May 18, 2023
Way to go Coach Shotwell!
Congratulations to Coach Melody Shotwell on receiving the NAIA Coach of the Year for Women's Lacrosse.
Click the icons below to find out additional information to help you prepare for your tour.
Apply for a passport – It can take 12-18 weeks to process a passport. AIST prefers to collect your passport information 3 months prior to your departure or earlier if possible – If you will not have it by 3 months prior, please provide the information as soon as you receive it
Once you have your passport – Fill out the passport information link at www.aist.us/passport-information. Take your time and fill out this information correctly. AIST must have the correct spelling of your name as it appears on your passport. Airlines charge $350 for name changes.
Set up your fundraising if needed – There are several options for fundraising available. You are welcome to pay for the tour anyway you would like. It is your responsibility to make sure you are within NCAA guidelines. AIST is not a Non-profit company.
Payment Schedule – It’s important that you hit your payment dates so that we can pay for portions of your tour as they come due. If you need to make changes to your payment schedule, please contact AIST by email with your request. We will work with you the best we can to help you reach your goal. Failure to pay on time could jeopardize your place on the team and make you subject to the cancellation policy.
Book Connecting Airfare – If you are flying with the AIST group you will be responsible for booking a connecting flight if needed. We advise you to wait till AIST confirms the final travel dates and the group is certain to travel unless you book a flexible ticket.
We recommend packing as light as possible. As a team, you will not need anything formal for dinners or tour outings unless your coach has informed you to do so. Most people pack casual clothes. Laundry is available in most places (Bring your own detergent to save a little money.) Please go to the website of your air carrier to get the latest on their baggage limits. Baggage fees are not covered by AIST.
Passport and photocopy – Leave a copy at home and take a copy with you in case you lose yours on tour. Take a photo of it on your phone as a backup.
Airline ticket information – If you booked a ticket with AIST groups you will receive the ticketing information in the final update email approximately 2-4 weeks prior to departure
Personal spending money or ATM Card – Approximately $35-$45 a day depending on spending habits. There are several places to exchange money however we recommend using an ATM for the best rates and convenience. We advise that you wait until you get to Italy for better rates of exchange unless your bank may offer a good exchange.
Athletes – Athletes are responsible for their own gear
Pack your uniform in your carry-on – It is not uncommon to have passengers in a group lose their luggage. Make sure to double check your luggage is checked to your final destination. Some sporting equipment will need to be checked as airline security policies will not allow you to carry it on. For example: Bats, sticks, goalie gear or catching gear will need to be checked luggage and will count as one of your checked bags. Please check with your airline on current baggage rules and guidelines
Student ID's - Pack your student ID with you. You can use this to enter some sightseeing attractions at discounted prices and it may be needed for entrance to some on our tour.
Be aware of weather conditions - Please check on line for weather conditions to your destination before departure. Toiletries Umbrella or rain gear
MASKS – it’s possible some places may require masks to protect against Covid19
Electrical converter - if you need electrical power. I recommend something that has multiple USB ports for your devices. The hotels in Europe may have limited outlets in each room. Some destinations such as the Dominican Republic are on the same 110 circuit as the USA and do not require a converter.
Comfortable walking shoes – You will do a lot of it!
Cameras - Batteries and chargers
Exchange gifts - some teams like to exchange gifts after some games. T-shirts or lapel pins from your school are a popular item, souvenirs from your home city, bottle openers etc. Something small that is easy to pack. This is not required but it’s nice to have something if the teams you play offer a gift.
Medical supplies - tape, wraps, braces or any other such items, you will need to pack your own med kit. You might also consider packing the breakable ice packs as ice is not easy to get after games. Emergency medical staff will be available if needed
There may be some requirements that must be met to enter countries you are visiting with Covid19.
You can find out more about the current travel situation by going to: https://travel.state.gov.
AIST Travel Rules:
We do have a few rules for you to follow during the tour. They are for your safety and to help the tour run smoothly so that everyone can enjoy their time on tour.
Be Early – Make sure you are arrive to meeting points 5 minutes early and ready to load. This means you have used the toilet, got your snacks and are ready to get on the bus to be transferred to our next destination. This is your warning, if we have to leave you behind for others to make their schedule tour times we will have an obligation to others in the group to do so. Please be early for meeting points and departure times.
Don’t embarrass yourself, your school or your country – Please be respectful on tour to everyone. Don’t do things that you are going to regret. Use good judgement and make good decisions. You are not only representing yourself, but you are also a representative of your school, AIST and your country.
No Complaining – Complaining on an AIST tour is not allowed! It’s been proven that those groups who have people on tour that like to complain about every little detail will impact the group in a negative way. We already know that you don’t agree with having to pay for water and that you want more ice. We are aware that paying to use the toilet just doesn’t seem right. We know the beds are small and the rooms can be a little tight. There are things that our out of our control and that are perfectly normal in other countries. Please try to turn everything into a positive and I guarantee the trip will be much more enjoyable for everyone. If you do have a problem with the tour or AIST service, go directly to your tour manager and we will do our best to make things better.
Please remember, you will be in a foreign country and customs will be different. There may be times when you will have to pay for items and services that we normally don’t have to pay. For example, you may be asked to pay for ketchup at a restaurant, refills on beverages and even to use the restroom. Please respect their customs and make the best of it. Be prepared for bathroom breaks by always keeping a little extra change on you.
One request that we have is that everyone be flexible with the itinerary. There will be times when we will have to rearrange the schedule because of weather or other uncontrollable conflicts.
We will do our best to cover every objective on the itinerary. In most cases, you will be traveling with a large group. Out of respect for other passengers we ask that you arrive for meeting times and transfer at least 5-10 minutes early so others do not have to wait on you.
Make sure to use the restroom before the meeting time so that when we meet we can move as a group to the bus to load and proceed with the transfers. With large groups it can take some time to load and unload and your patience is greatly appreciated. If everyone shows up on time (ready to load) the scheduled events will run smoothly and maximize your time on tour.
Passport and Other Travel Requirements – Click Here for a direct link to Passport/Visa information.
CDC – Click Here for the latest information from the CDC
WHO – Click Here for the latest information from the WHO
Additional Destination information – we recommend researching your destination through www.frommers.com or other travel information resources.
Things to remember when traveling abroad:
Always keep your passport in a safe place - It is not necessary to carry your passport everywhere. Keep it in a safe place until you need it. Take a photo of your passport on your camera in case you lose it. This will expedite replacements in case you misplace your passport on tour.
Stay with at least 3-4 people in your group - Travel with the “Safety in Numbers” mentality. We are guests in these countries, this makes us easy targets for street vendors and other scavengers in high tourist areas. It’s important that when you have free time to explore on your own that you stay with others in the group to watch out for each other.
Watch your pockets - Thieves can be very clever in tourist areas. Always know where your personal items are and be aware of everyone around you. Keep pockets and backpacks zipped securely. The pickpockets are very slick, and they’ll hit you and be gone before you know it. Always be aware of your surroundings.
Hotel Details - It’s a good idea to always carry the contact information of the hotel we are staying in so that you know your way back if you get separated from the group. You should also keep the phone number of your tour guide/leader in case of emergencies as well.
Shopping the Streets - Street vendors will try to take advantage of you if you let them. There are some great deals on the streets, and you can usually bargain with them for a better price on souvenirs. However, make sure they are not trying to pull a fast one on you!
Drinking Responsibly - For our U19 teams, we do not allow any drinking of alcoholic beverages unless you are with your parents. If you are not with your parents, we do not want U19 or younger players drinking on tour and you could be removed from the tour. For College or adult tours, we ask that you be responsible. If the drinking becomes an issue we will put some rules in place to protect our tours, suppliers and clients. We want all passengers to enjoy the sites, sounds and tastes of your experience but we need you to be responsible and safe.
This information is just to make you aware. We don’t want you to think that we are traveling to unsafe areas. Everywhere we travel there will be guides and or staff to assist you. They will be there to remind you to watch yourself so that you can avoid situations that could ruin your whole experience.
Here are a few steps you will want to take before you depart the USA.
ATM and Credit Cards – Please use an ATM card to exchange for cash. It can be very challenging to exchange cash abroad. ATMs are located everywhere. Credit cards are also accepted in many places, check with your bank to see if you may have additional fees for credit card purchases. ATM’s will have good exchange rates and they are the easiest way to obtain cash. Traveler’s checks are safe but can be difficult to exchange. If you are using an ATM card or credit card you will need to call your financial institution and inform them that you will be traveling abroad and that you would like to be able to make purchases or withdrawals on your account. Some ATM cards have safety features that will not allow unusual transactions to be made unless you make these arrangements in advance.
GroupMe – Download the GroupMe app to your device. We will be creating a group me account for each tour. We use GroupMe to message the group during the tour with updates, meeting times, and suggestions on what to see in your free time. We also like to share photos and hear about your daily experiences as well. Email us before departure if you have not been connected with the GroupMe for your tour. We will set up the groups about 1-2 months prior to departure.
Cell Phones – Check with your carrier to see if there is an international plan available to you. You should not need your phone much on tour and you will have no problem finding Wi-Fi at the hotels. Skype and WhatsApp are good free options for communicating by phone back home.
Passport – You must have this to travel. You must also have 6 months remaining from your tour return date for it to be valid. We suggest making two photocopies, one to pack with you and one to leave at home. You can also take a photo with your camera or phone to have a backup copy.
Covid19 – You may be required to wear masks and/or be tested throughout the tour for Covid19. You will be subject to all entry and exit requirements for each country you visit. Please make sure you review all protocols prior to your departure. You may need to provide proof of vaccine or test negative prior to your departure.
Airline eTicket – Go on-line or contact the airline directly to confirm your flight times and schedule. If you have a connecting flight to meet the group, make sure to confirm both the connecting and international flights. Flight times will change periodically. Airline tickets are now non-existent. This means that in most cases you will only need your passport for check-in. However, we recommend you keep your e-ticket number or confirmation number with you at check-in. If you have problems at check in, AIST staff will not be able to help you. Please contact the airlines directly with your confirmation number and airline ticket number. MOST airlines allow group passengers to change seats, add airline miles and update TSA information online once you have your confirmation number.
Luggage – Make sure to check your luggage to your final destination at check-in. Try to pack as light as possible, our tours are busy, and we move hotels frequently. Check on-line with your air carrier regarding any additional luggage fees and weight restrictions. Sports equipment may require special packing. Review all baggage details with the airlines you are booked on to be in compliance. AIST does not cover overweight or additional baggage fees. Most of our group tickets include 1 piece of checked luggage under 50LBS and 1 small carry on as well as one small handbag. Please confirm this with your airline.
Emergency Contact Numbers – Leave a copy of the final itinerary behind for family or friends so they know how to contact you. The Itinerary will have all the hotel details included as well as a complete game and touring schedule.
Wi-Fi – Most of the hotels we stay in will have Wi-Fi, the cost for internet will vary and in some places is free. You will also have easy access to hotel or nearby restaurants offering free wi-fi service. Free wi-fi can sometimes be slow and tough to connect.
Passengers with connecting airline tickets - If you have a connection to reach the international flight you may be able to check your luggage to your destination. Confirm with the ticketing agent if you are going to be required to pick up your luggage at the gateway city and re-check. If you are using a different airline than the international flight, you may have to check-in again upon arrival of your connecting city. If you fail to re-check your luggage you may not receive it for part of the tour.
We provide updated information on former AIST coaches, travel guidelines, industry news and much more.
May 18, 2023
Congratulations to Coach Melody Shotwell on receiving the NAIA Coach of the Year for Women's Lacrosse.
May 6, 2023
Recently, Britt Harvey was appointed as the new Head Coach of Hope College, and we extend our congratulations to her on winning her first game in this role.
March 1, 2023
AIST squad wins its first ever championship of the prestigious Prague Baseball Week Tournament in the Czech Republic.
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6212 Bent Grass Way, Columbia, MO 65201