The trip isn’t just about the syllabus; it’s about enhancing student learning. CelestialVoyagers offers you centrally located hotels and interesting places to visit, creating an unforgettable learning experience outside the classroom. Below we have listed what you can expect from an CelestialVoyagers tour, a potential packing list, and other useful information.
Travel Preparation Process
Step 1: Tour Registration
Do you already know the tour that you want to register for?
- If so, find it on the list and submit your details online.
- If not, no problem! Find one of our many tours of interest and register online for it.
Within 48 hours of registration, submit your deposit either by mail with a check (payable to CelestialVoyagers) or during the online registration with a credit card or an e-check.
This will secure your space on the tour.
Step 2: Tour Deposit & Passport Copy
In addition, send us a copy of your passport to verify your information for all tickets. If you do not yet have a passport, begin the process to obtain one and then send us the scanned copy as soon as you receive it. Upon receipt of your registration and deposit, you will be mailed a Statement of Account with the total tour amount due and any payments you have made thus far. You will also see the due date for the final tour payment.
Step 3: Passports, Visas & Parental Authorization
- All passengers traveling outside of the United States (including tours to Canada and Mexico) will require a passport.
The following instructions are for those who hold United States citizenship.
Your passport must be valid at least 6 months after the tour’s return date and must have at least 3 empty visa pages. If you already have your passport, verify that it meets these criteria. If not, you will need to begin the renewal process.
If you do not have your passport, you should begin the application process immediately, as it could take up to 14 weeks to process.
Please note that if you do not hold United States citizenship, you will need to contact your home country’s embassy for the process of international travel when departing from the United States.
- Depending on the destination, you may also require a tourist visa.
Contact our visa services partner where you will find the specific requirements for each destination country.
You can also find more information and specific requirements on the consulate websites of the destination countries and layover countries.
Because the applicant must complete the visa application, we depend on you to take care of this step but will be available to answer any questions and clarify specific visa requirements.
- For tours going to Mexico, Belize, or Brazil, children under the age of 18 require a Parental Authorization Form to be signed and notarized within 30 days of the tour departure date. CelestialVoyagers will send you the form a few months prior to your departure date. Please ensure that you bring the form with you because it is required to get through customs in these countries.
Step 4: Additional Services
It is highly recommended that all participants purchase travel insurance to cover any unexpected issues while abroad (flight delays, baggage loss, emergency services).
You can choose your plan through our partners, Allianz Travel. Should you have any questions about a specific insurance policy, please contact them. All information is provided on their website.
Aside from travel insurance, you can choose to receive transfers to and from your home airport.
You may also choose to register for one (or more) of our optional excursions, offered as half-days or full-days depending on the activity and travel distance. Please note that optional excursions may not always be available for each program, and that the quantity offered may vary. Any additional services that you request will be added to your Statement of Account and you will be billed accordingly. Make sure to sign up and pay for the excursions in full prior to the final payment due date found on your Statement of Account.
Step 5: Get Informed
Your faculty member should have meetings prior to the tour’s departure. Make sure you attend these to learn about any expectations and requirements while on the tour. Many university groups require students to complete coursework while abroad. If you’re not sure, ask your faculty member!
Step 6: Save up and raise funds
Now that you’ve paid your initial deposit, your space is secured. It’s time to start saving! Your faculty member may also have opportunities for your group to fundraise. Below are a few ideas you can use to help you reduce trip costs:
- Sponsorships & Grants
- Community & School Events
- Product Sales (i.e. pizza, cookies, candy bars, etc.)
- Use the Internet with crowdfunfing sites
- Request donations from family and friends
- Complete odd jobs around your area (mow lawns, clean houses, babysit, walk dogs, etc.)
Step 7: Tour Payment
Make sure to pay the final payment by the due date shown on your Statement of Account. If not, you will be charged a $100 late fee and be responsible for any increase in prices based on the original quoted tour price.
If you have asked for any additional excursions or services, you will be responsible for this amount as well by that final due date.
We prefer that you pay by check, made payable to CelestialVoyagers, and mail it to the address below. Please include the tour number and your name on the check.
27-28 Thomson Ave., Suite WS 11
Long Island City, NY 11101
Step 8: Final Preparations
You are all paid, you know the tour expectations, and now it is time to organize yourself for the tour!
For phone conversations, we recommend purchasing an international phone card; but if you decide to use your cell phone, make sure to contact your company for international calling rates to and from your destination. For face-to-face communication, you can use applications like Skype or FaceTime. By now (or very soon) you should have received your passport and any required visas. Make sure that you have submitted your passport copy to CelestialVoyagers and have made copies to leave at home. Start drafting your packing list and decide on how you’re going to communicate with friends and family while abroad.
Sample Packing List
The bottom line for any trip abroad: Pack light! Keep in mind you’ll be toting your own luggage around at the airports and hotels, and we cannot guarantee the availability of an elevator. Also, make sure that you can climb at least 1 flight of stairs with your luggage and that it meets the airline’s baggage weight requirement. You will be responsible for paying any overweight charges on-site at the airport. To prevent this, bring only what you need—ideally in one suitcase and one carry-on bag. To sort it all out, see our packing tips below. You can also create your own personalized packing list online.
Keep in mind that some religious sites require that shirts cover the shoulders and arms, and some do not allow shorts, short skirts or flip-flops.
- Comfortable walking shoes
- Shirts (short- and long-sleeved)
- Socks and underwear
- Bathing suit (if applicable)
- Dressier outfit and shoes (reserved for a special night out)
- Raincoat and/or umbrella
Toiletries (travel size)
- Spare set of contact lenses/glasses (if applicable)
- ATM card (call your bank prior to departure to alert them of the trip; foreign purchases sometimes result in a hold on bank accounts)
- Personal credit card
- At least $50 converted to foreign currency of the first country that you’re visiting
- Pouch for storing money and passport under clothing (available at travel stores)
- Alarm clock (many hotel rooms won’t have one)
- Memory cards
- Adaptor/converter (available at electronic stores)
- Camera with ample batteries (batteries can be expensive abroad)
- Passport: remember to bring a photocopy of it (in case it is lost) and leave one copy at home.
- Visas (if applicable)
- A copy of the tour itinerary
- A list of important phone numbers and addresses to send postcards home
- Copy of any prescriptions (Customs officials may want to verify that a container’s contents match its label, so all medication should be carried in their original containers.)
- Any school supplies and books needed for your coursework (if applicable)
Here’s a short list of things you might need on the first day of the trip. Pack them in your carry-on just in case your checked luggage is delayed.
- Airline ticket
- Toothbrush and toothpaste (remember, toothpaste needs to go in a one-quart Ziploc bag, and can’t be bigger than 3 oz.)
- Contact lens case/glasses (to sleep comfortably on the plane)
- A change of clothes
- Any valuables
Items NOT to bring:
- Food – you will be fined upon landing for any perishable items (fruits, meats, breads, etc.). This holds true for your return to the United States.
- Anything that you would be devastated to lose such as expensive jewelry/accessories & technology devices
For a comprehensive list of travel information for students, visit the Students Abroad site from the U.S. Department of State.
Booking Terms & Conditions
A deposit of $500 is due upon registration, at least 91 days prior to departure.
Cancellations, Penalties and Fees
All changes and cancellations must be provided in writing:
|Cancellation Date||Amount Detail|
|before 90 Days||$150 non-refundable processing fee|
|between 90 – 61 Days||$350|
|between 60 – 45 Days||50% of the total trip cost|
|within 45 Days or in case of no-show||100% of the total trip cost|