Trip Preparation List

Below you will find a list 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 to learn more about your program. In particular, review your program’s webpage and our FAQs. (From now until departure.)

2. Learn about the destination – Check out our Pinterest boards and recommended reading lists for some of our educational resources. (From now until departure.)

3. Join your program’s WhatsApp group to connect with your other group members. Download the app on your phone, and then find your WhatsApp group link here. This page is private, so you will need to enter a password (which will be emailed to you) in order to access it. You will not be able to see any messages exchanged before you join the group, so we recommend joining as soon as you sign up for your program. (Now, if you like.)

4. Follow GEEO on social media – You can find us on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and LinkedIn. We share articles that we think teachers will find interesting, information on special grants and promotions, and pictures taken by our participants during GEEO programs. (Now, if you like.)

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 date – You must have a valid passport to travel on any of our programs. Many countries will not accept a passport that expires within six months of your arrival or departure. Make sure you double-check the expiration date; if it will expire within six months after your travel dates, you should have it renewed. You will also likely need one or more empty pages in your passport for entry and exit stamps and/or visa stickers. The amount of empty space needed varies from program to program and can be anywhere from half a page to six pages. Scan a copy of your passport’s photo ID page, as well as any visas you obtain prior to departure; save a digital copy (e.g., in your email or in cloud storage) and print out a paper copy to keep in your luggage. This can come in handy if you misplace your passport during your program. (Passport information is required at least 45 days before departure, or earlier for some programs.)

7. Verify whether you need a visa – Some countries require you to obtain a visa before you arrive at the border or airport. Search for your destination on the Department of State’s country-specific information pages and on Sherpa. GEEO provides visa information in the Details section of each program’s webpage, and we will provide more information by email approximately 90 days prior to departure. Please note that visa rules and fees can change, and it is your responsibility to make sure that you have the visas that you need to travel. (90 to 60 days before departure, but sometimes closer to departure depending on the country.)

8. Wait for confirmation – We will be in touch no later than 90 days before departure with a trip status update, and we officially confirm most programs once 8 or more participants have signed up.

9. Book extras – We will send an email approximately 90 days prior to departure detailing any extra services and optional activities available for your program, such as airport transfers, extra hotel nights, and other add-ons. We also share the information with the group once the program is confirmed to run (i.e., once eight or more participants have signed up). Check out our recommended Viator tours for some ideas about activities to do during your free time. (90 to 30 days before departure.)

10. Purchase flights – Please read our advice about booking flights here. We recommend waiting until your program is confirmed before you purchase flights unless the tickets have flexible change/cancellation policies. (The best time to book is typically 120 to 60 days prior to departure.)

11. Offsetting your impact – For each and every day you spend on a trip with us, a tree is planted in your name through Planeterra’s Trees for Days initiative. Please visit our website to learn more about Trees for Days and other things you can do to mitigate the impact that travel has on the environment. (After you pay your balance.)

12. Get any required immunizations – GEEO cannot provide medical advice, so it is very important to consult your doctor or a travel clinic about which vaccinations are recommended for your destination. We recommend checking the CDC’s website and, if necessary, scheduling an appointment at a Passport Health clinic. You can receive a $20 discount on their regular $95 office visit fee by presenting this letter. (60 days prior to departure, but the sooner, the better.)

13. 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. We recommend the very affordable $79 International Volunteer Card (IVC) Premium Plan, which provides a full year of travel insurance coverage. We also highly recommend purchasing trip cancellation coverage to insure the cost of your trip—read more here. (60 days prior to departure, or sooner if you want to add cancellation coverage.)

14. Complete Good To Go profile – Approximately four months before departure, we will send you a link to your Good to Go digital check-in portal. Please submit all of the required information at least 45 days before departure. Please review our how-to guide for Good to Go or watch this brief video for information about login issues and how to enter flight details, among other things. (60-45 days prior to departure.)

15. Suggested donation from non-educators – If you are neither an educator nor a retired educator, we ask that you send in a suggested donation of $100 to GEEO to 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, 2945 Morris Rd, Ardmore, PA, or donate via PayPal using this link. (60 days prior to departure.)

16. Review our packing list – Check out our recommendations on travel gear. We provide a detailed packing list on each program web page in the “Details” section. (60 days before departure.)

17. Submit your Classroom Action Plan – If you are an educator, please fill out this form once you figure out how you would like to share your travel experience with your students when you return. For some examples, search our extensive classroom action plan database. (45 days before departure.)

18. Call the banks that issue your credit and debit cards if you need to let them know the dates you will be traveling abroad. (2 weeks before departure.)

19. Plan to stay connected – If you are bringing a smartphone and don’t want to limit your connectivity to Wi-Fi areas, ask your provider about international data plans and options, as you could run up a large cell phone bill otherwise. Another option is to purchase an eSIM with a local provided (e.g., through Airalo). In many destinations, it is possible to purchase a prepaid SIM card when you arrive. (2 weeks before departure.)

20. Withdraw (or exchange) some U.S. cash in case your credit/debit card stops working or is lost or stolen. We typically recommend bringing $200 to $300 USD in emergency cash, but this varies from trip to trip. You do not need to acquire local currency before you reach your destination. You will be able to withdraw local cash via an ATM or exchange USD upon arrival. (2 weeks before departure.)

21. Save and print your confirmation vouchers – You will receive a tour voucher along with confirmation vouchers for any extra services you pre-book in an email from GEEO after you complete Good to Go. (60 to 10 days prior to departure.)

22. Enroll in STEP – If you are a U.S. citizen, consider registering with the U.S. State Department through their Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). This free service provides an extra layer of security in the event of an emergency. (2 weeks prior to departure.)

23. Print your program’s Classroom Action Plans – We will send you a document with all of the plans for your group so you can discuss them during your travels. (1 week before departure.)

24. Check in for your flights online – It will save you time at the airport. (1 day before departure.)

As always, please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions. All we ask is that you first check the tour page for your trip on our website, as you may find the answer there.