NEXT STEPS - HOW TO BOOK
Although it seems like a pretty basic question, inquiring about how to actually book a tour is a really good move. Knowing the specific steps simplifies all tasks. In a nutshell, here are the steps required to book your trip with STEM Study Tours:
Did you know that most schools start initially planning their trip about 12-months before the proposed
departure date? This gives parents time to save so everyone can participate without hardship.
STEP 1: Write or call in and ask us for more information.
If you see a marketing flyer that catches your eye or a destination and program that you are interested in, simply let us know. We can then send you more information and also have someone personally contact you to see how we may assist you. We can help by answering questions you may have, giving you guidance on destinations, processes, the works. If you don’t want to speak to someone, no problem. We can email you everything you need for consideration.
A note on pricing: Many times we hear feedback from our teachers that we don’t put pricing in our marketing materials so you have no idea whether you may want to consider a potential tour. Yes, this is correct. Pricing usually varies and is dependent upon dates of travel, where you would like to depart from, the number of pupils and staff, mode of transport (flight or motorcoach), etc. You tell us what you want, and we will happily give you a quote based on your needs and your preferences.
STEP 2: Ask us for a quote.
Are your ready to move forward? If so, your next step is to ask us for a personal quote. Your quote will be just for your school, on the dates you need and to your specifications. To request a quote, you will need to supply the following information: the number of students and paying adults you wish to bring, the number of FREE teachers/staff you wish to bring, the rooming required for your hotel stay (i.e. will students sleep quad or double occupancy? Do staff need independent rooms or can they share a single room with individual beds?), the dates of your proposed travel, airline or motorcoach, and your budget. We know that numbers will change and that’s okay. The initial quote is just to give you a really good idea on what costs to expect for planning purposes. A ‘Quote’ is valid for 30-days while you consider your options. For more information on what to consider, view a copy of "How to Book a Tour with STEM Study Tours" from our Booking Resources tab.
STEP 3: Get the approvals needed to run your trip.
Once you have finalized your quote, the next step is to gain approvals from anyone necessary. This may include your Principal, School Board, Senior Management Team, or Department Head. If you need help, simply tell us what you need, and we will always try to supply you with anything necessary to gain approvals. We have years of experience working with schools.
STEP 4: Ask us for a Provisional Booking.
A ‘Provisional Booking’ is a non-binding agreement that states you are moving forward with your trip and that we will hold space and quoted rates for you while you gather the initial deposit required to confirm your booking. The paperwork issued will confirm everything agreed and will act as an initial contract between you and STEM Study Tours. If, after going to Provisional Booking status, you do not get the student interest you had hoped, the option may be cancelled at no penalty.
After a Provisional Booking has been issued, this is when you will write to your parents with all details required so they may register their child on the tour. A Provisional Booking is valid for 21-days, however it may be extended in most cases with prior agreement. During this period, it also allows us to double check with our suppliers to ensure space and programming is on track. After the provisional period is over, your tour may be required to be re-costed if deposits have not yet been received.
During this time period you will also want to designate which staff members will oversee which elements of your tour. We suggest you put someone who is highly organized in charge of pupil registration and collection of funds. You will want to alert parents that for registration, they will need to bring a photocopy of the pupil’s valid passport if traveling internationally, or a photocopy of the student’s state-issued identification card if traveling domestically, when submitting their initial deposit. If they do not have a valid identification card, ask them to obtain one prior to registering as it will be required for air travel. We cannot stress enough how important it is to have an information and payment cut-off date well in advance of when the items are due to us.
STEP 5: Confirm your booking.
Send in your initial deposits and your Booking Form and your group is confirmed! Once deposits are received we will send you a confirmation, a payment schedule and all the forms required for tour trip. You will also be assigned a specific contact in our Operations department to work with so you know that every question can be answered. They will then take over as your chief contact for anything needed up until your tour departs. Deposits schedules are as follows:
An initial deposit of $300 per paying passenger is due when confirming the trip. Please know we cannot confirm air seats nor hotels until we are in receipt of this payment.
Your second deposit of $300 per paying passenger will be due approximately 2 months after your initial deposits have been received. The specific due date for this deposit and remaining payment will be sent to you by our finance team. If you need a date change, please ensure you are requesting it far enough in advance to be effective.
Your final balance will be due approximately 12-weeks prior to departure.
Important to know: Please remember that all deposits are non-refundable as they are immediately sent out to hold specific elements of your tour. Secondly, please know that due dates and payment amounts may vary dependent upon your departure date. And finally, if you have a situation that requires a change in payment terms, please contact us directly for all requests.
Deposits and payments are accepted in our online portal via credit card or check ACH, direct from parents. Credit card processing fees apply. Another important thing to understand is that all deposits are non-refundable because as soon as we have received these from you, we in turn pay them out to our various suppliers to hold your places. Additionally all payment processing fees (credit card and check ACH) are also non-refundable. This is one of the reasons why we mandate travel protection which will generally cover independent cancellations for appropriate causes.
STEP 6: Confirm your Travel Protection.
After your first deposits have been paid is the time to confirm your Travel Insurance. Many schools have their own policy; others need to purchase it specifically for the trip. Travel Insurance is relatively inexpensive and very important. We require a copy of the key pages of each policy before you are issued your final travel details. If you need a referral, please contact us. We highly recommend purchasing a 'cancel for any reason' policy. For much more information on Travel Insurance, why it is important and what type of policy to purchase, please read our "Trip Leaders Guide for Educational Travel" shown on the Booking Resources tab.
STEP 7: Talk to your Ambassador prior to departure.
After you receive your full itinerary and about 2 weeks prior to departure, you will be assigned a STEM Study Tours Ambassador. They will contact you, usually via email, and ask for you to set up a call with them. Skype and WhatsApp are totally free to use, you just need a good internet connection and then to download the program. You can call on your computer, your tablet or your smart phone. Your Ambassador may then review general items, take your suggestions as to anything extra that your group might want to participate in, and even do things like start to set up birthday celebrations which may be happening. They are here to serve your school.
Your Ambassador will meet you in your destination and will be there to ensure you are set up for success. Your Ambassador is not a local guide, but instead is an expert at making sure everything is just right on your tour so you, the trip leader, can enjoy your travels along with your students. Your Ambassador is also highly trained from an emergency management standpoint. You just need to let them know what you need and they will ensure it is taken care of.
STEP 8: Ready, set, go!
Let us know how we may serve you!