Overland SUMMER CAMPS FOR 4TH - 12TH GRADERS Family Login

 

FAQs

Top FAQs for Students

How many students are in my group?

Our groups have no more than 12 students—big enough for a fun social life and small enough for great friendships (and every Overland group always has two terrific leaders).

Can I go on an Overland trip with a friend?

Yes—If you decide to come with a friend, be sure to apply early as these spots are limited (we only allow up to two friend pairs per group so that the majority of the students come without a friend). Friend pair spots are allotted on a first-come first-served basis.

What's the ratio of girls to boys in a group?

Our groups have a gender ratio of 6:6, 7:5 or 8:4. Very rarely (typically once or twice a summer out of 140+ groups) we will have a single gender group. When it looks like we may have a single-gender group, we will be in touch with all the families on the trip by the end of April.

What about staying in touch?

You'll be able to stay in touch with friends and family via letters and postcards. For the time that you're on an Overland trip there are no phone calls (except in the case of an emergency), texting or Facebook. Students leave all electronics at home. It might sound hard to do but hundreds of Overland students every summer find that the break from electronics and constant communication is enjoyable, and it makes the friendships and fun of the trip all the more rewarding.

What will the food be like?

Good food (and plenty of it!), nutrition and fun are the goals of Overland's meals. Each group buys, prepares and eats all of its meals together. Our students, with their leaders' supervision, prepare all meals. A typical breakfast may include bagels, fruit and cereal. Oftentimes for lunch, groups will eat sandwiches, chips, fruit and cookies. For dinner, a group may enjoy pasta, salad, bread and dessert. Our trips abroad work with local food options.

How often can I shower and do laundry?

Each trip's itinerary is different but students shower as often as available. Students on service, language and writing programs can expect to shower more often. Students on hiking and biking programs will shower with less frequency (because there are no showers in the backcountry or at some campgrounds) but will have ample opportunity to swim in lakes and streams. Each trip will do laundry periodically, usually once a week.

How do I prepare for my Overland trip?

On each trip page, we have a Prepare & Pack section that describes in detail the steps you should take before your trip. For the greatest success on and enjoyment of your trip, students should prepare carefully. It is important for students on hiking trips to adjust to their hiking boots and for students on bike trips to be very comfortable on their bike and with their panniers before trip start. 

Where will I meet my leaders?

Students on trips that start in airports can expect to meet their leaders outside of security. Students traveling as registered Unaccompanied Minors will be met at their gates—or just outside of customs for international trips. Leaders will be wearing Overland t-shirts and will have all of their students' travel information with them. They'll also be in frequent contact with our office should there be any delays on trip start day. For trips that start in Williamstown, MA, students will meet their leaders at Cole Field House on the Williams College campus after being dropped off by their parents or by our support staff who will pick students up at the Albany International Airport in upstate New York (an hour from Williamstown.)

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Top FAQs for Parents

How is Overland different?

a. Thoughtfully Designed Trips with Clearly Defined Goals
An Overland trip is a series of thoughtfully designed challenges with a clear goal: ride across the Cape, hike Mount Washington, serve a disadvantaged community in Santa Fe, learn a language.

We want our students to enjoy an incredibly fun yet challenging experience that will open up the world for them. Overland trips teach kids how to live and thrive in a small group while developing their leadership skills. Our students leave the trip with new friends and an amazing sense of accomplishment, self-worth and confidence.

b. Superb Leadership
Our leaders set us apart. Our leaders come from top colleges and universities across the US and are charismatic, enthusiastic and dynamic individuals who have proven themselves as leaders at every step of their lives—in school, sports, extra-curricular activities and in their communities. They're enthusiastic about working with kids during the summer and understand the responsibility they're undertaking. But beyond that they are committed to making a difference for their students during the summer—far more than simply counselors or guides, Overland’s leaders are inspiring role models.

c. Carefully Crafted Groups of No More Than 12 Students (and there are always two leaders)
We take unusual care to build great groups. We start by limiting group size to no more than 12 students (and there are always two leaders, a man and a woman). We keep the age range as narrow as possible, typically one or two grades. And, while we encourage students to come on their own, we realize that some students want to come with a friend; this is fine, but we do limit the number of friend pairs in any group to two (ensuring that at least 8 of the 12 students in a group are “singles”). In addition, we balance the genders in every group (the range is 6:6, 7:5 or 8:4). By carefully structuring our groups in these ways, we ensure that each of our students feels welcomed from the very start, is supported throughout the trip and, most importantly, has the opportunity to have fun, make friends and contribute to the group’s successes.

d. Committed To the Highest Standards
We stay true to who we are with every decision we make. From the mailings we put out, to the content on our website, to how we train our leaders, we strive to present ourselves—and our trips—in a thoughtful, transparent manner. We strive to meet the highest standards in all we do.
 
Will my son or daughter be in a group with much older (or much younger) students?
No. For trips that are open to a wide range of grades, we always run multiple groups, and each group will have a narrow range of grades, typically just one or two grades. For example, for trips that are open to grades 8-12, one group will usually be made up of students finishing 8th & 9th grades, while another will be made up of students finishing 10th and 11th (in a few cases, a group might have a three grade spread, e.g., 10th, 11th & 12th). Each group will be doing the same trip with the same itinerary highlights but in a different or staggered order so that the groups will rarely, if ever, meet or overlap.

Can my son or daughter come with a friend?
Yes. While we encourage students to come on their own and make new friends, we allow friend pairs (but we limit the friend pairs to two per group, and we do not accept groups of three or more friends). Our goal is to encourage friendships to form and allow our groups to become close. For those who wish to come with a friend, we recommend that you apply as early as possible since these spots are taken quickly.

My child doesn't know anyone going on the trip, is that okay?
Yes. The majority of our students come without friends from home, siblings or trip mates from previous summers. Our leaders set a tone of warm welcome from the beginning, and the small group size ensures that everyone feels included.

Can I be in touch with my son or daughter during the trip?
While we do not permit phone calls (or texts or emails) during our trips, there are several ways you can stay in touch:

1.    By Mail. You can send letters and/or care packages to your child (and vice-versa). We will provide you with mail stop information well in advance of the trip.

2.    Via Weekly Photo Updates. We will post photos on our website of each group once a week.

3.    By Phone at Trip Start & End. You will receive a phone call from your child to let you know that he or she has arrived safely; you will also receive a call from your child at the end of the trip to let you know that he or she is at the airport and on the way home.

Throughout your son or daughter’s trip, you will have our support every day. You are welcome to call us for an update on your child and his or her group at any time. Our office is staffed from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. during the summer.

Anytime a student is treated for an injury or illness by a doctor or medical personnel, parents are notified by our office. A director calls the parents to explain the nature of the injury or illness, the sequence of events leading up to the injury and/or the steps leading to the treatment. Parents are typically able to speak with the medical personnel, with the leaders and with the child.
 
How many students per group?

Never more than 12. In three decades of working with kids, we have learned that 8-12 students with two leaders is the perfect size. Most groups have 10-12 students with one male and one female leader.

If my child is placed on a waitlist, when will we know if he/she will get a spot?

It will depend on when and if a student who is currently enrolled in the particular group your child wants withdraws for some reason. We do have withdrawals throughout the spring (students suddenly need to stay home for summer school or family plans force them to change their trip) so while spots will open up, we can’t guarantee that your first choice spot will open. We promise, though, to contact you right away if it does. In the meantime, we encourage you to consider your second choice Overland program. Our advice is to take a spot that is open now—that way, you’ll know that you’re heading on an Overland adventure, and you’ll have something great to look forward to—then, if a spot does open up on your first choice program, we’ll switch you over.

Can I see a detailed itinerary showing where my child will be each day?

Day-to-day outlines for all of our trips can be found on our website. Go to the trip you’re interested in under “Our Programs” on the Overland homepage. Then use the "itinerary" tab on that page for a detailed description of the trip. You can also call our office (413-458-9672) for more information.

May my child bring a phone?
Yes, but only for the flight to and from the trip (and we recommend that your child not bring an expensive smart phone).

Once a trip starts phones are not permitted. We want all of our students to focus on where they are, the activities they’re doing and the people in their group. From three decades of experience, we have found that having a phone is a distraction. Instead of living in the moment, a student with a phone is thinking more about home, family and friends  and misses out on the important friendships that can be made and fun that can be had with their group. For the short time that our students are with us, we want them to really be with us...100%... so, no phones.

My child’s birthday is during the trip – will you celebrate it?
Of course! Rest assured, we will celebrate all birthdays that occur during our trips, so your child’s birthday will be fun and memorable.

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Why Choose Overland?

  • Experience
    For 30 years Overland has provided engaging and rewarding summer experiences for more than 15,000 young people. Based in Williamstown, Massachusetts, and managed by a dedicated year-round staff of professionals, Overland runs over 140 trips each summer for more than 1,700 students. Evaluated on overall program quality and some 300 standards, Overland is fully accredited by the nationally-recognized American Camp Association, a distinction earned by few of our peers. Our superlative record over the past 30 years further demonstrates our commitment to our students—the most important factor in all our decisions, from trip design and planning to leader selection and training, to program operation and support.
  • Small Groups
    All of our groups are limited to 12 students, and each group always has two adult leaders (one male and one female). When building our groups, we pay attention to age, grade, gender ratio and the mix of hometowns and schools. We also limit friend pairs in a group to just two (and we never accept triples). We’ve found that 12 students and two leaders is the perfect group size—big enough for lots of fun and friendships, small enough for caring support and terrific supervision.
  • Careful Admissions
    We carefully review each application; our admissions team considers each applicant's health and fitness, and looks closely at the school reference that is submitted as a part of the Admissions Review process.
  • High Expectations
    Our expectations of our students are high: play by the rules (no tobacco, alcohol or illegal drugs), do more than your fair share of the cooking, cleaning and setting up, treat everyone with respect and consideration and try your best. An Overland group is a positive, wholesome place filled with energy and enthusiasm, guided by caring leaders with good values and focused on teamwork and friendship.
  • Superlative Leaders
    Far more than simply counselors or guides, Overland's leaders are terrific role models for our students. Bright, charismatic and accomplished, our leaders focus on creating supportive, wholesome environments where our students can flourish.
  • Carefully Crafted Programs
    Every Overland program is a set of carefully crafted challenges with clearly defined goals: bike a coast, hike a mountain, serve a community, learn a language, improve a critical skill. The challenges are thoughtfully calibrated and the goal is always to have fun and make friends along the way.
  • Committed To You
    Anyone who has ever met an Overland director at a presentation, spoken to an Overland staff member on the phone or met an Overland leader in the field can't help but feel our deep personal commitment to our students and their families. All of us at Overland are 100% dedicated to making our students' summers with us the best experiences of their lives.

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Choosing a Trip & How to Apply

How should I choose the right trip for me?

All of our trips offer wonderful opportunities, but it is important to pick the one that fits your interests, time frame and desired level of difficulty.

  • Your Interests:
    Choose the type of trip that appeals to you: biking, hiking, service, language study abroad, writing or field studies. Think about the location of the various programs offered and decide if you can see yourself in one of these places this summer: New England, Nova Scotia, the Blue Ridge Mountains, the Rockies, the Sierras, New Orleans, Yellowstone and the Tetons, the Southwest, the Pacific Coast, the Pacific Northwest, Alaska, Hawaii, the Caribbean, Costa Rica, Peru, Ecuador, Tanzania, or Europe.
  • Your Time Frame:
    Consider the length of the trip. Introductory trips are one or two weeks, while the American Challenge is six weeks. Overland also offers two-, three-, four- and five-week trips.
  • Your Desired Level Of Challenge:
    Many trips are rated on a scale of 1 to 10 (1 is easiest and 10 is most challenging). All trips require commitment to your group and a desire to engage in the trip's activities. Service, language, writing, field studies, hiking and biking trips all offer different types of challenges and rewards to participants.

Contact our office to talk with our staff about specific trips that you are interested in or email the logistics coordinator for a specific trip.

Can I get references or talk with students in my area who have been on Overland?

Sure! Simply call our office or e-mail us for references, and we can provide you with names and telephone numbers of students who have recently participated. Please feel free to contact our references; they are always happy to talk about their experiences with Overland.

When should I apply?

Most trips will have availability until late January. Some programs will fill earlier, however, and others may have space available until later in the winter and into the spring.  As soon as you're committed to making Overland a part of your summer, we recommend that you apply as soon as possible to ensure your fist choice trip is available.

How do I apply?

Apply online with a credit card.

If you need to mail materials to us, please use our mailing address: Overland, P.O. Box 31, Williamstown, MA 01267. For overnight mail via UPS or FedEx, please use our street address: Overland, 63 Spring Street, Williamstown, MA 01267.

Applications must include a $795 deposit. We cannot hold spots over the phone.

How long does it take to hear from Overland once I have sent in my application?

We will contact you by phone within 3 business days with your trip placement, or we will call you if we have a placement issue.

When do students on the waitlist hear from Overland?

We will notify waitlisted students as soon as a spot becomes available.

Can I go on more than one Overland trip during the summer?

Of course! Please contact us to make these arrangements.

Can I come with a friend?

We encourage you to come on your own; we have seen that this makes for a richer experience for both you and your group. Traveling with one friend is permissible, though, and some students come with a friend. We allow two friend-pairs per group so that the majority of the group comes without a friend. Friend-pair slots are allotted on a first-come first-served basis. Please note that special requests of any kind must be made in writing at the time of submitting your application.

When are payments due?

A $795 deposit must be included with your application. The balance is due on or before March 1st; if you apply after March 1st, the balance is due within 30 days of receiving your invoice and enrollment forms.

Does the trip fee include airfare?

No. We do not include airfare to and from the trip start and end locations in the prices of our trips because Overland students come from nearly every state as well as abroad. Overland families are responsible for making travel arrangements; Overland's leaders, however, will be on hand at the airport on both arrival and departure days to provide supervision and assistance for our students. For Field Studies Tanzania and Field Studies Thailand, Overland arranges a group flight from JFK International Airport.  The airfare is separate from the trip fee.

What is included in the trip fee?

All meals, accommodations, ground transportation and activities are included. Students are encouraged to bring some spending money, but they will not need to purchase anything. 

What is Overland's refund policy?

For withdrawals prior to March 1st, $500 of the deposit is refundable (notice of the withdrawal must be made in writing). For students who withdraw after March 1st, there are no refunds for any reason  (including, but not limited to, voluntary withdrawal, illness or injury prior to or during the program, summer school, security concerns or any other reason). Should a student leave a program after it starts for any reason (including, but not limited to, illness or injury, discipline, security concerns or any other reason), there are no refunds.  We encourage all families to purchase trip insurance to protect their investment.

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Our Groups, Students & Leaders

How big are Overland groups?

We have found that the ideal group has no more than 12 students—big enough for a fun social life and small enough for great friendships (and, every Overland group always has two terrific leaders).

How are Overland groups put together?

We spend a lot of time during the winter and spring trying to make the best groups possible. We check references for each applicant, mix students from as many different states and cities as possible, match ages and strive for a nice balance of girls and boys. We run multiple sections of most trips which allows us to fine-tune the make-up of our groups.

Are all Overland groups co-ed?

Almost always. In recent years, a few groups (actually, very few groups—typically one or two groups each summer out of 140+ groups) have been either all boys or all girls. Our admissions team will be in touch with families well in advance (usually by April) if it looks like we might have an all boys or all girls group.

Who are Overland students?

Overland's students are adventurous. For many it's the first time they've tried something like this. They're explorers; they're eager to see new places. They're team-players; they understand that cooperation and consideration are essential. They're enthusiastic and resilient; these are the keys to making a group experience a success. They're great kids who want to do more, see more and experience more than most people their age.
 

Where are Overland students from?

Our students come from across the country (a small number come from abroad).

Will I be placed with other students my age?

Yes. We work hard to put together age-compatible groups. Generally, we make up groups of students from just one or two grades (for example, students finishing 7th and 8th grade). Sometimes groups have more than two grades (for example, students finishing 10th, 11th and 12th grade). Since we run multiple sections of most trips, we are able to fine-tune the age and grade make-up of almost every group.

Will there be students in my group who have already done an Overland program?

Most likely, especially on the longer and/or more challenging programs. When putting together our groups, we pay attention to the mix of new Overland students and Overland alumni so that we can have a good balance of the two.

Will there be students in my group who already know each other?

We seek to create the best mix of students traveling alone and in pairs in each Overland group. Sometimes there will be pairs of students who already know each other, either from school or from a previous Overland trip. For an ideal group dynamic, we allow no more than two friend pairs per group and in every case where there are such pairs, we take great care to ensure that the friendship does not detract from the group experience. 

Can I come with a friend?

We always encourage you to come on your own; we have seen that this makes for a richer experience for both you and your group, even if you are feeling hesitant about coming alone. Traveling with one friend is permissible, though. We allow no more than two friend pairs per group so that the majority of the group is coming without a friend. Friend pair slots are allotted on a first-come first-served basis. Please note that special requests of any kind must be made in writing at the time of submitting your application.

Who are Overland leaders?

Overland leaders are highly motivated, energetic and caring people who love to work with students and want to share their enthusiasm for the outdoors, their commitment to community service or their love of language and culture with young people. Most importantly, each Overland leader is a wonderful role model. Since Overland leaders are much closer in age than parents are to their children, Overland students see in their leaders elements of themselves a few healthy, cheerful, focused years farther down the road. Critical lessons of cooperation, consideration, selflessness, teamwork, determination, perseverance and pride are transmitted naturally. No wonder over 96 percent of our leaders receive top marks from students and parents.

What is the typical Overland leader profile?

The typical Overland leader is a recent graduate or currently enrolled student at one of the country's best colleges and universities (e.g., Williams, Amherst, Middlebury, Dartmouth, Bowdoin, Colby, Bates, Colorado College, Carleton, Kenyon, Pomona, Stanford). In high school and in college, Overland's leaders are varsity athletes, team captains, student government officers, club presidents and top students. It is this profile that has been most successful for us: high achievers with high expectations and terrific interpersonal skills. This group truly is the best and the brightest, and experience has shown us that these are the people that we can count on. They are responsible, reliable, dynamic and fun. We love them, and so do our students.

How does Overland select and prepare its leaders?

Overland leaders are carefully selected and prepared for their trips. Our network of educators and former leaders yields candidates from America's finest colleges and universities who have distinguished themselves at every stage of their lives. All prospective leaders complete a detailed application, provide extensive references and undergo an intense interview process. Successful applicants complete Basic or Wilderness First Aid, CPR and lifesaving courses. All leaders also take our comprehensive 10-day training program that focuses on logisitics, group dynamics, communications and daily routines prior to the start of their trip.

Do leaders return for a second or third summer?

Yes, many do; in fact, there are a handful of leaders who have led for more than five summers. Our leaders love Overland and the opportunities they have to explore spectacular places with great groups of kids. So in any given summer, about half of our staff will be returning from a previous summer—some for a second year, others for a third, a few for their fourth and a couple for their fifth or sixth Overland summer. Nearly all of our leaders abroad (in Europe, Costa Rica, Peru, Ecuador, Thailand or Tanzania) are returning leaders; about half of our leaders out West and in Alaska and Hawaii are returning leaders and a small number of our New England leaders are returning leaders.

Does each group have a male and a female leader?

Yes. All trips have a male and female leader who work together as co-leaders with equal responsibility for the trip.  We do not have junior and senior leaders. 

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Preparing For Your Program

How will I know what to bring on my program?

See the Packing List for your program.

How much spending money should I bring?

All meals, accommodations, ground transportation and activities are included in the trip fee so there is no need for large amounts of spending money. However, students may want to bring some money for souvenirs, gifts, etc. Spending may vary by program location and student; in general, we recommend bringing $25 per week in the United States, Africa, Asia, and South America and up to $50 per week for trips in Europe.

Do I need identification, a passport or a visa?

For U.S. Trips: Please bring a school ID, driver’s license or other ID (e.g. a photocopy of your birth certificate). Please do not bring your passport with you on a U.S. trip (except Nova Scotia & Acadia and Virgin Islands Service).

For International Trips: To travel internationally, each student must have a valid passport that does not expire within six months of the trip end date. If you do not already have a passport, please apply for it immediately as it can take between four and six weeks to process. Complete information on how to apply for a passport is available online on the U.S. Department of State website. We recommend expediting the application, either by the U.S. Department of State Passport Office or by a private passport expediter, to avoid processing delays. Please make at least four photocopies of your passport (leaders will collect original passports at trip start).

  • Leave one copy at home in a safe place.
  • Put one photocopy in checked luggage.
  • You should plan on keeping another copy with you at all times.
  • The final copy is an extra in case one of your photocopies becomes lost or destroyed.

Do I need any special inoculations for programs in the U.S. or abroad?

All Overland students must be able to show that immunizations required for their school are up to date and provide the date (month/year) of the last tetanus shot. For our Costa Rica, Peru, Tanzania, Thailand and Ecuador trips, please see individual trip pages for current information and recommendations from the CDC.

Do I need to prepare physically for my program?

All Overland trips—from outdoors to service to language to writing—will involve some degree of physical activity. Your comfort, happiness and success will depend in large part on your pre-program physical preparation. We will provide guidance for your preparations in the spring.

How will I pack all of my equipment for the flight to my trip?

Students on bicycle touring trips box their bicycles and check them as luggage (see instructions below); the rest of their gear is packed in panniers and checked as luggage on the plane. Students on hiking trips check one piece of luggage only—their backpack with their gear packed inside. Students on all other trips should follow the recommendations on their packing list for what types of bags to bring.

How do I bring my bicycle on a biking trip?

If you are flying to the start of your trip, airlines will carry your bicycle as a piece of luggage for a fee of approximately $200 each way. Please be sure to call your airline and let them know that you are bringing a bike. Cardboard bicycle boxes are often available for free from bike stores. Overland will help arriving students assemble their bicycles; on departure we will have bike boxes and will assist students with the boxing of bicycles. Most bicycle boxes are recycled at the start of the trip and new ones are obtained by Overland at trip end; on trips outside of New England, therefore, it is impossible for us to accommodate hard-shell protective bike boxes.

How do I box my bike?

Box your bicycle at home before you travel to the airport. To box the bicycle:

  • You will need a pedal wrench or a long handled wrench that fits the pedal bolt and an Allen wrench.
  • You will need to pick up a used box at a bike store (they give them away for free—get the biggest available).
  • Remove the seat and seat post as one unit by loosening the bolt at the neck of the frame.
  • Remove the pedals and mark them as left and right. Both pedals loosen in the opposite direction that the pedals rotate (left-hand pedal is not lefty-loosey). Place the pedals in a Ziploc bag for safe keeping.
  • Remove the front wheel and take out the quick release axle. Put the quick release axle and its springs in the Ziploc bag along with the pedals.
  • Detach the handlebars by removing the screws and bracket that hold the handlebars in place (put the screws and bracket back on for safe keeping in transit). The handlebars will still be attached to the break and gear cables. Please do NOT disconnect any cables.
  • Turn the handlebars sideways and place them over the top tube of the bicycle (the top tube is parallel to the ground and runs from the handlebars to the seat post). If you have the curved "drop handlebars" you may have better luck hooking the handlebars around the front fork (where the front wheel goes).
  • Place the bike in the box along with the seat and seatpost, front wheel, Ziploc with pedals and quick release axle and anything else you removed from the bike. You can use scraps of cardboard to reinforce the sides of the box or place around the frame of the bike to prevent scraping from detached parts.
  • Put your name, address and phone number visibly on the box.
  • If you have trouble boxing your bike, you can have a bike store do it for a fee.

Will my bicycle be damaged by the airlines?

Experience has shown us that bicycles are rarely damaged by the airlines (we see very few incidents every summer out of hundreds of flights). Our research has shown that the major airlines will pay for damage as long as a claim is filed promptly, but be sure to check with your airline prior to your trip.

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Travel Arrangements

When should I buy my child's airline tickets?

Please do not purchase non-refundable airline tickets until you receive an email from us confirming that we have received and reviewed your child's school reference and health record.

How will I arrange my child's flights?

You can book flights online, call the airlines directly (best for Unaccompanied Minors) or use a travel agent.

Can I use frequent flyer miles?

Using frequent flyer miles to book tickets is acceptable; please note, however, that frequent flyer tickets are not always transferable to another airline. If your child misses a connection, he or she will have to wait until the airline has another flight. Our advice is to use frequent flyer tickets only if the flight is non-stop, or if your child can travel early in the day and there are later flights to the destination on the same airline.

What if my child's trip starts in one city but ends in another? Can I buy a round-trip ticket?

Yes, you can. You do not need to buy two one-way tickets. Choose the round-trip/multi-city ticket option.

Does my child need identification, a passport or a visa?

  • For all U.S. programs please bring a school ID, driver’s license or other ID (e.g. a photocopy of your birth certificate). Please do not bring your passport with you on a U.S. program (except Nova Scotia & Acadia).
  • Nova Scotia & Acadia, all Costa Rica, Peru, Ecuador, Tanzania, Thailand and Europe-bound students must bring a signed, valid passport with an expiration date of at least six months after the program end date. For students on Virgin Islands Service, Overland recommends traveling with a valid passport. Please leave a photocopy of your passport at home. Visit www.travel.state.gov for additional passport information.

Should I choose a direct flight for my child?

Yes, even if this means driving to an airport that is not as close to home as your local airport, we recommend purchasing a non-stop flight. 

What if my child must connect to reach the trip location?

  • Choose a connection time that is longer than necessary (90 minutes) to have a cushion in the event that your child is delayed on his or her first flight segment.
  • Determine if the same airline flies all connecting flights and purchase a ticket that guarantees that all flight segments are with the same airline or code share airline. In the event of a delay that results in a missed connection, airlines will secure a seat for your child on the next available flight.
  • Consider flying with your child to the connection city. For example, if your child is headed to Europe, Alaska or Hawaii, fly with him/her to the connecting airport in New York, Washington, Atlanta or Chicago.
  • Consider flying with your child to his/her final destination. Although not necessary, flying with your child can help with the transition from home to Overland, especially for a younger child.

Where does my child go upon arrival at the airport?

  • All Domestic Trips
    At the airport all students should go to baggage claim for their flight. Students wait at baggage claim to be met by a member of Overland’s staff. Staff will be able to recognize your child (you've provided your child's Overland Travel Form and a photo). Overland staff will be wearing Overland T-shirts.
  • All International Trips
    For trips abroad, upon arrival at the airport all students should collect their bags and exit the secure part of the airport through customs where a member of Overland’s staff (in an Overland T-shirt) will be waiting with your child's photo and travel itinerary in hand.

What if my child is flying alone for the first time?

For many Overland students, this is the first time they have taken flights without friends or family. Overland leaders meet all arriving students at the airport and assist with luggage collection. At trip end, they assist with check-in and remain in the airport until every student has departed. 

Do the airlines provide escorts for Unaccompanied Minors?

Children under certain ages who are not accompanied by a parent, legal guardian or someone who is considered an adult on an aircraft, must register as an “Unaccompanied Minor”. Many airlines also offer this service as optional for older children.

If optional, we ask that you do not use airline escort services. Flying "as an adult" without an airline escort simplifies airport logistics. For years Overland students have flown without airline escorts—parents assist at check in, and we assist at arrival and departure airports.

Unaccompanied Minor policies vary from airline to airline. It is very important that you contact your airline by phone to confirm their policies before purchasing a ticket from an airline’s website and it is essential to contact your airline if you plan to purchase tickets directly from a travel website like Expedia, Orbitz, or Kayak. We have found that the Unaccompanied Minor information on these websites is often unreliable. If your child must fly as an Unaccompanied Minor, please confirm that all of your child’s flight segments comply with their airline’s Unaccompanied Minor rules.

Most airlines have code-share agreements with other airlines. This could mean, for example, that the ticket you purchase from United Airlines, could result in your child flying on a US Airways plane or connecting from United to US Airways. The Unaccompanied Minor rules of the carrier, (i.e., the company whose name is on the plane), apply. On the phone, confirm with your child’s airline that the ticket you are about to purchase meets the Unaccompanied Minor rules on all segments of their flights to and from their Overland program.

Please note:

  • Many airlines do not allow students who are traveling alone to make any connections, fly on the last flight of the day or take off at night.

Can Overland put me in touch with a student flying from the same area?

Yes, often times there will be another Overland student on your child's flight, especially if flying to or from a major city. If you would like to coordinate travel plans with another Overland student, please call or email our office, and we can let you know if there is a student flying from your area.

How will I know that my child has arrived and departed?

At the beginning and end of the trip, your child will call you from the airport to confirm that he or she has arrived or will soon be boarding the return flight. Overland leaders will provide a phone for this call. There is no need for students to bring their own cell phone. Overland leaders remain at the airport until all students have departed. 

What if my child has a problem during travel?

We're here to help. The Overland office is always available to help you with any problems that occur during travel to and from your child's Overland trip. Please be sure to provide your child with our toll-free phone number, 800-458-0588.

For more questions about travel arrangements, please see Getting To & From Your Trip

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Hiking And Biking Questions

How hard are Overland's hiking and biking trips?

We have identified the challenge level of each outdoor trip on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being easiest and 10 being most challenging. Please see the trip descriptions in our catalog or on this website for our ratings. 

How many miles a day will I hike or bike?

This will depend on which trip you choose and the terrain on a given day. Average daily miles on our biking trips range from 20 to 80 miles. On our hiking trips, daily mileage spans from six to 14 miles. Average mileage information can be found on each specific trip page.

Is previous experience required?

No. Every trip is open to beginners, even our challenge trips. Most of our outdoor trips involve activities that do not require specialized skills and even for those that do, students are not required to come with previous experience—instead the group will learn the necessary skills together from professional guides. Overland leaders will also help students, assisting everyone for the first few days with the basics: riding with gear on bicycles, hiking with a backpack, cooking outdoors, setting up a tent, etc. By the end of the first week, it is hard to tell new Overlanders from the more experienced students. Furthermore, the spirit in an Overland group is one that is very supportive and welcoming. Students teach each other, encourage each other and share with each other.

Which trip should I choose if I have extensive experience?

If you are hoping to strengthen existing outdoor skills, look toward our more difficult trips—those rated 6 and higher on our 1 to 10 scale.

Where will we sleep at night? Are there showers? What about laundry?

We design our itineraries so that our groups can stay as clean and comfortable as possible. We want you to love your Overland trip and the outdoors, so we pay close attention to the design of our itineraries, especially when it comes to camping, showers and doing laundry.

All of Overland's outdoor groups camp out almost every night. Camping divides into three types: full facilities, limited facilities and no facilities. A full-facility campground has flush toilets and hot showers; a limited-facility campground typically has cold water only and pit toilets; and some camping has no facilities, such as in the backcountry of a national park or national forest. All bicycle touring trips have a mixture of full-facility and limited-facility campgrounds in their itineraries. These are typically state parks (most with full-facilities) and national forests (most with limited facilities). The only exception to this is the American Challenge which spends many nights in places where campgrounds are not available. Sleeping on church grounds and in small town parks is common throughout the American Challenge. Even on this trip, however, we have made sure that showers are regularly available. Hiking trips camp in a variety of full-facility, limited-facility and no-facility campgrounds. When designing our hiking itineraries, we pay attention to the balance of these types of campgrounds so that each group has regular stops in campgrounds with showers.

Each group will do laundry periodically; two-week trips will typically do laundry once, three-week trips twice, four-week trips three times and six-week trips four or five times. Laundry expenses are covered in the trip fee.

Can I stay in touch with home and friends while with Overland?

Yes. We encourage you to write to your friends and family, and we encourage friends and family to write to you during your trip. Information about mail stops (addresses--generally post offices--and the dates that you will be there) is available on trip pages and in your portal. You can share this information with parents and friends so they can write to you.

Upon arrival (for students who fly to their trips), each student calls home to let his or her parents know that he or she has arrived. After this phone call, however, we do not allow students to make or receive phone calls during their program (except in cases of emergency). Instead, students can write letters home.

The office staff is in touch with our leaders at least on a weekly basis. Parents with questions or concerns are encouraged to contact the office.

How much time will we spend driving?

We take great care while designing trip itineraries to minimize driving time and maximize outdoor time. On some trips there is no driving time (e.g. hiking in Europe), on others there is typically less than five hours total (most New England programs and bicycle touring trips). Overland's hiking trips out West have itineraries that minimize driving as much as possible.

What are the basic rules on an Overland trip?

Our trips are wholesome, structured experiences with strong leadership and high expectations of the students' behavior. Overland students are expected to be enthusiastic, positive, helpful and supportive of each other. Overland's students understand that smoking, drinking alcohol or using any drugs (other than prescription medications) are strictly prohibited.

What happens if I become ill while on the trip?

Most Overland students stay illness and injury free throughout their trips. Some students do get sick or sustain injuries; most illnesses are brief and most injuries have little impact on a student's continued participation on a trip. These minor illnesses and injuries are typically handled with first aid administered by one of the trip leaders. Anything more serious results in a visit to a physician (typically in an emergency room) and a call home. The physician determines the treatment and recovery period.

What happens in inclement weather on Overland trips?

Weather rarely prevents Overland groups from continuing on their adventure; hiking groups continue hiking in the rain and biking groups ride on. In more serious weather, including thunder and lightning storms, groups might need to seek shelter. Overland leaders are carefully trained to recognize signs of serious inclement weather and to take the necessary precautions. In addition, all of our outdoors leaders have Wilderness First Aid training, which teaches them how to find the best spot for waiting out the storm.

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Service Day-To-Day

How challenging are Overland's service trips?

All of our service trips require not only enthusiasm, focus and flexibility, but also a strong work ethic and a willingness to be physically challenged. A positive attitude and a willingness to work hard are central to the success of our community service trips. Participants should be eager to take part in a variety of service projects and should be ready for both the challenges and rewards that service work offers. All of our service trips have an element of outdoor work that can be physically demanding such as farming or trail work.

What qualities do Overland service students need?

We expect a lot of our service students; they are integral to the success of our outreach to those in need in underserved communities. Not surprisingly, service students are hard-working and positive, dedicated to serving those in need and enthusiastic about working within a close-knit and caring group to make a difference.

Can I get credit for my service program?

Yes, our students can earn credit for service hours. Please see the trip description for the approximate number of hours. We will provide you with proof of participation after completion of your service program. Note that you should check with your school to make sure that Overland's service hours meet the policy requirements.

Can I stay in touch with home and friends while with Overland?

Yes. We encourage you to write to your friends and family, and we encourage friends and family to write to you during your program. In June you will receive a detailed itinerary for your trip that will include mail stops (addresses—generally post offices—and the dates that you will be there) for parents and friends to write to you.

Upon arrival (for students who fly to their trips), each student calls home to let his or her parents know that he or she has arrived. After this phone call, however, we do not allow students to make or receive phone calls (except in cases of emergency).

The office staff is in touch with our leaders on a weekly basis if not more frequently. Parents with questions or concerns are encouraged to contact the office.

What are the basic rules?

Our trips are wholesome, structured experiences with strong leadership and high expectations of our students' behavior. Overland students are expected to be enthusiastic, positive, helpful and supportive of each other. Overland's students understand that smoking, drinking alcohol or using any drugs (other than prescription medications) is strictly prohibited.

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Language Day-To-Day

Will there be a language pledge?

A language pledge is a promise to speak only the target language (French or Spanish) while on your program. Overland does not require this of its students. The success of our students, both in terms of language learning and group dynamics, is our main goal. Students should expect to speak only in the target language during their time at school. In addition, our leaders will organize group activities each afternoon that include practice in the target language. At many other times throughout the program, from meals to interactions with locals, students will practice and rely upon their ability to speak the target language.

Can I get school credit for my language program?

Upon completion of the program, Overland will provide each student with a certificate from his or her language school in Europe, Costa Rica or Peru that details the number of hours of language classes completed and evaluates the student’s progress made over the course of the program. You can then submit this to your school, and, depending on your school’s policy, you may receive school credit.

Where will we stay?

Three- and four-week groups will spend their time in France or Spain primarily indoors in apartments, chalets or gites. In France, groups will spend the weekends camping in frontcountry campgrounds with showers and flush toilets. Costa Rica and Peru groups will stay mostly in group accommodations in hostels, hotels or rustic lodges, and they may also have a one-week group homestay with Costa Rican or Peruvian families. In addition, Peru will have four nights of tent camping when they are hiking in the Andes. Costa Rica groups will have one night of camping during their rafting trip in canvas tents on platforms. Groups are responsible for keeping their living space clean and tidy; students share the responsibility and rotate duties (including cooking, cleaning up after meals and cleaning the group’s space). Students should be prepared to share a room with one or more students of the same gender in their group. Note that if friends come together, they will be placed in different rooms; experience has shown that rooming together makes it difficult for friend pairs to integrate effectively and fully into the group.

Can I stay in touch with home and friends while with Overland?

Yes. We encourage you to write to your friends and family, and we encourage friends and family to write to you during your program. In June you will receive a detailed itinerary for your program that will include mail stops (addresses--generally post offices--and the dates that you will be there) for parents and friends to write to you.

Upon arrival (for students who fly to their trips), each student calls home to let his or her parents know that he or she has arrived. After this phone call, however, we do not allow students to make or receive phone calls (except in cases of emergency).

The office staff is in touch with our leaders on a weekly basis if not more frequently. Parents with questions or concerns are encouraged to contact the office.

What are the basic rules?

Our trips are wholesome, structured experiences with strong leadership and high expectations of the students' behavior. Overland students are expected to be enthusiastic, positive, helpful and supportive of each other. Overland's students understand that smoking, drinking alcohol or using any drugs (other than prescription medications) is strictly prohibited. While living with homestay families (Language & Service Costa Rica and Field Studies Peru) students must continue to follow these rules. Additionally, students in homestay families may not go out at night unless they are accompanied by their homestay parent.

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Writing Programs Day-To-Day

What are the accomodations like?

Our accommodations are in a dormitory on the Williams College campus. There are one to three beds per rooms and shared bathrooms. Students should be prepared to share a room with one or more Overland students of the same gender in their group. We will have acess to laundry facilities in the dormitories. During the weekend on the Summer Writing Program, we will camp at a comfortable, frontcountry campground with access to flush toilets. We will share a tent, provided by Overland, with three or four other students in our group of the same gender.

Can I stay in touch with home and friends while with Overland?

Yes. We encourage you to write to your friends and family, and we encourage friends and family to write to you during your program.

Upon arrival (for students who fly to their trips), each student calls home to let his or her parents know that he or she has arrived. After this phone call, however, we do not allow students to make or receive phone calls during their program (except in cases of emergency). 

The office staff is in touch with our leaders on a weekly basis. Parents with questions or concerns are encouraged to contact the office.

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Field Studies Programs Day-To-Day

Is previous experience required?

No. The opportunities we will pursue during our field studies programs do not require specialized skills. Anyone with enthusiasm, focus, flexibility and a willingness to work hard and be challenged is welcome on any of our field studies programs.

Can I get credit for my service hours earned during my field studies program?

Yes, our students can earn credit for the hours they spend volunteering. Please see the program description for the approximate number of hours. We will provide you with proof of participation after completion of your program. Note that you should check with your school to make sure that Overland's service hours meet the policy requirements.

Can I stay in touch with home and friends while with Overland?

Yes. We encourage you to write to your friends and family, and we encourage friends and family to write to you during your program. Upon arrival (for students who fly to their trips), each student calls home to let his or her parents know that he or she has arrived. After this phone call, however, we do not allow students to make or receive phone calls (except in cases of emergency). The office staff is in touch with our leaders on a weekly basis if not more frequently.  Parents with questions or concerns are encouraged to contact the office.

What are the basic rules?

Our programs are wholesome, structured experiences with strong leadership and high expectations of the students' behavior. Overland students are expected to be enthusiastic, positive, helpful and supportive of each other. Overland's students understand that smoking, drinking alcohol or using any drugs (other than prescription medications) is strictly prohibited.

 

 

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