Group Flight Information
In an effort to make the flight booking process as smooth as possible, we have partnered with STA Travel. This partnership provides our participants with discounted fares through STA’s contracts with the top airlines to help our travelers get the best possible rates. To learn more about STA as an organization, please check out their website at www.statravel.com.
STA Travel will help our families and travelers book their round trip travel between their home city and our host countries. We are excited to offer this premium service to our participants so that we can focus on what we do best – providing meaningful adventures around the world.
Open Enrollment participants are responsible for booking and paying for their own international flights. You have two options for making your flight arrangements:
1. (Preferred) Book a seat on the chaperoned international group flight.
Each Open Enrollment program has a suggested, chaperoned, group flight that will depart from a designated departure city in the United States and arrive to the destination country. Participants on these flights will have the support of our on-scene Airport Liaison as well as an accompanying Program Leader, on-flight. The Airport Liaison will help gather, coordinate and direct the arrival and departure of our participants in the airport and the Program Leader will accompany the group to and from the host country while on the flight. The vast majority of our travelers choose this option.
The following information is for the chaperoned group flights for this program:
DEPARTURE FROM USA
Date: July 6, 2018
Departs: Atlanta, Georgia (ATL) at 5:50pm
Arrives: San Jose, Costa Rica (SJO) at 7:57pm
RETURN TO USA
Date: July 20, 2018
Departs: San Jose, Costa Rica (SJO) at 7:00am
Arrives: Atlanta, Georgia (ATL) at 1:07pm
Here’s how to proceed:
Call our dedicated representative at STA Travel at 800-781-4040 to learn about your booking options.
- Tell the agent you are a Smithsonian Student Adventures participant, the full name of the program you are traveling on and your program travel dates. They will walk you through the details of your flight options.
- Once you know your flight options, you can book directly with STA or on your own to travel to the host country.
- IMPORTANT NOTE: Should you elect not to travel on the suggested, chaperoned, group flight please email your complete flight reservation to flights@SmithsonianSA.com
Program participants should meet the airpot liaison at the below airline check-in counter three hours before the international flight. If you are traveling on a connecting flight from your home destination, you will meet your flight chaperone at the boarding gate for your international flight. If you have trouble locating the group, please contact Smithsonian Student Adventures at our 24/7 emergency hotline: 303-997-0310.
2. Book your own flight to the host country.
For this option we require travelers to arrive at the same time, or earlier (no more than 3 hours), than the suggested group flight’s planned arrival. We ask participants not to arrive later than the suggested group flight’s time of arrival. If travelers arrive on their own prior to the rest of the group, we will arrange for either a Program Leader or the Country Director meet them when they land in the host country. If a participant arrives more than three hours before the group chaperoned flight, we will have in-country staff pick them up, but a $100 fee will apply.
With either option, we strongly encourage you to book your flights through STA, but it is not required.
STA operates a full 24/7 emergency line and can support you with issues from date changes, cancellations, or general crisis management support wherever you are in the world. To contact them, please call 800-781-4040.
A NOTE ON FLIGHTS
Air travel is unpredictable. Although we can ensure that our groups arrive to the airport with ample time and follow all airline instructions, there may still be instances when a flight is delayed or cancelled due to weather, mechanical problems, labor strikes, etc. Please note that in such an event SSA is not financially responsible for unexpected costs incurred by travelers. Our programs officially begin and end in our host countries. Notwithstanding, our travelers’ well-being and safety is always our number one priority in all facets of our operations and programming, so please know that in case flight delays or cancellations occur we will do everything we can to get travelers home in a timely manner and will keep family members updated on developments as we are able.
Important note: Please make sure your passport is valid for at least six months beyond the final day in country.
SSA is not responsible for fees associated with checked baggage or for lost or stolen luggage. We strongly encourage all travelers to pack a carry-on bag if possible, or to at least put all valuables and a change of clothes or two in a carry-on along with all important medications and basic toiletries such as a toothbrush, deodorant, glasses, contacts etc.
Please confirm with your air travel provider as some airlines may require that travelers under a certain age have completed an unaccompanied minor parental consent form. Please consult the airline website to confirm whether this is required on your flight.
SSA will send a minimum of one experienced Program Leader on every program. In addition to this Program Leader, we also have support staff in our host countries and 24/7 support from our headquarters in Denver, Colorado that are available to the group for additional help when necessary. Below you’ll find a list of the Smithsonian Student Adventures staff involved in the planning, organizing, and leadership of your program. Meet your support team!
University of Colorado at Boulder— B.A. in Psychology and Spanish Literature, Minor in Creative Writing
Clara’s first taste of life outside of the United States was a semester abroad in Santiago, Chile. Those six months—spent dancing bachata, traveling to every corner of the country, and trying to master the peculiar Chilean Spanish—were unforgettable. To finish the semester off, she spent two weeks backpacking in Patagonia, and that sealed the deal: Clara was officially infected with the travel bug. Since then, she has attended music festivals in the heart of Cataluña and learned to pick and sort coffee beans in Colombia. Clara’s true profession is that of an adventurer, although she currently works with at-risk youth in an alternative high school. Whether she is trekking snowy backpacking routes with a map and compass or helping students find success in a non-traditional environment, there is always a new adventure to be had.
Wheaton College – B.A. Spanish
Middlebury College – M.A. Spanish Language, Lit & Culture
Chamby was born in San Salvador, El Salvador, and immigrated to the United States in 1982 at the age of four. He was raised in Maine, and then ventured to Massachusetts graduating from Wheaton College with a degree in Spanish and a minor in Latin American Studies. During college, his teaching career began with a one-month experience of teaching English to Korean children at Sogang Language School, an English ski camp in Seoul. After college he worked as a research assistant in the Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies at Harvard University, and then returned to his hometown in Oakland, Maine to teach Spanish for three years. Upon beginning a two-year teaching stay at the Hotchkiss School, he enrolled at Middlebury College, where he received his Master’s in Spanish language, literature and culture. After graduating, he worked as a Spanish teacher, dorm parent, and coach at the Taft School in Watertown, CT. Over the years, he has also accrued extensive experience in volunteering abroad in places like El Salvador, Costa Rica, New Zealand, Australia, China, Tibet, Peru, Guatemala, the Dominican Republic, Mexico and South Africa. Last year, he was a co-leader for a group in Costa Rica. His passions are Spanish, traveling the world, his dog Sebago, and playing guitar whenever he has time. Chamby is currently teaching Spanish at the Wilmington Friends School in Wilmington, Delaware, and is looking forward to another great summer in Costa Rica!
Country Operations, Costa Rica Operations
Earlham College – B.A. Non-Profit and Business Administration, Minor in French
Born and raised in Costa Rica, Esteban has spent the last seven years of his life traveling around the world and fostering his education in the U.S. Esteban has a strong background in cross-cultural education and developing business projects that strive for sustainable and social development. While attending college in Indiana, Esteban spent a semester abroad in France. During his free time Esteban loves reading, playing soccer, surfing, hiking, drinking a good cup of coffee, and dancing to Latino rhythms. These days Esteban has moved back to Costa Rica and loves leading awesome SSA programs in his home country!
Please have all travelers check to ensure that their name is spelled correctly. If you have any questions or edits please contact Lacey Merkel at email@example.com.
- Maria Barragan
- Ethan Kniss
- Alexander Ahn
- Lina Fang
- Skylar Flynn
- Clara Albacete
- Connor Pogue
- Naomi Ellis
- Niamh Mansfield
- Alison Guenthardt
- Zora Helson
- Julia Phillips
- Colby Moore
- Benito Aragon
Communication & Blog
Travelers will be able to keep in touch with family and friends at home by using Wifi (when available at hotels and restaurants) via Whatsapp, Skype, and Wechat for free.
During the program we keep families and friends updated on the group’s adventures as frequently as possible with text and photo blogs. If parents would like updates regarding the group beyond these blog posts and email updates, please direct all general inquiries to info@SmithsonianSA.com. We are always checking this email inbox and will respond promptly to inquiries. You can also reach us by dialing 303-242-8541 from the U.S. In case of an emergency, please dial 303-997-0310.
To access the group’s blog, click here.
Photos which appear in the blog will become available after the program ends. We will send out a link to the photo gallery, where you will have access to view and download as many of the photos as you like!
10 pairs of underwear
10 pairs of socks (a mixture of good hiking socks and casual socks)
4-5 t-shirts (some quick dry, dark colored for beach patrol)
1-2 breathable long sleeve shirts (dark colored for beach patrol)
1 light sweater (dark colored for beach patrol)
1 rain jacket or poncho (dark colored for beach patrol)
2-3 pairs of travel/athletic shorts that are breathable and light
2 pairs of quick-dry pants (dark colored for beach patrol)
1 nice shirt/top to be worn to more formal dinners (girls might want a skirt or something a little nicer for such occasions, boys may want to opt for a polo shirt or button up shirt with jeans)
1 pair of durable athletic/hiking shoes. Best to get breathable shoes that will dry quickly
1 pair of sandals or water shoes (Chaco/Teva/Merril sandals are great to have for water activities)
TOILETRIES: BRING THE BASIC TOILETRIES YOU NEED PLUS:
Sunscreen (you will use a lot)
Band Aids and Neosporin
Medication in properly marked original container. It’s important that medication travel in its original container, as customs officials have the right to confiscate it otherwise.
Alarm Clock and watch ***Required***
Durable water bottle ***Required***
Flashlight/headlamp with red filter ***Required***
Journal and pen
Camera (digital, disposable, waterproof)
Debit card/US Dollars (we recommend about $50-$150, depending on amount of desired souvenirs, extra items etc.)
1 quick-dry towel
Batteries for flashlight or alarm clock
Deck of cards or other portable games