Trips FAQ

Trips FAQ
What countries may I choose to visit on a Sponsor Tour?

Compassion International is currently planning Sponsor Tours to developing countries where we have child development centers. Depending on the demand, we travel to each country at least once every two years.

Africa

Burkina Faso
Ghana
Ethiopia
Kenya
Rwanda
Tanzania
Uganda

Asia

Bangladesh
India/Eastern India
Indonesia/Eastern Indonesia
Philippines
Thailand

Central America and the Caribbean

Dominican Republic
El Salvador
Haiti
Honduras
Guatemala
Mexico
Nicaragua

South America

Bolivia
Brazil
Colombia
Ecuador
Peru

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What is the age range of participants on Sponsor Tours?

Our tour members include families, couples, friends and solo travelers from all over the United States. Sponsors range in age from 10 to 90. It's always a diverse group.

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Can my own children travel with me?

If your children are 10 years or older, they are welcome to join you on the Sponsor Tour. Standard pricing will apply.

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Can teenagers travel without a parent or guardian?

Yes, teenagers 14 and older can travel unaccompanied with notarized permission from both parents. These situations are case-specific and the Tours and Travel Department will provide further information if a teenager is considering traveling unaccompanied on a Sponsor Tour.

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How long will I be able to visit with my sponsored child(ren)?

We set aside one full day to spend with your sponsored child. Typically we will meet the children in a park that is centrally located in the country. We will transport your child and a staff member from their Compassion child development center to that location. Each sponsor will have a translator for the day so you and your sponsored child can enjoy communicating together.

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Can I bring gifts to my sponsored child(ren)?

Practical gifts are greatly appreciated. Our Compassion children are from countries where basic needs are pressing. Yet the simplest of toys can also brighten a child's eyes! Some suggestions for gifts include:

  • backpack or tote bag
  • simple toys, such as jump rope, jacks, marbles, toy cars
  • doll, doll clothes
  • soccer ball, Frisbee
  • picture books, coloring books and crayons
  • T-shirts from your area
  • clothes — skirt, blouse, pants, shirt, socks
  • baseball cap
  • hair ribbons, barrettes
  • soap, shampoo
  • toothbrush, toothpaste
  • hard candy (nothing that melts)
  • liquid bubbles
  • calculator (simple)
  • bookmarks
  • mini album for photos and letters you send to your child
  • pens, pencils, small sharpener, markers, paper, stickers

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Who are the trip leaders for Sponsor Tours?

We've selected highly skilled staff to lead your Sponsor Tour. Each trip will have at least two trained trip leaders and, depending on the size, may include additional staff.

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What else will I need to bring?

In addition to your personal items and any gifts for your sponsored child, please bring arts and crafts or sports supplies for visits to child development centers. We will divide these supplies between the five to six centers we plan to visit.

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What kind of clothing should I pack? Appropriate clothing to pack for a Sponsor Tour will be specified in the deposit confirmation packet. We consider the culture and climate of the country and always dress modestly.

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What is the deposit and payment schedule?

Deposit amount vary per region, are as follows: $180 for trips to the Caribbean and Central America, $280 for trips to South America, $380 for trips to Africa and Asia. Deposits are nonrefundable. All payments may be made within our tour registration system by credit or debit card, or you may mail a check. The price of the Sponsor Tour is in U.S. dollars and payments are to be made in U.S. dollars. Upon completing registration, you will receive an email that includes payment deadlines, which can also be found in the tour description tab labeled Schedule Details. Final payment for your tour will be due approximately 3 1/2 months prior to departure.

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What is the food like? On your trip, we'll dine on the local fare. Since buffets are typical you will often have the ability to choose a more familiar meal. As much as possible, we will accommodate any special diet requests you have (e.g., vegetarian and vegan), but ask that you please discuss your requests with us when registering for a Sponsor Tour.

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Is it possible to book my own international airfare and join the Sponsor Tour in the destination country?

Yes. Travelers have the option to use frequent flyer miles or points to reduce the overall trip cost. Contact us at toursinfo@us.ci.org for further information.

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What are the hotels like?

We stay at hotels that are situated in safe locations and are geared to larger groups. When in larger cities, these hotels will often have restaurants on premises and often include such amenities as pools, Internet and laundry service.

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Do I need to get any immunizations?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "You should become familiar with what steps to take and who to contact in case of a medical emergency while you are traveling." We recommend that you consult with your physician, local health department or the CDC web site www.cdc.gov/travel/ for information on required and recommended immunizations for the country where you will be traveling.

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If I plan my own trip (instead of joining a Sponsor Tour), can I still meet my sponsored child? If you would like to plan a personal trip to your child's country to visit your sponsored child, we will do everything we can to make the day an experience of a lifetime. When you visit your child, you will always have a Compassion representative with you. For more information, click here

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Will I need a passport and/or visa? And if so, how do I obtain these?

A passport is required for all travel outside of the United States. This includes all the countries affiliated with Compassion International. If needed, a visa application will be included in your deposit packet with instructions on how to apply for your visa.

If you prefer to have your passport and/or visa application processed for you, we recommend the following company:

Travisa Passport & Travel Visa Service

www.travisa.com

Washington D.C.
(800) 222-2589
Midwest
(800) 766-0608
West Coast
(800) 421-5468

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What are the penalties for canceling my reservation on a Sponsor Tour?

In the event that you need to cancel your trip, please refer to our cancellation policy below:

  • All deposits are nonrefundable.
  • 50 percent of the tour cost will be required for cancellations 59-31 days prior to the Sponsor Tour.
  • 100 percent of the tour cost will be required for cancellations 30-0 days prior to the Sponsor Tour.

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What kind of information will I receive to prepare for my trip?

After we receive your deposit for a Sponsor Tour, we'll send you a detailed document with a "clothing and equipment" list, visa application (if required), invoice, insurance information, medical certificate and other information needed to prepare for your trip. Final trip details, such as itinerary, are sent approximately three weeks before departure.

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How do I register for a Compassion Sponsor Tour?

Go to the Group Tour Page and click on the tour of your choice. That page will give details of the trip and a link to a registration form.

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What are my rooming options if I'm traveling alone?

Accommodations are based on double occupancy. If you prefer single accommodations, you may pay a single supplement fee, which is listed on the trip information page. If you are traveling alone and wish to share accommodations, we will assign a roommate of the same gender. If there is someone you would like to room with, please let us know when registering.

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Should I buy travel insurance?

Compassion International purchases a group travel insurance policy for each of our travelers. The coverage includes:

  • $50,000 Medical Benefit (no deductible)
  • $250,000 Emergency Medical Transportation
  • $25,000 Accidental Death and Dismemberment
  • $50,000 Air Flight Accidental Death
  • $750 Travel Delay ($150 per day)
  • $2,500 Baggage Loss
  • $200 Baggage Delay

You will receive a policy brochure in your final packet before departing. While the plan does include the above benefits, some benefits such as trip cancellation or interruption benefits are not included. If you are interested in protecting your travel investment and would like to add those benefits, please call Craig Robinson of Insurance Consultants International, within 10 days of time of deposit, at (800) 576-2674 or e-mail him at craig@missiontripinsurance.com.

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What does it mean to be "put on a waitlist"?

Compassion Sponsor Tours fill quickly. Often, sponsors want to register for a tour after it has filled to capacity. If this is the case, you will be put on a waitlist and notified if a space later becomes available. When space becomes available, we will call in the order of the dates people registered.

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Why are background checks required?

It is the policy of Compassion International to protect children in our programs from abuse by instituting reasonable guidelines and procedures to direct the interactions of Compassion International staff, partners, sponsors and other visitors with registered children. 

We believe that the vast majority of our sponsors share our organization's values of respecting and caring for children. In order to ensure our children's protection and determine eligibility to travel with Compassion, a simple background check is required prior to participating in a sponsor tour. The fee is included in the tour cost. Please visit ScreeningOneSponsorToursBC to complete your online background check at the time of registration. 

If you would like general information about our background check vendor, please visit http://www.screeningone.com/.

For more information regarding our commitment to child protection, please see our Child Protection Policy.

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How do you arrive at the trip price for a Sponsor Tour and what is included?

As a Compassion sponsor tour team we work diligently to provide a world-class experience at the most reasonable price possible.  We acknowledge that such a trip is often a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and for many the cost may seem an impossible hurdle. The reality is safe international travel can be pricey. We’d like to explain why these trips are created, what accounts for the cost of sponsor tours and what is included in a tour to validate these expenses.

The costs for the tour include all operational costs for the tours and visits team for on-going tour efforts that are never supplemented by sponsorships funds but, instead, through tour costs and pricing exclusively. To ensure that Compassion can consistently provide world-class, cross-cultural experiences for group travelers without using sponsorship funds, we also charge an administration fee to offset the cost of our full-time staff.

Sponsor tour costs include travel and in-country costs such as:

  • All airfare, fuel and surcharges for international flights booked under a group contract by Compassion (unless a tour is noted as “LAND ONLY”)
  • All in-country hotel costs
  • All in-country transportation costs from buses to in-country flights to varying destinations within the country you are visiting
  • All in-country meals
  • All tips, fees and entrance/exit costs as well as fun day venue costs and visits to any tourist attractions
  • Travel Insurance (cancellation insurance is not included)
  • Most importantly, the tour cost includes all expenses associated with the child/sponsor visit. This includes transportation (bus, air, taxi, train, boat), translation services, meals, lodging, activity entrance fees, etc. for the child(ren), their student center representative and parent (when desired by the parent/child).

Sponsor Tour Coverage Does Not Include:

  • Domestic ticket costs for you or your family to meet the group flying from our gateway city to our international location
  • Additional snacks, shopping, gifts for your child, or souvenirs purchased in-country
  • Travel documents such as passports and visas
  • Immunizations
  • Excess baggage charges (especially if your bags exceed weight limits or number of pieces allowed)
  • Internet, phone calls or laundry services while traveling
  • Transportation from the airport if you choose to fly “land-only” apart from the group airline contract. Although, many hotels provide shuttles and we are happy to help you make arrangements.
  • Airfare and Surcharges
  • Although we strive to negotiate competitive group airfare, we are encountering additional airline fuel surcharges applicable to each ticket and determined by the airline carrier at time of issuance. As fuel surcharges steadily increase, it is becoming difficult to estimate these costs so far in advance. Our commitment to financial stewardship and the children we serve prevents us from absorbing these additional costs. In the event these surcharges are increasingly higher than budget estimates, we may require additional funds strictly to cover these surcharges. We appreciate your understanding in this matter and will communicate any changes immediately.

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Why does Compassion offer Sponsor Tours?

Compassion International has been offering sponsor tours for over 25 years now, starting in 1986. It was born in the heart of our President Emeritus Wess Stafford because understood the transformational power of the sponsor/child relationship for both the child and the sponsor. As he pondered how to more deeply engage both the child and the sponsor in this relationship he concluded that a face-to-face experience would be best.

The main obstacle to providing such an encounter was sponsors not feeling comfortable planning their own international travel plans to a developing country and protecting the international staff in our Compassion-assisted countries from being bombarded with individual requests to meet a child. The conclusion to the matter is what we now know as a sponsor tour – a full planned, carefully designed, cross-cultural experience that is led by a trained international trip leader.

We receive requests weekly by sponsors wanting to visit their child. Some of these trips are personal trips, where the sponsor is planning their trip to the country on their own, and we help organize the visit with their child. This takes a lot of planning for that individual, and some prefer not to plan such a tedious trip, but still want to go visit their children and their country! And this is why we have created organized Sponsor tours.

The costs for the tour include all operational costs for the tours and visits team for on-going tour efforts that are never supplemented by sponsorships funds but, instead, through tour costs and pricing exclusively. To ensure that Compassion can consistently provide world-class, cross-cultural experiences for group travelers without using sponsorship funds, we also charge an administration fee to offset the cost of our full-time staff.

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What is the value in meeting my Sponsored Child?

The benefit for the child is equally significant. For a child in poverty, it is a deep-seeded belief that he/she is insignificant, powerless and hopeless. That belief perpetuates a poverty of spirit. This poverty of spirit, when met with the intense day-to-day realities children face, can only be changed by transformation. Nothing says, “You are special, valued, significant or powerful” quite like a visit from that child’s sponsor. The surprise is that the sponsor often feels the same message coming back to them from their sponsored child – this interaction is nothing short of a truly sacred encounter.

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What will I experience on a Sponsor Tour?
  • A deeper understanding of the reality and context their sponsored child experiences as a result of poverty in that developing country
  • Face to face interaction with their sponsored child/children
  • A more comprehensive awareness of how Compassion works operationally in each country (programs we offer, partnership with local churches, age-graded, locally contextualized holistic curriculum, distinctive of Compassion’s work with children in poverty, etc.)
  • Develop a passion to advance the cause of children in poverty so that we can release even more children from poverty in Jesus’ name

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