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TOP TIPS FOR PLANNING AN EDUCATION OR SPORTS TOUR A rise in tour prices, last minute drop-outs and unforeseen changes are just a few challenges teachers and schools face when booking a school trip. Travel Places looks at what schools need to consider when planning a school tour Unforseen increases in tour prices, last minute drop outs and unavoidable changes are just a few challenges that teachers and schools face when trying to book a school trip. Budget cuts and financial worries are also a major concern, especially for those booking tours abroad, multiple years in advance. Travel Places’ team of education and sports specialists have been involved in school travel for over 50 years and know what it takes to give students and tour leaders the experience they’re after. So here are Travel Places’ top tips on what to consider when planning your tour.
VALUE IS KING When comparing tour quotes from tour providers look carefully at what is included in the cost and what isn’t. Meals, venue entrance fees, guides, local transport, and local tourist taxes are all costs that soon add up and mean your tour price is higher than you think. Be careful when companies include insurance as these are often the lowest level of cover available and your own school travel insurance will, in almost every case, be a better policy. Ask to see a copy of the insurance schedule and compare it with what your school already has.
and there are so many options to consider and often these can be better value than destinations already busy with school groups during the popular travel periods. Travel Places have arranged education and sports tours to places such as Japan, Finland and Malaysia. This year, Travel Places have groups booked on all types of experiences from scuba diving in Croatia, to watching the 2017 Solar Eclipse in Wyoming, to riding the Trans-Siberian Express to Mongolia, exploring Ghana, as well as the classic destinations to Iceland, Berlin, Krakow and Bay of Naples. The possibilities are endless.
FINANCIAL STABILITY & ATOL PROTECTED Picking a company that is financially stable and has a current and valid ATOL licence are two fundamentals. Unfortunately, we’ve heard horror stories of schools booking tours with companies who have filed for bankruptcy before they can deliver the purchased tours, only to discover the company’s licence had expired and therefore the schools were unable to claim their money back. You can check online if a company’s ATOL licence is up to date at www.caa.co.uk/ atoll-protection – and don’t be afraid to question tour providers on their financial stability during your initial consultation.
DO THE FLIGHTS ACTUALLY EXIST? Some companies have been known to provide quotes on flights using estimated prices which are based on the lowest season cost and in some circumstances, do not actually exist. As a result schools have been asked to pay a supplement due to increased flight costs or their departure airport was changed to one elsewhere in the country. To avoid this, ask your provider to detail the flight they are booking for you, preferably with airline details, route, times and flight numbers – these should all be available nine to 11 months before departure.
DON’T PANIC Follow the tips above and make sure you pick a company who you feel is as passionate and dedicated as you are in providing your students with a fantastic tour. L
CLEAR PLANS Take a clean piece of paper and write down your tour objectives. What do you want to deliver to your students? Do you want to focus on one key area of your curriculum or combine a sporting tour with insights into a new culture? Do you want to provide a broader understanding of a subject or combine cross-curricular subjects? Aside from learning, what else are you constrained by – does it have to be within a certain budget, leave from a certain airport, etc? During your first contact with your tour provider, ensure these objectives are passed on and that both you and the tour operator are happy and confident that your tour can be delivered exactly as you want it and within your budget.
EDUCATION BUSINESS MAGAZINE | Volume 22.7
THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX Why go to the same place year after year? We live in an accessible world
* Travel Places is a family owned business with over 40 years’ experience providing travel solutions for the world’s leading athletes and sports teams. By operating in association with American Express Global Business Travel they are able to provide financial security as well as competitive prices and terms for its customers. FURTHER INFORMATION Tel: 01903 823 861 www.travelplaces.co.uk email@example.com
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