The AFS-USA Travel Department will communicate with every Team and work with the volunteers in coordinating and planning the departures of the host students from their host communities to the gateway airport where they will start their return travel back home.
It is important to note that our host students may have different departure dates from the Team depending on their program. For example our Sponsored Programs Host Students have different departure dates from our "core" AFS Host Students and Community College Students.
Please keep reading to learn about
- How to see Hosted Student travel information in MyAFS
- Departure Day Dates
- Departure Day Guidelines 2018
Information about the End-of-Stay Orientation that happens just prior to departure can be found here.
How to see Hosted Student travel information in MyAFS
You can see the travel information for your Host Students in MyAFS by going to the Team widget (see screenshot below)
Click on the host student and you will go their page (see screenshot below). If you click on "Travel Info" which is located under their Medical Card and ID Card you will access their travel information on Global Link.
Departure Day (D-Day) Dates for 2018
- June 25, 2018 - Seattle and Los Angeles gateways
- June 26, 2018 - New York, Chicago and Houston gateways
Departure Day Guidelines 2018
General Departure Day Information for AFS Teams:
- Pick-up locations for all participants are determined by the Travel staff in conjunction with volunteers.
- End-of-Stay (EOS) events may be scheduled to take place at the pick-up location. If EOS events are not scheduled to occur at the pick-up location, volunteers must arrange to transport their students to that location by the designated time in order to travel to the Departure Day site.
- All buses are booked to arrive into the Departure Day site by approximately 5:00am so you can estimate the pick-up time accordingly. In some cases, teams will be combined on buses. This can add a few hours of travel time. The Regional TLC will inform the teams that will be impacted.
- Pick up locations may not be at private residences.
- At most Departure Day sites, buses will begin to transport participants to the airport between 6:30am and 7:00am.
- In most situations, those students who arrived into one gateway and were then placed in a team linked to a different gateway will have to travel back to their original gateway the night before Departure Day. We are working with our partners to change the return international tickets but a majority of these tickets do not allow routing changes. The Regional Travel and Logistics Coordinator (RTLC) will be in touch with these students and their volunteers once we have confirmation from our partners.
- Schedules and detailed Departure Day information will be sent out no later than a week before the event.
- A name tag mailing will be sent the week before Departure Day to the person listed in the EOS Activity Module in Global Link, which is usually the EOS Coordinator or Bus Chaperone.
What AFS-USA Pays for:
- Bus from pick up location site to Departure Day site (850 miles or less)
- Flights for those students beyond 850 miles, including but not limited to: AK, AL, CO, FL, GA, NM, TN.
- Rooms for those students that must fly to the gateway city the night before Departure Day.
- 1 chaperone per bus, not per team as some teams are combined for the bus ride to the gateway city.
- Return transportation from the gateway airport for chaperones. Please note that some chaperones for the Chicago and New York gateway will return by bus/train.
- Meal money for those students on buses needing to stop for a second meal. Host families or teams would provide first meal.
- Some special travel for students to central pick-up point to begin EOS, i.e. some areas of Alaska.
- For those students who changed gateways upon arrival or during the year, a flight back to the original gateway city if the international ticket cannot be changed. These students will have to fly to the gateway city the afternoon/evening before Departure Day and will miss their EOS Activity.
What the Teams Pay for:
- EOS site costs: rooms (students may not share beds), meals, and supplies.
- Getting students to EOS site if host families are not dropping off at the actual site.
- Communication with students regarding EOS plans.
- Chaperone transportation to the EOS site.
- Any supplies or snacks for the bus ride.
- Getting students to the bus pickup location if it is not the same as the EOS site.
What the Teams are Responsible for:
- Chaperone names and travel requests to Regional Travel and Logistics Coordinator (RTLC) by 04 May 2018 (Volunteer registration for any chaperones not previously registered must be submitted by 04 May as well.)
- Name, address, phone and email of person receiving nametag mailing by 31 May 2018.
- Entering complete information into the Activity Module in Global Link by each deadline. We have created templates that are easy to find: Area Team Name (HDS code) EOS 2018. Specific instructions will be emailed to the EOS Coordinators.
- Notifying students, host families and other related volunteers and staff of all arrangements in a timely manner.
- Recruiting chaperone(s) for buses/flights. Chaperones must be 25 years of age or older, be registered volunteers, and, ideally, should not be host family members. Please contact the RTLC to confirm approval if your preferred chaperone is currently hosting.
- Arranging and coordinating student travel to EOS site or airport for those teams that must fly.
* NOTE: We are asking that you send your RTLC your preliminary site/city locations as soon as possible. Charter bus costs continue to increase and providing locations to our bus contractor early will enable them to negotiate lower prices.
What the Regional Travel and Logistics Coordinator (RTLC) is Responsible for:
- Working with volunteer teams and Team Development Specialists to ensure that each team has recruited an EOS coordinator by 16 March 2018.
- Coordinating with teams when there are shared buses.
- Working with the charter bus company to arrange buses from pick-up location to the Departure Day site.
- Working with the AFS Travel/Travel and Logistics staff to book chaperone return travel as well as planning starting point travel to EOS location based on geography.
- Recruiting volunteers for airport/logistical support at the Departure Day site.
- Coordinating the mailing (via email) of the general EOS letter for students by March. This will include the luggage letter and general EOS information.
- Communicating with teams regarding all flight/bus arrangements.
What the Travel and Logistics Department is Responsible for Related to Departures:
- Booking all flights for students and chaperones.
- Scheduling shuttle buses/vans from airport to hotel/overnight site, if needed, for teams that fly.
- Pre-Departure Day “materials” mailing to AFS team, EOS coordinator or chaperone that includes: nametag holders and luggage tags (sent in late May/early June). This mailing does not need a signature. The Regional TLC assistants will be in contact to confirm mailing addresses in May.
- Departure Day info and nametags with international flight details will be mailed on 18-19 JUN. This mailing is sent via UPS from New York and will require a signature upon delivery. Please make sure that the address you enter in the activity module for “materials” is the one for this mailing.
New for 2018 Departures:
For the Houston gateways: FRA and ESP students were ticketed round-trip to their final destination upon arrival. This means that they will fly home directly from your HDS airport on 26 JUN and not travel to Houston for Departure Day.
Early arrivals in 2017: Some students arrived early due to school requirements. These students may also fly home directly to their homes from your local airport.
smSH18: we asked partners to book the return from the gateway. These students should travel with other students in your team to the gateway.
Your RTLC will be in contact to review the return travel arrangements for any of these students.
Please contact your Regional Travel and Logistics Coordinator (RTLC) should you have any questions regarding travel, site locations, program releases or other travel related issues. The RTLCs are:
Chicago and Seattle Gateways - Sarah Tice firstname.lastname@example.org 646-751-1962
New York, Houston, and Los Angeles Gateways - Kate Mulvihill email@example.com 646-751-1967
For any other questions, please contact your local Team Development Specialist.