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Tyngsborough Middle School: Washington DC & New York City 2019

Washington DC

New York City

Expedition:

Washington, DC & New York City, NY

Dates: 

Monday April 8 – Friday April 12, 2019

Student Price (based on Quad occupancy): $905
*
prices are based upon 35 -43 travelers Per Bus.

Payment Schedule:
10% Deposit Due:  
upon registration

5 Equal Payments Due: 07/15/18, 09/15/18, 11/15/18, 01/15/19, and 03/15/19

Register Below

Price is all inclusive and includes (Academic Expeditions agrees to provide each of the following goods and services for the duration of the tour to each participant traveling with Tyngsborough Middle School):

  • Professional General Liability and Errors and Omissions Insurance Policy ($10,000,000)
  • Deluxe motor coach transportation with driver and all transfers (5 days)
  • Premium hotel accommodations (4 nights)- Marriott Alexandria
  • Custom designed itinerary
  • Entrance fees to all program sites and day/evening activities
  • Full-time Professional Academic Expeditions tour educator per motor coach (5 days)
  • All Meals (4 Breakfast, 4 Lunch, 5 Dinner) as listed on the itinerary
  • All taxes
  • All gratuities (tour leader and driver included)
  • Private professional hotel night time security (4 nights)
  • Potomac River dinner/dance cruise
  • 24 Hour emergency access number
  • Personalized laser engraved luggage tags and name badges with lanyards
  • Customized Floral wreath
  • Comprehensive Accident, Medical, Liability, and Travel Protection/Cancellation/Interruption Insurance

Non-included:

  • Optional Cancel for any Reason Insurance – cancel up to 48 hours prior to departure and receive 75% refund

Understand your Cancellation and Insurance Options:

Be advised that any cancellations, whether it be self-initiated or initiated by the group leadership due to behavioral or academic reasons, will be subject to refund or forfeiture based on the our cancellation schedule, as detailed in our Terms and Conditions.  Cancellations due to medical reasons or weather will be subject to the conditions of our Standard Insurance Policy.  If the CFAR (Cancel for Any Reason) option is applied, it supercedes the above terms. Our insurance options and what they cover are explained in our insurance page.

 

View our complete Terms & Conditions here:

Payment Schedule:  Deposit fees must be submitted at time of registration. Tour participation is not guaranteed unless full payment has been received 60 days prior to departure date and is subject to forfeiture of all monies paid to date if these obligations are not met. Please make checks payable to Academic Expeditions, Inc.

Cancellations:  Any cancellations must be submitted in writing or by phone to this office. For cancellations received more than 120 days prior to departure date, a fee of $100 per person will be retained. Between 119 and 61 days prior to departure date, a fee of 25% of trip cost will be retained. Between 60 and 31 days prior to departure, a fee of 50% of the trip cost will be retained. Within 30 days of departure, all monies paid may be forfeited. This policy applies to all reasons for cancellation, including behavioral & academic issues (e.g. suspension, low grade average, etc.) or leaving the school after registering for the trip.

Ticketing fees are nonrefundable once individual tickets have been issued through Academic Expeditions. Any cancellations will be subject to the cancellation fees above plus any extra fees associated with the costs of airfare and hotel contractual obligations levied upon Academic Expeditions. Contracted price is based on a quoted minimum of paying participants per motor coach.  Please note that the contracted price may increase if numbers fall below the minimum stated in the registration.  Further, AEI reserves the right to cancel any tour if this increased payment is not received by departure date.  Refunds are subject to AEI’s discretion based upon monies paid to date and time of cancellation.

The standard insurance, if included, will cover certain instances of cancellation. If cancel for any reason insurance (CFAR) is also purchased separately, this additional coverage supersedes the above cancellation agreement and travelers with CFAR insurance may cancel up to 48 hours prior to departure date and receive 75% of total payment to date refunded.

Group Utilization: Ticketing fees are non-refundable once individual tickets have been issued through Academic Expeditions. Any cancellations will be subject to the cancellation terms plus any extra fees associated with the costs of airfare and hotel contractual obligations levied upon Academic Expeditions. Contracted price is based on a quoted minimum of paying participants per motor coach. Please note that the contracted price may increase if numbers fall below the minimum stated in the registration. Further, AEI reserves the right to cancel any tour if this increased payment is not received by departure date. Refunds are subject to AEI’s discretion based upon monies paid to date and time of cancellation. If the group organizers cancel the trip 120 days prior to the departure date due to insufficient registrations, we will refund all monies paid by existing registrants.

Airfare: Once group airfare has been ticketed through Academic Expeditions, tickets are non-refundable. Any cancellations will be subject to the cancellation fees stated above plus any extra costs associated with the cost of airfare. Any deviations, extensions or requests different from the air booking that will incur a cost will be the responsibility of the contracting organization and / or participant.

Baggage Fees: Unless otherwise stated in the trip inclusions, airline imposed baggage fees are not included in the price of the trip.

Dietary Needs: Academic Expeditions (AE) considers the overall safety and health of our travelers a top priority. We respect the specific needs of each of our travelers while participating in our programs. Special dietary or allergy requests submitted online or via the group leader will be communicated clearly to each of the dining venues that your tour will patronize. Due to the unpredictable nature of the group dining or open-selection food court experiences, we further request that the individual traveler or their parent/guardian/faculty chaperone further communicate their specific needs to both AE and restaurant staff at the time of the meal to insure that these needs are met properly.

Hotel & Services: All hotel and services included in our offer are subject to availability when the reservations are made. Should we be unable to confirm hotel/hotels listed in our offer, we will attempt to secure space at a similar hotel of equal standard and budget. In the event that a similar hotel is not available, a supplement may be charged if a higher category hotel is available. All services will be requested with the receipt of final payment.

Bus & Transportation: Buses used for transfer, sightseeing and touring have a maximum capacity of 56 passengers unless otherwise stated. For larger groups or groups with an excess of baggage, two or more buses may be required.

Fuel Surcharges: Academic Expeditions reserves the right to pass on any future airline and/or motorcoach fuel surcharges that are added on to our contractual pricing from our vendors at any time up until trip departure date.

Gratuities: The trip price quoted is all inclusive (including all gratuities) but travelers are welcome to remunerate further at their discretion for exceptional services rendered.

Please: You are welcome to call our Finance Office at (917) 608.4177 from 9:00am to 5:00pm with any inquiries or send any payments, contracts, and registration forms to us at:

Academic Expeditions, Inc.
Post Office Box 7661
Charlottesville, Virginia 22906

LIABILITY AND RISK
Guest Responsibility:
Trip members have the responsibility to select a trip appropriate for their abilities and interests. Trip members are held responsible for being in sufficient good health to undertake the trip. Trip members are responsible for preparing for the trip by studying the itinerary and pre-departure information packets sent by Academic Expeditions, Inc. (AE) and for bringing the appropriate clothing and equipment as advised therein. Academic Expeditions reserves the right to accept, refuse, or decline service to any guest before or during a trip.

Changes to the Itinerary: Academic Expeditions reserves the right to alter the itinerary and make route, lodging and activity modifications before or during a trip. Itineraries are planned up to a year in advance and unforeseen conditions may necessitate changes.

IMPORTANT TRAVEL INFORMATION & LIMITATION OF LIABILITY: These paragraphs (together with the Release of Liability below) define our responsibility with respect to all our trips.

PLEASE READ THIS CAREFULLY. Payment of your deposit represents your acceptance of the following terms and conditions:
Academic Expeditions, Inc. (AE) gives notice that services provided in connection with its itineraries, including transportation, hotel accommodations, restaurants, and other services are purchased from various independent suppliers who are not affiliated with AE in any way. Although it endeavors to choose the best suppliers available, AE has no right to control their operations and therefore makes these travel arrangements upon the express condition that AE and it own agents and employees, shall not be liable for any delay, mishap, inconvenience, expense, irregularity, bodily injury or death to person, or damage to property occasioned through the conduct or default of any company or individual engaged in providing these services. Each of these passengers’ conveyance companies, tour companies, hotels, restaurants, etc., is subject to the laws of the state or country where the service is provided.
AE shall not be liable for: (a) expenses such as additional hotel nights and meals not specified in the individual trip itineraries which may be required either en route/prior to/or following a trip, when caused by individual clients’ travel arrangements, by airline scheduling or airline schedule changes, canceled flights, missed flight connections, or by other factors not under AE’s control (b) expenses incurred in recovering luggage lost by airlines, belongings left behind on a trip, or in shipping purchases or other goods home from abroad and (c) bodily injury or property damage, for any reason including but not limited to acts of God, weather, quarantines, regulations, terrorism, war or failure of conveyance to arrive or depart as scheduled, etc. over which it has no control.
AE reserves the right to take photographic or film records of any of our trips, and may use any such records for promotional and/or commercial purposes.
AE reserves the right to decline to accept or to retain from further participation any person it judges to be incapable of meeting the rigors and requirements of participating in the activities, or any person who actions or deportment impede trip operation or the rights, welfare or enjoyment of other trip members. A refund based on cost of unused land services is the limit of AE responsibility in such a case.
Trip Members Responsibility: Trip members are held responsible for being in sufficient good health to undertake the trip. Trip members are responsible for preparing for the trip by studying the itinerary and pre-departure information packets sent by Academic Expeditions and for bringing the appropriate clothing and equipment as advised therein.
Limitation of Liability & Assumption of Risk
These Paragraphs (together with the release of liability section of the application form) define our responsibility with respect to all of our trips.

PLEASE READ THIS CAREFULLY. Payment of your deposit represents your acceptance of the following terms and conditions:
By checking the “Terms and Conditions” on the registration form, I acknowledge that I have voluntarily applied to participate on the AE trip (or to a trip which I may subsequently transfer to). I am voluntarily participating on the tour or expedition with knowledge that travel to the foreign countries and/or remote areas visited by this trip involves numerous risk and dangers including, but not limited to: (1) the forces of nature; (2) civil unrest; (3) terrorism; (4) roads, trails, hotels, vehicles, boats or other means of conveyance which are not operated nor maintained to standards common in the United States; (5) high altitude; (6) accident or illness without access to means of rapid evacuation or availability of medical supplies; (7) the adequacy of medical attention once provided; (8) physical exertion for which I am not prepared; (9) consumption of alcoholic beverages; (10) negligence (but not the willful or fraudulent conduct) on the part of AE, or others; or (11) the wild animals I may be exposed to. I acknowledge that the enjoyment and excitement of adventure travel is derived in part from the inherent risks incurred by travel and activity beyond the accepted safety of life at home or work and that these inherent risks contribute to such enjoyment and excitement, being a reason for my voluntary participation.

I HEREBY AGREE TO BE RESPONSIBLE FOR MY OWN WELFARE, AND ACCEPT ANY AND ALL RISKS OF DELAY UNANTICIPATED EVENTS, ILLNESS, INJURY, EMOTIONAL TRAUMA OR DEATH.
RELEASE: I acknowledge that the cost of AE trips have been based upon trip participants executing this Release of Liability and Assumption of All Risks. Therefore, as lawful consideration for being permitted to participate on such trip(s), I hereby RELEASE AND DISCHARGE AE AND ITS AGENTS AND EMPLOYEES FROM AND AGAINST ANY AND ALL LIABILITY ARISING FROM MY PARTICIPATION IN THE TOUR OR EXPEDITION. I agree this release shall be legally binding upon myself, all minors under the age of 21 traveling with me, my heirs, successors, assigns, and legal representatives; it being my intention to fully assume all the risk of travel and to release AE from any and all liabilities to the maximum extent permitted by law.

I understand that all applications are subject to acceptance by AE and upon acceptance shall be deemed to have been entered into and to be performed at New York, New York. In the unlikely event a legal dispute should arise involving any subject matter whatsoever, I agree that the following conditions will apply: (a) the dispute shall be settled by binding arbitration through the American Arbitration Association at New York, New York; (b) the dispute will be governed by New York law; and (c) the maximum amount of recovery to which I will be entitled under any and all circumstances will be the land cost of my trip with AE.

Trip Resources:  Click below to view how everything comes together in your itinerary

Your  Expedition Itinerary – Tyngsborough Middle School 2019

(Your itinerary will be an evolving document as the trip nears and more appointments are confirmed.  The actual order and flow of non-scheduled sites will likely be adapted before and even during your trip.  The above link will always connect you to the latest version of the itinerary as it evolves.) 

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Making the Most of Your Expedition

Check out our Travel101 section for tips and resources for preparing for your trip.

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Get to Know your Expedition Program Director:

Kristin Peterson

Kristin Peterson

Director of International Programs

Kristin is an east coast native with strong roots in Pennsylvania. For over ten years, she has been leading educational tours throughout North America and Europe. Kristin has a Masters in Comparative Literature and French, is an ITMI certified tour director, GWU certified event manager, and licensed sightseeing guide in New York City and Washington, DC. Kristin enjoys bicycling, good food, and foreign languages, and especially loves creating travel itineraries that combine all three. 

Contact:  Email Kristin  /  c:  917-658-2983  /  International Programs: Discovery Expeditions

Learn More about the Destinations You’ll Experience:

Washington DC

A smorgasbord of history.  More than just our nation's capital, the Memorials, Museums, and Government Buildings are the medium by which one generation communicates to another our nation's stories, struggles, and sacrifices as we continue to define and refine our ideals of freedom.

Click Below to learn more...

Sites and Experience Highlights in Washington DC.... (click for more)
Below are highlights of what could potentially be an endless list. For the sake of simplicity, we’ve listed sights in groupings of how they are typically visited and how much time groups typically spend at each. It will help to think of your tour day in blocks: 3 hour mornings, 4 hour afternoons, and 2-3 hour evenings. Of course, no tour is typical, and we don’t want any of our groups to feel that they are typical, but these suggestions serve as a solid frame upon which to add your own uniqueness. 

Capitol Hill  (one full morning or afternoon)

  • The Capitol is the legislative branch of the U.S. government with the Senate and the House of Representatives chambers flanking the grand dome. Public tours are processed through the new visitors center and typically include the Rotunda, Statuary Hall, and the Crypt. To also visit the public galleries of the House or Senate, the group must obtain free passes from either their Representative or Senator’s offices that flank the Capitol.
  • The Library of Congress is the world’s largest library by the number of its holdings contained in several different buildings. The Thomas Jefferson building is the one to see as its architecture, sculpture, frescoes, mosaics, and exhibits are all designed to be a celebration of human discovery and creativity.
  • Also on Capitol Hill, the Supreme Court is home to our Judicial Branch. The outside is an impressive ancient-styled temple to showcase the legacy and supremacy of the Law. Timing may also permit entering the building to hear a curator lecture in the actual Supreme Court Chamber. 

The Presidential and Military Memorials  (2-3 full evenings)

As these memorials are typically visited based on proximity to each other and while they can be visited at any time, we typically go in the evening while most of the other buildings and museums are closed. 
 

Presidential Memorials:

  • Washington Monument is a 555-foot marble obelisk in the middle of the National Mall that honors the nation's first president. Timed tickets provide an elevator ride to the 500-foot viewing platform. For those without tickets, the best views of the monument itself are from the other memorials.
  • Jefferson Memorial is located across the Tidal Basin and is surrounded by the famous Japanese cherry trees. The Romanesque structure provides an elegant view over the water particularly at night.
  • The Lincoln Memorial bookends the 2-mile stretch of the National Mall along with the Capitol on the other end. Overlooking the reflecting pool on one side, and Virginia on the other, it appropriately honors the President who preserved the Union during our nation’s toughest trial, the Civil War. While it honors the man himself, the unity of the nation and emancipation, it is only fitting that it has also become a gathering place for subsequent generations to raise the voice of justice and equality.
  • Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial is one to be experienced rather than merely viewed. Its chambers and plazas located on the Tidal Basin, use touchable inscriptions, statues, and fountains to chronicle how the man and the nation persevered through the trials of the Great Depression and World War II.

 Military and War Memorials: 

  • World War II Memorial, though a more recent arrival to the National Mall, is located prominently in the middle to show how the nation’s obligation and sacrifice to human liberty extend beyond our oceans. Divided into Pacific and Atlantic theaters, it is united by a memorial wall symbolizing the over 400,000 American lives lost.
  • Korean War Memorial is near Lincoln Memorial and features statues of 19 soldiers making their way through unknown terrain in front a wall of reflected faces of service personnel. It is particularly striking at night.
  • Vietnam Veterans Memorial: The stark silent wall of over 58,000 names originally met with much controversy, but now is one of the most popular memorials as it effectively conveys the costs and emotions of a confusing war that brought trauma to both the frontlines and the homefront.
  • Marine Corps Memorial: The iconic image of six soldiers raising a flag atop Iwo Jima serves as a memorial to the Marines in all wars. Located across the Potomac in Virginia, it also provides great views over DC.
  • Air Force Memorial overlooks the Pentagon and DC with its flared prongs flying into the sky, portraying honor on the ground for the sacrifices in the sky.
  • Navy Memorial often gets overlooked surrounded by more prominent sites on Pennsylvania Ave, but its worth a stop to admire its water encircled map of the world.
  • Pentagon September 11th Memorial is built at the site where the Pentagon was attacked on 9/11. Strategically organized benches for each 184 innocent lives lost are even more poignant at night. Note, there is no bus drop-off at the Memorial, so long walks are required to visit it. 

Arlington National Cemetery  (one full morning or most of an afternoon)

This is the final resting place of honor for over 300,000 military personnel who dutifully served our country. It is a place of honor for Two US presidents—John F. Kennedy and William Howard Taft are buried here. The crew of the Challenger space shuttle, civil rights leader Medgar Evers and film star Audie Murphy are among the many honored here. The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, containing remains of unidentified soldiers from World Wars I, II, and the Korean Conflict, is guarded 24 hours a day. The changing of the guard ceremony is a moving tribute to them. Arlington house, the home of Robert E. Lee until the outbreak of the Civil War, is located on the cemetery grounds.  
 
Mount Vernon  (one full morning or afternoon)
George Washington’s preserved home and plantation is an ideal tribute to the practical man who spent many years away from his beloved home in service to the country as commanding General and first President. Managing his estate was what he excelled at and preferred over the entanglements of power and politics. A tour of the house, grounds, historical interpreters and education center provide an intimate and hands-on look into Washington and his world of the late 1700’s. Nearby, the recreated Gristmill and Distillery can also be added to a Mount Vernon visit.  
 
The Smithsonian Institution  (a half day, ha-ha)
There are 20 museums and 9 research centers that make up the Smithsonian, but most groups find their interest and energy exhausted just by sticking to the big ones on the National Mall. A half day is barely adequate to see The Museum of American History, The Natural History Museum, and The Air and Space Museum, but if one is so inclined, they could also poke their head into the Museum of the American Indian, the Hirshhorn Museum of Modern Art, The Arts and Industries Building for temporary exhibits, The Smithsonian Castle, African Art Museum, International Gallery, and Sackler and Freer Galleries of Asian Art. If more time is allowed on the schedule, there are more museums located off the beaten path (not on the National Mall): American Art Museum / Portrait Gallery in Chinatown, the National Zoo in Rock Creek Park, the Renwick Gallery by the White House, or the Udvar-Hazy Air and Space museum located about one hour outside DC at Dulles Airport.    
 
The White House  (1 hour)
A walk around the perimeter of the secure grounds of the most famous home in the world will afford up close views of the North Front and Lafayette Park on one side, and the South Portico, South Lawn and Ellipse on the other. To get inside is another story; that must be arranged by limited availability with your Representative or Senator. About a quarter of our groups get it. So good luck! 
 
Ford’s Theatre  (1 hour)
The site of Abraham Lincoln’s assassination is both memorial to the man and working theater with rotating shows. Timed tickets permit entrance into the museum and into the theatre to see the balcony as it was decorated in 1865. Across the street, the same ticket permits entry into the Peterson House where Abraham Lincoln died.
 
Our nation’s safe house for preservation of important documents and records has on permanent display The Declaration of Independence, The US Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the Magna Carta. Long lines and security make this a hard one to time. 
 
Depending whether the group visits one of the smaller exhibits like Daniel’s Story or visits the Permanent Exhibit which requires reservations or tickets, this could a short or long visit, and it could be a tamed or graphic visit. Either way, it is an essential example of how knowing history helps us know how to make a better future. 
 
An internal tour of the BEP allows visitors to see the process by which our paper currency is printed. The bullet proof glass enclosed platforms let you see and smell the money, but the only money you get to touch is that which is in your own pocket when you get to their gift shop (which sells you money for more than it’s worth). By reservation only for groups. 
 
Newseum  (2-3 hours)
This museum of news and media uses film footage, photography, and historic printed materials to show the importance of free press and free speech. But more than just a review of how great events are reported, the Newseum is very interactive. Visitors can experience the 4-D film, act the news anchor in front of green screens, and play computer challenges. 
 
Though built entirely in the 20th Century, the National Cathedral transports one into the 14th Century gothic and it’s sculpture and stained glass tell the stories the Bible and American history. A tour of the world’s sixth largest church is by appointment only, and the trip there and back takes in the Embassies along Mass Ave and some of DC’s nicest residential neighborhoods. 
 
This basilica, the largest Roman Catholic Church in the Western Hemisphere, is a mix of Romanesque and Byzantine styles with modern décor, and is located by Catholic University. 
 
Pentagon  (2 hours)
Tours of the headquarters of the Department of Defense and the world’s largest office building are by reservation only.
 
This memorial is encircled by marble walls containing the names of officers who have died in the line of duty. Each mid-May is Law Enforcement week when the new names of the fallen are added. 
 
For the more “sophisticated” travelers, the traditional West Building, modern East Building, and outdoor Sculpture Garden contain works by all the big names of European and American art. Located on the National Mall, it can be done in conjunction with the Smithsonians.
 
Several interactive floors review the history of crime, detective work, and penalty. America’s Most Wanted is filmed in the basement.
 
This museum covers the role and history of espionage, from the Revolution to the Cold War, and from Hollywood to DC. 
 

Additional Highlights
 
There are many more memorials, museums, and statues to visit in DC, most of which probably won’t be specifically included in an itinerary, but as time and traffic permits, can be added as they are relatively brief stops that typically do not require reservations:
 
John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Albert Einstein Memorial, Union Station, Japanese American Memorial, Canadian Embassy, US Botanical Gardens, National Building Museum, Old Post Office Pavilion, Freedom Plaza, Washington Navy Yard, George Mason Memorial, African-American Civil War Memorial, Frederick Douglass National Historic Site, Theodore Roosevelt Island and Memorial, Old Town Alexandria, George Washington Memorial Masonic Temple, Georgetown University, Constitution Gardens, Folger Shakespeare Library, DC’s World War I Memorial, National Harbor Maryland, National Geographic Society. 
 
Let us know if there’s something we didn’t list here that you’re interested in. We love groups that surprise us with something out of the ordinary.
 

Evening Activities 
  • Potomac River Dinner Cruise: Spirit and Odyssey Cruises are fine dining dinner-boat cruises that take in the cooler air on the Potomac and views along river banks. 
  • Alexandria Ghost Tour: Creep through the darkest night following the lantern light of your 18th century guide hearing stories of ghosts, spirits & legends of Alexandria. And you'll be abandoned in a graveyard! 
  • Theatrical Performances: Enjoy a performance at Ford’s Theatre where Lincoln was assassinated, or in the Kennedy Center. Maybe catch a show in the round at the Arena Stage.
  • Sports Events in season: Catch a professional baseball game with the Washington Nationals or Baltimore Orioles.
Washington DC Tour Logistics - Guides, Transportation, Hotels & Meals... (click for more)

Our guides maintain a 24 hour presence with the group from the time you arrive till the time you leave, so in addition to being your educational expert, they will also be navigating you through the logistics of transportation, meals, and hotels. While each guide has their own style and strengths, they strive to be flexible to the group’s needs and maintain the difficult balances between reverence and fun, promptness and leisure, information and action, being decisive and being accommodating. Some sites only allow their resident guides or rangers to lead/talk to groups, but other than that our guides are available to instruct as much or as little as you desire (Yes, sometimes our guide’s passion for the subject outlasts the mental energy reserves of the group).

There will be a guide for each motor coach, should the group size require more than one coach. We use only experienced drivers in newer model coaches that come with AC, DVD/TV, reclining seats, and restrooms. While the motor coaches will greatly cut down on the time and walking one would have to do using Metro or driving and parking their own vehicle, there are many restrictions on where coaches can drop, pick-up and park, and as many buildings and monuments are near each other, walking will still be a necessity and usually a pleasure.
 
Our hotels are also high quality, with such familiar names as Marriott, Sheraton, and Doubletree. As much as possible, we use centrally located hotels to avoid lost time waiting in suburban traffic in the mornings. Privately hired night security will monitor the floor or floors where the group is sleeping so the group leaders can sleep with more peace of mind that no one is disturbing the group, nor are they disturbing each other or leaving their rooms.
 
We pride ourselves on using meals of high caliber in both food quality and setting. Breakfast is typically hot buffet-style at the hotel before departure. Lunches are usually more flexible and often are not specifically scheduled in the itinerary, allowing the guide and group leaders to choose the timing and location of lunches as the itinerary unfolds, and letting the group rub shoulders with DC’s bustling locals. Dinners are typically by reservation with reserved group seating and options within a set menu to expedite service. Depending the location, dinners are often in historic inns or event-themed dining.

For more information regarding packing lists, preparations, academic goals, fundraising, hometown connections, teacher tips, and other logistics of group travel, please visit our Traveler Resource Center.

Understanding the changing Seasons of Washington DC... (click for more)

WHEN TO GO?

Crowded sites, long lines and sweltering humidity often prompt our groups to ask us, “When is the best time to go to DC?” While there is no set-in-stone “best” or “worst” time to go, there are trade-offs with every season.

The best balance of less crowds and agreeable weather would be the Fall (October – mid November with late October typically being the peak of fall foliage) but there’s a reason less groups come then. It’s early in the school year and it’s hard to work around sports schedules. If you’re able to do it, we highly recommend the fall.
 
Conversely, Spring is a more convenient time for school groups to come, and come they do. You can expect heavy school crowds from mid-March to mid-June. Early April is particularly crowded with Spring breakers and Cherry-Blossom gazers. Weather is particularly unpredictable in the spring; but you should expect at least one day of rain on your trip. The trees start blooming in late March, and the heat and humidity set in around late May. In May and June the various military bands do free concerts and demonstrations around the city. Consider coming Memorial Day weekend; while the city is crowded, it’s more from families and veterans than from school groups, so the city takes on a more ceremonial and reverent air, particularly at Arlington, but also in the parades and concerts.
 
Some groups try to beat the crowds in January and February when day temperatures linger between 30 and 50 degrees. Weather usually is not a big deterrent and most kids are excited if it does snow, and it’s nice to be able to waltz into many of the buildings without lines or reservations. The biggest drawback is the outdoor scenery: Many of the fountains in the memorials are not turned on until mid-March. The landscape is more gray with leaf-less trees and the daylight shorter (but conversely, some of our June groups are disappointed that they didn’t get to visit the memorials at night when it doesn’t get dark till 9:30).
 
So, weigh your own schedule with the pros and cons, pick your dates, but even then take nothing for granted. Prepare yourselves for the wonderful mystery of weather and the fluctuations of a living, security-conscious government that can both thrill and frustrate our best-laid plans.
Other Nearby Destinations to Washington DC.... (click for more)
Many groups make Washington DC the core of a larger trip by adding one or more other historic destinations in the East. While three full days are needed to do DC justice; the destinations below are listed with their driving time one way from DC and extra days needed to experience them.
 

Colonial Virginia  (3 hours drive, 2 days)

A great way to begin a trip as this is where the nation began, at Jamestown. Williamsburg takes you back to the 1770’s for a nice pace and hands-on rustic experience for a group before hitting the bustle of DC. Yorktown is where our Independence was won. Also make time for Richmond or Charlottesville on the way to/from DC

Civil War Battlefields  (within 2 hours, day trip from DC)

Gettysburg, PA was the deadliest battle and turning point of the Civil War and now is the most monumented battlefield on earth. It is the most popular day trip out of DC, but even closer there are Antietam, MD, Harper’s Ferry, WV, Manassas, VA, and Fredericksburg, VA.

Philadelphia  (3 hours, 1-2 days)

Original buildings abound where our founding fathers walked, slept, worshipped, argued and birthed our nation. Sites include Independence Hall, Liberty Bell, Franklin Court and the Constitution Center. Nearby is Valley Forge and a little further Lancaster (Amish Country)

New York City  (5 hours from DC, 2-3 days)

While NYC has it’s own treasures of American history, a trip here from DC will definitely take on a whole new pace and energy. Canyons of sky-scrapers, lights of Broadway, famous shopping, film sets, and an international nexus for both the poor, the posh, and the powerful; it truly is the Capital of the World.

Boston  (9 hours from DC, 4 from New York, 2 days)

Walk the Freedom Trail in the footsteps of the Revolutionaries in downtown Boston. Follow the footsteps of the Minutemen and hear the “Shot heard ‘round the World” at Lexington and Concord. Join the first New England settlers at the Mayflower II and Plimoth Plantation.

New York City

The "Big Apple" is often called the Capital of the World, and justly so as not only is it the home of Wall Street, Broadway, 5th Avenue, the Statue of Liberty and the United Nations, but its magnitude as an immigration portal means just by walking the busy streets, you'll rub shoulders with an amazing melting pot of humanity.

Browse Below to learn more...

Sites and Experience Highlights in New York City... (click for more)

The sites of New York City are too numerous to list, and for many visitors, their most memorable experience might be a celebrity sighting, a hot-dog stand, or a flamboyant street performer. But below is a list of the highlights most visitors come to see.


 Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island:

 A short ferry ride takes you to these two great symbols of America as the land of opportunity and freedom. The best views of the Statue of Liberty are front the ferry and the island itself, but reserved tickets (limited availability) allow visitors to climb up to the pedestal platform. Nearby, Ellis Island served as the primary US Immigration processing center during peak years, but is now restored as the US Immigration Museum. There’s a good chance that some of your own blood flowed through here, as an estimated 1/3 of Americans can claim ancestry through Ellis Island.


 Lower Manhattan:

A walking tour of Lower Manhattan takes in NYC’s earliest and most recent history. This is where the first European settlers began colonizing at the mouth of the Hudson River, but it is also where some of NYC’s most modern buildings and corporate giants are located. Battery Park and Bowling Green both make for natural retreats from the surrounding hub-bub, as Trinity Church and Saint Paul’s Church offer historical and spiritual sanctuary. Stand on Wall Street in front of Federal Hall where George Washington became the first President of a struggling nation, and look upon the New York Stock Exchange where that nation now struggles with volatile prosperity. A reverent stop at the September 11th Memorial is a must, where one will be able to walk around the memorial fountain footprints of the World Trade Center towers attacked on 9/11.  The underground museum takes people back to the tragic day that changed our history.  The new One World Trade Center "Freedom Tower", is the tallest building in the US at appropriately 1776 feet tall, and visitors can go up to the One World Observatory.


Mid-Town Manhattan:

 Mid-Town Manhattan is a shopping and entertainment section with the Garment District, Macy’s famous department store, Madison Square Garden and the Empire State Building all within a few blocks. The elevator trip and view from the Empire State Building’s viewing platform is justifiably romanticized and is a must see while in NYC.

Times Square. Stand in the middle of the crossing created by Broadway and 7th Ave and you’ll know this is the spot where “the city never sleeps.” This is the neon, marquis-lit Theater district filled with megastores, theme restaurants, and mostly comical street peddlers. It’s also where the nation celebrates the New Year.

Rockefeller Center is another hub of “as seen on TV” activity. One can take the NBC Studio Tour, or come early and try to snag a second of celebrity in the background shots of NBC’s Today Show. The view from Top of the Rock is perhaps the best in the city, day or night allowing you a full view of central park. Tours are also available of the nearby Radio City Music Hall.

5th Avenue is home to some of the most prestigious stores in America, but also to many other theme stores within reach of the common folk. This stretch of “shopping on steroids” is invigorating to some, but to those whom it merely overwhelms, there are peaceful retreats to be found in St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the largest gothic Catholic cathedral in the US, and in tranquil Central Park.

Central Park: Right in the heart of Manhattan, the grid pattern of streets give way to this oasis of winding paths, rolling lawns, gardens, ponds, and playgrounds. While tourists may hire a horse carriage, pedi-cab, or rowboat, New Yorkers love this recreation retreat even more on foot. Warmer weather brings out many entertaining street musicians.

Grand Central Station is NYC’s busiest commuter hub but is also lined with shops and a food court. Choose a spot in the main hall and feel like you’re sitting on a rock in the middle of a cascading river.
The United Nations, though within Manhattan on the East River, is actually international territory. Tours are available of this headquarters established in the aftermath of WWII to establish global cooperation in dealing with conflicts and disasters.
South Street Seaport has a long history as a shipping port, but today is renovated as a historic landmark and shopping / dining mall with great views of the East River and the Brooklyn Bridge.

Brooklyn Bridge: a walk across the pedestrian and bike path provides great views over the East River, Brooklyn and Manhattan.

Chinatown and Little Italy are overlapping neighborhoods with Chinatown’s expanding cheap shops, exotic food stands, and cafes dominating the area in recent decades, but Little Italy maintains its character along restaurant-lined Mulberry Street.

Greenwich Village and Washington Square are surrounded by many cafes and the buildings of New York University. It has been a breeding ground for artist, musicians, writers, and reformers, and remains a popular neighborhood for people with a contagious creative vibe.
Harlem is a neighborhood in Uptown Manhattan that went through various ethnic transitions to become an epicenter for African-American culture in the 20th Century, and today is experiencing another economic and multi-ethnic renaissance.
Metropolitan Museum of Art: “The Met” is a massive museum in Central Park with painting, sculpture and archeology from around the world.

The American Museum of Natural History is the largest natural history museum in the world and is bustling with artifacts and displays on wildlife, ecology, environment and human culture.

Baseball Stadiums: Depending the season and whether the Yankees or Mets are in town, your group may be able to attend a game at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx or Shea Stadium in Queens.


West Point is up-river a few hours from NYC and one can tour the US Army’s elite training academy


If you’re still looking for more to explore, consider some of these other less visited and off-the-beaten path sites:
Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, Guggenheim Museum of Modern Art, MOMA, New York City Museum, Riverside Park/Grant’s Tomb, Riverside Church, St. John the Divine Church, Chrysler Building, The Flat Iron Building, City Hall, Union Square, Columbus Circle, Bryant Park & New York City Library, The Dakota luxury apartments & Strawberry Fields, Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace, USS Intrepid, El Museo del Barrio, Bronx Zoo, Staten Island Ferry, Chelsea Piers, Circle Line cruise around Manhattan.

Professional Afflilations

Academic Expeditions is an accredited educational travel provider and a member of the major student travel, guiding, and transportation organizations across the country.

 

 

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