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Fees & Contributions

People before profits

Operation Groundswell is a not-for-profit social enterprise where revenue is re-invested back into the community. We maintain a small and sustainable organization, and think about our partners and participants’ best interests first, not our bank account. When you join an OG program, you can be sure that you’re investing in people before profits!

In an effort to be radically transparent, we breakdown our fees and contributions so that you know exactly where and how your money is being spent.


There’s more that goes into every OG program than you may think. Your experience on the ground is just part of the magic, but there’s also a lot going on behind the scenes. Expand the sections below to see the details.

Program Fee

The bulk of your program fee covers your travel costs on the ground including your meals, accommodations, activities, transportation, and your awesome Program Leaders!

Membership Fee

To learn more about Community Contributions, click here

That friendly family homestay? That delicious local meal? That mind-blowing activity? Those impactful engagements with local organizations? We work allyear-around to find those special ingredients that will make your program unique and  magical!

OG spends precious time and resources reaching out to schools and other hotbeds for curious minds to find potential backpacktivists like you! Once you’ve joined our team, our staff will support you throughout your whole journey, from helping you apply for visas to answering your packing related questions.

Even after your program, we’re still here for you! We work hard to connect you with other engaged alumni making an impact in their home communities.

Risk management training and resources for all of our staff, Program Leaders, regional coordinators, and local partners.

Running a lean organization like we do means some pretty savvy budget setting and careful financial administration.

A small portion of your program fee goes to cover the basics like rent, utilities, phone, and internet so that our personnel around the world can work in safe creative spaces. 

A part of your membership fee even lends a helping hand to your fellow backpacktivists! Through our Financial Accessibility Fund, we provide grants for participants who might not otherwise be able to join us due to financial constraints.

what's included on the ground...

A comprehensive program itinerary and curriculum designed to help you explore the region and examine important local and global issues

All of your group accommodations throughout the program

At least three tasty local meals every day.

All of your group transportation on the ground

All your group toursentrance fees, and excursions


Experienced and caring Program Leaders there to support you 24/7

Regular workshops and discussions to help you internalize and reflect on your experience

Support from OGHQ whenever and wherever you need it


Operation Groundswell’s programs are priced in Canadian dollars for all Canadian citizens and U.S. dollars for all other nationalities. Fees and contributions are collected in three easy installments, and have been developed in consultation with the Travel Industry Council of Ontario to protect you as a consumer and ensure that our programs are financially sustainable.


The first installment is a non-refundable Universal Deposit, which secures your place on a program with OG and is used to begin making commitments on your behalf. You can use it towards any OG program for up to two years.


The second installment is a Membership Fee, which is used to prepare for your program and mobilize the greater OG community that you’ll soon be a part of!  Membership Fees support communications and outreach, ongoing program development and curriculum design, leadership training, alumni activities, project monitoring, financial support, and so much more.

The Membership Fee also includes variable Community and Environmental Contributions which go to support our local partners on the ground and attend to the environmental impact we have as travellers.


The third and final installment is a Program Fee, which is held in trust and used to cover all your on-the-ground travel costs with OG like all of your group meals, lodging, transportation, daily activities, local Program Leaders. and all the magic that happens on program.

Read our Program Booking Terms & Conditions Here

Community ContributionS


Every Membership Fee includes a variable Community Contribution. These funds go to support the amazing local grassroots organizations with whom we work on the ground. From youth empowerment to environmental stewardship, from education to healthcare, our partners are creating positive change all around the world.

Environmental ContributionS

We Have a responsibility to our planet

Every Program Fee includes a variable Environmental Contribution. These funds are invested with dedicated environmental organizations to offset the negative effects of your international flights and reduce our travel footprint on program. This is just a small but necessary part of our commitment to environmental justice.

Stress Free signups

We want to make your decision to travel as easy and stress free as possible. We offer flexible, bookings, no change fees, and personal support so that you have the freedom and peace of mind to choose your next adventure with confidence.

Universal Deposits

Your deposit guarantees you a spot on an OG program, period. If you need to cancel your travel plans, no problem. Your deposit stays valid until you’re ready to go and you can even give it to a friend. 

No Change Fees

Sometimes plans change and we need to change with them. So, if you need to delay or switch your program, just let us know and we’ll help you rebook at no additional charge. 

Flexible Instalments

Travel is expensive so we try to make our programs more accessible by collecting fees in 3 easy installments but everyone’s situation is different. Contact us and we can create a payment plan that works for you.


Financial Support

We know that the cost of international travel can be high. That’s why we’ve set up a number of financial support options to help make this opportunity possible. We want to ensure all of our programs are as accessible as possible for everyone.

the world is waiting. are you ready to meet it?


what are you waiting for?