When I first thought of travel study I thought of a fully customized academic itinerary however travel always changes one’s perspective.
I lead a travel study to Australia that costs $5000 so I wanted to create an alternative program for much much cheaper. The university travel agent suggested joining a packaged all-inclusive tour with a company called Caravan. For a total of $2300 my students would have all meals, flights, in country transportation and activities on an 8 day trip to Costa Rica. Most of our students are eligible for $500-$1000 in travel grants which brought the price down to an affordable $1300. So with an awesome price and a great looking tour I set about innovating my academic content to work within an un-customizable tour. I created online lectures and quizzes and a paper workbook for the students to take on the trip. I also scheduled a lecture by the pool for the tour free day.
The trip was very successful and the students learned the course content and so much more! Here is my take on joining a packaged tour as part of a travel study.
- Safe/easy taste of traveling for my students who had never left their home country before
- Ability to integrate fellow non-student travelers into the course/learning
- Students meet and interact with people from all over the USA.
- Students have to seek out answers to academic content questions/activities in their workbooks
- The nature of this tour (and many other all-inclusive tours) meant the students didn’t interact with locals
- No control over who your fellow travelers will be
- No ability to customize the tour and the content delivered by the tour guide
Overall: If money is going to make or break your travel study then a packaged tour is an option that you should consider. You will just need to be more creative to integrate the academic content into the trip.
What are you thoughts? Are packaged tours something you would consider when leading a travel study?