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on student travel ❖

New Guide Will Aid Student Travel Planners This December, Premier Tourism marketing (parent company of Leisure Group Travel magazine) launches Student Travel Planning Guide, a comprehensive how-to resource for planning student/youth trips. The Planning Guide assists buyers in a variety of facets related to planning and executing a successful youth trip.  chapters include: • First Decisions – developing a purpose & objective of your trip • creating a Timeline - what needs to happen when (pre-trip) • choosing Destinations and Travel Date • setting budgets & Fundraising efforts

WOrKiNG WiTh TOUr PrOViDers The section on working with student tour providers stresses that regular communication with the tour operator by telephone or email, at least biweekly, is important because it will diffuse potential problems and clarify questions. Teacher group leaders, according to the student Planning Guide, should let the provider know their most important considerations after contracting with the tour provider. examples include: • specific flight patterns (longer or shorter layovers)

Group leaders need to do their homework and keep up with pre-trip deadlines • how to Work with student Tour & receptive Operators • Working with hotels • meals & entertainment • Transportation solutions • student cruises • Negotiating with Vendors • etiquette and Discipline while traveling • chaperones – developing guidelines and a sense of cooperation • Travel insurance + safety & security • rules of the road • Post-trip evaluation/Next Trip Planning Teachers, tour operators, travel agents and other readers will find the guide to be a gold mine of practical tips. The following preview touches on just a few of the subjects covered. 12 October 2009

• Location of hotels (within the cities or outside of urban areas) • meal upgrades (may increase the per-person price of the tour) • Participants traveling from gateways other than the group matters on paperwork requested by the tour provider revolve around keeping up with deadlines, which include: • Any liability contracts or agreements to act as a group leader • Gathering of student information such as passport data • creation of an emergency calling tree • reminding participants and parents of payment schedules • enrolling participants on optional tour excursions • matching passport names with

names on the trip roster The final point is highly critical, the guide explains, because there can be no difference between the name on the provider’s roster and the name in the passport. “correcting this in the days before departure can cost hundreds of dollars.” TOUr hOTeLs The student Travel Planning Guide’s section on tour hotels suggests that quality and price can vary considerably and will be in line with the overall cost of the student tour. students are generally lodged three or four to a room; adults are placed two to a room. most hotels on student tours will be two or three stars, but it is not uncommon for groups to be lodged in a more expensive hotel. Group leaders with specific requests should make those known to tour providers months in advance. Questions regarding hotels should include: • is the hotel in the city • if not, how far from the inner city is the hotel • has this particular hotel been used by the tour provider before • if breakfast is included, is it continental, buffet, or a full, hot breakfast • if in the city, is the neighborhood safe • is there internet access • Does the hotel maintain independent security • Are the guest rooms furnished with mini-bars Groups with alcohol policies must LeisureGroupTravel.com


advise the tour provider and on-site tour directors to avoid student use of mini-bars. even if no alcoholic beverages are in these refrigerators, the prices on everything from sparkling water to coke are highly inflated. some minibars can be locked by hotel staff. Those that cannot be locked must be manually divested of alcohol, but this may entail an additional charge for the room. Among the planning guide’s tips on checking in to a hotel: • Prepare rooming lists ahead of arrival • Give each student a hotel business card in the event they get lost while in the city • Look over the neighborhood before allowing students to leave the hotel during free time • Let students know where breakfast will be served • The on-site tour director will post the daily itinerary in the hotel lobby; students should know where this is. • hold a brief meeting that reemphasizes hotel behavior • Advise against using in-room telephone service readers also are advised about the most common hotel problems involving student groups. They include: • students congregating in the hotel halls and disturbing other guests • slamming of room doors • excessive noise from student rooms after curfew • students missing breakfast and wanting to eat on the coach • Taking food from the breakfast room to use for lunch • Leaving rooms in disarray and failing to dispose of garbage properly Teachers can get a good overview of assigned hotels by looking over the hotel web page and reading reviews of the hotel by other patrons. it is also helpful to ask the tour provider to provide the LeisureGroupTravel.com

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on student travel ❖ names of other group leaders who stayed in that particular hotel. chOOsiNG chAPerONes choice of adult chaperones is another key to a successful student trip. most student tour providers offer “free spots” that are based on the number of paying

14 October 2009

participants. This ratio is usually 1-6 but can vary depending on the tour provider. While chaperoning a student tour is an attractive proposition, chaperones should realize that this is not a free vacation. All chaperones should have some experience with students either as teachers,

school administrators, or some other educational, professional venue. initial recruiting should include the following: • Ability to attend all meetings before the tour • Assist with documentation such as obtaining passports and visas • Prepared to spend money on items not covered in the free spot such as lunches or beverages • Ability to chaperone small groups of students on flights if the departure and/or return flights are split The student Planning Guide points out that it is best to avoid chaperones who are family members of the teacher group-leader, parents of student participants, spouses of chaperones and older students who may be school alumni. Any adults involved in leading or chaperoning a student tour must be prepared to be on call at any hour. if there are a number of chaperones, it is helpful to divide responsibilities and give each chaperone at least one night off during the tour. Duties on tour will include: • responsibility for small student groups throughout the tour • Assisting with student discipline • helping to facilitate curfews and room-checks at night • staying behind if a student is too ill to participate in the activities on any particular day • Accompanying a student home if severe illness or disciplinary problems warrant such last resort actions • monitoring students during their “free time” • Willingness to accompany students on free day excursions LeisureGroupTravel.com


© BMP / PHOTO BY JAMES PORTO

ONLiNe resOUrces Alongside the Planning Guide, Premier is also relaunching two complementary products for the market. StudentTravelDirectory.com contains the most comprehensive directory resource for the student travel market today. With listings and links to thousands of student/youth friendly destinations and businesses, it’s designed to be the premier research tool for the market. Additionally, InSite on Student Travel is a monthly e-magazine, debuting in January 2010. insite takes its cue from the firm’s popular insite on Leisure Group Travel e-magazine for the group tour & travel market, with a regular dose of ideas, inspiration, best practices and new destinations.   For more information, visit www.studentTravelDirectory.com.

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New Guide for Student Travel Planners