Can We Take Our Exchange Student Out of State?

Foreign exchange students come to America to practice their English and experience life as a teen here in the states. When the student is not in school, you might want to take them on a family getaway or vacation. Travel is a great way to bond and create memories with your exchange student and family. Consequently, many host parents will ask, “can my exchange student travel out of state with my family?”

Some of the best host families are frequent travelers. If this describes you, you’ll likely have a trip planned while your student is staying with you. Exchange student programs are happy to have you take your student with you when you travel to visit family or go sightseeing in or out of your state. Any overnight travel, however, must be approved by the exchange student program. Permission from the natural parents is also required. 

Can I Take My Exchange Student Out of School for Vacation?

You might want to go on vacation during the Christmas holidays or spring break. This is the ideal time to take your student on a family getaway. The exchange student program will expect you to always work your travel dates around the student’s school schedule. But if you have a family gathering or special event like a wedding that you want to get to, you might need to extend or start your vacation early for whatever reason. Any requests for time-off from school, other than because of illness, must get pre-approval from the exchange student program. If the student will miss a day or two, it is likely that you will be granted approval. Anything more than that might be denied because it can be difficult for the student to catch up on schoolwork after being absent for more than just a few days. 

Can Our Exchange Student Go With Us on Summer Vacation? 

Many families do not go on vacation until the summer after your exchange student will have returned home. Is it possible for your student to extend their stay so they can travel with you? Most exchange students require that a student return home within a week after school ends.  Your program may grant permission for your student to stay a week to 10 days longer so you can show your exchange student some more of the country.  A longer stay will probably be denied. 

Can Our Exchange Student Travel With My Son or Daughter?

Exchange students often bond with host siblings and like spending time with them. If your son or daughter is a responsible adult over the age of 25, your student can travel with them as long as their natural parents and the program agrees. Under no circumstance can your student travel overnight without adult supervision. This includes travel with host siblings who are underage.  

Can We Take Our Exchange Student to Another Country?

Some states border another country making it easy for travel to and from. Can your student travel outside of the United States? Yes, your student can go out of the country with you. You must plan a trip like this far in advance because documentation must be submitted and signed by the national office of the exchange student program before you go. Remember that your exchange student is not a citizen of the United States so different rules might apply when entering Mexico, Canada or some other country. Consult your exchange student program for advice about taking your exchange student out of the country.

Who Pays if My Exchange Student Travels With Us?

Costs associated with travel can be a tricky subject to broach with your exchange student. Who will pay if they go with you? If you want to take your exchange student with you on a trip, you can pay for all or part of the trip. Nonetheless, you don’t have to incur the expense of their travel. Although the natural parents aren’t required to pay for the student to travel with you, most will. Before approaching the natural parents and exchange student about your trip, you should have an itinerary and written budget to share with them. It should cover the cost of airline tickets, food and hotel (if applicable). In the chance that the family is unable or unwilling to cover the cost, you can pay for the student’s trip or plan for them to stay with a friend or extended family. If you don’t know of anyone, the exchange student program may be able to make arrangements for them while you are away. 

Let Your Local Representative Know Where You’ll Be

Before you leave for your trip out of state, it is important that you provide your local representative with your contact information. They should know your travel itinerary including when you will leave, where you will stay and when you will return. Share your cell phone number(s) with them so they can get in touch with you if needed. The natural parents should also know where you are going and how long you will be away. 

As a host family, you’ll want to include your exchange student in your normal routine as much as possible. If travel is important to you, this is a family activity that you’ll want to include your exchange student in. To make it as easy as possible for you, the student and their families, plan your trip and inform the natural parents of your intentions as early as possible. This will give them ample time to budget for the cost associated with their student’s vacation with you and your family. 

Please note that travel rules may vary a little depending upon what exchange student program you are working with.