Peace of mind is important -- for the traveler and the family members that may be waiting anxiously back home. For many travelers, these service trips may be their first adventure abroad or traveling independently. It's a growth experience venturing beyond the familiar, but we believe you should also have a level of comfort and peace of mind to do so.
We take safety very seriously and fully vet all our providers, partners, and facilities. Students are supervised and chaperoned throughout the trip and will have the ability to communicate with family back home. Our staff are trained and experienced at hosting student and youth groups and devoted to making the experience the best possible.
You can count on the following:
- Safe, secure lodging
- A thorough orientation with safety tips and program rules
- A deep understanding by our staff of places to avoid and/or times of day to steer clear of certain places
- Students always being in groups and always in close proximity to a chaperone
- Healthy food and safe drinking water
- First aid kits on site with the group at all times
- Local cell phones carried by trip leaders at all times
- Trusted and vetted clinic and pharmacy access within a 5-minute drive
- Robust safety protocols including 24-hour emergency contacts, established relationships with local health care providers and clinics, and evacuation procedures
- Constant care and supervision by experienced staff who have been through extensive screening and typically years of work hosting service trips
- Safe and comfortable transportation, with licensed, experienced drivers in insured and modern vehicles
- Frequent email updates from trip leaders (for parents at home) sharing highlights and notification of any itinerary changes
- Flexibility to adjust schedules and accommodate special needs, including quiet time to relax and rejuvenate and menus to fit dietary needs
Healthy food and safe drinking water, reliable access to quality medical care if needed, smart program guidelines, and experienced staff are key to ensuring participants stay safe and sound.
Whether in homestays or guest homes, volunteers will enjoy meals prepared fresh daily with a variety of fruits, vegetable, dairy, and grains. Meals include both local specialties and Western-style staples such as pasta and sandwiches. Vegetarian options are always available and most dietary needs (i.e. gluten free) can be accommodated upon request. Participants will also have access to unlimited, purified drinking water throughout the day.
Group leaders are equipped with first aid kits at all times and medical facilities are never far from home base (typically within 15 minutes to the closest clinic or hospital) with transportation readily accessible in the event of emergency. Local staff have established relationships with field experts and medical professionals and are also in constant contact with the administrative team at our US headquarters and prepared to handle emergencies should they arise.
"No one wants their child to have an emergency overseas but knowing how well Dream Volunteers handled the situation when my daughter injured her arm on a school trip last summer gives me so much confidence in the professionalism of this organization and how thoroughly they manage every aspect of the experience."
Group leaders carry cell phones at all times. Parents are always given multiple in-country phone numbers that they can dial should they need to reach our staff or their child. On nearly a daily basis, our staff will send an email home to update parents and loved ones on our progress and noteworthy experiences. In most locations, volunteers will have Internet access. In places where they do not have Internet access, a communication device can be made available to them should they have an urgent need to communicate with someone back home.
While our service trips are designed to challenge our volunteers and connect them to the local way of living, there are certain baselines we have in place to ensure that the accommodations and overall experience are relatively comfortable. Here is what you can expect: you will have a clean, comfortable bed with plenty of blankets, you will be able to take warm showers, you will have the opportunity to have your laundry done, and you will be provided with fresh, safe food. Most importantly, you will be looked after by kind, loving hosts and guides whose primary goal is sending you home with a positive impression of their country and their culture.