Custom Visits Preparation

Preparing for a trip to another country can be overwhelming! We hope you find the following information beneficial as you prepare for your Custom Visit. As you begin exploring the preparation page, please also take a minute to look at our general visit guidelines. We want to ensure you have a safe and enjoyable experience.

Conversation Starters and Activities

A visit is a very exciting event and a day you will never forget. It is completely normal to feel a little nervous.

When we confirm your visit, you will be provided with an itinerary that includes some fun activities you can share with your sponsored child. Your Compassion host will be there to help you both feel comfortable and to translate if needed. You’ll likely have the opportunity to share a meal and give gifts to your child. Don’t be surprised if your child’s family has a gift for you too—you are a special part of their life! Take a lot of pictures, as this will be a day to remember!

Please keep in mind that your child may be a little overwhelmed or shy at the beginning of your visit. Feel free to take a brief look below at conversation starters and activity ideas for you to consider using during your visit.

Recommended Packing List

With a Custom Visit you should plan your packing list depending on the activities you have planned during travel. As you do so, please bear in mind that each country has different cultural norms and traditions. For example, in some cultures shorts or sleeveless tops are not considered appropriate attire in public, though you can generally dress more casually while at your hotel or resort. So please be sure to look into appropriate attire and customs for your destination country.

You may also want to leave a little room in your luggage to bring some gifts to your child and their family. On your return you can fill that extra space with some souvenirs of your travel.

It’s a good idea to double check with your airline about their carry-on and checked luggage allowances, and be careful to avoid putting anything in your carry-on luggage (such as sharp objects or larger containers of liquid) that could slow you down as you pass through security.

Although everyone’s travel needs vary, here is a suggested packing list to help get you started.

Get to Know the Country

Compassion arranges visits to every country where we work. Each culture and country is different, so your Visit Specialist here in the U.S. will work with you personally, and will coordinate all the details of your visit with our field office in the country where you will be visiting.

Our PDF country guides contain useful travel information, such as weather, shopping, food, and general statistics, to help you learn more about the country where your sponsored child lives.

General Travel Information

Sponsors must obtain their own travel documents for a custom visit. We encourage you to read the following information regarding passports, visa and other useful international travel information and recommendations.

Gift Ideas

The best gift you can give children and staff is your time and care. If you would like to bring gifts, however, you are more than welcome to do so! We recommend filling a backpack for your sponsored child. This is a good measure of items to take and is convenient. Keep in mind that Compassion children are from areas where basic needs are pressing.

Compassion centers are a safe place where children are known, loved, and protected. In addition to your personal items and any gifts for your sponsored child, feel free to bring arts and crafts or sports equipment for visits to child development centers. See below for some ideas on practical and fun gifts you can bring for sponsored children and student centers.

A parent/guardian will accompany your sponsored child on Visit Day, so don’t forget to bring a gift or two for your child’s family members!

*It can be easy to go overboard when choosing gifts for your child and their family. We suggest bringing a backpack and using that to fill with gifts, which keeps the child from being overwhelmed, and also assists in giving the child an easy way to carry the gifts home without putting them at risk.

Compassion Links

Below are some links that may be helpful as you explore our website.