Taking your school on a sports tour is always exciting. Students often speak of sports tours as the highlight of their school career. Before all the fun and excitement can be had, we know a lot of planning needs to be done first.
We spoke to Karen of Sure Bishops Travel (our most rated travel company on SchoolAdvisor) to find out how this is done. We tackle some frequently asked questions when planning your school’s sports tour. We have included a handy checklist for your convenience.
Number of people
Be very clear on the number of people traveling, as this is vital for securing flight bookings. If you say 20 students and 1 pulls out, this may result in cancellation fees.
Make sure what the individual airline companies allow. Do they allow you to take sporting equipment free of charge or not? Do they allow 20kg or 30kg luggage capacity? Etc.
Travel insurance should not be an option. You are required to pay insurance (which will be included in the price).
Be sure to provide the correct name and surname (double check your spelling); it must be identical to your passport. Include middle name whenever possible.
Most airlines/operators require an actual copy of your valid SA passport (valid min 6 months after your return date back into SA).
Airport tax varies on a daily basis due to the rate of exchange, so this may affect cost at the time of final payment. Your deposit to airline only secures the actual airfare, not the airport tax. This is only 100% finalised once full payment has been received and tickets issued.
Giving a budget upfront to the operator planning and booking your tour helps a great deal. Knowing how much money they can work with makes their job a whole lot easier!
Payment cut-off date/Refunds
The final balance of payment and names of all students and staff going on the tour must be in 6-8 weeks before the flight departure date.
Airlines and operators have varying cancellation fees, so please ensure you are aware of those specific to your tour at the time of provisional booking/deposit payment.
Remember that inflation and interest rates play a big role in international tours. The original price of flights and accommodation, not to mention food, etc. might change from the day you made the deposit.
Total package price is only 100% secured on the day that final balance of payment is received, as varies daily due to the current rate of exchange.
Questions by schools – answered:
1) Staff member’s flights are free, right?
This is NOT TRUE. The costs for staff are distributed amongst all students going on tour. Essentially, the more students go on tour the more evenly the cost will be distributed.
2) How much pocket money should a parent budget for per day for their child?
R500 per day for food and the odd souvenir should be sufficient. This is, of course, subject to the country/exchange rate and how much the individual wants to spend while shopping.
3) Why did I find a cheaper price, up to R10, 000 cheaper, from another company?
Yes. You probably did find another company that charges you R10, 000 less but there is most likely a very valid reason for this. Some packages include breakfast only whereas others may include all meals. Also, look at specific sightseeing entrance fees, tour guides etc – these all add to the costs.
Make sure you compare ‘apples with apples’ at all times.
4) How much info should I provide to my travel agent when it comes to accommodation arrangements?
The more information you provide, the better. Be as thorough as possible. What star-rating hotel would you like, should breakfast be included, what room configuration would you prefer etc.
Download the handy pdf checklist here: Sports Tour Checklist