The Value of a Custom Visit - Compassion International

Custom Visits The Value of a Custom Visit
The Value of a Visit

Through your support and letters, you have built a special connection with your child. Now, standing in your sponsored child’s home and meeting the family (and maybe their goats, too), the things you’ve read about in your child’s letters come to life. From now on, when you pray for your child and the family, their faces will be vivid in your mind’s eye.

This is the value of a Custom Visit. And there is an even greater value for your sponsored child.

When you chose your sponsored child, you sent a powerful message: "You matter." A personal visit from you turns up the volume on that message! The time and effort you took to travel around the globe just to meet your child shouts, "You’re worth it!"

That’s a message that can transform a child living in poverty. It can be the inspiration to get through tough times, to stay in school, and to see hope in the future. It can even help a child realize that her Heavenly Father also knows her name… and has gone to even greater lengths to reach her.

Even if you don't have a sponsored child in the country where you'll be traveling, you can still experience the joy of seeing Compassion's ministry in action by visiting a Compassion Child Development Center

Why a Custom Visit  

We call them Custom Visits because each one is unique. From where you meet your child, to the friends and family you bring along, and the time of year you travel, a Custom Visit lets you make the choices. These are some the ways you can craft your own special experience.

A sponsor reads a book to his sponsored child
Getting Started

To visit your sponsored child on a custom visit, be sure to submit a Visit Request Form a minimum of 8 weeks in advance of your visit date.

To Contact Custom Visits

Please call (800) 336-7542 ext. 2, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. MT, or send an e-mail to

You plan your travel.
A woman and girl sit on the ground facing each other with their hands in a prayer position

You travel at the time of year and in the way that works best for you. Compassion arranges only the day of your visit with your child, giving you the opportunity to determine what the rest of your trip will look like. You might be going to your child’s country as part of a mission trip, or maybe a family vacation. Since you arrange the flights, hotels, and activities for your trip, you can control the cost and details of your travel. Maybe you have a backpacker’s budget in mind or maybe you want to go first class… it’s up to you. (A travel agent may be a great help in planning a trip you’ll love.)

You choose a visit site.
a man holding a baby

In most cases, you can choose to visit your child’s home and see the Compassion project they attend. It’s a great way to experience daily life in your child’s world. Or, if you prefer, you have the option of asking that your child be brought to the location where you are staying in-country, where you could enjoy a fun day at your hotel’s swimming pool, or maybe do some sight-seeing together. Even a visit to a local mall can be a great adventure for a child who has never had that experience. Our staff in your child’s country know which activities children there enjoy. With your preferences in mind, they will create a suggested itinerary for your approval.

You choose your travel companions.
Compassion sponsors stand with a sponsored child in front of her house

Your family and friends, including young children, are welcome to join you on your Custom Visit. There is no age minimum. The service fee for a Custom Visit is just $25, and covers you and one guest, and you can add other guests for only $10 each. (The service fee does not include background checks or the expenses of the actual visit day itself.

Your Compassion Host is there for you.
A Compassion host wraps her arm around a visiting sponsor

A trained Compassion Host will be with you throughout your visit. Your host can pick you up on the day of your visit and bring you to your visit location, act as interpreter if needed, and help you connect with your sponsored child. Your host can also answer cultural questions and give you deeper insight into Compassion’s ministry in your child’s country. You can choose to visit as a group

You choose the type of visit.

You can choose to visit as an individual.

You can visit your sponsored child on your own or bring friends or family members along as guests on your Custom Individual Visit. Even if you’re traveling solo, your host will be there to help you have a great visit.

You can choose to visit as a group.

If you have friends who sponsor children in the same country as your child, and you would like to visit your sponsored children at the same time, you can also create a Custom Group Visit.

You can visit a Student Center.

If you will be traveling to a country where Compassion works, but you don’t have a sponsored child in that country, you can still get an up-close look at the ministry of Compassion by visiting a Compassion Child Development Center, usually in the same city as our Country Office.

Should You Plan a Custom Visit or Take a Group Trip?

If you would rather have all the details of your travel planned for you and share your adventure with other Compassion sponsors, you may prefer a Group Trip.

Unlike a Custom Visit, Group Trips have fixed dates and costs that include most of your travel, such as flights, hotels, meals and activities in the country. Although the cost of a Group Sponsor Trip is significant, all the details of your travel are planned for you, and you would be traveling within a group.

On a Group Trip, your sponsored child (along with those of the other sponsors on the trip) will be brought to the location of the group for one special fun day. You will also have the chance to see Compassion at work in various settings and to immerse yourself in the culture of the country.

For more information on Group Trips, including upcoming trips and cost, please see our Group Trips page. For the minimum age of participants and other questions, please see the Group Trips FAQs.

Custom Visits Testimonials
A woman with her sponsored child

When we arrived at the project, our Compassion host called Guadalupe's name, and before I knew it, she was running out the door and in my arms. In that moment, the Compassion sponsorship was so much more than letters mailed to a far-off place, or $38 on my credit card statement. It was a real live little girl, with curly hair, a mischievous smile, and some of the brightest eyes I've ever seen. — Meagan

Three young adults pose for the camera

My relationship with Alpha is really special because he is close to the same age as me and so we can be real friends as opposed to just sponsored and sponsor. We had such a great time taking selfies together and just goofing around-it was a totally different experience than meeting my younger kids who are a bit shyer and more reserved. Alpha was so excited to have me there that he couldn't stop holding my hand the whole time. It was a really really special visit. Alpha's whole family dressed up and came out to see me, they really welcomed me as part of the family and I felt so comfortable with them I could have stayed for days! — Laura

A sponsor hugs her sponsored child

I didn’t have the time or the funds for one of your tours, so it was wonderful to find out I could do an individual visit! My host and the driver made me feel completely safe as we travelled through the countryside of Rwanda to Angie’s home. It meant so much to get out of the city and see where she actually lives. Thank you again! PS. A big “Thank-you” to my visit specialist who helped set everything up on the US side… she sent me all the info I needed and was so nice to work with! — Bonnie

A man and woman show a folder to a young boy

We saw his eyes light up as he saw us. He and his family hugged and thanked us for all we were doing for him and his family. We were warmly welcomed by the Compassion staff at the site. We were shown Jose’s classroom and his binder with records not only of his grades, but his health checks, family home visits and more. We have had excellent Compassion Visit Hosts, who have helped us make the most of our day with Jose, and who are always looking out for us as we are in a foreign country. José has a treasure box with letters we have written and crafts we have done together—that’s his treasure! We encourage you to write to your Compassion child. If at all possible, visit your Compassion child. It is life-changing both for you and your Compassion child! — Lois and Brad

A women hugs two young girls

Meeting my Compassion sponsored child on an individual visit has been the most impactful experience of my life. Nothing can compare to seeing with your own eyes how your child lives while experiencing the difference the church and Compassion project are making in the future of the community. The deep understanding and true friendship that develops during a visit to your sponsored child is worth every penny you spend to get there. As much as that visit will bless your sponsored child and their family, you will come away with a changed heart and a renewed passion for these precious children. — Jessica

Meet Your Custom Visits Team  

Our Visits Specialists are a small, hand-picked team of people who love children, love sponsors, and love helping them connect! All of our Visits Specialists have traveled internationally and they understand the kinds of questions you are likely to have when planning your visit. They work closely with the staff in each of our field offices around the world helping coordinate the details of every visit. Each one of our Visits Specialists has helped literally hundreds (and in some cases thousands) of sponsors arrange that one special day that will be remembered for a lifetime.


Custom Visit & Project Manager

Nicole has been at Compassion since 2003 and has been part of the Trips & Visits Department since 2007. She has traveled to more than eight Compassion countries, and met more than 20 correspondent and sponsored children during several Custom Visits. Nicole is married, has two children, and enjoys horseback riding in her spare time.


Individual Visits Specialist

Joni came to Compassion in 2005 and joined the Compassion Experience Department in 2008. She has had the opportunity to travel to Guatemala, the Dominican Republic, Colombia and Burkina Faso. She has met two of her sponsored children, and she can attest it is a life-changing experience. Joni loves the mountains, volunteering at her church and reading. "Children are a gift from the Lord; They are a reward from Him." — Psalm127:3 (NLT)


Jessica (Jesse)
Individual Visits Specialist

Jesse has been at Compassion since 2013, serving in many different roles, and she began working as a Visits Specialist in 2015. She has had the opportunity to travel to Guatemala, Zambia, Uganda, and all over Europe. She was born in Arizona and raised in many different states. As a missionary kid in Russia for many years, she developed a love for traveling and cannot wait to see where God will take her next. She now lives in Colorado Springs and enjoys playing volleyball, reading, learning new languages, hanging out with friends and family, and going on adventures!


Individual Visits Specialist

Katie joined Compassion as a sponsor in 2003, and came to work for the ministry in 2005. She has been an Individual Visits Specialist since 2007, and has arranged visits for thousands of sponsors and children! Katie was born and raised in Colorado and is married to her high school sweetheart. "But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." — Isaiah 40:31 (NIV)


Individual Visits Specialist

Charla began serving in Compassion’s Contact Center in 2013 and joined the Individual Visits team in 2016. Since working in Visits, she has developed a deep appreciation for everyone who works to arrange sponsor visits and trips, as well as the sponsors who go to see their children. She was born and raised in Hawaii, enjoys spending time with her children, reading, traveling, and being outdoors (only when it is not cold).