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Old 10-03-2011, 12:23 PM   #61
agnes!
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Originally Posted by noodles View Post
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!
What entry fees? The Smithsonian museums, National Archives, Arlington are all free.

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Originally Posted by Aristocath View Post
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!
I can understand the timeframe of the Alexandria/Mount Vernon sidetrip but going to Alexandria after breakfast and doing *what*?...

I mean, Alexandria has more authentic Colonial buildings than Colonial Williamsburg and Gadsby's Tavern and Christ Church (Washington and Lee were congregants) are historical and interesting and there are a lot of shops that people like but how much time will they have with all they're squeezing in?

Now Mount Vernon is fabulous and worth it, lots of space for everyone to find things they're interested in, gardens and animals plus the house has most of the original furnishings and was never given over to wholesale modern 'improvements'. There's a lot of places to get things to eat there since they built the museum/foodcourt area behind The Mount Vernon Inn. One thing that catches a lot of folks unawares is that Mount Vernon can close before dusk or early, like at 4pm during the winter. People show up at 3:30 expecting to have a couple of hours to tour and that ain't gonna happen if you show up mid-afternoon. But this Day Two itinerary sounds like the group will be flying through all the attractions on it...how much time do they have for each stop? And Mount Vernon isn't right next door to 'the Smithsonian' anyway, it probably will take at least 30 minutes or more depending on traffic to get back to DC. Though something I wasn't aware of is that most of the Smithsonian is open until 5:30 with the National Portrait Gellery being open until 7pm, so if the group is hitting the Portrait Gallery it's doable.

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Originally Posted by hereyago View Post
My DD13 8th grader, has a field trip to D.C. for this year. However, we live about 3 and half hours away and it won't be an over night stay. It will be 40.00.

My thing is that: the kids will go to school regular time to get on the charter buses. So they won't get into D.C. until almost noon then they want to do: Jefferson and Lincoln Memorials-Washington Monument if it's open. Some part of the Smithsonian, National Mint, National Archives and maybe Ford's theater. then leave D.C. around 6pm or so. So everything will be rushed.

Then here is when they want to do: In between Thanksgiving and Christmas, yea winter. If it snows here or there it's a no go, if they have to change, they want to try for January if that isn't possible go in June. Um, I'll take warm weather any time.
You need timed tickets for the Washington Monument but you're right...I think it will be closed for at least a year while they get the earthquake damage fixed.

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Originally Posted by eduk8r26 View Post
.We are in SoCal and my nephew's school is planning a trip for 6 days that will cost $1595. That includes air fare, hotels, all meals, transfers, admissions, etc. They will visit D.C., Williamsburg, Jamestown, Mt. Vernon, Monticello, Gettysburg and the Liberty Bell. Actually it's not a school-sponsored trip, but a private one. It's organized by a group of teachers who have spring break all at the same time. We're just trying to convince my nephew it would be a great trip.

They're going to be on that bus for almost the entire time. Take a look at the map and Google Map how long it's supposed to take (with no traffic - hahahahahaha - between Williamsburg/Jamestown and Charlottesville and DC *and* Philadelphia!) On a good day it takes at least 3 hours between DC and Phily, on a bad day it can take forever, plus traffic between Williamsburg/Richmond/DC can be truly horrendous. I'm talking bumper-to-bumper for ages, a trip that should take 1.5 hours (DC/Richmond) can easily take 3 or 4 if you hit that stretch of I95 at the wrong time (which is almost any time outbound from DC during 3-6pm, inbound 6:30-9am). AND the weekends can be their own special level of traffic hell as well, not just all aspects of 95 between Philly/Baltimore/DC/Richmond but on I64 getting to-from Williamsburg/Jamestown/Virginia Beach.

agnes!
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Last edited by agnes!; 10-03-2011 at 12:31 PM.
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Old 10-03-2011, 02:42 PM   #62
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Originally Posted by agnes! View Post

They're going to be on that bus for almost the entire time. Take a look at the map and Google Map how long it's supposed to take (with no traffic - hahahahahaha - between Williamsburg/Jamestown and Charlottesville and DC *and* Philadelphia!) On a good day it takes at least 3 hours between DC and Phily, on a bad day it can take forever, plus traffic between Williamsburg/Richmond/DC can be truly horrendous. I'm talking bumper-to-bumper for ages, a trip that should take 1.5 hours (DC/Richmond) can easily take 3 or 4 if you hit that stretch of I95 at the wrong time (which is almost any time outbound from DC during 3-6pm, inbound 6:30-9am). AND the weekends can be their own special level of traffic hell as well, not just all aspects of 95 between Philly/Baltimore/DC/Richmond but on I64 getting to-from Williamsburg/Jamestown/Virginia Beach.

agnes!

Yeah. Each of those places will take an entire day to do right. That itinerary sounds crazy, but hey, now I'm just being negative about everything. Sounds like "a trip of a lifetime."
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Old 10-03-2011, 10:26 PM   #63
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"Trip of a lifetime."

Wouldn't you just hate to know that, in 8th grade, every other trip you'll ever take for the rest of your life will be an anticlimax?
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Old 10-03-2011, 11:11 PM   #64
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My son was in 8th grade last year, and his trip to DC was also through Worldstrides.

The school has used this company for 10+ years and has been really pleased with them.

His trip was around $700, but we are here in Michigan and they drove. They also stopped by Gettysburg and Annapolis.

I believe they left around 6 PM, drove all night to Gettysburg, changed clothes in a bathroom there, toured the place and left around noonish to drive to Annapolis. They were there for a few hours as well, and finally rolled in that evening to the hotel. I believe they had 2 nights in the hotel and were busy every second of the trip.

My son really enjoyed the trip.

Worldstride also offers some scholarships, so I would look into it to help with the cost.
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Old 10-03-2011, 11:50 PM   #65
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Some of these prices are crazy!

I didn't go on our school trip to DC, but I did go on our band's cruise to the Bahamas. It was only around $500 for an entire week. I know that was in 98, but still...that included the cruise, charter buses to and from the airport, our plane tickets, and our excursions.
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Old 10-07-2011, 05:33 PM   #66
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So I went to the parent meeting on Wednesday evening. Of over 250 8th grade students, only about 15 parents were there. There was a salesperson from WorldStrides who ran the meeting and gave fundraising ideas. Call me crazy but I would not send out letters to people asking them to commit $20/month for 6 months to send my kid to Washington DC.

I was not impressed with the presentation or vague plans about how they "see everthing." We've been to DC before and I can't justify that kind of money. My son is okay with it. He knows we've got a few ideas for him to have a special trip, which is part of the allure for him anyway.

So no school trip to Washington for us!
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Old 10-07-2011, 05:43 PM   #67
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Originally Posted by Aristocath View Post
So I went to the parent meeting on Wednesday evening. Of over 250 8th grade students, only about 15 parents were there. There was a salesperson from WorldStrides who ran the meeting and gave fundraising ideas. Call me crazy but I would not send out letters to people asking them to commit $20/month for 6 months to send my kid to Washington DC.

I was not impressed with the presentation or vague plans about how they "see everthing." We've been to DC before and I can't justify that kind of money. My son is okay with it. He knows we've got a few ideas for him to have a special trip, which is part of the allure for him anyway.

So no school trip to Washington for us!
You've restored my faith in humanity/sanity ! I could do so much with $1700 for my entire family, not just a 4 day trip for one kid.
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Old 10-07-2011, 07:33 PM   #68
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Our band is going to Disney this year for 4 days, staying OFF SITE. With flight it's $1350. Such a ripoff!
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Old 10-07-2011, 09:33 PM   #69
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I went on a 8th grade DC trip back in the 70's. I still remember it as an amazing experience. I finally made it back when my daughter was in 9th grade. Very impressive
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Old 10-08-2011, 03:55 PM   #70
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I believe our group is taking a bus from DC to NYC.

How long do you east-coasters think that bus ride will take??

I am a west-coaster, so I have no concept of anything east coast.

To me, even at the price we are paying, it is a good deal. We will be able to do so much without worrying about transportation, lodging, food, and the planning. To me, that is worth something.
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Old 10-08-2011, 06:44 PM   #71
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I believe our group is taking a bus from DC to NYC.

How long do you east-coasters think that bus ride will take??

I am a west-coaster, so I have no concept of anything east coast.

To me, even at the price we are paying, it is a good deal. We will be able to do so much without worrying about transportation, lodging, food, and the planning. To me, that is worth something.
According to google, it's about four and a half hours. I'm assuming that's with zero traffic. Depending on the time of day, that time could possibly double.
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Old 08-07-2012, 01:38 PM   #72
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Class Act Tours is Great!

I just returned from a trip with Class Act Tours to Washington DC and they were great. This was my 2nd trip with them--The first trip was with my 8th grader's class trip and I went as a chaperon....The second was to celebrate our 100th Anniversary of Girl Scouting--There was over 800 of us from Tennessee on that trip. Everything was excellent and smooth on both trips AND affordable with a good online payment plan both times. Tour guides were fun and engaged the kids and the hotels were both major chains...food and just everything was good. The school used World Strides in the past and they were over $400.00 more per student and the itinerary was identical as the following year with Class Act Tours. It pays to shop around and to get more than one proposal. Also, Class Act Tours does NOT pay teachers to organize a trip in order to keep the costs down for parents------I found out that World Strides and EF Tours does pay teachers. (Conflict of interests here??) Perhaps this is why they are so much more money, because they pad the teachers pockets under the table. Good Luck.
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Old 08-07-2012, 01:49 PM   #73
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Originally Posted by CaseyLynne7 View Post
I just returned from a trip with Class Act Tours to Washington DC and they were great. This was my 2nd trip with them--The first trip was with my 8th grader's class trip and I went as a chaperon....The second was to celebrate our 100th Anniversary of Girl Scouting--There was over 800 of us from Tennessee on that trip. Everything was excellent and smooth on both trips AND affordable with a good online payment plan both times. Tour guides were fun and engaged the kids and the hotels were both major chains...food and just everything was good. The school used World Strides in the past and they were over $400.00 more per student and the itinerary was identical as the following year with Class Act Tours. It pays to shop around and to get more than one proposal. Also, Class Act Tours does NOT pay teachers to organize a trip in order to keep the costs down for parents------I found out that World Strides and EF Tours does pay teachers. (Conflict of interests here??) Perhaps this is why they are so much more money, because they pad the teachers pockets under the table. Good Luck.
Welcome to the DIS. Interesting choice for a first post. In light of your information, must ask if Class Act pays you for your web endorsements or has promised you or your group future discounts?
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Old 08-07-2012, 05:08 PM   #74
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Three years ago when my DS went it was $2300. It covered RT airfare, hotel (Sunday- Wednesday), food, and tours. He really enjoyed it. Next year my younger DS will go.
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Old 08-07-2012, 08:40 PM   #75
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My dd15 and in 8th grade went on this trip with Worldstrides during Memorial Day. The cost was $1,100 (give or take) and the school held fundraisers throughout the year.

I agree with everyone who says they could go to Disney for a week for the price. Beleive me I reminded her of that fact every single day. But my dd was soooo excited to go; it was kind of the "class trip" being the upper class man in school. All she talked about in 7th grade was being able to go to DC in 8th grade.

They took a motor coach and as more details emerged like: they didn't leave RI until 10 p.m. on Friday and drove all night, arrived at Hard Rock Cafe for breakfast at 7:00 a.m. and had to change in the rest room. They didn't arrive at the hotel until about 8:00 p.m. on Saturday I was very upset. But she had an absolute ball!

I think every single meal was included, including vouchers given to the kids for several food places and once or twice they received envelopes with cash (ie: $9.00 for lunch)

Worldstrides did also provide chaperones in the hallways during the night which I was very happy with (I remember my 9th grade French class trip to Quebec

So yes, it is expensive, but honestly she will have these memories forever!
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