Frequently Asked Questions
Step 1: Start an Application.
If you are new to Putney Student Travel, visit our Online Application.
Step 2: Hold Your Space.
In order to hold your space for a program, you must complete the Online Application Form, submit an e-signed Agreement Form, and provide a $700 payment, consisting of a $200 non-refundable Application Fee and a $500 Tuition Deposit. The $500 Tuition Deposit is applied toward your tuition. After March 15, we must receive full payment within five days of your initial $700 payment to hold a space in the program.
Step 3: Complete Your Application.
Before we can make a final admissions decision, you must submit your Applicant Statement and two Teacher Reference Forms. These documents are available as part of our Online Application.
Our Admissions Team will review your application within a few days of completion and notify you of the decision by email. If your application is not accepted, your $700 deposit will be fully refunded.
We have a rolling admissions process and will accept applicants until a program fills. Every year, however, we receive more applications than we are able to accept, so early applicants have the best chance of being accepted into their first choice program.
Applications are carefully reviewed by our Admissions Team and students are selected on the basis of their maturity, enthusiasm, motivation, and willingness to live and participate constructively in a supportive community environment.
Putney Student Travel encourages applicants from diverse backgrounds to apply. Putney staff and leaders work with our students and families to foster a safe and supportive experience for all students regardless of their race, national origin, religion, sex, gender, or sexual orientation.
You may pay by credit card (Mastercard, Visa, or Discover) through our secure online system, by personal check, or by wire transfer. Our admissions staff is also available to take credit card information over the phone. Personal checks must be in U.S. dollars and must be drawn on a U.S. bank. Checks should be made payable to Putney Student Travel with the student’s name written on the memo line. Please note that a 2.75% convenience fee is added to payments made by credit card, but is waived for the initial $700 payment. Please contact us for bank details if you prefer to pay by wire transfer.
If you withdraw an application for a summer program on or before March 15, your payment, less the $200 Application Fee, is refunded. If you withdraw an application after March 15, all payments are forfeited. Withdrawals are effective on the date that Putney Student Travel receives written notification.
If an application is not accepted or if space is not available in the program listed as first choice, all payments, including the Application Fee, are refunded in full.
Students who wish to hold a space on a waitlist for a program that is currently full must complete the Online Application Form, submit an e-signed Agreement Form, and provide a $700 payment, consisting of a $200 Application Fee and a $500 Tuition Deposit. The $700 payment is fully refunded if space does not become available or if the application is withdrawn prior to a space becoming available.
Students are responsible for following up with teachers to ensure that they have sent completed reference forms to Putney Student Travel. Students can check to see if we have received their teacher references by logging into their Putney application and online portal.
Before March 15, Putney Student Travel will temporarily hold a space for a reasonable amount of time upon receipt of a completed Online Application Form, an e-signed Agreement Form, and the $700 payment. The application is considered incomplete and cannot be considered for admission until we have also received a completed Applicant Statement and two completed Teacher Reference Forms. If the application is not completed within a reasonable amount of time, we will consider it withdrawn and the applicant’s temporarily held space will be released. After March 15, we must receive full payment within five days of your initial $700 payment to hold a space in the program or the application will be considered withdrawn and the $700 payment will be forfeited.
For students accepted before March 15, final payment of the full tuition, airfare (when offered/purchased through Putney), and any associated fees is due on March 15. For students applying after March 15, full payment of the tuition, airfare (when offered/purchased through Putney), and any associated fees is due within 5 days of your application. Putney Student Travel reserves the right to revoke an applicant’s acceptance if timely payment is not received. No refunds are provided in this circumstance.
Trip cancellation insurance (including a Cancel For Any Reason benefit) is available at an additional cost and is strongly recommended. Each year, a small number of students must withdraw from their program for medical or related reasons, and families who purchase trip insurance are thankful to receive a tuition refund when their cancellation was due to a covered reason. We have worked with TII/United States Fire Insurance Company/Crum & Forster to design a plan specifically for Putney Student Travel. This plan is available for U.S. residents only. You will be able to purchase the Travel Protection Plan when you pay your invoice in your digital locker.
Tuition for Putney programs (except for international Pre-College programs as set out below) covers all day-to-day expenses including three meals each day, lodging, excursions, any theater and concert tickets, entry fees, bike and boat rentals, local guides, ski passes and equipment rental, tips, and all ground transportation during the program, including trains, buses and taxis. Tuition does not include the $200 Application Fee, international or internal airfare, baggage fees, visa and entry/exit fees, laundry, health care, gifts, snacks, or other personal expenses.
Tuition for international Putney Pre-College programs includes all accommodations and two meals each day. Tuition for domestic Putney Pre-College collaboration programs—the Harvard Chan C-CHANGE Youth Summit and the Columbia Climate School in the Green Mountains—includes all accommodations and three meals each day. For Pre-College programs, both domestic and international, tuition also covers instruction, use of campus facilities, transportation during the program, entrance fees to museums and cultural sites, field excursions, guest lectures, social events, taxes, and tips. Tuition does not include the $200 Application Fee, transportation to and from the program destination, classroom supplies, art materials, some optional activities, laundry, communication home, health care, gifts, other personal expenses, or the optional supplemental activities, trips, and fees listed below under Program Specific Supplemental Fees.
Application Fee • $200
Travel Coordination Fee • A minimum fee of $150 is assessed when students require special travel arrangements. Please see details below.
Arrival to or Departure from the U.S. Gateway Airport: If your arrival to or departure from the U.S. Gateway Airport falls outside of the designated window(s) we have indicated on the Travel Information document for your program AND you miss the group flight and/or your connection because of this, you will be charged a minimum of $150 to cover the cost of our staffing and logistical support.
Arrival to or Departure from the Program Destination: If your arrival to or departure from the program destination falls outside of the designated window(s) requiring special coordination from our staff, you will be charged a minimum of $150.
Unaccompanied Minor Fee • $150 fee each way if your child flies as an Unaccompanied Minor to/from the U.S. Gateway Airport or program destination requiring a Putney representative as an escort. Many major airlines have policies that require students under a certain age who are flying independently to register as an “Unaccompanied Minor.” Please note that registering with the airline as an “Unaccompanied Minor” often incurs a fee in addition to your ticket cost, and requires the student to be escorted at all times (between security, departure/arrival gates, and connecting flights) when they are not with their leader(s) and group. To avoid these fees and complications, it is recommended that you travel with your child to and from the group meeting point at the Gateway Airport. Please give us a call if you would like to further discuss options.
Pre-College Program-Specific Supplemental Fees
Cuisine & Culture $200
Photography & Media $100
Anime & Illustration $125
Japanese Cuisine & Culture $200
Drawing & Sketching $150
Farm to Table $150
Most students on programs outside of the contiguous United States use Putney’s group flight, departing from a U.S. Gateway Airport to the program destination. The group flight cost is not included in the program tuition and will appear as a separate line item on your invoice. Students are responsible for all travel costs and arrangements to and from the U.S. Gateway Airport. Students on U.S.-based Putney programs are responsible for making arrangements to arrive at the program destination at the designated time.
Putney Student Travel organizes and reserves blocks of seats for students on a round-trip group flight from a U.S. Gateway Airport to your program destination. One or more of your leaders will be at the airport with all student e-ticket confirmations and will welcome and fly with the group on the round-trip itinerary. Families are responsible for travel costs and arrangements to and from the U.S. Gateway Airport.
For select destinations, families may be directed to purchase their own seat directly from the airline on a designated itinerary. This is called an “escorted flight,” and one or more Putney staff members will escort the students who book that itinerary.
All students are encouraged to fly on the round-trip group flight and most do, although if it makes sense for your family, alternate travel plans may be possible. Before making any alternate travel plans, please contact our office. Families who opt out of the group flight will be charged a fee of $150. If your arrival or departure falls outside of the designated window, you will be charged an additional Travel Coordination Fee of a minimum of $150.
You need a valid passport for international travel. Many international destinations require that your passport expiration date be at least six months after your scheduled return home. If your passport has less than six months of validity, please research the passport requirements for the countries you will be traveling to here. In addition, you may need a visa depending on your nationality and the country or countries you are visiting. For countries requiring a visa from U.S. travelers, we will provide you with information necessary to help you apply for and obtain a visa upon acceptance of your application. Non-U.S. citizens must check local visa requirements, including requirements for countries passed through in transit. For U.S.-based programs, we recommend bringing a school I.D., driver’s license, or other form of identification.
Not necessarily. Each year, most students fly alone from their hometown airport to the U.S. Gateway Airport where they meet their group and leader(s). If you plan to fly independently, please note that many major airlines have policies that require students under a certain age who are traveling alone to register as an “Unaccompanied Minor.” This age requirement varies by airline, so it is important to research each airline’s policies carefully before purchasing a ticket. If necessary, Putney can provide staff and logistical support for “Unaccompanied Minors” who are traveling to and from the U.S. Gateway Airport, for an additional $150 fee each way; this fee is separate from and in addition to the airline-imposed Unaccompanied Minor fees. Please call us with questions and/or to coordinate meet-up details.
Health & Safety
Putney Student Travel strongly encourages, but does not require, all students, leaders, and experts to be up to date with their vaccinations against COVID-19 prior to their program, according to current recommendations of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Additional information about vaccinations and boosters can be found on the CDC’s website.
Please note that certain program destinations may require COVID-19 vaccinations, boosters, or testing, and we will share those specific requirements with participants enrolled in those programs.
These policies are subject to change in response to the ever-changing environment. As we move closer to summer 2024, we will continue to update our policies and information with regards to COVID-19 if the situation requires.
We recommend that you consult the CDC’s Travelers’ Health resources online and your healthcare provider to make the right decision for your family. Once a student has been accepted on a Putney program, we will provide information on general wellness for travelers, destination-specific CDC recommendations, and a list of cities and regions visited on your program.
The best way to stay healthy during your program is to start your trip well-rested and to pay attention to your eating, sleep, and hygiene habits while traveling. Our leaders provide guidelines on hygiene and how to stay healthy during the program.
Adjusting to the differences in food, climate, etc. can take a little time. It is important to be open and tell your leaders about any physical discomfort you may be experiencing. For any situation that we feel requires professional medical attention, leaders take students to a nearby clinic or hospital. Health decisions are made as a team based on input from the student, parents, leaders, and our home office in Vermont. In the event of serious illness or injury, International SOS, a leading provider of international medical emergency services, is available to provide consultation and emergency medical evacuation services for destinations outside of the United States. All students are required to carry their own medical insurance.
We are able to accommodate many medical and dietary needs. Please contact our office to discuss your specific situation before applying.
At Putney Student Travel, students’ health and safety is our top priority. Since 1951, we have delivered active, educational, safe, meaningful, and fun programs. We maintain close relationships with the communities we visit and have strong networks of in-country contacts. Our leaders are well-traveled and trained in first aid and CPR. They are able to teach students how to be safe and responsible travelers. In the event of serious illness or injury, International SOS, a leading provider of international medical emergency services, is available to provide consultation and emergency medical evacuation services for destinations outside of the United States.
We expect our students to maintain high standards of personal behavior. We impose very few rules other than those designed to ensure that students can live in a safe, friendly, and constructive environment. Instead, we support an open atmosphere of mutual respect, trust, and consideration. Since students are encouraged, within the context of our programs, to take leadership roles and to make some of their own discoveries, students whose parents require them to be under constant surveillance or who are likely to act irresponsibly, use drugs, alcohol, or tobacco, or behave in a disruptive manner, should not apply. Any student whose attitude or behavior is in violation of our rules or is otherwise prejudicial to the maintenance of standards or to the successful operation of our program will be dismissed from the program at our sole discretion and travel home at their parents’ expense.
Putney students come from all over the United States and from many international countries as well. Our students are enthusiastic, engaged, and excited to learn new skills and make new friends. The dynamics of our programs and unique shared experiences help build close, lasting friendships and a strong community spirit within each group.
Absolutely! Please contact us anytime and we would be happy to put you in touch with a Putney student who traveled on a particular program or is from your hometown.
The mission of Putney Student Travel is to help young people broaden their perspectives and interact with the world beyond the familiar surroundings of home. We strive to create challenging and stimulating programs that transform the outlook of young people and positively influence their actions throughout their lives. We work to engage young people in exciting, hands-on, active learning that encourages them to be better citizens of the planet.
The Essential Eligibility Criteria are designed to aid potential applicants in determining whether a Putney Student Travel program is a good match for them. For our organization, they serve as useful guidance for our Admissions team in making Admissions decisions. Please note that these criteria are baseline measures that do not necessarily address unique situations or considerations and that if you have questions about any of the criteria or our ability to accommodate specific physical or mental needs, we would welcome the opportunity for a conversation.
Putney students are expected to maintain high standards of personal behavior. We impose few rules, all grounded in group safety and supporting an atmosphere of mutual respect, trust, and consideration.
On Putney Student Travel programs, a secure, open, and tolerant group experience is central to ensuring a positive learning environment and a fun experience. We require that students take personal responsibility for their conduct, and that they adhere to certain minimum standards of behavior.
We celebrate diversity and inclusivity. As individuals and as an organization, we devote time, energy, and resources to education about identity, equity, power, oppression, and privilege.
Relationships take time to develop and require immersion into daily life. We believe growth emerges from experience, reflection, and action. We encourage our students to step out of their comfort zones and bring their learning back to their own communities in the form of awareness and action.
Your program will be what you make of it and the attitude you bring with you on your program may be more significant than you realize. Participating eagerly and enthusiastically, taking responsibility, caring about one another, and working together as a team will be essential ingredients of your Putney program.
We help young people broaden their perspectives and interact with the world beyond the familiar surroundings of home. We aim to create challenging and stimulating programs that transform the outlook of young people and positively influence their actions throughout their lives, encouraging them to be better citizens of the planet.
We strive to encourage, promote and practice ethical and socially and environmentally sustainable travel with positive impacts on partner communities and the planet.
We cultivate a culture of integrity and mutual respect within our organization, with our peers in the field of educational travel, and with the communities and individuals we work with around the world. We invest in long-term relationships with our partners rooted in authentic cultural exchange with positive social impact.
In forging friendships with your peers as well as local people you meet, we encourage you to show an interest in their ideas, interests, art, music, food, and way of life. Be ready to eat unfamiliar foods and to adjust to different customs, traditions, and values. Ask yourself why you believe what you believe and try to understand other people’s points of view, even though you may not always agree with them.
In these times, we are reminded how interconnected our futures are, as individuals, communities, and countries, as well as the deep responsibilities we have to one another. Be thoughtful, open-minded, and adventurous in mind and spirit, and the rewards will be great!
• Be able to carry your own bags and gear for up to a quarter mile.
• Be able to communicate physical, mental, and emotional health concerns to your program leaders.
• Be willing to participate in varied outdoor activities. Come to the program ready to be fully present and take part in whatever adventure may come your way. Your willingness to try new things can help you feel more comfortable in a new environment.
• Applicants should be in good physical and mental health.
• Putney Student Travel is not able to accept students who require therapeutic support or who have not applied to the program on their own volition.
Putney leaders are dedicated educators with extensive experience traveling and working with young people. They are often graduates of the nation’s top colleges and universities and many hold graduate degrees as well. All leaders also hold basic First Aid and CPR certifications. In addition to their professional experience and travel expertise, Putney leaders are role models who teach students how to be safe and responsible travelers and inspire them to explore their interests and make their own discoveries. To learn more about our leaders click here. To read bios of our leaders click here.
Yes, you can bring a cell phone on most Putney programs; however, the first seven days of small-group summer programs are phone-free. Putney’s travel philosophy values deep connection with your surroundings, cultures, languages, experiences, and with your group. In a word, being fully “present.” To achieve this, our programs are structured to build positive group dynamics early, without the complexities that technology can present. Students contact their families after arrival at their program destination before setting their phone to airplane mode. Our leaders then help students lock their phones using a passcode for the next seven days. On the eighth day of the program, the group meets to determine their own guidelines for how to use phones for the remainder of the program. We find that being intentional about technology use enables our students to fully engage in the experience, build a stronger sense of community in their group, and strengthen skills in creating interpersonal relationships.
Putney Pre-College programs have access to their phones throughout the trip for academic purposes—during the academic day and afternoon activities. Phone usage guidelines are determined within each Pre-College community by students and staff.
The vast majority of smartphones can take photos from the lock screen, which you can later review and edit when you have access to your unlocked phone beginning on the eighth day. You are also welcome to bring a digital camera.
We encourage you to bring technology that will enhance the educational experience during your program whether that is a camera, tablet, laptop, or other device. We expect students to honor the philosophy of the tech fast, even while using other types of technology. Using another device to replace your phone during the tech fast will prevent you from fully immersing in this phone-free period. The tech fast succeeds when students buy-in completely.
Our leaders and students keep a program blog where they post updates and photos of the group’s travels once or twice each week. We encourage you and your family to bookmark the blog and check back every few days for new posts.
For all essential health and safety communications during the summer, leaders will be in touch with Putney headquarters staff who will then be in direct communication with parents at home. Our home office in Vermont can be reached 24 hours a day during the summer months and our leaders travel with local cell phones. For absolutely essential communication, families can call our emergency line and we can reach leaders in the field.
Diversity & Accessibility
Travel opens minds, changes lives, and has a positive impact on travelers, their communities, and places abroad. Putney is committed to including more students of diverse gender, racial, socioeconomic, religious, cultural, ethnic, and linguistic backgrounds.
For the first many decades offering programs, Putney was largely a word of mouth organization, well known up and down both the east and west coasts where most of our students hailed from. In our seventh decade, we have been reaching out to educators and communities across the United States, internationally, and in both rural and urban areas as part of our effort to diversify our student body. We believe that representation from different geographic, experiential, and cultural perspectives is important to creating a strong group experience.
We would welcome a conversation with anyone who would like to discuss this further. Please feel free to give us a call.
Putney programs operate across a vast spectrum of physical and cultural landscapes, transportation conditions, and accommodation conditions. While there may be limitations in a given destination, we would be happy to explore accommodations we can provide in some instances. We invite all prospective applicants to consult us about their preferred first and second choice programs, and will communicate with families to determine if a program is a good fit for a student experiencing any of the above. We also are able to provide suggestions for alternate Putney programs that might be a good fit.