Tag Archives: educational travel consultant

Tips for ‘Pitching’ Class Trips to Administrators

by Howard Clemens

Educators are already bogged down with many responsibilities both inside and outside the classroom. Some are in need of assistance to help plan and execute student trips. Working in the student travel industry for over 25 years, I have several ideas on how to make student trips more enticing to administrators. There are talking points for approaching the administration or even the school board about taking students on an educational trip.

I am the owner of a student travel company, Educational Travel Consultants. I have assisted many teachers in planning and executing class trips to Washington D.C., New York City, Orlando, and other U.S. destinations.

These days, class trips can be organized around science themes, performance trips, art tours, theater tours, eco-trips, and more. Taking a multi-subject approach to travel as a tool for educational enrichment means there are more possibilities for students to engage in active learning on a variety of topics.

Many teachers are required to validate student travel objectives to administrators or others. I would like to guide teachers in how to be successful at this challenge.

This article gives some tips on how to make the best approach to administrators and gain approval for a class trip to a desired destination.

1. Teachers Need to Make a Direct Connection between the Curriculum and the Student Trip. Teachers in subject areas outside of U.S. History can engage student learning with trips. The obvious choice for a trip to Washington D.C. is to tie it into an American History or Government class. But this is only one way of ‘pitching’ a trip to Washington D.C. A trip to Washington D.C. could be focused on science, be a band trip tied to a performance, include theater or provide a tour of art venues in town. My company is always ready to provide appropriate tour suggestions for any of these areas of study. Or we can book a standard class trip to Washington with a tour of the White House, Capitol, and downtown area.

2. Define the funding source clearly. Fundraising is an important issue and must be addressed in a meeting with administrators. Here is a brief list of some effective fundraising ideas that students can participate in that I recommend frequently: citrus fruit sales, selling roses and carnations on Valentine’s Day, sponsoring a car wash, selling scratch off cards, or selling CDs or DVDs. The teacher may want to do some preliminary research on or offline to confirm some of these fundraising methods and look at profit margins on products to set realistic fundraising goals for the class trip. Parents can also be asked to pay for a certain portion of the trip.

3. Present a Trip Budget: Break costs down by student and also add any other additional costs for the student trip that may be needed. A student travel consultant can assist with this. Present a comprehensive budget with an estimation of the number of people traveling on the trip.

4. Outline Financial Benefits. Teachers and chaperones are usually given complimentary trips by student travel companies. This eliminates costs for most adults to travel. This is one large benefit that is important, especially during tight budget years for the school.

5. Discuss Educational Benefits. What are the educational benefits of this trip? Will students come away with a firsthand knowledge of the way in which democracy works after visiting the Capitol and the White House? Have they benefited from visiting the estates of some of the founding fathers in Virginia, or seen the early canal system that used to move people and goods in the U.S? Indicate how students will be academically prepped before the trip. Give students a way to process the trip by building writing assignments into post travel curriculums.

6. Safety: Research and confirm that students, teachers and chaperones are insured on the trip, to alleviate liability to the school should anything occur. Select a well- established travel company that specializes in student travel and guarantees trip insurance. ETC carries a $2 million dollar liability insurance policy for all student trips. Another way to ensure safety includes something my company has done for ages. Our tour consultants book ONLY hotels with interior hallways and locked doors.

7. Chaperones: List the parents who will be accompanying students on this trip. Indicate the chaperone to student ratio.

These are just a few ideas that will guide an educator in preparing the foundation for an excellent educational experience that includes active learning: a class trip. Even during times of economic challenge educational travel should still be planned and executed, because it makes learning fun and is a desirable addition to any curriculum.

Email info@educationaltravelconsultants.com or Request a Quote for a student trip by filling out a brief online form today.

Take a Student Trip to Lowell, Massachusetts and Journey Back to the Beginning of the Industrial Revolution

by Howard Clemens

When bringing a student group to tour Boston, you may also want to consider adding a short excursion to Lowell, Massachusetts. Lowell was founded as a manufacturing town in the Merrimack Valley and is considered the “cradle of the American Industrial Revolution.” Also the birthplace of author Jack Kerouac, Lowell is rich with history and stories of the beginning of the United States.

Historical Sites of Interest to Student Groups
Lowell is home to the Lowell National Historical Park, a 141-acre park. Though it is not the first urban national park, it is the largest in the country. The park includes a Visitor Center, and many restored and un-restored sites from the 19th century. The Visitor Center provides a free self-guided student tour of the history of Lowell, including exhibits such as the patent model of a loom by local inventor S. Thomas. The visitor center also includes a 20 minute video entitled “Lowell: The Industrial Revolution.”

Right Outside of Boston, Mass. Lowell Provides Insight into the Industrial Revolution
The Boott Mills sit along the Merrimack River, on the Eastern Canal, and are the oldest and most fully restored manufacturing sites in the district. The Boott Mill provides a walk-through museum with living re-creations of the textile manufacturing process in the 19th century. Adjacent to the Boot Mills is the Tsongas Industrial History Center, a hands-on center where weaving, creating canals, testing water wheels and working on an assembly line are some of the interactive activities for students.
A walkway along the river leads to several additional un-restored mill sites, providing views of restored and un-restored canal raceways once used by the mills. Additionally, the park includes the Patrick J Mogan Cultural Center, which focuses on the lives of Lowell’s many generations of immigrants.

The park includes a 5.6 mile power canal system. Boat and trolley tours along the Pawtucket Canal are offered late Spring through fall. Reproductions of 1901 electric trolley cars operate Spring through Fall. Other exhibits include canal boat tours exploring some of the city’s gatehouses and locks and the River Transformed/Suffolk Mill Turbine Exhibit, which shows how water power, namely the Francis Turbine, was once used to run Lowell’s textile factories.

Lowell is also home to Lowell-Dracut-Tyngsboro State Forest, University of Massachusetts Lowell, Vandenberg Esplanade, and the University of Massachusetts Lowell Radiation Laboratory which houses a small nuclear reactor. Lowell is the birthplace of Jack Kerouac and Academy Award-winning actress Bette Davis. Jack Kerouac’s gravesite is in Lowell’s Edson Cemetery. Another literary historical site of interest to student tour groups is The Worthen House, where Edgar Allan Poe allegedly wrote “The Raven,” a story known to all American students.

Women’s History in Lowell, MA
The term “Lowell Mill Girls” is used to describe the city’s 19th century female textile workers, who comprised about 75 percent of the city’s textile workforce. In 1845, the women organized a group called the Lowell Female Labor Reform Association and demanded a ten-hour workday. The petition they sent to the Massachusetts General Court led to the first government investigations into labor conditions in the United States.

Lowell is also the birthplace of Mary Hallaran, former director of the United States Women’s Army Corps. When asked by a superior what someone of her short stature could do for the military, she famously replied, “You don’t have to be six feet tall to have a brain that works.”

Touring Lowell with Student Trips
The Western Avenue studios provide an artistic picture of Lowell’s culture for student groups. A converted mill on Western Avenue which houses over 160 working artists and musicians, the studios are open to the public on the 1st Saturday of each month from 12-5 p.m.

With Lowell’s textile history, it is particularly suited as home to the New England Quilt Museum. The Quilt Museum includes 150 quilts which showcase the history of American textiles in quilts and quilt tops. The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. and has special hours on Sundays from May through December. The museum also offers discount tickets to students.

Lowell, MA. is the Perfect Add on to a Boston Student Trip
The city uses old freight lines to run streetcars from the center of the city to many of the city’s historical destinations. It also runs a public transit bus system throughout the city and is connected to Boston through commuter rail making it easy for educational groups visiting Boston to add Lowell, Massachusetts to their itinerary. Your educational travel consultant can help you make the best arrangements for your student group.

The Ultimate Chicago Student Trip! Plan a Student Tour of Obama’s Chicago

by Howard Clemens

A majority of teachers in the United States chose the teaching profession because they believed they would have the opportunity to educate, inspire and nurture young minds. In the classroom children of all ages learn about themselves and the world around them. Outside of the classroom extracurricular activities like sports, academic clubs, band and school field trips provide experiences to help kids imagine all of the possibilities ahead of them.

Create a Chicago Student Trip Itinerary to Inspire Students of Any Age

President Barack Obama’s life has been an amazing journey with struggles and triumphs. He is proof that with hard work, dedication and passion people can live their dreams. President Obama’s story shows children from all walks of life they can be anything they want when they grow up. Here are some ideas for a Chicago student trip itinerary that include some destinations on the “Obama Tour.”

Take a Student Trip to Chicago and Explore the Personal Life of the Obama Family

In order to understand where it all began student tours can follow the suggestion of the Chicago Tribune and visit the Chase Tower, the former home of Sidley & Austin, the law firm where Barack and Michelle Obama first met in 1989. Then stop by to see 1400 East 53rd Street, the location of a brick building that used to be a Baskin Robbins ice ream parlor. It was here that the president and First Lady had their first kiss. Student trips can also include a stop at the basketball courts on Hayes and South Lake Shore Drive where President Obama and his brother in law regularly shot hoops. Next visit the South Shore Cultural Center where the Obamas held their wedding reception in 1992.

At 5450 SE View Park student tours will catch a glimpse of the condominium where Barack and Michelle lived for twelve years before purchasing their Kenwood neighborhood home in 2005. According to an article in the Chicago Sun Times written by Mark J. Konkol, Michelle Obama stated “I love living in Hyde Park, so close to so many of our friends and family. The community is diverse and very family-oriented, and, as the mom of two daughters, I really appreciate that.” The Obama Family Home is not currently open to the public.

Student Tour Destinations that Explore Barack Obama’s History as a Professor, Politician and President

A Chicago student trip wouldn’t be complete without visiting the sites associated with President Obama’s academic, political and presidential past. First on the list is the Holy Rosary Catholic Church rectory located at 351 E 113th Street. Obama worked here as a community organizer during the 1980’s. Next students can enjoy a tour of the University of Chicago Law School. President Obama taught here from 1993 until 2003.

In order to spark student conversation about President Obama’s political views stop by Federal Plaza, where then Senator Obama gave a speech against the Iraq war at a rally in 2002.

Student groups may then take a student tour of the campaign trail, which includes:

–233 N Michigan Avenue: the pre-election campaign headquarters.
–151 E Wacker Drive: the Hyatt Regency Chicago where Obama watched the election results.
–East Congress Parkway: Grant Park’s Hutchinson Field where approximately 250,000 came on election night to hear president Obama’s victory speech.

Enjoy Some of Obama Family Favorites on your Student Trip to Chicago

In order to complete a Chicago field trip itinerary include some practical, affordable destinations students can experience first hand. The Chicago Tribune suggests these Obama family favorites.

Shopping Favorites

1508 E 55th Street–What the Traveler Saw Gift Shop
Shop in the gift shop located next to Obama’s former barber that the President would visit.

135 N Jefferson Street: Maria Pinto Boutique
Get a feel for the style of the designer who dressed First Lady Michelle Obama for the Democratic National Convention.

1301 E 57th Street–57th Street Books
Visit this co-op bookstore where the President and First lady are members. President Obama held parties here for the release of his books and Michelle Obama is quoted in the Chicago Sun Times by writer Mark J. Konkol as saying, “The variety of titles, the programs for kids and the neighborhood feel make it a wonderful place to take a walk to and browse around.”

Dining Favorites

445 N Clark Street?Topolobampo
Choose a blue-and-white fabric-covered booth on the south side of the restaurant like the Obamas and make sure to try the guacamole and sopa Azteca.

1518 E 53rd Street–Valois
Located in Hyde Park for over eighty years Valois offers simple, cafeteria style dining.

5412 W Madison Street–MacArthur’s Restaurant
A well-known, soul food restaurant beloved throughout Chicago MacArthur’s is the place to be. Make sure and try an Obama favorite: turkey legs and dressing.

980 N Michigan Avenue–Spiaggia
The president and First Lady ate here the Saturday after the election. According to the Chicago Tribune, rumors say President Obama “loved the wood-roasted scallops.”

Outdoor destinations
2500 North Halsted Street?Mural of Barack Obama
Student travelers: do not miss this eye-catching mural of Barack Obama.

55th Street in the Hyde Park Neighborhood–Promontory Point
Known to Chicago locals as simply The Point, Promontory Point is part of Burnham Park and opened to the public in 1937. The man-made peninsula extends out into lake Michigan and is a popular spot for sunbathers, kayakers, windsurfers and swimmers in the summer.

With all of these destinations to choose from that are linked to President Barack Obama’s past and present, there’s a great deal to see on an Obama tour. Select some top destinations on the Obama tour and add them to a student tour of Chicago. Portions of the Obama tour will also fit nicely into an art or performance tour of the windy city. Whatever a student group’s focus while on tour of Chicago, some short stops on this tour can provide insight into the new President’s formative years as a professor and a politician and his character as a whole.

For more information on the Obama Tour of Chicago, email info@educationaltravelconsultants.com or simply fill out the brief Request a Quote form.