8th Grade Washington DC Trip

Discussion in 'Community Board' started by Aristocath, Sep 28, 2011.

  1. Aristocath

    Aristocath DIS Veteran

    Apr 8, 2002
    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! :scared1: 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.
  2. ncmickeyluvr

    ncmickeyluvr <font color=darkorchid>darn. I really like being r

    Sep 26, 2008
    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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  4. zoemurr

    zoemurr DIS Veteran

    Dec 30, 2006
    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?
  5. cabanafrau

    cabanafrau DIS Veteran

    May 10, 2006
    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.
  6. sksjasams

    sksjasams DIS Veteran

    May 29, 2008
    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.
  7. Marymom

    Marymom Mouseketeer

    Nov 7, 2002
    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. :confused3 She has been to DC with the family. I don't feel she has been educationally deprived of our nation's capital! ;)
  8. mhsjax

    mhsjax DIS Veteran

    Mar 3, 2006
    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.
  9. HM

    HM My tag from the Tag Fairy is now too long to use.

    Mar 8, 2001
    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.
  10. DopeyDame

    DopeyDame DIS Veteran

    Jul 8, 2010
    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!!!!
  11. mom2d&b

    mom2d&b DIS Veteran

    May 12, 2007
    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.
  12. noodles

    noodles DIS Veteran

    Jul 1, 2000
    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!
  13. SaraJayne

    SaraJayne <font color=red>Stop moving those smilies! <img sr

    Mar 6, 2009
    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.
  14. rszdtrvl

    rszdtrvl DIS Veteran

    Jan 10, 2008
    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.
  15. Aristocath

    Aristocath DIS Veteran

    Apr 8, 2002
    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!
  16. The Mystery Machine

    The Mystery Machine Sunrise at my house. :+)

    Jan 4, 2001
    My dd did the 8th grade Worldstrides trip. She had fun. This was 7yrs ago, so it was cheaper then.

    Just don't buy the book they offer if you do go. It is really stupid.;)
  17. ilovejack02

    ilovejack02 <font color=peach>what do you all think?<br><font

    Aug 8, 2006
    Our school goes too, my little guy is in 4th grade now so I have a few years. Right now it is costing about 1000 from what I hear. 3 nights . I am sure it will be more when it is his turn. I don't know if there is fundraising involved, but I don't think so as I haven't heard about any. DH and I won't be sending DS . I would rather take the 1200 or so that we will spend to send him and take the three of us on a longer more relaxed trip . DH and I would like to go too and not with a bunch of kids LOL.
  18. linnell

    linnell DIS Veteran

    Dec 16, 2009
    I interviewed with Worldstrides once... didn't get the job.

    Anyway... what I remember from my 8th grade trip to DC was smoking my first cigarette and flirting with some cute boys from Buffalo in the hotel lobby. I guess my point is, make sure it is well supervised!
  19. hereyago

    hereyago DIS Veteran

    Jun 20, 2008
    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.
  20. Coconut36

    Coconut36 DIS Veteran

    Aug 19, 2011
    I am old now but I did it the summer between 8th grade and 9th grade. My teacher had been "hosting" the trip for something like 15 years prior and this was her final year so our trip was actually Washington DC and New York City!

    It was an absolutely amazing and wonderful experience and I am so very grateful my parents were able to swing it. We were very well supervised during our trip as well..there were several adults per group of kids.

    I know it was not cheap even back then..I imagine costs have only risen since. We were given the option of participating in several fundraisers during the year to help us fund our trip (basically our profit went to pay our individual cost). My trip was Phoenix to DC so depending on where you live and cost of airfare that will play a role in your overall cost as well.
  21. KiminChicago

    KiminChicago DIS Veteran

    Aug 19, 1999
    My son did an 8th grade Washington DC trip just last year and it cost us $949. They flew out from O'Hare at approx. 6:30 am on a Friday (the school had a half-day that day so they didn't miss a lot of school) and got back to O'Hare around 9pm on Sunday. They went to all the memorials (Vietnam, WWII, FDR, Lincoln, etc.), the Washington Monument, the Capitol, the Naval Academy at Annapolis, Arlington Cemetery, the Air and Space Museum (and one other section of the Smithsonian), Holocaust Museum and Mount Vernon. They also did a ghost tour, went to the roof of the Kennedy Center, They got to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and saw way more than I would have ever expected. The company they used is called Brightspark (used to be Educational Tours).

    DD has already started planning for next year's trip (the cost this year is $979). The school has set up fundraisers for the kids who are going and this year they're allowing 7th graders to participate with the understanding that any money they raise this year will be applied to next year's trip, and if the student ends up not going at all, the money raised will be split among the students who do go.

    ETA: The price included airfare and all meals except for breakfast at O'Hare before the flight. Any water or incidentals were out of pocket. We sent our son with a $100 Visa gift card that he was able to use for water and snacks and the gifts he brought home for the rest of the family.

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