What about safety and security?
Safe and secure travel is a top priority for Latitude Group Travel and all our hand-picked tour directors. Even though all circumstances cannot be predicted and complete safety can never be guaranteed, our tour directors have many years’ experience, in addition to our own 35+ years, which gives us all valuable knowledge on how to operate a tour safely.
Here are some examples:
- You will have a tour director with you (unless your school has chosen not to have one). The tour director has a comprehensive manual that they must follow in managing the tour. These professional tour directors and our specialist tour guides have had background checks, the equivalent of working with children checks and are licensed by government agencies (subject to availability)
- Motor coach transportation provided on tour is contracted with busses that meet the latest governmental safety standards.
- Hotels that have interior corridors and are in a safe location
- Latitude Group Travel has a 24 hour emergency number for participants to use for any situation, including emergencies and we encourage the group leader to call any time
- The tour directors liaise with Latitude Group Travel frequently so that the tour runs smoothly
- We rarely use third party ground operators, so that we can book and organise your tour ourselves. This means we have our fingers on the pulse of what’s going on before you go and while you are away
- When we do use a ground operator, that organisation has been screened, checked and is monitored right the way through the booking process and tour delivery. We will have spoken to the tour director ourselves and there is extremely close liaison between the ground operator, tour director and Latitude Group Travel. The tour director liaises with us directly
- Unless absolutely necessary, no student will be in a single room. If this unfortunately happens, the single room will be very close to a chaperone’s room. This can only happen where we are unable to obtain triple rooms and we have an odd number of students or boys and girls.
- Each participant will have a lanyard that should be worn at all times. This lanyard has all the local emergency numbers, Latitude Group Travel’s emergency number and sometimes the numbers of your chaperones, if they have requested this.
- We advise that, if students are allowed to spend some time away from their chaperones, they should be buddied up into groups, so that no-one is ever alone
What extra costs will be incurred on tour?
- All activities, accommodation, classes, workshops, entrances, guides, tour director, flights and other transport are included with our tours. We also do not have ”free time” in our itineraries – they are full of activities, unless the school specifically asks for this time. If this happens, we generally prefer to delegate this free time to an activity of the school’s choice, rather than the group being at a loss as to what to do
- Admissions to every venue, show and program on the itinerary are included. There are no hidden costs or extras to be paid on tour
- Gratuities for included restaurants, hotels, tour guides, coach drivers and local, specialist guides are also all included in the cost
- All breakfasts are included and you have the choice as to how many lunches and dinners you would like to have incorporated into your tour
- You may find some optional extras that you can choose to include or not, at your convenience.
- We recommend that you think about spending money and money required for any meals that the school has chosen not to include in the price of the tour
- Insurance is a separate cost, but is mandatory. The insurance product we recommend is very cost effective and a quality product
- A list of inclusions and exclusions is on your itinerary so you know exactly what’s included. What is not included has been agreed upon with the school usually consists of some meals
- We recommend that your child takes some spending money for items like phone calls home, snacks, souvenirs and the like and enough to cover any meals that have not been included
What happens if there is a problem on tour?
We prefer that there is an experienced and licensed tour director with you, who will ensure that any problems or issues are addressed immediately and professionally. The tour director adds a great deal to the safety of the group and this cannot be underestimated. He or she will organise the tour from start to end, once you arrive at your destination, as well as ensuring that everything runs smoothly. In almost all cases, problems are solved prior to the group ever realising that anything was amiss!
If you have chosen to travel without a tour director, your child will still have access to Latitude Group Travel’s dedicated 24/7 emergency number that they can call any time at all. We are here to ensure that the tour goes smoothly and we encourage calls if there is even a little hint of concern. That said, for the student, the first port of call is their Lead Teacher and, if necessary, the teacher will phone us
Will the tour be exactly as on the itinerary?
Latitude Group Travel ensures that the tours we have developed in conjunction with you have all activities booked where possible. Due to traffic delays and unforeseen circumstances, there are occasions where the itinerary may need to be altered.
Tours offered to us by the school through other companies seem to focus a lot on sightseeing and not much on learning. Can we expect the same from Latitude Group Travel?
Latitude Group Travel always works with the school to determine the best tour for students and to meet the required learning outcomes the school wishes to achieve. All our tours are developed from scratch – they are custom designed and there is nothing “off the shelf”. We work with the school from inception to implementation to ensure that the school and the teachers are completely happy with each tour element.
Our tours are all curriculum linked – which means we understand what the teacher is teaching and we read the curriculum document to match experiences on tour to the learning outcomes of the curriculum. We do this by including a number of experiential learning activities like workshops, themed guided tours and more. Your child will have the chance to become really engaged in the learning process because they are involved with activities that align with what they are learning in class. Of course they will usually see the most iconic sights, but their learning is considered the most important element of our itineraries.
What is the typical location and standard of our hotels?
With our tours, all our hotels and hostels (if the school has chosen them) are high quality. The hotels are usually close to the city centre, always in a safe location and often in the city itself. Depending on your budget, hotels may be between three (Europe, USA) and five star(Asia) with a combination of hotel quality and location being equally considered. If the school has chosen a hostel, we ensure that it is safe and suitable for school groups. In some really expensive cities, we may offer accommodation outside the city. This is so that the group can have triple rooms if they wish, in order to minimise costs. We ensure that the hotel, in this case, is close to easy transport into the city centre. There is still the option of staying in the centre of the city and we can certainly offer options. We are just cognisant of budgets and try to do our best to meet, or come under, the school’s budget when choosing your accommodation.
Can we share rooms – how does this work?
For students, we offer twin and triple accommodation and sometimes a higher multi-share, depending upon your request. Hostels will sometimes offer even 4 or 6 to a room. There is a big difference in the cost of a tour when choosing twin rooms over multi-share. Teachers are accommodated in twin rooms, unless otherwise requested.
Roommates are chosen by the organising teacher and it is up to the teacher to provide that information at least 90 days prior to departure. We will provide a room configuration spreadsheet and all that is required is for the teacher to complete that document
PLEASE NOTE: Triple accommodation is difficult to get. When we can, it consists of two twin or double beds and one rollaway or sofa bed. There are occasions when, if the group wants a large number of triple rooms, there may be a supplement charged by the hotel if they have to hire rollaways. Latitude Group Travel will only be informed about this supplemental charge after our quote, after the school has requested a high number of triple rooms and once the hotel determines how many triples they have without having to hire any extra beds.
Do we need to take out travel insurance?
All participants in our tours are required to take out travel insurance to ensure that they are covered in the unlikely event that it needs to be accessed. We prefer that all members of the group take the same insurance cover if possible. This is so that, if a trip interruption, or other problem occurs, the insurance cover will treat each group member equally. We advise that credit card insurance is not, in our opinion, sufficient to travel with our groups.
For student groups, we offer a group tour insurance product that we consider to be suitable for student tours. This is inexpensive and comprehensive. Details can be provided to you at any time, but you will receive all the information at the Information Presentation night.
If your school has its own insurance, we would prefer to review that insurance to determine that students and chaperones are adequately covered for the tour. We also ask to sight the Certificate of Currency.
Additionally, Latitude Group Travel offers a significant discount if you choose to take QBE Travel Insurance or SureSave Travel Insurance for any travelling you are doing outside of the school tours. This insurance suits individuals, couples and families travelling domestically or internationally. Those who will be participating in adventure or dangerous sports must ensure that their insurance covers those activities.
Are special meals available?
Yes. Vegetarian, gluten free, diabetic, coeliac friendly and other special meals are available in most instances. We will always advise the airlines and any restaurants booked by us. We ask that, on arrival, the student reiterates their specific requirements. The more you tell the meal provider, the better. Where you are eating in restaurants not booked by us, you will need to make your needs clear. The teacher in charge will also have a list of dietary requirements.
Sometimes you are asked to make meal choices before you even depart. In this case, there will be options for each dietary requirement we have for students and teachers in the group.
Do I need to bring medication?
Please ensure that you have enough medication for the whole time that you will be away and pack these in your hand luggage to take on the plane. If you need more than four weeks’ worth of medication, your doctor can assist. Please check www.smartraveller.gov.au to ensure that the medication you are taking with you is legal in the countries to which you are travelling.
We also advise you to have a doctor’s letter listing the medications you are taking – including anything over the counter. Please take your medications in their original boxes.
Your school has their own way of managing medication and you will be asked to complete a medical form for them, if they do not already have one.
What do I pack for this trip?
We provide relevant information for each tour that suggests what you will need to pack for each season and location in the travel notes that will be provided at the pre-departure meeting.
What about vaccinations?
We recommend that you contact your local Travel Doctor. These clinics are especially experienced at determining what vaccinations you may need for travel to certain countries. Please contact the travel clinic no later than about 10 weeks prior to departure as some vaccinations require time in between doses. To find your nearest Travel Doctor here is the website: www.traveldoctor.com.au
What about passports and what visas do I need?
Everybody will require six months validity on their passport from the date you return to Australia. If this is not the case, you will need to get a new passport. Because we need a copy of your passport for your flight, we ask that you start the process of getting your new passport as soon as possible.
Visas can be a complex question. If you are an Australian citizen, we will advise what visas are required in the back of the itinerary document. We will also advise the process to obtain the visa.
If you are not travelling on an Australian passport, we ask that you contact us in the office so that we can provide advice specific to your situation.
If you are an Australian Permanent Resident, but travelling on a passport other than from Australia, you must ensure that the documentation you need to return to Australia – and be admitted back into the country – is in your passport or that you take it with you. These days it is usually in your passport, but you must check! If you need to renew your passport, you will be required to have the permanent residence information placed into your new passport. Please allow enough time to ensure that this can be done well before your departure
If you are not an Australian Permanent Resident and are travelling on a passport from another country, we will need to advise you of your visa requirements. You will also need documentation to allow you back into Australia.
PLEASE NOTE: It is the responsibility of each participant to ensure that they have a valid passport, valid visa and valid documentation allowing you to re-enter Australia.
Can frequent flyer points be used to pay for a flight?
Unfortunately the answer is no.
Can we extend our child’s trip by meeting him/her at the end of the trip?
If your school gives permission, it is generally possible to organise this.