7 Top Tips For Comparing School Trip Quotes
We appreciate it is important your students get the best value-for-money. The lowest price is not the same as the best value for money. So, when comparing initial quotations, it’s important to understand what is truly included and how hard your money is working for you. Here are our 7 top tips to make sure you are getting the most for your money.
1. Don’t mistake the quotation for the final price
Many operators, including Discover the World Education, provide estimated quotations on first enquiry. Because of the nature of school travel and budget airlines, rates can fluctuate significantly in a matter of minutes so this price could change. Therefore, if you are choosing an operator due to budget, always ask for a confirmed price – or at the very least an accurate price based on current airfares – before making your final decision. This will avoid you making decisions based on the lowest possible price which could be a long way off what you actually pay.
2. Will the flight price change?
As school travel is planned so far in advance, some times flight details are not yet available for your trip at the quote stage. In this instance some budget airlines can very quickly change their ticket prices and dramatically change the original quote when tickets go on sale. Ask your tour operator what these flights are based on and how much contingency you should allow on top of the quote price.
Alternatively, some operators advertise a quote price based on one particular airline and flight time which may not actually work for you. Find out where the flights will depart from and the timings. Sometimes the difference in price could buy your group a few more hours in your destination (or in bed) which could be worth it!
3. Think VALUE not just cost.
Of course, one way to keep your budget down is to cut out activities and excursions but this can be really difficult to achieve without depriving your students of their experience. Rather than cost alone, it is important to measure value for money when comparing quotes.
Request a complete itinerary to assess how busy your students will be, how many new experiences they will gain and how many fun and free things you can include too, to make their money work as hard as possible.
4. Understand your accommodation situation
Where will you be staying? How far away are you from the items on your itinerary? Are there things to see or do within walking distance? Though price is often the priority, take a minute to investigate the proposed accommodation and question how this will affect your students’ experience. This will spare you finding that you will have to have very early morning starts and long coach rides to reach activities or bored teenagers with no communal area to socialise or evening activities close by.
Iceland is attracting more and more visitors and it can be hard to get availability at the best placed accommodation. Talk to your Travel Specialist about the guest houses, hostels and hotels that we work with on an exclusive basis ideally placed for our itineraries and secured for our groups for the best price.
5. Ask about extra fees
As with commercial travel, extra fees can sneak up on you. Here are a few extras that you might want to check are included in your quote:
- Checked baggage
- Air Passenger Duty (APD) Tax
- Meals (including pack lunches)*
- Even if this isn’t included in your first quote, ask for a benchmark so you can understand how large your contingency should be.
*Do you have many fussy eaters in your group? Find out a bit more about the restaurants your tour operator is suggesting, just in case you need to plan in the additional cost of a pizza run.
6. Are you covered if something goes wrong?
Verify with the operator what extras are included in your trip, for example, does the operator provide a no surcharge guarantee? This is very important in times of financial insecurity, as your students (and their parents) may be asked to pay additional fees after confirming their trip. For example, if exchange rates change or prices increase, will you be charged extra. Though it’s unlikely, how will you be looked after should a volcanic eruption disrupt your plans?*
*Read more about how we support you in our Travel Disruption Charter.
7. Who will be your guide?
Some operators now offer the chance to go without a guide to make the trip cheaper but there could be unforeseen consequences. Even for a veteran teacher, confident of a destination, problems may arise that are out of your control. From dramatic volcanic activity or simple changes in the weather an experienced guide or trained teacher tour leader will be able to navigate obstacles and adapt your plans to any unexpected changes, all while keeping your students busy and entertained. They will contact the hostels, attractions and coach company, so you have more time to enjoy your trip and engage with your students.
Bonus point: Check for the badges
Most reputable tour operators are aligned with the School Travel Forum (STF) and Learning Outside the Classroom (LOtC). If you see these logos on their website you will have the peace of mind to know their trips comply with the safety regulations these groups impose.
If the specialist tour operator has been licensed by the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to operate inclusive under Air Tour Operators Licence (ATOL) 2896* and is bonded by The Association of Bonded Travel Organisers Trust Limited (ABTOT) the investment made my your students’ parents will be protected even if the company becomes bankrupt.
In addition to this we have to adhere to the extremely rigorous standards of the two main travel trade bodies, whom we have been members of for over 30 years: ABTA (The Travel Trade Association) and AITO (the Association of Independent Tour Operators).
*Some operators may be covered only by the ATOL scheme – this does not necessarily cover all types of travel arrangements. See our booking conditions for more information.