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Rich Abrams

Once upon a time story telling bench in Philly

Philadelphia Offers Students Lessons in Liberty

By Travel

Cheesesteaks and liberty may seem like an unlikely duo, but that’s what you’ll find in Philadelphia.  This city is a piquant blend of street-smart Irish and Italian-American attitude and American history that makes it unlike any other city in the nation.

While the locals may seem a little brusque at first, they’re good folk at heart, fueled by a time-honored craft beer tradition, whiskey and meat dripping with melted cheese, doled out at any number of fine cheesesteak establishments throughout the city.

Philadelphia offers students lessons in liberty, but it also provides a window into a city which drips as much attitude as it does cheesy goodness.

Brotherly love:  Once Upon a Time

This is the city of brotherly love, reflected in its Greek name.  In that spirit, the City of Philadelphia has established the award-winning Once Upon a Time story-telling benches, where trained storytellers relate true tales of this historic city you won’t hear anywhere else.

Lean in to capsule 3-5 minute histories from these master orators.  Students can collect a story-telling flag at the Philadelphia Visitors’ Center and collect a star to stick on it from each of the 13 tale-tellers at 13 historic locations.  These signify the 13 original colonies.

If there’s one thing you can say about Philly attitude is that it’s borne of a love for this place and this program richly reflects that.

1776 – a great year for Philly

It was in 1776 that Philadelphia was the site of the Declaration of Independence’s signing.  But it’s here you’ll also find the fabled Liberty Bell and Betsy Ross’s original, handsewn contribution to our national identity – the American flag.  With its original 13 stars and stripes, it reminds us how far we’ve come since we first set out as a fledgling nation.

Independence Hall is another historical site which figures prominently in the moment the USA came to be.  This is where the Declaration of Independence was signed, where George Washington was commissioned as the first Commander-In-Chief and where our treasured Constitution was drafted.

Pat’s King of Steaks

Established in 1930, there is no cheesesteak joint more iconic than Pat’s.  It’s here that the art of the cheesesteak – which stands as an icon of Philadelphia perhaps as potent as the Liberty Bell – has been perfected.

1930 is also the year that the Olivieri brothers decided to add a twist to their hot dog stand, substituting chopped steak for dogs and adding melted cheese and onions.  Philly folklore relates that a passing cabbie saw what was going on, ordered one and then told everyone he met about the culinary delight he’d just experienced.

The Philly cheesesteak phenomenon was born!  While you can now find this sandwich pretty well everywhere, don’t tell a native you’ve had better than Pat’s anywhere but Philly.

That could earn an errant educator some major Philly attitude!

Go with Junior

Junior Tours has been taking students places for over 50 years.  We’re a small, boutique operation that tailors itineraries to curricular needs and educator vision.

Contact us to experience Philadelphia!

New York City financial district

New York City Tours | New York Things to Do in 2018

By Travel

New York City is a world unto itself.  There’s a lot more to this teeming metropolis than concrete buildings.  New York City is one of the world’s most vibrant urban centers, known worldwide as the home of literary giants, theatrical spectacles, artistic masterworks and high finance.

But New York is also known for its internationally renowned fashion houses and Madison Avenue, the vast green expanse of Central Park and monuments like the Statue of Liberty – a symbol of America’s promise to newcomers.

Let’s look at some off the beaten track tours on offer in New York City to fire your imagination and set the wheels in motion for your upcoming visit.

Financial District and Wall Street

Located in Lower Manhattan, there’s a lot more to this part of town than insider trading, Goldman Sachs and Gordon Gekko.

This is Old New York and one of the coolest parts of the island we call Manhattan.  A visit to the Financial District is a walk in the footsteps of early Dutch settlers whose presence is still seen in local gabled architecture, amidst the towering concrete and glass Manhattan is famous for.

Remember that NYC started out life as New Amsterdam, established by Dutch settlers who arrived in the 1600s.

Visit Wall Street and discover the humble origins from which it gave birth to vast fortunes, even beyond America’s borders.

Finish your explorations at the 911 Memorial and World Trade Center, where students can contemplate the renewal and hope which sprang from the ashes of this brutal terrorist attack.

The Beats and others in Greenwich Village

The winding streets and alleys of Greenwich Village were home to the well-heeled in the 19th Century, but by the mid-20th Century, it became the nexus for the Beat generation and a center of Bohemian non-conformism.

Here’s where Beat greats like Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsburg had their digs, as well as contemporary William S. Burroughs.  Together with the giants of other ages, like Dylan Thomas, Tennessee Williams and James Baldwin, the Beats would gather at the mythical San Remo café to share their lively banter and the rich life of people living on the edge of a changing society.

Not far away author of Little Women, Louisa May Alcott lived in two adjoined brick houses built by her uncle.  From 1867-1870, she was known to sit in a second-story window, as she wrote.  It’s here that she completed her most famous work.

Greenwich Village

Triangle Shirtwaist Factory

If you’ve ever heard the song, “Bread and Roses” (a hymn to the rights of working people), then you’ll have a sense of the story of this place – a place where a tremendous tragedy spurred monumental change.

Also located in Greenwich Village, the factory was consumed by fire on March 25, 1911, causing women workers to leap to their deaths.  The incident spurred reform in NYC labor codes and inspired at least two books to be written.

New York City’s secrets are unending.  Experience them with the NYC insiders at Junior Tours.

school field trip

The Keys to Planning Your ‘Tour Team’ (aka Chaperones)

By Travel

Every detail counts when you’re preparing a student tour, but nothing’s more important than selecting the right chaperones.

When word seeps out that you’re planning a tour, you’ll rapidly discover that you’re the most popular teacher around (who could have imagined?).  Parents and colleagues will pop out of the woodwork to volunteer.

Some will offer cookies.

But wannabe chaperones are not always made of the right stuff to be supports for touring students.  That’s why we’ve put together this post sharing the keys to planning your ‘tour team’ (aka chaperones).

Know your policy

If it’s your first time touring with your students, you need to check with administration concerning district policies about chaperones.  How many students per chaperone, for example?  Add one more to that number.

If one of your students falls ill while you’re touring, you’ll still have the policy-mandated number of chaperones, as one stays behind to nurse your sick traveler.

Also, find out if administration requires a staff member to come on tour with you.  Not all school districts have this policy in place, but you need to know before getting started in earnest.  One position may have already been spoken for.

Who are these people?

As we’ve pointed out above, not everyone’s chaperone material.  Specific attributes make effective chaperones.

A key quality you’re looking for in your chaperones is standing in the school community.  Are your candidates engaged and recognized by students and faculty? Are they leaders?  Do they regularly volunteer to help with school events?

You’re seeking adults that your students respect and admire and who have some previous experience traveling with groups of young people.  You’ll also need at least one chaperone with CPR training, as anything can happen on tour and most districts require this.

Once you’ve gotten together your tour team, you need to discern who on that team are the obvious choices to act as your team leads.  There should be two – one female and one male.  These two chaperones should model all the qualities and virtues you seek in the general group.

Think about taking along a “rookie”, so that you have a chaperone in training with you.  It’s always a good idea to nurture resources like future tour team members and leaders.

Preparation

It’s important that team members are kept in the loop about all your tour plans, from itinerary to room assignments to their evolving roles and duties.

The tour team is there to assist with tour needs like gathering paperwork and setting up and administering fundraisers for your trip.  While on tour, every chaperone should be intimately familiar with your expectations and what you need from them, personally.

De-brief with your group at regular, informal meetings to share information and new aspects of the tour and its itinerary.  This creates camaraderie and unity and a tour community which supports the total success of your excursion.

Junior Tours

Junior’s been taking students on exceptional learning adventures for over 50 years.  When you go with Junior, you go with the best.  Contact us.

teacher and young students looking at the Earth globe

How Do Teachers Inspire Students with Travel?

By Travel

A dedicated teacher takes students to places they’ve never been, simply by standing at the front of the classroom and leading the way.  Without opening the door to the hallway, or leaving the building, so many teachers spend their days filling young minds with the inspiration that’s the stuff of dreams for the future.

But give a teacher a chance to get those students out of the classroom and to a fascinating educational adventure in a place they’ve only seen in pictures and inspiration blooms.

Travel broadens the minds of people of all ages, but for students, it’s an even more profound experience.  They’re so young and so fresh to the world that their eyes see things differently and their minds wrap themselves around the strange and the unusual readily.  They’re elastic beings in exploration mode all the time.

Oh, to be young again!  But teachers who travel with their students get to live vicariously, seeing the world again through those fresh, inquisitive eyes.

How do teachers inspire students with travel?  With a trusted, experienced partner that specializes in creating unique opportunities for students to learn in the field.

Junior Tours

In 1967, retired teacher Marty Abrams had a vision.  He envisioned a service that could help teachers realize the dream of taking their students to historical sites, areas of keen interest for specialized curricular focuses and areas where learning comes alive in a way that makes it fun.

Today Marty’s vision lives on in Junior Tours, a family-owned and operated boutique youth travel provider.  We’re small, so you and your students will never feel like you’re just a number.  We give you our personal attention, crafting itineraries that help you meet your educational goals for students, while making you look great.

And what teacher doesn’t need that kind of support?

At Junior, we believe in doing things differently, so we give your group the support it needs to have the most incredible tour and excursion experiences possible.  That’s why teachers from all 50 states call on us to take them to where the learning happens.

Expert support

Junior Tours’ youth travel experts support you from the moment you contact us for a free sample itinerary and quotation.  We help you with every aspect of your trip, with a four-step process that’s detailed, covering all your tour needs.

Because we know you need your plan to tour reviewed by administration, we provide credentials as one of our first services to you and your group.  From there, we guide through the process in a logical sequence which includes fundraising resources that support your quest to include as many students as possible in the excursion.

We stick with you throughout the planning process, then we send you on your trip with one of our reliable, professional tour guides who’s a 24/7 resource, ensuring a smoothly realized itinerary.

Go with Junior

How do teachers inspire students with travel?  They do it by going with the best youth travel provider in the sector – Junior Tours.  Inspiration is what we do.

high school class trip

Memorable High School Class Trips for Large or Small Group Travel

By Travel

When teachers are looking for a tour company to help them mount memorable high school class trips for large or small group travel, they come to Junior Tours.

From all over the USA, teachers turn to Junior for our long tenure in the student tour sector, our understanding of what teachers need and our personalized service and support.

We’re a boutique tour operator that treats you like part of the family.  Because we’re small and independent, we give you an individualized, highly-curated experience that’s driven by educator vision and which satisfies curricular imperatives.

Founded in 1967 by teacher Marty Abrams, we’re the source for teachers from all 50 states.

Our partnerships say it all

Junior Tours’ more than 50 years in the student tour sector has led us to cultivate partnerships with some of the most influential organizations in the field.

The Student & Youth Travel Association (SYTA) seeks to foster integrity as a professional value among student tour operators.  As members, Junior adheres to SYTA’s Purposes and Goals and Code of Ethics, having met this non-profit organization’s standards to become members.

But SYTA is just the beginning of Junior Tours is a trusted student tour operator.  Our partnerships with professional agencies in the sector are extensive.  Read more about them here.

Small is beautiful

Junior Tours isn’t part of a faceless corporation.  We’re not part of a big money machine.  We’re small and independent, so we can give you exactly what you want, without compromising.

You’ll find no hidden fees and no small print to beware of when you go with Junior.  You’ll also find a dedicated tour guide that doesn’t appear and then disappear, leaving you to your own devices.

Your group receives personalized, supportive attention with Junior.  Because we’re small, we give you what you want and what you need, with finely-customized itineraries and service.

Making it easy

At Junior Tours, we’re famous for making it easy for teachers, with a 4 step online process for planning and executing all your tour needs.

Every aspect of your trip is mapped out, so there’s no guesswork.  We make the process easy with tools for fundraising and preparing your students for the trip.  We’ve even got an app to remind participants about things they need to do before going.

With a host of destinations at your fingertips, Junior Tours is the teacher’s choice for memorable high school class trips for large or small group travel.

We’re the friendly alternative for teachers with a vision.  Founded by a teacher, we give educators what they need to give their students what they need.  That’s the kind of support all teachers could use more of.

Go with Junior Tours

For the very finest in educational tour support, with a family-owned and operated company that cares about your tour experience, go with Junior Tours.

We bring you tailored student travel support for groups of any size.  Junior plans and executes high school class trips which are memorable, educational and a cut above.

Contact us.

no cell phones sign

Establishing Tour Rules for Student Electronics

By Travel

Wherever you go, people are glued to their mobile devices. They almost seem hypnotized by them.  This is especially true for young people.

50% of US teens have their own mobile devices.  American mobile usage for those aged 18-29 is now at 100%, according to Pew Research.  That’s why student electronics require firm guidelines while you’re touring.

Establishing tour rules for student electronics is a top priority, requiring active education of your tour group from the moment you start discussing behavioral expectations for the tour.  Clarity is the foundation of all successful communication.  And clearly-delineated tour rules help students respect their surroundings by turning off their devices.

You could be Tough Teacher and collect and then, lock mobiles up at the beginning of each day’s activities, but that’s an authoritarian response which may breed resentment.  Give students the opportunity to be responsible about their electronics usage on tour and give them a life skill they’ll carry with them into maturity.

In black and white

Words are sometimes not remembered or remembered in a distorted way.  That’s why putting the rules about electronics in black and white is crucial.  Regardless of the age group, your words are put together to reach, this is a universal truth.  But young people are professionals at “misremembering”, so put your tour rules for student electronics in black and white.

A bullet-pointed list on one page will suffice.  Clear guidelines will be remembered, so make it crystal clear.  Connect your electronics rules to the itinerary.  This is a highly effective strategy which helps your students understand why the rules exist.

Site matters

Let’s pretend you’re taking your students to the Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC.  While this sober attraction has had a ban on cell phones in place since 1993, they now have a mobile app which can be used by visitors.  This was introduced to the facility in 2014.

Letting your students know this while discussing your tour rules is a perfect opportunity to tell them their devices can used at the museum, but not for selfies, texting or idle chatter.

Tell your students that their mobiles are excellent portals for learning more about the places they’re experiencing, but that they’re not to be used for trivial purposes at historic sites – particularly sites as historically significant and sensitive as the Holocaust Museum.

Outlining clear tour rules for student electronics is so much better than policing usage on site.  Stating unequivocally what will and won’t be permitted gives your students a chance to display their maturity and their deference to something more important than their devices.

You’re letting them know that their electronics have a role to play in learning about what they’re seeing, but that this role has strong boundaries.

Junior Tours

Junior Tours has been taking students on stimulating educational tours for over 50 years.  We’re the boutique youth travel provider that doesn’t treat you and your students like numbers.  Personalized attention is what you get, when you go with Junior.

Ready to go?  Contact us for a sample itinerary and quotation.

Spyscape Museum New York

New York & Washington DC School Trip: New Attractions in 2018!

By Travel

Just when you thought New York & Washington, DC couldn’t get any more exciting, 2018 proves you wrong.

New attractions in these two cities make them even more outstanding proposals than they’ve ever been for a school trip.  Washington especially has an enticing new selection of experiences for your students.

If you’re planning a New York or Washington, DC school trip this year, you’ll want to make note of these new ways to engage your tour group.

Let’s see what’s new this year.

New York

New York pulse only gets stronger by the year.  This city is like a living organism unto itself.  Around every corner, there’s another surprise to delight educators and their students.

This year, that surprise is a big one, with the establishment of Spyscape.  Spyscape offers a multi-sensory, interactive experience, introducing your students to the fascinating world of international espionage and computer hacking.

As we’ll all be aware, these topics currently dominate the news cycle, with cyber attacks being a modern reality and spying an increasingly sophisticated enterprise, due to the technological change.

At Spyscape, students get a front row seat to all the shady dealings of this mysterious world.  While your students won’t know who Maxwell Smart is, they may even bump into his famous shoe phone in this attraction’s collection of seldom seen spying devices.

They’ll learn of the teen who burrowed through the CIA’S cyber defenses and the spycatcher who collared a traitor in the FBI.  They’ll also learn key tricks of the trade, like profiling, lie-detection and how to use their powers of observation.

Washington, DC

If you’re hitting DC with your students this year, you’ll be amazed by the new slate of experiences the city’s offering in 2018.  Here, we’ll round up a few of the best.

Arlington National Cemetery celebrates the 150th anniversary of what we now call Memorial Day this year and of course, that’s cause for celebration.  A visit to this resting place of heroes on May 28 promises an even more spectacular commemorative ceremony than those usually mounted each year.

While not everyone has an interest in the Bible, that’s a tremendous pity.  This collection of ancient books is a treasure, compiling some of the Ancient Near East’s most compelling literary accomplishments.

Celebrity Bibles are among the artifacts you’ll see here, but some of Protestant reformer Martin Luther’s early tracts are also on display, as well as first editions of the watershed King James Bible.

The 430,000 square foot facility is filled with interactive displays, video theatres and a fascinating walk through one of the world’s most widely-read and studied texts.

Junior Tours takes you there

At Junior Tours, we’ve been supporting teachers with extraordinary school trips for over 50 years.  Since 1967, we’ve been creating educational adventures that bring learning to life.

This year, New York and Washington, DC school trips promise to be better than ever, with exciting new attractions to fascinate your students.

Ready to go?  Contact us.  We’ll respond with a free sample itinerary and quotation.

student tour saving plan concept image

Tips for Big Savings on Student Airfare, Lodging and Everything in Between

By Travel

Traveling with your students doesn’t have to break the bank.  At Junior Tours, we know everyone’s price-sensitive these days, especially when it comes to travel.  But we know our way around the travel business and have some tips for big savings on student airfare, lodging and everything in between, to sweeten up the bottom line.

Read on to discover some key strategies to help you save.

When are you going?

You can save a bundle on airfare by choosing to travel during certain time periods and on certain days.  For example, flying after 8 pm, or between the hours of 5 am and 7 am will save you a lot of money.

Also choose days people usually don’t fly.  The least common days for air travel are Saturdays, Tuesdays or Wednesdays.

Also choose times of the year people are less likely to fly to your destination.  Peak pricing can vary from location to location.  For instance, no one wants to visit the tropics in high summer, or Denmark in the middle of winter.  Find out what the peak visitor season is for your destination and get the best rates.

Uber it

Using this ride-sharing application can save your group money.  All drivers are vetted and if you avoid calling for rides during “surge pricing” times, it’s an even better deal.

But don’t stop at Uber.  Ride-sharing apps are popping up all over.  Investigate the options at your destination to find the one best suited to your group and be sure to check the reviews for reliability and reputability.  Everybody can’t be number one, but if you’re not using Uber, be sure to know who you and your students will be riding with.

Public transit

If you really want to save money and provide you students with an opportunity to see a side of daily life in your destination that locals see every day, try public transit.

Of course, it’s necessary to know about the quality of public transportation before you go, but if the system in question has a good reputation for being safe and efficient, this option puts an even smaller dent in your tour budget than Uber.

Accommodations

One of the most important aspects of a student tour is your accommodation provider.  You’ll need a safe, reputable, clean place for everyone to lay their heads.

That’s where Junior comes in.  If you’re taking your students on an overnight adventure, you’ll want access to the best room rates possible.  Because we’re a seasoned tour provider of more than 50 years’ standing, we get you the best deals for block room rates.  We also send you on your way with a dedicated tour support person who makes sure your charges are all tucked in comfortably for the night.

If you’re ready to go, we’re ready to support you with 50 years of student tour expertise.  Junior knows where to find the deals, so you stay within budget, while having the time of your lives. Contact us for a free sample itinerary and quote.

The Capitol, Washington DC

Great Sites to Consider in Washington, DC

By Travel

No city on earth is more redolent of history and political intrigue than Washington, DC.  A source of fascination, awe and sometimes trepidation for people all over the world, what really goes on inside the Beltway is known to only a privileged few (White House leaks aside).

Taking your students to Washington, DC requires intensive planning.  You want your students to experience this nexus of power and history in the most profound way possible. So, we’re offering this selection of great sites to consider in Washington, DC.

White House

An international symbol of the global power of the USA, the White House is the center of that power and the historical home of all US Presidents after the tenure of John Adams.

Touring the White House is a truly amazing experience, walking in the footsteps of giants like Dwight D. Eisenhower and Barack Obama.  Appointments can be booked through your Member of Congress.

The Capitol

If the White House doesn’t satisfy your students’ need to experience the American legacy of world leadership, a trip to the Capitol will certainly add to their experience.

This is where our laws are made by people elected to make them, from all over the nation.  Visit the Rotunda, Statutory Hall and the Old Supreme Court Chamber.  Bookings can be made via the Capitol Visitors online portal, or with your Congressional representative.

The Pentagon

The formidable military strength represented by this five-sided epicenter of strategic might is becoming more popular with visitors to Washington, DC, lately.

Students will marvel at the vastness of the most secretive building in the world, as they hear echoes of the hushed voices of the past and the conflicts they conducted.  A special reservation is needed to take the tour.

Washington Monument

Named after the first President of the USA, the Washington Monument soars over the Reflecting Pond, offering inspiring views of the city.

The tallest obelisk in the world, the monument is 555 feet tall, giving your students a thrilling experience and lessons in the work of the USA’s first political leader.

National Archives

Here’s where the Declaration of Independence, the founding document of the USA, is preserved.  Students will see the signatures of John Hancock and his contemporaries; signatures that established our national identity.

At the Archives, students will view historical displays not found anywhere else and which people travel from all over the globe to see.

MLK Jr. Memorial

Opened to the public in August 2011, this memorial remembers the hero who interrogated America’s soul.  It’s the culmination of two decades of fundraising and planning.

This is the ideal location for a lesson about Dr. King’s sacrifices and triumphs in pursuit of full status for Black Americans. Considering the work of this Civil Rights giant, your students will be inspired and perhaps find in themselves the makings of a leader.

Junior Tours

Junior Tours brings educators over 50 years’ experience in crafting extraordinary learning adventures for their students.

From Washington, DC, to New Orleans, LA and beyond, we create exceptional learning opportunities. Contact us.

historical site student tour

Exciting Educational Travel in the Best Historical Destinations

By Travel

History is one of the greatest of all humanity’s instructors.  In its annals, one finds the full depth and breadth of the human experience and lessons left by those who walked the earth before us. That’s why Junior Tours loves organizing exciting educational travel in the best historical destinations for your students.  We’ve worked with educators all over the United States, looking for personalized, professionally-crafted educational experiences to bring their students the thrill of discovery.

In this post, we’ll talk about some of our favorite historical destinations and what your curious students can learn there.

New Orleans, LA

The Crescent City is one of the most culturally unique and vibrant cities in the USA.  Its long history has created a cauldron of cultures as disparate as Irish, African, French and Spanish Creole and Cajun.

Discovering New Orleans is like peeling back the lawyers of an onion, beneath each layer is another legend, another culinary treat, another musical genius.  And all around, history calls in locations like the Laura Plantation, offering visitors an experience of the infamous institution of slavery, once the area’s economic driver.

On historic Bourbon Street, be wrapped in the sounds of New Orleans and its Jazz traditions.  Here you’ll find the Preservation Hall, where traditional New Orleans Jazz is still played before delighted audiences.

London, England

One of the most storied cities in the world, London, England is a bustling metropolis you could spend a lifetime exploring.

Westminster Abbey’s venerable precincts is where every monarch has been crowned since the Abbey’s construction, 800 years ago.  Here you’ll see the throne of Edward the Confessor, still used in the coronation ceremonies of ascending monarchs.

The parliament buildings and Big Ben are just a stone’s throw away, rising over the Thames in internationally-recognized majesty.

A visit to London wouldn’t be the same without a stop at the reconstructed Globe Theater, where the nation’s greatest man of letters once staged his brilliant plays.  Originally constructed in 1599, some of the Bard’s greatest masterpieces were penned for this venue.

Quebec City, Canada

One of the oldest cities in North America, Quebec City offers students both a walk through early Canadian history and an encounter with French-Canadian (Quebecois) culture.

Basse-ville offers a quasi-European experience in its narrow streets and ancient houses.  The Place Royale is ringed with 17th and 18th Century homes one might see in Brussels, Belgium or Paris, France.

The Plains of Abraham offer your students the opportunity to experience the battlefield on which the fate of North America was irrevocably changed.  Host to multiple skirmishes between the French and English, this is where the Conquest of 1759 transpired.

These exciting educational destinations are just the beginning of where Junior Tours can take your student group.  Once there, we offer finely-curated itineraries to support on-tour learnings with site and museum visits.

Founded by a teacher in 1967, Junior Tours is a boutique agency offering personalized attention for your group and a tour focused on your objectives as an educator.

Ready for a historical adventure?  Contact us.