Flights (and flight avoidant travel)—who books? How much? When, where, how, why!
Once your programme is confirmed, you can start getting ready by looking at travel!
One of the Gotoco team will let you know when your team should book their travel and will confirm any information relevant to your programme.
Below is more information about our travel booking policy. Before you read on, please quickly consider the section below about overland travel.
First off, flying costs the earth!! Aviation brings with it a very significant environmental impact...Whenever practicable we encourage you to consider non-air travel. Though flying cannot be avoided for our far-flung destinations (Asia + Americas), it is possible for Europe.
With this in mind, as of 2023, for all European programmes, we are encouraging you to reject flying and take a train. Our recommendation for this is that you buy an interrail pass - which gives you an iconic travel experience with several pass options for train travel across Europe for up to 2 months, all for the same price as one set of peak season return flights. You can see the available passes on this link. We recommend going for 10 or 15 days in 2 months, to allow you to travel to and from your programme by train + some extra travel before or after.
Not only is interrailing much more environmentally friendly, it also gives you the freedom to explore more of Europe on your way to your programme and gives you another opportunity for personal growth through your time abroad. Plus, the views you see whilst interrailing across the continent are stunning! And, if you interrail with your fellow Gotoco’ers, you will create great memories with people who are on the same journey as you.
If you'd like to do this, please email us. We are happy to confirm that we can authorise reimbursement on the same basis as explained in our rules below for flights. So, if you'd like to do this, please email us so we can run over a risk assessment with you and explain next steps. We will also provide an Interrail Tips & Tricks Handbook, so it’s easier to navigate through busy European train stations and to give you some prior inside knowledge that will help on your travels!
Similarly, if you wish to do non-flight travel on any of our programmes, please email us and we will aim to authorise it when possible. As long as you are choosing a safe route, we will usually authorise it!
(Please note: you are responsible for your own accommodation when interrailing. Look out for hostel deals or consider using sites like Couchsurfing.)
Are my flights and the interrail pass funded???😊
Gotoco is a unique platform that links young adults with funded opportunities all over the world. There are three different funding pathways and how your transport is funded depends on which pathway you're on. You will be told the funding pathway that you're on when you're invited to interview with a programme. You can read about your options on this link.
1. Direct funding:
Some programmes fund you directly—in this case you will need to pay for flights or an interrail pass upfront and be reimbursed in part or in full by the programme later.
2. University-arranged HE Turing Scheme Funding and Other University Funding:
Some of you are joining us with Turing Scheme funding through your universities. In these cases, we have set up special programmes to be eligible for university partnerships. For these, we charge £480 to meet the costs of programme support, delivery and TEFL. Any funding you have over £480 can be applied to your flights or an interrail pass. If there is no surplus, then you'd need to book out of your own pocket. Students from widening participation backgrounds usually receive funding towards travel from their university.
3. Gotoco's TESOL Primer or TESOL Direct Access Funding Routes:
Most of you are joining fully-funded on the Gotoco Trinity CertTESOL pathway. If you are a UK citizen, resident or studying in the UK and would like to be on this track, please drop us an email. For you, we have a generous budget to meet flight or rail costs...
If you're on option 3, with Gotoco's TESOL Primer or TESOL Direct Access Funding, read on below for more information about how the funding works:
How much funding is there for our return flights?
We offer funding in two ranges: a normal range and a high range. You should aim to purchase in the normal range, you will need pre-authorisation from one of our team if you wish to be reimbursed for a flight in the high range. These rates are set out below:
Normal range for a return route:
£150 within Europe (except Greece)
£705 to our further flung placements (e.g Colombia & Guatemala, Thailand, Vietnam)
£1,060 for Bali
High range for a return route:
Sometimes prices surge out of control, this is particularly common during the major August holiday period...In those cases, our maximum return route budget goes up to:
£250 within Europe (except Greece)
£905 to our further flung placements (e.g Colombia & Guatemala, Thailand, Vietnam)
£1,360 for our furthest-flung places (Indonesia - Bali)
Interrail in Europe:
If you interrail, then you can receive the high range budget of £250 for Europe to put towards a pass for 10 days travel in two months: ideal for getting to and from your programme with some extra travel thrown in. You can check out pass options here.
If you book a flight in the normal range, we can reimburse you without seeking any further info' from you. If you are only able to find prices in the high range, then when it comes to reimbursement you will need to ensure that you have pre-authorisation from our team for monies over the normal range budget. Pre-authorisation can be demonstrated by showing us a screenshot of either:
a) our team authorising you in chat/email to spend the high range budget. You can message us during your flight search to get this.
b) the search results page of Skyscanner showing that you couldn't get a layover flight from the UK's main airports (London) to the destination in the normal range. For this, your screenshot will need to have used Skyscanner and sorted flights by price. We will need to be able to see the dates too.
*Our ethos is backpacking! We usually will not approve unnecessary direct flights or luxury routes. We want you to have an adventure—this may mean being outside your comfort zone at points. If you have a choice between going direct to Bangkok or having an 18-hour layover in Saudi Arabia, we would usually strongly urge you to do the latter, because who knows when you'll ever return to Riyadh? If you really want to fly direct/business class etc, then you will only be offered our normal range reimbursement and can choose to pay for upgrades yourself.
**Funding is allocated to cover costs relating to your programme, such as cultural activities or a post-programme cultural tour (depending on your programme). If you use the high range budget, then the budget for other aspects of your trip may be reduced. So, please aim to work within the normal budget.
***You can only claim up to the actual amount you pay on flights, please bear this in-mind before spending your own Airmiles.
Does Gotoco book for you?
In special cases, the Gotoco team may step in to book your flights for you. If this is relevant to you, we will tell you. For everyone else, it is up to you to get a flight booked in line with the dates your programme has told you. If you need help and are from a Widening Participation background, you can request us to get more involved - we will do our best.
Sounds great. So, how can I book my own flight?
It's easy! Before you have a go, please carefully read our FAQ on the topic, here.
Why doesn't Gotoco book for you?
Our goal is to link you to link you to well supported, social and safe projects abroad. We want you to take things into your own hands as much as possible, so we strive to be light-touch. We won't coddle and package things. Wherever possible, we will give you full control. So in this case, when possible we will ask you to book your own flights or the interrail pass. Benefits of this are many, e.g:
- Greater choice and more fun (I): The OTA is your oyster, you can book whatever suits you. If there is a train that will get you there in budget, or you can visit some exciting destinations enroute, then please do! If on an EU project, why not Interrail there or fly via popular resorts that have cheaper routes? If headed to Asia, why not take a day trip in Doha, Dubai or even Riyadh? Perhaps you want to use the budget to 'return' to a completely different country - thats fine.
- More control and responsibility: You are less likely to miss a flight if you booked it yourself! If you need to make changes, cancellations or refunds - it will be easier for you if you booked direct.
- Fun (II): Once again, fun and adventure. We want you to be able and empowered to fully plan your own trip. If you want to keep the plan open, we won't stand in your way. Even if you want to hitch-hike home...(subject to safety sign-off from us)! Whatever your plans, you can access up to the normal budget listed. As long as you are choosing a safe route, we will usually authorise it!
- Learning/experience: We want you to taste the life of a TEFL teacher, now is the time to learn everything you need to know.
What if I don't know the best dates for my arrival/departure?
Usually your programme page will inform you of the best dates to fly in and out. If it doesn't, then please ask your programme directly ( now, ideally). If they are non-responsive, then drop the Gotoco team an email and we will help you chase them to get the dates confirmed. Before you book anything, please double confirm directly with your programme host—sometimes they have complex arrival dates planned and so it's always worth double confirming things like this! If the dates they give you do not match the dates on your programme information page, please email Gotoco to confirm.
For Europe, if you wish to interrail, you will need to plan more carefully in advance, and you can contact our team for help and guidance.
Gotoco has asked me to book a flight or an interrail pass, but I just don't have enough money to do so.
If you are really unable to find funds, then please do contact Gotoco's team and explain the exceptional circumstances. We are passionate about offering a programme that is accessible for all, so we will never allow a shortage of funds to stop our offer holders participating! If there is really a need, then we will do everything we can to get something booked for you. If you request that Gotoco books for you, then you are likely to sacrifice flexibility and choice - but will still be able to get there. If you are in a position to book for yourself, we strongly recommend that you do so. If you find yourself unable to book the flights, then just email/WhatsApp your contact and we will sort it.
For more information on what is funded and what you need to pay for, please go click here