Explore the World Travel Scholarship Program FAQs
Have questions about how Explore the World and Explore the World: First Passport Edition Travel Scholarships work? You'll find all the answers you need here.
Eligible applicants for general Explore the World awards must:
- be 18-30 years old
- be United States citizens, residents, or green card holders
- be able to demonstrate financial need
In addition to 25 general Explore the World Travel Scholarship awards, HI USA will grant 5 Explore the World Travel Scholarship: First Passport Edition awards. These awards will go to completely new travelers who meet all of the above requirements and also do not currently hold a U.S. passport.
To be eligible for First Passport Edition scholarship, you must be a citizen of the United States who has never had a U.S. passport and is eligible to receive one.
Employees and relatives of HI USA and its licensed facilities are ineligible to receive an Explore the World Travel Scholarship. Former recipients of HI USA’s Explore the World Travel Scholarship are ineligible to receive an award.
In 2023, HI USA will award
- 25 general Explore the World Travel Scholarships, and
- 5 Explore the World Travel Scholarships: First Passport Edition
to applicants selected from across the United States.
As long as you are between the ages of 18 and 30 years when you submit your application, and meet all other requirements, you are eligible.
Explore the World is offered annually. Please sign up for our Programs and Events email list to be notified when future scholarship applications open.
For the purposes of this award, to show “demonstrated financial need” you must either:
- be a current or former Pell Grant recipient, or
- have a household income of no more than 300% of the federal poverty guidelines.
The application deadline is November 27, 2023 at 11:59 p.m. PST
Awardees will be notified on December 30, 2023.
If selected, awardees are expected to complete the program requirements. Recipients may request funding after March 1, 2024, provided all pre-travel tasks are completed. Each award amount is divided into pre-travel and post-travel payments. Please review the Program Requirements for specific information for each award. Please note, this award qualifies as Taxable Income.
Please note, each award will be divided into two separate payments:
- One (1) Payment of $1000 before your trip
- One (1) Payment of $1000 after your trip
If selected, awardees are expected to complete the program requirements. Recipients may request funding after March 1, 2024 provided all pre-travel tasks are completed. Please note, each award will be divided into three separate payments:
- One (1) Payment of $200 after award (to cover passport fees)
- One (1) payment of $1400 before your trip (to be requested after receipt of passport)
- One (1) payment of $1400 after your trip, upon completion of the program’s post-travel requirements.
These scholarship funds are considered Taxable Income as defined by the IRS.
You can stay in any international hostel, regardless of affiliation with Hostelling International.
- General award recipients must stay at least two nights at a hostel during their trip
- First Passport Edition award recipients must stay in hostels for the entirety of their trip
A scholarship committee of HI USA Volunteers will score and select awardees from completed, eligible applications based on the candidate’s ability to:
- Present a compelling case for why/how they are a novice traveler
- Demonstrate financial need
- Convey a genuine interest in exploring the culture of the destination selected
- Convey a genuine interest in hostelling
You may apply for either a general Explore the World Travel Scholarship or an Explore The World Travel Scholarship: First Passport Edition.
If you do not have a passport and intend to travel as part of an educational or volunteer program that includes accommodation, apply for the General Award.
If you do not have a passport and intend to travel independently, utilizing hostels, you may apply for aFirst Passport Edition Travel Scholarship. The First Passport Edition award includes passport fee reimbursement and a mentor to help plan travel.
You should apply for a general Explore the World Travel Scholarship. This award provides funds for travel with an educational or volunteer component, including self-directed education or volunteer service.
You can find additional information about this program on our Program Requirements page. We will also hold two virtual workshops to answer questions and provide guidance on applications. You can get more information and sign up for those on our Eventbrite page.