Why should I use a student tour operator for our travel needs?
There are many benefits in using a Student Tour Operator instead of a travel agent or individual. Student group tours have numerous complex components involved (attractions, transportation, hotel accommodations, meals, tour guides, educational components, safety components, etc) which requires detailed and precise planning. Our experience benefits your experience. Since 1970 we have sent hundreds of thousands of students on educational journeys. Our volume and experience have allowed us to create numerous partnerships with suppliers and vendors. This ultimately allows Hemisphere to operate a high quality tour that becomes an unforgettable educational experience for your students.
In addition to confirming that a company is capable of operating a student tour, you must inquiry about their insurance coverage. It is imperative that you choose a company that has appropriate insurance coverage for you and your tour participants. Hemisphere is covered by a general liability policy, a Professional Tour Operator's Errors and Omissions Policy, and each tour participant will be covered by a comprehensive accident and illness policy. As a Group Leader you and your chaperones will be covered under our Professional Tour Operator's Errors and Omissions Policy. In regards to protecting your students' financial investments, we carry a consumer protection plan which insures your group's deposits. We also offer an Optional Travel Protection Insurance program that provides a 'Cancel for any Reason' benefit, in addition to other benefits relating to tour cancellations or delays.
Do Teachers/Chaperones travel for free?
Yes. Most schools choose a 1:15, 1:10 or 1:6 chaperone to student ratio. Please confirm with your school district to see what their requirements are for student travel. Inform Hemisphere of your preferred ratio so we can include the proper amount of free chaperones in your tour package. It is the Group's responsibility to provide chaperones for the tour as Hemisphere is not responsible for staffing chaperones. Hemisphere requires each group to have a minimum of 1 chaperone for every 15 students.
What can I do inside the Group Leader login section of your website?
If Hemisphere has set up individual accounts for your participants, each Group Leader will have access to our Group Leader section. You will have 24/7 access to your account and be able to do the following; create and edit your rooming list, view your list of tour participants (including contact information and balances due), view waitlisted participants, view canceled participants and view and download the registration form, medical form and participant paperwork.
Can I customize my own itinerary?
Yes. You are more than welcome to provide us with your ideas or an itinerary from a previous tour. Hemisphere customizes each tour to suit your needs. Your dedicated Educational Account Executive will be happy to discuss the goals and objectives of your tour. We will work closely with you providing sound advice in regards to timing and placement of various sites and attractions to ensure that your tour flows smoothly. If you would like to leave the details entirely up to us, we will be more than happy to provide you with our recommendations.
Is there a minimum or maximum number of participants required?
We have worked with groups of 300+ and as small as 10. Your tour group will not be consolidated with another group and you will have your own exclusive tour. We unfortunately cannot assist any groups that have less than 10 participants.
What happens if not enough participants sign up for the tour?
Due to lack of participation, Hemisphere will allow you to cancel your tour within two weeks of your initial deposit date and receive a 100% refund.
How will you determine our tour cost if I am not sure how many people we will have sign up?
Most groups do not know what their actual number of participants will be until the initial deposit due date. We will provide you with a tiered pricing system based on your initial estimate of participants. For instance, if your estimated number is 35 students, we will provide you with a per person price based on 30-34 students, 35-39 students and 40-49 students. The final cost of your tour will be based on the final number of participants, and locked in by your final payment due date.
What are your payment options?
You may utilize Hemisphere's accounting services and set up individual payment accounts on all overnight tours. Each participant can register and pay online or mail their individual payments directly to Hemisphere. You also have the option of sending in bulk deposits. The payment schedule for overnight tours is divided into multiple payments. Final payments are due anywhere from 60-30 days prior to your tour departure date. Your payment plan will be discussed with your Educational Account Executive.
How do you apply fundraising amounts to my students' accounts?
When you submit a fundraising check to Hemisphere, we ask that you attach a spreadsheet detailing the students' names and what amounts should be applied to their accounts. We ask that all fundraising checks are received 75 days prior to your tour date so we can properly adjust everyone's balance before the final payment due date.
Do you offer a travel insurance program?
Yes. Optional travel protection insurance is made available for purchase for each participant on Hemisphere's overnight tours. It is available as an option for one day tours by the Group Leader's request. The insurance carries a 'Cancel for Any Reason' benefit along with other benefits relating to tour cancellations or delays. Please click here
to view more information about our optional travel insurance programs. Please note this product is non-refundable.
How do I know who has signed up for my tour?
If Hemisphere has set up individual accounts for your participants, each Group Leader will have access to our Group Leader section on our website and will be able to view your list of tour participants (including contact information and balances due).
What happens if I need to reach Hemisphere after business hours while I am on tour?
Each Group Leader will be provided with a phone number of their dedicated Educational Account Executive that will be available 24/7 while on tour. We also have a 24 hour emergency phone line available should you call into our office after normal business hours.
What if a student has special needs?
Please inform Hemisphere immediately so we can discuss any necessary accommodations while on tour.