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Paperwork FAQs

How do I upload multiple documents?

Our system only allows you to upload 1 document in each submission. If you are unable to combine your documents together, we are happy to do it for you! Please email them to .

My insurance only allows me to get a physical past your February 1 due date, what do I do about the Medical Form?

No! This year the Moondance medical form does not require a physician’s signature. If your child has an extenuating medical conditions you make be asked to fill out a Plan of Action (POA) which does require a physician’s signature. This individualized POA will be directly emailed to you as well as linked on the Parent Dashboard.

Why do the trip-specific waivers stay marked as incomplete after I have submitted them?

For those trip-specific waivers, we process all paperwork by hand, so it might take a little bit for that green checkmark to appear on your end! We will email you if any issues arise with these waivers.

On the Transportation Module it asks for the “Arrival Airport” and “Departure Airport” and my child is flying through multiple airports, which is the correct one to input?

Please enter in the information for the final destination. For example, if you are flying into Charles de Gaulle as your final destination, please enter in the final flight’s travel details. At the end of the trip if you are flying out of Charles de Gaulle, please enter in that flight information. This helps our leaders to organize their schedules on travel day.

What is a Plan of Action and How do I fill it out?

Our Plan of Action (POAs) are documents that allow us to gather more information about your child’s specific medical situation. They span a wide variety of topics including mental health, musculoskeletal, allergies, asthma, seizures, diabetes, and more. These documents are designed to be filled out in conjunction with the medical form with a medical provider and do require a physician’s signature. They are directly emailed to you, and are available on the parent dashboard. We request that these documents are filled out in a timely manner!

What is Moondance's Medication Policy?

The trip leader will delegate and supervise medication administration while on the trip, the student will have a shared responsibility in the accountability of asking for their medication. Leaders will collect ALL medications including vitamins, over-the-counter medications like Advil or Zyrtec, melatonin, all prescription medications, etc.

Students with asthma will keep their rescue inhaler with them at all times. Students with anaphylactic allergies will keep at least one Epi-Pen with them at all times.

All medication MUST come with students in one of these two ways:

  • A Day-By-Day Blister Pill Pack
    • These thin plastic packets can be purchased through Amazon’s Pharmacy Pill Pack and list the medication, dosage, and when it needs to be administered.
  • A Pill Organizer Pack
    • These hard plastic boxes have spots for AM and PM medications. The medication must be placed in the correct spaces PRIOR to the child departing for their trip. The bottom of the pill pack should be labelled with the student’s name and trip, as well as the medication included and when it should be administered. We have found that duck tape and Sharpie tends to work well for this purpose.

Medication may NOT be sent with the child loose in a bag, or in bottles. Utilizing one of the above techniques helps us to correctly administer medication according to physician instruction.

All medication use will be logged.

Enrollment FAQs

When is full payment due?

Full payment is due on February 1st, 2023.

What additional forms do I need to fill out?

At the time of enrollment you will only be required to fill out the enrollment request and sign the terms and conditions. We highly encourage you to begin filling out the additional forms including the passport form, medical form, health insurance form, and TripMate Travel Insurance form. These forms are not required to submit an enrollment request, but are required to travel with us.

I looked at your website, but how do I find out more information about your trips?

A great resource to check out to help you gain a better understanding of our trips is to visit our Vimeo Page to watch the incredible experiences from previous summers. You can also spend some time reading our Trip Guides which are located at the bottom of every trip page, as well as reading previous summer’s Trip Updates! Our team at Moondance HQ is always happy to help you decide on what trip may be the best fit for you as well!

When do you stop accepting applications?

After May 1st we are unable to accept any applications for session 1 trips or for any international trips. For session 2 and 3 we will still accept applications for domestic trips pending full payment and reception of all paperwork and teacher references.

I’ve applied for a domestic trip after May 1, now what happens?

We will be at our annual Staff Training from May 15 – June 1 and will have limited opportunities to discuss enrollment. If you apply during this time frame, we will reach out to let you know if a spot is available, but will not actively enroll students until all paperwork is completed.

Full trip cost is due at time of enrollment and ALL paperwork (including outfitter waivers, medical forms, teacher references, and Plans of Action) are required to be actively enrolled.

What Standards Do We Hold Moondance Students To?

We hold all Moondancers to our Good Decisions Letter. Here is a copy:

Good Decisions Letter to all Moondance Participants and Parents


We are so excited about the summer and the many families who believe in the magic of Moondance. We are ready for our 29th summer and the privilege to positively impact lives once again. We believe that a Moondance adventure should be a trip of a lifetime.  We recognize that kids just want to be with other kids and make new friends. 

Our team has been hard at work preparing for an exciting array of activities, destinations, and new friendships. We are so fortunate that we can help create an environment that is fun, exhilarating, and challenging, and share it with remarkable kids and extraordinary trip leaders. 

Our students will face new challenges and push themselves to new limits, but to do so, they need to be active participants and responsible team members. We expect our students to make good decisions, communicate effectively, and follow the rules. An atmosphere of respect, cooperation, and trust is critical to the success of our programs.  Before the summer begins, we want to reiterate our policies.  

In an effort to be completely clear and upfront, we have a zero tolerance for rule violations. Participants will be sent home immediately – with no refund, entirely at the parents’ expense and unaccompanied on their flights – if they:

  • consume, attempt to purchase or obtain, or are in possession of:
  •  any alcohol, tobacco products, or any illegal drugs or controlled substance
  • including the unauthorized use or abuse of any prescription or non-prescription drugs or inhalants.  

Importantly, Moondance staff, in their sole discretion may dismiss any student who engages in conduct considered detrimental to the program, resulting in the same consequences. Last summer Moondance sent home 18 students for violating the Moondance Standards of Behavior. It is our hope that all families and participants can learn from this experience and adhere to our Standards of Behavior in summer 2024. 

In addition, conduct Moondance considers detrimental to the program that may result in immediate dismissal includes but is not limited to: 

  • abusive, disrespectful, inappropriate, illegal, violent or unsafe behavior, excessive foul language;
  • verbal or physical bullying;
  • sexual activity;
  • theft;
  • falsifying or not disclosing requested medical information, 
  • sneaking out, entering another participant’s room/tent when not permitted, leaving the designated area or program base; 
  • failure to respect trip leaders’ authority, not following safety guidelines;
  • engaging in any activity that jeopardizes a participant’s own well-being or the well-being of others; or
  • poor behavior towards the leaders, other students in the program, local guides, or local communities.

Moondance strives to create healthy and supportive group dynamics and any behavior that does not adhere to our high standards of community will not be tolerated and will be disciplined accordingly.

Additionally, we require all students to “unplug” from all electronics during their trip. Students are not allowed to have any electronics, including but not limited to cell phones, ear buds, laptops, e-readers, watches, smart products, etc. Smartphones may not be used as a camera–only digital or disposable cameras are allowed. Moondance does not recommend students bring expensive personal property as due to the nature of the experience these items may be damaged. Any electronics must be released to Moondance leaders upon arrival at the trip destination. Moondance is not responsible for a student’s lost, stolen or damaged personal belongings, including but not limited to any electronics.  Any attempt to use prohibited electronics or attempt to access internet, cell phones, or other forms of communication is grounds for dismissal.

We require all students to follow current COVID guidelines when our policies deem necessary. Seatbelts are required when traveling in any mode of transportation where available. 

By now your family should have read, discussed, and accepted the Moondance Adventures Terms of Agreement and Acknowledgement and Assumption of Risks and Release and Indemnity Agreement. These forms outline, among other important concepts, Moondance expectations, rules and policies, activities and risks, and student and parent responsibilities.  Both students and parents need to review these documents carefully before departure for your Moondance program.  We want to emphasize that our rules and policies are rigorously enforced.  In addition to the above documents, this letter serves as our warning that students who engage in conduct detrimental to the program will be dismissed and sent home at the parents’ expense and without a refund.  We will not negotiate violations of our expectations, rules, or policies.  

We ask both the student and parents to discuss these issues before the summer and make sure you understand the consequences, and importantly, understand that the responsibility for appropriate behavior lies with each student. The vast majority of our students make good decisions.  However, there are sometimes a few students who are sent home for breaking the rules: a tough, but important consequence! We want you and your child to know that their decisions affect not only their experience, but that of their entire group and leader team. 

We appreciate your consideration of these very important issues.  With trust and respect, this summer will be an unforgettable opportunity for adventure, growth, and success! 

What grade range should I look for?

We enroll students based on the current grade they are in for the Fall 2023 – Spring 2024 school year. For example, if you are in 8th grade for the 2023-2024 school year, you should look at trips listed for 8th graders.

Can I come with a friend?

Creating a community is perhaps the highlight for many on their Moondance trip. One of the greatest elements of a Moondance trip is meeting new people and being yourself in an entirely new group. We encourage you to partake in that valuable experience, and we love what happens when a group of strangers come together to form a team. That being said, sometimes participants come with a friend. In order to keep our focus on group dynamics, our policy is that no more than two friends can be in the same group together. We also limit our groups to allow no more than two students from the same school and three from the same hometown to travel in a group.

What if my first choice trip is "limited"?

If you see limited on our website this will mean a trip is full for a gender, hometown, or school. If the trip you apply for is full for any of those three reasons we will discuss other options with you.

Can you accommodate food allergies/dietary restrictions?

We will work our best with you and your family to find the correct trip for you based on your restrictions. Not all trips can accommodate all food allergy/ dietary restrictions so please call us if you have any questions!

Student FAQs

Where are the Moondance students from?

Though Moondance has students come from around the world, we have a strong US following! We’ve had people hailing from 34 states and 6 foreign countries last summer alone. We love to connect people from such vast distances in search of experience and adventure.

What if I have no previous backpacking or camping experience?

You don’t necessarily need prior experience to go on a Moondance trip as we will teach you everything you need to know and be comfortable in a new setting. The challenge level of different trips varies, and we’re here to help you choose the trip that’s right for you. The only requirements for a successful Moondance adventure are positive attitudes, good physical condition, and the willingness to collaborate as a member of a small group.

Where do we sleep at night?

On our domestic trips you will set up single gender, three-person Mountain Hardwear tents every night on most trips; however, we will encourage you to take the opportunity to sleep beneath the stars. On our international trips, you will stay in local hostels, lodges, inns, mountain chalets/ refugios, and sometimes in tents outside.

How big are the Moondance group sizes?

Moondance groups typically consist of 10 to 13 participants, with two to three leaders.

What happens if my first choice trip is full?

Our trips fill on a rolling basis. If your first choice is full, we will enroll you in your second, third, or fourth choice options listed in your application. Once a trip is full we will generate a waitlist. Our Admissions team will call as we process your application to discuss secondary trip options, should your first choice be unavailable. If you would like to be placed on a waitlist please fill out the online application and we will give you a call to discuss waitlist options.

Can I bring my cell phone?

One of the greatest parts of a Moondance trip is unplugging from the doldrums of your device. We encourage you to leave them behind if you can, but cell phones are permitted in transit in case of travel complications. Once you arrive on your trip, you will turn your cell phones into your leaders, who will hold them until the final day of your trip when they are returned to you in the airport. Phones detract from the experience we cultivate on a Moondance trip, and we strongly believe in the positive effects of digital detox. Moondance will not be responsible for lost, damaged or stolen electronic devices.

How much is the deposit?

The trip initial investment is $1000 which is due at the time of application. This investment will be applied to the total program cost (balance due February 1st) and can be paid by Visa, MasterCard, or American Express. We only charge the investment to hold your spot if we are actively enrolling you in a trip. We will not charge your card if you are exclusively going to be on the waitlist. There is no credit card fee for the initial investment, but if you choose to pay via credit card for the full trip cost there is a 3% processing fee.

Does Moondance offer financial assistance?

On a case by case basis Moondance offers Financial Assistance to families. If you are interested in learning more about our Financial Assistance options, contact our admissions department,

What kind of identification do I need to travel?

TSA does not require minors traveling domestically to fly with identification, however, if you are on an international program you will need to fly with a passport valid through SIX months after you return home. Certain programs will require further documentation such as, visas or entry documents. You will be notified if your trip needs a visa or other documentation after enrollment. If you have any questions about TSA requirements you can visit their website, here. If you have questions about obtaining a passport, please contact our office, or 800.832.5229 and we can assist you! We recommend applying for a passport as soon as you are accepted into a trip, if not before!

Can I find out who the other participants on my trip are before it begins?

We believe that the excitement and value in arriving with an open mind and a blank slate about your group members adds an irreplaceable component to our programs. Therefore, we don’t disclose student information in advance. We ask that you don’t call the office asking for this information.

Will students that live outside the US be able to sign up for a Moondance trip?

Yes, we always have a handful of families that live outside of the US on our trips. We recommend that you understand your country’s travel recommendations as well as the areas we travel before finalizing your trip enrollment.

Will I need special immunizations for my trip?

Moondance suggests families follow guidelines set by the CDC for vaccinations and immunizations. Depending on your trip, it is possible that you will need special immunizations. This can change from year to year, and we operate under the guidelines of the Center for Disease Control. For specific trips, we ask that you discuss immunizations and any pre-existing conditions with your family doctor or local travel clinic. Moondance will provide a detailed map of where the group will be traveling for you to take with you to the travel clinic. Please visit the CDC homepage for more information.

How does Moondance select and train its leaders?

Moondance leadership positions are coveted as amazing leadership opportunities for dynamic, young college graduates. We receive a large number of applicants every year, with many returning leaders. After a rigorous selection process, we select only the top 25% of the potential leaders who apply. Those who are accepted through our written application and interview process are then required to attain a medical certification (either Wilderness First Aid or Wilderness First Responder) and attend an 11 day staff training . During this training our leaders immerse themselves in their trips, their students, and the policies and procedures of Moondance. Staff training is a chance for us to get to know each and every leader deeply, and make sure they are a good fit for their trips, and our mission.

Financial FAQs

What is the Gear Deposit and When is it Charged?

The $200 gear deposit will be charged in early May to the Primary Card on file. This Gear Deposit will then be returned in August to the same credit card, pending it is not used during the summer.

What is the Gear Deposit and What Could it be used for?

The $200 gear deposit is incidental funds Moondance collects in May and returns in August in the event that they are not used. Previous examples of what a gear deposit has been used for include, but are not limited to:

  • An Unaccompanied Minor Fee that was not pre-paid
  • Clothing/ gear if a bag doesn’t make it to a destination or a replacement is needed
  • Damages to any Moondance equipment (including tents, electronics, and other gear)
  • A Co-pay for a doctor’s visit
How can I pay for my trip?

You have 2 options to pay for your trip with Moondance Adventures. We offer ACH payments, which directly link your bank account to us at no additional fee, or you can pay via credit card which has a 3% processing fee. The 3% fee is not included in the initial $1,000 investment.

You must have a valid credit card on file with us even if you are paying via ACH in the event of incidental costs during the summer and for the Gear Deposit.

What is included in the Trip Cost?

Included in your tuition cost:

  • all activities while on the trip
  • transportation after arriving to the trip’s starting location
  • lodging while on the trip
  • meals while on the trip

Not included in your tuition costs:

  • airfare to and from the trip destination
  • additional spending money
  • $200 Gear Deposit
  • TripMate Travel Insurance (which we highly recommend purchasing)

Summer FAQs

How do I get in contact with my child if they don’t have their phone on the trip?

In the event that there are circumstances that require a parent to communicate with their child the Moondance HQ office will facilitate getting them in touch.

On my packing list it says I need to pack in a carry on bag, do I actually need to, or can I check a bag?

We require all of our international trekking trip participants to carry on as checking a bag opens up the potential for lost luggage. As many of our trips immediately begin their trekking section, if a bag is lost it can be days or weeks before it is returned to a child. This can be incredibly disruptive to a trip, and can be destabilizing for a child in a new environment. Please be mindful of this in your packing and ensure that their bag is able to be carried on.

How much do I need from the packing list?

Over 30 years of running trips, we have refined our packing lists to ensure that students have everything they need and not excess! We encourage you to speak to your child’s leader during our Meet the Leader phone calls if you have specific questions, but to follow the packing list as closely as possible.

Why do you require passports to be valid 6 months from the return date of the trip?

This is actually not a Moondance requirement, but rather an international travel requirement based on each country. If your passport is not valid for 6 months past the day you are returning to the US there is a potential that you will be turned away at the airport. Please double check your passport, and if it needs to be renewed please immediately begin the process of renewal.

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Travel FAQs

My child is under 15 and when I am booking my child’s flights, they require I give a name and contact information. What should I do?

Your child will have to be booked as an unaccompanied minor if they are under 15. When booking, please purchase this service and provide your contact details. Moondance will send you the designated leader unaccompanied minor contact details closer to the trip, and you will be able to call the airline and update it.

Why do you want us to fly on the group flight?

At Moondance, we believe that the experience begins the day travel does! We want students to be able to grow in their travel experiences together. Purchasing the group flight not only creates a smoother travel day, but also ensures that the students are together if there are any travel delays.

Our family is unable to book on the group flight, what should we do?

We know there are extenuating circumstances (cost, location, timing, etc.) in which families are unable to book on the group flight. In these cases, please directly reach out to with the flight path you would like to pursue BEFORE booking. Each alternate route must be individually approved by HQ.

You are also taking on the personal responsibility that, in the event of a cancellation or delay, your child will potentially be on their own in a layover city and their late arrival could disrupt the entire trip.

Is airfare included in the cost of the trip?

Airfare to and from your Moondance program is not included in the cost of your trip due to the diversity of locations our students travel from. However, internal flights on Belize + Costa Rica, Croatia, Ecuador + Galapagos, Hawaiian Islands, Kenya + Zanzibar, Sardinia, South Africa, Spain + Morocco, and Thailand are covered in your tuition.

Does my child need to fly as an unaccompanied minor if they are under 14?

This depends on the airline you are flying. Each airline has its own policies on flying as an unaccompanied minor, and depending on which airline your child is flying, policies will differ. We suggest contacting your airline directly for up to date policies before you fly. Moondance will provide you with the leader’s contact information to function as the Unaccompanied Minor contact for the airline. Keep in mind, that almost all airlines do not allow unaccompanied minors to travel on the last flight of the day.

Can Moondance put me in touch with others who are flying from the same city?

We are happy to share flight details of other families on your trip from your hometown so you can book the same flight!