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 any questions or concerns!
Night before leaving home:
- Reconfirm Departure times, Seats (if available), and Baggage online. (Remember, dates are expressed DDMMMYY ie 08AUG17 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 airlines let you 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 bag charges by shipping “surface” 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 “freight forwarder.”
- Label your checked bag(s) with your Host Family's address and phone number, take a picture of each bag, and make a list of the contents. Do not put the pictures of your checked bag(s) in a checked bag. Either leave it in your phone, email the picture to yourself, or print the pictures and put them in your carry-on items.
- Reconfirm with your Host Rotarians/Host Family the date and time (use the 24-hour clock to avoid mistakes) of your arrival at your final destination airport -- and where they will meet you at your destination airport.
- Go online to www.TSA.gov (or www.catsa.gc.ca in Canada) to find out about any restrictions for baggage or your hand-carry items and what you can carry on your person.
- PRINT out your itinerary with confirmation codes AND ticket numbers.
- Be sure your Parent's Permission Form is stapled to the last page of your passport.
Day of flight
Before you leave home, be sure you have:
- Your passport, with Parent Permission Form attached. You also should have a black-and-white laminated photocopy 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 documentation from your doctor and pharmacy).
- The photos of your baggage.
- 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 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 person a copy of your itinerary and your passport.
- Be sure your bags are checked to your final destination airport, and be sure you receive the baggage claim check.
- 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. You will have to pay additional for a later flight.
- Be careful with your passport. Airports and airplanes are the easiest places to lose your passport.
- If you parents want to accompany you to the gate, ask at the airline check-in counter. Depending on the airline and the security level of the day, it may or may not be possible -- and the airline may charge a fee.
- Allow at least 30 minutes or more to clear security.
- Immediately after security, check the Departures board and re-confirm the gate for your 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!)
- Before departing any airplane, double-check your seating area for all items you brought on board.
If the airline delays or cancels your flight:
- Immediately go to the Customer Service counter. The lines will only get longer if you delay.
- The airlines should re-book ALL flights to your final destination. If there is trouble with that process, call IYWT at 206-328-0625.
- When the airline re-accommodates you, have them print out the new itinerary, and/or send it to your email address so that you can easily forward it to everyone who needs to know.
- THEN: Call your Sponsoring Outbound Chairman. They will relay the information to your Hosting Rotarians, Host Family and parents.
- Post your new itinerary on your IYWT Message Board.
upon arrival in your host country
- Before you get off the plane, double-check your seating area for all items brought on board.
- First you will clear Immigration:
Put on your Rotary Blazer or Polo or T-Shirt again, and follow the other passengers off the aircraft. In the terminal, 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.
- Proceed to Customs:
- Take your checked baggage off the carousel and put it on a cart. The carts are free in customs. (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 you 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” baggage 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). Then proceed to your connecting flight’s gate. (Check the departures board; if in doubt or ask an airline employee).
- If you are being met after Customs or after your connecting flight, go to the pre-arranged “meeting area” you discussed with your Host Rotarians or Host Family.
- 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.
- 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.
Go online to register with your home government. This will help your government contact you if there is an emergency back home, or if there is a crisis where you are traveling. This is suggested for all Long-Term Rotary Youth Exchange students.
- For US Citizens - https://step.state.gov/step/
- For Canadian Citizens -https://travel.gc.ca/travelling/registration
Now stow your passport (unless Rotary is going to hold it) in the zippered compartment of your largest suitcase and . . .
FINALLY: 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 ! ! !