What do you do on an Unbound Awareness Trip?

Our local staff meet travelers at the airport and host our group for the length of the trip. Sponsored members and their families welcome travelers into their communities and homes, and activities and celebrations demonstrate the impact of our program to families living in poverty. Travelers will see how contributions are used to support and empower families, but for most the highlight will be getting to meet their sponsored friends.

Whether it’s to meet sponsored friends or simply experience the beauty of another culture, awareness trips offer an adventure like no other. Awareness trip travelers describe the experience as rewarding, eye-opening, energizing, impactful and humbling. They say they’ve grown in awareness and that their perception of poverty has changed.

Download the trip information packets at for more trip-specific details.

Will I meet my sponsored friend, and how much time will we spend together?

This is one of the primary reasons we offer trips, and we will do everything possible to make this happen! If you are a sponsor, you will spend a day during the trip with your sponsored friend, a member of their family and a staff member. Your sponsored friend will travel from their area to meet you, and your time is often spent at a park or recreation area. In extremely rare circumstances, the ability to travel, health or other unexpected situations prevent a visit from happening. For this reason we cannot make guarantees.

Please note, not all trips to a country will visit all Unbound programs in that country. Check the trip information to confirm which program areas the trip will visit and consult with a trip coordinator for assistance if you need help identifying which Unbound program site serves your friend.

How much do the trips cost, and is airfare included?

Trip fees vary depending on the date, length of trip and location. The price is the same for adults and children. Your food, lodging and in-country ground transportation are included. International airfare is not included.

Additional costs to travelers include passport fees, immunizations, travel medical insurance, and visa, entrance and/or departure fees for some countries. Alcoholic beverages are not included in the trip fee, but they may be available for purchase.

How do I sign up for a trip?

All participants must register. Email the completed registration forms to [email protected] and we will contact you regarding payment.

You can also print and mail the completed forms along with a check made payable to Unbound for the $100 non-refundable deposit to:
Attn: Trip Coordinators
1 Elmwood Ave.
Kansas City, KS 66103

Apply as soon as possible, as some trips fill up quickly. Check or call us regarding the availability of your desired trip.

When do I schedule my flight?

You can research airfares with a travel agent or online; however, please wait to make your airline arrangements until your registration is confirmed by the trip coordinator and you receive written instructions for scheduling your flight. Please book confirmed seats and avoid flying standby.

Who can go on an Unbound Awareness Trip?

Trips are open to both sponsors and non-sponsors, and our travelers range in age from 6 to 90-plus. Some people travel solo, while others bring friends and family members to share the experience. Families with children (6 and older), whether sponsors or not, are welcome. Certain trips may have an older maximum age, due to the strenuous nature of activities planned.

What are the accommodations and food like?

Accommodations are clean and often simple, such as a retreat center or a modest hotel. Couples and/or families will be assigned a private room.

Meals are eaten with the group and will be simple fare from the local cuisine. We provide ample bottled water throughout the trip.

What if I don't speak the language?

Unbound provides interpreters throughout the trip.

Should I bring my friend a gift?

Sponsored friends and their families greatly anticipate these visits, and your presence is, in itself, a special gift. Exchanging gifts is common in many cultures. If you wish, you may bring simple gifts for your friend and for the family. Check the trip preparation guide included with your confirmation packet for gift ideas.

Do I need a passport and visa to travel?

A valid passport book is required to travel internationally. Most countries require the passport be valid for at least six months past your departure date. A visa is also needed by U.S. citizens visiting some countries. If required, a trip coordinator will provide instructions for obtaining a visa closer to the trip. If you are not a U.S. citizen, you will need to research requirements for entering each country.

How strenuous are the trips?

The days begin early and are filled with activities. The trip can be rigorous, as rest time is limited. You may travel long distances on winding roads in a bus or van and may be gone all day visiting communities, sometimes in very warm weather. Participants should be able to climb stairs and walk on uneven terrain such as dirt paths or cobblestones. The amount of walking varies by trip. Some trips have additional requirements for mobility and balance. Refer to the trip-specific information for more details. You should be aware of the risks of altitude illness and how altitude can affect certain medical conditions. Consult with your doctor to see if this will affect you. A trip coordinator would be happy to talk with you about any concerns you have about your ability to participate.

Do I need immunizations?

Depending on your destination, Unbound may require registered travelers to provide proof of a primary series of a COVID-19 vaccination. See the country information packet for specific requirements based on your chosen destination.

For health recommendations based on your health history, please consult your medical doctor or local health department. We recommend speaking with a medical professional as soon as possible, as some immunizations are time sensitive.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at has country-specific recommendations. You can also contact them by phone at 800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636). CDC recommendations may reference a specific area of a country or vary depending on the style of travel. An Unbound trip coordinator can answer questions about the areas of the country that might be visited, lodging and other factors that you and a medical professional may need to know. Unbound staff are not qualified to offer advice on immunizations.

What happens if a traveler tests positive for COVID-19 during the trip?

Travelers that test positive for COVID-19 during the awareness trip will not be allowed to continue to join trip activities and must end their participation in the trip. The traveler will be responsible for all expenses from the time they test positive, which may include meals, additional transportation, medical expenses and lodging. Unbound strongly urges travelers to purchase trip cancelation insurance and trip interruption insurance to help cover the costs resulting from early departure from a trip.

Note: Travelers cannot lodge at Unbound dormitories after testing positive for COVID-19. This is relevant for trips to Guatemala, El Salvador and Costa Rica. Unbound will transport the individual to a hotel near the airport that accepts guests diagnosed with COVID-19.

What does Unbound do to help keep travelers safe?

Unbound cares about your safety, and the safety of sponsored friends and our staff. Local Unbound staff members are your hosts during the awareness trip and accompany the group. Our local staff lives in the destination country, visits the neighborhoods, towns and countryside regularly and are aware of safety concerns. Because of their unique qualifications and background, our local staff are responsible for putting together the schedule of activities for your trip and choosing the locations you will visit.

No one can guarantee safety. International travel carries inherent risks, and we understand the realities in the countries where we work. We monitor current events, weather conditions, political situations, guidance offered by the U.S. State Department and other available resources and stay in regular communication with our local staff members on security matters. We’ve canceled trips when we’ve deemed it prudent.

To assist in keeping everyone safe, all Unbound travelers are expected to adhere to the rules outlined in the Travel Agreement found in the registration materials.

Unbound is proud of our history of safe and enjoyable trips, and we look forward to having you join us.

Will my health insurance cover me in another country?

Consult with your medical insurance company prior to traveling to confirm whether your policy applies in a foreign country. If your policy does not cover emergency expenses including a medical evacuation, we urge you to consider the purchase of temporary travel insurance. Many insurance plans, including Medicare, do not cover treatment outside of the U.S. You can obtain further information on travel insurance from a travel agent or through research on the internet.

Unbound strongly urges travelers to have trip cancellation and trip interruption insurance to help cover the costs associated with isolation due to a COVID-19 diagnosis.

Why are background checks required?

To ensure everyone’s protection and determine eligibility to travel with Unbound, a background check is required for everyone 18 and older prior to participating in an awareness trip. This is common practice for sponsorship organizations and other organizations that are connecting adults and minors in person. The background check will be valid for 24 months and is included in the trip fee.

Where can I get more information?

Trip coordinators are happy to answer your questions by email at [email protected] or by phone between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. CST at 800.875.6564.