Monday, January 15, 2007

Introduction, Mission, & Rules of Engagement

Welcome to the Educational Student Travel Forum!

I wish to be of service to educators because I think this forum is needed...

I am an independent professional curriculum-based student travel program itinerary designer, consultant, and guide. My base of operations is from a home office aerie in Alexandria, Virginia, three miles from the Pentagon and five miles from the White House.

Twenty-five years in the field representing several national student tour operators convinced me that the current state of the extended historic fieldtrip in the United States needed to be rethought and redesigned.

Currently, student tours in the United States have been reduced to perfunctory sightseeing excursions rather than journeys of discovery and enlightenment.

The costs of airfare, buses, hotels, and decent meals etc. have become exorbitant (and almost prohibitive) and several of tour operators, in order to protect their profit margins, have substantially sacrificed the quality and educational content of their 'tours'. The prices are rising and the value is declining.

Since the programs are becoming so expensive, why not get the most value from the experience? Why not plan your own program and use the tour operators and travel agents for transportation, hotel, and logistical arrangements?

Student tour operators and travel agents aren't necessary for the initial planning process because teachers who are well informed and creative can design and customize their own curriculum and standards-based travel programs better than the legions of company sales people that offer only generic packages, or travel agents that plan from a guide book or 'tried-and-true' basic itineraries.

Together, let's explore new destinations, hidden venues, logistics, on-site educational opportunities, curricula, teaching plans, as well as challenges, problems, and pitfalls to help make your U.S. educational travel programs more meaningful and fun!

Please join me to explore and learn about the wonderful world of student travel; your comments, observations, suggestions, and experiences are welcomed!

The Rules of Engagement for this Forum:

This site is for educators and not a commercial site or marketing tool for tour operators or travel agents. Direct or indirect reference to, or mention of, student tour operators or travel agents will not be permitted or tolerated. (Even The Tour Mistress will not divulge the name of her company!)

Any ill-mannered or uncivilized remarks should be eschewed and will be promptly deleted. Naturally, that also includes foul language and trolls.

Please avoid shorthand; it's not cute, it's annoying.

And yes, I do conduct educational programs in the field during the height of the season, so my posts may be sporadic this spring; but go ahead, talk amongst long as you follow the rules.

The Tour Marm


Jennie W said...

Howdy! I just found your website and have been enjoying your posts. A great tour that I have been on and have no idea if you have heard of is is in Ohio. Part of the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad (, the one I like is a great one in the fall on the Underground Railroad. Definitely one of the best tours I've even been on! It would be great for students because you pretend you are a runaway slave being chased by slave hunters as you do the tour.

The Tour Marm said...

Hi Jeannie!

Thanks so much for stopping by.

I shall be planning tours for the Lincoln Bicentennial and may stop in Ohio.

Thanks for the website for the Underground Railroad. I appreciate such contributions and wished I received more.

I utilize three Underground Railroad interactive experiences for my students in Maryland, Pennsylvania and New York State. In April, I shall be conducting two buses of eighth graders from California in the Niagara Region who will participate in an Underground Railroad program where they will be chased by slave catchers as they try to get to Canada.

Hope to see you again!

The Tour Marm