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.


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.