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KAndid Advice for Washington D.C.

There’s no better civics lesson than a trip to Washington D.C. There are standard favorites and must-dos… the Smithsonian Museums, monuments and memorials, a walk past 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. However, there’s so much more to experience in our nation’s capital than you may realize. The Kaleidoscope Adventures staff has years of experience touring our nation’s capital with students. As a result, they have collected some exceptional nuggets of wisdom to help you make the most of your Washington D.C. trip.

National Museum of the Marine Corps

Robin (Kaleidoscope Adventures President) always includes this stop on D.C. itineraries. The National Museum of the Marine Corps tells more than 200+ years of the Marine Corps’ rich history, with collections that highlight “the warrior on the front lines to the families on the home front.” It’s a great venue for student groups, who can even enjoy a boxed lunch in the Devil Dog Diner!

National Archives

The National Archives is a hot spot for Ray (KA consultant) and a great chance to study how the actions of the Federal Government are based in our Constitution. Participants take on the roles of archivists and researchers completing a very important assignment: providing the President of the United States with real-life examples of our Constitution in action. The National Archives also houses the three original “Charters of Freedom,” including the Declaration of Independence, Constitution and Bill of Rights.

Newseum

Noelle (operations) is a big fan of the Newseum for student groups. The Newseum is a high-tech, interactive museum highlighting the past, present and history of journalism. It’s super easy for groups of all sizes to navigate and students are fascinated by the engaging exhibits.

The National Air & Space Museum Annex at Dulles Airport (Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center)

This facility is a companion facility to the National Air & Space Museum on the Mall and a favorite venue for Keith (chief operating officer). Students may remember it from the Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen movie. Keith likes it because it’s an in-depth experience of American aviation history (he’s probably a fan of Jetfire as well!)

FDR Memorial

Another Keith highlight is the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial. Situated halfway between the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials, it’s path winds past waterfalls, bronze sculptures and FDR’s own powerful words carved into the granite walls. All the D.C. memorials should be on your tour list, but this one really should not be missed.

Frederick Douglass National Historic Site

Michelle (KA consultant) likes to round out the itinerary with a stop at the Frederick Douglass National Historic Site. Guided tours are available at this home of famous abolitionist and reformer, Frederick Douglass. Catch a glimpse of the statesman’s life, legacy and impact on America.

House of the Temple

Here’s a unique attraction that most don’t realize should be part of the itinerary! The Masonic House of the Temple offers a glimpse into the secret world of the masons. The building, completed in 1915, is an adaptation of one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. It’s about 10 minutes outside of D.C. but definitely worth the stop.

Instrumental Performance Clinic

Joseph (senior tour consultant) has a secret weapon for band directors in his D.C. arsenal. One of the most effective concert band clinics with the highest music education content exists in Washington DC. Professional musicians will sit in each section of your concert band or wind ensemble while the ensemble works with a conductor/clinician on the podium. The pros will play along with your students. They’ll also play separately so the conductor/clinician can demonstrate specific concepts or subtleties that are best be heard, rather than explained. Watch the performance standard of your ensemble rise before your very ears!

As you plan your student trip to Washington D.C., tuck these tips in your back pocket. Better yet, call Kaleidoscope Adventures directly to chat with our expert staff. More than 25+ years in the student travel industry gives us some serious street cred! We’ll work with you to create a unique itinerary that meets all your objectives. KA really is travel beyond expectations!

KAndid Advice for New York City

New York City reigns supreme as one of our favorite student destinations. There’s so much to see and do, it’s hard to squeeze it all in. Our expert staff has some great group tips for getting the most out of New York City!

Rockefeller Center

Stephanie (tour consultant) absolutely loves Rockefeller Center for student groups. It’s a one stop shop for the best of NYC. The observation deck at Top of the Rock is usually less crowded than the Empire State Building and offers a stunning, unobstructed view of the city. The NBC Studios tour is popular with students and tons of fun. If traveling during the winter months, a stop at the ice rink is a must. If traveling during the holidays, the Christmas Tree at Rockefeller Center is a spectacular must-see!

Freehand Hotel

Steven (tour consultant) is a big fan of the Freehand Hotel for accommodations. Located in the historic Flatiron District, the Freehand has an artsy vibe, great food and a unique flair. Students will love this distinctly New York City experience.

Dough and DeKalb Market Hall

Kadianne (operations manager and former resident of NYC) knows its “sweet” spots. A favorite is “Dough,” located in Brooklyn and the Flatiron District. Dough is known for its legendary and mouthwatering doughnuts. DeKalb Market Hall in Brooklyn is also a great option for all kinds of local flavor – students can taste a little bit of everything!

One World Observatory

One World Observatory at the Westfield World Trade Center is another favorite stop for Kadianne. SkyPod elevators climb 102 stories in 42 seconds for a view like none other!

Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum

Keith (chief operating officer) understands The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum offers a rare opportunity for the youth of today to interact with the heroes of the past. Precious few years remain that will allow younger generations to spend time face to face with those who served on ships like the Intrepid. Capture these teachable moments before they slip away.

Lower East Side Tenement Museum and Ellis Island

Keith also has another awesome gem to share with student groups- the Lower East Side Tenement Museum. This landmark building tells the story of immigrants to New York City between the 19th and 21st centuries through the personal experiences of those who lived here. Couple this experience with a trip to Ellis Island  and the Statue of  Liberty to help students understand the role of immigration in our nation’s evolving identity.

Staten Island Ferry

If you just want a great harbor view (and photo op!) of the Statue of Liberty, Michelle (KA consultant) suggests a ride on the Staten Island Ferry. Leaving approximately every 20 minutes from Battery Park, the ferry is free and takes your group right past the Statue.

As you plan your student trip to New York City, tuck these tips in your back pocket. Better yet, call Kaleidoscope Adventures directly to chat with our expert staff. More than 25+ years in the student travel industry gives us some serious street cred! We’ll work with you to create a unique itinerary that meets all your objectives. KA really is travel beyond expectations!

KAndid Advice for Planning Student Trips to Orlando

Traveling to a new destination with students is exciting… and nerve-wracking! Wouldn’t it be great to have a cheat sheet? Imagine if that cheat sheet came from some of the best student tour professionals in the business. KAndid Advice is just that- expert tips from Kaleidoscope Adventures staff to help you navigate a new destination and get the most from your student travel. Let’s start with some KAndid advice for planning student trips to Orlando…

Everyone knows that Orlando is home to world-class theme parks and attractions. It’s a student favorite for a reason! However, there are lots of amazing things to do with student groups outside the parks – and the KA staff is giving you an insider’s look.

Wild Florida

Anastasiya (accounting and IT manager) loves Wild Florida as an alternative to the hustle and bustle of theme parks. Wild Florida is a one-of-a-kind wildlife experience, offering airboat rides, alligator encounters, and a great variety of wading, floating and flying birds. A petting zoo and some great BBQ round out the fun. Students will talk about this adventure for years – and they’ll never forget their first airboat ride!

Beach BBQ and Escape Room

Joseph (senior tour consultant) has some great ideas for getting off the beaten path. Consider a half day BBQ lunch at the beach. Just about an hour’s ride from the hotels, it’s one of his favorite things to do with students. They love the sun, fun and food while teachers and chaperones enjoy a break from the chaos.
Joseph also follows up a beach day with a visit to an escape room. Orlando offers a few great choices, all guaranteed to test wits and tickle the funny bone. Escape Rooms are also great for team building. Pit the girls against the boys or the trumpets against the clarinets in the ultimate quest to solve a puzzle!

Kennedy Space Center

Not far from Orlando is the Kennedy Space Center, a favorite of both Keith (chief operating officer) and Stephanie (tour consultant). The Kennedy Space Center offers an in-depth look at space and space travel and the role both played in our nation’s history. Students can get up close and personal with the Saturn V rocket or experience what it was like to be in the Firing Room for the launch of Apollo 8. It’s a great way to incorporate STEM into your itinerary and “have a blast” while doing it!

2015 Class Trips and Graduation Parties at Universal Orlando Resort

Hard Rock Café

If you’re looking for a great dining option for students, Steven (tour consultant and resident musician!) recommends the Hard Rock Café. Just steps from both Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure, it’s group-friendly and features an eclectic, American-style menu to satisfy even the pickiest eaters. Students are also surrounded by cool music memorabilia and encouraged to join in the pop-up sing-alongs. So much fun!

As you plan your student trip to Orlando, tuck these tips in your back pocket. Better yet, call Kaleidoscope Adventures directly to chat with our expert staff. More than 25+ years in the student travel industry gives us some serious street cred! We’ll work with you to create a unique itinerary that meets all your objectives. KA really is travel beyond expectations!

Selling Trips to Parents and Students

You have a great idea for a trip. You just KNOW the kids are going to flock to sign up for this epic adventure which will seamlessly tie together your curriculum and probably put you in the running for teacher of the year. You confidently post the sign-up sheet and wait for the signatures to pour in. Three days later, you are still waiting for that first lucky student to put pen to paper. What’s going on?!?

Expert Teacher

As a teacher, you have unique skills and talents. You affect change and influence lives in a way that most people cannot. You juggle students, parents, administration and community while handling mountains of paperwork and instruction. You recognize teachable moments when they pop up (thus the reason for your trip!) and neatly incorporate them into your instruction. That said, selling trips to parents and students is probably not in your wheelhouse.

Expert Salesperson?

Being an expert teacher does not necessarily qualify you as an expert in student travel promotion. Regardless of the inherent awesomeness of your trip, it can be a challenge to convince students and parents to sign up. You have to generate a little buzz, create a great marketing campaign, address parent concerns and manage the financial aspects of the experience. In short, it requires a LOT of work!

Tools to Make it Happen

Trips are successful and well-attended when you plan with the right tools. Kaleidoscope Adventures will get your trip on track with helpful resources developed by our in-house marketing team. Our marketing kit includes:

• Engaging video created for parents and students to help build excitement for the trip
• Relevant and clearly-presented information about your chosen destination
• Value of travel as part of a well-rounded education
• Inspiring student testimonials about how travel impacts lives
• Fundraising options and ideas to help your trip succeed

We know you have a lot of time and energy invested in planning this incredible opportunity for students. However, you don’t have to shoulder the burden alone! Filling those participant slots is a lot easier with a little help from the experts. Trust Kaleidoscope to take the lead on your adventure and motivate students to sign up for your once-in-a-lifetime teachable moment!

A Handy Guide To Use When Packing for A Student Trip

In a world in which “glamping” is an accepted form of outdoor recreation, it’s no surprise that we tend to overpack. We want to be sure we have all the necessary creature comforts in the event of an apocalypse. However, when packing for a student trip, we need to be a bit more discerning. Chances are good that space is limited so we need to make the most of what we bring. Below is a handy guide to use when packing for a student trip…

EVERY TRAVELER SHOULD PACK

• Enough clothes for each day of the trip (including undies and an extra pair of socks!)
• Gloves, hat, scarf (depending on weather)
• Swimsuit / flip flops
• Sunscreen / sunglasses / baseball cap or visor
• Insect repellent (preferably wipes)
• Layers (hoodies in case it gets cold, joggers, etc.)
• School shirt or trip shirt to identify as part of the group
• Nightwear that is appropriate for room sharing
• Appropriate and comfortable shoes for walking
• Closed-toe shoes for traveling
• Toiletries including travel soap, shampoo (check with the group leader regarding hair dryers, curling irons, etc.)
• Extra pair of lenses /glasses
• Prescriptions in original packaging and a list of prescribed medications for the group leader (check with the group leader on specific protocol)
• Phone / phone charger
• Travel poncho
• Limited cash / debit card (remember, most fees are included in the cost of the trip)

BUS TRAVELERS SHOULD ALSO PACK

• A bag for the bus that includes anything you want to have handy but don’t necessarily need once off the bus (change of clothes, snacks*, drink, headphones, make up, lip balm, sunscreen, hoodie). This bag typically stays on the motor coach while students jump off and on
• Small backpack or cross body bag to keep with you while touring. Keep cash, phone, and other essentials in this one

AIR TRAVELERS SHOULD ALSO PACK

• Photo ID / Passport (check with the group leader)
• Snacks* for the plane
• Dramamine (again, check with the group leader)
• Backpack with a change of clothes in the event a bag is lost
• Carry-on liquids, aerosols, creams and gels using the 3-1-1 rule (3.4 oz bottle or less; 1quart-sized, clear, plastic, zip-top bag; 1 bag per passenger)
• Unlocked luggage for easier TSA accessibility
• Bags that are discreetly labeled with identifying information

Remember, when packing for a student trip, excess is not an option. Keep it simple and smart and you’ll be prepared for a successful adventure!

*Check with your group leader regarding any specific food allergies

Great Questions Parents Should Ask Before the Student Trip

Your middle-schooler (who you are SURE just started kindergarten yesterday) is going on the school trip. You are certain he’ll never be able to function without you. He’ll lose his money, get lost in the big city or not get enough rest and end up sick. What’s a parent to do?  Take a deep breath and ask questions! The more you know, the better you’ll feel about letting your child travel. Here are some great questions parents should ask before the student trip.

Who’s in Charge?

Identify who the decision-makers are on the trip. Is there a reputable, insured student tour operator handling the details? Check to see if the company is a member of the Student Youth Travel Association. Will there be a designated tour consultant traveling with students? Is the coordinating teacher taking the lead? Are chaperones provided through the school or parent volunteers? Does everyone have clearances? Knowing who is traveling with your child provides peace of mind.

What’s the Safety Plan?

If this is the first time your child is traveling alone, safety probably tops your list of concerns. Check that a safety plan is in place- including emergency procedures for transportation, hotel and attractions. Ask if the group is using a communication app like Remind or Cluster to keep students informed of changes or challenges. Find out if a nurse will be available for medical emergencies or to assist with medication. A safety plan should be available to any parent who asks!

Which Mode of Transportation?

Typically, students travel by motorcoach or air. If your school trip is by motorcoach, ask for the safety record of the company. You can also find this information at the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) website.

If your group plans to fly, ask for the I.D. requirements (passport), carrier, and whether it’s a commercial or chartered flight. Will the group be separated or flying together? These may seem like common sense questions, but important to ask before the trip.

What is the Discipline Policy?

We hope our students behave like angels while away from home; the reality is that sometimes trouble finds them. Ask for the discipline code, which in most cases follows the district’s policy. Unacceptable behaviors and consequences should be clearly noted.

As parents, you’ll have many more questions about your child’s student trip- especially if it’s the first. These are great questions with which to start as you wade into the unknown! Arm yourself with answers and know that you’re giving your child an incredible opportunity to experience the world around them.

Day at the Museum

The class trip is planned and this year it includes a museum visit. Oh boy. Theres very little thats more intimidating than taking students into the hallowed halls of a cultural institution. Moving in large peer groups with gangly limbs flailing about, most think of students as high-risk museum visitors. However, museums love student groups! Just a few reminders and rules of etiquette can help ensure that the kids love the experience as well and the day at the museum is a successful one for all involved.

FOOD AND DRINK
A standard rule of thumb is that most museums prohibit food and drink in the exhibit areas. A caf or cafeteria may be available, or sack lunches permitted in designated areas. Chewing gum may also be prohibited- check with your specific site for details.

TOUCHING
Whether or not exhibits are hands-on is entirely dependent on the museum. Some encourage hands-on exploration, while others prefer a hands-off approach to preserve artifacts and displays.

NOISE
Student groups are noisy; its the nature of the beast. However, it is not impossible to be a bit more reserved while in a museum. The museum environment is often one of reflection and introspection. Using the universal indoor voice will make it a better experience for everyone.

BACKPACKS
As a general rule, leave backpacks on the bus or at the front desk. Carrying them into the gallery is risking bumping a display or damaging artwork.

CELL PHONES
Cell phones should be off or silenced while in a museum.

DOCENT
Your museum guide, or docent, is instrumental in making your experience exceptional. Docents are well-trained, knowledgeable and helpful. They will keep the group engaged and on task. Be kind to them!

PHOTOGRAPHY
Most museums try to eliminate natural light (both visible and invisible) to avoid damaging objects on display. Therefore, many discourage the use of photography to protect collections. This isnt always the case, though, and you should check with your specific institution for guidelines prior to your visit.

Museums dont have to be scary places for student groups. They are filled with opportunities to learn, appreciate and be inspired. Following a few common-sense rules ensures that all patrons have an exceptional experience and a phenomenal day at the museum.

A Handy Guide to Use When Packing for A Student Trip

In a world in which glamping is an accepted form of outdoor recreation, its no surprise that we tend to over pack. We want to be sure we have all the necessary creature comforts in the event of an apocalypse. However, when packing for a student trip, we need to be a bit more discerning. Chances are good that space is limited so we need to make the most of what we bring. Below is a handy guide to use when packing for a student trip

EVERY TRAVELER SHOULD PACK

Enough clothes for each day of the trip (including undies and an extra pair of socks!)
Gloves, hat, scarf (depending on weather)
Swimsuit / flip flops
Sunscreen / sunglasses / baseball cap or visor
Insect repellent (preferably wipes)
Layers (hoodies in case it gets cold, joggers, etc.)
School shirt or trip shirt to identify as part of the group
Nightwear that is appropriate for room sharing
Appropriate and comfortable shoes for walking
Closed-toe shoes for traveling
Toiletries including travel soap, shampoo (check with the group leader regarding hair dryers, curling irons, etc.)
Extra pair of lenses /glasses
Prescriptions in original packaging and a list of prescribed medications for the group leader (check with the group leader on specific protocol)
Phone / phone charger
Travel poncho
Limited cash / debit card (remember, most fees are included in the cost of the trip)

BUS TRAVELERS SHOULD ALSO PACK

A bag for the bus that includes anything you want to have handy but dont necessarily need once off the bus (change of clothes, snacks*, drink, headphones, make up, lip balm, sunscreen, hoodie). This bag typically stays on the motor coach while students jump off and on
A small backpack or cross body bag to keep with you while touring. Keep cash, phone, and other essentials in this one

AIR TRAVELERS SHOULD ALSO PACK

Photo ID / Passport (check with the group leader)
Snacks* for the plane
Dramamine (again, check with the group leader)
Backpack with a change of clothes in the event a bag is lost
Carry-on liquids, aerosols, creams and gels using the 3-1-1 rule (3.4 oz bottle or less; 1quart-sized, clear, plastic, zip-top bag; 1 bag per passenger)
Unlocked luggage for easier TSA accessibility
Bags that are discreetly labeled with identifying information

Remember, when packing for a student trip, excess is not an option. Keep it simple and smart and youll be prepared for a successful adventure!

*Check with your group leader regarding any specific food allergies

Teach & Travel has Fresh Ideas for Student Travel

Youre back. The class trip is over. You can breathe a sigh of relief since all went well and everyone had a fabulous time. You dont have to think about fundraisers and permission slips again until the fall except that youve already started thinking about it! You always plan your student travel to the same destination- parents expect it, administration expects it and students expect it. Heck, you inherited the trip from the teacher in your position before you! Wouldnt it be great to shake things up a bit? There are so many incredible, student-friendly destinations. Maybe its time to test the waters and try something different. Teach & Travel magazine is the perfect springboard when youre ready to dive in!

Top Student Destinations

While youre relaxing poolside this summer (ha- like teachers ever get to do THAT), take a minute to check out the most recent issue of Teach & Travel. Teach & Travel is the official publication of the Student Youth Travel Association (SYTA) and packed with valuable information for anyone planning student travel. The May 2018 issue highlights the top ten U.S., North American and international destinations for students. If youre ready to change things up, this is an excellent resource with which to begin.

Planning Tips and Ideas

Teach & Travel is a quintessential powerhouse of student travel ideas, statistics and solutions for your most challenging travel dilemmas. It provides great new intel on the places you think you already know and offers excellent alternatives when you want to try something new. Published five times a year, Teach & Travel always provides you with the most current travel industry updates, fresh ideas and important planning tips.

Student Youth Travel Association

As the primary publication of SYTA, Teach & Travel reaches 40,000 educators and SYTA member tour operators annually, ensuring its position as “Educators’ #1 Source for Everything Student Travel.” The digital copy is free to access online and makes for great poolside reading! Put Teach & Travel on your required summer reading list and youll be refreshed, inspired and ready for a new adventure in the coming school year!

Don’t Forget to Include the Class Trip in Your Back-to-School Plans

In teacher speak, the 4th of July signals the end of summer. Any teacher will tell you that once the fireworks are over, the mind jumps back into planning and prep mode for the next school year. The short summer break has refreshed and energized, allowing for a new perspective and excitement toward the coming year. As you prepare for your return to the classroom with renewed enthusiasm, dont forget to include the class trip in your back-to-school plans.

Summer is the perfect time to think about your pending class trip because you have some time! Once the school year is underway, youre swamped with lesson plans, deadlines, activities and more. Those last sweet weeks of summer allow you to focus on the nuts and bolts of the trip. You can choose your destination thoughtfully and take time to research your attractions. Youll have a better chance of those attractions responding to your queries if they arent knee-deep in the student travel season. You can lay out the perfect itinerary, considering flow and timing, proximity of attractions to the hotel and each other, etc. You can search for great educational programs or performance workshops, depending on the needs of your group. You can decide what kind of transportation will work best and secure contracts and rates early. You can think about the best fundraiser for your group or research grant or scholarship opportunities for your students. Finally, you can plan a payment schedule that makes sense for everyone and not scramble at the last minute to pay those deposits.

Kaleidoscope Adventures: Educating Students Through Travel

If you need a helping hand getting started, give Kaleidoscope Adventures a call. As a leader in the student travel industry for more than 25 years and a former teacher at the helm, KA is equipped to handle your every need with ease. Trust the experts at Kaleidoscope Adventures to make your class trip one your students will remember for years to come! Contact KA at (800) 774-7337 or email info@kaleidoscopeadventures.com.

If you plan trips on your own, theres a great new resource available that takes you step-by-step through the process. Group Experience was designed with busy teachers in mind and takes the guess work out of putting together your class trip.

As much as we want summer to last into perpetuity, the 4th of July is a reality check. Its time to get back in the groove and start prepping for a fantastic year in the classroom and beyond!