alone, this is you.) As noted above, this includes three important trip forms for each person in the trip party. Each participant needs to complete the forms and return them to the trip leader within 30 days to get accepted (confirmation is subject to acceptance by the trip leader; see Acceptance Process section below for details).
We give you a two-week (14-day) grace period from your sign-up date to cancel or transfer your reservation free of charge. However, if the trip leaves within 30 days of your sign-up date, there is no grace period. After the two-week grace period, we assume you still want to participate, and you are then subject to cancellation fees if you cancel (see cancellation chart below).
If there isn't space available when you register, we place you on a waitlist, and your deposit holds your space there. Note: You must still complete all trip forms and return them to the trip leader within 30 days of the date you make your reservation. Screening can be a lengthy process and we want to expedite it in case space becomes available.
As long as you remain on the waitlist, your deposit is fully refundable at any time. We assume you still want to participate if a space becomes available. We automatically move you onto the trip if an opening occurs.
- If space becomes available and you are moved onto a trip more than 30 days prior to the trip start date, we notify you via U.S. mail of your new signed-up status, and we give you a two-week grace period from that new sign-up date to cancel with a full refund. After the two-week grace period, we assume you still want to participate, and you are then subject to cancellation fees if you cancel (see cancellation chart below).
- If space becomes available and you are moved onto a trip within 30 days of the trip start date, we notify you via U.S. mail and by phone. You then have two (2) business days in which to cancel with a full refund. After the two-day grace period, we assume you still want to participate, and you are then subject to cancellation fees if you cancel (see cancellation chart below).
Once you move off the waitlist and onto the trip, your acceptance is still subject to acceptance by the trip leader (see Acceptance Process section below). As noted above, you must still complete all trip forms and return them to the trip leader within 30 days of the date you make your reservation.
If your waitlisted group is a party of two or more, we may move smaller trip parties ahead of you in order to fill the trip. We generally only do this within two to three months of the trip start date, although we may occasionally need to do it sooner. For more information, please contact the trip leader.
All trip reservations are subject to acceptance by the trip leader. Participants must be able to meet the Sierra Club Essential Eligibility Criteria (EEC) for the trip. After signing up for a trip, each applicant (including those on the waitlist) must fill out participant forms, which will be sent by mail or email depending on which option is selected, and mail them to the trip leader within 30 days of the date you make your reservation. You are subject to cancellation if you do not submit these to the trip leader within that time frame. The Participant Agreement must be printed and mailed, however, the Medical Form and Participant Responsibilities and Information Form may be emailed (note: email is not HIPPA compliant, so if you are concerned about privacy, please mail the Medical Form to the trip leader). All forms available as editable PDFs may be completed on the computer and saved for future use. We are looking into developing online forms, where possible, to streamline this process and reduce the use of paper.
The trip leader reviews these forms and considers whether each trip participant has equipment, experience, and physical conditioning needed for the trip. Although the leader will review this information and may accept participation, they or other Sierra Club representatives cannot anticipate or eliminate risks or complications posed by your mental, physical (including fitness level), or emotional condition. Further, even if you are accepted for the trip, you should consider carefully, whether or not in consultation with your medical provider, whether the trip is an appropriate match.
Although Sierra Club strives to accommodate a wide range of individuals, Sierra Club reserves the right to deny admission or ongoing participation on medical, health or other grounds in appropriate cases; for example, if we believe your participation may compromise your well-being or the well-being of the group, or, if you are unable to meet any of the physical, mental, cognitive or other demands of the trip (see Dismissal from Trip section below and Essential Eligibility Criteria).
The trip leader will contact you if you are not accepted for the trip. If you are not leader-accepted, we will refund any trip fee payments you have made to date, or we can transfer them to a more suitable trip. If you have any questions about your suitability for a trip, you should contact the trip leader directly.
Full payment of your trip fee is due 90 days prior to the trip start date. If you pay your deposit by credit card, we will automatically charge that credit card for the final payment 90 days before the trip starts.
If you pay your deposit by check or money order, you need to send final payments by the dates indicated in your trip confirmation materials.
International trips require an additional interim payment of $300 per person six months (180 days) before the trip start date, and the billing methods are the same as previously described.
Please note: Your payments are due at the times indicated, regardless of your acceptance status. If we don't receive your payment on time, we may cancel your reservation, in which case you forfeit your deposit.
If you are waitlisted, no payment other than the required deposit is necessary. We will bill you when you make it onto the trip as a signed-up participant. If you made your deposit by credit card and you move off the waitlist within 90 days of the trip start date, we will automatically charge that credit card for the balance due at that time. If you decide to cancel within your grace period, we will refund you all trip fees paid to date (see Waitlist section above).
Unless otherwise noted, adults and children pay the same prices. Separate child prices for family trips are indicated where applicable.
International Trip Tier-Pricing
Some international trips are tier-priced. This means a trip's price is dependent upon the number of participants. Two prices might be listed for a trip, showing the sign-up levels associated with each.
Final billing is based on the sign-up level at 90 days prior to the trip start date. If, between final billing and trip start dates, the sign-up level goes up sufficiently to qualify for the low-tier price, we will apply the lower price and will process refunds on the trip start date for any differences in amounts paid. Once we lower a trip price, we will not increase it, even if sign-up levels drop.
Cancellations from trips where the tier price has changed are subject to our reservation and cancellation policy. All regular cancellation fees will apply to these reservations.
Our trip prices do not include travel to and from a trip's starting point; this is your responsibility. The trip leader will provide trip rosters to assist participants in arranging their own carpools. On some overseas trips, you may be asked to make your travel arrangements through a specific travel agency.
Participant Cancellations and Refunds
You must notify us directly if you need to cancel from a trip. You can contact Sierra Club Outings weekdays between 8:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., PST, at 415-977-5522.
The amount of your refund is determined by the date that you notify Sierra Club Outings of your cancellation (see cancellation chart below). Trip leaders have no authority to grant or promise refunds.
Sierra Club Outings regrets that it cannot make exceptions to these Terms for any reason, including personal emergencies. The reservation and cancellation policy apply to all reservations, regardless of whether or not the trip leader has notified you of acceptance.
Dismissal from a Trip
Sierra Club reserves the right to dismiss any participant if a trip leader believes, in his/her sole discretion, that participant presents a safety concern or medical risk, is disruptive or otherwise conducts them self in a manner detrimental to the trip, activities or the group. Examples that can result in a participant dismissal include but are not limited to behavior issues or health challenges when participants are not capable of dealing with the demands of the trip or otherwise do not meet the trip’s EEC. If a participant is dismissed or departs for any reason, there will be no refund and the participant (and parent of a minor) are responsible for all costs of this early departure.
Participant Non or Late Arrival or Early Departure
If a participant is not accepted by the trip leader, we will refund all payments. If for any other reason (whether voluntary or involuntary), a participant does not attend, arrives late or leaves the trip in progress (including but not limited to voluntary withdrawal, dismissal from the trip, illness, injury or any other reason), there will be no refund.
Further, if a participant departs early, the participant is responsible for all costs of early departure whether the departure is for medical reasons, dismissal, personal emergencies or otherwise. These costs may include, but are not limited to: evacuation, medical treatment, meals and lodging costs, non-refundable airline tickets, change fees or other transportation costs, and expenses for staff who may accompany participants. For example, if a participant becomes ill during a trip as a result of COVID-19, Sierra Club may need to isolate participant/s and require COVID-19 testing, and the trip could be cut short or cancelled, with participant/s incurring additional travel and medical expenses.
Trips Canceled or Changed by Sierra Club Outings
On rare occasions, we must cancel or change trips. If this occurs, our responsibility is limited to a refund of any trip fees you've already paid. Sierra Club Outings is not responsible for airline tickets, other tickets or payments, or any similar fee penalties that you may incur as a result of any trip cancellations or changes.
A transfer occurs when you move your confirmed reservation from one trip to another.
- You can transfer free of charge if you do so within the allowed grace period (see Confirmation section above).
- If you transfer 60 or more days prior to the trip start date, we charge $50 per party (not per person).
- If you transfer 0-59 days prior to the trip start date, we treat that as a cancellation, and cancellation fees apply (see cancellation chart below).
There is no fee if you transfer from a waitlist to another trip. Transfers are limited to two (2) per person. Additional transfers are treated as cancellations, and cancellation fees do apply. A complete transfer of funds from one confirmed reservation to another already-held confirmed reservation is treated as a cancellation, and cancellation fees do apply.
Substitutions are not allowed.
International Travel Guidance and Requirements
Travel Vaccinations & Medications: Sierra Club is not a medical authority and cannot directly advise you regarding your/your child’s individual travel related medication or vaccination needs. You are responsible for making these determinations. Sierra Club does, however, strongly recommend that you consult with your/your child’s medical provider and/or visit a travel clinic before the start of the trip to discuss options for travel-related vaccinations and medications (including tetanus). Note: travel clinics frequently have limited hours, and may require advance notice to order medications.
Your (or your child’s) medical provider is encouraged to generally review the trip location/s and itinerary in connection with information from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Department of State; the World Health Organization or other sources, to consider health issues and determine what, if any, travel-related vaccinations and medications may be required or appropriate for participant.
Disclose Additional Medications: If you/your child will be bringing any additional travel related medications or obtaining travel related vaccinations, please inform your leader before trip departure.
Information and Documentation: You are responsible for obtaining a passport and/or visa in order to travel. Passports must be valid for at least six months after your return date. You must check for and fully comply with the requirements for travel between the United States and the countries that you/your child will be traveling to or through. Visit the U.S. Department of State and the Transportation Security Administration for more information. Sierra Club’s cancellation policy will apply if a participant is unable to travel because of improper identification, passport or visa, or other requirements.
Smart Traveler Enrollment Program: We also recommend that each participant sign up to receive updates from the U.S. Department of State regarding information on your country of travel.
In the case of accident, illness, or a missing trip member, Sierra Club Outings—through its trip leaders—will attempt to provide appropriate first aid, and will try to arrange for search and evacuation assistance when the trip leader determines it is necessary or desirable. Please note that our trip leaders don't always carry communication devices (due to the remote nature of certain areas and lack of reception), and that emergency help or evacuation may be difficult to arrange. Costs of an evacuation and/or search (e.g., helicopter), and of medical care beyond basic first aid, are the financial responsibility of the ill or injured person. Backcountry medical aid is costly, and Sierra Club Outings does not provide this coverage for participants on any of its trips. Therefore, we advise you to obtain medical and evacuation insurance: you can usually purchase it as part of a travel insurance package (see Travel Insurance section below).
We strongly encourage you to purchase travel insurance to cover cancellation fees associated with a trip as well as airfare or other nonrefundable expenses in the event you need to cancel; medical expenses incurred on a trip; and the cost of a possible medical evacuation from a trip.
Travel insurance plans are available from USI Travel Insurance Services, although you are welcome to explore other options as well. Please note that USI will allow you to purchase coverage any time before your trip, but in order to ensure time-sensitive benefits (Cancellation and Interruption for Any Reason, Pre-Existing Medical Condition Exclusion Waiver), your payment must be received 14 days after being accepted by the trip leader; other insurance companies may begin the clock immediately upon placing your trip reservation/deposit. If you are traveling from Canada, you will find custom insurance packages here.
Feel free to contact USI Travel Insurance Services if you have questions on this policy or its coverage as Sierra Club Outings is not equipped to provide specific answers to questions on the program. You may also view a list of frequently-asked-questions from USI.
The Sierra Club provides evacuation insurance to all participants on international trips. Since this coverage does not include any trip cancellation or interruption insurance, we suggest you purchase another policy separately to provide coverage for your trip and other travel costs. This policy also does not cover pre-trip and post-trip travel. Please note the evacuation insurance provided does not cover claims resulting from any pre-existing condition that occurs within 60-days of the trip departure. If you have specific questions about this exclusion, please review the insurance brochure.
Items Not Allowed
Firearms and pets (except for seeing-eye dogs and other service dogs) are not allowed on any Sierra Club Outings trips.
By applying for and participating in a trip, you agree to the responsibilities outlined in the Participant Responsibilities and Information Form. This is one of the forms you will complete and sign.
Electronic devices may be used as long as, in the judgment of the trip leader, they do not impair the safety, serenity, or enjoyment of any trip member, or cohesiveness of the group.
Lost, Stolen or Damaged Property
Sierra Club is not responsible for a participant’s lost, stolen or damaged personal belongings, whether incurred during travel or while on a trip.
I authorize Sierra Club or its designees, to photograph, film, record and/or otherwise capture the name, image, voice, verbal or written statement, photograph and/or visual likeness (collectively “images”) of me (or my child), for use in any media throughout the world in perpetuity, including for sale, reproduction or display on the internet, in publications and/or for any other informational, promotional, educational or other use, without compensation to me. Sierra Club owns all ownership and copyright rights in the images and I/my child waive any inspection or approval rights. If I do not agree, I will notify the trip leader in advance.
Note: Please see our COVID-19 travel update for the latest information on the status of our trips.
CANCELLATION FEES APPLY AS FOLLOWS:
|Time of cancellation||Cancellation fee per person|
|A||60 or more days prior to trip start date (except as noted in "E" below)||Amount of deposit|
|B||14-59 days prior to trip start date (except as noted in "E" below)||50% of trip fee|
|C||0-13 days prior to trip start date||Entire trip fee|
|D||"No-show" at the starting point, or you leave during a trip||Entire trip fee|
YOU WILL NOT PAY CANCELLATION FEES IF:
|E||You cancel from a confirmed position within 14 days of when Sierra Club Outings receives your reservation. NOTE: This 14-day grace period does not apply if the trip start date is within 30 days of when Sierra Club Outings receives your reservation.|
|F||You are not accepted by the trip leader after they have received your participant forms.|
|G||You cancel within 14 days of a Sierra Club Outings change in trip date, trip leader, and/or trip price.|
|H||You cancel from a waitlist.|
|I||You fail to move off a waitlist onto a trip as a signed-up participant.|
Have a great time! Our main goal is providing you with a safe, enjoyable, and inspiring outdoor experience.