For many schools, either tradition or current class desire calls for a senior class trip. Wherever your location is or whatever the budget constraints for your school, there is a travel destination that can offer a variety of Senior Class Travel Grad Night options for your class to choose from. Traditionally, this is one of the last great events the high school seniors spend together in a safe, sober and celebratory environment! It continues to be a “Right of Passage” from high school into the next phase of the young students life. To get a better understanding of Senior Class and Grad Night Travel Planning, GradNight.org interviewed Bruce Bitnoff, Founding President of the Student and Youth Travel Association and President of USA Student Travel (a division of WorldPass Travel Group)
Specifically, I believe the best method for school groups to work with an outside company would be to look for a specialist in the field. Usually a Travel Planner that has years of experience dealing with student groups. Most local Travel Agents do not provide this type of expertise. When working with a Student Travel Planner Specialist schools can expect expert knowledge on what types of travel programs would work best for their particular interests/needs; including: what type of travel itinerary (routing, timing, meals, venues, and best locations) would work best for your schedule; what type of services to include and pricing discounts that are available for your budget; what type of help can be provided from the Specialist (flyers, DVDs, Posters, bookkeeping and invoicing services, program staffing and most especially Umbrella Liability Insurance coverage minimum of $5 million recommended;) and what type of travel experience you can expect. Only a specialist can provide all of this service and information in an accurate and easy format for school groups.
Trips can include from as little as transportation and tickets to a laundry list of special services for group travel on a multi-day, multi-city tour. In some long tours we’ve included laundry services, en-route birthday parties, unique performance opportunities, and special visits with celebrities! Walt Disney once said, “If you can Dream it, you can do it!” For most cases, that is true for packaged student travel as well when working with a Specialist!
Usually the first step is to contact the Student Travel Planner Specialist. They then will lead you through the process of setting up your customized travel itinerary that meets your budget, how to begin marketing/promoting your travel package, handling signups, finalizing payments, providing final travel documents and chaperone instructions and getting ready to depart on your trip!
A Student Travel Planner Specialist usually provides all services!
The Student Travel Planner Specialist will seek bids from several carriers, review safety records and insurances, negotiate rates, chose the best carrier for the travel package and price in the cost into the travel package offered to the school. This same scenario is followed for all vendors used in the travel product.
Transportation, meals, accommodations, admissions, special services, insurance/bonding, consumer protection plans, all marketing and trip materials, staffing services, free trips for chaperones, tips and accommodations for drivers/tour guides if needed, and packing tips and travel safety information for the travelers and parents.
Usually the Student Travel Planner Specialist will make available several options to enhance the quality and experience of your travel package. These are offered to each client so they can customize their travel package to their particular groups needs/wants.
Overnight security is offered on most younger student travel packages (8th grade and below.) Professional services which are bonded, background checked, and trained for youth groups, including dressing in a security uniform are provided by Specialists. Their role is to monitor student rooms throughout the night so the chaperones can sleep. They are not allowed to enter any room, unless there is an emergency occurring but notify chaperones of any problems. Written reports are provided every morning after their service is over and the chaperones have risen for the days activities.
Trained staffing and professional licensed tour guides are always a part of any Student Travel Planner Specialist travel offerings. Be aware and critical of any travel provider who says you can do it on your own. No chaperone or school authority wants to take on responsibilities that they are unaware of and the inherent liability including personal liability when you do that. A Student Travel Planner Specialist will provide a Certificate of Additional Insured from their Liability Insurance Policy, ask for a minimum of $5 Million in coverage.
A Student Travel Planner Specialist is very picky and careful about the type of accommodations used for a student travel group. There are some established criteria recommended by the Student and Youth Travel Association (SYTA.org) that are established to create a safe, sober, and more centralized group booking. Here are some of the criteria of what hotels should offer: inside corridors; limited hotel entrances; no balconies; windows that only partially open; restaurant and meeting facilities; indoor and outdoor pool; ability to turn off paid TV services and limit room service to cash only; student friendly catering menus; ability to locate group on a single floor or two floors with boys on one and girls on another floor; Private Security services for your group; etc.
Grad Night Travel options are available for both pre and post graduation. Your Student Travel Planner Specialist will have a variety of programs to consider.
Disneyland, Six Flags Magic Mountain - Valencia, Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, Universal Studios Orlando and Disney World.