Wondering what to expect on an ACIS educational tour?
Here are the answers to some of the most commonly asked questions we hear from students and parents about our trips. Your group leader will also be able to answer questions about your specific tour and the places you will be visiting. Our Travel Essentials section also offers a wealth of tips, guides and resources to help you prepare.
What airline do we fly?
How many people travel in a group?
Tell us more about the tour manager.
Where do we stay?
What will we have to eat?
How much spending money will I need?
What should I pack?
What about calling home?
Do I have travel insurance?
I am signed up for an ACIS tour. How do I access my account?
ACIS groups travel on scheduled flights, using all the major carriers. These include American Airlines, Air France, Aerolineas Argentinas, Alitalia, Finnair, British Airways, British Midland Airways, Continental Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Aer Lingus, Icelandair, Iberia, Spanair, Lufthansa, Swiss International Airlines Ltd., Northwest, Air New Zealand, Olympic Airlines, Austrian Airlines, Scandinavian Airlines, Taca International Airlines, TAP Air Portugal, United Airlines, US Airways, Air Europa, and Virgin Atlantic.
ACIS groups average anywhere from 35 to 45 participants traveling together on a bus, led by an ACIS Tour Manager. Small groups are often combined to create one bus group. This is the group with whom you share your travel experience. You eat your meals together, stay in the same accommodations, and travel together on the bus. It's an opportunity to make lifelong friendships!
"Tour manager" is an important term in educational travel. It refers to your bus group leader, who is rigorously trained and specially selected to assist your group while overseas. ACIS Tour Managers are famous for their multifaceted roles, both educational and logistical. An ACIS Tour Manager is part commentator, counselor, troubleshooter, advocate, and stopwatch! He or she supervises hotel check-ins, directs the bus driver and leads educational activities.
Most importantly, ACIS Tour Managers are travel gurus. They thrive on sharing their passion and love for the cultures of the world, giving you the opportunity to see the world through the eyes of those who live and work there. Over the years, we've employed university professors, film directors, journalists, musicians, business professionals, and other creative achievers. Our tour managers are consistently recognized as top in the industry. You'll receive more information about your tour manager as your departure date approaches.
Your ACIS Tour Manager maintains a professional relationship with the group but is not directly responsible for enforcing discipline or the ACIS behavior guidelines. That is the responsibility of the your group leader. It is your tour manager's responsibility, however, to report to your group leader any infractions and to be sure that ACIS behavior guidelines are adhered to.
ACIS groups stay in three- and four-star conveniently located hotels. We place a priority on booking hotels in good locations and safe areas, with convenient access to both local attractions and public transportation.
Students generally stay in rooms with two or three beds. During peak travel periods, hotels sometimes add an extra bed to accommodate heavy bookings. ACIS attempts to prevent this but cannot guarantee that it will never happen. Some hotel rooms in France have a Grand Lit (an oversize double bed for two) instead of twin beds. Those who have paid the adult surcharge stay in double rooms in hotels but not on overnight ferries or trains.
An ACIS bus group is typically made up of two, three, or four groups from around the U.S. who quickly get to know each other and feel part of one overall group. Depending on the mix of male and female students in the bus group, students may be rooming with participants from other groups. Don't worry, this is a great way to meet new people and make some new friends!
The group leader will create a variety of rooming combinations before you leave, in order to make it easier for your tour manager to work out the rooming when you check in to your hotel.
Check-in time at most hotels is early to mid-afternoon. If you arrive overseas early in the morning, you likely have time to change money and do some exploring before you check in.
You will enjoy a variety of meals en route, mixing both native and familiar cuisines depending on your area of travel. Keep an open mind and be willing to sample everything—that's what travel is all about!
Most days you will be served a continental breakfast that includes a variety of fresh rolls, cereal, pastry, butter and jam, coffee, tea or hot chocolate. In Australia and China, you will be served an American-style hot buffet breakfast. On trips to the Americas you may be served the traditional rice and beans. In some hotels in Britain, eggs or other items may be included. In Europe, the larger hotels sometimes serve eggs and other American-style breakfast items for an extra charge.
On most ACIS trips, you will enjoy lunch on your own. Be adventurous and experiment. Many travelers do what the locals do; instead of having an expensive restaurant meal, they buy fresh ingredients at a local market, then put together a sandwich and have a picnic lunch in a city park.
On most tours, beverages at dinner are not included. The are included on tours to China, Costa Rica, Peru, and occasionally other destinations. Sometimes your waiter may put soda or mineral water down on the table without being asked. Be aware that you will be charged for any beverages you consume.
Although ACIS will try to accommodate special-needs meals including kosher, vegetarian and low salt, we cannot guarantee all requests.
Spending needs vary depending on personal habits, but a typical allowance is $50 per day. This allows for lunch, snacks, soft drinks, postage, souvenirs, local transportation during free time, free-time activities, and optional excursions not already included in your itinerary. Most ACIS participants carry ATM cards or credit cards. ACIS has compiled all the information you need to know in Money Matters.
Our advice is to pack light—you won't regret it! You will be responsible for carrying your own luggage on and off the bus, in and out of your hotel, and onto trains. Bring comfortable, practical clothes that you can wear more than once, with a few nice pieces thrown in.
Remember to pack clothes that you can layer, and never bring new shoes! Our sample packing lists provide excellent guidelines.
Calling home from overseas can be expensive and obtaining local phone cards can be complicated and time consuming. The best way to call is with an ACIS eKit Global Phonecard or Global Mobile Phone. Using the eKit card can save you up to 70% on international and U.S. long distance calls compared to pay phones and hotel phones. Simply charge up your eKit card with the credit card of your choice and it will be ready for use. In addition to cheap calls home, the ACIS eKit Global Phonecard offers you email, voicemail, the ability to listen to email over the phone and much more!
Another option is the ACIS eKit Global Mobile phone. With a variety of pre-paid plans available, this mobile phone can save you up to 70% on global roaming rates.
Yes. Your ACIS Registration Fee includes coverage under our Basic Protection Plan. ACIS recommends you upgrade your insurance coverage by purchasing the Comprehensive or Ultimate Protection Plan designed specifically for your travel needs. With the Ultimate Protection Plan, you may cancel for any reason up to the day of departure and receive a cash refund. You will also receive expanded travel protection while on tour.
You can get your latest account information online—any time, any day. To view your most up-to-date itinerary and account status, log into My Account with your Account ID and password, which will be sent to you in a welcome email after you register for your tour. If you have forgotten your password or have additional questions about your account, contact ACIS Client Services.