Student Group Travel Tip #3: Travel On “Off Days”

By now, most people know that traveling on Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays is not exactly budget-friendly and will usually result in paying additional fees or premiums for traveling on these “peak” days. Opting to travel on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Saturday will give you the greatest chance of finding group travel discounts. These particular days of the week are less common travel days and will also ensure that airports, train terminals and ground transportation are less crowded than other days of the week.

Trying to navigate a crowded airport, and its requisite security checkpoints, with 100 students–luggage and instruments in tow–is not only challenging, but can be downright impossible. Keep stress and struggles to a minimum by traveling on an “off” day. Since Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays are notoriously slow, many airline and bus carriers will give travelers willing to book on these days discounts, incentives and other perks to ensure that they can still meet their travel quotas.

The money your group saves could mean an extra day at Disney or Sea World!

The less stressful your trip, the more fun you and your students will have. Following our simple group travel tips and allowing American Tours & Travel to coordinate all of your student group trips will make all the difference.

We have been planning student group trips for nearly 40 years and are well-versed in finding the best prices for students, directors and chaperons.

Contact us today to get started!

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Happy Holidays From American Tours & Travel!

Happy Holidays to you and yours! 

Hoping you are surrounded by love and warmth this holiday season and find a little time to relax and reflect with family, friends and loved ones!

Wishing you health and happiness in 2012–

American Tours & Travel

All American Music Festival

Welcome Yokohama Soei Junior Senior High from Tokyo!

We are excited to welcome a group of students from Yokohama Soei Junior Senior High School, located in Tokyo, Japan!

 The students are coming to Orlando to visit Universal Studios and Walt Disney World, where they will participate in marching and wind instrument performances at the parks.

Click on the video to see the group in action!

The students, along with their Marching Band Director, Fiji Shigaki, will arrive in Orlando on December 23rd and will be in town for the holidays. We look forward to showing them all that Orlando has to offer, from attractions and restaurants to theme parks and entertainment! It will be a wonderful time and we will have photos to share soon.

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Student Group Travel Tip #2: Be Flexible

The less rigid your group travel plans, the easier the planning and coordination process will be. Instead of having a definitive weekend in mind, decide that you want to travel in May and adjust travel dates accordingly. Many band and choral directors come to American Tours and Travel knowing that they want to take their group on a performance trip in the Spring of 2012, but leave the destination and exact dates open for recommendations. There are numerous benefits associated with a flexible travel schedule, including:

Potential for Lower Rates

Maintaining a flexible itinerary and arrival and departure schedule ensures that you will be able to secure the lowest rates available. Traveling on Memorial Day weekend is much more costly than flying the weekend before or after. Being open to these changes will increase the affordability of your trip, allowing more room in the budget for the fun stuff, like meals and attractions.

Reduced Stress

Even the best laid plans can require a little finessing to make things work. Knowing that things aren’t set in stone and that you may have to ‘go with the flow’ to keep your travelers happy will reduce the stress involved in planning and executing a major student travel trip. Be prepared but open to the natural evolution that is often a necessary component in getting large groups of people to work together toward a common goal.

Happier Travelers

At the end of the day, it won’t matter to your students if a plane takes off at 7am or 11pm. They are just happy to be competing, performing, enjoying time with friends and maybe getting a day or two away out of class! A flexible schedule can often mean the difference between running through Disney World in less than 3 hours because you’ve got a bus to catch and spending a leisurely day at Universal Studios–riding the Hulk 3 or 4 times and capping off the day with chilled Butterbeers from The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Which one do you think your students would prefer?

Now is the time to start planning all of your trips for the upcoming 2012-2013 school year! Contact us today to begin making arrangements!

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Student Group Travel Tip #1: Plan In Advance

For most band or choral directors and student travel organizers, life is very busy and thinking about a group trip a year or more in advance can feel completely overwhelming. However, it’s important to know that it is never too early to start planning. Working with a travel company can help to make the process as smooth and stress-free as possible, while ensuring that the hotels, attractions and transportation arrangements you will need are secured early.

As soon as you’ve determined where you want to go, when you want to travel and how many travelers to account for, you are primed for planning and should begin making arrangements.

Why Plan in Advance?

Lower Prices

Often times, venues will offer discounts for travelers who book early. Last minute flights or hotel reservations are usually more expensive, which may make the trip your students are dreaming of unattainable given budget constraints.

More Choices

When booking in advance, you will typically have your choice of a wider variety of travel dates, transportation methods, attraction tickets, and more. The closer it gets to your travel date, the more likely it is that attractions will be at capacity, travel dates will be restricted and inconveniences will mount up.

Excitement and Anticipation

The earlier you book a trip, the longer you can anticipate the fun and excitement to come! In the event you’re booking a performance trip, knowing the exact date and time of your scheduled showcase or performance will allow you to schedule practices and rehearsals accordingly, leaving ample time to work through kinks. Plus, no one will want to miss out on the trip, so reminding students that they have a reason to work hard is a good excuse for planning early!

Time To Raise & Save Money

Giving students ample warning of an impending trip is not only helpful, but may be essential for many students to participate. Knowing that they need to pick up additional hours of babysitting time or cut a few extra lawns on Saturday is a great way to teach them responsibility, while allowing them sufficient time to earn the money needed to pay for the trip. For those looking to hold fundraisers to raise money for a trip, booking early is a smart choice. Raising money over an 8-month period is much easier than trying to hold three or four fundraisers in a 3-week time frame!

Less Stress

Save yourself, and all the students and parents involved, the stress of last-minute bookings. Booking far in advance gives you time to enjoy the planning process and put real thought into what activities you want to participate in, how you want to coordinate attractions and performances, what restaurants you may want to dine at, and what you need to prepare before leaving. When overwhelmed with tight deadlines, a trip can feel like more of a burden than a great opportunity to learn and engage with your students in a new environment!

Now is the time to start planning all of your trips for the upcoming 2012-2013 school year! Contact us today to begin making arrangements!

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