Tag Archives: educational travel

Student Travel Ideas: Celebrated American Writers from Philadelphia

by Howard Clemens

For student travel groups headed to Philadelphia, an historic tour is not complete without visiting the historic homes of famous American writers who lived there and penned their work there. A trip to a writer’s home provides a window into his domestic life, and the homes are well-preserved or restored. Teachers interested in creating a blended learning experience can have their students can read the works of these Celebrated authors as preparation for the trip.

Edgar Allen Poe, Ben Franklin and James Michener all lived in Philadelphia at some point in their writing careers. Poe was originally from Richmond, Virginia. He relocated his wife and mother to Philadelphia to assume editorial positions at literary magazines. Ben Franklin grew up in Boston. He took ship to Philadelphia to escape the tutelage of his father. Franklin would found his own printing press and purchase a newspaper, the Pennsylvania Gazette. He wrote many articles for this publication under various pseudonyms. He is well known for The Autobiography of Ben Franklin, which is his mythologized version of his trip to Philadelphia as a young man. Franklin is also known for Poor Richard’s Almanack, where his memorable phrases about life were recorded. James Michener is a celebrated American writer who penned non-fiction, historical novels about the U.S. He is best known for Centennial, Chesapeake and Alaska.

The Poe House, Philadelphia PA
Student tours of Philadelphia should include a look at the Poe House, at 7th and Spring Garden Streets. The only weekday this National Historic Site is open is Friday, so plan itineraries accordingly. Take advantage of a Ranger led tour of Poe’s home. Choose from “Poe’s Life, Literature and Legacy” or “Poe in Philadelphia.” The six years Poe spent living in Philadelphia were some of his most productive. He wrote the short story, “The Fall of the House of Usher” in Philadelphia and was employed as an editor and a critic. Poe’s influence reached European writers. His literary achievements include writing the first detective story and pioneering science fiction, by looking towards the future based on new technologies. Student trips can explore Poe’s reading room and the parlor, where his desk was located, as well as his bedroom and the basement. There is a replica of an air balloon students can launch – and more interactive exhibits.

Ben Franklin: The quintessential Philadelphian
Not only was Benjamin Franklin an inquisitive writer, a printer, a legislator and diplomat – but he was also a scientific genius. Franklin experimented with electricity and other new phenomenon that characterized the Early American era in which he lived. In high school history class, students are taught Ben Franklin was one of the founding signors of the Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia. Yet there is so much more beneath the surface of this fascinating figure. Franklin ran away from an overbearing father in Boston, and elevated himself to a prominent life in Philadelphia. He escalated his visibility using a printing press and a pen that rivals Mark Twain’s sarcasm. Franklin wrote under numerous pseudonyms in his day. The Benjamin Franklin Museum located in Franklin Court, with entrances on 3rd and 4th Street. A visit here is the best way a student travel group can become acquainted with his life and work as a statesman, printer and scientist. Though Franklin’s old residence is no longer standing, an outline of the old building remains. This is also known as the ‘ghost house’ in Franklin court.

James Michener: The Cultured Philadelphian
Born in New York City, Michener’s family moved to Doylestown, Pennsylvania when he was a child. He left at the age of 20 and hitchhiked cross country. Michener returned to study at Swarthmore College, where he graduated with highest honors. Michener is known for his historical fiction about the United States, tracing the land’s beginnings as far back as scientific evidence and the imagination can conceive. Some of his best known works include: Chesapeake, Alaska and Centennial. Michener’s writing career was etched in stone when he won the Pulitzer Prize for his novel, Tales of the South Pacific (1947). This was later turned into a wildly popular Broadway Musical by Rodgers and Hammerstein and abbreviated to South Pacific. Student tours will want to see the James A. Michener Art Museum in Doylestown, Pennsylvania. Michener funded the museum for his beloved Doylestown, where he maintained a foothold and a residence.

Student trips to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania offer many opportunities for English, History and Social Studies students. Places such as the Edgar Allen Poe house (and basement), the ghost of Benjamin Franklin’s home (and Museum) and the James A. Michener Art Museum are only a sampling of many famous writers and thinkers who lived and worked in the Philadelphia area. Students may continue to engage in studies of these notable figures that changed the American Cultural landscape forever.

For more information on scheduling a student tour of Philadelphia that includes a visit to some or all of these sites, visit http://www.educationaltravelconsultants.com.

On-site Access to Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island Still Closed to Student Groups Visiting New York City

by Howard Clemens

The Statue of Liberty is a popular student travel destination in NYC. It has been closed since Hurricane Sandy in October, 2012 but will reopen later in 2013.

Post Hurricane Sandy damage does have an affect on student groups, because as of February 2013, the Statue of Liberty, a major NYC student travel destination, is still closed.  But student tour groups can still experience an awe-inspiring view of Lady Liberty by taking a scenic and exciting cruise around it. The famous landmark, located on its very own 12 acre mini piece of land known as Liberty Island, was flooded out—though fortunately not damaged—when Hurricane Sandy hit it last October.

Hurricane Sandy put nearly 75 percent of Liberty Island underwater. The island is still without power, but generators are being used to light the statue, so students will still be able to appreciate the wonder of seeing it lit up at night. The Statue of Liberty was undergoing renovation and had reopened to the public on October 28 of last year—her 125th anniversary—only to be closed again the following day when the hurricane hit.

Ellis Island has also been closed since Hurricane Sandy struck in late October 2012.

Student Travel Leaders, Alternatives for Trips to NYC Include Boat Tours

Historical Ellis Island, located in nearby Jersey City, NJ, is also still closed to visitors. The Island was almost completely submerged during the storm, and is still in the process of being cleared of debris and restored to normal, but students will still be able to see it by cruising around it. There are many Harbor tour companies in the NYC area that go all over Manhattan Island, some of which, like City Sights New York, feature dinner or brunch. Circle Line Sightseeing Tours offers day or night cruises ranging from three hours to 75 minutes. It’s easy to make a day or night-out of the expedition, depending on the particular teacher’s objectives and the student travel group’s schedule. One of the area’s most popular cruises is the Statue of Liberty Harbor Cruise, which departs 14 times a day on the half hour. As the historical entry point for millions of immigrants, Ellis Island is an important site for any student tour of NYC to include.  Staten Island, another popular student travel destination, is accessible, though parts of it are still undergoing relief efforts.

Student Tours to NYC Offer Many Options Despite Closings

No teacher or student travel group leader should have to feel that their students are going to be compromised by the closures or that their students are going to miss out on one of the highlights of a student tour of New York City.  There are still a multitude of cultural sites for students to see in the city. Some of the most popular ones include the Broadway theater district and Times Square, the United Nations, Radio City Music Hall, Rockefeller Center, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Students can also visit Greenwich Village, Chinatown, and Little Italy to immerse themselves in the kinds of hands-on, authentic cultural experiences that only the Big Apple can offer.

Post Sandy Experience of NYC Landmarks Affords Antique Historical Perspective for Students

It should also be remembered that post-Hurricane Sandy boat tours around the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island can provide students a unique historical perspective, as closures of this sort are obviously rare. Combining a cruise around the sites with visits to other important NYC landmarks can be an enlightening way for students to try to put contemporary events and challenges into perspective, especially surrounding issues of diversity and immigration.  Visiting Ellis Island and seeing the Statue of Liberty by boat is a reminder that these issues must be incorporated into studies in ways that will enrich their understanding of the times they live in. Hurricane Sandy is also a pivotal point in NYC history, so such perspectives have value as a regional examination, as well.

There is a tentative reopening date of October 2013 for both the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. Student travel organizers can keep abreast of developments by visiting the official National Park Service website, or visiting their Twitter page.

For more information about student trips to NYC, request a quote online.

Mid-West College Tour Part 1

By 10th or 11th grade, students preparing for college need to be thinking about what school they will attend.  But it’s difficult to get a good read on a college by looking at a website or a brochure.  For this reason, I have designed college tours divided into geographic sections of the United States. Taking this type of tour allows college prep students to experience the university in person. The student group sees the campus and has the opportunity to speak to students, faculty and staff.

This type of interaction is valuable. It effectively inspires students to make a decision about their college of choice.

Following, I will offer an example of a Mid West College Tour (part 1) where students have the opportunity to visit some of the most distinguished universities in this area of the United States.  This is by no means a comprehensive list of Mid West colleges. I encourage teachers taking students on this type of tour to add or delete colleges they really wish to visit.  In fact, there are so many great schools in the Mid West, there will be a part 2 to this article.

University of Cincinnati

Serving over 40,000 students and delivering 308 programs of study, University of Cincinnati is a well-respected urban university.  Forbes magazine ranked it among the most beautiful campuses in the United States.  The campus is a showcase for contemporary architecture.  Known for its accredited Musical Theater Program and its Architecture, Construction & Building Trades Program, UC has a great deal to offer the imaginative student.  UC has a 15/1 student-faculty teaching ratio and over 250 Graduate Programs to choose from.

Xavier University

Also located in Cincinnati, Ohio, Xavier University enrolls approximately 6,700 students each year.  There is a College of Arts and Sciences, Social Sciences, Health & Education, and the Williams College of Business, so students studying in these areas will be most interested in Xavier.  The Musketeers Men’s basketball team, women’s soccer and basketball teams, and other athletic and co-curricular activities make Xavier an exciting campus.

Ohio State University

With an enrollment of nearly 65,000 students, 1,700 acres of land and 457 buildings, Ohio State University has a huge impact on Columbus, Ohio.  Cited among the top 20 national public universities by U.S. News and World Report in 2010, Ohio State University is a top-rated school.  Academic programs range from Medicine to Engineering, Architecture, Arts and Sciences and more. The campus is a mixture of Gothic revival architecture and contemporary building designs, with a 60-acre arboretum and abundant gardens and plazas.

Indiana University

Indiana University (IU) has eight campuses across the state. The main campus is in Bloomington and is scheduled as a stop for this tour.  Indiana University was founded in 1820 and has a rich heritage. The campus retains its historical beginnings in its layout and architecture with Indiana limestone buildings dating to the late 19th Century. Bloomington is a town of about 70,000 people. The inhabitants of Bloomington and the campus community refer to it as “B-town” because of its lively music scene, coffeehouses, farmers markets, international cuisine, and festivals.  IU is known academically for its business, arts, law, technology and journalism programs to name just a few highlights.  With over 32,000 students and a diverse student body, Indiana University is a premiere institution.

Purdue University

Ranked among U.S. News & World Report’s Best Colleges, Purdue is an outstanding University. The main campus is located in West Lafayette Indiana, and is the scheduled destination for this tour. There are also Purdue locations in Indianapolis, Fort Wayne, Westville and Hammond.  Ranked #1 in Biological and Agricultural Programs, and in the top 10 for Undergraduate Business and Engineering students, Purdue has distinguished programs to offer the student of Science, Technology Engineering and Math.  Purdue is also well known in many areas of research in these fields.  With over 30,000 undergraduate students enrolled and a competitive selection process, Purdue University is certainly a school worth serious consideration.

University of Illinois

University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign is a school that has educated numerous Pulitzer Prize and Nobel winners.  Undergraduate enrollment is over 31,000 students, and there are 17 different colleges and Instructional units to choose from. University of Illinois was established in 1867 and retains a 19th Century flavor in some of its architecture.   Known for the liberal arts and sciences, University of Illinois has a distinguished list of alumnus – scientists and writers recognized for excellence in their field.  The campus tour includes visits to a number of buildings that date to the 19th and early 20th Centuries.

Take student groups on a college tour of selected schools in the Mid West to help them gain a realistic perspective of college life.  In addition to visiting schools, entertainment and dining are part of the itinerary. Students can spend time exploring towns such as Bloomington, West Lafayette and Cincinnati to get a feel for lifestyles, cuisine, geography, climate and more.

Request a Quote or email info@educationaltravelconsultants.com.

Black College Tours

Many Americans and foreigners want to attend a historically black college.  There are many reasons for this.  Students enjoy the prestige of a university founded by an African-American historical figure, intellectual or scholar. The most appealing factors for many students are the university provides diverse academic and cultural programs, faculty, collections, and community that reflect and represent African-Americans’ roles in history, science, culture, and society.

There are some excellent black colleges on the East Coast, many clustered in the Washington D.C. or Virginia area.  So, I decided to create a black colleges tour that focuses on these universities.  The tour is designed for high school students who are deciding which college to attend.  Following is a brief description of each university, highlighting the history of the institution, academic departments that are most distinguished and other facts about the college,

Howard University, Washington D.C.
Howard University was established in 1867. Howard Hall was built in 1869 and is one of the centerpieces of the historical campus.   Located in the heart of Downtown Washington D.C., Howard has the sophistication of an urban university. Currently 10,500 students attend Howard University.  Howard is known for its Arts and Sciences, Business, and Communications programs.

Hampton University, Hampton, VA
Officially founded as a school for former slaves towards the end of the Civil War under the Emancipation Oak in 1861, Hampton University has evolved from Hampton Normal School, to Hampton Institute to the University it is today.  Booker T. Washington is an alumni of Hampton University, and Rosa Parks actually worked there in 1957. Hampton U enrolls approximately 5,500 students and 91% are African American.  Many students are enrolled in the Liberal Arts Program, School of Business, School of Science and School of Nursing. Hampton, Virginia is located on the Chesapeake Bay and offers business, technology and industry nearby as well as access to miles of coastline.

Norfolk State University – Norfolk, VA
Another inner city university, “one of the largest predominantly black institutions in the nation” is Norfolk State University.  It was founded in 1935. Today, Norfolk State enrolls nearly 7,000 students and offers 30 Undergraduate and 16 Master’s Degrees as well as 3 Doctoral degrees.  The University is conveniently situated near Norfolk’s harbor and downtown. The campus has recently been updated in anticipation of the opening of The Tide — Hampton Roads Transit’s newest high-speed rail line — with a station at NSU.

Virginia Union University – Richmond, VA
Founded in 1865 in post Civil War Richmond — which had recently burned — Virginia Union University was established to teach the newly emancipated population.  Because the American Baptist Home Mission Society spearheaded this mission in the 19th Century, the School of Theology is especially renowned.  Liberal Arts, education, teaching and civic engagement are also emphasized. With only 1,500 students, this university offers individual attention in learning.  Famous alumnus include the R&B singer Will Downing and James Atkins, a former NFL player.

Bowie State University – Bowie, MD
This university was also founded in 1865, and is the oldest historically black college/university in Maryland.  The college collaborates with NASA and houses one of the world’s 100 most powerful supercomputers as well as a satellite operations control station. The campus is in a rural setting, but still located within easy reach of Baltimore, MD and Washington D.C.   There are approximately 5,500 students enrolled. With seven residence halls, undergraduate campus life is stimulating. Bowie State University is a leader in teacher education and accreditation, and also houses a Summer Institute in Computer Applications for undergraduate minority students.

A visit to Morgan State University in Baltimore, MD can also be included with this tour. I have omitted a description here because I reviewed this college tour in another article, “High school Groups Take College Tours of Campuses in Washington D.C. area.”

Request a Quote on college tours or email info@educationaltravelconsultants.com.

An Eco Tour of Puerto Rico Designed for Student Travel Groups

The island of Puerto Rico is an excellent choice for student groups who want to travel to a destination with well-preserved ecological features. Since Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory, students, teachers and chaperones can travel there without a passport.

Puerto Rico is rich in Colonial and native history.  It is also a spectacular destination for an eco tour.  El Yunque is the only tropical rainforest in the U.S. and well worth the visit.  The island is peppered with small fishing villages, offering unique hands on learning experiences for students studying marine science as well.

While student groups are touring Puerto Rico, they can also visit the historic cities of Ponce and Old San Juan, eat authentic Puerto Rican cuisine, take Salsa lessons, and learn about the local culture.
Following is an overview of some of the main sites student groups can visit while taking an eco tour of Puerto Rico.

La Parguera – A Fishing Village with Unique Learning Opportunities
Students will visit La Parguera, a small fishing village in Western Puerto Rico.  There the group will be able to feed Iguanas, identify birds, and even catch starfish.  A local fisherman will speak to the group about everyday life in his profession, and students will interact with marine life up close.  After enjoying a meal prepared by the locals, the group will embark on a bioluminescent night bay tour.   The bay tour is a supervised swim where students will see dinoflagelates (plankton) that glow in the dark and fish that light up underwater.

The Tropical Rainforest El Yunque
Protected by the Federal Forest Reserve for over one hundred years, El Yunque is truly a treasure, since it is a well- preserved rainforest. Like many rainforests, El Yunque has a complex eco system with a wide variety of flora and fauna, animals, insects, reptiles and birds.  Exotic scenery includes large cascading waterfalls, views of the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea and a canopy of age-old trees.  Student tour groups will take a guided hike of El Yunque that includes swimming under the waterfalls.  Afterwards, students will have a lunch of Pinchos and spend time on Luquillo beach.

Ponce: Once Spain’s Capital City
Ponce is the second largest city in Puerto Rico and was named after Juan Ponce de Leon’s great-grandson, Loiza Ponce de Leon, who founded it in 1692.    Student travel groups may opt to take a walking or trolley tour of this historic city, where they will explore old and new farmers markets, and see neoclassical buildings and facades, colonial homes, cathedrals and fountains from the 17th Century. Groups will also visit El Parque de Bombas, a Spanish and Moorish inspired architectural treasure that served first as a main exhibit pavilion for the 1882 Exhibition Trade Fair and later as a fire station.

Old San Juan:  A Spanish Colonial City

Founded in 1521 and also known as ‘the walled city,” San Juan is the present day capital city of Puerto Rico.  It sits on one of the largest and most accessible harbors in the Caribbean.  Student groups will visit the old Spanish fort, explore the cobblestone streets of San Juan and view 16th and 17th Century Spanish colonial buildings.

Puerto Rico has a rich Spanish colonial heritage that has been well preserved.  El Yunque rainforest is one of the 28 finalists in the World’s Seven Wonders competition and is a spectacular opportunity for learning about the ecological importance of preserving rainforests – right in this hemisphere.

On tour, there are also numerous opportunities for students to immerse themselves in Puerto Rican culture, cuisine, and lifestyles. The experience of visiting Puerto Rico is rich and varied. Guides are bilingual, so there is no need to be fluent in Spanish. However, for Spanish classes the guides will speak totally in Spanish (if desired) for total Spanish immersion.

Request a quote for a student trip to Puerto Rico by filling out the brief online form, or email info@educationaltravelconsultants.com.

Class Trips to Southeastern Virginia to Study Science

Many student trips to Virginia focus on early American history and the study of the Civil War. With sites like Colonial Williamsburg, Jamestown Island, Yorktown Battlefields, Arlington National Cemetery, Monticello, and the historic homes of numerous presidents, it is no surprise many school trips to the Commonwealth focus on history. Yet a school trip to Virginia is also a great choice for the study of science.

In previous articles I have written about science destinations in Northern Virginia and Washington D.C. and an Eco Tour of Virginia.  This article will focus specifically on destinations in Southeastern Virginia in Norfolk, Hampton, and Virginia Beach.  Destinations on the science tour of Virginia can be combined with a student trip to Washington D.C. or Williamsburg or taken as a stand-alone educational tour of Virginia.

Nauticus, The National Maritime Center
Nauticus is located on the harbor in Norfolk, Virginia. The Museum is a 45-minute bus ride from Williamsburg and is well worth the trip.  Nauticus is home to battleship Wisconsin, the last battleship built by the U.S. Navy.  Students learn about the way science impacts Naval history and economics and methods and instruments used in navigating the sea.  School groups tour the battleship Wisconsin and the nearby museum. Afterwards, groups can have lunch at Waterside, and explore downtown Norfolk.

Mariners’ Museum
The Mariner’s Museum is located in Newport News, Virginia, and encompasses 60,000 square feet of exhibition space. Students can learn about maritime history and view artifacts from the Monitor battleship and exhibitions on topics such as the Chesapeake Bay watermen. Groups touring the museum will see handmade ship models, paintings, and photographs related to the history of work on the sea from world class collections. If the weather is nice, school groups can take a walk around Mariners’ Museum Park and Noland Trail, a naturally wooded setting surrounding Lake Maury.

Virginia Air and Space Center
The Virginia Air and Space Center is not far from NASA Langley Air Force Base in Hampton, Virginia, where America’s space exploration program first began in earnest.  The museum exhibits document over 100 years in aviation and provide visitors with an overview of space exploration that includes artifacts from space flights.  The Virginia Air and Space center houses over 30 planes. With its high tech interactive exhibits and an Imax theater on site, it is sure to be a popular destination for student groups.

Hampton Roads Harbor Cruise
One way for students to see and learn about life in the Chesapeake Bay region is to climb aboard a boat that gives students a view of the harbor.  Harbor cruises leave from either the port of Norfolk or Hampton, Virginia.  Each cruise includes slightly different views and points of interest.  Students will see the awe inspiring Norfolk Naval base, where aircraft carriers, submarines and other support vessels are docked. Groups will learn about other points of interest in the harbor that date to the time of the first English settlers and the Civil War.  The harbor cruise takes approximately two hours and offers a perspective that is stimulating and different from a walking tour.

Lifesaving Museum of Virginia
Student groups can take a trip to Virginia Beach, Virginia to explore the Lifesaving Museum of Virginia.  Here they will see the remains of shipwrecks, and learn about lifesaving and techniques and equipment used to rescue people from the sea.  Groups may elect to take a guided School of the Surfman tour that includes an overview of skills honed by rescuers and their stories.

The Southeastern corner of Virginia, also known as Tidewater Virginia, is the perfect place for students to engage in active learning about scientific topics.  It is rich in maritime history and the innovations of space exploration. The Tidewater area of Virginia is also home to the largest Naval base on the East Coast and several U.S. Coast Guard stations.  Depending upon curricular objectives, student tour leaders may also elect to add other destinations to the science tour such as a visit to Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, the Virginia Marine Science Museum, the Virginia Living Museum, or the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center.

Request a Quote for a student trip or email info@educationaltravelconsultants.com.

A Junior High Class Trip to Washington D.C. and Williamsburg VA

This past spring, a junior high school from Texas traveled to Williamsburg, Virginia and Washington D.C. on a class trip that was organized around the theme of American history. This was the first time that 8th grade teacher Bobbi Goodson led a school group on a trip. She had many interesting observations about the trip and the process of bringing nearly 50 people across the U.S. for a learning experience they will never forget.

Q. What made you decide to sponsor a class trip to Williamsburg and Washington D.C.?
A. In previous years, other teachers had taken this on. I always heard great stories when students came back. The teacher who had done this previously was unable to organize a trip this year because she had a new baby at home. I decided it was time for me to lead a trip.

Q. What course do you teach at Pleasanton Junior High School? How was the trip related to your curriculum?

A. I teach 8th grade special education. My students need assistance with reading comprehension. The object of my course work is to improve reading skills and get kids focused on the study of math, science and history. In eighth grade history courses, students learn about Colonial American history. They study Jamestown and the inception of the colonies, as well as the life of George Washington and the Revolutionary War, among other things. So, a trip to Washington D.C. with an additional day or two in Williamsburg was the perfect complement to course work.

Q. What sites did you visit in Williamsburg, VA?
A. We visited Jamestown Settlement, where living history actors were dressed in costumes. The students saw replicas of the three ships colonists landed on and they saw what a settlement encampment might look like. We also took the lantern tour in the evening in Williamsburg, and a daytime tour of Colonial Williamsburg.

Q. How did the students (and you) respond to the idea of learning from living history?
A. The living history actors and actresses are dressed in period costumes. This type of learning is very hands-on. I found it to be kid friendly and interactive. There was certainly an awe factor and students responded well. Compared to a museum setting, listening to a story about history by a dressed interpreter was far more appealing and engaging for this age group.

Q. What sites did you visit in Washington D.C.? And which were most memorable for students?

A. We visited the Washington Cathedral, the Holocaust Museum, Arlington National Cemetery, the Supreme Court, Mount Vernon, and we even had a photograph in front of the White House. The number of dead buried at Arlington National Cemetery astounded students. There were also plenty of comments about the Holocaust Museum. I don’t think students had any idea how many died there, until they saw a room filled with shoes, and numerous videos that described the events. They also found the trip to Mount Vernon and Jamestown Settlement memorable because of the exciting way history was presented at each site. Also, their history course had prepared them pretty well for Jamestown and Mount Vernon.

Q. How were your tour guides and bus drivers? Were they personable and responsive to your needs?

A. Ann Greenwald was our Washington D.C. tour guide and she was fabulous. She had a deep knowledge of the area and helped to adapt our itinerary to meet our needs. When time was running out she helped us to hit the hot spots in Washington D.C. She helped students by pointing out things they might have missed along the way. She had an excellent rapport with the children. Everyone in the group loved our bus driver. It felt like we would not have had the same experience if we did not have this tour guide and bus driver. We were on the go from morning until night and I was surprised we could all keep up – but we did!

Q. What type of response did parents have after the class trip was completed?

A. I ran into some parents afterwards while shopping around town. Many said they never could have done a family trip to Washington D.C. for their child. They were thankful their children were able to experience this. Some of the parents who were chaperones appreciated the time they had to spend with their child before they became high school students.

Goodson also mentioned that the five day, four night trip offered a great deal, but kids were missing their parents by the end of the trip. “Of course you always lose at least one cell phone to a swimming pool,” said Goodson. She was most appreciative of the security provided at the hotel at night, which made her sleep sounder, too. “If I ever lead a trip again,” commented Goodson, “I will make sure security is included.”

For junior high school students from Texas, a trip to the East Coast helped to enrich their study of American history and give them a new perspective about the founding of our country. It was also a welcome change of pace and scenery they will remember for years to come.

To obtain more information about a class trip to Washington D.C., email info@educationaltravelconsultants.com or request a quote online.

Writing Assignments that Complement Class Trips to Washington D.C. and NYC

Educational travel tours headed for Washington D.C. or New York City are an excellent way to stimulate active learning. Visiting historic sites such as the White House and the Capitol in Washington D.C. or taking the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island Boat tour in New York City are just the first step in the learning process.

Writing Assignments Help Students Learn about NYC and Washington D.C.
Creating a post trip writing assignment that requires students to assimilate the information learned on a visit to Washington D.C. or New York City is one way to ensure that students have grasped the information conveyed on student tours.

Student tour groups get excited about visiting historic sites and learning about the way the U.S. government is run or the manner in which immigrant families entered the country. Experienced, licensed and knowledgeable tour guides make all the difference in any student tour. In both Washington D.C. and New York City, tour guides must be licensed in order to lead groups around the city. A high quality student tour company will only work with tour guides who are licensed.

Teachers and educational tour planners should contract with student travel companies that have excellent reputations and a long history in working with school groups. Working with an experienced educational travel company will ensure that information conveyed on a tour is in sync with academic standards and learning objectives.

In order to maintain high standards, licensed tour guides in New York City and Washington D.C. are required to pass certification tests which are designed to measure their knowledge of historical and cultural information about the city where they lead student tours. If a tour guide is licensed, then the student travel group is sure to receive accurate historical information about the sites. Another advantage of working with licensed tour guides is their ability to accurately answer questions from student travelers about historical sites.

In addition to selecting a qualified educational travel company that employs licensed tour guides, creating a post trip assignment related to one or more of the destinations on the itinerary are an effective way to help students process the event.

Here are some brief ideas for writing assignments that may follow a class trip to Washington D.C. or New York City. Teachers will want to give students the details of these assignments before the tour, so they can take notes while they visit these sites. These writing exercises are designed for the high school classroom. Teachers should feel free to modify the assignments for specific learning and curriculum objectives.

Washington D.C. Writing Assignment Idea After a Visit to the Capitol

Instruct students to write a 500-750 word essay about their visit to the U.S. Capitol. Highlight three observations that stood out on your visit to the Capitol. What did you learn about American democracy that you did not know before your visit? Explain in detail. Describe any of the representatives, pages, aides or people that you may have met or seen on your visit. What are their functions in the democratic process?

Writing Exercise Idea Following a Tour of the White House:
Ask students to write a 500-750 word essay about their trip to the White House.
On your visit to the White House, which room were you drawn to the most, and why? Describe in detail the furnishings, art, and function of this room. How does this room play a role in diplomatic or political relations? Why is this particular room of the White House important and included on the tour?

New York City Writing Assignment to Follow a Boat Tour of Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty
Write a 500-750 word essay that brings together at least eight different facts about the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. In your own words, describe why these two significant New York City landmarks are pivotal places in American history.

These writing assignment ideas are designed to inspire students to look and listen closely while on tour. They are specifically designed for high school educational tour groups visiting Washington D.C. or New York City. For more information about scheduling a student tour (with a licensed tour guide) for either destination or any U.S. city, visit The Request a Quote page and take a few minutes to fill out the form, or email info@educationaltravelconsultants.com.

Preparation Tips for Class Trips

When student travel groups embark on a class trip to a destination far from home, it can seem like a daunting endeavor. Over the last 25 years of planning class trips to a variety of U.S. destination, I have found that pre-trip planning and organization can be key to a smooth trip.

Student groups need to be given clear instructions in planning for a class trip. These student tour groups will manage their departure from home and arrival in another city much better than those who do not receive directions.

Class Trip Suggestions

I am going to detail some basic preparation tips for class trips that assist in creating a tour that proceeds on schedule and allows student travelers, chaperones and teachers to relax and derive maximum enjoyment from the journey.

1. Luggage rules for airline carriers have changed over the past two years. To avoid extra baggage fees students are best advised to limit their luggage to one suitcase and a small carry on.

2. Students should bring a minimum amount of cash with them. My educational travel company recommends $50 total. If students require more than this on tour, then credit cards, bank cards, or travelers checks are a wise alternative.

3. While taking a student tour of the destination city, we strongly advise that students stay in groups of four or more and with their assigned chaperone.

4. Eating and drinking is allowed on most buses. Should the bus driver decided to discontinue this privilege, then the student travel group must honor this request. Encourage all members of the student tour group to keep the buses clean.

5. These days, many students have their own cell phones. For those who do not, hotel phone numbers are listed on the itineraries. Parents should retain a copy of the itinerary so they may reach their children easily.

6. While staying in hotels, long distance phone calls and pay television are turned off. The group sponsor may elect to allow students to pay for movies at the front desk, but the student must be accompanied by an adult. Local phone calls made from the room are paid for by that room’s occupants.

7. Hotel rules need to be made and ultimately enforced by teachers. This includes curfews (which are usually set at 11 p.m.), room assignments, and room-to-room calling.

8. If a security person is retained for this class trip, then this person will meet the group sponsor to be apprised of the rules and implementation.

9. If problems occur on the class trip and a tour escort is unable to solve them, the educational travel company should be contacted directly.

My educational travel company provides a list of preparation tips for class trips prior to departure. I recommend teachers copy this list and give the written tips to the students that are traveling.

If students and parents are made aware of these class trip suggestions, the majority will follow these requests. Wherever their destination may be, we feel these guidelines help create a safe and enjoyable class trip.

Email info@educationaltravelconsultants.com for more information on class trips to a desired destination, or take five minutes to fill out our online form and Request a Quote today.

In Search of the Ultimate NYC Cheesecake

by Howard Clemens

Student travel groups headed to Broadway in NYC’s theater district do not want to miss the opportunity to sample some of New York City’s finest cheesecake after dinner. The cheesecake slices are so gigantic, that it is virtually impossible for one person to consume an entire slice in one sitting. Many students simply save their huge piece of cheesecake for a snack after the theater or eat it slowly over the course of a day or so. A slice of cheesecake is a surefire way to get the real New York City experience, when it comes to food.
Larger Cheesecake Portions in New York City
I’ve noticed over the years that portions of food served in New York are larger than other destinations– much larger. When Educational Travel Consultants conducts student tours of New York City, we always recommend a true, New York City delicatessen experience. For the ultimate cheesecake, I have a few recommendations that seem to please student travel groups immensely. These famous New York City delis are conveniently located right in Midtown Manhattan, in the heart of the theater district.
The Stage Deli: The Classic New York City Cheesecake Experience
The Stage Deli is not only famous for its one pound corned beef sandwich — but also some of the best cheesecake in Manhattan. The price is around $8. Expect the slices to be immense. This piece of cheesecake is really more like ¼ of an entire cake. Students have lots of comments about the Stage Deli cheesecake. “Monstrous mammoth size helpings,” is one comment. “I couldn’t eat it all,” is another common refrain.
The Blackout Cake as an Alternative to Cheesecake
If students are not particularly fond of cheesecake, they may opt for another popular favorite, the Blackout cake. This cake is made of rich chocolate. Pieces are huge, and similar in size to the cheesecake. Like the name implies, there could be some danger of ‘chocolate blackout’ — so proceed with caution. Finding a friend to share a slice of Blackout cake is one solution.
Try Carnegie Deli for a Wide Selection of Cheesecakes
Carnegie Deli is another famous place for New York City cheesecake. Slices of cheesecake here are just as enormous as The Stage Deli. The Carnegie Deli has the widest selection of types of cheesecake available. Visitors can choose pudding, strawberry, blueberry, Oreo cheesecake and more. The wide selection of cheesecakes is part of the appeal of Carnegie Deli that rivals the old Howard Johnson’s in their ice cream selections.
Other Great NYC Delis Where Cheesecake can be found
There are other great delis in New York City that serve some amazing cheesecake and they should not be overlooked. Lindy’s Deli and Junior’s Deli are just as excellent and if they are nearby the theater where the student travel group is due to see a show, these establishments should be considered. I don’t have time to review all of the great cheesecake places in New York City on this blog, but rest assured there are many. I decided to highlight some of my personal favorites that I have enjoyed over the years.
For student travel groups that are on their way to the Big Apple as their destination, don’t forget to include cheesecake and the New York deli experience on the itinerary. The deli dinner works best with a visit to Broadway, but it’s not necessary to include a visit to the theater if there is not sufficient time. Some advice for students that may be unused to the huge portions of food provided in New York: go on a diet before taking the trip. For more information about a travel itinerary for a student group destined for New York City, fill out a brief questionnaire and an educational travel professional will contact you.