Where will my group travel?
All groups are currently traveling to the Dominican Republic.
What is the minimum amount of volunteers to form a trip? Is there a maximum?
The trip group minimum is 10 people, but we encourage all organizers to shoot for 15 participants. The maximum is 18 participants, but exceptions can be made during certain periods of the year. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for special requests.
When is the best time to travel?
BTC receives volunteer groups year round. Popular times, such as Spring Break and the month of June, fill up quickly. Late Summer and Fall offer the greatest availability, and you will more likely be able to travel during your preferred week.
What flight should I take?
Book your flight to Santo Domingo (airport code SDQ) early on to avoid costly airfare and guarantee enough spaces for your trip participants. It is best to arrive between 12:30-4pm, and best to depart before 2pm the following weekend. BTC can accommodate other arrival times if the whole group is on the same flight.
When are the deposit and trip fee payments due?
The $250 deposits to secure your spot on the trip is due 60 days before the trip travel date.
The remaining trip fee balance must be received by BTC 30 days before travel.
What is the community lodging like?
Dorm spaces are Co-ed dorms, with bunk beds and mosquito nets. There are toilets that are manually flushed by pouring water into the bowl. Showers are ‘bucket showers”: you will fill up a 5-gallon bucket and use a small bowl to pour water over your head.
What is the food like?
Meals are cooked at a nearby kitchen by local staff and provide a varied diet of typical Dominican cuisine. Most meals are vegetarian, but there will be some protein options offered during the week. Meals are served and eaten in an open space. Volunteers should feel free to bring their favorite snacks!
Will there be internet available?
There is wifi at the hotels at the beginning and end of the trip, but not during the week in the community. Most U.S. cell companies offer daily rates to have international plans and data on your phone if you require daily access. Please keep in mind that cellular service can be spotty in the community. We encourage volunteers to disconnect and fully immerse themselves in the community experience!
Do I need vaccines?
We refer everyone to the CDC website and their physician about recommended shots, bu there are no required vaccines to enter or exit the DR. There are no outbreaks or cases of listed possible illnesses in the communities where BTC works. Some doctors prescribe Cipro, a strong antibiotic as a ‘just in case’, but I don’t recommend such a strong drug for what are usually normal and minor stomach adjustments to a different diet. Following BTC protocol. Wearing sunblock and staying hydrated are key to staying happy and healthy on BTC service trips.
How do we communicate with friends and family back home?
With wifi access at the beginning and end of the trip, most individuals check in with their family to say they arrived safely. If you would like BTC staff to reach out to someone upon your arrival, or send a message during the week in the community, we can arrange it. These days, some volunteers opt to add data plans to their phones to be able to have direct communication as well, it’s usually about $10 a day via your phone company if you so choose.
Is there an opportunity to exchange American dollars to Dominican Pesos in the DR?
You can exchange money during the time in the Colonial Zone, BTC staff will help you locate where this can be done. Almost everywhere accept dollars in the touristic areas, so the pesos will mostly be for the time in the community- soda, chips, and laundry if you choose. $15-20 is a recommended amount to change.
Is there any laundry service in the community where we will be staying?
There is! Speak to your IVCs about when you’d like to have that done, we have a contact that does it for us there.
What does my trip fee pay for?
- In-country Director and staff team, providing comprehensive pre-departure information, 24-hour support, and trip planning.
- Airport welcome and all transfers to and from the airport in the Dominican Republic. Private in-country transport to the project and R&R locations.
- All food and accommodations throughout your trip.
- International medical insurance.
- U.S. headquarters team providing program planning and support to our trip participants and in-country team.
- All project equipment, supplies and tools including experienced staff who help execute your service project.
- Project evaluations and impact reporting to ensure that we meet the goals for sustainable outcomes.
Can I bring donations?
Yes! Bridges receives all kinds of donations, the most popular being school supplies, sports equipment, Spanish language books, and clothing. Volunteers can also leave their personal items behind as donations at the end of the trip.