ON program student Travel

YFU USA has a responsibility to assure student safety to the greatest extent possible, have knowledge of a student’s location, and ensure that students participate in host family activities & school programs. Any travel that might have an impact on these factors requires advance approval from YFU USA. The Support Services Manager (SSM) has the final authority to grant or deny permission to travel.

Students should work with their host parents to review, complete, and submit the online Permission to Travel request. The form can be found in the online host family account. Travel should not be booked prior to receiving approval from YFU USA.

Please consult our Permission to Travel Policy for more information: Permission to Travel Policy

Travel that is permitted includes:

  • Student travel with their host family

  • Student travel with an an adult approved by YFU USA (must be 25 or older)

  • Student travel on a school-sponsored trip

  • Student travel on a religious or youth organization sponsored trip

  • Student travel on a YFU sponsored trip (BELO Trips, for example)

Travel that is not permitted includes:

  • Independent travel to visit an unauthorized host under the age of 25

  • Travel with natural family or home country friends during the program year

  • Travel that causes a student to miss more days of school than the school allows

Lost Passports

Before you consider your passport lost, dig through all of your belongings, luggage, bags, pockets, under the bed, and any other place where you might have been while carrying it.

Not traveling for a few days: If it is definitely lost and you are not traveling for a few days, you will likely need to apply for a replacement passport and fly on a later date. Find out how long this will take from a passport agency and alert YFU (1.800.705.9510) immediately in case we need to alter your travel arrangements.

At the airport: If you are already in the airport, retrace your steps and see if you left it in a seat, at a counter, in a restroom or other location inside the airport. Most students find it hidden somewhere in their own belongings or in a pocket. If it is definitely lost, notify a YFU staff member and call YFU Travel at 1.800.705.9510 in case we need to change your travel.

Return Travel Dates

Returns are arranged on group flights during the last two weeks of June. Earliest arrivals typically depart the earliest. Winter year programs begin in mid-January and returns are in early January.

Change of Date Request (CDR)

International Student inbound flight dates can only be changed for reasons of school, illness, or visa issues.

International Student return dates can be changed by following the YFU Change of Date Request (CDR) procedures which are mailed to all International Students a few months into their exchange program (October and January). Students may request to return on a different date than the scheduled group flight for various reasons, if approved by their natural parents, host family, home country, and hosting YFU offices. Date changes are limited to the period of a student’s visa validity as well as seat availability. There are YFU and/or airline-imposed fees to go off the group travel return date and students who choose to change their returns do not receive YFU airport assistance.

When will I receive my travel itinerary?

You can view travel itineraries in your Host Family Account, but please note that itineraries are subject to airline schedule changes. We do not issue tickets until May, and itineraries are not confirmed until you receive the ticket info in writing from YFU Travel. Complete travel itineraries will be re-confirmed and sent by mail approximately two weeks prior to departure. Tickets will be electronic and students must only present his or her passport as identification at the airport.

YFU USA travel contact info: 1-800-705-9510 (from any US phone / US payphone); 1-202-774-5200, then press 8 (from a phone without a USA SIM card); twitter: @yfu_travel.

Luggage and Airlines

Please contact the airlines directly or check their websites for luggage restrictions. Most international flights include one free checked bag, but some domestic flights might require a fee for any bags.  Plan to pay fees for extra pieces of luggage or overweight luggage. You are responsible for your luggage and all rules & fees are subject to changes at the airlines’ discretion. YFU will NOT pay for fees for excess luggage, so plan to pack light.

To find out how to travel with special items or understand which items are prohibited consult with your Airline or check out the Transportation Security Administration’s website.

Travel Staff

YFU Travel staffs the following international gateway airports:

  • Atlanta Hartsfield – Jackson International Airport – ATL

  • Chicago O’Hare International Airport – ORD

  • Dallas/Fort-Worth International Airport – DFW

  • Newark Libery International Airport – EWR

  • San Francisco International Airport – SFO

  • Washington Dulles International Airport – IAD

  • Frankfurt, Germany International Airport – FRA

YFU Airport Staff wear purple T-shirts with a large white YFU map on the front and “TRAVEL STAFF” printed on the back. They might also have a purple YFU clipboard with the YFU logo on it. YFU staff members are usually stationed behind the security area, where they can assist students with connections. You should always call YFU Travel (1.800.705.9510 ) if you have any problems during your check-in procedure or finding your gate or if you miss your flight. We can assist you over the phone or send a staff person to you if possible and/or necessary.

Travel DATE COMMUNICATION

Flight times and details change frequently. Students should contact the YFU Travel Department at 1.800.705.9510 if they have any problems or changes while traveling, including missed or changed flights due to weather, mechanical issues, etc. We can assist with notifying your Host Family and/or  natural parents to update them on the status of the flight.

Host Families are encouraged to sign up for the text/email/voice call alert system, which is a feature of the Travel section of the Host Family Account. These alerts will allow Host Families to be informed of airline changes to their student’s travel itinerary. Host Families should monitor their student’s flight status on the travel date via the airline’s website or FlightAware.com.

We also encourage students and Host Families to follow us on Twitter for news, updates, deadlines, policies and alerts. Find us @yfu_travel. 

INDEPENDENT ARRANGEMENT COUNTRIES

The following YFU organizations arranged the travel for their students for 2021-22:

  • Australia

  • Belgium

  • Chile

  • China

  • Czech Republic

  • Germany

  • Latvia

  • Mongolia

  • Netherlands

  • New Zealand

  • Norway

  • Sweden

  • Switzerland

  • Spain (ITEA Spain; not YFU Spain)

  • Vietnam