Trip Preparation List

Below you will find a checklist of important preparations you will need to make for your trip with GEEO. In parenthesis is a rough deadline for when the task should be completed.  We recommend printing this list out so you do not forget about it.

 

1. Re-read our website – Now would be a good time to look over our trip page for the program for which you signed up. On it, you will find a lot of vital information that will answer questions you don’t even know you have! (From now until departure)

 

2. Learn about the destination – Your trip will be more rewarding if you have some basic knowledge of your destination beforehand. Check out our Pinterest boards and our Recommended Reading list for some of our educational resources. (From now until departure)

 

3. Join Whatsapp group – Each GEEO program has a corresponding WhatsApp group where you can mingle with fellow participants before and during the trip. If you wish to join, first you will need to download the app to your smartphone. Next, on your smartphone, find your WhatsApp group link here. This page is private, so you will need to enter the password GEEOchat to access it. When you join the group, please introduce yourself. Keep in mind that not everyone in your group will use WhatsApp, so don’t worry if you are the only one in the group. Please be courteous by chatting at appropriate times and avoid over-communicating. (Now, if you are willing)

 

4. Follow GEEO on social media – You can find us on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter. We post articles we think teachers will find interesting as well as information on special promotions and pictures taken by our participants during GEEO trips. (Now, if you are willing)

 

5. Tell colleagues about GEEO! – Most teachers find out about GEEO through other teachers. (Today, tomorrow, and every day for the rest of your life)

 

6. Check your passport expiration – You must have a valid passport to travel on any of our programs. Many countries will not accept a passport that expires within 6 months of your arrival or departure. Make sure you double-check the expiration date on your passport to see if it is within a 6-month window of your travel, in which case it should be renewed. You will also need some free space/pages in your passport for entry and exit stamps and visas. The amount of space needed varies from program to program and can be anywhere from half a page to 6 pages. Make a color scan of your passport’s ID page as well as any visas you are using on this trip. Email yourself the scanned copy. Also, print out a copy and store it in your luggage. This can come in handy should you misplace your passport. (As soon as possible and at least 45 days before departure)

 

7. Verify whether you need a visa – Some countries require you to obtain a visa before you arrive at the border or airport. Be very careful not to purchase your visa too early or too late. You will find the latest information we have on visas in the “Details” section of the GEEO program you have chosen. Visa rules can change sometimes, so it’s your responsibility to make sure that you have the visas that you need to travel. A useful resource is this website operated by the U.S. State Department. (90 to 60 days before departure, but sometimes closer to departure depending on the country)

 

8.  Book extras – We will send out an email to all participants roughly 80 days before departure with information on which hotels we will be using for the start and end of the trip as well how to go about booking them. We will also have information about airport transfers if they are available. (75 days before departure)

 

9. Purchase flights – You must wait until your program is confirmed before you book your flights! Until there is a deployed vaccine for COVID-19 we will wait to confirm our programs until 90 days before departure. We cannot take responsibility for the costs you will incur with the airlines for canceled or postponed trips. please wait until we email you that the trip is confirmed. You can go to our Trip Status page to see whether your program has already been confirmed.

For the most affordable options, we recommend using the flight search engine Kiwi. On some programs, you can get discounted humanitarian rates by using Fly For Good to book your flights. For more traditional flight search options, we recommend using Google Flights or Kayak.  (After your trip is confirmed or roughly 2 months before departure)

 

10. Offset your impact – We believe that part of ethical travel must include efforts to mitigate the impact that travel has on the environment. GEEO partners with another nonprofit to plant trees, which partially mitigates the carbon produced by our participants. We encourage all of our travelers to take personal responsibility and offset most or all of the carbon from their trips. The cost is typically $5-$15, depending on the distance to your destination. Please visit our website to learn how to make a donation to our offsetting partner. (After you purchase your flights)

 

11. Get any required immunizations – Legally, we cannot give you any specific recommendations for what immunizations you will need other than to tell you it is important that you speak with your doctor. Some immunizations take a few weeks to take effect, so it is very important to do this well in advance. (60 days before departure, but the sooner the better)

 

12. Purchase travel insurance – It is mandatory for all of our travelers to have travel insurance that covers emergency medical, evacuation, and repatriation to the sum of $200,000 USD. Regular health insurance plans almost never include emergency evacuation and repatriation insurance, so it is highly likely that you will need to purchase a separate travel insurance plan.

 

All GEEO participants are eligible for the International Volunteer Card (IVC), which is the travel insurance plan we recommend. The IVC card has a $47 plan (Plus Plan) that includes the amount of travel medical, evacuation, and repatriation insurance you need for our programs, as well as other trip insurance benefits. Anyone from any country of any age can purchase an IVC card. Another great thing about the IVC Card is that it covers you for an entire year and can be used for all your international travel for any trip 90 days or less in duration. While not required, we recommend purchasing cancellation insurance as well. For the IVC card, you can purchase cancellation insurance on your program fee and flights for 5% of however much you wish to cover. This can be purchased on their website when you buy the card. To buy the IVC card, follow this link: http://www.volunteercard.com/geeo.html.  (60 days before departure, as soon as the trip confirms, if you purchase cancelation insurance)

13. Complete Good To Go form – 2 to 3 months before departure, our partner G Adventures will email you a link to their “Good to Go” system. This secure digital check-in process allows you to submit your required information before you leave for your trip, saving you time and messy paperwork when you arrive at your trip’s starting location. These details also help our partner run our programs more smoothly. (50 days prior to departure)

 

14. Suggested donation from non-educators – If you are not an educator or retired educator, we ask that you send in a suggested donation of $100 to GEEO. These donations help us keep our prices low for teachers. This donation is tax-deductible, and we will send you an official donation receipt via email. Please make your donation by a check written out to “GEEO” and mailed to: GEEO, 700 East Main Street, Norristown, PA 19401, or donate via PayPal to donations@geeo.org. (60 days prior to departure)

 

15.  Submit your Classroom Action Plan – If you are an educator, please click here and fill out this form when you figure out how you would like to share your travel experience with your students when you return. For some examples, please click here. (60 days before departure)

 

16. Review our packing list –  See here for our recommendations on travel gear. We provide a detailed packing list for all of our programs. You can find it on your program’s “Details” section. PLEASE DO NOT OVER-PACK. It will slow you and the group down. (60 days before departure)

 

17. Call the banks that issue your credit, debit, and ATM cards to let them know the dates you will be traveling abroad. If you don’t do this, they will likely assume your cards have been stolen and put a hold on them, which will severely restrict your access to additional cash and can be very difficult to resolve from abroad. The best time to call your banks is about 2 weeks before traveling. (2 weeks before departure)

 

18. Plan to stay connected – If you are bringing a smartphone and don’t want to limit your connectivity to just Wi-Fi areas, make sure you sign up for an international data plan as you can run up a huge bill otherwise. You may want to download a guidebook app. We recommend Triposo guides. These are free wiki-travel apps that are like a guidebook but with GPS functionality. The best part is they work without needing any internet or phone connection, so you don’t have to worry about using an expensive international data plan. To find your Triposo guide, go into the app store on your smartphone and search “Triposo.”  Download the app and then, from within the Triposo app, download the country guide for wherever you are traveling. (2 weeks before departure)

 

19. Withdraw or exchange for some U.S. cash, in case your ATM card stops working or is lost/stolen. We typically recommend $200 to $300 USD, but this varies from trip to trip. (2 weeks before departure)

 

20. Vouchers – You will receive a tour voucher, as well as vouchers for any extra hotel nights and arrival transfers you booked, in an email from either GEEO or G Adventures roughly 2-4 weeks before departure. The tour voucher has emergency contact numbers and the address of our starting hotel. Make sure you print out the voucher(s) just in case your flight is significantly delayed or you get lost trying to find the hotel. You must fill out the Good To Go online check-in to receive your vouchers. (2 weeks before departure)

 

21. For U.S. citizens, consider registering yourself with the U.S. State Department through their Smart Traveler Enrollment service. It’s free and provides an extra layer of safety. https://step.state.gov/ (2 weeks before departure)

 

22. Print your program’s Classroom Action Plans – We will be sending you a spreadsheet with all of the Classroom action plans for your group 7-50 days before departure. Please print this sheet out and bring it with you on the trip. (1 week before departure)

 

As always, please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions. All we ask is you first check the website first, as there is a good chance you will find your answer there.