With the prospect of summer just around the corner, travel ideas are running rampant through my mind. With so many options to choose from, how do you pick your next destination? This week I pose the question, where would you prefer to travel, to the mountains or to the sea?
By Julia on Wednesday, May 15, 2013 8:23 AM
Why is now the prime time to start planning your 2014 WorldStrides International Discovery program? The earlier you start planning, the easier it is to recruit AND travelers have plenty of time to break up the tour cost into small monthly payments. Better yet, we have seven new tours to choose from!
Check out our exciting new offerings for 2014!
Journey to southeast Asia and explore the cities of Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. See the Buddhist lifestyle firsthand within the ancient temples and monasteries including the monumental temple Angkor Wat and view local treasures within the Silver Pagoda. Enjoy unique cultural experiences during LEAP activities: Cambodian School Visit and Khmer Cuisine.
China Service Learning
During this 13-day excursion to China, become familiar with the cities of Beijing, Xi'an, and Shanghai. Hike the Great Wall of China, stare into the faces of the life-size Terra Cotta Warriors, and immerse yourself into a three day service learning experience at Sun Village. To complete your cultural experience, take part in LEAP activities: Cook Chinese Cuisine, Chinese Calligraphy, and Tai Ji.
Costa Rica: The Grand Tour
Expose your students to all Costa Rica has to offer during this cross country program. Discover unforgettable sites such as Toruguero National Park and Arenal's volcanic hot springs, and experience ziplining through Monteverde Cloud Forest and taking a wildlife tour through Manuel Antonio National Park. The cultural immersion is complete with LEAP activities: Costa Rican School Visit, Dance the El Torito, and Cocina Tica.
Discover UK and France
This exclusive middle school program is the perfect opportunity to expose students to travel at an age where it will enhance their future studies. Students will experience the aristocratic air of London and the mythical meaning of Stonehenge. They will step inside the shoes of Normandy's soldiers and cultivate the timeless culture of Paris. LEAP activities Who Rules?, Bon Appetit, Seize the Château!, and Soldiers' Stories round out the educational immersion.
Florence, Rome, and Sicily
This Italian exploration begins in Florence and guides travelers all the way to Sicily's capital, Palermo. Your journey will introduce you to the rich history, incredible Greek and Roman influenced-architecture, and trademark cuisine of the nation. The cultural experience is further fostered with experiential LEAP activities: Caesar's Gladiatiors, Cucina Fiorentina, and Clash of the Classics.
Can you think of a more beautiful location to immerse yourself in the French language? Kick off this ten day program in Paris and then be whisked off to the sunny resort town of Nice. Students will be immersed in the local culture during their four-night stay with a local family. During that time they will experience Nice like a Niçois and take local language classes. They can even enjoy LEAP activity, Cover the Canvas, while visiting Paris!
Paris, Turin, and Florence
Breathtaking cityscapes await your group on this European exploration. Between scaling the Eiffel Tower, Turin's Basilica di Superga, and Florence's Duomo, students will take in some of Europe's most stunning skylines and receive a unique point-of-view of these historical masterpieces. The architectural buffet doesn't stop there, students will also visit the Palace of Versailles and the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Their trip also features LEAP activities: Cucina Fiorentina, Cover the Canvas, and Seize the Château!
I feel like I just traveled the world after writing those trip summaries! Now it's your turn to get started. In addition to all the reasons I stated above, we are now offering guaranteed prices! So check out one of our brand new tours, browse our handy tour selector, or even create a custom tour that perfectly meets your needs. Either way we are here waiting to assist you in any way. Happy travels!
By Julia on Wednesday, May 08, 2013 9:36 AM
Categories:Travel, Educational Travel Highlights, Service Learning
I recently went on a two-week trip to London, Paris, Brussels, Bruges, and Amsterdam. I know what you’re thinking, “Goodness, that’s a lot!” Luckily, I had a ton of help from our amazing WorldStrides International Discovery trip planners so the whole trip went off without a hitch.
I figured because it is quite the itinerary that I would share my travels with you one destination at a time.
The first stop on my European adventure was jolly old London. After a short layover in Iceland, which has the most beautiful airport I’ve ever seen, I landed in London for the first leg of my trip.
My hotel was in the Kensington area of London and I couldn't have asked for a better location. It was easy to get to the hotel from the airport on the Tube, was surrounded by adorable shops and restaurants on quaint streets, and was a stone’s throw from Hyde Park.
Our sightseeing consisted of Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, Parliament, Shakespeare’s Globe, and the London Eye. My favorite was Big Ben – I loved the way it gleamed in stark contrast to the overcast skies, I can only imagine how much more beautiful it is on sunny day.
In addition to the must-see sites, I took in several museums. I had heard a lot about the Winston Churchill War Rooms, so that was my first stop. The museum was a mixture of a tour of the actual war rooms and an exhibit about Winston Churchill giving you the context of the situation and a firsthand reference. I also checked out the National Gallery and the Tate Modern. I loved the Monet’s and Van Gogh’s at the National Gallery and the Tate had a ton of intriguing, thoughtful work as well – not to mention both of these museums are free!
We spent the bulk of our trip popping into pubs, trying the local fare, and strolling through the different cute neighborhoods. I loved the shops on Portobello Road in Notting Hill; it was a wonderful combination of store fronts and outdoor booths. My favorite pub was the Toucan in Soho, which boasts the best pour of Guinness in London (and I can’t disagree!). My favorite restaurant was Coco Momo in Kensington and it just happens to be one of our tasty tour restaurants, so get excited if you’re traveling to London with us!
Overall, London was a lovely experience. It may have been a bit drizzly for all four days of my stay but I think that added to its charm.
Next stop, Paris!
What are your favorite spots in London? Never been? Check out our educational travel itineraries to London.
By Julia on Monday, April 22, 2013 9:03 AM
Working at an educational travel company comes in handy when planning a trip. The people here are an amazing resource for all travel-related questions and concerns. After my recent two-week European adventure (post about that coming soon!), I feel like I need to share some of the helpful information they bestowed upon me.
In this techie age we live in, I think my most helpful travel asset was my iPhone. All of the apps and websites available made planning and execution that much easier. After putting some coworker-recommended apps to use and poling the office for everyone's favorites, below is a list of WorldStrides International Discovery staffer-approved travel apps.
Check out your destination from a bird's eye view prior to traveling. See attractions in 3-D and figure out where your hotel falls in the grand layout of a city or town. Also a fun app to use in class or at a tour meeting to get students excited about the location.
Use this pocket audio guide to learn about the buildings, parks, and attractions as you pass by. The app uses GPS to track where you are and give you on-the-spot information. No more hefty guide books!
Easy organization for all your important travel documents. Just forward your confirmation emails to TripIt and they organize all of your data right on your phone or tablet. When traveling this is super handy – you can simply look at one master itinerary as opposed to wading through lots of individual emails from hotels, flights, car rentals, etc.
The official State Department app for U.S. travelers, Smart Traveler keeps you informed on all vaccination, passport, visa requirements, or other important information related to your upcoming travel. Definitely a must download!
Pinpoint flights and check their status easily on your phone. This app was invaluable this past January when flights were canceled due to winter weather. Allowed us to easily keep track of everyone and rebook them ASAP!
While we know most of our student travelers are almost fluent in the language of their destination of travel, Google Translate definitely comes in handy. In a pinch, use it to translate any language to English.
Stay organized with this packing assistant. Make a packing checklist and use it for packing before you leave and to make sure you haven't left anything behind while abroad.
Speak like a local with this language app. Get to know colloquial phrases prior to or on your journey to better your communication with the locals.
Oanda Currency Calculator
Another must download! While recently traveling to England and France, I had a pretty good idea what I was spending when using pounds or euros but at the Iceland airport during my layover I had no idea what 6000 krona equated to in U.S. dollars. This app doesn't require WiFi so I was easily able to pull up the conversions.
This app allows you to download maps and walking tours to your phone that you can use through your phone's GPS – no WiFi necessary. You can either use their free versions or, for a $1 or $2 more, download others. This app came in very handy when I couldn't find my hotel in London!
Have you used any of the apps above? Or do you have any that you absolutely love? Share them below!
By Julia on Wednesday, April 17, 2013 10:44 AM
I'd like to share some itinerary suggestions with you! Since we've run thousands of tours all around the world, we receive a wealth of invaluable knowledge from our teachers who are constantly giving us feedback on which itineraries are the best.
Explore one of the world’s most exotic countries as you take in Costa Rica’s remarkable history, incredible biodiversity, and experience the culture like you could never do in the classroom! Enjoy days discovering exotic wildlife, trying your hand at local crafts, skimming the rainforest canopy as you zipline through the treetops, or simply enjoying a quiet moment to behold the natural beauty. Adventure waits for you around every corner!
Teachers also recommend: Lima, Cuzco and the Amazon, Costa Rica The Grand Tour
Paris, the Riviera, and Italy
Experience a beautiful spectrum of art, culture, food, architecture, and stunning sights on this European adventure. Immerse yourself in the international center of arts and fashion including the Mona Lisa and Coco Chanel, stroll along the coastal grandeur of the Cote d'Azur, be enchanted by the birthplace of the Renaissance, and step back in time in the Eternal City. Expect an amazing, sensory overload after this memorable trip!
Teachers also recommend: Roman Conquest, London, Paris, and Rome
La Belle France
The City of Light is one of the world's most beautiful and romantic destinations. Paris effortlessly blends the old and the new and has always been a focal point of personal discovery and creativity. Stop by the Latin Quarter, get a café crème, and feel like Earnest Hemingway or F. Scott Fitzgerald in the 1920s or visit the world's most famous museum, the Louvre. Whether it's your first trip or fiftieth, Paris will always surprise and enchant you.
Teachers also recommend: Paris, Provence, and the Riviera, France: The Grand Tour
Italy in Depth
Be amazed by the beauty and history of this legendary place as you explore the Tuscan countryside, see works of Renaissance masters, skim the waters in Venice under the melody of a gondalier, and experience the legacy of the ancient Roman Empire. Experience the culture, cuisine, and hospitality of bell' Italia.
Teachers also recommend: Roman Italy, Bell'Italia
Spain The Grand Tour
Stand at the crossroads of past and future when you visit beautiful Spain. Explore Moorish fortresses and ancient palaces, learn the art of flamenco dancing, and study modern culture. You’ll be amazed by the architecture, sweeping views, and beautiful beaches you’ll explore on a program to Spain.
Teachers also recommend: Madrid and Andalucia , Costa del Sol
France, Mediterranean, and Spain
From the architecture of Versailles to the Gaudi's Park Güell, France and Spain feature some of the most beautiful destinations. Walk in the steps of famous artists and influencers on this cross country journey. Take in the endless sounds, sights (and food!) of stunning Paris, explore the Roman influence in France at Nimes, experience the vibrant intricacies of Barcelona, and famous Spanish art in Madrid. You'll be ripe with inspiration after this memorable ten day experience.
Teachers also recommend: Castles and Castanets, Paris and Madrid
The London Theater
From the mysterious prehistoric monument of Stonehenge to the Crown Jewels of the Tower of London, beauty abounds in England. Experience the history, culture, arts, lifestyle, and cuisine that makes the capital of the United Kingdom so unique. Stroll the same streets as Shakespeare, indulge in a London theatre performance, find your inner thespian during a Globe Theatre workshop, and get a behind the scenes look at the National Theatre. Enjoy fish and chips with friends, while you take in the all that London has to offer.
Teachers also recommend: Sceptered Isle, Edinburgh and London
Bavaria and Switzerland
Experience the medieval masterpiece of Bavaria and Switzerland. Soak in the sleek atmosphere and age-old traditions of Munich, enjoy the picturesque lake and mountain views of Lucerne, and discover the magnificent castles and vine-terraced hills along the Rhine. Eastern Europe has become one of the top 10 hottest destinations for students during the past decade. Immerse yourself in the cultural tradition and modern splendor of these historic areas.
Teachers also recommend: Germanic Cultures, Europe: East and West
Schedule a call with one of our Tour Consultants today and find the perfect program for you and your students!
By Julia on Wednesday, February 20, 2013 11:35 AM
Categories:Travel, Educational Travel Highlights
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|Hi, I'm Julia! I am an art lovin', travel nut and my goal is to share my insights and discoveries with humor and enthusiasm on all of our social media avenues. On The Educated Traveler blog, the official blog of WorldStrides International Discovery programs, you’ll find all kinds of great information about travel and education, tips, news, classroom lesson ideas and more! Subscribe above!