Frequently Asked Questions
What does the trip cost include?
The price of the trip includes comfortable accommodations, meals prepared by a private cook, transfers, transport within Guatemala, a full program of activities, emergency assistance, and an English-speaking guide. The cost does NOT include flights, gifts or personal travel insurance (required).
Do I have to fundraise on top of the cost of the trip?
Fundraising is NOT required to participate in a bottle school trip. However, if you would like to fundraise, we suggest a $250 fundraising goal, but some people choose to do more or less than this.
How many people can come on each trip?
We can take a minimum of 15 people on each trip, and a maximum of 25
What age restrictions do you have?
There is no set minimum age for people to come on the trip. Although, if you are under the age of 18, you must be accompanied by a parent to be allowed on the trip. Please read the Bringing Your Family section for more information. There is no maximum age for coming on the trip. However, you should be in reasonable physical condition, as there is walking involved, not to mention the strenuous activity of helping to build the bottle school. If you are over 70, please contact us before booking your trip.
Who is Serve The World Today?
Serve The World Today is a for-profit company that runs voluntourism trips in partnership with Hug It Forward. Serve The World Today is a conscious business that uses a portion of proceeds from bottle schools trips to offset the administrative costs, overhead, and expenses of our charity partner. Read more about Serve The World Today.
How much money should I bring with me?
People on previous trips have found that $200 to $300 is a reasonable amount to bring. You will have the opportunity to buy lots of beautiful handicrafts which make great gifts! We will not be taking you to any “touristy” shops – all purchases will directly benefit indigenous communities in the areas where bottle schools are being built. Apart from gifts and souvenirs, the only other thing you will need money for are discretionary tips for our Guatemalan Staff (trip leader, assistant trip leader, bus driver, and private cook). Past guests have found that a total of $50-$60 is a reasonable amount to set aside to show their appreciation for the staff on the ground who take care of them throughout their trip.
What vaccinations do I need?
Please check with your doctor – we cannot give advice on this as we are not medically trained. There is some more information in the Health and Safety page..
When should I book flights?
Book your flights to Guatemala City – La Aurora International Airport (airport code: GUA) once your place on the trip has been confirmed. Please see our Flight information page for more details.
How do I pay for the trip?
Please visit our booking page to pay for your trip. Please email email@example.com if you have any questions.
Members of the Rovia travel club qualify for a special discounted rate. Rovia members, please book via the Rovia DreamTrips web site to receive a special discounted rate (select “VolunTour Trip” under the “Trip Type” menu on the home page).
Can I come into Guatemala before the trip starts and/or extend my trip?
If flights from your home are limited and you are unable to arrive in Guatemala City before 4:00PM on the start day of the trip, you may want to consider arriving one day earlier so you don’t miss the first night’s dinner.
Some travelers also prefer to arrive early or extend their stay in order to spend more time in
Antigua. If you arrive or depart one or more days before or after the start or end dates of your trip, we can arrange transfers and hotels for you, but you will be responsible for the cost.
Since you are traveling to a foreign country with various scenic destinations and cultural sites to explore, you might be interested in visiting other places in addition to those we tour during the bottle school trip.
We understand and appreciate this sense of adventure. However, we do not feel comfortable making suggestions for accommodations outside of Antigua.
Serve the World Today uses our familiarity with Antigua and San Martín Jilotepeque to create a very safe environment for our guests; however, this safety does not necessarily extend to
businesses, neighborhoods, or other locations in Guatemala that you may visit outside of the context of your supervised Serve the World Today voluntourism trip.
Our top priority is keeping our volunteers safe, and although we cannot guarantee safety in
Antigua, we feel we can better limit chances of something happening there. For this reason, we request that you don’t ask us for suggestions of places to visit outside of Antigua. We greatly appreciate your understanding in this matter.
What should I bring?
Please see our “What to bring” guide for information on what to bring and what not to bring.
Will I be able to send emails and make phone calls?
There will be wi-fi access at the hotel in Antigua to send emails and make phone calls. There is also wi-fi internet access at the hotel in San Martin Jilotepeque, but it may be slower than you are used to and is not always reliable.
What will we be doing in the evenings?
You will generally be at leisure in the evenings, to rest and recuperate after a tough day, and spend time socializing with the group.
Is alcohol consumption allowed while on the trip?
Serve the World Today has a no-tolerance policy regarding alcohol or drug consumption while on our voluntourism trips. The rationale behind this policy is two-fold: to ensure your safety and to maintain a good relationship with the communities with which we work.
While building bottle schools, you will be amid a very conservative community where drinking may be viewed as offensive. Once you return to Antigua after your trip, we request that you refrain from drinking alcoholic beverages simply because being out drinking late at night greatly increases the chances of something “bad” happening.
While we respect the rights of adults to make their own choices, any incident can jeopardize Hug It Forward’s reputation and therefore our entire bottle school program in Guatemala; we don’t want to risk our ability to help these communities.
Serve The World Today has not had anything “bad” happen, with over 1000 trip participants coming to Guatemala. We have a great record because we avoid potential situations that could hinder your beautiful travel to Guatemala. Thank you for respecting our guidance.
Can I smoke on my trip?
Smoking cigarettes while on the bottle school trip is only permitted during specific times. If you need to smoke while on the trip, you can do so outside of the hotel in Antigua and/or on the rooftop terrace of the hotel in San Martin Jilotepeque. We ask that you do not smoke in the communities or during the Mayan Ruins tour, as smoking is a big social taboo, and the biggest consideration is that the kids look up to us as role models.
If you think that you might find it difficult to get through the day without a cigarette, you could consider bringing nicotine gum or patches with you, to help you to get through the day without cravings.
Will there be any excursions?
Your voluntourism trip includes both volunteering and tourism. Activities you will participate in include:
- Visit to Mixco Viejo (Mayan ruins)
- Visit to Tikonel, a women’s artisan cooperative
- Walking around the UNESCO Heritage city of Antigua Guatemala
- Cultural and historical talks
- ..and much more besides!
What do I do when I arrive in Guatemala?
We will send you a full guide to your trip after we receive your booking! We will tell you exactly what to expect when you arrive at Guatemala City airport, and you will be greeted there by a friendly face holding a big sign saying “Hug It Forward”. You will be in safe hands throughout your trip, thanks to the amazing Gerson (pronounced “Hairr-son”) who is our experienced, energetic, ever-helpful guide and trip leader who puts the trip together and makes it work beautifully.
Anything else I need to know before I depart?
Who can people contact in the event of an emergency?
While you are on a Voluntourism trip, please tell your loved ones they can call Gerson (the expert guide leading the trip) any time in case of an emergency (011 502 3020 3201). More contact details here.