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Old 09-28-2011, 11:00 AM   #1
Aristocath
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8th Grade Washington DC Trip

It is common here for eighth grade students to go on a trip to Washington DC. When I taught middle school I chaperoned several trips and I think it was a good experience for the students. One of the teachers "sponsored" it by organizing it with a reputable tour company and got other teachers (usually) to chaperone. We always went for six days/ five nights and it was over Spring Break. The kids (parents) paid under $1000 to go and it included airfare/food/hotel/transportation and any entrance fees.

So fast forward fifteen years and now I have an eighth grade son. He came home very excited about the eighth grade trip to Washington DC, even though he has been there with us. I'm thinking we will probably send him anyway, since I think it is a good experience and memory.

Then I read the information about the trip... 4 days/3 nights in early June and for quadruple occupancy they are charging $1700! I realize prices have gone up in fifteen years but wow! And that is for only 2 full days in DC. I was expecting about $1200.

The tour company is Worldstrides. I haven't researched them yet but wondered if anyone was familiar with them. I'm not sure if we will send my son or not.

Anyway, just wondering if anyone else does the eighth grade Washington DC trip and how long it is and how much it costs.
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Old 09-28-2011, 11:25 AM   #2
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I don't have experience with an 8th grade trip but I chaperoned my daughter's 5th grade trip to Washington, DC last spring. It was a 2 night/ 3 day trip and it cost only $275 per person. We are in NC, so I'm sure that impacts the cost alot. It was only a 4 or 5 hour drive.

I think we used Holiday Tours. They did a really fantastic job. A tour guide stayed with us the whole time and everything was planned very well.

Our trip consisted of:

quick stop at the Pentagon to visit the Sept 11 memorial

a very short time touring some of the Smithsonian museums. I think we had 3 hours and split up into small groups for self touring.

Guided tour of the Capital with a photo taken with our Senator

White House tour

We visited the Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, WWII memorial, Korea Memorial, Vietnam Memorial, and Arlington National Cemetary , all guided by very knowledgable local tour guides.

Also, the $275 price included all meals , except for lunch on the bus while traveling to DC. The students were instructed to bring a bagged lunch from home. Breakfast was provided at the hotel and lunch/dinner was provided in the form of meal vouchers. On the way home, the tour guide gave everyone a $5.00 bill to cover a fast food meal.
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Old 09-28-2011, 11:28 AM   #3
zoemurr
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Wow

My DD is going on her trip in May. I don't believe they are using a touring company, but are using "Covered Wagon" charter buses. Same 4 days 3 nights. 3 nights at Crowne Plaza, almost all meals (2 lunches OOP), all admissions and the price is $500.

We have the option of selling entertainment books where she would net $8 from each sale.

We are in Rochester NY.

Does yours include airfare?

Last edited by zoemurr; 09-28-2011 at 11:33 AM.
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Old 09-28-2011, 11:30 AM   #4
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Just put down deposit for youngest DD to go next spring. Her trip is 3 full days/nts. there in hotel, & 2 nights travel on the road in the tour buses. Her trip total for trans, lodging & bus is just over $600. It is not the same as your tour company, which I am not familiar with, but is the same one older DD traveled w/ on her 8th grade trip. It is chaperoned by school staff. There will be a travel co. rep. w/ them 24-hours per day, plus security staff at the hotel. The only thing additional to pay would be any souvenir $ & if you choose to purchase the cancellation insurance.

I think you're right that even w/ airfare your trip seems a bit pricey.
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Old 09-28-2011, 11:49 AM   #5
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I would think our kids go to the same school but you live in a different state! Yes, 1700 for a five day trip. My daughter's trip included a side to Gettysburg and airfare. No fund raising can be held for the trip per school policy and I cannot justify the cost. She has been to DC with the family. I don't feel she has been educationally deprived of our nation's capital!
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Old 09-28-2011, 11:59 AM   #6
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OUr kids go in eighth grade. It costs around $1000.00. We thought about it, but then decided that it was way too much money for the length of time that they spend at any given thing. They would literally be running all day and maybe getting to spend about 2 hours at each museum. Totally not worth it. Not to mention they traveled all night and then hit the ground running as soon as they got there at around 6-7:00 am. We decided it was much better if we all went together as a family. Not to mention that most of the moms I talked to that had boys go in the previous years said that the boys are still way too hung up on not sharing a bed and that some boys spend 5 night sleeping in a chair so they wouldn't be in a bed with another boy. Um, I don't think I will spend $1000.00 for that experience. Also, they go in January. Again, I don't think so.
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Old 09-28-2011, 12:09 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mhsjax View Post
OUr kids go in eighth grade. It costs around $1000.00. We thought about it, but then decided that it was way too much money for the length of time that they spend at any given thing. They would literally be running all day and maybe getting to spend about 2 hours at each museum. Totally not worth it. Not to mention they traveled all night and then hit the ground running as soon as they got there at around 6-7:00 am. We decided it was much better if we all went together as a family. Not to mention that most of the moms I talked to that had boys go in the previous years said that the boys are still way too hung up on not sharing a bed and that some boys spend 5 night sleeping in a chair so they wouldn't be in a bed with another boy. Um, I don't think I will spend $1000.00 for that experience. Also, they go in January. Again, I don't think so.
That's exactly why we decided against it. The amount of money they were asking, coupled with the little time they were going to be at each attraction was not worth it to us.

So we passed.


ETA: Our kids were taking a charter bus from WI (ick!) and not flying.
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Old 09-28-2011, 12:26 PM   #8
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My son is doing a Worldstrides trip in June to New York and Washington DC. I am going to be going also, as a chaperone.

The trip is 6 nights, 7 days total. His cost for quad occupancy is $2826. My cost for double occupancy is $3250.

This trip is all-inclusive, from Seattle to DC. And I am guessing we will bus from DC to NY.

I don't think it is a bad deal at all for a fully guided trip, all-inclusive. Plus, there are guards outside the kids rooms at night for added safety.

I am excited, and am really looking forward to the trip, as is my son.
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Old 09-28-2011, 12:40 PM   #9
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That price does include airfare from DFW. Just for comparison, I recently paid $220 to fly into Washington Reagan when my husband went to DC on a business trip and I met him there.

I'm going to the parent meeting next week to find out more. I know from personal experience that these are jam-packed days but the sample itinerary cracks me up. For example on day two they have the kids going to Alexandria after breakfast, then Mount Vernon and lunch, then the Smithsonian, dinner and the monuments at night. The itinerary makes it sound like the Smithsonian is one building that can be toured in an afternoon!
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Old 09-28-2011, 12:01 PM   #10
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Our Middle School stopped offering the overnight trip to Washington DC back in the early 2000s. They had a particularly rowdy group one year and that was all it took. My son did a day trip with his class (I was called in at the last minute to chaperone a group too) and it went fine. But I could see why it must have been hard on the chaperones when they did it overnight. Many of those kids refused to listen to directions.

If my kid had a trip that was over $1000 in eighth grade, I highly doubt we would have had him participate.
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Old 09-28-2011, 12:06 PM   #11
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My daughter went with 5th grade last year. It was $745 for 3 nights, 4 days, included airfar from Florida, a nice hotel (I forget which one), lunch and dinner were in sit down places (not fast food or buffet). They had the tour guide with them the entire time. This year I have heard the price went up to $765. The price was to be lower but there were fewer kids so the price went up a bit.
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Old 09-28-2011, 11:36 AM   #12
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My son's school offers this trip once every two years for 7th and 8th graders. My DS will be going next month as a 7th grader.

Our school used Worldstrides and has been very happy with them. I do know our school switched bus companies a few years ago. Maybe thats part of the price difference? Also, I'm sure it depends where they stay, where they eat and what they see. I don't know, but I am thinking the school chooses the price point, and that Worldstrides offers different packages/levels to choose from.

My DS will travel straight thru from Wisconsin to Philadelphia. Stay one night in Philadelphia and tour that area. They drive to Washington DC and spend 3 nights there. Then drive stright thru on the way back. It cost $1024, plus I paid an extra $129 for the trip insurance. I got a $25 discount for registering early.

We knew this trip was coming way ahead of time. DS saved half his garage sale profits for the last two years, and paid for half of the trip.
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Old 09-28-2011, 12:02 PM   #13
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Can you get a breakdown of the costs? Perhaps airfare is really expensive. Otherwise, I can plan you one fantastic trip to DC for $1700!!!!
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Old 09-28-2011, 12:06 PM   #14
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I'm in charge of our 8th grade DC trip at my kids school. We use School Tours of America so I cant comment on the tour group. Our trip is 4 nights and 5 FULL days! Our trip is $1795 and includes air, hotel, food, transportation and all entry fees. The only thing the kids should have to pay for is the sweatshirt or hat at the tacky tourist stop!

I dont profit from the trip or benefit in any way. I can honestly say it is the most amazing trip! When I started doing the trip 6 years ago the price was $1495. Three hundred dollars in 6 years is a huge jump!
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Old 09-28-2011, 04:15 PM   #15
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crazy

For 3 nights that is more than $500 per day. That's a lot. If he has already been to D.C I wouldn't pay that. I can take myself and 3 kids to D.C for 5 or 6 days for that much money.
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