R. LaBrant, II, Ph.D.
considering this venture you must thoroughly investigate your desired
destination. You should be somewhat of an expert on the region.
You should have ample information on customs, culture, exchange
rates, transportation, have local maps, (these are readily available
off the internet), ideas on food, drinks, and restaurants. Anticipate
the questions a parent and/or a student will ask. How much will
the museum cost? Can I drink the water in the hotel? Can I use my
hairdryer in the hotel? Can we purchase film in this country and
where? Use the web, use a local travel agent, perhaps visit AAA
(American Automobile Association), find a native from that country
and speak with the person at length. Talk to someone who has traveled
before to this area.
will have many students who will express an interest immediately,
yet many will not be able to commit to paying for the trip by giving
a deposit. Before you exchange any money, you should have an interview
process. The teacher should formulate, along with the principal,
dean, chair, etc. a method by which the student is interviewed.
This can be an oral interview, a written interview, or the student
must provide a list or recommendations from other faculty, staff,
and other pertinent individuals off campus in support of the student.
Insurance and Waiver
students can sign themselves up, they must provide proof of health
insurance before they can begin the process. The student must have
as part of the policy provision for repatriation of remains. This
is an unpleasant yet important element. Make a copy of this proof
and keep it on file. Also, the student should agree to sign a travel
waiver, drafted by the attorney for the school or school system
for whom you work. The student and/or parent must sign this before
signing up for the excursion. This is to release you and the school
from any responsibility.
should make very clear from the beginning the number of students
who will be permitted to travel. Once you have narrowed the students
down from the interview process, the instructor should have a clear
beginning and ending date for submitting deposits and final payments.
Sign-up is easiest on a first to pay - first to travel policy. You
may have a waiting list if you like, in case someone who has signed
up drops out. Signing up means that the student is committing to
the trip and understands that he or she must submit a deposit by
the required deadline, or he or she will be removed from the list
and the next available person will be contacted. You will want to
enforce this strictly or you will have an uncertain group until
the day you travel!
deposit should be made within a very brief time period. Extending
this period too long will only make it more difficult to finalize
your plans for travel. Two weeks should be plenty of time. The deposit
will most likely be non-refundable and be between $100 and $200.
All payments should be made directly to the travel agent if you
are using one, or they should be made out to your institution. You
do not want cash or checks going through you directly. Payment is
easiest in check or money order form. You should keep a list of
those who have paid and the date they paid. Also, you should make
a copy of the check submitted and keep for your files and the schools
files in case a problem arises. An account set up at your school's
administrative, finance, or payment office will take you somewhat
out of the loop. Also, if payments are make directly to the travel
agent by the students or the parent, this will be easier for you
should have regular meetings with your students and/or parents to
discuss updates on the trip, updates on the country to be visited,
and to hear any concerns or questions. This will keep you from having
an onslaught of questions as you near your departure date. You will
still have questions, yet they will not be as numerous. These should
take place immediately after the deposits have been given.
should be ample time for the instructor to teach the students some
important facts concerning the country you will visit. A brief study
of the history, the culture and civilization, the important historical
figures, the important architectural structures, the local customs,
the foods, the dress, and other ideas you feel would be appropriate
for your students to become familiar with before traveling. This
instruction should begin immediately after the deposits have been
given. Students can be given independent research and opportunity
to collaborate and share ideas they have researched concerning the
final payment should be made ahead of the time suggested by the
travel agent. If the student is to get all or part of the refund
(if they decide not to go after paying the final amount) ample time
is needed to get as much money as possible back and to find a possible
replacement. For example, if you travel June 15, the travel agent
will require full payment 45-90 days before travel. You should collect
your final payment before this date. This should be stated from
the beginning so the students know the exact date. The best time
to collect for a June 15 departure would ideally be before they
leave for Christmas. Otherwise, the students should pay in full
as soon as possible after they return back to classes in January.
If you wait past March, you will run into problems. The sooner you
lock in, the more certain your prices will be for travel. You can
avoid potential price fluctuations of hotel, airfare, etc. by having
your trip paid early. Also, if there are any cancellations, they
can be made with ample time to find a replacement for travel or
to refund money.
taking your students abroad, you should help them to develop a personal
budget. You should share with them the daily expenditures they might
incur. These are expenditures not included in the trip price. These
might be some or all of the meals, tickets to a museum, a ride on
a bus or in a taxi. Also, you must figure in the money for tipping.
This is important to share with them. There is a fee (a tax) for
most countries to enter and exit. Sometimes this is pre-paid, and
other times the departure is a cash only tax. Let the students know
what kind of money to bring. Have them divide their spending money
between cash, traveler's checks, and credit cards. You should also
go over exchange rates with them and how to convert money (in Costa
Rica colones for dollars). Practice this in class. Perhaps encourage
them to carry a calculator if needed. Students many times do not
budget well at home and this is more difficult abroad.
last item, yet probably one of the most important is documentation.
The student will most likely need official documents to get in and
out of the country. I suggest that you have your students go ahead
and purchase a passport. This will cost about $70 and it will last
them 10 years. This will be one of the most important items they
can have. It will make the trip and future trips easy, and, it will
be fun for them. It is important to make several, five, copies of
the passport and have them hidden in various places in case the
original is lost. You might even have them give you a copy to keep
in a little file folder. This folder should have copies of students'
documents and important information. You should make a copy of their
airline ticket and/or any voucher that is issued for travel. This
will help in the event something is lost. They should have a picture
I.D., driver's license and student I.D. The student I.D. will help
for discounts. You can have your students purchase an international
student I.D. card. This is about $20 and can save your student some
money depending on the country and depending on what is not included
in the price of the trip, i.e. fees for museums, national parks,
etc. This is not usually necessary though and may be an additional
and unnecessary expense. Investigate to see if the expense is worth
the purchase. In any case, make copies of all important documents
for you and your students and keep them on file with you in a small
organizer. Tell your students to make copies too and to organize
their documents in a small folder or file.
R. LaBrant, II, Ph.D.
Department of Classical