I was enlightened the other day regarding some misunderstandings about the trip to Italy and the upcoming trip to Ireland, England, and Wales (summer 2014), so I thought I'd take the opportunity to clarify....
... Because I would love for more of my friends to go! I did the math on the Italy trip and realized the cost was actually a bargain because we got the package at group rates. As you do. Well, not if you try and arrange all the details yourself! The airfare alone was a killer when I checked the price of booking it myself.
And there were unforeseen benefits. Iberia lost the luggage of most of our group for close to five days. (This is where I get to scream "I told you so! Never check your bags!". Lol). I am a carry-on-only person and I have figured out how to travel light yet still have all of my stuff that I'll need. (And share with lost-luggagers if need be!) Questions? I can give you excellent advice on packing light. :). We were given free gondola rides in Venice for our entire tour group of 49 for the lost luggage trouble. We had extra tours added to our trip if we wanted them. Rome by night, Pisa. :)
Okay, here are the clarifications:
1. It's an educational trip, designed for student enrichment. Parents / grandparents of students are welcome, too, as well as spouses of teachers traveling. I don't have children and I went, didn't I? :D (That's why students get a lower price for the trip.)
2. Of course we didn't go for free on the condition that we got others to go. This isn't a pyramid scheme. It's just a travel company. Lol. I paid my way and I went. It was worth it, too.
3. The price will go up after September (beginning or end, I'm not sure). That's typical of any kind of travel plans. The earlier you book, the cheaper the price.
4. You can pay in monthly installments or pay whatever you can as you go, as long as you get the deposit in and have the rest of the trip paid for 100 days before travel. (That has to do with getting the actual airline tickets.).
5. There is a cutoff date for adding people to the tour sometime in the far distant future, probably around 100 days before the trip. No last minute additions because all the reservations will have been made.
6. The food was excellent. I tried some new things and there wasn't anything I didn't like. :). And I'm a picky eater. They fed us well, too. (I even ate cooked spinach... Which I don't eat at home. I put Parmesan cheese on it. Lol. Worked for me!) I'm still not going to eat squid though.
7. It's not open to the general public to come along. Why? Because teachers are going to be supervising your kids, and are just as protective on the tour as at school. Group leaders need to know the travelers for safety's sake. No random strangers allowed. It's a student tour group, of course.
8. Kids and adults do not share rooms, except for parents. No brainer there. Lol. Student rooms are all same-sex, too.
By the way... This is not a trip for small children. You know they wouldn't get it anyway. :).