How to Compare Tour Offerings

By Elaine Koutsulis Laird

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There are many companies offering student tours….so how do you choose?

Compare their programs side by side.

For example, when you ask for a quote for a group to New York, your hotel should be in Manhattan. Most tour companies have students stay in New Jersey. You can tour New York from both locations, but you cannot experience the city by night when you are not in the city.

When evaluating a touring program, pay attention to the wording. If the itinerary says you “may” visit a site, that means admission and transportation are not included. Also, note how many sites you are visiting each day. It is best to have a full sightseeing schedule guaranteed to immerse your students in the culture and history of your destination. When all the sightseeing is included in the tour price, parents can feel confident that they are sending their students off with enough spending money and without hidden costs. A full schedule also guarantees to have your students ready for their hotel room at the end of each day!

Another point is to see where each hotel is located and how many stars each hotel has. It is important that your students can walk to shops and restaurants and sometimes to the historical sites themselves.

The tour company should want to give you and your students the experience that you are looking for. Are they listening to your request or trying to fit you into one of their existing programs?

The various performance venues enhance your students’ immersion into the culture of their destination while bringing some of their American culture to their audiences.

Some tour operators contract through a local tour company for all of their services, adding an additional cost layer to your program. The more affordable and complete your program, the more possible it will be for more students to participate.

Don’t be afraid to ask these questions and to shop and compare the various programs offered by student performance tour companies. It is your trip! Take charge and have the best travel program for you and your students!

Elaine Koutsulis Laird is owner-manager of DUET Tours, duettours.com

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