CLASS NOTES is designed particularly for teachers who are traveling for the first time but also for all busy teachers to help with a time line and a reminder of pre-departure requirements. We hope that it will make it easier for you to give leadership to your group and keep everyone on schedule for payments, passports, visas (where required) and education preparation.
The information here is based on our own experience of working with many groups and is also drawn freely from the best of the material that has been generously made available to us by knowledgeable teachers.
There are two main parts to educational travel planning; first the organization of the actual travel with make-up of the group, payments, documents and information which is pertinent to group leaders. Second there is information and handouts on travel insurance, packing hints and instructions, currency information and general advice to travelers.
CLASS NOTES is designed with these two aspects in mind. This leader manual keeps you on track with the organization of the group: the suggestions for activities and handouts are to help the students prepare for their tour. We suggest sending away immediately for the free material that is available from the tourist boards. For this reason we have supplied you with the addresses of the various boards.
The odds and ends and potted information in this manual may be used as handouts or as stimulus for small group research. As it can be difficult to find information on the main attractions of the itinerary, we will send you (on request) materials such as guide books and videos which we ask you to use and then return to us. Many teachers ask small groups to do a bit of research on one or two of the sites and attractions included in the tour and then make a presentation to the rest of the group.
Please contact us if you have any questions. We are happy to work with group leaders who want to make their students’ travel experience a successful, enjoyable and informative one.
Student travel suggests a more in-depth preparation for the travel experience and a more sensitive observation of the cultural similarities and differences between Canada and the country of destination than the ‘sun and sand’ travel vacation.
A good leader is essentially a ‘problem-solver’. The leader prepares the group before departure and is then the key person in the success of the actual travel experience. The leader is a teacher, administrator, disciplinarian, counselor, medical consultant, enthusiast and diplomat. Besides this, the leader is father and mother away from home and sometimes even baggage carrier. The goal of the leader is to keep the group happy and thinking positively and to draw on the strengths of the group to replenish his or her own store of energy.
Appendices: PLEASE CONTACT WORLD CLASS TOURS FOR COPIES OF THESE FORMS.
SOME SUGGESTIONS AND IDEAS FOR PROCEDURE
1. As soon as you have decided that you would like to explore the possibility of traveling with your students, approach your principal and clarify the procedure required for obtaining permission to travel. This should be done as early as possible and definitely before you mention anything to the students. If this is a new idea for your school district, you will probably find that your own enthusiasm will be the most influential factor in winning the administration over to the idea. Most educators support teacher projects that are planned with drive and enthusiasm. It is generally agreed (and has been so from the earliest times) that travel is a broadening and educational experience. Have a selection of well-planned tours with you. Be sure to keep curriculum in mind when choosing programs to present. This shows that the idea of student travel is well justified and also gives specific prices and suggested itineraries.
2. Once you have the approval of the administration and have sent off the necessary letters to the superintendent, etc., start talking to the students informally about the idea of taking a trip. Suggestion: Narrow down the field of possibilities for the first trip. If you offer the whole world, you will find that you spend all your time with the students presenting and defending the merits of this place or that one. Choose a maximum of three programs that are within your budget and sound attractive and interesting. Put up posters or pictures of the destinations. If possible, speak directly to as many classes as you can about the planned trip
3. Put up posters advertising the proposed tour with a first meeting date (usually at noon hour) for students to attend.
4. Many teachers also have a letter and a pre-registration form ready to send home to the parents at this time. (See sample letters on the following two pages).
5. Keep the momentum going. All the above should be covered in two weeks at the most.
6. At the first meeting:
7. At the second meeting: (parents are usually invited to this meeting)
9. Arrange orientation meetings with your group. The more the students become involved, the more likely your tour will be a success. Particularly important is an agreement on the rules that will govern the tour. Try to establish an atmosphere of trust and cooperation so that you will be able to maintain discipline in the group without ‘policing’ it. (See Orientation Meetings in this manual.)
10. Plan future parent/student meetings where interested parents are welcome to attend. Invite parents to attend student presentations on the places that they will be visiting. Some teachers send home travel club newsletters periodically throughout the months prior to departure. It is important to keep parents informed and involved.
Read through the WORLD CLASS TOURS LTD. brochure with particular reference to page twelve entitled “Booking with Us”. Be advised that changes in flight schedules are outside the control of WORLD CLASS TOURS LTD. In the event that a change in flights cuts a day form the tour, a refund will be made for the day. If an extra stopover is required because of scheduling, the cost of the additional day will be the responsibility of the group. This information is available before final arrangements are made and WORLD CLASS TOURS LTD. will make arrangements at the best price possible.
Prior to Summer Break or September/October
1. Permission from the Principal and the Board should have been requested and the go-ahead for the group confirmed.
2. You should have received your contract with WORLD CLASS TOURS LTD. in the form of a specific itinerary with the list of inclusions, extras, prices and minimum number of participants.
3. Book your tour by accepting the itinerary and forwarding:
NOTE: It is in your best interest to collect application forms and deposits no later than October 15. Potential participants tend to lose enthusiasm and interest if the application process is dragged out. Also, flights and accommodation are allotted on a “first come, first served” basis.
1. Write to tourist boards for pamphlets and maps. (See details pages 7-9)
2. November 15 - Collect and forward payment #1 – due December 1st. You will find it is easier to collect post-dated cheques for all payments at this time. When you are busy at school, chasing students for cheques is time consuming. Students who drop out will have their cheques returned or may put a stop payment on the cheque. For those students wishing to take advantage of the early payment option, FULL PAYMENT must be made at this time. Remind any students who are canceling that all cancellations must be made in writing.
3. Obtain and handout passport applications.
1. At this time you will usually know if someone in the group is dropping out. (Anyone who has still not made the December 1st payment is probably in this situation). Remind any students who are canceling that all cancellations must be in writing; cancellations must be received by us before January 15 to be eligible for the refund less a $450.00 penalty.
2. All students should apply for passports and have them by the end of December. For anyone traveling on passports other than canadian, please advise your WORLD CLASS TOURS LTD. representative. However, individuals are responsible for contacting consulates of the countries they will be visiting for the most recent information pertaining to visa requirements. On pages 13 & 14 of this manual you will find a comprehensive list of consulates and embassies.
3. Check with the various currency exchange offices for the exchange rates and availability of small amounts of foreign currency.
4. Complete any applicable visa forms. (Requires passport or appropriate photocopied pages).
5. For those traveling to Greece, we will request that a letter for the Greek Consulate be completed and returned to WORLD CLASS TOURS LTD. (sample letter can be found in Appendix D).
1. For those groups or individuals who have not sent post-dated cheques or made full payment in December, collect and forward the final payments due to WORLD CLASS TOURS LTD. by January 15.
2. Ask students to start thinking about who they will want as roommates in hotels.
3. Advise any student who cancels that cancellations must be in writing and received in our office before February 15 to be eligible for a refund less $750.00.
1. Distribute the Medical Information Form (Appendix A). This is to assist the group leader and make sure that he/she is fully aware of any special medical problems that may exist. Make sure that you are familiar with any serious medical problems, especially allergies, and discuss potential problems with parents wherever necessary. Make sure each group leader has a copy of the medical forms to carry with him/her at all times. Medical emergencies often arise unexpectedly and you may not have time to go back to your hotel room to collect the forms. You must carry the forms with you at all times throughout the tour.
2. Send in a copy of the completed form ‘Appendix C” of passport numbers, birthdates and emergency contact phone numbers to your local WORLD CLASS TOURS LTD representative.
3. Distribute the letter of Parental Consent to all students (see example Appendix B).
4. Send in rooming lists to WORLD CLASS TOURS LTD. as advised.
1. You will receive your final detailed itinerary with flight schedules, travel details and hotel names and contact numbers. Please check this itinerary over very carefully for any changes.
2. Approximately two weeks prior to your departure date, you will receive the Travel Notes booklets, travel bags and airline tickets for each member of your group. VERY IMPORTANT: Check the tickets against the itinerary (schedule changes can take place before, during and after tickets are printed) and for the correct spelling of legal names. Remember that the name on an airline ticket must match that of the traveler’s passport. Report any discrepancies to WORLD CLASS TOURS LTD. immediately. It is the group leader’s responsibility to phone the airline 48 hours prior to departure to re-confirm the group’s reservations. All flight times and numbers must be re-checked at the airport as they are subject to change without notice. Do not hand out airline tickets to the students to carry at any time. The chance of losing a ticket is too great if each individual carries their own ticket. Group leaders should carry all airline and train tickets for the group together. However, each traveler should be given their airline ticket stub or receipt at the end of the trip. They may need to send this in to the respective airline in order to be credited with frequent flyer points. Do not throw away the airline ticket stubs until several months after the tour is completed.
3. Check that students have passports, foreign currency and travelers cheques in their possession. You should be constantly checking to make sure that everyone has their passport since Christmas.
4. Before departure, collect the Parental Consent letters. Anyone taking minors out of the country can be asked to present written consent from the minor’s parents or legal guardians at the point of departure. Make sure you carry the Parental Consent letters with you at all airports, do not put them in your checked baggage.
5. Check the “Do’s & Don’t’s Checklist” on page 33 before leaving for the airport.
In the past, tourist boards have been more than generous in providing schools with pamphlets, posters and sometimes maps. We suggest that you or one of your students write a letter to the tourist boards asking for materials. The letter should be on school letterhead. Following is a sample letter.
Our school is traveling to ______________________ (list specific cities and sights you will visit in the country) this Spring Break/Easter with WORLD CLASS TOURS LTD. This is an educational tour and we want to make the most of our visit to your country. We hope you will be able to supply us with some materials to help us prepare for our visit. Our group consists of ______ students and _______ teachers. The teachers greatly appreciate posters and general information; the students find city maps and pamphlets useful. We would like to receive this information in English.
We thank you in anticipation of a favourable reply; we are looking forward to touring your country.
Send your letter to the appropriate Tourist Board; addresses are found on the next three pages.
Australian Tourist Commission2049 Century Park East, Suite 1920Los Angeles,
California 90067Phone: (310) 229-4870Fax: (310) 552-1215Toll Free: 1-800-369-6863
Austrian National Tourist Office2 Bloor Street E., Suite 3330Toronto,
Ontario M4W 1A8Phone: (416) 967-3381Fax: (416) 967-4101
Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau1260 Hornby Street, Suite 104Vancouver, B.C. V6Z 1W2Phone: (604) 669-6265 Fax: (604) 669-6075 Hong Kong Tourist Association#9 Temperance St., 3rd FloorToronto, Ontario M5H 1Y6Phone: (416) 366-2389Fax: (416) 366-1098
To apply for a passport you will need:
1. Application Form A or B
*The form lists who may sign as a guarantor: a Canadian Citizen residing in Canada who is a minister, bank manager, judge, magistrate, police officer, school principal, professional accountant, professional engineer, mayor, lawyer, notary public, doctor, dentist, chiropractor, postmaster or veterinarian.
Passports must be renewed every five years and cannot be extended. Because of this you will find that the majority of your students will need to apply for a passport. The local passport offices require that the applicant take in his or her own passport application. Teachers and travel agents cannot do this on their behalf. Particular care should be taken in filling out the forms to avoid delays.
It is a good idea to have the students research the cost of passport photos; prices vary considerably. Most passport photos are issued in sets of four; you actually only need two for the passport application. However, if you are traveling to a country requiring a visa you may need 1 to 3 additional photos which must be the same.
Passport forms may be picked up from any passport office, travel agency or WORLD CLASS TOURS LTD. Application forms may be mailed to Ottawa (the address on the envelope) but we advise processing them at the local Passport Office where one exists. It will take 4-6 weeks to receive your passport if you mail in the application as opposed to 7 working days if you hand it in.
Children, under the age of 16, traveling separately from their parents must have their own passport. Passport Application Form B is designed for children under 16 years of age. If a student is under 16 on the date of the application, Form B must be used. The actual passport received is identical to the over 16, only the application form is different. Therefore, students under the age of 16 on the day of application but who will turn 16 before departure or while on tour, are not affected. They will retain the passport for five years.
Note: Students applying on Form B whose parents are separated or divorced must submit original legal documents as requested in the form confirming the custody arrangements. In addition, BOTH PARENTS must sign the application form.
Original (not photocopied) documentary evidence of Canadian citizenship, such as birth certificate or certificate of Canadian citizenship must be submitted with the application. This will be returned with the passport. A birth certificate may be obtained from Vital Statistics authorities in the respective province.
Persons born outside Canada must provide a certificate of naturalization, proof of Landed Immigrant status, retention of citizenship, registration of birth abroad (for Canadians born abroad) or Canadian Citizenship.
Students who have non-Canadian passports must make this known early in the arrangements as in many cases visas will be required. Individuals are responsible for contacting consulates of the countries they will be visiting for the most recent information pertaining to visa requirements. On pages 16 & 17 of this manual you will find a comprehensive list of consulates and embassies.
Anyone who has changed his/her name but not by legal means must submit statutory declarations from two people indicating the length of time each person has known the applicant by that name. Note: If the person decides to travel by the name on the birth certificate to avoid these statutory declarations, please make sure that WORLD CLASS TOURS LTD. knows this so that the airline ticket, the passport and the birth certificate all have the same name.
A passport is a very important document. Some thought should be given before departure to the safekeeping of the passport while traveling. It must not be packed in checked baggage; you will need it for entry and exit to foreign countries and upon return to Canada. It will be needed to change traveler’s cheques at banks or exchange bureaus. If a passport is lost or stolen, the process of obtaining a replacement or a temporary travel document is long and tedious and seriously interferes with the trip schedule. BE A GOOD TRAVELER; BE CAREFUL AND KNOW WHERE YOUR PASSPORT IS AT ALL TIMES. Parents should keep a photocopy of pages 2 and 3 of the passport. Teachers should have a copy of this as well as a copy of the birth certificate and Alberta Health Care number for each student. This will expedite obtaining a new passport overseas in case one is lost or stolen.
Local passport offices:
Suite 200, Sinclair Centre
Suite 254, Harry Hays Building
For more information regarding passports, please call toll free 1-800-567-6868 for convenient automated information.
All travelers must keep a record of any items purchased outside of the country and must also be able to produce a receipt for such items. Be sure to save all of your receipts as you make purchases throughout the trip. If there is any doubt about the value of your purchases, produce your receipts.
At the present time, you are allowed to bring back into Canada up to $750.00 Canadian worth of goods duty free each time that you travel outside the country for 7 days or more. If you have more than $750.00 worth of goods that you are bringing back into Canada, you will be required to pay duty and GST on the total amount above this limit at your point of entry back into Canada. Every returning traveler must complete a Customs Declaration at the reentry point into Canada. It is very important to be honest on your Customs Declaration. It is a Federal offense, punishable by law, to make a false declaration. Minors are not allowed to bring back alcohol, even as a gift for someone of legal drinking age. For example, minors are not allowed to bring back a bottle of wine for their parents. Remember that the legal drinking age in both Ontario and British Columbia is 19. Therefore, if you are returning to Canada via Toronto or Vancouver, you must be at least 19 years old in order to bring back alcohol.
It is recommended to update your tetanus/diphtheria vaccination as well as polio and red measles (if it has been longer than 10 years since your last vaccination) when traveling to any country other than the United States. Certain exotic areas of the world do have malaria, cholera and yellow fever. Please contact your local Public Health Services Office for the current vaccination requirements, if any, to the area you will be visiting. You may contact the Traveler’s Health Services offices at the following numbers:
County of Strathcona:
The most common ailment is traveler’s diarrhea, usually brought on by unsafe beverages or food. Tap water is safe to drink in Great Britain, Western Europe and New Zealand. However, it is recommended that you buy and drink only bottled water (make sure the seal has not been broken). Tea and coffee are fine as the water has been boiled, as well as bottled pop, beer and wine, again making sure that seals have not been broken. In exotic countries (i.e. Egypt, Morocco, Central America, Mexico, Thailand, Malaysia, etc.) avoid ice cubes, locally bottled water, fruit juices and drinks as well as tap water even to brush your teeth. As well, avoid foods that are room temperature, undercooked meats or seafood, green salads, melons, dairy products, fruits and vegetables that cannot be peeled and food from street vendors. In any country, do not eat undercooked meat. It is also advised not to swim or wade in fresh water. Salt water or chlorinated pools are okay.
Traveler’s should take a small personal first aid kit with them which will contain any over-the-counter remedies they may need such as Tylenol or something for headaches, TUMs or another upset stomach remedy, Gravol for motion sickness, something for diarrhea, colds, sore throats and coughs. Everyone should bring a good supply of band aids and ointment for blisters as well. It is also advisable that group leaders carry a supply of all of these items as well. Inevitably you will need them while traveling by plane, train or coach when it will not be convenient to stop and purchase such items. As well, if you have a traveler who is ill during the night, this first aid kit can come in very handy. It would also be a good idea to include dressings and sterile wipes for more serious cuts or burns as well. Be sure that you are aware of any allergies amongst your group to medications including over-the-counter drugs.
1. Egypt and Morocco – the risk of malaria is very, very low except in some rural areas. Bringing along a good insect repellent, one with a high concentration of DEET, is advisable. Check about shots for Hepatitis A & B, Typhoid and Yellow Fever.
2. Central America – the risk of malaria is quite high if you will be doing any trekking in the jungle areas. You may want to seriously look in anti-malarial drugs for the area you are visiting. Check about shots for Hepatitis A & B, Typhoid and Yellow Fever.
3. China, Hong Kong, Japan, Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia – there are no required immunizations but please note the above recommendations for travel anywhere other than the United States. Check about shots for Hepatitis A & B, Typhoid and Yellow Fever. There is no risk of malaria in big cities and a small risk in jungle areas. Bringing along a good insect repellent, one with a high concentration of DEET, is advisable.
4. Mexico – the risk of malaria is small if you are visiting forested or jungle areas during the day. Bringing along a good insect repellent, one with a high concentration of DEET, is advisable. Check about shots for Hepatitis A & B, Typhoid and Yellow Fever.
Most of the countries visited do not require visas for persons traveling with Canadian passports. There are some notable exceptions. The tour leader must have a Parental Consent letter for each student who is under 18 years of age signed by both parents. This is particularly important if the parents are divorced. Anyone taking minors out of the country can be asked to present written consent from the minor’s parents or legal guardians at the point of departure. Make sure you carry the Parental Consent letters with you at all airports, do not put them in your checked baggage.
2. C.I.S. (Commonwealth of Independent States) – Your World Class Tours representative will advise you of the current requirements for the area you are visiting.
3. Costa Rica – No visa is required for tourists staying up to 90 days.
4. Czech Republic – A visa is no longer required.
5. Egypt – A valid passport good for 6 months after entry plus a visa is required. The cost of a visa as of August 1, 2000 is $25.00 per person.
6. Hungary – A visa is no longer required.
7. Indonesia – A valid passport and onward ticket is required. No visa.
8. Mexico – Passports and visas are not required by Canadians
for travel to Mexico. A ‘tourist card’ is required. These
will be sent to the group to be completed. You will be required to show
proper identification upon entry to and departure from Mexico. In lieu
of a passport (for those who do not have one), the following proofs of
citizenship (originals only!) are acceptable:
9. Orient – Visas are required for entry into China. The fee is $50.00 per person as of August 1, 2000. Visas are not required for entry into Hong Kong, Singapore or Thailand but your passport must be valid for at least 6 months after entry into these countries.
Following is a comprehensive list of embassies in Ottawa and consular
representatives to contact regarding visas for those with non-Canadian
Australian High Commission Ottawa: Phone: (613)
236-0841Fax: (613) 236-4376Consular rep in Vancouver:Phone: (604) 684-1177Fax:
(604) 684-1856 Embassy of
Austria Ottawa: Phone: (613) 789-1444Fax: (613) 789-3431Consular rep
in Calgary:Phone: (403) 283-6526Fax: (403) 283-1512Consular rep in
(604) 687-3338Fax: (604) 681-3578 British Embassy Ottawa: Phone: (613)
237-1530Fax: (613) 237-7980Consular rep in Vancouver:Phone: (604) 683-4421Fax:
(604) 681-0693Consular rep in Calgary:Phone: (403) 705-1755Fax: (403)
We strongly recommend a series of orientation meetings with the group prior to departure. These meetings serve many purposes, one being housekeeping – filling out forms, etc., secondly sharing of valuable information concerning your destination – slides, guest speakers, etc., and thirdly, input from students which helps keep the group cohesive and content. This is when rules and expectations are agreed upon and anxieties and fears are recognized and discussed. These anxieties range from nervousness at being away from home to fear of getting lost or not being able to communicate. Parents are understandably nervous at the thought of their sons and daughters being at large in cities in a foreign country.
If parents are invited to one or more orientation meetings they begin to feel more confident and also more supportive for the travel program. It is often a good idea to send a brief outline of a meeting that parents were unable to attend home with the students. If the parents are going to get in touch with the students while they are away, emphasize that statements like “we miss you” and “you are so far away” tend to create homesickness rather than encourage the students to make the most of their opportunity to travel.
The more that the students actually participate in the pre-departure orientation meetings, the more meaningful they will be. Suggestions for pre-departure activities are included on pages 15-17 of CLASS NOTES for those leaders who would like some ideas. Part of the preparation could be discussion of the merits of keeping a journal or record during the actual trip. Specific questions or suggestions of what to look for help make the journal attractive to the group as a way of recording their experience. WORLD CLASS TOURS LTD. gives a special Travel Notes journal to each participant on the trip. Please encourage students to keep a journal, it will be a life-long keepsake and it is fun for parents to read when their sons and daughters return to Canada.
Why not start off the orientation meetings with a fun quiz including questions of trivia and simple historical and current facts on the places that will be visited on the tour. After you have completed your orientation meetings, give the quiz again and see if everyone was able to achieve a higher score. One of the popular ways to prepare for the sites that will be visited during the tour (because the students are not too happy if the travel club starts to load them down with ‘assignments’) is to have the students make a list of any person, place or achievement that the destination is known for. If they do this independently there is usually at least one keener who gets lots of information with several who do a credible job and a few who make a superficial attempt to come up with something. This information is then made available to everyone in the group. They usually discover that their tour will give them a chance to see many of these well-known places and attractions. When they are traveling they will find that famous people are named during the guided tours and that it helps them to enjoy these tours when they recognize such names. This also helps in preparing activities for any free time that the group has during the tour.
A checklist of objectives also helps to involve students in the preparation for the trip. ‘What do you associate with this destination? Why do people come from all over the world to visit this destination? What do you hope to see? To do? Make a list and check it off when you are there’. This also assists with the geographical concept of the destination; places that are just an inch away form each other on the map will not necessarily be part of the same itinerary in heavily populated Europe! The checklist should be realistic.
Some teachers get the students to write down their preconceived ideas about the destination. What do they think will be the main difference between their home town or city and the ones they will be visiting? What about the people, culture, weather, food? This gives a good basis for a follow-up when the group gets back.
Most of the actual travel details and basic “do’s and don’ts” of travel are covered in the handouts of this booklet. If you are following your own list, make sure that the following points are covered either by you or by the World Class Tours representative prior to the group’s departure.
An important responsibility of the Group Leader is the interaction amongst the members of the group. If the travel group consists of students who do not know each other or the group leader very well, some time should be spent in mixing and getting acquainted. If the group is joined with another group for part of the sightseeing or touring, the leaders should take time to introduce each other to their students and add a few words about the town or city that they come from. This might be done on the coach before leaving. Every effort should be made to generate a feeling of companionship rather than rivalry or hostility between groups.
Pre-departure activities that involve both the students and teacher chaperones serve two purposes:
1. They enable students and teacher chaperones to get to know one another prior to travel. This can help teachers be aware of potential behavioral problems, personality conflicts, ‘budding romances’, and also, it gives teachers the opportunity to build a rapport with those students they do not have in their classes. Many problems and ‘bad’ attitudes can be cleared up before the group leaves home simply by meeting with the students, discussing what they are expecting from the trip, talking about the guidelines and rules that have been set for the group. Often if students understand how the rules were derived and the reason for each one, they are more willing to cooperate throughout the tour.
2. Pre-departure activities teach students about the countries, cities and attractions that they will visit. To benefit the most from the tour, it is essential that students have some prior knowledge of the places included in their itinerary. If they know three or four details about the palaces, museums, cathedrals, artists, political leaders, monarchs, etc. associated with each place that they will visit, they will come away from the tour with a wealth of knowledge. Otherwise, they tend to find guided tours boring and uninteresting and often disturb those members of the group who are trying to listen to the guide.
1. Individual Activities
Students can be motivated if there are prizes to be won that are travel related such as a passport pouch, travel journal, posters, Canadian flag pins, a package of German cookies, an IOU for something in Europe such as a German chocolate bar, French pastry, etc.
*Remember that all activities should promote a positive attitude towards the group and the tour. Impress upon students that they will only get out of the tour what they put into it. If they let cultural differences, language differences, weather, different food, etc. get them down, they will not enjoy this tour or perhaps even future tours. Students have to be taught to be good, open-minded travelers They don’t have to like everything they experience but if they are encouraged to look for positive aspects of each country and its people or the humour in odd situations, they will begin to appreciate and tolerate the differences between Canada and the nations they visit. Often the most memorable times during a tour include being able to laugh at odd or funny situations. Students will have a very negative view of the places and people they meet if they are ‘ allowed’ to complain constantly and continually compare things as to how they are in Canada. Complaining is contagious so nip it in the bud as soon as it starts. Teach your students to have positive attitudes and to appreciate differences. It is a worthwhile exercise to spend some time talking about the stereotypes that other people may have about Canadians, or young people. This might help to show your students that prejudices and negative attitudes are not at all beneficial to anyone. Remember, a few negative attitudes can be detrimental to the entire group’s outlook on their travel experience.
Anyone taking students under the age of 18 years old out of Canada MUST HAVE WRITTEN CONSENT FROM THE PARENTS. Minors under 18 years of age who are traveling without one or both parents must travel with the notarized consent of the absent parents. The signature of the school principal on a form letter on school letterhead with BOTH parents’ signatures is satisfactory. BOTH parents must also sign in the case of divorced parents. We advise that group leaders carry a letter signed by the principal and both parents authorizing the travel and also, authorizing permission for any medical treatment while out of Canada, on them at all times. It could be a very unpleasant situation (and perhaps a matter of life and death!) if group leaders do no have written consent to authorize medical treatment and parents cannot be reached by telephone to give consent for emergency medical procedures. This letter is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT as there have been instances lately where group leaders have found themselves in very touchy situation at the airport here in Canada before the tour has even begun! If group leaders do not have the signed consent letters, departure from Canada could be denied. Please see the attached example letter (Appendix B) which contains all necessary information.
As mentioned earlier, we feel it is best if rules and expectations are discussed as a group with a ‘workable’ consensus being the outcome. You should definitely set some safety and conduct rules for your group. Be sure that you are aware of your school board’s guidelines for student behaviour on extended field trips. Consumption of alcoholic beverages is always a topic of discussion amongst students and depending on the school board, school, teachers, parents and the age of the students, it is an issue handled very differently by each group. Some teachers set the rules; some teachers have the administration set the rules; and many will get the parents involved in this decision. Handle the issue the way that is best for you! Remember, you will be the one enforcing the rules.
On the following page we have a sample of the
outcome of such a discussion at a noon hour orientation meeting at
a local high school. This discussion
resulted in a set of rules mutually agreed upon by the students, parents
and teachers. Please feel free to use this as a guideline for setting
your own rules and expectations.
¨ Pedestrians never have the right of way. Be very careful crossing streets.
¨ Never accept any drink, nor offer a drink to a stranger
¨ Inform your supervisors if you are on medication.
¨ Your passport is the most valuable item on the trip; have it with you at all times.
¨ Everyone is responsible for loading, unloading and general care of his/her own luggage.
¨ Pack your bags before breakfast on the days we are on the road.
¨ There is to be no drinking of alcoholic beverages at all on airplanes or in airports. Remember that the combination of alcohol and high altitudes can have a very strange effect on your system! It is also a long and tiring trip. Best to arrive in good form.
¨ Consumption of alcoholic beverages is permissible only as it is appropriate within the cultural context of the countries visited. For example, a glass of wine at dinner or a glass of beer in a café will not be frowned upon. However, inappropriate consumption will be considered not only a ‘black eye’ for the individual, but a negative reflection on the entire group. The presence of hard liquor in hotel rooms, or any over-indulgence, will be grounds for disciplinary action.
¨ There will be no socializing in hotel rooms after curfew. (Time ______)
¨ Hotel rooms are not to be considered co-educational. There are always plenty of hotel lounges and cafés where your groups can socialize.
¨ It is expected that you will leave airplanes, coaches and your hotel rooms in the order in which you found them. We want to leave a favorable impression.
¨ ALWAYS be courteous to those who wait on you, friendly with those you meet, and positive in your attitudes.
¨ No smoking on the bus.
¨ Remain on the bus until a supervisor has registered the group and obtained hotel keys.
After we leave and people ‘ talk about Canadians’, what do we want them to say about us?
A number of adults travel each year with various student groups as paying members of the tour. There are several points to bear in mind when accepting adults as part of your school’s educational tour.
These adults are required to pay a supplement to cover higher entrance fees and transportation costs for adults. Adults wishing to stay in single or twin rooms will be required to pay an additional amount or share with the students. This is often not a happy arrangement for either students or adults. Please discuss with adult travelers their intentions in terms of rooming arrangements before accepting their application form. Please ensure that paying adult passengers complete the Adult Booking Form (not the Student Booking Form). Please note that single rooms are scarce and very difficult to reserve in certain areas. Therefore, single rooms are always subject to availability.
Traveling with a group of young people requires a certain expertise and a certain amount of experience. Teachers have this experience and are accustomed to interacting with students. Many adults are only experienced in interacting with their own children and their children’s friends on a day-to-day basis. During the tour, adults and students will be together for ALL TRAVEL, ALL INCLUDED MEALS, ALL HOTELS, ALL SIGHTSEEING. Adults traveling as part of the group must realize that they have no more status in the group than any one of the students. On the other hand, they do have a certain responsibility that any adult has when involved with young people. Adults should uphold the group leader’s expectations of the students. Make sure you are very clear in communicating your rules and expectations to your adult participants. Adults must also realize that they have a great responsibility not to interfere with the teacher’s authority in the group and with the harmony of the travel experience. It is essential that they do not complain or make the leader’s task any more difficult than it is. Travel is an adventure and it can be tiring and sometimes frustrating. In these circumstances, the group leader has to keep up the spirits of the group and needs a great deal of support in this. Tell your adult participants that you expect them to have a very positive attitude during the tour as well. If they complain or undermine you behind your back or within small private groups with the students, this will create disharmony amongst the group.
A number of our teachers have been lucky enough to have accompanying adults who have been an asset to the group; if you are considering including adults in your travel plans, please make sure that you have clarified their role before departure. Meet with each adult on an individual basis to outline for them your expectations. This will also help you to ‘get a feel’ for the kind of traveler they will be and how they will interact with the group. Beware of parents who want to go along to police their own child. This could make for some very difficult situations for teachers in charge of the group. Make sure you tell adults that a student tour is very busy and the pace is often hectic. Young people have lots of energy that is best spent during the day. There will not be a lot of ‘down time’ on the tour. Everyone must be in good health and willing to partake in all activities, rain or shine.
Try some role-playing situations with your potential adult members; outline a few scenarios and ask them what they would do. If your adult members have never traveled before, it is essential that they attend the orientation meetings to familiarize themselves with the differences in culture they should expect and to get to know the students. This will help to create a compatible and homogeneous group.
Accommodation is arranged in mostly twin, triple and sometimes quad rooms. On some occasions, five and six persons can be accommodated in one room. The hotels reserve the right to make changes in the distribution of the rooms. Hotelliers are NOT in favour of having all the students on one floor. This is for two reasons; first, there are only so many of each kind of room on any given floor; there is not a floor that is all triples and quads for example. This is the prime consideration in allotting the rooms. Secondly, many hotel managers feel that it is better to have a group of young people distributed around the hotel than to have them ‘take over’ an entire floor. This applies not just to student groups but to any group being accommodated in the hotels. PLEASE NOTE: Any supplements for changes to room allotments made by any group member will be the individual’s responsibility. Extra charges must be paid directly to the hotel.
You will be asked to submit rooming lists for the hotels based on several different arrangements. If we do not receive them as requested, the namelist has to be sent arranged alphabetically; it then becomes extremely difficult to have the hotels make changes.
On most circuit tours, especially in Germany and Austria, the room distribution is given to the leaders during the coach ride from one destination to the next and then presented upon arrival.
Single rooms are very scarce and expensive throughout Great Britain and Europe. An average size group is usually allotted 2 single rooms and these must be assigned firstly to the coach driver and the tour manager. If any member of the group requests additional single rooms, these are subject to availability and a single room surcharge. On average, a single room supplement in Europe is $30.00 per room per night. This single supplement is applicable to anyone requesting a single room including teacher chaperones traveling free of charge, group leaders, adults and students.
NOTE: Adults who are not official chaperones are required to pay a supplement for single and twin rooms. Chaperones of the same sex will be required to share twin rooms. If the group distribution is not even (particularly in the C.I.S.), the price of a single supplement will be added to the cost of the tour. We usually suggest that this should be shared by the group rather than paid by the odd student, but it is up to the Group Leader to decide. Where a cost has been given based on quad accommodation (cruises or North American hotels) there must be an even distribution of quads or there will be a surcharge. Alternately, particularly for cruises, train couchettes and channel berths, empty beds in a cabin will be filled by members of the general public who are traveling
It is essential that all members of a travel group, and especially a student group, have proper medical insurance coverage. Some school boards offer their own insurance packages, but PLEASE compare them to be sure that your group is getting the best coverage.
WORLD CLASS TOURS LTD. offers an All Inclusive Travel Insurance package for our educational travel groups. This insurance coverage may be included in the cost of your tour upon request. The cost of the Travel Insurance Package varies per tour. Your representative will advise the price of insurance when an itinerary has been decided upon.
Some of the main components of a travel insurance package are as follows:
¨ Trip cancellation before departure - This refunds the participant the full amount of the tour package (including the non-refundable deposit) if a participant cancels for reasons of illness, injury or a death in the family.
¨ Trip interruption after departure - This refunds the participant if he/she is forced to return home early for the reasons mentioned above. The amount of the refund is equal to the unused portion of the tour package.
¨ Emergency Excess Hospital/Medical Benefits - Medical treatment in another country because of illness or an accident may or may not be covered by your own medical plan (if any) and your provincial plan. The insurance package that WORLD CLASS TOURS LTD. offers to its travelers covers emergency hospital and medical costs up to a limit of $2,000,000 or $5,000,000.
¨ Baggage, Personal Effects Insurance. Baggage insurance is limited to $500.00 total with no more than $300.00 for any one item. If you have an expensive camera, you must ensure that it is covered separately under your homeowner’s insurance plan. Items of great value should not be taken on educational tours.
Please contact your WORLD CLASS TOURS LTD. representative for the complete details of the current travel insurance package. Sample policies are also available.
Packing is always a problem for first-time or inexperienced travelers, or when you are going to a country where the weather may be an unknown factor or a mixture of warm and wet. For this reason we include a lot of information and suggestions for packing. There is also a sample handout from one of the schools. Much of the information overlaps but it does not do any harm to emphasize the importance of making a packing list.
ONE SUITCASE PER PERSON plus a carry-on bag is all the luggage that is allowed. Luggage for transportation on the plane must be no greater than the dimensions of the space below the seat: 41 cm x 23 cm x 51 cm. The luggage allowance is 20 kilos but you will have to carry or lift your luggage on many occasions; for this reason keep the weight down to 15 kilos. ALL LUGGAGE (including hand luggage) must be CLEARLY LABELED with your name, address and phone number. Be sure to label your checked luggage on the inside as well in case the luggage tag is torn off your suitcase while in transit.
¨ Do not pack aerosol cans in your luggage;
keep them with you in the pressurized cabin.
USEFUL ITEMS TO CONSIDER PACKING:
¨ Small pair of scissors
FIRST AID AND COSMETIC ITEMS:
¨ Several Band-Aids
Electrical equipment has definite drawbacks; it is usually bulky and often heavy. European currents are 220 volts and their plugs are different from ours and often from those of another country. You could ruin your equipment and fuse the system of the hotel. It is possible to get adapters and converters but you must decide if they are worth the cost, space and extra weight. You can purchase appliances that have a dual-voltage switch, but is usually not worth specifically buying them for this trip.
LEAVE YOUR JEWELLERY AT HOME
See the note on insurance if your camera is an expensive one. If it looks valuable or new then it is a good idea to register it at the airport with Customs before you leave. This is a simple procedure; a card is provided for this purpose and you register the serial number of your camera before departure. If you do not have a proof of previous ownership when you return from your trip, the Custom inspectors are within their rights to make you pay duty on the camera.
Most of what you will be seeing is non-moving; slides and prints will give you a better record than movies or videos in all probability.
Film is available in Europe, but it is definitely more expensive and you may have to search for a particular kind. Taking all the rolls and extra batteries that you will need from home is a wise move.
STATIONERY, GAMES, ETC.
A pack of cards, a paperback you can swap with someone, a traveling backgammon, a walkman/discman (with a couple of tapes or CDs only!) are all items you will be glad to have with you on longer traveling days.
ABOUT WALKMANS AND DISCMANS
GENERAL PACKING TIPS:
LUGGAGE: You will be allowed to take one large suitcase, one flight bag which will fit under your seat on the plane, and one purse (girls) or camera case (boys). All items, including your hand luggage, must be clearly labeled with your name, address, telephone number, and the name of your group. Labels will be obtained for you. Make sure you have an extra luggage key.
PARTNERS: Have a roommate with whom you share the duties of carrying heavy items such as hair dryers and curling irons. You will only need one per room; electrical converters as well.
WARDROBE: Plan your wardrobe around one or two color schemes so that every item of clothing matches. Pack with activities in mind and when choosing a coat, pick one that will do for all occasions. Ski jackets are too bulky, act like sponges in rain and do not look too fashionable worn over an evening outfit. All-weather coats or leather jackets are great. Sweaters and pullovers are invaluable as the weather is unpredictable, and it’s smart to layer your clothes. Select drip-dry or permanent-press articles. There may be chances to wash your clothes, but it takes a long time to dry laundry so carry enough socks and underwear for the duration.
PACKING: On the road, pack the night before you depart and have your clothes that you are going to wear in the morning ready to go. Always check your hotel room before leaving and never pack on an unmade, messy bed. Look underneath the furniture and in all the drawers and in bathrooms and closets. Report all lost items immediately to your leader; insurance covers you only if proper reports have been filed. Use your suitcase as a ‘safe’ when you are out for the day and lock all valuables in it. Never take any really valuable items with you in the first place, especially jewelry.
MEDICAL: Prescriptions must be packed in their original containers and registered on the medical form that your group leader carries. If you need a prescription filled or are afraid of losing the one that you have, make sure your doctor describes your mediation in international terms. If you wear contact lenses, please pack your old glasses and carry plenty of solution.
SECURITY: When traveling, security is knowing where your passport is at all times. Do not carry it in your suitcase. You will need it at the airport, you will need it to cash travelers cheques. Everyone MUST HAVE a travel folder or neck pouch which will hold the passport and travelers cheques as well. A neck pouch or money belt is without a doubt invaluable while you are traveling
COURTESY: Please keep, or at least leave, your room tidy. Be considerate of your roommates and their clothing and luggage. Avoid borrowing money except on a short-term basis due to the exchange problem.
DO PACK YOUR GOOD WILL AND A SPIRIT OF CO-OPERATION. REMEMBER THAT CUSTOMS DIFFER AND THAT WE TRAVEL TO OTHER COUNTRIES BECAUSE THEY ARE DIFFERENT. ACCEPT THESE DIFFERENCES GRACIOUSLY AND TRY TO UNDERSTAND BEFORE YOU CRITICIZE. NOW – TAKE OUT ONE THIRD OF WHAT YOU HAVE PACKED AND YOU WILL BE READY TO GO!
SAMPLE PACKING LIST (SCHOOL HANDOUT)
FOR YOUR FLIGHT BAG:
The following items should be placed in your flight bag as your suitcase will be check straight through, and you’ll need certain items to freshen up with on the plane. PACK AS THOUGH YOUR SUITECASE WAS GOING TO BE LOST FOR A FEW DAYS. Keep with you your passport, your travelers’ cheques, any cash you may want, something to read, addresses for postcards, maybe even your foreign phrase book.
Place all toilet articles in a waterproof bag and buy the smaller size of any container; you really don’t need all that much shampoo for two weeks or less. Try not to select any cosmetics or other items that are packed in glass bottles. Pack as if everything you have might break or leak. Protect such articles by surrounding them with unbreakables.
FOR YOUR SUITCASE:
IN THE BOTTOM LAYER: Place all heavy and odd-shaped articles, remembering
which side will be up when you stand it up. Wear your heaviest shoes.
Tuck accessories and underclothes between these items and along the sides.
Put underwear in a plastic bag to avoid turning red when your suitcase
falls open in the airport! Other items such as belts, tuck in on the
sides and shoes, packed heel-to-toe, can hide small breakable items.
Wear your heavy sweater; there is plenty of room for it in the storage
space of the plane.
PLASTIC GARBAGE BAGS OF THE KITCHEN SIZE ARE THE HANDIEST THING YOU CAN CARRY. CARRY SEVERAL. PUT WET ITEMS IN THEM..PUT LAUNDRY IN THEM..PACK SOUVENIERS IN THEM.
ON YOUR PERSON -
FLIGHT BAG – Your flight bag should be packed as though your suitcase was going to be lost for a couple of days.
SUITCASE – Comfortable shoes – worn
in, not new.
1. Thou shalt not expect to find things as thou hast them at home..for thou hast left thy home to find things different.
2. Thou shalt not let the other tourists get on thy nerves…for thou art paying good money to enjoy thyself.
3. Thou shalt remember to conduct thyself in such a manner that will be a credit to thy school, community and country.
4. Thou shalt remember thy passport so thou knowest where it is at all times…for a man without a passport is a man without a country.
5. Thou shalt remember that if we were expected to stay in one place...we would have been created with roots.
6. Thou shalt not worry. He that worrieth hath no pleasure…few things are fatal.
7. Thou shalt remember thou art a guest in every land…and he that treateth his host with respect is treated as an honored guest.
8. Thou shalt not judge the people of a country by one person with whom thou hast had trouble.
9. Thou shalt remember thy flight number, seat number, bus number, room number, hotel phone number, passport number, and Travelers’ Cheques numbers… for these are thy aid and comfort when all else appears to be in confusion.
10. Thou shalt not expect all planes to leave from airports on time, every time.
Calling home is now easier than ever before. With the Canada Direct service, just one direct dial phone connects you with a Canadian operator whether you are calling collect or using a calling card. This is particularly helpful when language barriers are involved.
In all hotels, if you wish to use the telephone inside your room, you must leave some sort of deposit, whether in the form of cash or a credit card imprint. It is also a good idea to inform the front desk if the call you are making is with a calling card or collect to make sure long distance charges are not placed on your room’s bill when you check out. If you cannot leave a deposit, pay telephones are usually located in hotel lobbies or you may be able to use one at the reception desk for a toll free call. In any case, you will most likely be charged a small fee, as you are in North American hotels, for using the phone.
Below is a list of Canada Direct access numbers to contact the Canadian operator.
If you are not in a country where the Canada Direct can be used, you will have to make a collect call through the local operator. Ask at the reception desk for assistance with your call.
Remember that there is a big time difference from where you are calling.
April Average July Average
Tipping is a widely accepted (and expected!) practice throughout the world. Any time you have a beverage or meal in a restaurant, a tip is expected. Often a 15% tip is included in restaurant bills. If the bill says ‘service included’ or ‘service compris’, this means that the tip has already been added to the total of the bill. In this case, there is no need to leave an additional tip on the table. Local guides for morning or full day sightseeing tours, tour managers or escorts and coach drivers all expect to receive a tip once they have completed their services for a group. For example, if you have had the same guide in a city for two different tours, a gratuity is expected at the end of the second day. Tipping is always at the discretion of the tour participants and it is advisable to collect money for tips and gratuities from the students prior to departure from Canada. Often, small fund raising events, such as bake sales, can be quite successful for raising the funds needed for tipping throughout the tour. Group leaders should be in charge of giving out the tips. It is not advisable to leave it up to the students. The average total needed for tipping is approximately $15 to $20 per person (including teacher chaperones) depending on the type of tour. If you have a coach driver and tour manager throughout your tour, then group leaders should collect more money from the group. Following is a suggested guideline for tipping throughout the tour:
Local city guides: $1.00 per person
Note: Please contact your WORLD CLASS TOURS representative for information on tipping in Egypt. It is VERY different.
School ID cards can be very useful in obtaining reduced rates for museum entrances, major attractions and special events. Remind students to take their school ID cards with them and carry them at all times. Some museums allow students to enter free of charge if they have proper school ID with them. An official International Student ID Card is available from Travel Cuts. However, the cost is $15.00 and is usually not worth the extra money.
As well, teachers should carry ID cards from their schools or boards or associations for the same reasons. Often, entrances fees and tickets prices are not charged or are reduced for teacher chaperones of student groups. Everyone should carry birth certificates and driver’s license with them throughout their tour as ‘back-up’ ID. If a passport is lost or stolen, proper identification is required to obtain a temporary passport. This identification should be kept separate from your passport.
1. DO collect passports from the students and keep them locked up in the school vault until the day or two prior to departure.
2. DO carry copies of the medical forms, photocopies of the passports, the list of passport numbers and emergency contact phone numbers with you at all times! You never know when you will need this information and in some cases, there may not be time to return to the hotel to retrieve it.
3. DO insist that everyone in the group be punctual. It is not fair to the rest of the group if they are continually waiting for a group of two or three students.
4. DO monitor meals to make sure that students are eating something nutritional at every meal. They should not be allowed to skip meals or refuse to eat. Often if this happens, it means that students are living on junk food such as chocolate and potato chips. Jet lag, long hours and little sleep are already factors that affect everyone’s health, therefore, it is imperative that proper nourishment isn’t overlooked.
5. DO carry a small supply of common remedies for the students. Often, they will need bandaids, aspirins, antacid tablets, gravol, cough drops or syrup, sore throat lozenges and something for diarrhea. It isn’t always convenient to find a pharmacy that sells these items. Especially during long bus rides, sightseeing tours, or in the middle of the night.
6. DO check all hotel rooms before departing from a hotel. Be sure to look in bathrooms and closets for items that have been left behind. Also, group leaders can check for any damage to the rooms at this time. We suggest you do this with a member of the hotel staff to avoid any unwarranted charges to the students at a later date. Also, if you do this at the time, you will know who is responsible for the damage and any charges should be paid by the students immediately.
7. DON’T allow students to carry their own airline tickets. Replacing a lost airline ticket is extremely time consuming and often, expensive. They may be returned to students once home if they wish to keep them as souvenirs.
8. DON’T allow students to be noisy and obnoxious in airports, on airplanes, in museums or especially in hotels. Remind them that there are other travelers around them who do not appreciate excessive noise and horseplay. Hotel management always reserves the right to evict a group from a hotel at any time of day or night.
9. DON’T allow students off the bus until the group has been properly checked into the hotel and you have obtained room keys. Often there are last minute instructions to give the group regarding hotel procedures, meal and sightseeing times, curfews, etc. which is difficult to do in hotel lobbies or once the group has dispersed.
10. DON’T forget to take some time out for
yourself. Try to divide responsibilities between chaperones so that
you can each have an evening
or two to yourself to relax or catch up on sleep. And remember, have
a great time!
Champagne flights to Europe with a steak dinner and fine French wine followed by a feature film sounds great. But travelers concerned with jet lag would do better with a salad and water, topped off with a snooze. Jet lag is the bodily dysfunction that hits air travelers making a radical switch in time zones. At worst, it can leave you tired and lethargic for days. The body has its own clock, running on a 25 hour cycle. When you arrive in London or Paris after a night flight from Canada, it’s morning there but bedtime back home. Naturally, you’re tired. Many travelers give in at this point, check into a hotel and go to sleep. That’s a big mistake, warn Dr. Olaf Skjenna, Air Canada director of occupational health and safety. The body can adjust easily to time changes of one or two hours. More than that, it needs help. Without a concerted effort to speed the time process, it may take up to a week – about a day for each hour of time change - to fully adjust your biorhythm to the new time zone. That can detract from a vacation and render you more vulnerable to illness. Skjenna offers these tips to reduce jet lag:
¨ Eastbound travelers should try going to bed an hour or two earlier
the night before leaving. If you’re westbound, the time change
works the other way, so you go to bed an hour or two later.
Following these tips may help you start enjoying your journey a lot sooner.
1. It is imperative to spend some time prior to departure talking and thinking about the various currencies that will be used during your tour. If possible, have actual examples of the notes and coins to see. You need to know the basic unit of currency that is used in each country, for example, the pound in England, the Euro in France and Italy, the dollar in Australia, etc. Which countries now use the Euro?
2. Contact a bank or foreign exchange office to obtain the current exchange rates and then, try converting various amounts to Canadian dollars. For example, if you want to purchase a sweatshirt in London and the price is £15.50, what is the Canadian equivalent? If you spend 6.80 Euros on lunch, how much have you spent in Canadian dollars? If you change $150.00 Canadian into Euros, how many Euros should you get back from the bank? These are very basic real-life situations that you will experience on the trip.
3. If you are really ambitious, you can prepare a laminated, pocket-size conversion chart to carry with your traveler’s cheques.
4. You must have a small amount of currency on your person for when you arrive at your foreign destination. There isn’t time in airports and train stations for each person in the group to change money. Therefore, if everyone has the equivalent of $50.00 in cash (not traveler’s cheques) with them, they will be able to purchase something to eat or drink, use the telephone or pay toilets or purchase small items.
5. If you are traveling to more than one country, it is a good idea to purchase a small amount ($30.00 worth) of currency of each country that will be visited. It is always best to have cash on you in the currency you will need in case you are unable to go to a bank to change your traveler’s cheques upon arrival.
6. You should take your money in the form of traveler’s cheques. These are easily replaced if they are lost or stolen. A list of the cheque numbers should be kept in a safe place away from the cheques themselves (perhaps give a copy of the list to your roommates or group leader) and also, a copy of the cheque numbers should be left at home with your parents.
7. There is no need to purchase traveler’s cheques in U.S. dollars. Cheques in Canadian funds are readily accepted and converted to the local currency.
8. However, if you are traveling to only one or two countries, you may purchase traveler’s cheques in the local currencies you will need. This saves time and money as the traveler’s cheques can be cashed at hotels or exchange bureaus without worrying about the exchange rates.
9. A commission charge is always taken when traveler’s cheques (both Canadian dollar and foreign currency cheques) are cashed. Always check the exchange and commission rates before cashing traveler’s cheques. The commission rates especially can vary greatly. American Express Exchange Bureaus usually do not charge commission fees on ANY type of traveler’s cheques.
10. The best place to change money is a bank. If this is not convenient then, exchange bureaus or train stations offer the next best rates. Never change money at a hotel unless it is an emergency!
11. A passport is always required when changing traveler’s cheques. You can however, change bank notes without ID.
12. If you are traveling from one country to another by train or ferry, the currencies from either country are accepted on board.
13. Most of the local currency you receive will be in the form of coins. Bank notes are becoming more and more rare for small denominations. Coins cannot be converted from one currency to another (including Canadian dollars). Therefore, try to spend them before traveling to the next country on the agenda.
14. Lastly, never carry large amounts of money (more than $20.00 worth) in a back pocket or wallet. Carry your traveler’s cheques, cash money and passport in a money pouch or belt under a sweater or jacket at all times.
Following are examples of some foreign currencies. The exchange rates given are only approximate actual values and should not be used for foreign exchange transactions.