Are flights included in the tuition?
Since students join us from all over the world, the cost of transportation to and from the destination country is not included in the program tuition. Additionally, students attending our Ecuador/Galapagos, Thailand, or India student travel tours should be aware that the in-country flights (our transportation to get to the Galapagos and to the Amazon in Ecuador, from Bangkok to Chiang Mai in Thailand, and from Delhi to Dharamsala in India) are best booked with in-country agencies, so GoBeyond organizes and pre-pays for these flights on our families’ behalf. Once all arrangements have been made, families are invoiced to reimburse these fees. Typically these additional flight costs are $800 for Ecuador/Galapagos students, $130 for Thailand students, and $170 for India students.
Who should we contact to book travel?
Helping to coordinate our students’ volunteer service programs is of vital importance – and a mammoth task! For this reason, we strongly suggest that all families start by contacting our travel coordinator, Leah Hernandez of TRC Travel Center (T: +1.281.528.7727 or 800.329.9000 • E: email@example.com). Even if you are not originating in the U.S., Leah will be able to provide options and guidance.
When should I book flights?
We suggest you wait until March 20th, and here’s why. The quality of the experience is in large part defined by the makeup of the student team, and unfortunately we can’t determine the status of a specific journey or session until we receive the appropriate number of enrollments to guarantee a great experience (which is typically no fewer than six). Therefore, unless you select a ticket fare type or flight insurance policy that allows flexibility for date modifications, refunds, or credits, we suggest that families wait until after March 20th to book their international flights.
What is the preferred itinerary for U.S.-based students?
Each year, GoBeyond works with TRC Travel Center to select a preferred itinerary from a designated U.S. or Canadian hub airport to/from the destination country. GoBeyond strongly encourages U.S.-based families to book on our recommended route, so that as many students as possible can fly together as a team. Please bear in mind, however, that GoBeyond has no control over the number of participants that choose to fly on a journey’s preferred flight itinerary. Depending on the desires of other participants, the number of students traveling on the recommended route can vary greatly.
What about an alternate itinerary that suits us better?
Since students come from all over the U.S. and world, it is not required that students book on our preferred itinerary. For non-U.S. based students, those looking to use frequent flier miles, or others who are not booking with TRC Travel Center or on our preferred flight itinerary, please contact our office prior to booking to ensure you are arriving and departing the destination country at appropriate times. Note that the journey start date is the date upon which GoBeyond’s preferred flight itinerary departs the hub airport in the U.S. or Canada. Due to time zone differences in certain program locations such as Iceland, Spain, China, Thailand, Australia, and India, the preferred flight may actually land in the host country the day after. The journey end date is the date upon which the GoBeyond preferred flight departs the host country.
Does GoBeyond provide support on travel days?
Yes. We understand that travel days can be stressful for both parents and students, so no matter what time of the day or night, our office team actively monitors and supports our participants during travel. We require students to travel with a mobile phone with domestic data capability so we can monitor their progress and communicate directly if necessary. For certain flight connections, GoBeyond also offers on-site airport assistance, yet our experience has shown that being active and available to everyone electronically is often more effective in quickly troubleshooting snags than being physically present in just one location.
- Preferred Itinerary (Outbound flight) – In some instances, particularly for the first session of the summer, GoBeyond has a group leader who flies with the students on the preferred itinerary at the start of the student travel tour. When a group leader is not able to travel with the students on this outbound flight, GoBeyond will typically hire a representative for the U.S. or Canadian hub airport who is responsible for helping troubleshoot any flight/connection issues that may arise.
- Preferred Itinerary (Inbound flight) – On occasion, particularly for the last session of the summer, a group leader will return to the U.S. on the preferred flight with the students. If a staff member is not able to return with the students, GoBeyond will not typically hire an in-airport representative for the hub airport in the U.S. or Canada. This is due to the lack of an on-site representative’s ability to attend to customs/immigration issues and ongoing connection coordination when they do not arrive with the students.
For more information on airport assistance, please contact our office. We will be glad to let you know what type of support we typically offer for your student volunteer service program (specific plans will only be available nearer the travel date).