Safety is our number one priority at Walking Tree Travel. Although nothing is entirely without risk, our staff has lived and traveled in our host countries for years, and we understand how to best experience the country. We design all of our itineraries evaluating safety concerns above all else, and have done our best to anticipate and prepare all of our staff for any eventuality by planning each phase of the program with the utmost care and diligence.
As immunization information continuously changes, we highly recommend our families to contact the CDC or your local travel clinic to make sure your student has the recommended immunizations or medication for travel in your destination.
All of our leaders are trained in CPR and First Aid and are equipped with a fully-stocked medical kit while traveling, which allows them to handle minor ailments like headaches, blisters, sunburns, or upset stomachs. If the issue is more severe, Walking Tree Travel staff will contact families directly whenever possible before going to the nearest and best medical facility. At all times during a program, Walking Tree Travel leaders have with them the phone numbers of the nearest medical facility, and ready means by which to contact emergency medical services if need be.
We understand that some students have special needs related to health, diet, or other concerns. We are committed to doing all we can to accommodate the special needs of participants, and it is of utmost importance we know as much about the issue as possible before the program’s departure. Please be sure to list any and all medical issues on the student’s medical statement when applying to a program.
Once the enrollment process is complete and the applicant accepted, we will be in frequent contact with each participant to ensure that they and their family are well prepared for the program. Each program will have its own web page that will contain packing lists, a roster of participants, group flight information, homestay village, information, leader biographies, vaccination advice and much more. Once the program begins, our team will be in constant contact with families through email and blog updates. During a program, there is constant 2-way communication between participants, Program Leaders, Country Directors, and our headquarters.
Please follow this link for a more detailed explanation or to purchase the plan for your traveler.
Participants are assigned to their host families after the program begins but before arrival in the host village. This gives leaders a chance to become familiar with the personalities and specific interests of each participant so that we can place him or her in the best possible homestay environment. The common denominator among all our families are that they are kind, hospitable, and excited to receive our students. Students will always be paired with another student in a homestay. They will have daily meetings with the program leader (without their homestay family present) to ensure they feel safe and comfortable. Both students and homestay families will agree in writing to set expectations and standards of behavior.
More than anything, we select families based on their sincere desire to host our students. In many cases, students will be staying with families that have already hosted travelers and have proven to be wonderful hosts. Our in-country staff spend significant time with all host families prior to the group’s arrival. They ensure that each family will provide a welcoming and comfortable environment and that they understand our expectations for safety and behavior.
Our in-country staff meet with village committees to decide on a project that is both needed and viable. These projects take many different forms but are always a collaborative effort, with both sides contributing resources to the common goal. More specifics for your program’s project will become available as the departure date draws near.
We are delighted to welcome students who have limited travel experience and strongly encourage that they apply. Even participants who have previously traveled internationally will see and experience things for the first time due to our unique itineraries.
A valid and current passport is required for all travelers. The passport must be valid for six months beyond the time of travel and must be in reasonable condition. Most of our destinations do not require Visas for U.S. citizens.* For destinations that do require visas (China, Cuba, Chile, etc.) Walking Tree will provide information on country-specific Visa requirements and instructions on the Program Webpage once the participant in enrolled. Participants are then responsible for obtaining this visa ahead of time.
*For international students we require a copy of their passport and any relevant visas, and highly recommend they contact the local consulate for their destination country for more details.
Typically, for every eight paying participants, one group sponsor or chaperone travels for free. We require that at least one group sponsor travels with each group. The inclusion of additional chaperones is left to the discretion of each group.