2017 and Beyond – Four of the latest trends in student travel
In celebrating our 35th anniversary, we’ve spent as much time looking back as we have looking forward. Anticipating our clients’ evolving needs and staying one step ahead of how our industry is changing are just some of the reasons we’ve grown the way we have. To provide the best, most current guidance for our clients, our team of travel experts monitors travel trends and works closely with the Student & Youth Travel Association. As you’re dreaming and planning for your first (or next) student travel experience, take advantage of our research and trend forecasts:
While some destinations are tried and true (we’re looking at you, New York, Chicago and Orlando), student travelers will be exploring new destinations this year. While these destinations may be newer to the student travel scene, we’ve traveled with groups to all of these locales and love to see others from around the country do the same. Our personal favorite? Nashville. “Music City” has the music history, performance opportunities and one-of-a-kind attractions that are so BRT-tested, student-approved that we’ve seen a steady 25% increase in the number of groups traveling there every year. Other emerging destinations include:
- San Antonio
Increased air travel, new legislation
More student groups are flying the friendly skies than ever before, trading in traditional tour bus transportation for a quick jet ride. And while flying certainly opens more doors to more destinations, hopping a flight has gotten just a bit more complicated in light of the Real ID Act. This legislation was passed in 2005 and will take effect on January 22, 2018. If your group is traveling in 2018 or beyond, TSA regulations will require that you and your students age 18 and over use a driver’s license or identification card that meets the requirement of the Real ID Act. Not all states currently issue licenses that are compliant with this new set of regulations, so make sure you know what’s required before you fly by visiting the Real ID webpage from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
The quick getaway
Once your students experience a new part of the country (or the world!), they’ll be hooked. We’re seeing more groups than ever making yearly travel part of their program, as the benefits extend far beyond the classroom. Traditionally, student groups tend to plan trips that are 4 to 6 days in length. Now though, we’re finding that many of our groups who travel each year are opting for smaller trips – 1-2 nights to nearby destinations – in the off years between longer, more involved travel experiences. Students still have the opportunity to travel and perform, but the lower cost and easier logistics make it feasible for students to travel every year. Some of our clients use these small trips as rewards for their high-performing students as well.
Travel insurance’s big comeback
A student travel experience is a big investment and we’re seeing more and more of our clients purchase travel insurance to safeguard that investment against the things none of us can plan for. In fact, more travelers overall are purchasing travel insurance because it’s an affordable way to keep your travel dollars safe. We encourage all of our group leaders to suggest travel insurance to parents as they’re signing up for their school’s trip. Trip payments are non-refundable and having insurance protects families from unforeseen circumstances – even when many think there is no chance they would need to cancel. This added cost is well worth it and we’re definitely seeing more families choose to protect their travel investment.
The travel industry is always changing. Stay on top of new trends, changing travel regulations and expert advice for your student travelers by signing up for our newsletter. If you’ve been considering student travel but just aren’t sure where to start, we’d love to talk through the process with you – contact us today and we’ll give you the information you need to get your travel dreams off the ground.
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