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How can teachers travel better? The ultimate guide to finding the best deals for an amazing trip (away from your students)!

Teacher, Travel, Biz Travel Hacks, Business Travel
Teacher Travel, Biz Travel Hacks, Business Travel

Being a teacher is really rewarding, but at times it can be very tiring. One of the ways for teachers to escape the intensity of the classroom is by traveling. However, teachers’ travel is conditioned to school holidays, breaks, and vacations. That creates limitations around price, schedule, and the utmost fear of finding one of your students at your hotel pool.

With that in mind, I put together for you an ultimate guide for teachers to find the best travel deals. Here you will find information about the best time to buy tickets, hotel accommodations and other bit orthodox ways of saving money. Moreover, there are opportunities for you to obtain a travel grant if you want to do some research or get updated on a new topic you want to master. 

Nevertheless, the most important component of a trip is to relax  Hence, I will give teachers some tips to avoid meeting your pupil on your next destination. I’m sure you are tired of all that screaming and crying.

This article will help you and your colleagues plan a successful trip. Share this across with your peers and talk about it because I’m sure they will have some advice about it too.

Should teachers plan their travel in advance?

Yes, and teachers are actually at a great advantage compared to the regular traveler. In fact, teachers can plan their travel well in advance because they have the school calendar a year ahead. Of course, we know that their free time will coincide with the end of school terms. However, knowing well ahead of the dates, you can plan your travel to get the right deals. If you do the right things.

And why is that? Just like any industry, travel is based on supply and demand. Airlines and hotels offer their cheapest tickets usually on a first-come-first-serve basis. However, there is a catch. Knowing that teachers, families with kids, holidaymakers, etc will also have limited and specific opportunities to travel, these companies tend to charge a bit more for their services on these dates.

It is the demand side speaking louder now. And that can be very frustrating because the same holiday plan can cost over 120% more if made during the school break.

Not fair for most teachers’ salary, right?

But there are a few ways in which teachers can beat the system. Here’s how.

RoamRight travel insurance

How can teachers beat school holiday travel price hikes?

Let’s use your smart planning to our advantage to see how we can find the best flight deals first. Here’s a quick step-by-step.

1) Check if your school term break coincides with other schools. In some cases, your term end-date will be different from other institutions in your region. Airlines and hotels have a “guestimation” of when people will start traveling, hence you can find windows where prices are still meeting low season levels.

For that, go to your education administration body website of your region and check the dates. Maybe Google will have that. So if your school is off and others aren’t, you may be up for a bargain.

2) Now, select your destination and start tracking the flight prices. I am assuming that you are planning way ahead, and your flight will be further than 3 months from now. If you are going for a long international trip, I expect you to start planning at least 6 months in advance.

Why do I say you should track your flight first and not buy it immediately? Because airlines and hotels adjust their prices every day based on supply and demand. If the flight or hotel room isn’t selling well, its price may be reduced to become more attractive. Similarly, if there are booking cancellations, the airline or hotel will need to attract new customers with more competitive prices.

Contrarily, prices may increase if there’s high demand. Let’s say your target destination just came out on the news. For that reason, it will become a trendy hotspot. It’s time to change plans or buy your tickets immediately.

To track your flights, you can create a Price Alert with Trip.com, for example. The tool will send you emails with price variations regularly. You just need to be ready for when the prices are great.

3) Be flexible with dates. Usually, weekend trips can be more expensive compared to mid-week departures. If you have one week off, try traveling between Mondays and Thursdays or Tuesdays and Fridays. Surely you will miss a couple of days here and there, but you will avoid high prices and probably a full flight.

4) Consider flights from airports in other cities. If you live in a big metropolitan area, you may be served by multiple airports. However, other satellite cities may have flights to the same destination with better prices. Sometimes, the extra cost to get to further airports is offset by discounted fares. You can find great airport transfer options below.

How do teachers find the best hotel deals?

There are ways where teachers can find great accommodation deals for successful travel. Again, the main trick here is flexibility. Let’s go.

1) Look into business hotels. These properties usually are a little emptier during the holidays as business travelers are also away from work. For that reason, these hotels want to attract other types of customers. Hence, there is a high probability that you can get a good deal. New York can be a good option for that.

2) Make several reservations (but pay attention to their cancellation periods). Several hotels give you the chance to make bookings without immediate confirmation. Contrarily to air tickets, I couldn’t find a tool that would allow me to track hotel prices. However, as hotels want to provide flexibility, some room rates have free cancellation. With that, you can hold the costs until you are sure about your travel plans. But make sure you put an alert on your phone!

3) Confirm the hotel room reservation close to the free cancellation end date. This hack is connected with the recommendation above. This is a brilliant tactic because you can run another search and check if the prices went down. Provided that you can find lower prices, you can create a new booking with a more competitive rate.

4) Depending on where you are going, villas can be an excellent option compared to hotel rooms. Especially if you are in a big family or group, getting one big apartment or house can be more cost-effective. You can also have the opportunity to cook your own meals so there are extra savings instead of splashing out your money in local touristy restaurants.

What other options are available for a teacher to travel cheaply?

I was debating about adding this section because these hacks will require some sacrifices to find great deals. If you are adventurous or you are short on cash, you can look at these options too:

1) Get a connecting flight. Most connecting flights are cheaper compared to direct flights. As Airlines want to drive traffic through their hubs to maximize capacity, the ticket costs are more attractive. However, you may expect an addition to your total travel time from 45 mins to 12 hours. Depending on how (un)lucky you are. Nevertheless, if your connection is too long and you can leave the airport and take a short trip to the city. That’s how I visited Washington D.C.

2) Look for early morning flights. You will get so excited when you get a super cheap ticket, but you will curse when you wake up at 3 AM. Most likely, you won’t even fall asleep. Be mindful that public transportation may not be running by the time you leave your house or hotel.

3) Stay at hotels close to airports. If there aren’t any conventions in the city, airport hotels are a convenient option price-wise. However, you need to ensure you can come and go to the airport very conveniently and without much cost. Some airports in cities like Lisbon, Manchester, Tallinn, Boston, San Diego, etc are super easy to access from their city centers. Be mindful of the extra 10/15 min extra to your daily journey to the main attractions, but it can be worth it.

4) Buy non-refundable pre-paid hotel rooms. That is a risk if you are planning your trip well in advance. But if you are sure you are going to travel, you will find great bargains.

Can teachers get travel discounts?

There are indeed a couple travel groups or travel agencies that provide discounts for teachers. However, some of them would charge a membership fee. It would work as some sort of a club. You need to make sure what you pay will be offset by the discounts you are getting. As a teacher, you understand the value of hard-earned cash.

Some of these places not only offer discounts on attractions, like parks, tours, etc, but they also inform you about places you can go for free. They are usually museums, local buildings, and historical sites. In a sense, it looks like a great idea to incentivize travel improving teachers’ knowledge to be passed on to students.

Some of these travel agencies are well connected with government bodies. They allow teachers to use their contracts with airlines and hotels for discounted prices. Of course, you must be registered or part of the local government to enjoy those perks.

However, there is a catch. Some of these government rates may not be as competitive as you think. Let me explain why. They establish contacts with airlines as hotels to supply confirmed rooms and seats at specific rates. Nonetheless, this rate has a premium attached to it as you are guaranteeing rates. In the event of high demand, these rates are actually cheap compared to the ones on the market. Contrarily, during low season, market rates are more attractive as these travel companies are looking to fill planes and hotels.

Additionally, there might be a bit of bureaucracy to get these bookings done. Forms, calls to specific departments, and limitations of options can be daunting. Especially as you just started planning your trip.

I found some of these institutions mostly in the UK and the United States. I list them below. If you know about other places, do let me know so I can add them here.

Which hacks are available for cheap teacher travel? 

There are options for teachers to cut down on their travel expenses. You can consider them if they should be part of your plans. Moreover, they can be a brilliant opportunity to experience your next destination differently.

1) Get a student discount. There are many student-oriented travel discount programs where school employees can also participate. The Student Universe website allows their discounted airfare, hotel, and tour rates program to be enjoyed by teachers, professors, and university staff. Moreover, the great news is that it has no membership attached to it.

Another option is the International Student Exchange (ISE) Card. It provides fantastic support for when students and teachers are abroad. Its global presence and its Worldwide Assistance tool provide help travelers with travel documents and legal problems. It also helps with emergency cash eventually. Additionally, discounts on airfare and room rates may be available.

2) Stay with fellow teachers. TeacherHomeSwap.com has been developed way before the Airbnb mania. And the great thing about it is that it is exclusively available through a network of educators. The website runs a verification process of all members to ensure they are all teachers. Hence, a community of member’s homes is available for swapping, and you can check if each place meets your needs.

You can search all the places available by location and engage with the homeowners to connect and propose a temporary home swap. There’s a membership to it, but it can be worthwhile if you travel a lot.

3) Mini home swap. Teacher Tourist is a website that offers other travel services like hosting, guidance, pet sitting, and home swapping. Mini swaps are also part of their supporting activities for those traveling spontaneously or vacationing nearby for a shorter duration. Consequently, teachers who travel under this program have to follow an etiquette code to keep everybody safe. Moreover, it makes sure a respectful environment is maintained throughout the trip.

Are there travel grants for teachers?

There are so many options depending on your field of expertise and what you want to learn. These fellowship programs can be totally free though some may require a small part to be funded by the teacher. Anyways, it is a fantastic opportunity to consider it.

  • American Councils Exchange Program: https://www.americancouncils.org/ “Whether it is a virtual exchange between teachers, an academic year abroad to learn a new language, or a delegation of civil servants visiting a foreign country, each initiative in international education shares a goal: to expand knowledge of the world through people

  • Funds for Teachers: http://www.fundforteachers.org/ “Fund for Teachers supports educators’ efforts to develop skills, knowledge, and confidence that impact student achievement.

You will need to do some research to find what most suits you. I also want to share another website that provides a global list of institutions that offer grants for students, researchers, teachers, and scientists to attend seminars, conferences, workshops, meetings, training, international paper presentations. Grants are available for travel in Africa, America, Europe, Asia, and Australia. 

Check it out: https://www.advance-africa.com/Travel-Grants.html.

Another option is to pay attention to some promotions airlines do. In 2020, Qatar Airways gave 21,000 complimentary tickets to across 75 countries it operates. This present was a giveaway to commemorate World Teacher’s Day that is celebrated every 5th of October.

To win the prize, teachers would have to successfully register at qatarairways.com/ThankYouTeachers. Should you be one of the lucky ones in the prize draw, you would receive one economy class return ticket anywhere on the Qatar Airways network. Additionally, they would get a voucher for 50% off one future return ticket that they can use for themselves, a family member, or a friend.

The draw is gone however you can still subscribe to their newsletter to get the first notifications if they do it again

How can teachers avoid meeting their students on their holidays?

There is an element of luck here because what are the odds?!?!? The last thing that a teacher needs is meeting their students or their parents after or 5th mojito by the hotel pool. Not fair!!!

You need to pay attention to the signs, and here are a few tactics:

1) Learn if your kids are sharing their plans for holidays or vacations. Many kids share where they go during their time off. Actually, try assigning a short essay about their travel plans at the end of the term. It will give you an idea of places to cross off from your list.

2) Listen to their parents. Some of them love to brag about the house they bought at the seaside or about the villa they will rent in south Spain. For example, you can also engage in a gentle chat after class to know exactly which places to avoid.

3) If you go for family-oriented resorts or hotels, there is always a chance that a current or former student will be there. Going far is not necessarily a guarantee that you will not find them.

4) Avoid places that are in vogue. If there’s a film, tv series, or a celebrity promoting a key location, you know that now it is not the time to be there. Wait till things calm down a bit so you can visit such a magical place.

I know you love your pupils, but you do deserve some rest too. I hope that this guide can help all the teachers have a great travel. Let me know if you have more tips and has any other recommendations.

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