Beware the Hidden Costs of Educational Travel

When planning an educational tour for your students, you’ll need to compare student travel companies. While you may be tempted to think that a trip to Paris is a trip to Paris, be careful when you compare itineraries and prices. Just because one company’s “starting at” itinerary price is lower than another’s doesn’t mean you’ll end up with the cheapest or most cost-efficient tour.

In fact, some companies will try to lure you with seemingly great deals. But after talking to one of their tour consultants, you’ll quickly realize that the advertised price for that stay in Paris is very far off the mark of what your group would actually be paying.

When pricing out an educational tour for your student group, make sure to ask about these “extras” that can add a lot of money to your final tour price.

Travel insurance

Insurance should not be optional. The travel company must offer it, and yet, some listed tour prices don’t include it. After you’ve planned your itinerary and have a number in mind, they will tack it on to your final price.

Membership fees

This is just a fancy way for companies to add a few extra dollars for every traveller. A too-good-to-be-true tour price will often fall short of its promises if each of your students will be expected to pay membership fees as well.

Weekend supplements

The starting-at price of many educational tours assumes that you won’t travel on weekends. If you do, expect the price to go up.

Late payment fees

Be forewarned, this often masks itself as rebates for students enrolled by a certain date. Avoid working with companies who have a long list of fees and penalties. They could greatly impact the price of your tour.

Drinks at meals

Even itineraries that include all your meals sometimes don’t include drinks (or desserts) at those meals. Over the course of a ten-day trip, that can add up to a good chunk of pocket change!

Hotel upgrades

You can expect to stay in 2- and 3-star hotels. If you’d prefer to stay in better hotels, that listed tour price will rise significantly.

Optional excursions

Some travel companies’ basic itineraries are quite empty. They barely cover hotels, transportation, a meal or two a day and the most obvious of tourist attractions. To round out your itinerary, you’re forced to choose “optional excursions”—and the prices add up quickly! If you try to keep the price reasonable by sticking to the basic itinerary, you and your students may find yourselves with lots of free time. This free time must be filled and often comes at a price, for food, metro or bus tickets, additional museum fees, entrance to various attractions, etc. Consider if you want your students carrying around a lot of extra pocket money for time like this, or if you’d rather include a set list of activities and excursions from the beginning.

Well-planned itineraries

Don’t underestimate the cost of a poorly planned itinerary. If you’ve made the effort to gather a group of students and lead them on an educational tour, you want to get the most bang for your buck. One-size-fits-all travel itineraries often leave travellers wishing they had had more time to see one attraction or had skipped another all together. Don’t waste your time and money on itineraries that don’t match your educational goals. Choose a travel company that allows you to customize your tour.

The good news is that some student travel companies, like Prométour, include all these items from the beginning so that there are no surprises. Good tour consultants will work with you to plan the best tour for your group at the best price—and they’ll be upfront about all the costs involved.