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If the phrase “group tour” makes you envision a crowd in matching windbreakers lining up behind a flag-wielding trip leader, think again. Guided vacation companies embrace the notion that 21st-century travelers want unique, engaging experiences that go beyond merely viewing a destination’s iconic highlights.
“It’s about authentic experiences,” says Paul Wiseman, president of Trafalgar, a 68-year-old guided vacation company. “It’s very clear that the new generation of traveler wants to connect with insider experiences.”
That’s great news for people yearning to travel, and you can choose from a host of engaging tours to explore the world.
Why take a guided trip instead of going it alone? The United States Tour Operators Association explains that group trips can save time, money and hassle. They also offer the chance to connect with other like-minded globe-trotters.
But what really distinguishes guided tours are the expert guides who lead these one-of-a-kind journeys.
“They take you to places off the beaten path that you’d never find on your own,” says Lucas Bialecki, U.S. Groups business development manager for G Adventures. “They show people a way of travel that will connect them with the locals as much as possible.”
What kind of guided tour should you take? There are hundreds of trips available, so you’ll want to narrow down your choices to the types of tours that will give you an experience that caters to your personal preferences.
Ask yourself these 8 questions to select the best excursion for you:
1. Where do I want to go? In total, tour companies such as Trafalgar and G Adventures travel to all 7 continents, with trips to more than 100 countries. The possibilities are endless—and seemingly overwhelming. Take some time to explore the maps, itineraries and videos on tour operators’ websites to determine where your wanderlust will lead you.
2. What’s my travel style? Guided vacations are tailored for widely different interests. Choose from classic journeys (London, Paris, Tuscany), active itineraries (biking and hiking, or high-adrenaline adventures in Alaska), leisure trips (a more relaxed pace with upgraded comforts) and family tours (age-appropriate activities and food for the fussy).
3. How many other people do I want to travel with? Picture your ideal companions before choosing your trip. If you’re celebrating an anniversary, you might not want a group with lots of young kids. But if the journey is intended to open your children’s eyes to the world, traveling with other families could be ideal. A smaller group builds camaraderie and blends in at the destination more easily, but a larger group has its own benefits. You have the chance to get to know more people, and prices often are less expensive.
4. What activities do I want to experience? This is where guided trips really shine—with the unique, hands-on activities curated for your group. Cooking with an Italian chef, dude ranching in Montana, whisky tasting at a Scottish distillery, biking in British Columbia, hiking with a knowledgeable local guide and salsa dancing in Guatemala are all possible on a guided vacation. All you have to do is consider what kinds of excursions speak to you.
5. What am I hungry for? Exotic cuisine can be one of the most memorable parts of your trip, but everyone has different tastes. Are you an adventurous eater (fried scorpions), a locavore (farmstead cheese) or more traditional (cheeseburger, please)? Weigh a trip’s dining options with your culinary preferences.
6. Where do I want to sleep? Your lodging can offer so much more than a good night’s rest. It’s an experience in its own right. Options range from a boutique hotel in the heart of the city to a renovated lakeside palace or a homestay in the country.
7. How do I want to get around? Think about how the tour will navigate at the destination. Maybe you’d prefer the comfort and reliability of an air-conditioned bus. Alternatively, taxis and trains (or camels and rickshaws) let you rub shoulders with the locals and reduce your travel footprint.
8. How spontaneous do I want to be? Some trips offer more flexibility than others. Consider whether you’d like downtime with the chance to explore on your own or if you’d rather stick with your group 24/7 and adhere to a preplanned schedule.
So what’ll it be? Viewing exotic creatures in the Galápagos or cycling in Central America? Cooking in Charleston or paddling California’s Pacific Coast? Sipping sangria in Spain or trekking in Tibet? Guided tours can take you anywhere—from the United States, Caribbean and Mexico to Europe and the Arctic. Pick your pleasure, and leave the rest to the professionals.
Start dreaming about—and planning—your next getaway with Trafalgar and G Adventures. As an NEA member, you’ll save with our exclusive discounts.
Check out Trafalgar’s vacations for NEA members.
Discover G Adventures for NEA members.
FEATURED NEA RESOURCE
Looking for more classroom content and educator advice? Then check out Supported.nea.org, NEA’s new online portal to its universe of professional supports and development opportunities, events, education news, and edCommunities groups. Search by your education position, grade level, subject matter interest, and more to find the resources you need.
Tips from NEA Educators in Classrooms Around the US
If I had a nickel for every pencil I’d given out in my classroom which then disappeared into the student cloud, I’d be rich enough to buy my own pencil company! How do you hold onto your precious pencils after lending them to students? Use one of these tried and true tips and have fun in the process.
NEA Click & Save leverages the purchasing power of all members of NEA to negotiate with top brands to provide the best savings.
These exclusive savings and Member Pricing offers aren’t available to the general public, so make sure you always check NEA Click & Save first before paying full price.
Top Trending Among Members This Week:
Lenovo: Up to 40% off + 9x WOWPoints
Hotels: Corporate Pricing + 5x WOWPoints
Macy’s: 25% Off + 6x WOWPoints
The Home Depot: Spring Black Friday + 3x WOWPoints
Neiman Marcus: Earn $500 Gift Card + 6x WOWPoints
Dell: Save up to 35% + 3x WOWPoints
Lowe’s: Spring Black Friday Deals + 3x WOWPoints
HP: Buy 1, Get 1 at 40% off + 3x WOWPoints
Nordstrom Rack: Up to 70% off + 6x WOWPoints
NY Yankees Tickets: Up to 50% Off + 5x WOWPoints
Norton Internet Security Software: Save $100 + 30x WOWPoints
Lord & Taylor: Friends & Family + 12x WOWPoints
NEA Member Benefits is always finding great tips for members to save money on essentials. This article gives a lot of great help when you buy groceries!
“No foolin!” (This is April Fool’s Day, don’tcha know.)
IEA Member Benefits has launched a new website in response to advice from the IEA Technical Specialist. This will make IEA Member Benefits more visible to you, our valued members. Now you can get to all of the benefits available to you as an association member more quickly.
See us at ieamemberbenefits.org and continue to learn and use the dozens of benefits available to you that makes your membership valuable. Be sure to bookmark this site.
Whether you want a mind-blowing HD1 experience on your TV or you want to enjoy your favorite shows on whatever screen you have handy, DIRECTV is the ultimate source for everything you love in entertainment. With DIRECTV you get all of the TV you love, on any compatible device you want, and cutting-edge technology to experience it like never before!
Plus, as an NEA member, when you become a new subscriber to DIRECTV and choose any one of the four programming packages below, you’ll receive a $100 gift card2 along with introductory prices starting at $50/month, plus taxes, for 12 months with a 24-month tv agreement**:
• CHOICETM All-Included: Offers a winning combination of comedy, drama, lifestyle, news, and sports channels, including the viewer’s regional sports networks for local pro teams, all at a great value. Includes 2017 NFL Sunday Ticket—at no extra cost.
• XTRA All-Included: DIRECTV’s most popular package offers a premium entertainment experience, including the viewer’s regional sports networks for local pro teams, without the premium price tag. Includes 2017 NFL Sunday Ticket—at no extra cost.
• ULTIMATE All-Included: Movie-lovers’ package has 14 movie channels, including every ENCORE® channel. Includes 2017 NFL Sunday Ticket—at no extra cost.
• PREMIERTM All-Included: Premium package includes HBO®, SHOWTIME®, Cinemax®, STARZ®, and DIRECTV Sports Pack. Includes 2017 NFL Sunday Ticket—at no extra cost.
All-Included packages include monthly equipment fees for up to four rooms and the HD DVR monthly service fee. A selection of packages for Spanish speakers is also available. Terms and conditions apply to all packages**. Find out more about your DIRECTV options at www.neamb.com/directv today!
1To access HD programming, HD tv required. Number of HD channels varies by package.
2 Gift card compliments of TeleStatOnline (DGS).
**ALL DIRECTV OFFERS REQUIRE A 24-MONTH AGREEMENT. ADDITIONAL FEES APPLY. New approved residential DIRECTV customers only (equipment lease required). Credit approval required. Credit card required (except MA & PA). Pro-rated ETF (up to $480) and Equipment Non-Return fees apply. Programming, pricing and offers are subject to change and may vary in certain markets. Some offers may not be available through all channels and in select areas.
This notice is a month early but we wanted to give you a “heads up” so you can get ready! We’ll remind you again with the May newsletter.
NEA Member Benefits is going all out to celebrate NEA members throughout May! Here’s how we’re appreciating YOU all month long
31 Days of Giving – You’ll have a chance to win awesome daily prizes – or the grand prize of $1,000 – every day in May! Starting at noon ET on May 1, go to neamb.com/appreciation every afternoon to find out that day’s giveaway. You can enter once a day, every day, through May 31.
Limited-time deals and freebies – You’ll also have access to lots of exclusive discounts and gifts to thank you for all the hard work you do every day.
This is our way of saying “thank you” for everything that you do to help shape America’s future.
Don’t miss out: Go to neamb.com/appreciation starting May 1!
NEA Complimentary Life Insurance
At five consecutive years of membership:
- $1,000 Life
- $5,000 AD&D
- $50,000 AD&D on job
- $150,000 homicide on job
Register or update beneficiary online: www.neamb.com
NEA Introductory Term Life Insurance
Free for brand new members of NEA:
- $15,000 for 12 months at no cost
- After 12 months choose to continue with no underwriting and at a low, member-only rate.
As a member of NEA/IEA, you have a variety of resources for your classroom, to pay for additional education, to obtain degrees, and develop professionally. NEA offers details about these resources online at neamb.com. Here are examples of the ways your membership can enhance your professional growth:
We all know that those who teach are unique and very special. Teachers deserve to enjoy their free time as much as possible. Here are 8 deals we want our teachers to take advantage of.
What is vision insurance?
Vision insurance provides coverage and savings on the cost of an annual eye exam, prescription eyewear and lenses, contact lenses, and other eye-related services.
What can vision insurance do for me?
You deserve the best vision coverage at the lowest out-of-pocket costs—and VSP® Vision Care delivers. With VSP, you’ll get coverage for the things you care about most:
Personalized eye care for you and your family
An annual eye exam that allows your eye care provider to check the health of your eyes and for signs of other health conditions
A wide selection of affordable and stylish eyewear you’ll love
Savings on exams, services, and eyewear—meaning more money in your pocket
What does VSP vision insurance cover?
Everyone needs an annual eye exam, and most families have at least one member who needs glasses or contacts. In addition to a comprehensive eye exam, VSP covers lenses and lens enhancements with low copays or savings on standard pricing. Some plans also cover sunglasses.
VSP providers take the time to get to know your eyes and deliver the best possible care. Many have evening, weekend, and early morning office hours to fit your busy schedule. Visit vsp.com to find a conveniently located VSP provider.
Plus, using your VSP benefit is easy. There are no claims to file when you see a VSP provider.
vsp.com | 800.877.7195
1. Blueocean Market Intelligence National Vision Plan Member Research, 201