How would you rate
"Please read the warnings re a hard sell, no refunds and expensive company. It seems so unfair to pay £1200 within months of booking and get none back, aggravated by best friend putting off said 2nd payment for months and then withdrawing losing 25% my fee. Wise her, but life lesson for another parent. Please enter eyes wide open."
"By giving my daughter the opportunity of a lifetime. My daughter has raised all of her expedition fees by hard work. She has thrived on this task and it has been a great learning curve that things don't come free in life, work hard and reap the reward. Thank you for all your help Camps International and I would highly recommend this company to all schools and gap year students."
"camps international stay away.
Firstly, the Terms and Conditions are not clear. They state that 50% of the amount paid after the third payment by the participant can be refunded when a notification of cancellation has been made to you. However, when I phoned to ask for this 50% back I was then told that you could only get 50% back after the full total amount of the trip had been paid. It doesn't make sense that I have to pay the full amount for a trip that my daughter can no longer attend in order to get some percentage of the amount paid refunded. Also, if this is the case then what use is the list in section seven detailing the percentage you would get back after each stage of payment since it is always based on the end total amount?
Secondly, no help is received from the company in the area of helping the very young participants to raise the money. It is a very expensive trip over £4000 and a decision to participate in it has to be taken very quickly because they give a very short period of time between the initial presentation delivery and the booking a place deadline. These are very young participants who often don't understand the difficulty in having to raise such a large amount. Your presentations do not do a good enough job in emphasizing the difficulty of having to raise the money and the implications of not raising it but still having booked the place, which are usually either; the parents have to then cover the remainder of the cost or not being able to get a percentage of the money paid back if you cancel. Its all been very disappointing and frustrating.
as single parent I lost £1038 they don't want to refund me any percentage back. they left me broke after believing on them they will help fundraising. I wish someone will listen to the families suffered from them and these company as they really damaging the emotion of our teenagers and our finances."
"I went on the 3 month trip to Ecuador and Peru with the Galapagos add on in January-March 2018. I had the most amazing time on my gap year and would definitely recommend. The people on my trip were amazing company (13 of us doing the whole 3 months) and the camp leaders were always so welcoming and friendly. The food there was surprisingly always fantastic- shout out to the local chefs Theo and Sonya!
The projects we worked at were always varied and we felt we were being useful at all times (projects included: building church benches, painting the playground, cementing the health centre, digging septic tanks, creating a medicinal garden, building a greenhouse, chalking and meshing Adobe walls and teaching). The Maestroes in Ecuador were particularly friendly and would teach us their techniques for cementing, plastering, painting and grouting. Teaching the school kids in Peru was also very fun.
This programme is amazing as all the camps in Ecuador (we went to 4) are really nice and all the camps in Peru (went to 3) have amazing views. You also get to visit local towns and cities between camps so you really have the opportunity to explore and get to know the country. This gap year programme is great because you get a lot more freedom than the school trips I imagine.
The galapagos add on was great as we got to snorkel with sharks, turtles, sea lions, rays and see the marine iguanas and tortoises. I highly recommend this add on despite the extra expense.
Of course the salkantay trek at the end to see Machu Picchu was equally as amazing and definitely one of the many highlights of the trip.
This trip was during the rainy season which meant that Ecuador was hot and humid but Peru was dryer. Both countries had heavy rainfall during certain times of the day. However this meant the countries were lush and beautiful.
I would recommend doing the trip for the whole 3 months. A lot of people who came with us for 2 weeks to 2 months ended up extending their trip once they were there anyway. There are things you might need to get used to like the bugs (BRING MOSQUITO REPELLENT PLEASE), camping, toilets and weather but you will soon get used to all of this. By the end of the trip no one was scared of spiders anymore!
My only regret was that the 4/5 month trip including Costa Rica and Nicaragua was not yet available for me to go on. So please consider this programme and happy travels!! 💗"
"Attended a Camps International Presentation for a school excursion to Kenya - Talk about a hard sell for an hour and half for what I was told was a 40min presentation.
They are very clever, go into the school a week before, do a massive sell to the kids, then a week later a parents presentation where they pretty much guarantee that pretty much all the kids raise at least 75% of the total cost, do lots of positive reinforcement and claim that you get UCAS points (additional cost) - vaccinations at additional cost, spending money, insurance excess, transport to/from uk airport and so on..
Usual hard sell tactics, until all the way at the end they present you with either a monthly direct debit of £290 a month plus a £240 deposit.. or a £400 deposit with a payment plan every quarter with the total payable in full the following year,
Grand total of the cost is just short of £4000 (that excludes probably £1000 of extras taking into account UCAS £80, Visa £30, Spending money £300, Insurance Excess £50, Airport Transport @£100, Vaccinations £100 let alone the rest) and you HAVE to sign up within a period of just over a week or so with your deposit as they can’t save places and then offer them to other school pupils.. and so the cycle continues! That’s called a hard sell to me, and unsurprisingly designed to have kids whining at parents as they believe a sum of around £300 per month is actually achievable to fundraise! I have little doubt that 90% of parents end up paying most of the cost.
Other “Gap Year” style courses are available from them at around £1600 (okay they don’t include flights or the scuba course which is around £300-£400 separately) no doubt these are the positive reviews, but ultimately other providers are available and much cheaper even for gap years.
To then read some of the reviews below about pulling out 10 months in just reinforces my beliefs."
"So unhappy. They only want your money."
"Unfortunately, another warning for parents. Our experience was the same as the parent 10 months ago. Even though we cancelled within 28 days with a disclosed condition, which THEY had postponed originally with the booking, (pending further investigation), they were not prepared to return any money at all. Other parents had paid half of what we did due to the payment methods that they chosen - despite sending several emails, they would not return anything. We contacted our credit card who disputed the claim and Camps International even fought that - we were lucky that our cc company gave us a goodwill gesture and the money we lost isn't as bad. We are talking about 14 - 17 year olds here, away from home for a significant period and situations can change very quickly. I am saddened for the lack of empathy and unethical practice of the company. Seriously, look into what you are doing before booking, (which is really hard given the very short time provided), do not expect any empathy, support or help from Camps International if things do not go as planned."
"In 2016 I went on a school expedition to Uganda with Camps International. After our Camps Leader phoned the London Headquarters, they allowed us to go for a swim and a game of volleyball in the Nile. We also used Nile Water in the showers on Hairy Lemon Island. After we returned to the UK one of our group became quite ill and after some testing was diagnosed with a parasite- Schistosomiasis/Bilharzia. After the rest of the group heard of the diagnosis we all went to get tested. Most of us tested positive for the parasite. In the UK the NHS covers the medical costs, however because I moved to Germany for Uni straight after the trip, I have to pay for my medical bills of roughly 1500 Euros myself. After my Stepdad contacted Camps International to ask for my payment to be paid by them, they denied the request with the reasoning that I was lying about how they were contacted to give permission to go in the water. This, in fact, can be confirmed by members of my group and so whether they have no written record of the phone call or are trying to cover themselves, I do not know. I am now left with these extensive medical bills after Camps International acted negligent. Myself and the rest of my group were all minors at the time given in to the care of Camps International, who we were promised had excellent knowledge of dangers in the area we were to visit. After doing one google search I was able to find that it is actually common knowledge not to go swimming in the Nile, as it is a breeding site of many parasites. Had the one member of our group not become acutely ill, we would have never known about the parasite and left untreated it can do severe damage to internal organs. I am sharing this now, over a year after our expedition because only now has my medical treatment been completed. I want to warn other parents and kids who have gone on trips with Camps International to get tested and make sure you were not in contact with anything dangerous. Other groups are still being sent to the exact same camp in Uganda where we contracted the parasite so I hope that others are more wary of the organisation and get tested for various parasites upon their return."
"I went away with camps over the most recent summer (2017) to Ecuador/Galapagos. The trip provided me with many great memories to swimming with the fish to the beautiful views at all the camps that we stayed. we even started calling base camp 'home.' I was the only one from my school to go and everyone was so friendly and I wouldn't change it for the world. Thank you for a brilliant experience."
"My son has just done a month in ecuador on a school expedition. He thrived on this trip. I had my concerns as he has a few social problems. To be told your child was the best worker out there. Helpful to other students and motivating others was a joy to be heard. It helped having a expedition leader that was fantastic. With never being away from home before he didn't want to come home. I recommend the schools expeditions as you have so much support. He would love to go again. He keeps in touch with people that worked and live in ecuador. My son's group consisted of 2 schools who didn't know each other prior to the trip and they all got on like a little family. I'd recommend camps international to anybody thinking of volunteering to help others. My son put in so much and he got so much out of it. Thank you for giving my son an amazing experience."
"Both our children experienced a camps trip (Ecuador 2015 and Peru 2017). What a fabulous , professional organisation . Whilst in Peru my son needed medical assistance (His own fault) they kept me up to date with everything and ensured he was treated quickly and effectively . Both my children talk of experiences I can only dream of . Thank you for making it happen . I would 100% recommend the organisation . Totally transparent and totally get it right"
"I had the most incredible month of my life on a trip to Ecuador. It was two years ago now but I still think about it very often. The people we met, work we did and sights we saw all combined to be an incredible time."
"Best 2 weeks I've experienced! Planning to go back and help Camp Beng Mealea again! The people are so friendly and in just 2 weeks I truly made a second family. Cambodia will be my second home as I'm now in love with the country!"
"The 2017 school expedition to the Phillipines Gave me the opportunity of a life time, and allowed me to find myself, it Gave me the chance to do and see things outside my comfort zone. This experience was life changing.
"**PARENTS BEWARE*** - Please ALL parents consider the implications of potentially having to fund the trip with this company if there is any possible shortfall in your fundraising as if your circumstances change and you are unable to commit to the trip there is NO room for a compromise with them. You will NOT be able to retrieve any of the money committed even if a legitimate reason for cancellation is given.
I had hoped that the company, which prides itself in its ethical ways, would understand the circumstance my family found itself in when we had to cancel my sons participation in a trip and we had contributed money for my son's place. After we informed them that we needed to cancel, at NO time was there any compassion shown to our situation and the business head of this company reared its ugly head, throwing its own ethics out the window!! I am aware there is T&C's that cover this company from these kind of cancellation requests which we had signed but I can assure you, the decision to cancel was not taken lightly and with great reluctance though this company did not once acknowledge the reason for cancellation.
Another word of warning is that this is a company, NOT a charity and if any businesses were to sponsor your child, they are unable to declare this as a charitable donation, just in case this would affect your fundraising ideas & any impression given at any information evenings.
I am acutely aware that the company has (and probably continues) to help in the areas they are based in but if you run into any trouble and can't honour the cost of the trip, you have almost 100% lost any contribution paid.
I sincerely hope any of the money that we have paid has gone to some kind of assistance to people they advertise that they help and not into their profits of the company (which I sadly assume has in our case)
I sincerely wish any parent that has their child participating all the best of luck on the opportunity they are involved in, and do not want to adversely alarm anyone to not take part in these trips, I just want to highlight the situation that I found myself in when my circumstances changed dramatically from when we signed up for the trip and the ZERO understanding given by them."
Thank you for your comments and we’d like to say we fully appreciate and sympathise with your situation and reasons for cancelling your son’s place. We apologise that you feel this may not be the case, please let me reassure you that we do genuinely care and have tried to work with you to find an alternative solution to cancelling. We have written to you directly to respond fully to your points and in the interests of protecting your privacy, we will not discuss those in a public forum.
What we would like to explain is a bit more about who we are and what we do.
Camps International is a social enterprise – a business with philanthropic interests at its heart. In 15 years, we have supported nearly 50,000 people in Africa, Asia and South America. We are not a charity; however, we have a charity attached to the company to enable us to do even more amazing work in these rural communities.
The expeditions we run are not organised by the charity, they are organised by our social business – we make this clear on all materials and in our presentations to parents. We are exceptionally proud of what we do and achieve as a company and therefore have no reason to not want to shout about it from the rooftops.
With regards to how and where we spend the money we receive; the funds are used to enable hundreds of life-changing projects to be undertaken each year. Through these we deliver real and sustainable change around the world. We promise that every project we start we finish, without compromise.
We also provide extensive pre-expedition support for anything up to 2 years before departure for all our volunteers.
We hope this answers you questions and should you have any further comments, please contact us directly to see how we may be able to help.
Posted 1 year ago
"Just over two months ago I got back from my trip to Borneo as part of team Jati. I can't put into words just how unbelievable those 4 weeks were, it was the most amazing experience of my life and I made the most amazing friends with everyone from my group. I would just like to thank Camps International because this trip changed my life for the better. I really hope to come back soon ???? Thank you Camps ????????"
"school expedition-Borneo 2016- Team Bajau!
About two months ago I got back from an expedition volunteering in Borneo for a month. Going on this trip was the best decision I've made in my life so far.
The whole experience was amazing and I can't thank the people that I went with and who shared this experience with me enough for being so supportive and also completely hilarious!
I loved going to each of the different camps and meeting the staff and locals out there. It was amazing to be able to learn about their culture and way of life. One thing that really stood out to me was the ability that the people out there had to always be positive and to see the best in everything. It was also amazing to be welcomed so warmly by all of the locals and staff and to feel a part of this huge family.
The places that we visited were so beautiful and I feel extremely lucky to have had this opportunity. I loved getting stuck into the project work such as painting, building, beach cleans, planting, and so much more! It was a pleasure to meet every person out there and I would thank them all again for giving me such a wonderful experience if I could.
Going to Borneo was also such a massive and life changing experience for me as I learnt things about myself and realised the person that I want to be, it has also given me the courage to believe in myself and the determination to overcome barriers that may have been holding me back in the past.
Camps international were brilliant! I can't thank my team leader Sarah enough for being such a massive support and for giving me the experience of a lifetime!! she brought so much positivity to the team and I couldn't have asked for a better team leader!
I can't wait to see where my next adventure takes me.
thank you so much camps international for an experience that I will never forget!"
"Amazing, trust-worthy company and would happily go again!"
"I had the most amazing experience in Uganda this year. It was so eye-opening and I really appreciate all the work and organisation Tony, Steph and Grace did for us during the month we were there. I met so many extraordinary people and had loads of fun. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience that I'll never forget. Thank you!"
"This experience changed my life. Before going I was shy, insecure and scared of what was coming next. But now I am way more confident and eager to do more things, travel more, and change the world. This really was life changing for me. Thank you Camps International."