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What You Need to Know


In many cases, fundraising is an essential part of paying for your trip. Fundraising ideas and opportunities are provided on this Web site in our online delegate training course. After you have registered for a trip you will be given instructions on how to access online training. The course discusses effective fundraising strategies including letter writing and home benefit parties. Some groups also hold events such as fiestas, concerts, carwashes, silent auctions, etc. Samples and information are provided to support you in these activities if you wish to fundraise to cover your airfare and service fees. Your group may also decide to do larger, joint fundraising activities to cover project costs. One half of the payment due two months prior to your departure, payment in full is due at least one month prior to your departure.


Is it safe to travel in El Salvador?

El Salvador is a developing country and most of the population lives in desperate social and economic conditions. These conditions spawn crime, much as they do in the United States. The civil war in El Salvador ended in 1992 and many people, throughout this small country have been working hard to improve economic conditions. For the sake of caution, the US Embassy still tends to discourage travel in El Salvador. International Partners has been taking teams of teens and adults to El Salvador since 2000. All of our teams have been safe and all have had very positive experiences.

To be safe we take precautions. We coordinate our trips through local Non-Governmental Organizations. We travel with known drivers, on familiar roads, and lodge with responsible people. Participants are accompanied by team leaders, are expected to stay with an assigned buddy, and are advised on ways not to draw special attention to themselves. However, travel in El Salvador sometimes involves factors beyond our control and consequently, we require participants to sign an acknowledgement of risks and waiver of liability.

The most common health risk is from water borne intestinal bacteria against which participants will be trained to take precautions and to bring medications to ensure infections are short lived and not debilitating. There are also mosquito-borne illnesses such as dengue, which is possible but not common. A complete list of possible illness is listed in the trip guidelines with appropriate precautions. Most teams involve physical labor in hot and sunny conditions. Some climb trails to work on mountaintops.

Delegates will be living in remote, rural villages but we will have transportation and should be able to get to a hospital or clinic in about 60 minutes. Team Leaders have cell phones to contact help in case of an emergency. We have established relationships with English speaking doctors with whom we can consult or visit in the event that medical treatment is necessary. Other risks include the lack of seat belts, travel in open-bed pick-up trucks and a strong ocean undertow at the beach.

Participants are encouraged to review their particular health profile with their health provider and prepare for the trip according to his/her recommendations. Ask your doctor to give you antibiotics and painkillers for your trip. These are hard to find in El Salvador and in the event that you need them it is useful to have exactly what your doctor would prescribe. These medications will only be used if necessary and in consultation with a domemctor in El Salvador. If you don't need them, on your departure they will be a treasured gift to the health promoter in your host community.

Delegation participants should consult the Consular Information Sheet for El Salvador posted by the U.S. Department of State at travel.state.gov for further safety information.

Please send additional questions to your trip organizer or email International Partners at director@InternationalPartners.org.

Policies and Guidelines

All delegates must sign a behavior agreement to uphold IP policies and guidelines prior to participation on this trip. The policies and guidelines are intended to insure that delegates remain safe and that the purpose and goals of our service team program are upheld.

Please download and read a copy of the Behavior Agreement and return a signed copy to your trip organizer or to the IP office within one month of your trip.

A violation of this agreement requires the Trip Leader to take appropriate action. A delegate may be dismissed from the program and required to return home early at his or her own expense at such time that the IP leadership determines that it is the best interest of the delegate, community, IP, or the other trip delegates. Send questions to director@internationalpartners.org.

Purpose of International Partners Service Teams

Most people have few opportunities to have a lasting influence in the world, to broaden their understanding of themselves by experiencing life in a different culture, to discover how to handle day-to-day life in poor rural communities, or to make personal friendships across the boundaries of culture, language, and history.

IP Service Teams give teen and adult delegates the opportunity to live and work in a rural Salvadoran village, appreciate resources and abilities that they usually take for granted and to share a meaningful adventure that will have a lasting influence on their lives and identity. IP Service Teams are designed to:

Goals for Delegates

For a complete description of International Partner's trip guidelines click here.


Air travel To and From El Salvador

Depending on the type, size, and departure place of your delegation International Partners will either:

  1. Arrange your airline tickets, or
  2. Have delegates or your group organizer arrange your own ticket.

Check with your group's Trip Organizer or the International Partners Trip Coordinator to clarify how this will be handled for your delegation. In either case, delegates pay for their own tickets and must present the Trip Organizer with copy of their ticket within the time frame designated by the Trip Coordinator.

Please read the following instructions carefully for your type of group.

Additional Information on Airline Travel Arrangements

In El Salvador


U.S. Passports

All participants must have a current US passport that will not expire within six months of the date of your trip. You will also need 3 photocopies of it, one to carry with you while in El Salvador, one copy to leave at home with family or a friend, and one to submit to International Partners.

If you do not have a valid passport, apply for one immediately, as passport numbers are needed to purchase medical insurance and airplane tickets. For US citizens, getting a new passport usually takes about three weeks, longer near the holidays. NOTE: In recent months, many people have experienced long delays obtaining passports. Although these delays are reportedly better, you are advised to apply as soon as possible if you do not have a passport. Your nearest passport office is listed in the phone book, usually in the main Post Office or Federal Building. To apply, you'll need:

To renew an expired passport, you will need your old passport, the two photos, and $67. If you tell the passport agency that you are leaving in less than two weeks, they will put a "rush" on your application, but it will still take a minimum of 10 days. NOTE: In recent months, many people have experienced long delays obtaining passports. Although these delays are reportedly better, you are advised to apply as soon as possible if you do not have a passport. If you are applying by mail, it's also possible to speed it up by asking that the passport be returned to you via express mail, but there are no guarantees on the amount of time it will take.

You need to carry a copy of your passport and the Tourist Entry Card (received upon arrival at the airport) at all times while in El Salvador.>

Go to the U. S. Department of State travel website at: travel.state.gov/passport/ for additional, up-to-date information.

Non-US passports:

If you have a non-US passport, you must research and document the entry requirements for El Salvador and submit that information with your application.

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