Frequently Asked Questions
Passport and Visa Requirements
Following the UK’s departure from the European Union most European countries now require UK passports to be valid for at least six months from the date of entry. The requirements for other countries may vary and we will notify you at the time of booking whether there are any specific rules that you need to be aware of. Please remember that students who have passports other than UK may be subject to different requirements.
Most of our destinations either do not require a visa for British passport holders, or the visa is a formality which can be obtained on arrival in the destination country. However there are several countries to which we operate where it is essential to apply for and obtain a visa well in advance of travel. Russia and India are the two most common destinations where this will arise. We will always notify you during the initial consultation process and also at the time of booking what procedures and costs are involved.
It is important to remember that students who do not hold a UK passport may be subject to different or more onerous entry requirements at the destination country. In some cases it may be necessary to obtain parental consent which could be logistically awkward and potentially time consuming if the parents are overseas. If you anticipate having overseas students on your tour, we strongly recommend that you discuss any potential issues with us during the initial consultation phase so we can review the specific procedures which may be necessary.
Everyone entering the United States must obtain an ESTA which stands for Electronic System for Travel Authorisation. The cost is $14 (fourteen dollars) and the ESTA must be applied for more than 72 hours ahead of travel. The ESTA is valid for two years, so we strongly recommend that students obtain their ESTA as soon as the trip is booked. The ESTA authorisation will automatically be visible to airline passenger service agents when you check in for the flight. Make sure that parents and students use the official ESTA application site which is https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/
Unless you have US citizenship or residency, the only exception to the ESTA is if you have a valid US visa in your passport, in which case it is not necessary to apply.
In many cases we can provide you with indicative flight details as soon as you make your initial enquiry. However, most airlines make their flights available to book no more than 11 months prior to departure so if you are planning your tour a year in advance you will need to wait until flights come into range. We will always endeavour to offer you the closest departure airport if there are flights scheduled.
In general when we secure your flights we are making a group booking for a fixed number of passengers but without actually entering the names into the booking. Most airlines require names no more than about 30 days before departure so you are generally free to change names within your group as many times as you wish. Once we have provided the airline with the final name list (usually about 30 days before you travel) and tickets have been issued, any subsequent name changes will incur a charge which can vary from airline to airline.
When your tour includes a flight with a legacy airline such as British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, Lufthansa or KLM, check in baggage will always be included as standard. No frills airlines such as Easyjet and Ryanair have different baggage policies and in these cases your quote will specify whether or not checked baggage is included. In general, adding a bag to a booking with Easyjet or Ryanair incurs quite a significant cost so we would always recommend that you travel with cabin baggage only whenever possible.
We use a variety of accommodation types depending on several factors including your destination and budget. These can range from youth hostel style properties where students share multi-bedded rooms up to 3 or even 4 star hotels on twin share basis. When you speak with one of our travel advisors we will guide you though the different options and make suggestions according to your criteria. We are always able to provide details of the proposed accommodation for your tour so your can review it before moving ahead.
Caution deposits are very occasionally required for some properties. If a deposit might be required we will notify you in advance before we confirm the accommodation.
All local hotel and room taxes will always be included in your tour pricing so there will never be any local payment to make.
We normally include single rooms for staff members as standard but will adapt this according to your budget. There will obviously be a cost saving on the trip price if staff share twin rooms, but we also understand the importance of having your own space at the end of the day.
Although we generally include breakfasts and dinners as standard, meal arrangements can be tailored around your specific requirements.
We normally find that in city centre situations where there are many different choices of places to eat, it makes sense to allow students to buy their own lunches. For other trips where there are fewer options or where we are travelling in the developing world, we will normally include lunches.
Dinners can be arranged either in city centre restaurants or in some cases at your hotel. The exact arrangements will vary from country to country. For example in New York we always use restaurants such as the Hard Rock Café or Bubba Gump. In Iceland it is normal for hotels to provide evening meals at the accommodation. Where there is a choice, our travel advisors will liaise with you to make the right choice for your group.
We can cater for most diets or allergies and any special requests will be notified to hotels, restaurants and the airline.
Yes, the coach will be available for all touring during your trip.
Drivers hours are strictly regulated so if you require the use of a coach into the evening, please discuss this with your tour advisor as it may be necessary to have a second driver in such circumstances.
Coach tours normally pick up your group from the school. If you wish to designate an alternative pick-up or meeting point, we can accommodate that request.
Where the school has a favourite local coach provider we are always happy to work with them if you request that.