- Planning a tour
- Travel details and logistics
- Tour preparation
- Payments and cancellations
- Risk management, safety and security
- Travel insurance
- Roles on tour
We understand that the completion of risk management requirements can be stressful and time-consuming, so we assist with documentation wherever possible. We provide – tailored for your school – a comprehensive Risk Management Matrix, Breakdown of Costs, Hotel Descriptions and detailed itinerary. We also register all tour participants with DFAT. We will also work with teachers to provide any other requested documents where possible.
Academy Travel closely monitors travel advice provided by the Australian Government.
Should the level of warning for an entire proposed destination country be changed to one of the two highest levels (‘Reconsider your need to travel’ or ‘Do not travel’) Academy Travel will, on the request of the school, cancel all arrangements and refund all monies paid by the school or participants.
Should the level of warning for specific region or city on the itinerary for the tour be changed to one of the two highest levels (‘Reconsider your need to travel’ or ‘Do not travel’) Academy Travel will, on the request of the school, modify the itinerary to avoid visiting these places at no cost to the school or to tour participants.
The first action is for all travellers to follow the advice of local authorities. The Academy Travel tour manager will then liaise with our Rome office, our Sydney office, teachers on tour and the school to determine the best and safest course of action. If an incident occurs prior to the group arriving in a specific city/site, the tour itinerary will be adjusted accordingly in conjunction with the school, teachers and our Rome office.
If your school has its own travel insurance policy for travelling students and teachers, we will deduct the cost of insurance from the tour price and leave the insurance in the school’s hands.
Academy Travel issues comprehensive travel insurance policies offered by Suresave. Further information regarding this policy can be found at suresave.com/pds.
Academy Travel has links with academic experts to provide content to groups on tour through site visits or lectures. Availability of specific experts can be requested by schools, however only confirmed 4-6 weeks prior to departure dependent on availability.
Each site visit will include a local guide or academic expert to provide content. Orientation walks will be provided by the tour manager.
Although Academy Travel is endorsed to provide NESA Registered Professional Development for teachers accredited at Proficient Teacher level, teachers are not able to accrue NESA Registered PD hours when travelling as an accompanying teacher on a school tour. However, you may be able to accrue Teacher (self) identified PD hours for activities (such as museum visits and guided tours) undertaken on the tour. If you are interested in PD, we suggest you look at our specific PD tours, which generally accrue between 30-45 hours of NESA registered PD.
Teachers are primarily responsible for the pastoral care of their students, behavioural issues on tour, ensuring any school guidelines for overseas excursions are met and providing input to the academic content of the tour (where applicable). The main organising teacher will also liaise closely with the tour manager to ensure that the tour runs smoothly.
We work with a variety of tour managers, and seek to match the needs of each particular group with the different skills of our tour managers. We use professional European-based tour managers, former and current History, Drama and Visual Arts teachers, and Australian-based, experienced tour managers.
An experienced tour manager will be with the group from arrival in Europe to departure. It is their role to manage the logistics of the tour – ensuring that the tour runs smoothly, that all services are delivered as promised and to deal with any emergencies or re-scheduling that occurs on tour. The tour manger will also work closely with teachers to meet the pastoral care and behavioural expectations of the school, but the organising teachers retain the main responsibility for these areas.
According to our Booking Terms and Conditions, if a student cancels more than 60 days before a tour departs, they will forfeit their $500 deposit and any other instalment payments that may have been made are refunded. The following penalties apply for cancellations made within 60 days of departure:
|60-45 days before tour start||20% of total amount due|
|44-15 days before tour start||75% of total amount due|
|14 days or less before departure||100% of total amount due|
Depending on the reason for the cancellation, the student may be eligible to submit a travel insurance claim and Academy Travel will provide any necessary documentation to support this process.
Final payment is due 70 days before the departure date of a tour.
Deposits will be collected and held at the school until minimum numbers are reached. The school may then elect to have deposits paid into a school account or paid to Academy Travel. Schools may then elect to have all further payments made by participants direct to Academy Travel or to a school account. However, once a preferred method has been decided, we request that all payments must be made in a uniform way.
On the day of departure, we advise all tour participants to meet at the departure airport at least 3 hours prior to the scheduled flight departure time. An Academy Travel representative is also in attendance to assist with the check-in process. Travellers are reminded about restrictions in what can be taken in carry-on baggage, and are helped with any questions they may have. The Academy Travel representative then assists the group move together to the Customs and screening area.
Airlines are selected based on scheduling, fares and safety. Our preferred international airlines include Etihad Airways, Emirates, Qantas, Singapore Airlines and Cathay Pacific. International flights are released 11 months prior to departure, so it is not always possible to confirm your international flights when your tour is booked in. For flights within Europe or the USA we use respected low-cost and local airlines.
The majority of transportation included is by private coach, including airport transfers and inter-city travel. Academy Travel selects local European coach companies with good safety records and well maintained vehicles. The drivers meet local licensing requirements and adhere to European Commission Regulation 561/2006 which outlines driving times and rest periods.
We tend to avoid the use of long distance trains in order to minimise risk and maximise time in each destination. The cost differentiation is minimal given the availability of low cost airfares.
Often in cities the public transport system is an efficient means of moving the group around. The tour manager will provide tickets for any public transport required and ensure the safe and efficient movement of the group on and off transport.
Hotels range from Superior 2* to 4*. Our main priorities when choosing hotels are safety, location and functionality. All hotel rooms have ensuite bathrooms (no shared facilities). Hotels are inspected by Academy Travel staff or our ground operators.
Students are accommodated in twin, triple or quad rooms with single beds, according to the composition of the group and the available rooms at hotels. Teachers/adults will be accommodated in twin rooms unless specified or requested.
Rooming is decided by the organising teachers and may change from hotel to hotel according to the composition of the available rooms. Where possible, properties will allocate rooms for the group in close proximity, however this cannot be guaranteed.
Generally, all breakfasts and dinners are included. Breakfasts are served in hotels or local cafes, while included evening meals are taken in the hotel or local restaurants. Soft drinks (1 per person) and water are included with the evening meal.
Definitely! We have lots of experience dealing with students who are vegetarians, gluten-free, nut-free, dairy-free etc. Any special dietary requirements must be advised at time of booking to ensure they are catered for on flights and throughout the tour.
We will provide the documentation and information necessary for Visa applications, and will also assist with providing a timeline and reminders to affected students and their families. However, Visa applications for students aged under 18 must be made by the parents/guardians of the student (and generally a consular appointment/interview is also required), so the ultimate responsibility for the acquisition of the Visa remains with the parents/guardians.
With the school’s explicit written permission, participants may undertake additional travel before or after a tour. Separate booking, deposit and payment conditions will apply to additional travel and will be negotiated on a case-by-case basis. Any changes to the group flights will cost the individual a change fee of $150.00 plus any additional airport taxes.
Wherever possible, we are happy to welcome additional participants on the tour. Final confirmation of an additional participant’s position on the tour will depend on flight and accommodation availability, but we will endeavour to facilitate additions up until final documentation is issued.
We generally require a minimum of 20 paying participants on a tour. Any less and the tour price becomes quite high and group discounts no longer apply.
While we have taken group sizes of up to 80 participants before, we recommend keeping the group to one coach which is usually 50 people (inclusive of teachers and tour manager).
As all of our tours are fully customised, so you will need to request a quote in order to have a cost. The price will depend on the itinerary, inclusions, number of paying participants, number of funded teacher places and other factors.
Your school will have a required ratio for overseas excursions. The standard ratio is usually 1 teacher for every 8-10 students.
It is a school decision about whether parents and/or school community members will be invited to join the tour. If your school needs to obtain permission from an external body (eg DET) for the tour to proceed, it is advisable to check with them about any restrictions concerning adding non-students to the tour.
We recommend beginning to plan your tour 12-18 months prior to your planned departure. However, some schools prefer to plan tours up to 2 years prior to travel.
All of our tours are fully bespoke. Most schools we work with vary existing itineraries in order to meet their specific requirements. Some examples of variations include:
- Visiting specific battlefields and memorials on the Western Front with which the school community has a connection.
- Adding extra nights in key locations which are studied in depth in school programs (e.g. The City of Rome in Ancient History, Paris or London as a World City).
- Adding extra nights in key locations to broaden the subject area coverage or for reasons of faith (e.g. attend mass in Rome, visit a branch of the school’s religious order).
- Extend an itinerary to broaden the appeal of the tour (e.g. visiting the ‘art cities’ of northern Italy after undertaking an ancient history tour).
- Visiting ‘sister schools’ with which the school has an established relationship.
- Undertaking community service activities.
Absolutely! With our network of contacts around the world and years of experience designing educational tours, we can take you just about anywhere.
Generally we recommend that most of the available time on student tours is fairly tightly programmed as our tours focus on academic content and experience. However, we recognise that everyone needs some downtime on tour and that academic content needs to be balanced with some “lighter” activities. Most of our tour itineraries therefore incorporate a limited time (1-2 hours) on most days when students can either rest at the hotel or enjoy some shopping or free exploration in a designated, safe area. However, it is ultimately the school’s decision as to how much non-programmed time is included.
Once you have established that there are a reasonable number of students/others seriously interested in the tour (20+ people), we recommend holding an information evening. An Academy Travel representative will visit your school to conduct the meeting, using a PowerPoint presentation to outline the tour’s proposed itinerary, provide an overview of travel logistics including accommodation, meals, weather etc and give a comprehensive summary of the tour’s inclusions. Generally, booking forms are distributed at the evening and a return date for their return to the school is set and communicated.
If the number of participants in a tour is significantly less than budgeted, or if there is a significant change in exchange rates, Academy Travel reserves the right to amend the advertised price. If this occurs you will be given the option of cancelling your booking and obtaining a full refund. If an Academy Travel tour is forced to cancel you will get a full refund of all monies paid. Unlike other tour companies, we do not increase the price at the time of final invoice.
Occasionally circumstances beyond the control of Academy Travel make it necessary to change airline, hotel or to make slight amendments to daily itineraries. We will inform you of any changes as soon as they occur.
What our teachers are saying
“This tour far exceeded my expectations and I have been so impressed with the quality of service provided by Academy both before the tour and while we were away. Nothing was ever a problem or a drama and Academy made it so easy for me as a teacher. Thank you SO much for everything. It was a truly wonderful experience."
“We were all very impressed with every aspect of the tour. We have used Academy Travel since 2006. In that time, I have been on four of the tours and it gets better every time.”
"Without exception, everyone has been both extremely accommodating and professional. The friendliness and personal service of all staff was excellent. We had a wonderful time!”
"Very thankful for Academy Travel. The service was excellent and the product was far better than what I could have done alone.”
“I could not be happier with Academy Travel and have been telling all my teacher friends about the efficient organisation of the company. You helped make the process of organising a tour so much easier than I had anticipated and I could relax and enjoy the trip.”
“I could not fault Academy Travel. They did everything I asked for and more."
“The tour was amazingly well-organised and our compliments to Academy could not be higher. All staff and students thoroughly enjoyed themselves.”
“An excellent trip that was great value. Parents and boys were effusive in their praise.”
“Academy Travel gave us unprecedented levels of support. The tour was excellent and the students were supplied with everything they needed throughout the trip. They were given an unforgettable experience due to the care and professionalism shown by all Academy Travel staff. We will definitely be working with the company in the future.”
“As usual, brilliant support and organization from start to finish. All the worry and planning looked after for me. Everyone on our tour was completely satisfied and gained an invaluable experience."
“A fantastic tour! The trip was thoroughly enjoyed by all. Your risk assessment matrix and pre-departure package made it easier when organizing the trip. Thanks for everything Academy!”
“To say we had the best time is an understatement; to say we had a great time is also an understatement. What can I say – words fail me. Everything about the tour was organized to perfection, everything ran so smoothly."