On receipt of your enquiry, the travel officer will send you a Traveller Application form and a Letter of Introduction (LOI) form to complete. Both of these forms require a recent passport-type photograph of yourself. The LOI should contain information about your background, previous travel, interests, hobbies and skills, Servas experience (if any), involvement with other peace organisations (if any), and the purpose of your trip and how it relates to the purposes of Servas.
We recommend that you submit your application at least four weeks prior to your scheduled departure date. Remember that you will also need sufficient time to contact the Servas hosts that you plan to visit.
All travellers are interviewed to ensure that they are responsible, open minded, agree with the aims and understand the history of Servas. This to help ensure travellers are likely to be a good fit to everyone’s benefit.
There is a AU$100 fee per traveller for the LOI. $50 if you are already a host.
The minimum age for an unaccompanied Servas traveller is 18 years. Children under 18 years may be included on either parent’s LOI. There are no fees charged for children under 18 years travelling as part of a family group.
Upon approval of your application, the travel officer will forward to you your signed, and stamped LOI. This is your ‘passport’ as you travel and seek to contact Servas hosts. It is valid for 12 months from its date of authorisation. Accompanying the LOI will be Traveller Request for Host Lists form. The host list is the directory of Servas hosts in a particular country who are happy to accommodate registered travellers. You will need to seek hosts from these lists.
To obtain the host lists that you need for the countries where you are intending to travel, you complete the form and send it to the host list officer. The requested host lists are then usually forwarded to you within a few days upon receipt of your request. They may be as a printed booklet or as an electronic document as a Portable Document Format (PDF) file.
Australian Servas hosts who are listed in the Servas Australia host list do not need to obtain a LOI to travel in Australia.
Guidelines for Servas travellers.
Prior to your visit:
- Try to learn as much as possible about the culture and customs of the area you will be visiting.
- Follow the requests of each host regarding the amount of advance notice they prefer.
- Never arrive at a host’s home without notice, even if the host has indicated “no prior notice required”.
- If you cannot visit a host as previously requested or advised, ensure that you contact the host to cancel arrangements.
- Hosts are not obliged to arrange transport for travellers to or from the host’s home but many do so.
- Consider hosts who are located away from the popular tourist centres or major cities. Rural and semi-rural hosts can offer unique experiences. Public transport to these areas is often available.
- Do not overlook Day Hosts – they are simply Servas hosts who are unable to offer overnight accommodation.
- Take with you photos or other information from your home country or region to help engage with hosts. Small souvenirs from home make good parting gifts of appreciation.
- Respect a host’s right to say “no” to your request for a visit. If you have difficulty finding an available host, check if the host coordinator of the region can help you. Always be prepared to find alternative accommodation – do not rely solely on Servas.