I started my summer with an unusual tour. In 2016, I began planning this 2018 tour to London, Paris, and Barcelona. My student tours had failed to make numbers twice in a row and I was looking for a way to get my small community interested in travel again! My tour coordinator at EF suggested a “community tour”. Pitch a bucket list tour that would bring the adults in but then offer it to students as well. I loved the idea and set it up right away.
In the summer, just after my website went live, I got a job offer at a neighboring school. It was too good to pass up, so I accepted… but this left me in a bad place with my community tour! I had just left the school district and all of my potential student travelers! My new school had not traveled in years AND they didn’t know me… it took a while but we finally ended up with a group of 12 adventurous souls (10 adults and 2 kids).
Because our group was so small, we couldn’t be private without paying a LOT of extra fees so we had to agree to join a student tour group.
My group’s ages ranged from 88 to 17 so in some ways this was not the best fit! All that walking and public transportation was challenging for my three seniors but in the end, the tour was incredible! It really got everyone excited about traveling.
I had always stuck with Spanish speaking countries only so that my students could practice their new language skills but what I found on this trip was that in France, they were applying what they knew in Spanish to try and read maps, signs, and schedules! They were even figuring out French words on their own with no prior exposure!
For me, it was incredible to be a language learner again. My French is only about Novice High reading and even lower listening and speaking so I loved being in the place my students find themselves in my classroom.
At the end of our tour, everyone was so thrilled that we began to talk about where our next adult adventure would take us.
A friend recommended we give LingoTours a try. This company is based in the Netherlands but provides student AND adult tours. It’s incredible. For a fully private tour with as few as 15 travelers, they quoted me $500 lower than either of the bigger companies I’ve worked with in the past! We’ll be in central hotels and eat quality meals! And since this tour is designed to be an adult tour (although if a parent wants to bring a kid along, that is 100% fine), we’ll also visit some wineries, try Port wine in Porto, Portugal, have great Dutch beer and snacks in a brewery… It is going to be incredible!
Have you traveled only with students? From 2017’s tour of Ecuador with ICTFL and my travel-mate Kara Jacobs to this summer’s LPB with my 10 adults and 2 kids, I’ve discovered that student travel is a MUST and student travel to countries that speak your TL is also a must but a break now and then to travel with adults who are of the same mindset as you is a whole new experience! There isn’t the constant responsibility of counting your little ducklings before you put them to bed, there aren’t the complaints about the foods they’re served, there aren’t the homesick sweethearts!
If you’re interested in joining us, we’d love to experience Amsterdam, Portugal, and Galicia with you. If you are looking to take your own group and are interested in a more personalized experience, I can’t recommend Lingo enough! Whatever you do, see the world. It is more than just a bucket list to check things off of, it is a classroom that opens doors to things you never knew existed!