Belo USA Travel is an American travel operator based in Chicago specializing in cultural, educational, and tourist trips for international exchange students. Belo Tours has contracted with other AFS Partners and other exchange organizations for more than 15 years with positive results.
Belo USA has designed trips specifically for AFS students that will incorporate our mission and the idea of intercultural education. Tours will include cross-cultural learning opportunities in each city. Belo USA has a great appreciation for the mission of AFS and the desire for our students to participate in activities that follow these values.
Because AFS-USA believes in the value of Belo Tours as an enhancement to our programs, the AFS-USA National Council has voted to amend the AFS Independent Travel Policy in regard to Belo Tours:
- Travel waivers will be required for all trips.
- Host siblings will be invited to join the trips.
- Student travel must be approved by the host family, natural parents, the host school (if any school will be missed), local Support Coordinator and AFS-USA via the travel waiver.
- Students should not purchase tickets until obtaining approvals from all designated parties.
- Students would be allowed to miss up to 5 days of school to travel on a Belo Tour (upon receiving approvals as indicated above).
- Trips will be chaperoned by AFS-USA staff/volunteers and Belo USA staff.
However, as these are not AFS sponsored trips, they do not excuse students from attending any mandatory orientation. If there is a conflict of dates, then the mandatory orientation takes precedence.
For AFS-USA specific travel and program policies, please contact your Regional Travel and Logistics Coordinator.
2016 Trip Options
- Hawaii Expedition: February 13-20, February 14-21, March 6-13, March 26-April 2, March 27-April 3
- California Adventure: February 27-March 5
- New York City: March 12-16, April 2-6
- NYC, Philadelphia, and Washington D.C.: March 12-19, April 2-9
- East Coast: June 2-15
- West Coast: June 2-15, June 5-18
You can learn more about these trips at www.belousa.com
You can also view the brochure here:
AFS and Belo USA forms
AFS-USA and Belo USA require specific forms to be completed for students to participate in Belo trips.
- AFS USA Student Travel Waiver for Belo Travel
- Belo AFS Student Information and Agreement
- Belo AFS Parent Authorization
Message to Volunteers
The following letter went out to all TDDs, TDSs, Support Coordinators, and Area Team Chairs regarding this year's Belo Tours.
The letter can be viewed here:
Some Best Practices
1. Students must 'apply' for a Belo tour’. Students are required to submit a request form that is approved by the Support Coordinators before they can sign up for a trip. Included in this request form is approval/acceptance by the host parents.
2. Several key volunteers are responsible for obtaining the school approval signature for the Belo trips. This practice prevents students from informing their schools that it is an official AFS trip. This practice also serves a dual purpose in that by talking to the school to obtain the approval, it can be used as one of the required quarterly contacts.
Information for Volunteer Chaperone Opportunities
- Belo Bus Chaperone Award Application Belo Bus Chaperone Application
- For chaperone guidelines and information click here
- Questions should be directed to the Volunteer Recognition Committee: firstname.lastname@example.org