There are several categories of AFS-sanctioned travel. Formal permission from AFS-USA and a signed travel waiver from natural parents are not required for the following types of trips:
- Trips organized by the AFS participant’s host school (i.e. sports events, field trips, school excursions etc.) with school-sponsored chaperones
- AFS-sponsored trips
- Travel with an AFS Volunteer who is at least 25 years of age
- Travel with an AFS Volunteer 21-24 years of age with Team approval
- Travel with a host family member who is at least 25 years of age
- Travel with a host family member 21- 24 years of age with Team approval
All other types of trips are classified as Independent Travel and require formal approval from AFS-USA and the AFS Office in the participant's home country. Independent travel includes travel outside of the host community with an adult chaperone that does not fall under the criteria listed above; travel with the participant’s natural family, relatives, or with non-AFS groups. A participant is considered "traveling independently" when leaving the host community for a period of time that involves one or more overnight stays, or in some exceptions, an extended day trip. Under no circumstances are students permitted to travel without adult supervision.
"Host community" is any community in which the participant routinely travels for shopping, medical appointments, entertainment, etc. It is the responsibility of the participant to notify their liaison of any travel opportunities in advance to determine if pre-approval is required.
As AFS prefers that students not miss school, trips will be offered via Belo Tours during winter and spring breaks as well as in June for those who finish school early. AFS recognizes the enhancement (very similar to AFS' bus trips 1947-1998) that Belo Tours bring to our program. Therefore, with host family and host school approval, it is permissible to miss up to 5 days of school to participate in a Belo Tour. Belo Tours are optional independent travel tourism trips that incur an additional cost to participant/parent. These trips are facilitated by Belo Tours, a travel tour agency with whom AFS-USA has partnered for many years.