Advice on School trips from The Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA)

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Millions of UK parents expect their child’s school trip to be organised by an ABTA Member.

• Schools are being urged to book trips with an ABTA approved travel company to ensure support, protection and expertise

• Many schools are unaware they may be liable if they organise the travel arrangements themselves.

Read on for further advice from The Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) to teachers organising school trips.

ABTA – The Travel Association has released new findings, revealing that nearly three quarters (73%)1 of UK families expect a company that organises school travel to be an ABTA Member.

There are more than 100 school travel organisers who are ABTA Members and booking through a school travel specialist allows teachers to access the company’s expertise, knowledge and insight in developing an enjoyable educational experience.

ABTA approved travel companies also have access to the association’s support and expertise – including 24 hour crisis support – and schools can benefit from ABTA’s advice and its independent complaints process should they need it.

Booking an overnight school trip as a package - where a travel company organises the different travel services - provides the greatest overall protection.

Under the Package Travel Regulations (PTRs) the travel company is responsible for sorting out any problems and making sure that if the trip can’t go ahead for any reason either an alternative is offered or a full refund provided. In addition, if the travel company goes out of business before the trip starts pupils will get their money back and, where the trip included transport, will be brought home at no additional cost if they are already away.

It’s also important for schools to be aware that if a school organises a trip themselves by arranging their own bookings for transport, accommodation and other services, they might be liable under the PTRs. This means that they would have all of the responsibilities of a travel company – both legal and financial.

There have been cases where children’s school trips were cancelled and parents lost money when the trip was not covered by the PTRs. Last year pupils from a school in Kent lost tens of thousands of pounds raised for a package trip to Mount Kilimanjaro, when the company arranging the expedition collapsed financially3.

Victoria Bacon, ABTA’s Director of Brand and Business Development, said:
“School trips provide pupils with lifelong memories and often an opportunity to explore a place they’ve never been to before. However, it can be a time consuming and sometimes daunting process for teachers to arrange these trips, and the new Package Travel Regulations means that if a trip is booked in a certain way, the school could be held liable should there be a problem.''

“There are lots of ABTA school travel specialist companies who can take these responsibilities off the hands of teachers and pull together a trip which provides a great education experience as well as offering the support, protection and expertise that comes with booking with an ABTA approved travel company.

“With this peace of mind teachers can travel with confidence, knowing their students are in good hands and able to enjoy their travel experience to the full.”

All School Travel Forum (STF) Members, which is a professional trade association for school travel, are required to be ABTA Members.

Gill Harvey of the School Travel Forum said:

“While organising a school trip can be seen by some education providers as stressful and time consuming, there are ways to streamline the process and recruit third party help to ensure the trip runs smoothly.

“Research shows that travel helps children to develop their sense of independence, experience new cultures and bond with their classmates. Booking with an STF Member, which is also an ABTA Member, will provide teachers and parents alike with the confidence of a safe and successful trip.”

ABTA’s top tips for schools arranging a trip:

• Reassure parents with careful planning and clear communication throughout the trip, from the point of booking to the moment of return.
• Check the Foreign Commonwealth Office Travel Advice for the country you intend to visit at an early stage of planning for the trip, as well as closer to the departure date. The advice can be found at: www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice
• Ensure that all those travelling have adequate travel insurance. Check that any specific or unusual activities are covered.
• Check passport and visa requirements well in advance. Ensure that everyone has a valid passport and that they have enough time left on them before they expire. Some countries require a minimum of six months’ time prior to expiry.
• Ask to see your chosen tour operator’s health and safety credentials and check they acknowledge the importance of maintaining these standards throughout the trip.
• Book arrangements with an ABTA Member to benefit from the protection, support and expertise they provide

This article was correct at the time of going to press on 17th January 2019.

For details on our school trips, visit http://www.schooltours.co.uk/.

 

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    Please find below a joint statement from the STF and ABTA as of March 13th 2020. Our current understanding of the situation regarding school trips is as follows:

    • The government has advised schools that they should not undertake international school trips at this stage. This is due to concerns that the schools would face significant challenges in making arrangements to ensure children’s welfare should adult supervisors or children be required to self-isolate. Schools will decide how to act upon this advice. If schools do cancel their trips, normal cancellation terms will apply.
    • Schools should contact either their own general insurers or the Department for Education as they may have some financial cover in place for this scenario. This is one of the areas we are seeking clarity on urgently, so we will update again as soon as we have more info.
    • The Government is not advising schools to stop trips within the UK so schools can proceed as planned if they wish. The Government is advising schools to refresh their risk assessments.Customers wanting to cancel must do so at their own cost, normal cancellation charges apply.

    https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-educational-settings-about-covid-19/covid-19-travel-guidance-for-the-education-sector

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  • Brexit FAQ's

    Last edited 30.01.2020

     

    We now know that the UK will leave the EU at 23h00 (GMT) on 31 January 2020. Following Brexit we will enter a transition period which will run, at least, until the end of December 2020. During the transition period everything will remain the same and you can continue to travel as you do now.

    We will continue to monitor the information provided by travel industry experts, organisations like ABTA and the UK Government and pick out what we believe is relevant for you.

     

    Common questions about travel after 31 January 2020

     

    Will flights still operate?

    Yes. During the transition period, everything will stay the same until the end of December 2020 and flights will continue as normal. 

     

    Will my coach journey still operate?

    Coaches will still be able to travel to, from and around EU countries as usual. 

     

    Will trains from the UK to the EU still operate?

    Trains from the UK to the EU will continue to operate as usual. 

     

    Will we have to show our passports at each border?

    We do advise you keep passports handy when travelling throughout Europe, as you may be required to prove your right to travel at border crossings or security checkpoints.

    You can always check on https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice to find out more about visa restrictions for your destination.

     

    Will I need a new passport?

    Valid passports can still be used. You do not need to have six months left on your passport to travel to the EU. Your passport does however need to be valid for the whole of your trip. 

    If you are looking to travel to Europe from 1 January 2021, you will need your passport to both:

    • have at least 6 months left
    • be less than 10 years old (even if it has 6 months or more left)

    If you do not renew it, you may not be able to travel to most EU countries and Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.

    If you would like to know more take a look at the latest Government advice.

     

    Will I still be able to use a collective passport?

    Whilst the position as to the validity of collective passports for travel to the EU has not changed, if you are able to arrange for each traveller to have an individual passport which has the requisite validity, this may help to forestall any issues which might arise.

     

    Will I need a visa to travel to the EU after Brexit?

    No. UK travellers will not need a visa to travel to the EU after Brexit. 

     

    European Health Insurance Card and travel insurance

    The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) allows any EU citizen to access state medical care when they are travelling in another EU country. UK registered EHICs will still be valid throughout 2020.

    ABTA has always advised when travelling to the EU and beyond, that it is important you take out travel insurance. Our tour price includes comprehensive travel insurance as standard. So, unless you advise us that your school or college has its own travel insurance and you wish to decline our insurance, you will automatically have insurance cover with us.

    For more information on our insurance go to:

    Galina Insurance Policy

    Further advice on travel insurance can be found at https://www.abta.com/travelinsurance

     

    Will my tour price change?

    If you have an existing booking with Next Generation Travel group brand:

    We have placed forward contracts for foreign currency so fluctuations in the exchange rate are highly unlikely to affect the price of your tour.

    Please note however that, if there is a change in legislation that will affect your overall tour price and which is out of our control, eg visa costs, surcharges, this cost would be passed on to you.

    As is always our policy at Next Generation Travel we will do our best to do the right thing to work with you to ensure your trip would continue.

     

    If you have not yet booked your tour:

    Due to our forward buying policy for foreign currency, we will work with you to ensure there is no or a low impact on pricing. The travel industry is reporting that the sensible advice is to book now to secure your booking on current currency rates.

     

    What is the law on price changes?

    If there are increases in transportation costs, taxes or fees chargeable for services post Brexit, the law says that package holiday providers, like Next Generation Travel, are permitted to increase their prices. However, we are pleased to confirm that there would be no change within 20 days of your departure and we would cover the first 2% of any price increase. In the unlikely circumstances that prices were to increase by more than 2% you may be asked to pay an additional fee however where the price increase is 10% or higher, you have the right to cancel and receive a full refund of all monies paid, except for any amendment charges.

     

    Will overall prices go up in the future?

    Tour prices in the future will always be open to normal market and economic fluctuations such as currency and service prices. Our foreign currency forward buying policy means we always look to protect customers from the impact of currency fluctuationsHowever, overall tour prices may in the future be affected by changes in legislation such as visa costs, surcharges etc. or increased cost in services such as flights or ferry crossings.

    At Next Generation Travel our experienced staff will always provide you with a tour price which is based either on the actual current rates for your service or estimated rates which are based on our extensive knowledge of the travel and industry. We will always communicate any price changes as they are given to us and have an open and honest pricing policy, which will ensure you should have no surprises later on.

    Data roaming

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    Written on Tuesday, 24 September 2019 14:44
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