WHAT SHOULD I LOOK FOR IN A TOUR COMPANY?
As consumers we always tend to buy based on the lowest price available, however the lowest price doesn't necessarily mean that you are getting the best deal. When considering any company you should ask a lot of questions. For example: How long have they been in business? Do they belong to the Better Business Bureau and other professional associations? How is your money going to be protected when you pay the tour company? Do they offer medical or accident insurance? Do they have a Representative that will be assisting the group during the trip? These are all very important questions that need to be asked but are often forgotten.
WHAT SHOULD I KEEP IN MIND WHEN I COMPARE PRICES?
Always read the inclusions in your price carefully! A lot of times prices differ because not all of the attractions, meals, hotels, etc. are the same. Pay close attention to the type of meals (coupons vs. sit down meals), hotels (budget vs. deluxe), attractions and complimentary packages. First Choice Educational Tours works with BOCES 1 and BOCES 2 Arts and Education Programs that provide funding for participating schools.
WHAT TYPE OF INSURANCE SHOULD WE LOOK FOR IN A TOUR COMPANY?
Not all programs are created equal. One of the first items you may want to be familiar with is the terminology used to describe this coverage.
"Travel Agents' Professional Liability Insurance" is commonly referred to as "Errors and Omissions", or simply "E&O".
Technically, errors and omissions coverage represents only one component of a comprehensive "Travel Agents' Professional Liability" policy. The type of claim that would fall under the "E&O" category would be a client alleging that an agent booked an incorrect departure date.
Unfortunately, claims are also made against travel companies for situations that involve bodily injury to a client. One distinction of the travel industry is that unlike most other types of businesses, travel agencies need protection for bodily injury claims that could occur anywhere in the world. After all, it was the travel company who arranged the trip for the client. The coverage that is selected should recognize this type of travel-related exposure.
Storefront offices often maintain General Liability coverage for incidents arising out of business operations. However, standard commercial coverage such as a "Business Owner's Policy" (BOP) or "Commercial General Liability" (CGL) are typically not designed for the unique worldwide exposure of a travel company.
A quality "Travel Agents' Professional Liability" policy should provide worldwide liability coverage for "E&O' in addition to "Bodily Injury" (BI) and "Property Damage" (PD) claims of the agency's clients.
This is one reason why a policy specifically designed for the industry has earned its place in a travel company’s insurance portfolio.
First Choice Educational Tours co-insures your school district with an additional two million dollars of professional liability insurance per occurrence, with respect to the negligence of the named insured/co-insured in connection with the travel and or tour service.
WHY FIRST CHOICE EDUCATIONAL TOURS?
First Choice Educational Tours has been serving the group travel needs of students for the past 23 years. First Choice Educational Tours is the largest student tour company in upstate New York. Due to our high volume of business our buying power is stronger.
WHAT WILL FIRST CHOICE EDUCATIONAL TOURS OFFER MY GROUP?
Upon contacting First Choice Educational Tours your school will be assigned a Group Tour Specialist to work one on one with your staff to develop your tour to meet your goals and objectives for the students. Our knowledgeable staff is available to present your trip to your school board members, parents and students on your chosen day and time.
We value your comments and want to know the highlights of your tour. We also work with you on making any necessary changes to improve your future touring needs by sending you a post-trip evaluation form.
For peace of mind we provide a Tour Manager for each of our groups. All of our Tour Managers have had a criminal background check and are fingerprinted as specified by the New York State Criminal Justice Department. The Tour Manager will be with you from your departure until you arrive home, assisting with check-in, distributing tickets and taking care of any last minute details on your group's behalf. We provide a 24/7 staff support line for the Tour Manager.
Every student and chaperones provided with an identification card containing the name and cell phone number of the Tour Manager, hotel name with address and phone number. School staff member(s) can also have their cell numbers included on the identification card.
Upon request, we can provide professionally bonded, private security each evening at the hotel.
WHAT DESTINATIONS DO YOU PROVIDE PACKAGES FOR?
We can provide you with tour services to numerous destinations such as Orlando, New York City, Chicago, Washington D.C., Boston, Virginia Beach, Philadelphia, Williamsburg, Toronto, Quebec City and Montreal, as well as several international and cruise destinations. First Choice Educational Tours is always working to add more destinations. If you don't see the destination you’re interested in, call us to discuss your options. Together, we can plan a customized tour with your interests, educational goals and budget restraints in mind.
WHAT IS THE MINIMUM NUMBER OF PEOPLE REQUIRED TO BE CONSIDERED A GROUP?
In order to provide the best group prices we require a minimum of 40 paying passengers per group. Groups as small as 20 can be accommodated for an additional charge.
CAN YOU PROVIDE ONLY TRANSPORTATION FOR MY GROUP?
First Choice Educational Tours can make arrangements for your transportation. We can assist with both ground and airline arrangements.
First Choice Educational Tours only partners with motor coach companies that are reputable and have a highly maintained fleet. We encourage your school district to inspect the bus/buses prior to the trip departure.
All motor coach drivers used by First Choice Educational Tours are 19A Certified. This includes fingerprinting and background checks by the FBI and Department of Criminal Justice Services.
DOES FIRST CHOICE EDUCATIONAL TOURS PROVIDE TRIP CANCELLATION INSURANCE?
First Choice Educational Tours encourages all individuals traveling within a group to purchase trip cancellation insurance. This will protect your money from any cancellation penalties should you need to cancel due to illness or death in the family.