Independent Travel and Belo Tour Information
Belo Tours Information
In an effort to make it possible for AFS students to experience the U.S. beyond their own American hometown and to develop a sense of belonging to a world community, AFS-USA has partnered with Belo USA Travel to develop optional trips for students. Belo USA Travel is an American travel operator based in Chicago that specializes in educational and cultural trips for international exchange students. Belo has a long history with AFS and our own experience with them, as evidenced by evaluations received from students, host families, volunteers and staff, has been excellent.
As AFS prefers that students not miss school, trips will be offered during winter and spring breaks as well as in June for those students who finish school early. While AFS prefers students not miss school, we recognize the enhancement (very similar to AFS's own bus trips 1947-1998) that Belo trips bring to our program and acknowledge that in some cases it is entirely appropriate for students to take part even if they miss some school. Therefore, the AFS USA National Council recently approved an amendment to the AFS Independent Travel Policy that allows students to attend Belo and miss up to 5 days of school with Host Family permission and the consent of the Host School and AFS-USA.
The trips designed by Belo are tailored to meet the needs of AFS students. To further expand this experience, host siblings between the ages of 15 and 18 are also invited to participate. By participating in these trips with their host siblings, exchange students will have the chance to strengthen their special bond, while also providing your children the chance to meet international students from more than 50 countries.
While we offer these trips, they are not sponsored by AFS. Therefore AFS's Independent Travel policy will be in effect and travel waivers must be submitted and approved. Students should not purchase tickets until they have approval for the trip from the host family, his or her natural family, the school if missing any days, and AFS. The trip should also not interfere with your family's plans or mandatory AFS events. Some students on sports teams may be required to participate in practices or games during vacation periods, so this should be considered as well.
These trips are completely optional and the costs are the sole responsibility of the exchange student and his or her natural parents. Domestic travel is not included in the price of the trip so students will need to purchase round trip tickets. Host parents are not expected to pay for these optional trips. Prices range from approximately $980.00 through $2490.00 plus airfare and pocket money.
Please note that each trip is accompanied by Belo Trip Coordinators and Monitors as well as an AFS recruited chaperone.
Links and Info for Belo Tours
Belo Student Information Form
Natural Parents Authorization Form
Student Travel Waiver
Belo USA Travel Website
Belo AFS Trip Brochure
Approval Signatures Needed
* Host Family
* Natural Family
* School Official (if missing school)
* AFS Volunteer: Your Support Coordinator (see Student Roster)
DO NOT purchase airline tickets prior to having all of your forms completed ane receiving offical communication from Belo to do so.
Toll Free Phone Number:
Fax Number to send Completed Authorization Form
or Email address to send Completed Authorization Form: