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:
- Travel that is part of an activity organized by the school the AFS Participant attends, i.e. sports events, fieldtrips, school excursions etc. These activities must have school sponsored chaperones to qualify under this category
- Travel on an AFS-sponsored trip
- 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 the host family member who is at least 25 years of age
- Travel with the host family member 21- 24 years of age with Team approval
All other types of travel 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 alone; travel with the participant’s natural family, relatives or with non-AFS groups. A participant is considered "traveling independently" whenever he or she is away from his or her host community for a period of time that involves one or more overnight stays, or in some exceptions, an extended day trip away from the community. "Host community" is any community which the participant routinely travels for shopping, medical appointments, entertainment, etc. In any case, it is the responsibility of the participant to ensure that their Liaison is informed of where they will be traveling and how to contact them in case of an emergency.
As AFS prefers that students not miss school, trips will be offered during winter and spring breaks as well as in June for those students who finish school early. While AFS prefers students not miss school, we recognize the enhancement (very similar to AFS's own bus trips 1947-1998) that Belo trips bring to our program and acknowledge that in some cases it is entirely appropriate for students to take part even if they miss some school. Therefore, the AFS-USA National Council recently approved an amendment to the AFS Independent Travel Policy that allows students to attend Belo and miss up to 5 days of school with host family permission and the consent of the host school and AFS-USA.