Once you choose the tour you would like to attend, the first step is to register! In order to register, you will need to have your passport information, emergency contact information and your health information for yourself and any guests. The deposit for each trip is required to complete your registration and reserve a spot on the trip.
When your registration is complete, you will receive a confirmation email. This email is important, and we ask that you read it thoroughly and keep handy as you will need it for reference in the future. Within your confirmation email, we will provide you with the necessary links to secure your background check and release forms, which each traveler is required to complete.
Each trip has a final payment deadline, which is typically three months prior to departure. Within this time, you may receive payment request emails so by the time we reach the payment deadline we have a secure amount of travelers registered for the trip.
Approximately two weeks after the final payment deadline, we mail out a “welcome box,” complete with everything you need to prepare for your trip. It will include your trip guide, luggage tags, nametag and lanyard, and some goodies to help make your time more enjoyable in your destination.
The time to wait between receiving your welcome box and departing for your trip can seem to take forever! We will send you occasional emails to make sure you are getting any remaining steps done, such as securing your travel documents and booking your domestic flights. This is also the time when your trip leader will start sending the group personalized emails to help you get ready for your upcoming adventure. Along with the emails, the trip leader will also set up a Facebook page where the group can get to know each other, ask questions, and have meaningful discussions.
Approximately three weeks prior to departure you will receive your last mailing from us, which will contain your in-country itinerary and e-tickets for your international flight. Please keep in mind that traveling internationally is an adventure, and changes to your final itinerary are almost guaranteed! It is important to remain flexible and remember that most foreign countries do not run on “American time” and delays are common!
After registration the most important thing that you will need to do is complete your background check and release form. All of this information, along with the links to complete these items will be located in your registration confirmation email.
We require all travelers 18 or older to complete a criminal background check to ensure the protection of the children in our programs. There will be a link in your confirmation email that will lead you to complete this through our vendor, ScreeningONE.
In order to travel with Compassion, each traveler must sign our Travel Release form (both adults and minors).
If you mark a box in the medical checklist during registration, we will also require that you fill out a physician’s release.
Passports: All travel outside of the United States requires a valid passport, so it is important that you don’t delay in securing this document. You may choose to go through an agency or through the post office. You can obtain a passport application and instructions on how to apply online here.
Your passport must be valid for at least six months after you return from your tour. It is possible that travelers may not board the plane if a passport expires too soon to the return date.
Ensure that your passport is in good shape. Tattered, torn or ripped passports may prohibit you from traveling.
Please note that all travel documents are each traveler’s responsibility. If your document limits your travels, Compassion is not liable for any of these charges and will not be able to refund your trip cost.
Visas: The following countries require a visa to gain entrance:
- Africa – all countries (Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, Togo, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda)
- South America – Bolivia and Brazil
- Asia – Bangladesh, India (IN and EI), and Sri Lanka
Getting a visa can be daunting! We will help you through each step of the way, when it is time to apply for your visa. These instructions will come via email, so be sure to watch your inbox!
We will include your international trip itinerary in your registration confirmation email, so you can purchase your domestic flights accordingly. We recommend waiting to purchase your domestic tickets until six to eight weeks before departure since airlines frequently have flight changes that can interfere with your international connection from your domestic flight. It is important to leave at least four hours between your domestic and international flights. If there are any significant changes to our international flight itinerary, we make every attempt to notify you as quickly as possible.
When you receive your e-tickets in your final mailing (approximately three weeks prior to departure) please be sure to check your name on the ticket. It is critical that the name matches (or will match) your passport. If they do not match, you may not be able to board the plane for your flight! Any errors incurring cost will be your responsibility, and Compassion is not responsible for any costs associated with airline changes.
As baggage policies are constantly changing, we ask that each traveler check with each airline for current information on baggage allowances and policies. Any baggage charges are your responsibility. We have included some links to our common airlines below, for your convenience.
You may also want to review information regarding general travel and security, which you can access at tsa.gov.
We wish we could help you make personal medical decisions, but we can’t. Legally, we are not allowed to offer any kind of medical advice, so please don’t ask. Be aware that some countries require certain immunizations to gain entrance into the country. We will be sure to tell you if a vaccine is required for entrance. You can find current information on required immunizations for travel at your local health department, travel clinic or online at cdc.gov/travel. If you need to locate a travel clinic, visit passporthealthusa.com for your travel health needs. We recommend you consult your physician before the tour. Also, make sure you carry your immunization record with you during the trip.
Compassion International has contracted with Chubbs & Sons and International SOS, which are two industry leaders to provide Travel Medical and Security Assistance Services to our trip members! Your trip with Compassion International automatically includes the following insurance:
- $50,000 Medical Benefit (no deductible) for urgent and emergency care
- $500,000 Medical Evacuation & Repatriation
- $100,000 Security Evacuation
- $50,000 Accidental Death & Dismemberment
*This plan only provides coverage during the duration of your trip
This plan does not include trip cancellation/delay, lost or delayed baggage, or cancellation coverage. If you would like to purchase additional insurance coverage, we recommend contacting Insurance Consultants International at: missiontripinsurance.com/compassion, by phone at 800-576-2674, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please note that we register each traveler with the U.S. State Department in case of an emergency, so they are aware who is traveling with us prior to departure.