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Terms and conditions


1. Scope, contracting party

1.1 These terms and conditions apply to all package holidays agreed by the organiser ESL Education SA ("ESL") and the traveller[1] and they shall govern the content of any package holiday contracts that they form the base of. 

These terms and conditions do not apply to high school programmes. 

1.2 The provisions of the Swiss Federal Act on Package Holidays (SR 944.3) of 18 June 1993 (PauRG) apply in addition to these terms and conditions.


2. Registration and conclusion of contract

2.1 Interested travellers can request individual package holidays quotes from ESL. A package holiday quote is non-binding and does not yet represent an offer to conclude a contract but merely informs the traveller of individual booking options, possible services and expected costs. There is no entitlement to receive a travel cost quote. If ESL decides to provide a travel cost quote, ESL will also send a copy of these terms and conditions as well as a form informing the traveller about their rights if a contract is concluded.

The traveller can register verbally, in writing, online, by e-mail, fax or by post. It is recommended to use the registration form provided in ESL's travel cost quote and to email it to ESL ("registration form"). By registering, the traveller makes a binding declaration to participate in a package holiday. When registering a minor, the registration is only binding if signed by the legal guardian of the minor or if a written permission is enclosed. The traveller's registration will be based on the travel quote shown in the registration form and is also the declaration of accepting these terms and conditions.

2.2 ESL accepts the registration by sending a confirmation of registration ("booking confirmation") to the traveller or their legal guardian on a permanent data carrier (e.g. via e-mail), which makes the package holiday contract binding. A paper copy of such booking confirmation will only be generated when the contracting party is present in person. The booking confirmation sent by ESL contains the payment schedule and payment terms; it is also the invoice. If no booking confirmation is sent within 14 days of registration, the traveller has been rejected for the package holiday and is no longer bound by their registration.

The traveller or their legal guardian must check immediately if the personal details shown in the booking confirmation (see section 2.3) and the trip details are correct and they must inform ESL of any errors (such as misspelled name) without delay. Failure to do so could be counted as contributory negligence.

2.3 The traveller has the right to cancel the contract, as contract negotiations are usually started by the traveller’s enquiry (article 40 a et seqq. Swiss Code of Obligations, OR). However and by way of exception, it is possible to cancel the contract if the contract was concluded with both contracting parties being present, such as during trade fairs, information days or as part of the "ESL is coming to you" programme. There is, however, no right of withdrawal even if the oral negotiations based on which the contract is concluded were conducted following the traveller's prior order (that is on the traveller’s initiative). In the absence of a right of withdrawal, any declarations made in connection with the contract are binding.

The traveller has the statutory rights of withdrawal and termination (Art. 10 PauRG) as well as the contractual rights of withdrawal in accordance with section 9 of these terms and conditions. 


3. Contractual obligations of ESL, scope of services

3.1 As the tour operator, ESL will provide the contractually agreed travel services. ESL has the right to have the contractual services provided by local service providers, for example language schools. If ESL provides contractual services through service providers, ESL will carefully select any language schools, if necessary through its local partners.

The specific scope of services is determined based on the individual agreements in the booking confirmation sent after registration following the package holiday quote. 

3.2 ESL only owes a certain success of the package holiday or a certain type or quality of accommodation or language school if this is expressly guaranteed. 

ESL will inform the traveller of general passport and visa requirements as well as any health-related formalities for the country of travel (e.g. compulsory vaccinations and/or certificates proving negative tests for certain pathogens) prior to concluding the contract, including the approximate time limits for obtaining any necessary visas and any changes in this respect (Art. 4 PauRG).


4. Cooperation and conduct obligations of the traveller, notification and remedy in the event of issues, setting a deadline before termination

4.1 The traveller is obliged to arrive on time at the location of the package holiday. ESL does not offer any transportation services, especially not flights. When organising your transport options, ESL recommends that you only book flights which can be changed free of charge or at low cost and to allow a considerable amount of time for connecting flights. 

The traveller acknowledges that the language schools have rules of conduct and admission conditions (such arranging for a certain insurance cover), which are made clear at the time of the respective booking and which are to be confirmed by the signature of the traveller and their legal guardian.

4.2 The traveller has full responsibility for ensuring that their health allows their participation in the package holiday.

Should issues arise, the traveller is obliged to notify ESL immediately and to request resolution of such issues within a reasonable period of time. The contact details of ESL (contact persons before and during the trip) are also included in these terms and conditions. If the traveller demands issues to be resolved, ESL will attempt to solve any actual issues by providing an at least equivalent replacement. ESL may refuse to try and resolve the situation if doing so is impossible or would cause disproportionate costs when taking into account the extent of the issue and the value of the service concerned. If this is the case, ESL will offer an appropriate replacement, provided that the issue affects a significant part of the services. If ESL is unable to resolve the situation because the traveller failed or delayed their request through their own fault, the traveller has no right to a reduction of the travel price, to compensation for damages or to reimbursement of expenses in accordance with Art. 12 et seqq. PauRG.

4.3 If ESL does not resolve the situation within a reasonable period of time, the traveller may only cancel the package holiday contract after any statutory limitation periods have expired, should the package holiday be unduly affected by the issue at hand. It is recommended to give notice of termination in writing or via e-mail. There is no need to set a deadline if ESL refuses to resolve the situation or if immediate remedial action is necessary. In the event of cancellation by the traveller, ESL retains the right to the agreed package holiday price in respect of the services already rendered and those still to be provided until the end of the package holiday.

4.4 The traveller is responsible for ensuring that their travel documents (e.g. passport, visas, health certificates) are up-to-date and valid, that customs and foreign exchange regulations are complied with and that any insurance cover required by the destination country has been arranged, if necessary. The traveller is responsible for any vaccination and infection protection required by law or the authorities in the destination country and the traveller should obtain information regarding additional recommended infection and vaccination protection beyond that outlined in section 3.4 in good time. 


5. Payment method

5.1 Upon receipt of the registration confirmation and invoice (SectionClause 2.4), the traveller makes a deposit of USD300/CAD 500/CHF 500/EUR 300 the travel price, which is due within 7 days of the invoice date and will be credited to the total price. The remaining balance is due 30 days before the contractually agreed start of the journey. 

If the contract is concluded 30 days or less before the contractually agreed start of the journey, the total amount is due immediately after receipt of the booking confirmation and invoice.

5.2 Compensation in the event of cancellations or rebooking fees and other charges are payable immediately and must always be paid no later than by the agreed start of the journey.

If the traveller fails to pay any amounts when they are due and if ESL has unsuccessfully sent payment reminders and set deadlines for payments, ESL shall have the right to withdraw from the contract and to charge all reasonable cancellation costs based on the standard cancellation fees of section 9.2 to the traveller. This does not apply if ESL itself is not willing and able to provide the contractually agreed services in due form or if the traveller has a legal or contractual right of retention. 

5.3 In cases where compensation is to be paid in accordance with section § 9.2 after the traveller has withdrawn from the contract, such compensation is to be offset against the advance payment. Any differences are due immediately after having been invoiced. 


6. Changes to the travel price and to other contractual conditions after conclusion of the contract

6.1 ESL reserves the right to unilaterally increase the travel price after the contact was concluded if the increase results directly from exchange rate fluctuations after conclusion of the contract that are not foreseeable for ESL and that result in a substantial increase in the costs of the package holiday, unless the travel price increases by less than ten per cent of the original price. In this case, the travel price increases by the amount that corresponds to the difference in the travel price per person caused by the exchange rate fluctuation compared to the calculation when the contract was concluded. ESL will notify the traveller in a clear and understandable manner via a permanent data carrier (e.g. via e-mail) of the price increase and its reasons; ESL will also show how the price increase was calculated. A price increase is only effective if it meets the above requirements and if the traveller is notified of the increase by no later than 21 days before the start of the journey. Any higher price charged at a later point is not valid.

6.2 If the potential price increase exceeds ten percent of the travel price, ESL cannot implement this increase unilaterally. However, ESL may quote the traveller a corresponding price increase and may require that the traveller either accept the stated price increase or withdraw from the contract within a time limit specified by ESL; such time limit shall be reasonable. After the time limit set by ESL has expired, the proposed price increase will be deemed accepted. 

6.3 ESL reserves the right to unilaterally change the terms of the contract other than the price of the trip if, due to circumstances arising after the contract was concluded, ESL can only organise the package holiday subject to a significant change to essential features of the travel services (Art. 8 (f) or 11 PauRG) or only by deviating from specific requirements of the traveller which have become a part of the contract. ESL will notify the traveller in a clear and understandable manner via a permanent data carrier (e.g. via e-mail) of the change to the contract and any potential reduction in travel price. Such a change to the contract is only effective if it meets the aforementioned requirements and if the traveller is notified hereof before the start of the journey. No changes may be made to the contract after the journey has started.

6.4 ESL may only make unilateral changes to the contract if these are insignificant and are not in violation of good faith principles. In particular, insignificant changes are changes to course and leisure time options made to comply with local health and safety regulations.

6.5 ESL cannot unilaterally change major aspects of the contract. However, ESL may quote the traveller a corresponding change to the contract and may require that the traveller either accept the stated change to the contract or withdraw from the contract within a time limit specified by ESL; such time limit shall be reasonable. Other changes to the contract may not be proposed after the journey has started. Any changes to the contract proposed after the start of the journey are invalid. After the time limit set by ESL has expired, the proposed change to the contract will be deemed accepted.

6.6 ESL may also offer the traveller the option of participating in another package holiday ("replacement tour") when proposing a price increase (section 6.3) or any other (significant) change to the contract (section 6.5). ESL will notify the traveller in a clear and understandable manner via a permanent data carrier (e.g. via e-mail) of the replacement tour.

6.7  If the traveller does not accept the proposed change and withdraws from the contract in accordance with sections 6.3 or 6.5, ESL will refund payments already made within 14 days (Art. 10 (3) c) PauRG). The right of the traveller to claim damages and compensation of futile expenses (Art. 10 (4) PauRG) remains unaffected. If the traveller accepts the proposed change to the contract (section 6.3 or 6.5) or is willing to take part in a replacement tour (section 6.6) and if the journey is not of at least equivalent quality or if it is of equivalent quality but involves lower costs for ESL, ESL will refund the difference. 


7. Change requests of the traveller after conclusion of contract ("rebookings")

ESL will use reasonable efforts to try to fulfil the traveller’s change requests after conclusion of the contract, (e.Bg with regard to travel date, accommodation, host family, type of catering, supporting programme ("rebookings"), but there is no entitlement to the implementation of desired changes. ESL charges a rebooking fee of USD/CAD/CHF/EUR 50.00 per rebooking process for rebookings made, (USD/CAD/CHF/EUR 100.00 for any reductions to the language course length), unless the traveller proves that ESL has incurred lower or no costs as a result of the rebooking.


8. Not using certain services 

If the traveller does not make use of certain services for reasons that only the travelleris responsible for (e.g. illness or inability to travel, early return) and if no fault lies with ESL, the traveller cannot claim partial refunds, provided that ESL was prepared to provide the services in due form. 


9. Cancellation by the traveller before departure, compensation for cancellation

9.1 The traveller may withdraw from the contract at any time before departure. 

If the traveller withdraws from the contract before the start of the journey or does not travel, ESL loses the right to the agreed travel price but may demand adequate compensation for any arrangements made and expenses incurred insofar as the cancellation by the traveller was not caused by ESL and/or if there are no unavoidable exceptional circumstances arising in the destination country or in its immediate vicinity that would have a significant negative impact on the package holiday. Unavoidable exceptional circumstances are circumstances outside the control of the party referring to them that could not have been avoided even if all reasonable precautions had been taken. It is recommended that you declare your withdrawal in writing or by e-mail.

9.2 ESL has established appropriate standard compensation rates that take into account the period between receipt of the cancellation notice and the start of the journey, the expected savings of ESL, the expected reimbursement by the service provider and the expected gains through other use of the services in proportion to the total price as follows:

up to 30 days before departure      USD300/CAD500/CHF500/EUR 300

between 29 and 22 days before departure 30 %

between 21 and 15 days before departure 40 %

between 14 and 7 days before departure 50 %

between 6 days and 1 day before departure and

on the date of departure and for no-shows 90 %

9.3 The traveller has the right to prove that ESL incurred lower or no compensation costs on a case-by-case basis. ESL also reserves the right to demand a higher compensation calculated individually instead of the above standard compensation, provided that ESL can prove that substantially higher expenses than the applicable flat rate were incurred; this especially if the service providers abroad do not offer refunds or only refund small amounts in the event of cancellations. In this case, ESL is obliged to provide details and proof for the compensation ESL demands, taking into account any savings and gains resulting from ELS using the services in another form.

Payments made towards the travel price that exceed the payable compensation in terms of sections 9.2 or 9.4 will be reimbursed by ESL. In the event that ESL has to reimburse the traveller following a cancellation, ESL will arrange such reimbursement immediately, but within no more than 14 days after cancellation.

9.4 The traveller has the right to nominate a third party as a substitute traveller via a permanent data carrier (e.g. via e-mail) within a reasonable time before departure; this third party will become the contracting party. ESL may reject the nomination of such third party if the third party does not meet the contractual conditions. In the event of a transfer of contract, the third party and the traveller shall be jointly and severally liable for the travel price and any reasonable additional costs arising from the transfer of the contract.


10. Insurance

ESL points out that the traveller may arrange for travel cancellation insurance or an insurance to cover the costs of any support needed, including a return transport in case of accident, illness or death (Art. 4 PauRG), which will pay the cancellation fees in accordance with section 9.2 as per insurance conditions. ESL recommends travel cancellation insurance and can arrange such insurance as a third party service. ESL also recommends arranging for adequate health and accident insurance cover.


11. Withdrawal by ESL and exclusion from contractual services 

11.1 ESL may withdraw from the contract before departure if unavoidable exceptional circumstances prevent ESL from fulfilling the contract (section 9.2). 

ESL will give notice of cancellation without undue delay after becoming aware of the reason for the cancellation. In the event of cancellation, the traveller is entitled to reimbursement of any payments towards the travel price already made but not to additional compensation. 

11.2 In the event of cancellation pursuant to section 11.1, any payments already made will be refunded immediately but at the latest within 14 days, unless the traveller wishes to participate in another equivalent tour for which ESL can offer capacities. In this case, any payments already made will be counted towards such replacement tour.

If the traveller violates their contractual obligations or permanently interrupts the package holiday in such a manner that ESL can no longer be expected to continue the contractual relationship until its agreed end under consideration of all circumstances of the individual case and weighing the interests of either party, in particular any protection and due diligence obligations of ESL towards other language students, ESL shall have the right to exclude the traveller from any further contractual services if a warning has remained unsuccessful. In this case, ESL remains entitled to the travel price, taking into account any savings, refunds or gains from any other use of the services. Additional costs for an early return home shall be borne by the traveller. 


12. Limitation of liability

12.1 Contractual claims for damages of the traveller and their guardian are limited to double the travel price with the exception of injury to life, limb or health and provided that ESL is not culpably responsible for these. In all other respects, the exceptions under Art. 15 PauRG apply.

ESL is not liable for the timely completion of passport and visa application processes, even if ESL is arranging for these, unless ESL has culpably violated its contractual obligations. ESL shall only be liable for any damage resulting from failing to comply with the provisions of section 4.4 if ESL has culpably violated its information obligations.

12.2 ESL shall not be liable for any damage in connection with third-party services ESL facilitated (e.g. insurance, excursions, events) insofar as these third parties are obviously not providing contractually agreed services of ESL and if these services were booked separately. However, ESL will be liable if ESL violates its notification, information or organisation duties.


13. Data protection 

Personal data the traveller made available to ESL will be processed and used electronically, if necessary to fulfil the contract. All personal data will be processed in accordance with the Swiss Data Protection Act. For further information on the processing of personal data, see the privacy policy of ESL under:


14. Governing Law

14.1 This contract, including the form of its conclusion and all rights and obligations arising from it, shall be governed by Swiss law if the traveller has their habitual residence in Switzerland. In this case, jus cogens provisions of the country in which the traveller has their habitual residence remain in force if the traveller is not acting as an employee or self-employed individual (“consumer”). If the traveller does not have their habitual residence in a Member State of the EU or in Switzerland, the law applicable at the place of business of ESL shall govern the contract.

14.2 Should individual provisions in this agreement or parts thereof be ineffective or unenforceable, the remainder of this agreement will remain valid. 


15. Exchange rate - Last minute fee - ESL bank fees

In case the Registration Form is received two (2) weeks or less before the travel date, it will be considered a last minute registration and an additional cost of 30 USD/CAD/CHF/EUR will be added. The total value of the course will be converted into USD/CAD/CHF/EUR on the day the Registration Confirmation is sent to the client. We apply an exchange rate based on the interbank rate of the month with an increase to cover exchange rate risks. The option to pay in another currency must be definitely requested at the time of sending the Registration Form. If a change of currency is requested after receipt the Registration Confirmation, a fee of USD/CAD/CHF/EUR 50 will be charged for the change of contract. All invoices will be charged USD/CAD/CHF/EUR 10 for the bank charges for transfers made by ESL to its partner schools. 


© These terms and conditions are protected by copyright. Last updated: March 2024 (D525)


The tour operator is:

ESL Education SA

Escaliers du Grand-Pont 7

1003 Lausanne – Switzerland

CHE - 403.693.737 TVA

E-mail: [email protected]



[1] To improve readability, any gendered term shall also include any other gender identity. Any personal pronouns used shall include all gender identities.

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