Tips for student tours

A number of organizations cater to student groups traveling abroad. Ours, EF Educational Tours, is based in Cambridge, Mass.

Our tour lasted one week. Usually, an organization offers a number of tours and will also craft one to your specifications (an arts-oriented tour, for example). Try to pull together a small group of people to go together as it personalizes the trip. If you get 24 or more, you can get your own bus.

It was well worth it to get upgrades in both guides and hotels. Student tours are done on a budget. Accommodations and meals reflect that. Participants can also arrange their own flights. This is worth considering: We had a nonstop flight to Italy, but changed planes twice on the way back.

*Cost: EF charged $1,360 per person. This fee covered accommodations, transportation, a guide for the week, and meals, except lunch each day. Side trips - in our case, to Capri, Pisa, and Rome's Catacombs - were an additional $35 each. Tips for the guide and bus drivers were also extra.

*Supervision: Discuss supervision requirements with the teacher or group leader before your child leaves. Parents should also discuss both the amount of money their child will bring, and whether the child will keep it or the teacher will dispense it regularly. Parents should also talk to the group leader about whether they will allow their child to go off with other students and without adults during free time. For high school students, this may be appropriate; some middle-schoolers may be too young for that responsibility, particularly in the big cities.

*Other tour groups include:

ACIS (800-888-2247 or www.acis.com)

CHA (800-323-4446 or www.cha-tours.com)

Passports (800-332-7277 or www.passports.com)

NETC (800-771-2323 or www.educationaltravel.com)

(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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