As a Quest Volunteer you can enroll in the program of your choice by completing United Planet’s online enrollment form and submitting your non-refundable deposit of $300 (for short-term programs) or $500 (for long-term programs). Once you are accepted into a program, this deposit will be credited toward your total program fee. The remainder of your fee for Short Term Programs is due at least 30 days before you depart for your Quest, or for Long Term Programs, according to your program’s payment schedule. Payment methods include checks (made payable to United Planet), money orders or credit cards (Visa, MasterCard, and American Express). Cash is not accepted by mail.
United Planet wants you to succeed in your Quest. That means having in place the support our volunteers need. We do not just drop you in country and hope for the best. We provide training before you leave, language exposure, 24/7 in-country support , support for your host family, accommodations, meals and airport transportation, activities and excursions. The idea is to make the Quest experience successful and productive for you and the host community, and we have found that these things are crucial. Remember that we are a non-profit, mission-driven organization – we only spend money on what we hold to be important.
A responsible volunteer abroad program provides support to volunteers before, during, and after their experience, and takes steps to ensure that programs are safe and sustainable for both volunteers and host communities abroad.
Our partner communities in our program countries cannot afford to pay for the living expenses and additional support that international volunteers need. Therefore, the fee you pay to United Planet covers your living and transportation expenses as well as our costs to set up the program, train our staff and others who will work with you, and to support you 24/7 during your program.
Many of our volunteers fundraise for their program fees and related costs. We have a fundraising guide to support you in these endeavors and our Program Coordinators are always ready to share ideas and help you in any way possible! No matter how you decide to pay for your Quest, we must receive your full program fee at least 30 days before your program’s start date.
We understand that life can be unpredictable and you may need to change the dates of your program. If you postpone your Quest, any fees paid to us for your program (less any expenses already incurred) will be held in your program account for 1 year from your original departure date. You may apply these funds to any of our programs, as long as you depart for your Quest within one year of your original start date.
If you do not re-schedule your Quest within one year of your original departure date, we cannot refund your fee, but will use it as a general donation to be used toward the work of our charitable mission.
Due to our status as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, all deposits and payments made to United Planet are considered donations and are therefore non-refundable, whether you participate in your Quest or not. In addition, canceling your program close to your departure date causes additional stress on our staff and host communities who have been preparing for your arrival. Should your original Quest start date no longer work for you, please see our Postponement Policy above.
We take the health and safety of our volunteers and host communities very seriously and as such, we have extensive risk management policies in place, which include regular health and safety education of our staff, communities and volunteers. But we cannot do this alone. As an organization that cares, we can set up our programs to be safe, educate all involved and have extensive emergency procedures in place. In the end, the most important factor in our volunteers’ safety is the decisions they make while abroad.
This starts with how you prepare yourself for your time abroad. It is important that you do research on your host country and community and research health risks and factors so you can be prepared. We will provide you with links and resources to get you started, but you need to do the work, as only you know your own health and body. We recommend you make an appointment with your Primary Care Physician or a Travel Clinic to discuss relevant information and your immunization options in detail.
Emergency medical and evacuation insurance is included in the Quest program fee. The coverage is limited and benefits vary based on each volunteer’s nationality and country of residence. We will provide you with details on this insurance coverage and you are able to upgrade your coverage, according to your preference, for an additional cost.
You are responsible for booking your own international airfare, to arrive and depart on the days for which your program is confirmed. If there is a window arrival time on your arrival date, you must arrive during that time or there may be an additional transfer charge. We are not responsible for any changes to your program or travel dates. We recommend you purchase a changeable ticket that will allow you more flexibility should your situation change. We also recommend you purchase travel insurance through a third party provider that will cover your international airfare and your program fee should you need to change or cancel your program.
You are responsible for processing and all payments regarding your passport and visa. We will provide you general information about how to apply for a visa (if necessary), but know that each Embassy and Consulate differs in its process so you must follow the stated procedures of your Consulate. You are responsible for submitting all paperwork and payments so that you receive your visa before your departure.
All life activities include some elements of risk and international travel is no different, though we believe there is no reason why international travel needs to be riskier than daily activities. We here at United Planet do all we can to mitigate risk in how we set our programs, how we train our staff and volunteers, and in our detailed emergency procedures to address situations should they occur.
We do not recommend that volunteers travel outside of their program country. If you choose to do so, you do it at your own risk. We also do not include high-risk recreational activities in our programs and if you choose to participate in these activities in your free time, it is at your own risk. It is your responsibility to understand the benefits and restrictions of your insurance policy.
All of our volunteers sign a contract, agreeing to a Code of Conduct that is designed to protect our volunteers and host communities, making this program a great experience for all involved. Like any other program we also ask that you comply with our rules, as they are there to keep our volunteers, host families and host projects safe and the relationships productive. In the rare case we have to ask someone to leave the program because they have not complied with one or more of the rules in the volunteer contract, the program fee is completely non-refundable.
As much as possible, we aim to make our programs accessible to all volunteers, and provide discounts to be used toward select programs. Applicable discounts will be applied to the balance of the program fee after enrollment. Discounts are not to be combined with the exception of our Alumni Discount and Buddy Discount.
The Alumni Discount will be provided to any participant who previously successfully completed a United Planet volunteer Quest, as our goal is to encourage you to develop your global competencies. This Discount is available to alumni for life.
The Buddy Discount will be applied to the program fee of the initial contact person for every companion or “buddy” traveling alongside the initial contact person on the same volunteer Quest. This discount may also be divided equally among all members of the group. Should a buddy cancel their participation in the volunteer Quest, or change their Quest so that they are not traveling with the initial contact person, the Buddy Discount will be forfeited and the revised balance will be due.
The Family Discount includes a Child Discount for children 11 years old and younger at the time of the program start date. A participant traveling with a child who receives the Child Discount will receive the Buddy Discount for that child in addition to the Child Discount.
Volunteers traveling as members of a group who receive the Group Discount will not be eligible for additional discounts.
United Planet Discounts listed herein are not to be combined with each other, or with scholarships and/or grants.