Monday, April 29, 2019

5 Creative Ways to Get Students to Sign Up for a Trip

Travel experiences for teachers and students often hinge on whether getting enough students to sign up. Here are some tips from teachers who have become experts in introducing students/parents to a life changing trip every year.

  • Flood the school and front office with posters. As many as you are allowed to put up. Most travel companies will send you posters if you request them. Also get the front office staff informed. They talk to parents and see everyone.
  • Build up the trip without announcing the destination. Set a date and time to make the destination a surprise. This makes the trip feel a little bit more special. Kids love surprises so use it to your advantage.
  • Before announcing the destination have your students do a project, watch a movie, and have interesting facts about the host country you plan on picking. This gets them familiar with the country and makes it more personal when they learn they have the option to visit on a trip.
    Invite your favorite students privately. One teacher puts letters rolled up in a bottle and passes out the bottles to students. Make it attractive maybe with some interesting facts on the host country you will be visiting.
  • Have contact with host country. Many programs now a days include homestays and if you choose a personalized company chances are you can have a Skype call with one of the families. This helps build a relationship and motivates students to want to visit virtual friends.

You might have some more creative ways to attract students on trips and we would love to hear them. Remember many students don't realize just how life changing a trip can be so they often need a little extra motivation to wake up the travel bug inside of them. The best part about taking student to Costa Rica is that it often sells itself but it never hurts to use the tips above.

Three Succesful Ways to Promote Your International Trip to Students

If you are thinking of running an international student trip the foundation starts with having students sign up. Most teachers have training as teachers. If they decide to run an international trip they are going to need some marketing skills. Below we will walk you through some suggestions to get students and parents aware of your trip:

  • Flood the campus with posters. Ask the company you will be travelling with for material. The most important are the posters around campus. The rest of the material can be digital. 
  • Front office exposure. The front office space and employees are the voice and face of the school. Make sure you have informed the front office crew of the trip, dates, and use them to your advantage as sales reps to all the traffic passing through. Don't forget a nice front office poster. 
  • Online presence. With all the social platforms students have access to these days it is essential that you have a digital poster and share it regularly. Invite students with large list of followers to share the poster regularly. Ask the company you will be traveling with for an attractive digital poster to get students excited.

These are just three ideas we have seen work in the past. Recruiting students is sometimes a snowball affect and students sign up without much promotion. Other times it will play out differently. If you stay consistent and use the tips above you should not have much problem getting the numbers you need to run a trip.

Friday, April 26, 2019

Is Ziplining Safe in Costa Rica?

Having owned and operated a zipline in Costa Rica for the last seven years my asnwer to this question is, yes. Ziplining in Costa Rica is safe for a number of different reasons but like any outfitter it is important to go with a reputable company. Ziplining was pioneered in Costa Rica by biologist studying in the trees setting up cables to travel in the canopy. In Costa Rica they use steel cables. All ziplines should be designed by an architect and engineer for permit permission. Along with the architectual plans each tree you use has to be studied by a forest biologist for its strength and longevity. Once the structure is in place the safety will rely an operational and maintence attention to detail.

Those that operate ziplines are known as guides here in Costa Rica. They all have been through Vertical Rescue courses along with Wilderness CPR. A zipline guide in Costa Rica is trained in how to safely operate a zipline tour, how to have an eye for daily maintence, and how to safely evac and rescue clients in the event of an emergency. They also are trained in manipulation of equipment. Most equipment is of the highest standard and it is required by law in Costa Rica that each trip and usage of equipment is registered and noted which the guide is also trained in how to care for the equipment so it is maintained at the highest standard of safety.

While ziplining is safe in Costa Rica every adventure sport runs its risk and without specific attention and a professional level of operation some of these incidents can happen:
  • Clients forget Brake - this is a common mistake of first time zipliners. While you are taught how to brake in the safety class getting the hang of it might take a cable or two. The good news is ziplines offer a backup breaking system if you do not break. Coming in fast will not result in a physical injury but will get the heart pumping for sure.
  • Not following Directions - We all know tourists who just seems to do the opposite of what the guide says. If you put your hand on the cable or in front of the pulley chances are you might get pinched and break some skin. The best part is that this mistake usually only happens once. It is sort of like touching a stove. If you follow the directions in the safety speech starting with proper clothing we can assure you that you will have smooth zipping from start to finish.

  • Weather Conditions - This is probably the most important safety factor when dealing with zipline tours. Wind and electric storms are the two conditions that can make a zipline tour unsafe. Ziplines have evac areas that they can cancel the tour in the event that storm or wind approaches quickly. 
Most importantly people always ask how often the structural system is inspected. Every 4 months the cables, clips, and trees are inspsected.

Monday, April 1, 2019

What does traveling abroad mean?

Traveling abroad is a term used in reference to students visting another country. You do not have to be a student to travel abroad but in modern terms one thinks of "traveling abroad" as an educational experience for students.
The term traveling abroad can refer to a number of different experiences. They can range from visiting a foreign country for 10 days and doing an educational tour to living in a foreign country for 3, 6 or 12 months .

Many colleges and high schools across the world incorporate a "study abroad program" which offers opportunities to their students to take part in different study abroad experiences. These experiences sometimes are done as part of an exchange receiving a student from a foreign high school in exchange for a student's study abroad experience. Often the program is designed for a student to be exposed or even learn fluently a foreign language. While most study abroad programs are based on learning a new language and culture there are programs that are geared to history, science, music, theater, to even the famous Semester at Sea where you're on a sailing ship through different parts of the world.

The term study abroad brings excitement and jitters to almost any student (and parents). The benefits of studying abroad are endless from personal growth to enhanced recognition for college and job applications. In most cases the study abroad programs are expensive while others offer scholarships for students deserving of such an experience.

How can a Student Travel Cheap?

If there was a book on Student Travel, the most read chapter would certainly be "How can a student Travel Cheap?". 

Having worked in the travel industry for a number of years there are some standard know-hows that make travel cheap for students. The first is to travel in a group. Although you might not want group travel to cramp your style of searching for the truths of the universe, you will quickly realize a group trip is better than no trip. By the end of the trip you will learn a lot about yourself and that becoming an adult is mostly made up of meeting people, them getting on your nerves, then figuring out how to deal with them. So consider it an investment for the rest of life that you are actually saving money on. Group travel lowers the price on lodging, transportation, food, and any activities you sign up for.

Second way to travel cheap for students is to plan ahead. Do your research. I remember when I traveled as a student we would have everything planned out and seldom changed plans that would affect cost. Today I will admit I unfortunately loose money by simply changing plans on the fly and not really knowing where I am going only because $50 or $100 loss is not as tragic as it was 20 years ago. If you lose $100 on a student trip that could very likely be the difference between being stranded in Moroco for the rest of your life or arriving home on the dime for Thanksgiving dinner. Plan ahead and stay on track. 

Finally and most important is do not treat it as your last trip. If you fall into the groove of, we are in Rome so we might as well eat and sleep fancy for the night then you will be broke quick. Chances are you have only been on the Earth for 18 to 25 years. I understand a big trip is a major event but you want to take it easy for two reasons. First, you want to feel like you have something to go back for. This will help you later on in life with motivation to take another trip. Second, some of the best moments on big trips are doing things that don't cost much money. Instead of the big expensive tours try for a more local gig. Look for local groups of any interest and just show up out of the blue.

Traveling cheap as a student is easier than you think and remember you are built like a modern day gladiator. At 19 years old you can eat, sleep, and enjoy pretty much anything so use that superpower to your advantage assuming you are safe.
If you have to splurge on something, don't be afraid to spend on water! Dehydration is the kryptonite of the youthful traveling gladiator. Stay hydrated even if it costs you!