When going on an educational adventure with Son Tours, there are so many things that you no longer need to worry about: billing, booking, hiring private security, etc. However, we still want you to have as much information as possible when you go on your trip to make the journey smooth, seamless, and fun. Therefore, we have compiled this list of general student tour info to help you understand what you need to know about guides, hotel check-in and check-out, motor coaches, meals, and more.
Our guides are very familiar with our programs and thoroughly trained and educated on the sites you will visit, and they have the same detailed itinerary you have. For the most part, your guide and/or escort can adjust the schedule to ensure maximum touring opportunities. Feel free to discuss your touring schedule with them. Please note, however, that some aspects of your tour may not be easily changed, as appointments made in advance (i.e. Holocaust Museum, Wreath-Laying Ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, U.S. Capitol Tour) must be kept and your group should arrive on time. Meal times should also remain scheduled as planned.
Your professional, licensed, step-on touring guide will have a great deal of information to present to your students. While all of the information may not be of equal interest to all students, we do request that you ask your group to remain courteous while the guide is lecturing. If you have any problems or special needs, please discuss these with your Son Tours representative, who will make every effort to ensure that the tour is adapted to the needs of your group.
During the course of your tour, your group will be getting on and off the coach several times a day. Always take a roll call of your students before leaving any stop to ensure the safety and security of your students.
Feel free at any time to ask your guide to use the PA system on board the coach to make announcements to your group. Your guide will be happy to show you how to operate the system.
Son Tours includes a gratuity for every guide and bus driver for all tours in each of our packages. In addition to that gratuity, Son Tours highly recommends that, if your group is pleased with a guide or motor coach driver, you take a voluntary collection or tip to present to that person on the final day of your tour to show your appreciation. Our guideline for such tips is $1 per person per day if that person meets the group’s expectations. Of course, we also request that you present any comments regarding a particular guide or driver directly to Son Tours management.
Arrival at a hotel increases the flow of adrenaline in your students. No matter how tired the students are, arrival at the hotel tends to wake them up. To ensure a smoother check-in, here are some suggestions to follow:
Keep students on the motor coach until all luggage has been unloaded. Luggage helpers can assist the driver in unloading the luggage at this time. Your Son Tours escort will assist you with keys and a rooming list and will also review the pool and/or other recreation room times and rules, details for the evening, and hotel layout. Note: The hotel does everything possible to keep your group together. We review all room assignments and make changes wherever possible to accommodate your wishes expressed on the rooming list you have sent Son Tours before your tour. However, there is still a chance that your group may not all be on one floor due to the number of rooms required for your group or regular guests who did not check out as planned. Please be understanding in these cases.
After a chaperone has received the student keys and room numbers noted on the rooming list, make your announcements on the motor coach. In addition to your specific rules, please announce curfew times, general decorum when entering and leaving the hotel, when going from room to room, and when going to the pool and/or recreation center. At this time, also inform students that, for their own safety, there should be no roaming around the hotel nor should any student leave the floor without chaperone approval.
To regulate the flow of students entering the hotel, dismiss them from the motor coach on a room-by-room basis. Give the key to a responsible student in the room. Remind the student(s) to take the room key with them whenever they leave the room. Chaperone(s) should accompany the first group of students to the floor. In addition, other chaperones should wait until the last student leaves the lobby area for the assigned floor.
Remind students and chaperones that, if they find that there are not enough towels in the room, to notify the Son Tours escort, who will deal directly with the hotel to solve the issue. Also, students should let a chaperone know, who will then inform the Son Tours escort, if there are any existing damages to any room so we can avoid any subsequent billing for said damages.
*Remember, “regular” hotel guests often panic when they see student groups check in. Keeping the students calm and orderly goes a long way to alleviate the concerns of other guests.
There will be a security guard each evening on each floor occupied by your group. The security guard will be on duty from 10:00 PM to 4:00 AM. Your Son Tours escort will introduce you to the security guard and provide the guard with a list of your students’ and chaperones’ room numbers. Your group leader will have an opportunity to meet with the guard and outline the procedures you want the guard to follow. Our basic instruction to the guard(s) is not to enter any student’s room and to register any concerns about a particular student’s room with the group leader or chaperones.
Before going to bed for the evening, your Son Tours escort will contact the front desk to set the wake-up time for the following morning. Students will be awakened at least 60 minutes prior to breakfast or departure. In the morning, chaperones should call the students’ rooms or knock on their doors to ensure the students are awake and out of bed.
When a breakfast is arranged at the hotel, time and location will be given to you by your escort. Whether breakfasts are served in the hotel or at a cafeteria or local food court, a complete breakfast has been arranged for each morning. Please encourage students to eat some breakfast.
Before departing the hotel for the day, advise the students to bring any necessary money with them. Also, instruct students to put away their personal belongings in their suitcase or in the dresser. If the rooms are unusually disorderly, the maids are instructed not to enter the rooms.
Son Tours asks the hotel to turn off the phones in all the student rooms to prevent local and long-distance calls. Because of safety issues, they are unable to completely turn off the rooms to prevent room-to-room calls. Inform students that all calls home should be made collect from a chaperone’s room or from the public phones located in the hotel lobby. In addition, all Pay-Per-View movies are turned off in all rooms. Any chaperone desiring to activate this service must present a form of payment (cash or credit card) with the front desk.
Before sending students down to the motor coach, make a room check and settle all incidental hotel charges. Note any damage to the room. Students and/or their parents will be responsible for any room damages not reported on arrival. Students should bring their own luggage down when departing the hotel. Again, student assistance for the driver in loading the luggage is helpful. Chaperones should ensure Son Tours luggage tags are still attached to the students’ luggage. Before departure, the bill will be checked for any incidental charges. All personal charges (i.e. phone calls, in-room movies, etc.) should be paid directly at the desk. To avoid any delays, clear these incidental charges in ample time before departure.
A variety of quality eating establishments are used during your tour. We have dietitians inspect and dine at chosen establishments to ensure a variety of good-tasting, healthy meals. Believe it or not, some fast food does fall under that category. Some of the meals include buffet-style breakfast, cafeteria, or smorgasbord-style lunch and dinner, and even reimbursed meal money for fast food facilities. Here are some quick meal-time guidelines:
In the event of a medical problem, your Son Tours escort knows the necessary procedures to follow. If medical treatment is required from a doctor or hospital, a chaperone or adult must accompany the student to the treatment facility. Before leaving on tour, it is highly recommended that the group leader obtain a parental release form authorizing medical treatment (most school offices have such a form that can be adapted for this purpose).
Group leaders should determine if any students suffer from allergies or are taking medications and become familiar with any physical problems a student or adult could face while on the tour. Prior to departing for your tour, chaperones should decide whether they want to hold all student medications or allow students to be responsible for their own medications. From experience, we have also found it advisable for the group leader or a chaperone to carry a small supply of Aspirin, Tylenol, or similar pain relievers along with some over-the-counter cold and allergy medicines, such as Benadryl, Nyquil, etc.
If you still have additional questions or would like to book a tour, please contact us and a representative will be happy to help.