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If traveling internationally, be sure to have everyone apply as early as possible for their passports, Minimum 120 days prior. Passports are required for all international travel.

Arrive early and expect delays, the larger the group, the longer it will take to get everyone checked in and through security. Your tour operator will tell you when to arrive at the airport.

Your tour operator will have given you luggage tags for your group. Be sure that all band equipment and luggage have name tags.

When traveling in groups, it is best to send 2 chaperones through the security checkpoint first, with at least one chaperone going through last, checking that no one is left in the security line. Remember to check all security lanes in case a member of the group has been selected for additional screening.

When in a group, try keep everyone together. When anyone needs to leave the group to use the restroom or such, never let them go alone. Always have the participants go in pairs. For younger groups, it is best that a chaperone accompany them. Tell the group that they need to alert at least one chaperone as to where they are going.

Before arriving at the Airport

Talk to your group about airport safety rules. Make sure all younger children, or those traveling for the first time understand how to go through the security checkpoints.

  • It is against the law to make threats such as "I have a bomb in my bag", even when joking. Such threats can significantly delay your group and could result in serious fines.
  • Explain that each traveler will have their carry on bag x-rayed and reassure them that their bag will be returned to them after it comes out on the other end.
  • Be sure the group is aware that Security Officers may request that a passenger take off their shoes and coats for inspection. These are to be placed in a screening bin and will be put through the x-ray machine.
  • All belts, cell phones, key chains, and keys are to be removed and placed in a screening bin to go through the x-ray machine.
  • Laptops need to be removed from their case and screened separately.

Carry on Regulations

September 26, 2006, the TSA adjusted the ban on liquids, gels, and aerosols. These liquids can now be carried on as long as the container is three ounces or smaller. Items larger than this are prohibited in your carry-on luggage with some exceptions for life-sustaining liquids (such as baby formula, prescriptions and life-support liquids). Larger life-sustaining liquids need to be declared for inspection at the airport checkpoint.

Non-prohibited liquids, gels, and aerosols must be sealed in a clear plastic bag and each traveler can have a maximum of one, quart-size, zip-top, clear plastic bag. When the carry-on is submitted to X-ray the traveler must remove the quart size plastic bag and place it in the adjacent container to be examined by security officials.

For more information on Airport Rules and Regulations visit http://www.tsa.gov.

Lodging with groups

Celestial Travel and Tours will request that the phones in the rooms be turned of for outside calls. The school/organization is responsible for all phone bills from the hotel. Most students have cell phones with which to call their parents. If not, pay phones are usually located in the hotel lobby.

Celestial Travel and Tours will request that all pay-per-view movies be turned off. Once again, the school/organization will be responsible for all pay-per-view bills from the hotel.

Celestial Travel and Tours will make every effort to ensure your group is staying at a hotel with interior corridors. Interior corridors make it more difficult for students to sneak out. With interior corridors it is easier to monitor students moving around after lights out.

Celestial Travel and Tours will also make every effort to have guys on one floor and girls on another. If there room is on the same floor, have a chaperone’s room between them. It is also good to have a policy that no boys are allowed in the girl’s rooms and vice versa.

Have an ‘Everyone in their own room curfew’ for your group and be sure to enforce it. Also have a lights out, T.V. off and music off curfew. Having well rested students will make for much better next day activities.

Having rules in place will give the group structure and everyone will know what is expected of them.

It is up to the chaperones to decide on hall monitoring. It is usually a good idea for a chaperone to make a few trips up and down the halls within the first hour after lights out.

If the hotel you are staying in has a pool, decide before hand if the group is going to be allowed to use the pool. Go over basic rules with them such as pool hours, no running, no rowdy behavior and no glass or food in the pool area. Most hotels do not provide a lifeguard. Always have a chaperone in the pool area when the group is swimming. Be sure your chaperones know what to do in case of a water emergency, such as having someone notify the front desk to call 911 and be able to rescue a group member from the pool and perform CPR if necessary.

Inform your group that all school rules apply while on the trip and all instances will be dealt with according to school policy.

Group Outings

Make up a bus list and assign everyone to a certain bus. Having the same people on the bus at each stop lets the group become familiar with who is on their bus and therefore it is easier to tell who is missing.

Celestial Travel and Tours will give your group a designated meeting area in the lobby of the hotel. Give the group a meeting time that is at least 20 minutes prior to when the bus or buses plan on leaving. Celestial Travel and Tours will arrange for the buses to be numbered. Do a head count before having the group board the bus, and then again before the bus departs.

Before arriving at your destination, go over general rules with your group and let them know what you expect of them. If they are going to be given any free time, arrange an easy to find meeting area and a meeting time before they depart the bus. Once they are off the bus, you will no longer have their full attention.

When departing from a destination, always do a head count before the bus leaves.

Last but not least, have fun with your group.

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