Educational travel blog
May 22, 2014
Is your admin expecting you to book and handle your class trip to Europe from start to finish, without using a company? Not so fast! Here are some compelling reasons to let us do the work!
1. My school board says I can’t use passports or any company anymore because they don’t like your refund policy and other financial terms and conditions. Our deluxe insurance policy allows for cancellation with refund for any reason. How are you going to handle that, on your own, without passports and our insurance provider's help? Financial terms and conditions are there to protect you, your students and their parents, the school, and passports. They are used as a basic guideline, and are standard throughout the student group tour industry. We are happy to review requests for modifications to our policies for a specific group, family or student. All you have to do is ask. We will work with you to come up with the best fit for your families and keep the school admin happy.
2. Arranging the tour myself, I came up with a 1:8 prorate, with a price of $2941 including entrance fees. My price doesn’t include dinner, a tour manager, or subway passes. Obviously, we don’t have a motorcoach, either. I will travel for free with 8 full-paying students. With passports, you travel free with just 6 full-paying travelers. Or, we can certainly pro-rate differently using 1:8 or 1:10 or even 1:20, if you prefer. Dinners are included, unless you specifically request that we eliminate dinners. Picture yourself hunting around for dinner each night with a bunch of hungry teenagers, or just show up at an already-booked restaurant. Which option sounds more appealing? Over 95% of our travelers give us an “excellent” on our dinner/restaurant choices each year! No need to worry about your little group of six or eight…you’d be combined with other groups from around the U.S. and can make lasting friendships with other Americans that could potentially last a lifetime. If you travel with just your group from Kennebunkport, Maine, well…. you’ll get to know each other! Oh, wait, you already do. You’ll also get to know a full-time professional tour manager (we call that person a courier). He or she will handle all of the little problems that crop up along the way on tour, such as waiting in line to get all those pesky tickets for museum entrances, trains and subways, finding their way around town, etc. These folks already know their way around town – they live there. Not to mention these are professionals who will provide meaningful commentary throughout the tour, describing what the students are seeing, in locally-accented English! Yes, our price will be higher in order to accommodate these features, but isn’t peace of mind better than the huge amount of stress you’ll likely endure on-tour dealing with all the nuts and bolts?
3. As soon as the kids have paid enough money, I can book the airline tickets. I don’t know what kind of flights I’m going to find, since they can’t pay right away. I guess I could use my personal credit card, but that’s a lot of money to put up front, with no guarantee that the kids will actually end up paying. I noticed tickets are pretty much non-refundable, and since the tour is more than a year away, I can’t even see flights online yet. With nearly a half-century in student travel, the airline- ticketing people at passports are experts in obtaining excellent flight routings at a reasonable price, right away, as soon as your group signs up. We start working on flights for your group during the first month you enroll. With our long-standing relationships with the airlines, corporate lines of credit, and high-volume bookings, we have the ability to do this. As for payment plans, you know we have always had a monthly Convenience Billing plan, and we have always accepted credit cards for the initial trip deposit. But now, we accept credit cards for the whole trip, and we have our E-Z Pay payment plan. With E-Z Pay, students enroll with just $95 and set up a monthly withdrawal from their bank account to pay for the trip – and their final payment deadline is then extended to 30 days before departure (no more remembering to pay in full by January 1st or March 1st!).
4. I guess I have the same problem with hotels and other ground features for the European part of the tour, don’t I? I really loved the hotel we stayed in with passports a couple years ago, but by the time I get the students’ money to cover the cost of the hotel, it could be all booked up. Then I’ll have to rely on online “reviews” of hotels to make a different choice. Gee, this is all starting to get a little overwhelming. I have papers to grade and final exams to deal with, graduation is next week, prom, my son’s birthday, Memorial Day Weekend… As with airline tickets, passports also starts booking hotel space, motorcoach services (if any), your tour director, internal flights between European cities – (how were you going to get from Paris to Rome, anyway? Oh, you were going to book that flight yourself, too? Use a train to save money? Hmm…. You’ll miss a whole day of your tour, pretty much.) These expenses are starting to add up, and so is your credit card bill. Maybe you could ask the school board for some money from the school’s account. Gee, this really IS getting complicated! It’s giving me a headache!
5. When I told Mike, my Admissions Coordinator at passports, that I wouldn’t need your help this year, he mentioned liability. I’m sure the school board wouldn’t put me (or themselves) in a risky situation – would they? I guess they are aware of the liability. (???) passports carries a multi-million dollar liability insurance policy provided by the leader in travel corporation insurance, Berkley/Zurich. Individual teachers and schools can be specifically named as insured – just make a request through passports’ customer service department, and we will get a certificate issued showing that you’re covered! Talk about peace of mind! You’ll probably never need this, but isn’t it nice to know that your group is safe and secure against a “what if” situation?
This part may not matter to your school administration, but there are also great benefits for teachers, including cash stipends for recruiting more than six students (or bring a companion at a discount, or for free if you recruit six more!); experience bonuses for past group educational travel experience with passports or another recognized tour company; extra bonus trips to exciting destinations (traveling without your students!) where you also get to meet passports employees and other teachers on our International Teacher Conventions; family and faculty discounts; a private motorcoach when you recruit a larger group within a certain time frame; professional development credits; bonuses for referring other group organizers to passports; and more.
Not to mention superb personalized customer service provided by student travel professionals second–to-none in the industry. We know you by your first name, and we’ll treat you like a friend – not like a number. Bonus! Our office hours accommodate most teachers’ busy schedules, and, for any unforeseen travel emergency, we have 24/7 on-call personnel. Basically, we’re on duty all the time!
Category: For Teachers, Travel Tips
passports Educational Group Travel partners with teachers across the United States to provide high-quality educational travel experiences to their students. Educational tours visit destinations around the world - primarily France, Italy, England, Spain and Costa Rica - at low, guaranteed prices.
51 Union Street Suite 106
Worcester, MA 01608