Learn more about Global Brigades’ and Airlines’ travel policies and what it takes to start the flight booking process
for your brigade (if your Chapter has chosen to travel abroad) ! Before reading the full travel policy details below, watch this video presentation that summarizes our travel booking policies.
Step 1: Confirm Travel Requirements
Before booking flights, all volunteers should confirm Passport, Visa, and Vaccine requirements needed to travel. If your country of citizenship is not included in the documents below, contact your local embassy or consulate and airline to determine if there are visa requirements that apply to your nationality and destination country.
Passport Requirements: It is the responsibility of each volunteer to secure a valid passport required to travel to their destination country. All volunteers must have a passport valid for at least 6 months from the last date of their intended brigade. Passports expiring before this must be renewed prior to travel. Please begin any necessary passport procurement or renewal processes 3-4 months before the intended brigade. This is an immigration policy, not a Global Brigades policy. View this document and select your country of citizenship to view passport information from your government website.
Visa Requirements: It is the responsibility of each volunteer to secure any visas required to travel to their destination country. Every individual is responsible for their own visa processing and costs. Global Brigades is not responsible for a volunteer being denied entry into their destination country due to the lack of proper documentation. Please begin any necessary visa procurement processes 3-4 months before the intended brigade. View this document and navigate to the page for your country of citizenship to view specific visa information.
Vaccine Requirements: View our Safety & Security page for the “Vaccinations for In-Person Brigades” list to confirm which vaccines are required for travel to your destination brigade country and confirm that you will be able to acquire any required vaccinations and documentation before travel.
Step 2: Determine Your Brigade's Flight Booking Type
Option 1: Book with Global Brigades:
All volunteers have the opportunity to book flights through Global Brigades. Booking through GB allows for consolidation of the flight booking process and for volunteers to fundraise towards their flight goals directly through MyBrigades. GB books travel through our in-house travel team, Global Brigades Travel, which is based out of Nicaragua. A GB travel team member will support the flight booking; the Brigade Leader will facilitate all communication between volunteers, the Program Associate, and the travel team member.
- Global Brigades Group Bookings: Group reservations require a minimum of 10 passengers all traveling on identical itineraries (i.e. same departure, return cities, and travel dates). Flights are reserved in advance by making a deposit to the airline and then purchased in full later, at the ticketing deadline. If you have 10+ volunteers traveling on the same itinerary, we require the volunteers to book as a group. GB travel staff will not book individual tickets for volunteers flying together, as group flights ensures all volunteers receive the same ticketing price.
- Global Brigades Individual Bookings / Deviations: Groups that fall below 10 passengers must be booked through deviation reservations. Any passengers flying from different airports or on different dates than the group will also need to be booked as deviations. Flights for deviations must be confirmed by the brigader and the brigader must upload the full flight donation goal within 24 hours of receiving a quote. This option is meant for individuals that need to travel separately from their group or for smaller brigade groups.
Option 2: Book Independently (read below and skip to Step 7) :
Volunteers that prefer to book flights on their own MUST submit their intended itinerary to their Travel Team Member PRIOR to purchasing a ticket in order to receive approval. All itineraries must be submitted for approval by Global Brigades staff no later than 60 days before the brigade (90 days before the brigade for Ghana). An Alternative Transportation Liability Waiver must be filled out and signed by each person traveling on tickets purchased independently of Global Brigades. The chapter leader should also collect the hard copies of these waivers and bring them on their brigade. Please note that when volunteers purchase their tickets independently, they cannot utilize donated funds to purchase their tickets and they will need to manage any flight cancellations and rebookings personally. Brigade Leaders are required submit independently booked flights for any volunteers on MyBrigades by using the “+Add Outside Booking” button on the MyBrigades Travel Tool and then assign the applicable volunteers to those flights. E-signing is not required for these flights since they’re not booked by Global Brigades. If you are from a UK or German group, or a US/Canada group and wish to do pre or post brigade travel, you will need to book your flights independently.
Step 3: Initiate Travel Process with Program Associate
Your Brigade Leader should reach out to your Brigade’s assigned Program Associate (PA) to let them know that they’re ready to start the travel booking process. Your PA will then unlock the Travel Tool on MyBrigades.
The MyBrigades Travel tool allows Brigade Leaders to do the following:
- Request individual and group flights based on their Brigade details
- Review and accept flight quotes from our Global Brigades Travel Team
- Assign individual volunteers to fill seats of reserved flights
- Upload flight roster documents as required by airlines
- View status of all requested flights (denied, approved, reserved, booked)
- For volunteers booking independently, the Brigade Leader can upload details of their flights
The MyBrigades Travel Tool allows volunteers to do the following:
- Review flight details for any flights assigned to them
- E-Sign to accept flights assign to them (required by all volunteers assigned to a flight in order to complete booking)
- View booked flight details
Step 4: Request Flight(s) on MyBrigades
Your Brigade Leader will use the “Brigade Flights Requests” section to select the “+Add Request” button to request a new flight for your brigade. The form will be auto-populated with specific restriction information for your Brigade program country and will automatically be set to your Brigade’s dates. View all airport codes and arrival/departure restrictions by country below. Also, view the policy below on volunteers adding personal travel before or after their Brigade.
- Honduras – Comayagua (XPL), or if cost-prohibitive, San Pedro Sula (SAP)
- Guatemala – Guatemala City (GUA)
- Ghana – Accra (ACC)
- Panama – Panama City (PTY)
- Greece – Athens (ATH)
General Arrival Flight Policy
If a volunteer arrives on a flight that differs from the group reservation by more than 2 hours, $100 USD ($130 CAD/ £74 GBP / €85 EUR) will be added to the volunteer’s Donation Goal. Healthcare Professionals and University Faculty are exempt from this policy.
Arrival & Departure Time Restrictions
All volunteers must arrive and depart within the following windows of time below.
- Honduras – Arrive between 8 am-2 pm, depart between 11 am-3 pm for XPL. Arrive and depart between 10 am-2 pm for SAP. Any groups arriving in SAP after 2 pm will stay overnight in a hotel in San Pedro Sula upon their arrival but an extra $70 USD ($90 CAD/50 GBP) is added to the volunteer’s donation goal to accommodate logistics.
- Guatemala – Arrive and depart between 10 am-2 pm to GUA. All brigades will arrive on Sunday and depart on Saturday.
- Ghana – Arrive between 8 am-1 pm to ACC. Any groups arriving in Accra after 1 pm will stay overnight in a hotel in Accra upon their arrival. Depart after 3 pm.
- Panama – Arrive between 8 am- 5 pm to PTY. Depart between 12 pm-10 pm. Flights may be accommodated outside of that time frame with an overnight stay in local hotels to avoid night travel, but an extra donation goal is added to each volunteer in order to accommodate logistics, which may start at $80 USD ($104 CAD/ 60 GBP). The exact extra donation goal will be determined on a case-by-case basis by the in-country team.
- Greece – Arrive and depart between 8 am-6 pm to ATH. Flights may be accommodated outside of that time frame with an overnight stay at the airport hotel to avoid night travel, but an extra donation goal is added to the volunteer’s donation goal to accommodate logistics. This extra DG would vary according to the time of the year & number of volunteers.
Adding Personal Travel to Your Brigade
Volunteers seeking to travel personally before or after their brigade must obtain prior approval from a Travel Team Member and provide the following information below. If personal travel is approved, the volunteer must sign an Alternative Travel Waiver and book their flights independently with an approved itinerary (fundraising cannot be done for flights that include personal travel). Additionally, for pre-brigade personal travel, the volunteer must meet the group at the airport at least 1 hour prior to the group flight arrival time. To request personal travel, please reach out to your Program Associate.
- For Pre-Brigade Personal Travel:
- Proposed dates/location of travel
- Flight information (itinerary and flight #)
- Address(es) for accommodation (if in the program country)
- Phone number they can be reached at prior to the brigade
- Signed Alternative Travel Waiver (if approved)
- Meet group at the airport at least 1 hour prior to the group flight arrival time
- For Post-Brigade Personal Travel:
- Signed Alternative Travel Waiver (if approved)
Step 5: Select Flights on MyBrigades
After your Brigade Leader has submitted a flight request, your Program Associate will review and if approved, will send the request to the Global Brigades Travel Team for quoting. If the request is not approved, your Program Associate will let your Brigade Leader know why and how they can re-submit with corrections.
For approved requests, the Global Brigades Travel Team will search for the most direct and most affordable flight options that fit within our required arrival and departure time restrictions. All applicable quotes will be posted to MyBrigades for your Brigade Leader to review and select. Keep in mind that for group flights, the Brigade Leader selects which flight they feel is best for the entire group and e-signs to accept that quote on behalf of the group in order to reserve the flight. The quote will include all flight details, as well as information about fundraising deadlines and any airline policies that are provided to the travel team member.
Step 6: E-Sign Assigned Flight(s) on MyBrigades
For flights booked by Global Brigades, all volunteers traveling on a group flight will also need to e-sign to accept the reserved flight before it is officially booked. By e-signing to accept a flight, a volunteer is acknowledging Acceptance of Travel Policies, which includes committing to fundraise for the cost of the flight. After a flight is reserved, your Brigade Leader can use the “Flight Roster” tool to assign all Brigade volunteers to their applicable flight. Your Brigade Leader will provide the final names list of travelers to the airline by uploading the list to MyBrigades. Please keep in mind that the name you provide on your Roster Questionnaire is the name your Brigade Leader will use when submitting the final names list to the airline and this information must match your passport. Global Brigades is not financially liable for correcting any inaccurate information (passport, names, etc) submitted by the Brigade Leader or volunteers.
If a reserved group flight needs to be updated to remove seats due to a volunteer canceling their participation, your Brigade Leader can reach out to their Program Associate and Global Brigades Travel Team member for assistance.
Once all volunteers assigned to the flight have completed their roster questionnaire, e-signed to accept their reserved flight, all applicable fundraising Donation Goals have been met, and the final names list has been provided, your Global Brigades Travel Team member will book the flight officially and update the final flight details on MyBrigades, including flight confirmation number.
Step 7: Pack for Your Brigade
Baggage allowances are determined by the airline. All volunteers should refer to the airline’s website to determine baggage allowances. Airlines may change their baggage policies without notice. All baggage charges must be paid at the airport at the time of check-in by credit card. It is the volunteers’ responsibility to cover any baggage charges. TIP: reach out to the airline to see if luggage fees can be waived, this must be done ahead of time because the process may take several weeks to confirm.
Please be advised that your personal belongings are your responsibility at all times during your brigade. Should your personal luggage get lost or stolen during your brigade, Global Brigades team members will assist in seeking coverage from the insurance policy provided. We strongly recommend bringing all of your personal items in carry-on luggage to avoid the airline losing any checked luggage. Any and all luggage lost or stolen during transit to or from your home country and your brigade country shall be the responsibility of the airline and not Global Brigades.
Packing List and Tips
The packing list provided here will serve as general guidelines of things to bring or not to bring on a brigade. Please be sure to contact your airline to confirm baggage allowances prior to travel.
General Packing Tips
- The weather is typically hot and humid. Clothing may get wet, muddy, or dirty.
- Pack light. Try to avoid checking personal items. Global Brigades is not liable for lost baggage.
- Keep personal medicine in their original prescription bottles and always in your carry-on luggage.
- Bring plastic resealable bags to keep personal belongings (e.g. camera) dry.
- Always carry a copy of your passport and other important documents with you.
- Do NOT bring expensive jewelry, fancy clothing, or unnecessary electronics.
Dress Code: Every volunteer is representing Global Brigades while in communities and should dress conservatively while in communities. While at the lodging facility, volunteers are permitted to wear shorts/leggings, flip flops, tank tops, etc.
INAPPROPROPRIATE clothing for community: SCRUB TOPS, leggings or other excessively form-fitting/revealing clothes, crop tops or tank tops, dresses, shorts (of any length), flip flops or sandals
Appropriate clothing for community: T-shirts or long-sleeve shirts, long pants, closed-toe shoes or tennis shoes, scrub pants only
Viewing lodging facilities can also help you prepare for what to pack. Groups are typically assigned to a lodging facility 2-3 weeks before the brigade. Assignments are made based on group size, proximity to the community, available space on the compound, etc. The Lodging Facilities document is where you can find updates about lodging in each of the Global Brigades programming countries that GB currently uses and plans to use. This document will provide general information about each facility and information about the accommodations available at each destination.
Carbon Offsetting Program
Carbon offsetting means taking actions that remove an equal or more amount of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere than we emit in order to create a positive, restorative impact on the environment, and to make your brigades sustainable.
Every flight that brigaders take releases over 1 ton of carbon dioxide (per person) into the atmosphere, which negatively contributes to climate change. Beginning in 2022, Global Brigades will collaborate with community partners to plant tens of thousands of trees each year in community watershed areas that will store carbon, protect natural water resources and provide economic opportunities to local families. For every brigader, we will plant on average 5 trees and care for them over the next generation.
Any brigade that takes place after September 1st, 2021 will have their carbon emissions from flights offset! The cost of this reforestation program is already included in your donation goal, so thank you in advance for your work to support families, communities and the environment!
Flight Changes and Cancellations
Of course, we understand plans change due to unforeseen circumstances. Please click below to review some additional information about flight changes and cancellations.
FLIGHT CANCELLATIONS AND CHANGES
View some questions we are frequently asked about booking brigade travel with Global Brigades. Don’t see your question listed? Contact your Program Associate for more information.
Why are online prices cheaper than group reservation quotes?
Prices you see online are published fares (for one individual, not a group) and are 24-hour reservations. After purchasing several individual tickets at a time (5-6), there is an incremental increase in ticket prices for the fare. As a result, the “savings” from the initial quote end up outweighing the overall group increases. This is why group booking is ultimately more financially sensible.
Can I use my frequent flyer miles to book flights?
If brigaders would like to use miles to book airfare, they must book flights directly with the airlines, independent of Global Brigades. A third party (ex. Global Brigades Travel) cannot apply an individual’s miles towards flights.
However, you are able to accrue miles through flights booked through Global Brigades. Contact your brigade leader to see how your frequent flyer number can be added to your ticket.
What happens if flight funds are not raised in time?
If the full amount of the airfare is not raised on the fundraising page by the appropriate deadline, the reservation will be cancelled, and any deposits already paid may be lost. Volunteers will need to begin the flight booking process again to find new flights.
Is my ticket refundable or transferrable?
Once issued, tickets are not transferable.
The refund policy depends on the airline and fare paid. If tickets were booked through Global Brigades, any refunds from airlines will be issued to Global Brigades. From there, refunds from Global Brigades to individual volunteers or donors will follow our organization’s Cancellation & Refund Policies.