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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

There are Many Advantages to Traveling Off Season

For many (many) years, my husband traveled with students. Our kids learned at an early age that Dad would essentially be gone from March through June each year. Spring is considered high season in the student travel industry. If youve ever been to Washington D.C. in May, you know exactly what I mean! Popular student destinations are teeming with pubescent travelers, and lines and wait times are long. Maybe its time to consider the many advantages to traveling off season.

WHATS OFF SEASON?

Speaking in student travel terms, off season is typically considered to be the fall term of the school year. Most teachers arent yet thinking about a trip. Theyre probably focused on fundraising and figuring out where to go!

WHY TRAVEL OFF SEASON?

Price
There are lots of excellent advantages to traveling off season, not the least of which is price. You can score some great deals on accommodations, transportation, attractions and dining simply by traveling with your group off peak times.

Crowds
Smaller crowds, shorter lines, better seats and less stress- what more needs to be said?

Prime Picks
Traveling off season most likely means better hotels and motor coaches. If youre not competing with countless other school groups, you can choose what works best for you.

Unique Experiences
There are amazing opportunities that exist ONLY when you travel off season, particularly closer to the holidays. If youre heading to NYC, check out the Christmas Spectacular Starring the Radio City Rockettes. Washington D.C. hosts nightly events with the National Christmas Tree as the backdrop. Disneys Candlelight Processional and Massed Choir Program is a spectacular performance opportunity only available in November and December.

 

 

Kaleidoscope Adventures: Educating Students Through Travel

HOW DO I PLAN OFF SEASON TRAVEL?

Traveling off season can be an excellent alternative to the usual spring departure. It just takes a bit more foresight and pre-planning to pull it all together. Enter Kaleidoscope Adventures, a leader in the student travel industry. More than 25 years of experience and a former teacher at the helm means KA is equipped to handle your every need with ease. Trust the experts at Kaleidoscope Adventures to make your off season trip one your students will remember for years to come! Contact KA at (800) 774-7337 or email info@kaleidoscopeadventures.com.

WonderWorks Will Turn Your Group Plans Upside Down!

Planning a student trip. Planning a homeschool trip. Planning a scout trip. Planning a family or faith-based trip. If you can check any of these boxes, be sure to check this one:

? Include a visit to WonderWorks in your plans!


WonderWorks is an experience (or experiment!) in fun like no other. As soon as the building is visible, its clear that things are not as they seem! The upside-down faade is explained to guests as a once top-secret laboratory located in the Bermuda Triangle in which an experiment gone wrong landed it in its current destination- upended!

Inside, the atmosphere at WonderWorks is charged with fun, excitement and more than 100 interactive displays and exhibits at your disposal. Science is at the heart of the experience, and all the activities are geared for maximum play. Lie on a bed of nails, conquer the indoor ropes course, or move at the speed of light. Challenge your mind, body and imagination in the Wonder Zones or dazzle your senses with the mystery of magic. Take in a 4D-XD (or 6D in Myrtle Beach!) movie or light it up in a black-lit laser tag arena. Theres so much to do in this world of edu-tainment!

WonderWorks loves groups of 15+ and promises an incredibly wacky adventure for all! WonderWorks has locations in six great group destinations. Each is uniquely engaging and offers guests a completely unexpected and upside-down approach to fun. When planning your group travel, be sure to check this one off your to-do list!

 

Hard Rock Caf Rocks Your Student Group

Teenagers love two things music and eating. I happen to have a teenager (of the male variety) and I can verify that music and eating top his daily to do list. I went from weekly grocery shopping to what feels like hourly grocery shopping in the span of two short years! Conversely, I have no idea what is on his playlist (and prefer to keep it that way). I do know, however, that if teenagers are well-fed and given a chance to kick back with some great music, they are ultimately happy campers.

Enter Hard Rock Caf, the quintessential dining destination for your student group. Hard Rock Caf is a master at knowing what kids like, from colossal, mouthwatering burgers to the sights and sounds of rock and roll! Hard Rock Caf has tons of locations in great student destinations, each with a unique flavor and style. They cater to groups of 15 or more and can offer a dedicated menu- including those legendary burgers, golden, breaded chicken tenders, gooey mac and cheese, smoky pulled pork or a classic Caesar salad. The portions are monstrous (perfect for teens) and each meal is topped off with a warm and fully-loaded chocolate chip cookie. If you prefer alternative choices, theyll work with you to design a menu that will perfectly satisfy the needs of your group.

While your group is in the house, they can browse the huge and varied collection of authentic rock and roll memorabilia. Theres much to see to keep the kids occupied, and the music is always pumping, keeping the energy of the trip high. Dont forget to make a quick stop at the Hard Rock Shop for those all- important t-shirts!
Hard Rock Caf is an outstanding dining choice for your student group. The staff is courteous, servers friendly and efficient, and the atmosphere made for fun! Hard Rock Cafe is an epic dining experience the students wont soon forget!

Student Travel Motor Coaching

When my children were in elementary school, they had a bus driver named Mr. Ernie. While most drivers recognize that young children have some anxiety around these first school experiences- particularly riding the bus- Mr. Ernie was not so enlightened. He greeted each bright-eyed, smiling child with a curmudgeonly scowl and a loud sit daahhn in his best Pittsburghese. It was only on the last day of school that his irritable veneer was replaced with something vaguely resembling a smile.

Fortunately, the Mr. Ernies of this world are few and far between, and if you travel with students, motorcoaches are an exceptional transportation option. The American Bus Association (ABA) noted in its 2014 census that students account for 24.4% of motorcoach passenger travel. There are lots of excellent reasons for this!

 

Cost Effective

Planning student travel can be a pricey endeavor. However, traveling by motorcoach can help decrease costs. Unlike air travel or other ticketed travel, each student typically shares in the total cost of motorcoach transportation. The more passengers in each seat until the bus is full, the lower the cost per traveler.

 

Environmentally Friendly

Many of todays motorcoaches run on blends of ultra-low sulfur or biodiesel fuel, making them energy efficient and environmentally friendly. Each motorcoach has the potential to replace 55 cars on the highway- thats definitely doing some great green work!

 

Comfort

Groups can sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride comfortably while someone else does the driving. Students can socialize or use the time to connect on social media (sigh!) since many motorcoaches are now equipped with WiFi.

Safety

Safety is arguably the most important component of choosing a motorcoach for student travel. Statistics presented by the United Motorcoach Association (UMA) note that travelers in 1994 were 1,097 times more likely to experience an accident in a car than aboard a motorcoach. However, it is imperative that you do your homework and find a reputable carrier with a solid safety track record.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) encourages travelers to Look Before You Book by examining the safety record of your motorcoach company. To that end, the UMA has created a safety checklist to help determine if the company is reputable and safe. Highlights include

1. USDOT Identification Number Ask the company for their USDOT ID number and search www.safersys.org for rule violations, accidents, etc.

2. Insurance Verify that the company has current insurance coverage ($1.5 million for 15 passengers or less vehicles and $5 million for more than 15 passengers)

3. Drivers Verify that the carriers drivers have all appropriate licenses (all drivers must have a CDL issued by the state)

4. Hours – Confirm that the trip can be completed within hours of service. Under federal law, commercial bus and motorcoach drivers may not drive for more than 10 hours a day or at all after being on duty for 15 hours. Requiring periods of rest/sleep for the drivers helps ensure the safety of passengers and the general public

5. Equipment Always ask about the equipment to be used on the trip! Vans have been deemed unsafe for extended student travel by both the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Motorcoaches should be in good condition and serve the purposes of the group

6. Emergencies Request a copy of the companys policies and procedures for emergencies or breakdowns

These are valuable tips when planning to travel with students and really give clarity to what could be a difficult decision. Most of us dont know much about buses beyond our experiences with the Mr. Ernies in our lives. Its important to educate ourselves to ensure the very best travel for our students- and safety is key!

The World is Crazy- Should My Child Travel?

Last year, I sat in on a rather tense PTA meeting at my daughters school. The subject causing controversy? Eliminating class field trips. The district wasnt considering cancelling to save money, but rather because parents were concerned that they may not be safe. I became increasingly agitated as I listened to the conversations detailing the certain perils and dangers lurking around every corner. Keep in mind, these trips typically involved the zoo, a play or the local science center!!


As I tried (and failed) to keep an open mind and a closed mouth, I finally had to jump into the fray and add my two cents. I reminded the parents that educators have the daunting task of preparing students for success beyond the classroom. Achieving this lofty goal sometimes requires students to actually LEAVE the classroom.

The same fundamental principle applies to student travel. Its a big world (yes, sometimes crazy) but absolutely worth experiencing! Student travel is one of the best teaching tools available to educators and parents. When trying to decide if you are ready to let your chick leave the safety of the nest, consider the following:

Cultural Awareness

Travel is a critical piece of understanding the world around us. We are a global society, connected by technology. However, nothing can replace the human experience of engaging with a culture that may differ from our own. In some cases, visiting a different city qualifies as cultural awareness!


My husband, a former student tour operator, often took young people from socioeconomically disadvantaged urban settings on trips. Many of these kids never ventured beyond the borders of their neighborhoods. Traveling gave them the sense that the world is bigger than what they live, that people are different, and yet also very much the same. When forming opinions about others and the world around you, its imperative to do so with first-hand knowledge.

Academic Performance

A recent study by the Student Youth Travel Association demonstrated that 54% of teachers organize travel opportunities because it positively impacts academic performance! Duh! Travel connects curriculum to reality. Simple.


Social Impact

This same study also looked at the social impact of student travel. It showed a 60% increased willingness to know, learn and explore as well as a 56% increase in self-esteem, independence and confidence. Kids who travel have a strong sense of their place in the world, are more tolerant and respectful of others, are more collaborative and adapt more readily to new situations.

Disney World Class Trips by Kaleidoscope Adventures

Practice to Performance

If your students are involved in the arts, consider the benefits of performing in front of an audience NOT just filled with proud moms, dads and grandparents. It is incredibly fulfilling to take the skills practiced every day in 3rd period and apply them to a real- life performance opportunity in an amazing venue! Imagine dancers opening for professional shows in Branson, or the show choir performing before an international audience at Walt Disney World. We all know the countless hours invested in marching band- travel allows those finely-honed skills to be displayed in style at countless festivals, parades and performance spots both nationally and internationally.

Classrooms to Careers

Students (particularly high school) are constantly planning for future career possibilities. Travel provides a unique perspective on job opportunities that may exist outside the norm. For example, maybe you have a sports nut who loves football but wont necessarily be turning pro. A visit to the Pro Football Hall of Fame may offer a glimpse into the careers of those who work in the industry but not as athletes!


Perhaps your child loves music but isnt destined to be the next big thing. That shouldnt exclude him/her from a career in production, marketing, or any other aspect of the field. A behind the scenes tour in Nashville or Broadway can be illuminating and worthwhile when thinking to the future!

There are so many outstanding benefits to allowing your child to explore the world through travel. It is an essential piece of a comprehensive education, and key to developing a well-rounded individual. Let those kiddos out into the crazy, wide, wonderful world- I guarantee youll ALL be glad you did!

Oh Theres No Place Like NYC for the Holidays

I ran to my local grocery store on Tuesday for some last-minute Halloween candy. My monster munchies bowl had been filled since last week, but lets face it, a week is a long time and my munchies were seriously depleted! I figured I would scoot in the door, grab a few bags, and be on my way. As I walked in the door, however, I blinked hard to clear my vision. The spooky display of ghosts, goblins and candy corn had been replaced with festive red and green candies, snowmen and brightly lit Christmas trees. I quickly checked the date on my phone, thinking perhaps I had fallen into some sort of time warp, only to find it was still October 31st. Wow- I guess the holidays really are just around the corner!

While it may seem a bit early to be thinking about sleigh rides and snow, its never too early to start planning your holiday travel. New York City tops the list of fabulous holiday destinations for groups- particularly students. The Big Apple is always humming with activity, but has a singular energy fueled by anticipation as the holidays approach. The weather is crisp, the people move briskly and the stage is set for wonder!

One of the best holiday traditions in the city is also FREE! The holiday windows at retailers throughout the city never disappoint with their creativity and style. They beckon shoppers to explore wares within the stores using artistic and often mind-boggling displays. Most windows are usually revealed right around Thanksgiving and typically remain on display through the new year. A truly dedicated window shopper may want to consider a holiday windows walking tour.

Break out the disinfectant and strap on those rental skates for another time-honored tradition- ice skating at Rockefeller Center. Situated in the heart of Midtown, the Rink at Rockefeller Center opens in October (they must be in cahoots with my local grocer) and remains open through the spring. General admission skating is first come, first-served, and everyone in your party must wait in line together. Admission ranges from $25-$32, depending on the time of year. There are opportunities to reserve ice time, but it can get pricey.

The 2017 Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree will be lit for the first time on November 29, 2017 and remain a shining beacon through January 7, 2018. Take in this glorious evergreen while gliding gracefully on the ice- or clinging to the rail as they case may be!

Head off the ice and up to the Top of the Rock for spectacular, sweeping views of midtown Manhattan and Central Park. Students will love the birds eye view of the city as it sparkles and shines- theres really nothing quite like it!

Once youve experienced the city from above, bring it down to street level and jump on THE RIDE. THE RIDE has a holiday edition of its unique, 75-minute production, allowing you to stay toasty warm on the specially designed motor coach as you are escorted through 4.2 miles of dazzling sights and sounds. The seasons of Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanza are celebrated in brilliant style with seasonal music, specially choreographed performance events, additional cast members and much more!

Kick off the holidays with style (thats right, I went there!) with the iconic Radio City Rockettes Christmas Spectacular. This show, running November 10, 2017 through January 1, 2018, embodies the holiday spirit and is an experience like no other. The Rockettes performs extraordinary moves in gorgeous costumes, amid breathtaking backdrops and inspiring music.

If you are traveling with students, check out the Radio City Stage Door Tour for an insiders look at Radio City Music Hall. Its a guided tour through hallowed halls, where secrets of the stage are revealed and you can even meet a Rockette!

While the calendar may still say autumn, the spirit is singing that the holidays are just a few short weeks away! Gather your group for a fabulous visit to New York City. Contact the student travel experts at Kaleidoscope Adventures for exceptional, customized trips and ease of planning. They provide positively outrageous customer service every step of the way!