In these uncertain times, you may wonder what your options are for rescheduling your travel plans—and how to even get the ball rolling. SYTA has rounded up some of the most frequently asked questions related to rescheduling travel, so you can best understand the process and get students back on the road when it’s safe.
I’m only interested in keeping some of my travel plans. I’d like a partial refund for certain activities previously planned. Is that possible?
It may be possible. Tour operators have negotiated special group rates with vendors that they provide to you. In some cases, these negotiated rates are part of a package itinerary that may not be broken up into segments and refunded. There may also be contract or liability issues if the student purchased their trip as part of a school group and now wants an individual refund. Your tour operator will work together with schools to resolve these situations on behalf of their student travelers.
How can I change my travel plans to a different date/location? Will the cost be affected?
Tour operators work in advance to develop an itinerary that meets the goals and needs of their group. This includes the timing of the trip, the cost of the destination and the number of students traveling. The same itinerary may vary in price based upon the time of year and new pricing that may be in place as a result of the pandemic. Operators are already working with their vendors to make travel as accessible and affordable as possible and will offer options based on your needs.
Will original airfare costs be honored or will my flight credit only go toward the new airfare rates?
Airline policies are determined by each airline and change daily—especially during this global pandemic. Operators will continue to work with the airlines on behalf of their clients to get the best possible flights and rates. It is important to note that airlines extend different rates and policies to individual travelers who book direct or through online booking services. As a student group, tour operators secure special rates and group reservations so young travelers can all travel together with chaperones and group leaders.
What if airfare or hotel prices increase later?
Tour operators continue to negotiate on behalf of clients and secure the best possible options for future travel. They will work with you to develop an itinerary for your group that meets your budget needs.
Who is my point of contact to resolve my travel plan concerns?
Your tour operator will continue to be your point of contact and work on your behalf with vendors to secure refunds and credits.
When will the travel restrictions be lifted? What if we do not feel safe to travel for another school year? How do we get our money back?
Travel restrictions are determined by the government and individual school boards. If a group determines they do not want to travel for another year, your tour operator will help you to understand all options before postponing the trip again or requesting a cancellation.
If we choose to rebook our travel plans later this year, will you provide masks or other resources as precautionary measures?
We will continue to use trusted resources like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, World Health Organization, U.S. Department of State, and individual school board policies to determine how precautionary measures are implemented for a trip.
Some students are no longer able to participate in a group trip, but some can. What are the options for a partial refund?
Group travel arrangements are based upon the total number of students participating in the trip and are priced accordingly. The tour operator working with the school will determine what refunds are available for individual students.
We are on the fence about rescheduling. Why should we still go on our trip?
We are aware that conditions are changing constantly, and we must follow the guidelines of federal, state, and local school regulations. We will continue to monitor the situation and work with schools to rebook trips.
Our ultimate goal is to ensure that students are still able to have this important educational experience. We remain passionate believers in the impact that travel has on students, and research shows travel experiences are proven to increase independence, self-esteem, intellectual curiosity, cultural tolerance, self-expression, adaptability and even desire to seek higher education. We will work with our vendors to see what additional value or opportunities are available to groups who keep their travel plans.
For more information pertinent to educators during this pandemic, see the SYTA COVID-19: Educator Resource Guide for Student Group Travel.
Courtesy of SYTA.