April 7th, 2020
We continue to monitor the ongoing situation with respect to COVID-19 a.k.a. coronavirus. GPI US adheres to all travel advisories from the U.S. Department of State, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the World Health Organization.
Safety is our number one priority. With that in mind, we have decided to postpone Japan Bound 2020 until further notice. If you had previously applied or submitted a deposit, you should have already received a refund and an e-mail regarding the next steps for Japan Bound. If you have not received either, please e-mail so we can make sure to get everything sorted out!
We had previously chosen to be optimistic about our chances of running Japan Bound this summer, however, as the situation worsens across major cities in the US, we felt it was imperative for us to do our part to raise awareness and take this matter as seriously as possible. We don't want to continue to dangle hope of a trip that most likely won't happen in front of you, so we've decided instead to focus on what we can do and that is facilitating virtual cultural exchange
will notify families promptly in the event that any of our Japan Bound program itineraries need to be altered or even suspended due to evolving safety updates. We recognize parents and travelers are concerned. While no one, the travel industry included, can predict what will happen, we are optimistic that things will be back to semi-normalcy before our trips depart this summer. If not, we have plans in place.
GPI US remains positive about the future, and we hope you are too. We understand risk assessment is a highly personal decision, and we want you to feel confident traveling with us this summer. Throughout our years of experience shepherding youth back and forth between Japan and the US, we have developed safety practices and a strong network to ensure the best support for our participants. Behind each program is intensive on-the-ground research, and our trusted staff personally vet all activities & accommodations. GPI US’ knowledge and experience with Japan allow us to make any necessary alterations to our programs and even reschedule if necessary. We understand that if you planned to go to Japan, you probably want to go to Japan and not somewhere else, so we are here to do our best to make that happen.
Preparedness is the key to traveling safely and becoming a savvy traveler. Beyond our staff’s meticulous preparation, we equip our students with knowledge of the destination, an overview of GPI US’s main rules, and safety guidelines on each trip. Furthermore, we utilize the communication platform Moment – so you can follow along on the journey and rest assured your kids are in great hands. Our core office team is also available for you to contact throughout the summer.
Common Coronavirus Travel Questions
Q: At what point will GPI US make adjustments or suspend a program?
A: GPI US will alter a program itinerary or suspend a program based on certain travel advisories from the following authorities: U.S. Department of State, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the World Health Organization, among possible others. We have colleagues in every prefecture across Japan and are receiving updates every week. Specifically, GPI US will not operate programs if either Japan or the US is elevated to a U.S. Department of State Level 4 Warning (Do Not Travel) or a CDC Level 3 Warning (Avoid Non-Essential Travel) within 2 weeks of departure. Official travel advisories outside of 2 weeks from departure and subsequent adjustments or suspensions of programs are handled on a case by case basis.
Q: What if I decide to cancel but have already paid my deposit?
A: We are working with all program participants on a case-by-case basis to either receive a full refund or apply their deposit to a future program.
Q: If I purchased my airline ticket already, what should I do?
A: All plane tickets are subject to the rules and restrictions of the respective airline through which it was ticketed. At the moment, ticket changes for the summertime may incur a change fee plus a difference in airfare. If the situation evolves it’s possible the below change/refund/cancellation policies will be applicable.
Q: Can I purchase trip insurance that would allow us to cancel based on the current situation?
A: Pandemics/World Health Emergencies/Travel Advisories are not covered reasons for basic travel insurance programs. Many insurance companies have already stopped coverage for coronavirus related issues so it pays to be decisive if you plan to take this step.
If you already purchased any travel insurance policy and this virus was a covered event at the time of purchase, the insurance company will not retroactively cancel coverage. Terms and conditions of coverage cannot be changed retroactively.
Get in Touch
If you have questions or would like more information about our safety policy in regards to the coronavirus or any other international travel advisory, please send an email to .
Please do not hesitate to reach out! We are here for you.