American Homestay Network has the following policy to provide a safe travel experience for Guests. Travel violations are considered serious offenses as they impact Guest safety.
Travel requests must be submitted by Guests to their Local Manager.
Approvable Methods of Transportation:
● Please note that ride sharing services or apps are not permitted for unaccompanied Guests under the age of 18. Unaccompanied Guests 18 years of age or older may use ridesharing services provided they are otherwise in compliance with the below policy.
● Unaccompanied Guests can use licensed taxi services provided the travel is otherwise in compliance with the below policy and the policies of the taxi service provider. This refers to taxi services where the drivers must have an operator's license, which is nearly all of them. If you are unsure, ask the provider.
● Guests can travel with host siblings or peers who have a valid driver's license, provided they have their host family's approval and the travel is otherwise in compliance with the below.
● Public transportation around the local area (within 60 miles) is approved provided the host family and Local Manager are comfortable with the Guest's ability to ride responsibly. Host families should educate Guests about safe use beforehand and ideally accompany the Guest to practice before the Guest rides alone.
School Managed Travel:
● No documentation is necessary unless the Guest will be traveling overnight or taking a flight.
● For overnight travel or travel involving a flight, Guests must submit and receive approval for either: An AHN Travel Form, or the school's permission document.
Documentation and travel approval from AHN via an approved Travel Request is required IF:
● The Guest is missing class-time, or
● The Guest plans to travel independently, or
● The Guest plans to travel with their natural parents or any adult other than their host parents more than 60 miles away from their host family home, or
● The Guest plans to take a flight, or
● The Guest plans to travel internationally, or
● The Guest will be unsupervised overnight during travel other than on their return trip home at the end of the school year.
● Travel requests are required for Guests to travel home other than for their return trip home at the end of the school year. For their return trip home at the end of the school year, Guests must submit their travel plans to their Local Manager before the end of the school year.
Student Traveling WITH the Host Family:
If the host family is taking the student to travel, no school will be missed, and no flights will be taken, the host may simply inform AHN of the travel dates and travel plans (address, contact information, etc), and no travel documentation is required.
POLICY AND APPROVAL PROCESS
● Guests must notify their host family and AHN of any plans to travel, as well as any changes to previously approved travel.
● Winter Break: Travel documents for Winter Break should be submitted by December 1st to allow for review and approval. For travel involving flight, the Guest must notify the host family of the flight details (date/time/flight number) and receive travel approval from AHN PRIOR to purchasing tickets.
● Fully completed Travel Request Forms must be submitted at least 14 calendar days prior to travel to allow for processing.
● AHN will approve or deny Guest travel requests based on a reasonable understanding of the safety and well-being of the Guest, education partner rules, wishes of the Guest's natural parents and host parents, government travel advisories, and applicable law.
● Travel Request Forms must be signed by the natural parent, by the Guest's Host Parent, the AHN Local Manager, and AHN Director.
● If the travel form is not completed and submitted to your AHN Local Manager before the 14-day advance deadline, permission to go on the trip may be denied. No Guest should be allowed to travel until AHN has approved it in writing, but submission of the Travel Request form does not guarantee permission to travel. Permission to travel will be at the discretion of the host parent and AHN.
OTHER TRAVEL REQUIREMENTS
Travel with Approved Adults:
Guests who are not approved to travel independently must be accompanied by an Approved Adult. Guests are not permitted to stay overnight outside of the local area by themselves or with just their peers. Approved Adults may be the guest's host parents, natural parents, or another adult approved through the process below:
● Guests must turn in and receive approval for AHN Travel Request Form and a 3rd Party Travel Form. 3rd Party Travel Forms must be collected by AHN directly from the 3rd Party, and must include:
○ All contact information for the adult (address, email and phone number)
○ Copy of picture ID
● If a Guest is not able to find an Approved Adult to travel with, they may contact AHN to see if a chaperone can be arranged.
● Approved Adults must be 25 years of age
● A background check will be performed on any adult accompanying the student during their travel unless the trip is a school-sanctioned trip. The accompanying adult will be considered a temporary host parent responsible for the student.
● Approved Adults within 60 miles of the host family's home must pick up the student from the host directly.
Independent Travel refers to student travel not chaperoned by the student's host parents, natural parents, AHN or another Approved Adult. Independent Travel may only be approved IF:
● The Guest is 18+, and
● The travel is for a positive, reasonable purpose that enriches the Guest's study abroad experience
● The Travel Request is approved by the host parents, the natural parents, and the AHN Local Manager and Director.
● Guests who are 18 years or older who have an approved travel request may stay in hotels or Airbnb accommodations. Their travel request must include this information and be approved.
VIOLATIONS AND CONSEQUENCES
Violations of this policy are considered serious as they impact the safety and well being of students. Violation of the policy will result in consequences including suspension of travel privileges and possible dismissal from the school and the AHN program. The period of travel privilege suspension will depend on the severity of the violation. Typical periods of suspension are one month for minor offenses and one semester (or up to one year) for severe offenses.
In addition, AHN and the Guest's host family will determine the appropriate follow-up education and consequences depending on the severity of the violation. Guests who violate the policy will be provided with and required to sign a written version of the policy and a contract recommitting to program rules. Students who refuse to recommit to program rules following a violation of travel policy may be dismissed from the school and the program.
Factors that affect the severity of the violation are:
● Whether the Guest notified AHN staff and their host families that they were traveling without approval
● Whether the student-maintained communication with their hosts and program team members during their unapproved travel
● The distance and length of time of the unapproved travel
● The nature of activities during the unapproved travel
● The number of occurrences of unapproved travel
● The reasons the travel was not approved
● Other parties involved in the unapproved travel
Violations of this policy must be documented by AHN team members as soon as possible. AHN team members should contact their supervisor immediately when violations of this policy occur.
Date Reviewed: April 2020