Surgical Trip FAQs

What is CSI’s return to travel looking like?
CSI resumed surgical team travel with a trip to Hermosillo, Mexico in February 2022. We continue discussions with our partner sites about how we can keep patients, families, local medical staff and CSI volunteers safe considering the pandemic. We monitor key safety indicators such as travel and quarantine restrictions, partner readiness, access to testing, vaccines and safety protocols. 

The trips currently scheduled include:
Mexico: September 24 – 28, 2022
Tanzania: November 10 – 19, 2022
Liberia: January 12 – 20, 2023
Ethiopia: March 9 – 19, 2023
Tanzania: April 20 – 30, 2023

How does CSI recruit volunteers? 
Our top priority is the health, safety and well-being of our volunteers, in-country partners and patients. When making the decision to recruit volunteers for a trip, we want to have a high degree of confidence that a trip will proceed. We know volunteers take significant time away from work and family responsibilities to travel with us, and we understand that trip cancellations can be disruptive.

As CSI teams return to travel, we staff teams with volunteers who have strong site-specific experience along with those who may be newer to our organization. Our recruiters are committed to building flexible, committed teams with the skills needed to provide the very best care to the children and communities we serve. 

How can I stay involved with CSI outside of surgical team travel?

  • CSI is creating discipline-specific work groups to focus on things like volunteer recruitment and training, trip packing and supplies, and partner in-person and online education. Join a CSI work group to help improve the delivery of our mission.
  • CSI is building our library of in-person and online educational resources and speakers. Share your input and expertise. Do you have lectures and/or other education and training ideas? Be a part of the team that is developing training and collaboration best-practices by discipline.  
  • We want to provide supply-chain support to our partners even when we’re not traveling. Help us sort medical supplies, source specific requests for equipment and prepare shipments.

Help CSI as we develop new ways of engaging our volunteers and donors. Email Mary Overby at if you’d like to help.

What are the expenses trip volunteers are responsible for before and during a trip?
Thanks to the generosity of our donors, CSI is proud to be able to underwrite the vast majority of trip expenses for trip volunteers. The expenses trip volunteers are responsible for include:

Pre-trip expenses:

  • $500 team fee is due at or before the team meeting.
  • Beginning in 2022, the team fee is no longer considered a tax deductible donation as team members receive goods/services in exchange for the fee.

Expenses on the trip:

  • Dinner each night. Approximately $10-15 per meal.
  • Rest day activity. The cost can range from $50 to $100 depending on the activity and the number of participants.
  • Spending money for souvenirs.

What does my team fee cover?
The total cost per team member to travel with CSI varies by trip, but generally ranges between $2,500-$4,500. Your $500 team fee covers a small portion of the expenses we incur for your flight, ground transportation, VISA application fees, lodging and two meals per day (breakfast and lunch). Please note that there is a fee to deviate from the standard itinerary selected for a given trip. Talk to the CSI office to get more information before proceeding with any travel plans.

Will I need COVID-19 vaccinations to travel?
When traveling with CSI, volunteers need to see a travel clinic to be advised on immunizations and medications needed for the trip. See the CSI COVID-19 Mitigation Strategies document for further detail as it relates to COVID-19 vaccination. 

Do team members help with pre-trip and post-trip responsibilities?
Each trip has pre- and post-trip responsibilities. These duties are listed in the job descriptions and will be communicated to team members. Here are a few:

  • Packing supplies and equipment
  • Preparing medical charts
  • Screening day planning
  • Patient records
  • Evaluations/survey