Before you leave, please ensure you have all the documentation required by your destination’s governmental authorities.
Canadian citizens must provide a valid canadian passport (adults) proof of citizenship (students) for any United-States destinations.
You must obtain every required documents, pay the appropriate fees and ensure you have them in your posession before you leave. If a passenger does not fulfill these requirements, the carrier may refuse boarding or the border authorities may refuse border crossing.
To obtain a passport application, visit the Passport Agency Internet site.
For trips to the USA (by bus):
- ATTENTION, since June 1st 2009, the passport is mandatory to travel to the United States (adults) – see the FAQ section on our Web site.
Which form should I use for insurance?
You have to use the following application form:
hospitalisation and cancellation INSURANCE
Are Canadian (outside Québec) and are travelling to Québec.
Are a Québecer and are travelling to the United-States or Canada (outside Québec).
When traveling, it is important to have a
Good travel insurance.
To guarantee the best protection, we offer travel insurance with Blue Cross.
Blue Cross Travel Insurance is the most recognized in the world!
Before going on a trip, it is important to know what precautions to take and get inoculated with the vaccines you and your students must receive.
Of course, you will have to plan according to your trip. If you stay in a tourist area, the preparation will be different than if your group is planning to go into a more remote area.
Consult the web site of the Public Health Agency of Canada for all the information about the vaccines needed for your destination.
Travelling safety tips
Here are some safety tips that you could give to your students.
Of course, some of these tips do not apply every trip, select only those that you consider useful.
Always tell someone where you are going and when you will come back. Never leave the group. If students want to separate from the group, they have to bring the emergency phone number with them.
Keep your passport with you at all times. Preferably in a waist belt hidden under your clothes. Never lend your passport to anybody. Do not write in your passport. Never tear off any pages of your passport. Sign your passport as soon as you get it.
In your pants pockets, do not carry: your passport, your wallet or any other valuable (credit card). Put all those things in a hidden belt.
If you have a handbag or a purse, carry it on the side opposite to the street, or even better, wear it diagonally around your neck. Be sure that it has a zipper and, preferably, a snap-on cover also.
Mix in with the locals as much as possible. Observe their behaviour on the street and do the same. If the residents avoid eye contact and do not greet one another, do likewise. If locals do not laugh out loud and speak loudly, you would be better not to do so. Act like them, that is the watchword.
Always be watchful and observe your surroundings. Trust your instinct. If at some point of a walk you end up in a place where you do not feel safe, change your itinerary. If the person sitting next to you in the bus or subway worries you, change seat or get out and take the next one.
Leave all expensive jewellery and things of sentimental value at home. Since you will be moving around a lot, it becomes very easy to forget or misplace jewellery.
Carry your money in the form of traveler’s checks. If your travelling outside the country, we strongly recommend that you do not carry large sums of money. Buy traveler checks instead. Be sure to note the serial numbers and put those numbers somewhere else than where you keep the checks. You can use an ATM card but there will be charges for each transaction and the change rate will surely be unfavourable.
To move around town, you can divide your group in many small groups all associated with an adult leader.
Assign a number to each student so that when you assemble, you will only have to ask for a countdown to know if everyone is present.
Make copies of the passport of each student, keep one and give another to the parents.
Here are some examples of travelling rules that can help you establish your own rules.
- If you have overnight stays included in your package, we recommend that you enforce a curfew, as a matter of fact, hotels have a curfew of their own and you will be addressed by security if you do not respect it.
- Every participant aged under 21 years old must always be in the company of an adult group leader. Student Tour disclaims all liability towards unaccompanied students.
- A written permission could be given to allow a student to leave the group and visit relatives during the stay.
- Participants must use the rooms assigned to them. Rooming changes must be previously authorized by the person in charge of the trip and the hotel must be informed.
- Visiting other rooms is forbidden. The hotel corridors will be regularly patrolled (providing that you do it yourself or that you have hired a night supervisor).
- People who are not part of the group will not be tolerated in the hotel rooms.
- Alcoholic beverages, drugs and weapons are forbidden. Any derogation to this rule will automatically lead to the expulsion and sending back of the participant, at his own expenses.
- Any kind of partying will not be allowed.
- Personal expenses, gifts, beverages and meals relating to the personal decision of the participant must be paid on-site by the participant.
- Misconduct can result in disciplinary actions including the possibility of being sent back home at your own expenses.
- Any damage to the accommodation site, the bus, the plane, the restaurants, the museums or the other tourist attractions caused by a participant can lead to his exclusion and he will be sent back home at his own expenses. The compensation shall be paid by the participant or his parents.
- You are allowed to bring a Walkman, Discman or MP3 player but the headphones volume should be kept low not to disturb the other group members.
- Any participant should have decent clothes and would be better advised not to wear valuable jewellery.
Basic principles during the trip – Suggestions
Group traveling asks for preparation and supervision. It is important that your students understand that the group’s interests will always have precedence.
Here are some suggestions. Use those you find relevant.
Every participant in a traveling group must have endless patience:
You will not always eat when you would like to, stop where you would want to or do everything you would like whenever you would like to. You will all have to make concessions.
Toilets shouls be used when the occasion presents itself and when the bus stops-over. Of course, the bus or the group will not stop every time someone wants to go.
Keep in mind that in Europe, you may be confronted to Turkish toilets and that in the United-States, you will sometimes have to tip someone to use soap and towels.
Selfishness, teasing, ostracism and obvious unwillingness will not be tolerated:
We do not expect everybody to be best friends, but respectful relations with everyone are required.
Be on time:
To be late is disrespectful to the other group members.
You could ask of everyone to bring a watch.
A good way to have everybody on time is to impose a penalty, for example: if a student is late, he will have to stay with the trip organizer for the rest of the day. You will see, this method should work perfectly.
Do not behave like foreigners:
- Especially if you are travelling outside your country. This is not only important for the respect of others but also for your own safety.
Do not make your group the center of attention.
Speak calmly and moderately. Avoid bursting out in laughter.
Always remain polite and courteous with the people you meet. Do not talk about them in your own language, they sometimes understand it perfectly well.
If possible, use the national language; people always appreciate the effort.
Do not expect the same service as in your home country. You are a visitor and you are travelling to see other lifeways.
What to bring?
Here are some suggestions.
Choose the ones that may apply to your trip:
- For air travel, keep in mind that two bags (for a total of 44 pounds/20kg) and one carry-on bag that the students may bring on the plane with them are normally allowed. If you exceed the allowance, you will have to pay for the surcharge.
- For a long trip (5 days or more), the suitcase is often heavy and hard to carry, so anticipate a suitcase that your students can easily lift.
- Roll-up the clothes: they will be less wrinkled.
- If your students wear glasses, include a spare pair.
- If your students have a medical drug prescription, give a copy of it to the person in charge of the group.
- If your students bring any prescriptions, keep the labels attached to the container so that customs officers will be able to verify the contents of the medication.
Don’t forget to consult our Checklist when packing your bags!
Information meeting before departure
A week before your departure, we recommend that you hold an information meeting. Here is a form letter of invitation.
If you want, a Student Tour representative could attend the meeting and answer questions.
In the FAQ section, you will find the types of questions you will probably have to answer. You can also involve the students by asking them to prepare an animation activity (theatre, song, slide-show, etc.)
Create a group dynamic implicating the most students as possible (distribution of documents at the entrance, design of the invitation leaflets and posters, opening of the meeting by the students representative, etc.)
Involve the school board as well: ask the principal to speak at the meeting’s opening.
MEETING AGENDA SUGGESTIONS
- Word of the principal
- Theatre play
- Last year trip student testimonial
- Content of the package tour (work with the city map, if possible)
- Bus type: With or without VCR/DVD (offer to bring movies)
- Hotel: Location
- With or without swimming pool
- Meals (allowances?)
- Traveling rules
- Insurance: What is included and what is not.
- Weather forecast: Consult the destination section on the web site to find out the weather.
- What to bring?
- Pocket money
- Bus snack
- Question period
How to make students interested?
BEFORE THE TRIP
- Your students want to live their experience in a pleasant atmosphere, but that does not mean learning and education should be left out of the trip.
- In order to prepare the students for their trip, certain tools are at your disposal.
- The VCR or DVD player in the tour bus could be used to show oral presentations previously recorded by your students with themes like : “Why go to New York” or “Why I love New York”. Your students will love to see themselves on-screen.
- Use Student Tour’s internet site for your students’ research on the destination. For each destination, our site features links to most of the specific tours, hotels, restaurants and activities included in your itinerary.
- If the objective of your trip is linguistic, prepare your students by teaching them key phrases they can use during the trip.
- Bring your destination city’s newspaper in class.
- Familiarize your students with the city’s public transport system which you can explore at www.subwaynavigator.com.
DURING THE TRIP
Here are some group animation suggestions:
- It is always fun, should it be before, during or after the trip, to watch movies filmed in the city you are visiting. Most of the cities where we send student groups have had movies shot there.
- Ask your students to fill in a travel log on a daily basis. It can be useful after the trip.
- Ask your students to speak to the city’s inhabitants so that every participant establishes contact with a “local”. They will never forget it. For example : ask the students to get information on a particular building or monument or the name of the city’s founder from a convenience store clerk, or maybe ask a policeman for some directions, etc.
- A rally is always a good activity to deepen your knowledge of a city.
- Try to find a rallying cry. The name of your school would be a good choice.
ON YOUR RETURN
- Organize an exhibition of the pictures taken during the trip.
- Have your students write an essay on their trip ; for that purpose, their travel log could be put to good use.
- Organize a get-together where everyone could exchange pictures.
- Have the students build a web site where the trip’s pictures could be accessible. This web site could also be used to promote your next trip.
Student Tour suggests that you use the services of Humeur Groupe Conseil. There are more advantages than getting tons of ideas and resources to finance your trip. Ask one of our tour consultants about them.
When students want to register, we strongly recommend to have their parents fill in a registration form (go to the “Downloads” section to print an example of a document you could use) so that all the necessary details are accurately forwarded (insurances, cancellation charges, etc.)
When your students are officially registered, their enthusiasm will become contagious and they will transmit it to the others.
If you have trouble recruiting the required number of participants, we recommend that you discuss with your travel counsellor, maybe there is a school in your area you could travel jointly with.
Choose a destination
1. Information meeting
Put up posters for the trip in your school, advertise it in the student paper, on the student radio and, if possible, have the direction make an announcement during class.
You have to announce:
Your plans for the trip (destination, dates, grades concerned, cost, etc.)
Prepare an information meeting. You can announce your meeting by distributing leaflets or by putting up posters in your school. Invite the students and the parents.
For your first information meeting:
Collect the names, addresses and phone numbers of everyone on a list that you can circulate.
Present yourself and mention the subject you teach, the number of years you have been teaching, your degrees (if you’re a new teacher).
If you want, a Student Tour representative can attend the meeting and answer your questions.
Create a group dynamic by implicating the most students as possible (distribution of documents at the entrance by students, design of the invitation leaflets and posters by students, opening of the meeting by the students representative, etc.)
Explain your motivations, the reasons why you wish to travel with a students group. It is a good time to talk about the educational objectives.
Discuss the itinerary and the trip’s strong points. A map could help, even more if your trip includes more than one city. Explain that this trip is especially designed to please the students.
Plan a question period. (see the “frequently asked questions” (FAQ) section to find the types of questions you will probably have to answer.)
Explain the registration procedure and read out the general conditions so that they are better understood (be sure to mention the cancelling conditions). Describe the way you will choose the students who will go on the trip (first come first serve, draw, best marks, etc.)
List the situations that are covered by the medical and cancellation insurances and the situations that are not.
You can also let parents fill in registration forms and collect their payment at the end of the meeting. If some parents require a few days to think it over, you can take their names and phone numbers for a possible follow-up.
Conclude by inviting those who stilll have questions to stay a little longer.
2. ASK YOUR STUDENTS FOR HELP…
Implicate students with leadership ; they will be enthusiastic and able to motivate other students to register. They could design, put up and distribute advertisement. Involve them also in your information meetings.
3. …AND YOUR COLLEGUES
Discuss with other teachers. Interns as well as parents can be a good choice. These “helpers” could share certain responsibilities (fund raising, accounting, responsibility over a part of the group during the trip, etc.)