Initial planning and organising:
Planning and organising a school cultural or sports tour can be intimidating and stressful for school staff as there are so many factors to consider – budget and parents included. We asked Sure Bishops Travel, the only full-service travel agency that is based on the premises of a school in South Africa, what advice they have for schools planning a tour.
What costs can come as a surprise for an international trip?
Quotes vary but usually include flights (plus airport tax), transfers, accommodation, excursions and travel insurance. Find a travel partner that will make the quotation as comprehensive as possible and ensure that there are no hidden or unexpected costs. These might include:
- Visa fees, vaccinations, tips and items of a personal nature are usually excluded from the initial quotation,
- Spending money – on an international tour the recommendation is EUR 15/day for lunch and spending money.
- Luggage allowance – if scholars are going on a sports tour, we normally advise that the budget includes a luggage allowance and sports luggage allowance, which the airline will quote on.
How does the exchange rate effect a quotation?
Most tours are quoted in ZAR but based on GBP/EUR/USD bookings, and therefore final payment due is only confirmed on the day of payment and is based on the rate of exchange at the time. This means a drop in the Rand will have an effect on your final cost.
How to handle visas?
Sure Bishops Travel recommends using a specialised company for obtaining visas and all travel related documents. Getting visas approved in time for so many people can be a logistical nightmare, and we, therefore, recommend a specialist company such as Visa Box.
The best way to get travel insurance.
As part of the quotation, you need to get your travel company to include travel insurance (TIC Group Cover). This includes and covers you for medical and related expenses, accidental death, international journey cancellation, personal liability, and luggage and cash/documents being lost or stolen.
Ensure that this amount is included in the main quote, as it puts parent’s minds at ease. *Don’t forget sports insurance if you are going on a sporting tour.
Sports groups need to take out a Sports Extension to cover for competitive sporting activities.
This cost varies depending on the number of days required, and will be confirmed with individual groups.
What should you look for in a travel partner?
A company that understands schools and that is willing to offer presentations at the school. This allows parents to raise questions directly with them so that schools do not have to act as a go-between.
Airport check-in assistance on departure is also a recommendation, as this is always a stressful time for pupils, parents and staff. It can’t be guaranteed but a company like Sure Bishops travel we will do their best to arrange a special queue/line at check-in, exclusive to your school tour group.
School sport and cultural tours can be the adventure of a lifetime for teenagers and offer cultural exposure, real life experiences and memories that last forever. Make the whole experience worthwhile and pleasant by asking the right questions and being prepared for the realities. Bon voyage!
–Sure Bishops Travel is our top rated school travel company and is based on school grounds. This gives them the unique advantage of interacting with teachers, pupils and parents on a daily basis, helping them to understand all the nuances of school-related travel.