5c Gaol Lane
Downpatrick, Co. Down
Phone+44 7971783252 (please use WhatsApp if calling from the USA)
Customer care & support
Can I cancel after being accepted on the programme?
You can cancel your trip at anytime, however your Politrip fee, once paid, is non-refundable if you decide to leave the programme. Only if we have failed to deliver the trips as advertised are you entitled to a refund. This is because your fee will immediately be used to cover the costs involved in providing your trip, before you depart for your destination. Your flights may or may not be refundable depending on the airline.
What training will I receive before I leave?
If your application is successful, you will be enrolled in a comprehensive training and support programme prior to your departure, ensuring you are ready to hit the ground running (or knocking – doors that is) once you arrive in your destination country.
This training will consist of three main components:
- Local political context – we’ll make sure you know who your candidate(s) is/are, what their platform issues are, key local issues, state/county demographics, past election results, and how your race relates to the bigger picture within the national political context.
- Campaigning methods – never worked a campaign before? No problem. Our management team have over a decade of combined experience working on campaigns. We’ll familiarize you with some of the main campaigning methods at your destination and make sure you’re well trained in phone banking, canvassing (knocking doors) and generally acting as a representative of a major political party.
- Fundraising support – we realize not everyone can cover the cost of their trip from their own pocket. That’s why we’ll work with you to help you come up with fundraising ideas and get the funding you need to make your trip happen!
Also included in a training and induction pack will be information on the area you’ll be staying you’ll be staying, your candidate(s), who you’ll be working with, more detail on what tasks you’ll be working on, local sights, attractions, transport options, restaurants and bars (in the US it’s over 21s only remember!) and general information to make sure you get the most out of your trip.
What support will I receive when I’m in on a Politrip?
Each group of 5 or more will have a designated Team Leader or Politrip staff member responsible for liaising with local campaign staffers and the Politrip management team. This person will make sure you all work together to work and socialize as a team, including organizing day-to-day ground transportation. Additionally, Politrip management will be in-country during each trip and are always just a phone call or email away and will be happy to provide any additional support or advice you may need.
What happens if something goes wrong on my trip?
The safety and enjoyment of our Politrippers is of paramount concern, but we realize that sometimes things can go wrong, whether it’s a cancelled flight or someone falling ill. We strongly advise all Politrippers to take out a suitable travel insurance policy, and recommend they select ‘travel disruption’ as an optional add-on. For example, basic annual policies covering worldwide travel can usually be purchased for £30 and up, but expect to pay around £50 for more inclusive policies.
In addition to individual insurance, Politrip holds a full Tour Operator’s insurance, ensuring that if anything does goes wrong, we’ve got you covered. You will be provided with a 24/7 phone number and email address to contact in case of emergencies.
If I’m not enjoying my trip, what can I do?
We take feedback very seriously, and will do everything we can to address any issues in a timely and effective manner. You can use the emergency phone number and email address to relay any concerns directly to Politrip management.
All Politrippers will be covered under UK consumer law and will have a right to apply for a refund if Politrip fails to provide the service as advertised. Any issues should be raised at the earliest possible opportunity during or before your trip.
Will I always get my preferred trip?
Whilst we will try our best to place you on your number 1 preferred trip, due to the popularity of that trip or the capacity of our partners, that may not always be possible. We can guarantee that you will be placed on one of your top 3 choices.
(Applies to trips with multiple locations on offer only)
Travel & logistics
What sort of accommodation will I be staying in?
The vast majority of Politrippers will be placed with local party members or supporters, with at least 2 volunteers per house. Some may be active volunteers who will be able to tell you a lot about the local issues you’ll be campaigning on and the candidates you’ll be campaigning for and against.
You could be staying in a guest house with the whole place to yourself, or in a spare bedroom. In some cases you may have to share a room with other volunteers, however we will always make you aware of this before arrival. Either way, we guarantee it will be an authentic experience, embedding you right in the heart of the community you’ll be campaigning in.
Some trips may offer optional accommodation upgrades for an extra cost.
How will I get around during the campaign?
Some trips may include transportation, and for others you will need to arrange your own transport. Before you travel, we’ll make sure your team has a solid plan of how they’ll get around on the ground. This might involve one team member renting a car and everyone chipping in to cover the cost, or setting up new accounts with Lyft and Uber and availing of free credits for new users. Politrip will do its best to facilitate this wherever possible.
Do I have to travel home when my volunteer placement is over?
You don’t have to go home but you can’t stay here!
Politrip has worked with local campaigns to provide accommodation until the end of your volunteer placement. After that, we ask that all Politrippers find their own accommodation if they are staying longer.
Politrip is about adventure and exploring new places just as much as working on campaigns, so we actively encourage all our volunteers to travel around the their destination country after their placement. For visa reasons, we advise everyone to ensure they have a flight booked out of their destination before they leave home, but this can be anytime and to anywhere – perfect for those going on a gap year or vagabonding adventure!
Can I volunteer on more than one campaign or take part in more than one Politrip?
Short answer, no. To ensure you get the most in-depth, authentic experience and to maintain confidentiality across campaigns, Politrippers generally will only work on one campaign. This is to protect campaign confidentiality. However, in locations where we have multiple volunteering opportunities with the same party, there may be the chance to visit other campaigns during your trip.
Do you offer opportunities with all US political parties? (USA trips only)
No. We currently only have opportunities with the two largest parties, the Democrats and Republicans. Politrip is a non-partisan organization, however our Politrippers can be as partisan as they wish, and we strongly encourage people to get involved because they agree with the values and policies of a particularly party or candidate.
Wherever possible we will seek to work with parties and candidates who broadly reflect non-partisan values such as transparency, fairness and positivity. We recognize the diversity of opinion in politics and how our own philosophies and backgrounds affect our views, and believe now more than ever there is a need for mutual understanding, respect and dialogue between different parties and ideologies. However, we will not associate ourselves with any candidate who has expressed or endorsed views which are racist, misogynistic, homophobic, xenophobic or otherwise awful.
What is the minimum criteria for applying?
There are 4 basic eligibility criteria to be a Politripper:
- Must be 18 or over by the time your volunteer placement begins (meaning you can apply when you’re 17, could cannot travel until you’re 18)
- Must be a fluent English speaker
- Must meet the requirements for a tourist visa, ESTA or visa waiver in your destination country
- Must be willing and able to cover the cost of your trip (we will do all we can to support you with fundraising, but ultimately it’s up to you to self-fund your trip)
What else are you looking for in a Politripper?
There are 3 core values we look for in all our Politrippers:
Driven – you are committed to improving yourself and your opportunities, and enjoy taking on new challenges and solving difficult problems.
Ethical – you want to make a positive difference in your work and travel. You respect and engage with people from different backgrounds and with different opinions to your own.
Adventurous – you thrive on the unknown, love meeting new people, gaining new experiences and exploring new places. You are organised and independent, with excellent situational awareness.
As well as these core values, successful Politrippers should be able to meet the following essential criteria:
- Have a basic understanding of and strong interest in US Politics
- Excellent communication skills both written and verbal
- Excellent interpersonal skills
- Comfortable working in a team
- Capable of working under pressure in a very fast paced environment
- Able to follow direction and undertake all tasks for the common good of the campaign
- Trustworthy and reliable
- Self starter and self motivated
Remember, as a Politripper, you will not just be representing the Politrip organisation, but also your home country and most importantly, the candidate and party you are volunteering for.
How competitive is the programme?
In 2018, our first year of operating, Politrip offered a total of 50 volunteer placements, and received over 100 applications. Whilst we try to offer as many places on our programmes as possible, this is a competitive programme and prospective Politrippers should aim to make themselves stand out from other candidates during the application process.
Is it all work, or can I have fun too?
Of course, socializing and getting to know the people you’re volunteering with outside of your field office is a huge part of your trip, and any campaign! Each group will have a team leader responsible for making sure team-building social events take place during your Politrip, and we actively encourage all volunteers to use their evenings and days off to explore their local area.
When accepted onto the programme, your training manual will also have lists of local attractions, restaurants, bars and cultural activities carefully curated by the Politrip team. Most people hired to run ground campaigns in local field offices are millennials who also want to relax and have a good time to wind down after a hard day of campaigning.
How should I talk about Politrip on my CV?
We are happy to provide a formal reference for any of our Politrippers upon completion of the programme, and will work with your Team Leader or field organizer to prepare it. The training manual will have some top tips on how to include political volunteering on your CV, as well as some of the careers it can help with. Always be honest when talking about volunteering on your CV – if you knocked doors, that doesn’t make you an ‘Outreach Coordinator’ and if you penned a few tweets, you’re not a ‘Digital Marketing Manager’!
In most cases, US campaigns will use the term ‘Fellow’ to describe volunteers who show up everyday and contribute above and beyond what the average volunteer might (like you!). This term is considered to be above ‘volunteer’ or ‘intern’ and sets you apart as a super-volunteer!