Departure Information

Review this information 5 to 7 days prior to departure so you won't be doing everything at the last minute, and you'll have enough time to e-mail us with questions about any items that you don't understand!

Jacklyn, Ontario to Belgium.

Jacklyn, Ontario to Belgium.

Night before leaving home:

  • Reconfirm Flights, Departure Times, Seating and Baggage online. (Remember, dates are expressed DDMMMYY -- ie 08AUG19 -- on the itinerary you receive from IYWT).

  • Airlines sometimes change the scheduled departure times, so double check.

  • If you pay for your baggage charges online, in advance, some airlines offer a discount. (Some even allow you to print the baggage tags.) Just print out the receipt at the end and give it to the airline the next day. You must pay all baggage charges, even if your Rotary program paid for the airline ticket. You can avoid extra baggage charges by using “surface” to ship items you don't need immediately. To compare prices between baggage fees and shipping costs, check with the Post Office, an international shipping service or a “freight forwarder.”

  • Label your checked bag(s) with your Host Family's address and phone number, take a photo of each bag, and make a list of the contents. Do not put the photo of your checked bag(s) in a checked bag. Either leave it in your phone, email the photo to yourself, or print the photos and put them in your carry-on items.

  • Reconfirm with your Hosting Rotarians/Host Family the arrival date and time (use the 24-hour clock to avoid mistakes) at your final destination airport -- and where they will meet you at your destination airport.

  • Also go online to (for Canada, go to to find out about any restrictions for baggage or your hand-carry items as well as what you can carry on your person.

  • PRINT out your itinerary with confirmation codes AND ticket numbers.

  • Be sure your Parent Permission to Travel Form is stapled to the last page of your passport.

Day of flight

Before you leave home, be sure you have these things in your pockets or carry-on:

  • Your passport, with Parent Permission Form attached. You also should have a black-and-white laminated photocopy of your Passport in your billfold.

  • Some cash and/or a debit card for meals or surprise expenses while traveling.

  • A 5-day supply of any prescription drugs--in pharmacy bottles. (The balance of any prescription medicine should be in your carry-on bag with appropriate documents from your doctor and pharmacy).

  • The photos of your bag(s).

  • Phone numbers for your Sponsoring Rotarians, Hosting Rotarians, your Host Family and your mom and dad.

  • A printed copy of your itinerary.

  • A printed copy of this page on your person.

  • Now put on your Rotary Blazer or Polo or T-Shirt-so other Rotary students (or Rotarians) can recognize you while you’re traveling.

  • Arrive at the ticket counter at least 3 hours before scheduled departure. In most cases, you have E-Tickets (nothing printed) so give the counter agent a copy of your itinerary and your passport.

  • Check your bag(s) to your final destination airport, and be sure you receive the baggage claim check. Do not put the photos of your checked bag(s) in a checked bag. Either leave it in your phone, email the picture to yourself, or print the pictures to carry on your person.

  • If you have connections, ask if gates have been assigned at the later airports, and write them down.

  • Ask what time you need to be at the gate for boarding; if you are not available for boarding when your row is called, you may be denied boarding -- and pay additional fees for a later flight.

  • Be careful with your passport. Airports and airplanes are the easiest places to lose your passport.

  • Depending on the security level that day, your parents may be able to accompany you to the gate area. (And the airline may charge a fee to issue a gate pass.)

  • Allow at least 30 minutes or more to clear security.

  • Before leaving any plane at a connection or final destination, double-check your seating area for all items you brought on board.

  • When making a connection, check the Departures board as soon as you can to re-confirm the gate or boarding area for your next flight. If you don't know how to get there, ask any uniformed airline employee. (If you find yourself in an unlit gate area with no other people around, this may mean that you are at the WRONG GATE!)

If the airline delays or cancels your flight, or you miss a flight:

  • Immediately go to the Customer Service counter. The lines will only get longer if you delay. Once you have started your trip, only the airlines can re-book you on that ticket.

  • Let your parents, the people who planned to meet you, and IYWT know that you have been delayed.

  • When the airline re-accommodates you, have them print out the new itinerary AND send it to your email address, then call your Sponsoring Outbound Chairman. They will relay the information to your Hosting Rotarians, Host Family and parents.

upon arrival in your host country

  • Before you get off the plane, double-check your seating area for all items brought on board. You should be wearing your Rotary Blazer or Polo or T-Shirt again.

  • First you will go through Immigration Follow the other passengers; you will have no choice but to go to immigration.

  • Have your passport in hand. Be sure you choose the right line, depending on your nationality. These lines only move as fast as the people in front of you. When you meet the immigration officer, answer all questions honestly: You have nothing to hide.

  • After immigration, you will proceed to Customs.

  • Take your checked baggage off the carousel and put it on a cart. The carts are free in customs. (NOTE: IF YOUR BAGS DO NOT ARRIVE, tell Customs and immediately make a claim with the airline, using your checked baggage claim check and giving them a photo of the bag(s). Ask Customs how your bag(s) will be cleared when they do arrive.)

  • Continue to the customs tables, where most countries use the “green” light/”red” light system. As long as you see “green” lights, keep pushing your baggage cart. If you see a “red” light, STOP, and follow the directions of the customs agent. Each country reserves the right to thoroughly inspect all your baggage, your clothing and your person. Wearing your Rotary blazer will -- in most circumstances -- avoid this. Again, answer any questions honestly. After Customs, GO OUT THE CUSTOMS DOOR.

  • If you have connecting flights, look for the “on-going” bag belt near the customs door. You can drop your checked bags with the employees there. (In some airports, you may have to take your bags to the ticket counter of the next airline to have them re-checked). Proceed to your connecting flight’s gate. (Check the departures board if in doubt, or ask an airline employee where you should go.)

  • If you are being met after Customs or after your connecting flight, go to the pre-arranged “meeting area” you agreed upon the night before.

  • If your Host Family is not there, STAY in the airport. Call your Outbound Chairman collect and they will solve the problem. Do not leave the airport or try to find them; they will find you.

  • At your final airport, collect your checked bag(s). IF YOUR BAGS DO NOT ARRIVE: Immediately make a claim with the airline, using your checked baggage claim check, and give them a photo of the bag(s). If they find them, the airpline will deliver them when they do arrive.

  • On arrival at your host family's house, CALL YOUR PARENTS before you go to sleep. They've been worried ever since they said goodbye to you.

Sierra, California to Belgium.

Sierra, California to Belgium.


  • Be sure you go online to register your new temporary residence with your home government. This will help your government contact you if there is a family emergency back home, or if there is a crisis where you are traveling.

  • This is suggested for all Short-Term Rotary Youth Exchange students.

  • For US Citizens -

  • For Canadian Citizens -

Now stow your passport (unless Rotary is going to hold it) in the zippered compartment of your largest suitcase and . . .HAVE A GREAT EXCHANGE ! ! !

Your parents, Rotary and It's Your World-Travel! have given you the tools to succeed!

So now we entrust the World into Your Hands ! ! !