FLIGHTS AND TRAVEL

We manage travel so you don’t have to! Learn more about the support AMIGOS provides, what to expect, and how the process works below.

AMIGOS knows that traveling can be a stressful experience, especially if your volunteer is traveling on their own internationally for the first time.  This is why AMIGOS provides support every step of the way, from booking, to preparation emails, to in-person support on your volunteer’s travel day.  With decades of experience, our seasoned team is prepared to handle any issues that arise, both the expected and unexpected.   

HOW IT WORKS

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Booking

  • AMIGOS coordinates directly with airlines to book volunteer flights to their project location. We arrange domestic flights from volunteers’ home airports to one of our gateway cities (Houston or Panama City) coupled with group flights departing from our gateway cities (Houston or Panama City). Additionally, we also offer the option for volunteers to take a direct flight from their home airport to their project location if available. There are many factors that we consider when booking volunteer flights that include arrival and departure times, other volunteers on projects, prices, layovers, and any special accommodations.   
  • Families will be billed for the cost of their volunteer’s flight plus a $200 Administrative Fee. *Please note that your AMIGOS Program Fee does not include flight costs nor the Administrative Fee. Our Administrative Fee covers domestic and international flight booking, security and boarding support in gateway cities, international flight chaperones on select flights, day-of Travel Hotline support, and hotel overnights in the gateway city in the event of any flight delays or cancellations. 
  •  After the airfare payment is received and all paperwork and training has been completed, AMIGOS will send families their volunteer’s flight itinerary and a travel memo outlining what to expect at the airport and who to contact if they need any support. 
  • On rare occasions, volunteers do choose to opt out of our AMIGOS flight booking.  We ask families to contact our Travel Team ([email protected]) if they are interested in arranging their own travel as it will need to meet all AMIGOS requirements and be approved by the Travel Team. 
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Travel Day Support

  • AMIGOS staff are on-call (via the Travel Hotline and On-Call Emergency Management System) in case any volunteers need additional assistance on their travel day.
  • AMIGOS will have a staff person based in all gateway cities to support volunteers throughout their layovers and connections if necessary.
  • In the event of a travel delay or cancellation, AMIGOS will support volunteers with any rebookings and also be on-site to facilitate volunteer overnights in the gateway if necessary.
  • Upon arrival to Latin America, Project Staff Teams meet volunteers at the airport once they have cleared customs. Families will be notified of their volunteer’s safe arrival in-country via email. 
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Travel Hotline

  • Our travel hotline is 1-888-AMIGOS-L (264467-5). We recommend all volunteers save this number in their phone. We’re available 24/7 while volunteers are traveling. 
  • The AMIGOS Travel Hotline will assist with any issues like missed flights, lost luggage, travel delays or cancellations, or any other travel-related concern.

ESTIMATED FLIGHT COSTS

AMIGOS manages flight bookings for all volunteers to ensure a safe and streamlined travel experience for each volunteer group. By purchasing flights, we are able to support our volunteers at gateway airports like Houston and Panama City, handle any issues that may arise in the event of a delay or cancellation, avoid overnight international layovers, and be on-call 24/7 when volunteers are traveling. 

We have included flight cost estimates below (includes $200 Administrative Fee). The flight cost estimates are based on actual flight costs from the previous year. These averages are calculated nationwide, so departures from many different airports are taken into account. The estimates below are averages and the actual cost of your volunteer’s flight may vary. 

 

ProjectEstimated Round Trip Flight Cost (includes $200 Admin Fee)
Costa Rica: La Brunca$1,200–1,400
Costa Rica: Los Santos$1,200–1,400
Costa Rica: Montañas y Mar$1,200–1,400 + Unaccompanied Minor Fees
Costa Rica: Olas y Cerros$1,200–1,400
Costa Rica: La Pezeta$1,200–1,400
6 Week Project: TBD$1,300–$1,500
Panama: El Pacifico$1,200–1,400 + Unaccompanied Minor Fees
Panama: Tierras Altas$1,200–$1,400
Panama: El Valle de Anton$1,200–1,400
Gap Program: Ecuador$1,300–$1,500

 

Flight cost estimates above do not include checked baggage fees or unaccompanied minor fees charged by the airline. Checked baggage policies vary. If volunteers plan to check a bag and a fee is required, they must use a credit or debit card at the check-in kiosk. 

Volunteers at the airport in Houston, summer 2018
Volunteers at the airport in Houston, summer 2018

THE AMIGOS DIFFERENCE

Unlike other volunteer organizations, AMIGOS books airfare from your home airport to a gateway city, like Houston or Panama City, as well as from the gateway city to your international destination. Staff are on-call and present in gateway cities to ensure all volunteers make their connections to Latin America. This means you don’t have to worry about being alone while connecting flights! When possible, we also book volunteers traveling from the same city on the same flight, so you may even get to meet some new AMIGOS before you even get to Latin America!

To make your travels as smooth as possible, our staff manages any travel changes or issues so you don’t have to.  AMIGOS travel specialists are on-call 24/7 on travel days and may be reached at 1-888-AMIGOS-L (264467-5).  

TESTIMONIALS FROM AMIGOS FAMILIES

“All of the AMIGOS staff members were always calm and professional which surely comforted my son on his first international flight without his parents.” 

“As the parent of two volunteers who have done AMIGOS, I really appreciate the communication and support we got from the AMIGOS Travel Team.  They always let us know when our volunteers were in transit to and from their international destinations – and if there were any delays, they contacted us and made sure their team was on top of all the details and communicated all updates proactively.” 

“It was amazing to be able to call and get a live person when I had a unique question… each time staff was consistent and gave me great info and guidance.”