TFY FAQs

WHO CAN GO ON A TRAVEL FOR YOUTH TRIP?

All youth ages 15-18 (19 if a graduating senior), who commit to follow the standards of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, are invited to travel with us. You do not need to be a member of the Church in order to attend, but like each Latter-day Saint participant, you will be expected to sign a Letter of Commitment to follow the principles and standards outlined in the For the Strength of Youth pamphlet


We believe in and value these standards, and all participants and leaders will be expected to uphold them at all times. We have a zero-tolerance policy and any serious infraction of these standards will cause the participant to be sent home immediately at their own expense and uninvited from future TFY trips. 


TFY is not a youth rehabilitation program. Our leaders are phenomenal, but they have not received any professional training to work specifically with youth struggling with difficult mental or emotional, moral, or substance abuse problems. If we encounter youth who are struggling with any of the aforementioned problems, we will send them home promptly in order to allow them the chance to receive qualified help more specific to their struggles.

WHAT IS INCLUDED IN THE COST OF MY TRIP?

The cost of your trip includes: food (three meals a day), lodging, all sightseeing and excursions, travel and transportation within the host country, cultural experiences, the humanitarian project, as well as personalized travel medical and evacuation insurance.


The program cost does NOT include: flights to and from the host country, visas, passports, personal souvenirs, or baggage fees.


We understand a large percentage of our youth participants are working hard to pay for their trip and we feel a great responsibility to keep costs down as much as possible. While it is impossible for us to be able to guarantee airline prices, we do have an incredible team of people who book all of our group flights. We work very hard to get the best flight deals to help you save money on that additional cost.

HOW IS THIS DIFFERENT THAN HEFY?

HEFY is a wonderful program and we admire so much the good they are doing. They are a volunteer organization whose primary focus is on service opportunities, with most of their time spent on their awesome work projects. If you are looking for a primarily humanitarian experience, then we encourage you to check them out at hefy.org.


Travel For Youth’s main goal is to build a generation of social change-makers. Because of this, we build our trips around opportunities to increase our cultural understanding, spend time with the locals, appreciate the unique beauty and adventures of our host country, all while getting proximate to important social causes that need our attention. 


We sincerely believe some of life’s greatest lessons are learned through travel and our relationships with the people around us. Our Travel For Youth trips are an extensive mix of cultural immersion, adventures and excursions, social cause work, and sightseeing. When in these beautiful countries, we want you to be able to experience all they have to offer. 


Our trips are equal parts service, cultural immersion, and adventure. Because when in Rome,… right?! 

PARENTS: WHAT ABOUT SAFETY?

We understand it can be nerve-racking to send your child halfway across the world without you. We want you to know that we are extremely careful and deliberate about the host countries and regions in which we schedule our trips. Extensive research has been done, and each destination has been visited and personally vetted by the Palmers, several months before any of your youth set foot in-country. 


We are continually monitoring information about the safety of our host countries through the U.S. Department of State and are enrolled in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program in order to be kept up to date on the most recent security and safety announcements. Through this program, authorized U.S. Department of State Embassy and Consular personnel are made aware of each person who is traveling with us and they are ready to provide assistance to us in case of any emergency. 


Although emergency situations are unlikely, our leaders are trained on how to handle natural disasters, evacuations, and other emergency procedures. We have local contacts in each of our host countries, and each leader has a cellphone with 24/7 access to TFY headquarters. 


Many additional steps are taken to maintain the safety of the youth participating in our program. Our lodging is always in clean and safe locations and we use caution when purchasing our food on the streets and at restaurants. We only use the most safe and reliable modes of transportation available, both to and from, as well as within, our host country. 


Both youth and leaders are required to wear the necessary safety gear such as helmets, life jackets, goggles, and thermo-resistant oven mitts with bubble wrap at all times when in-country. (Just kidding, we wanted to make sure you were paying attention…) But in all seriousness, when out on excursions, we will make sure that necessary safety gear is worn properly at all times. Our youth to leader ratio is approximately 5:1. 


 We also have a designated medical leader who will accompany us at all times who is trained in basic CPR/First Aid. This leader carries around an extensive First Aid kit containing antibiotics, bandages, basic over-the-counter medications, and other necessary items.

HOW BIG ARE THE GROUPS?

Each trip has a group of 15 youth, 1 married couple, and 1 young single adult leader. The groups are comprised of both boys and girls. This allows youth to make lasting friendships with both young men and young women who share similar values. There are separate sleeping arrangements and “pairing off” is not allowed. Under any circumstance. Ever. This is a travel program, not a dating service :).

WHAT HAPPENS AFTER I REGISTER FOR MY TRIP?

This is when the fun starts! Upon securing your spot, you will receive a confirmation email regarding your payment and registration. Within a few days after you register, you will receive a welcome video along with your legal paperwork and a detailed outline of when you can expect all due dates and future communication leading up to your trip.


You can contact us at anytime with questions at tfyteam@travelforyouth.org.

HOW DO THE FLIGHTS WORK?

All participants are required to travel together as a group to our destination country. We have a great flight booking team which works hard to find us fair deals on our large group flights. Because we will be traveling as a group, Travel For Youth will secure a group booking to and from the trip location, but you are responsible for paying for your flight in addition to the program cost. 


Important: Please DO NOT purchase a flight from your home airport until you have received our group flight itinerary.

HOW DO I PAY FOR MY TRIP?

By paying the $500 deposit upon registration, you secure your spot on a trip. This deposit will be directly applied to the cost of your trip. 


TFY has moved to all online payments to make the process more streamlined and convenient for you. You will receive an invoice for the trip tuition and your flight costs, which you can easily pay directly with either a debit or credit card. Upon receiving the invoice you can pay all at once or follow the payment schedule outlined below and in your paperwork. 


Summer 2020 PAYMENT SCHEDULE: 


Spot Reservation: $500 Non-refundable deposit 

Second Payment: $1850 - Due by Nov. 15, 2019 

Final Payment: Remaining Trip Balance - Due by Feb. 15, 2020 


There is a 7-day grace period for Second and Final Payments. After 7 days, non-payment will result in the forfeiture of your spot and the cancellation of your trip. 


If you sign up after these payment dates, you will need to communicate with TFY to get caught up with the payments. 


Please note: All trip accommodations and arrangements for your youth are finalized and paid for months in advance, so no refunds will be given under any circumstance after February 15th. We recognize that sometimes life happens and emergencies can occur where cancelling your trip may be necessary. Because of this, we highly encourage you to purchase travel insurance.

HOW DO I PREPARE PHYSICALLY AND MENTALLY FOR MY TRIP?

It is important to be ready, both physically and mentally, for your trip. We go hard and accomplish a lot during our time in our host country. It is important to have a positive attitude and realize that things may go wrong from time to time—flights arrive late, weather forces us to reschedule, public transport may be unreliable. An important life lesson to learn is that your attitude and your ability to see the good in any person and any situation determines much of your happiness. 


Come prepared to work hard, learn new things, experience new cultures, and push your own boundaries. You will leave having learned much about yourself and how much you can contribute to improving the lives of those around you. But a positive attitude is key. 


Any person of average physical ability can have a great time with our Travel For Youth programs. In many instances, we will be walking to and from activities, to public transportation stops, to the market to buy food, or to eat at restaurants, sightseeing, etc., so we recommend you exercise moderately a few times a week in order to be comfortable walking a few miles each day. 


Each trip also has unique adventures and expeditions such as zip-lines, hiking, snorkeling, surfing lessons, etc. that involve physical activity. If you have any questions about trip-specific physical fitness level required, please reach out to our TFY team.

I HAVE A MEDICAL CONDITION. AM I STILL ALLOWED TO COME?

If you experience depression and/or anxiety, or have been diagnosed with other physical conditions (such as diabetes, epilepsy, cancer, bipolar disorder, etc.), we want you to know you are welcome to accompany us on any of our trips. However, because of the nature of travel, the pace of our itinerary, and all the new and exciting culture, language, and food, it may be a little overwhelming to deal with and take in. 


In order to provide you with a positive experience, there are several considerations that should be made in preparation for your trip: 


1) Please openly disclose all medical information in your application so we may know how to ensure you have a safe and effective trip. 


2) Make sure you have been taking your medication consistently for at least four months before your scheduled date of departure. 


3) Schedule an appointment with your regular healthcare provider and inform them about your upcoming trip and confirm you are safe to travel. 


4) Be prepared to be 100% responsible and accountable for bringing enough medication and taking it consistently while in country. While we will have a medical counselor on our trip to help maintain the health of our group and handle any emergencies that may arise, YOU are ultimately responsible for managing your personal medication.

DO I NEED ANY KIND OF INSURANCE FOR MY TRIP?

Travel For Youth provides an international travel medical and evacuation insurance policy that covers you from the first day of our trip until the last. 


Although these things are very unlikely, our policy covers bodily injury, emergency medical evacuation and assistance, political evacuation, natural disasters, and trip interruption up to $5000. It also covers less serious things such as baggage loss and minor illness/doctor’s visits. We also encourage you to check with your own health insurance provider to see if medical procedures are covered in foreign destinations. 


While Travel for Youth covers travel medical insurance (as described above), TFY does not provide general travel insurance in the case of trip cancellation. TFY has a strict refund policy and because our bookings are paid for months in advance, we are unable to refund your money in the case of a last minute emergency such as illness, injury, or other. 


We understand that unfortunate things happen and because of this, we highly encourage you to purchase travel insurance in order to recover the expenses already paid for. Depending on the policy you purchase, travel insurance can cover trip cancellation, trip interruption, accommodations for flight delays, lost baggage, etc.. 


There are several reputable travel insurance companies and we have included the links to some below to begin your search. Study different plans and be aware that certain reasons for cancellation may not be covered in your individual policy. Pay attention to what “reasonable circumstance” is defined as and be educated about the limits and statutes included in the Description of Coverage for your policy. Also, be aware that some travel insurance options must be applied for within 15 days of the final payment for your trip, so plan accordingly. 


PLEASE NOTE: It is NOT necessary to wait until you have purchased your airfare to purchase travel insurance! Airfare costs are not required to purchase travel insurance, however if you'd like to cover your airfare, many travel insurance companies allow you to adjust your policy after it is purchased and after you have made your travel arrangements to reflect the new travel costs. Make sure you check on this possibility before purchasing your policy. 


Travelex Insurance


USI Affinity Travel Insurance


Travel Guard

DO I NEED IMMUNIZATIONS?

The decision to receive vaccinations for international travel is a personal one and should be carefully and thoughtfully discussed with your healthcare professional. 


We do not require any specific vaccinations in order to participate in our programs; however, the one exception is that you must have an up-to-date tetanus shot or booster (within the last nine years). Some trips may also require medication be taken (ie. Zambia) to prevent possible illness. In that case, youth are required to take the medication in order to be able to participate on the trip. 


Resources for information on what the Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends for travel to each country as well as the World Health Organization (WHO).


Travel For Youth cannot be responsible for any consequences incurred as a result of your choice to vaccinate or not vaccinate.

WHAT IF I WANT TO SIGN UP WITH A FRIEND?

First, you should know some of the greatest experiences we’ve ever had are when we’ve gone on trips and didn’t know a soul! In fact, many youth come not knowing anyone, and leave having made several new and lasting friendships. 


However, we also understand that sometimes you just want to have your best buddy come along and take part in an incredible adventure. We suggest signing up at the same time as your friend, but you BOTH must specify that you want to travel together and there must be two spots available in the specific trip you are applying for.

WHAT IF THE TRIP I WANT IS FULL?

Dang it! We really would love to have you join us! If the trip you want is full, make sure to get on the waiting list so we can inform you if a spot suddenly opens up.

WHO ARE MY LEADERS?

Each trip will have a married couple who have been personally vetted by the Palmers and the TFY team. Each married couple is required to have extensive travel experience and capability to responsibly lead all activities and projects in their assigned locations. 


Along with the married couple, each trip has a young single adult leader who is also trained to help you have the best experience possible. 


All leaders have received extensive general and trip-specific training prior to embarking. At least one of the adults accompanying your youth will be an assigned photographer and will be responsible for documenting the experiences of the trip. 


As we’ve said before, giving you an unforgettable experience while maintaining an exceptional level of safety are our top priorities. We’ve planned these trips with our own children in mind and we realize that an integral part of your experience is determined by the leaders we choose. We trust them on every level, and are 100% confident you will be watched out for, kept safe, and will love your leaders as much as we do!

WHEN DO I GET TO MEET MY TRIP LEADERS?

Before you leave on your trip, you will receive a package with information about your trip leaders in order to help you get to know them. You will meet your trip leaders in person at the official departing airport and they will join you on your flight.

DOES SOMEONE MEET ME AT THE AIRPORT?

Yes! Because you will be flying with the group, you will meet your leaders and the group at a previously designated location within the airport. You will all travel together to and from the host country as a TFY group.

DO I NEED TO BRING EXTRA SPENDING MONEY?

The tuition price of your program includes everything you need to survive: all meals, lodging, in-country transportation, sightseeing, gear, admissions, tolls, guide fees, special events, and private tours. However, we do suggest bringing enough money for personal items, souvenirs, extra snacks, stamps, postcards, and baggage fees.


The amount of pocket-money you bring will depend on the location you are traveling to due to the natural differences in cost of living and your personal spending preferences. 


Money should be brought in U.S. dollars, credit card, debit card, or some combination of the three. You will be given more specific money instructions as you get closer to your departure. You will be able to exchange U.S. currency upon arrival to your final destination.

DO I NEED TO EXCHANGE MONEY BEFORE I GET TO MY HOST COUNTRY?

We do not recommend exchanging money before your trip. We will provide opportunities within the country to safely exchange money. We recommend bringing a combination of U.S. currency and a debit/credit card.

HOW DO I KEEP IN TOUCH WITH MY FRIENDS AND FAMILY BACK HOME?

These trips are built to be life-changing experiences. However, it is hard to participate fully or be changed when you are on your phone. Because of this, phones are not allowed at any time during the day or when we are together as a group. For a brief moment each evening, we will give you time to connect with your family back home.


In addition to eroding the trip experience, having your phone out puts you and the group at a higher risk of pick-pocketing. 


Your parents will be notified once you have arrived safely in the country and you will have a longer opportunity to connect with family on Sundays. Trip leaders will send out updates as frequently as possible to let your parents know how the trip is going. 


We understand that many of you will want to take pictures with your phones, but as you will not be allowed to have your phone with you during the day, we will have a leader with you at all times who is responsible for taking pictures. You will be sent a link with all of the pictures after returning home from the trip. You are also welcome to bring a personal camera to take pictures, but that cannot be the camera on your phone. 


Trip leaders will have phones available at all times in case of emergencies. Before you leave on your trip, your parents will be sent an emergency number they can contact 24/7 for the time you are in-country.

DOES OUR GROUP TRAVEL TOGETHER THE WHOLE TIME?

Yes, yes, and yes! We will be together as a group for the entire trip. There may be times when you break up into smaller groups while touring the local market, etc., but each group will be accompanied by a leader at all times.

WHAT LUGGAGE SHOULD I BRING?

Due to the size of our group, the conditions of our host countries, and the possibilities of in-country travel, you are required to use a backpacking pack or duffel bag instead of suitcase. This will require you to pack light and smart. 


You may also bring a small carry-on, such as a backpack or satchel, which will be used for our daily excursions. Here are a couple of examples/recommendations of bags: 


55L Patagonia Black Hole Duffel

65L Osprey Transporter

50L Fjallraven Duffel No. 6

WHAT WILL THE FOOD BE LIKE?

One of the best ways to experience local culture is through experiencing their food. For many cultures, food is a central part of how they connect, show love, and celebrate. For some travelers, this is exciting while others may be hesitant to try something new. Because cultural immersion is our goal, we will be eating the same food as the locals while we are in the host country (as much as time, cost, location, and safety allow). 


For some parts of our trip you may be going to the local market as a group and picking out fresh, local foods in order to take back to our living quarters and make breakfast or dinner. Other times we will eat at restaurants or buy food from street vendors to eat at the park or on the beach. 


Either way, have an open mind, be willing to try new things, and remember that if you don’t like it, at least you don’t have to eat it everyday for the rest of your life. We will work with anyone with specific diet restrictions/allergies.

CAN I FLY SEPARATELY AND MEET OUR GROUP IN THE HOST COUNTRY?

Our primary concern is your safety--it is something we take very, very seriously. We are responsible for your physical and emotional safety from the moment we meet you at our departing gate, until the moment you are picked up by your parents upon arrival in the good ‘ole USofA.


Because of the risk of your separate flight being delayed or missed, the logistics of getting our whole group to the right place at the right time, the distance between the airport and our lodging, and other liabilities, we simply cannot manage coordinating several different flight arrival times.


We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause you, but we feel strongly that it is the safest and most effective way to make this experience worthwhile for every teen in our group. Besides, flying together is a great bonding experience! Who doesn’t like being crammed into a box, thousands of miles above the ground, sharing stale air with strangers, while splitting legroom with someone they barely met five minutes ago?! See, you’re going to love it!

WHAT IF I HAVE MORE QUESTIONS?

You are welcome to call our office at any time, with any questions you may have (808) 778-1392. If we are unable to answer our phone, we will respond to you as promptly as possible. You may also email your questions to tfyteam@travelforyouth.org.