Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Organising tours since 1965, there aren’t many questions that we haven’t already been asked. Below you'll find the answers to some of our most frequently asked questions.

If you can’t find the answer you’re looking for, then don't hesitate to get in touch with us on 01332 347 828 or email info@rayburntours.com and we'll quickly get you talking to the right people. 

General Safety

  • What do I need to do to ensure safe travel for my group?

    Information is available from your Local Authority on what is expected from party leaders on a school trip. In addition, we are happy to assist you in ensuring that you have all of the necessary information to successfully assess risks and ensure a safe trip for you and your group. Further advice and information can be found on the OEAP National Guidance website.
  • What safety support do you have in place for clients choosing to tour with you?

    At Rayburn Tours we are proud of our continual commitment to safety. Clients who tour with us can be assured that we have the following support services and systems in place: Safety Management System, Generic Risk Management, Crisis Management System, ATOL Licensed, ABTA Bonded, insurance, 24-hour emergency contact system, hotel audits, coach audits and activity audits. 

    In addition, we are a member of the School Travel Forum (STF), giving you the reassurance that all of our trips meet, or indeed exceed, the safety standards required by your school and Local Authority.

  • What are you responsible for?

    The DfE’s guidance for safe travel highlights the need for all those involved with the organisation and running of a tour to work together as a team. This is our aim at Rayburn Tours, to work together with our party leaders to ensure our groups' safety and peace of mind.

Safety & Risk Management On Tour

Transport & Travel

  • Will our driver speak English?

    Not all drivers will speak English but every driver will be fully aware of your itinerary and our 24-hour emergency phone line is available in the unlikely event assistance is needed.
  • Are seatbelts provided on foreign coaches?

    This depends on the country where you are visiting and their local laws. However we will always endeavour to use coach companies who use coaches fitted with seatbelts.
  • Are all of your coaches audited?

    UK coaches: Yes, all of our UK coach companies are audited by our in-house team. Copies of which can be made available to you.

    Foreign coaches: It is important to remember that each country is governed by their own standards and laws and these may differ from UK law. We request that an audit is completed by the foreign coach company which includes confirmation of the following: they will comply with all national, local and other laws, rules and codes of practice, and that all services contracted shall be performed with all due skill, care and diligence The vehicle is fully insured for the duration of the tour.

  • Do you DBS (formerly CRB) check your drivers?

    As part of our coach audits, we request that all UK coach drivers are DBS checked by their employer prior to driving on one of our tours. We can request confirmation of your specific driver’s compliance if deemed necessary.
  • What happens if flights are operating but we decide we do not want to travel?

    If there has been no official advice against travel, yet your group has opted to cancel, then your cancellation is totally subject to our booking conditions. However, we will always work with you to try and minimise the financial effect and find the best solution for you.

    Period before departure within which written notification is received by Rayburn Tours Ltd:

    70 – 29 days before departure: 75% amount of cancellation charge (expressed as a percentage of the total holiday cost)

    28 – 15 days before departure: 90% amount of cancellation charge (expressed as a percentage of the total holiday cost)

    14 – 1 day(s) before departure 100% amount of cancellation charge (expressed as a percentage of the total holiday cost)

  • What would happen if our flights are delayed or cancelled?

    In the event that your flights are cancelled or delayed by the airline, then the airline will offer us an alternative flight for your group and payment under the delayed departure section of your insurance would be applicable. EU airlines and carriers are subject to the EU Directive regulation 216/2004. Insurance policies do cover delayed flights and in the first instance party leaders would need to call the insurance company for further details.

    For groups travelling with our insurance (provided by Endsleigh Insurance Services Ltd) we would be able to call on your behalf. Delayed cover through Endsleigh Insurance Services Ltd entitles each person to claim up to £100, dependent on the length of delay, which can then be used to offset any additional expenses that may have been incurred.

    We will offer your group continued support via our 24-hour emergency phone; we will liaise with our contacts at the relevant airline and accommodation centres, if necessary, and continue to communicate with you throughout until your flight departs.

  • What happens if, due to indefinite flight cancellations, we have to cancel our tour?

    We would discuss the options with the party leader and school. We are happy to assist you in the rearrangement of your tour at a later date. If this is not acceptable, then between us and your insurance company you would receive a refund.
  • What happens if I wish to cancel due to an act of terrorism?

    If there has been no official advice against travel, yet your group has opted to cancel, then your cancellation is totally subject to our booking conditions (for booking conditions, please see 'What happens if flights are operating but we decide we do not want to travel?'). However, we will always work with you to try and minimise the financial effect and find the best solution for you.

Accommodation

  • Will we have the accommodation centre to ourselves or will we be sharing with other groups?

    Sometimes your group will have sole occupancy, other times you will be sharing with both individuals and other groups. Please ask your Tour Consultant for more information about your chosen accommodation or other accommodation options in the area.
  • Does the accommodation centre have a room for study/a quiz/other evening activities?

    Our accommodation centres are well-suited to youth groups and most have rooms available for use in the evenings. Please ask your Tour Co-ordinator and they will be happy to confirm this.
  • Do your hotels comply with our Local Authority’s guidelines?

    All hotels are audited to standards set by the School Travel Forum (STF), this criteria is based on information and guidance from educational authorities. Whilst local laws and standards have to be taken into consideration, as they may differ from country to country, our standards do not. We are happy to provide copies of our hotel audits should you wish to see them.
  • Is all of your accommodation audited in advance?

    Yes, all of our accommodation is audited prior to us offering it to a group. The criterion of these audits is governed by the School Travel Forum (STF). It is important to remember that each country is governed by their own standards and laws and these may differ from UK law. However, we require our accommodation to meet our standards as a minimum. We work with the hotels and agents to endeavour to ensure that our standards are met.

Insurance

  • What does our insurance cover us for?

    Our insurance providers offer comprehensive cover to our groups for the duration of their tour and is tailored specifically for schools, with specialist insurance policies for individual tour types. As with any insurance cover it is vital that you read through the terms and conditions and that you declare any relevant information as requested. Please see our insurance page for further information and to see what is covered. For groups opting to take their own insurance, we highly recommend that you read all inclusions and exclusions prior to departure.
  • Is insurance included with my trip?

    Yes, insurance will be included in your school trip quotation as standard unless it is requested not to be. Make sure you check the list of inclusions in your quotation and/or confirmation.
  • How do we make a claim?

    Start by notifying your Tour Co-ordinator of the reason for making a claim, as well as which member of the party the claim relates to. We will issue you with the relevant documentation to support your claim. You will need to forward these documents along with a fully completed claim form to the insurers for your claim to be processed. We will also issue any cancellation refund that may be applicable, please refer to our booking conditions for more information.

Couriers, Field Study Tutors & History Tour Guides

  • Is our courier fully DBS (formerly CRB) checked?

    Our Trip Couriers, Field Study Tutors and History Tour Guides, with UK citizenship, have an enhanced DBS check. Non UK citizenship couriers cannot be checked under the DBS scheme. Rayburn Tours will seek confirmation that Trip Couriers are suitable for working with children by liaising with relevant foreign agents and monitoring group feedback.

On Tour

  • Can I talk to Rayburn Tours whilst out on tour?

    Yes, a 24-hour emergency phone number will be provided in your final documents pack and one of our experienced members of staff will be happy to help with any problems you have whilst out on tour.

  • What if the weather is bad on tour and it means we have to change our programme?

    It’s no problem at all! If you are accompanied by a Rayburn Tours representative they will be happy to help. Alternatively, call us on the 24-hour emergency line and we will work out a new itinerary for you and advise all excursions where necessary.
  • What happens if our flight operators/transport providers cease to trade whilst we are on tour?

    By booking your tour package with us, you are fully covered in the event that you are unable to return home should your transport provider fail to operate i.e. it goes into liquidation. As your operator it is our responsibility to ensure that alternative arrangements are made to repatriate you and your group to the UK. Rayburn Tours is a member of ABTA and bonded as such and is fully ATOL licensed.
  • What support do you have in place in the event of a crisis situation?

    In the unlikely event that your group is involved in a crisis situation during your tour, you can be assured that Rayburn Tours have a Crisis Management System in place which is fully supported by ABTA, ATOL and Endsleigh Insurance Services Ltd. In 2010 our robust crisis management system was successfully implemented following the Eyjafjallajӧkull volcanic eruption in Iceland and 290 passengers were quickly and efficiently repatriated – this gives you the reassurance that support is on-hand in exceptional circumstances. Download details of our Crisis Management System.

Volcanic Disruption Worldwide

  • What happens if flights are operating but we decide we do not want to travel?

    If flights are operating and there has been no official advice against travel, yet your group has opted to cancel, then your cancellation is subject to our booking conditions. Period before departure within which written notification is received by Rayburn Tours Ltd: 70 – 29 days before departure: 75% amount of cancellation charge (expressed as a percentage of the total holiday cost) 28 – 15 days before departure: 90% amount of cancellation charge (expressed as a percentage of the total holiday cost) 14 – 1 day(s) before departure 100% amount of cancellation charge (expressed as a percentage of the total holiday cost)
  • What would happen if our return flight is delayed or cancelled?

    In the event that your flights are cancelled or delayed by the airline, then the airline will offer us an alternative flight for your group and payment under the delayed departure section of your insurance may be applicable. Airlines operating from within the EU are subject to EU Directive Regulation 216/2004, under which airlines do have certain responsibilities for passenger welfare in times of delays and cancellation. Delay and cancellation compensation also forms part of these regulations and may be applicable dependent on specific criteria. Most insurance policies will cover delayed flights and in the first instance party leaders would need to call the insurance company for further details. For groups traveling with our insurance (provided by Endsleigh Insurance Services Ltd) we would be able to call on your behalf. Delayed cover through Endsleigh Insurance Services Ltd entitles each person to claim up to £100, dependent on the length of delay, which can then be used to offset any additional expenses that may have been incurred. We will offer your group continued support via our 24-hour emergency phone; we will liaise with our contacts at the relevant airline and accommodation centres, if necessary, and continue to communicate with you throughout until your flight departs.
  • What happens if, due to indefinite flight cancellations, we have to cancel our tour?

    We would discuss the options with the party leader and school. We are happy to assist you in the rearrangement of your tour at a later date. If this is not acceptable, then between us and your insurance company you would receive a refund.
  • Do insurance companies now offer additional cover for disruption caused by volcanic ash?

    At present our insurers (Endsleigh Insurance Services Ltd) do not offer additional cover. The general precedence following disruption caused by the 2010 Eyjafjallajӧkull volcanic eruption in Iceland is that this is not something that they, or many other insurance companies, will offer in the future due to the unpredictable nature of the events. However, this is subject to change. For clients traveling with their own insurance we would advise that you check with your individual insurers on inclusions/exclusions.

Volcanic Disruption in Iceland

  • What help do you have in Iceland to assist us in the event of future disruption?

    Our main accommodation centres are contracted solely to us and are able to offer substantial support in terms of advice, accommodation extension and local safety issues. One of the centres is earmarked as a rescue centre for the community should there be an eruption event. Alternatively we work with hotels in other locations, such as Reykjavik which we could utilise. Our Icelandic coach operator has robust transport resources to quickly implement changes.
  • What happens if we are unable to complete our planned excursions whilst in Iceland?

    We have numerous, well researched alternative excursions which can be implemented if needed whilst in Iceland. Additionally, we have produced a new study unit relating to the volcanic eruption in 2010. Experience has shown us that with some minor changes we are able to carryout the majority of our itineraries.
  • What happens if there is a further volcanic eruption whilst we are in Iceland?

    In Iceland every community, by law, has a set of very rigid logistical procedures in place to deal with natural disasters and these have proven to be effective. The whole of Iceland is hazard aware. There are systems in place and sequences of events all worked out. Systems are robust and vigorous. Safety procedures are only stepped down after a full assessment is carried out by the experts. In addition, we have local knowledge and direct communication to the safety authorities to ensure a calm, efficient evacuation to safety, if required. We also have access to accommodation in different locations. We have 24-hour contact available to both Icelandic airlines and we have experienced the high level of support they offer during the repatriation process.

Volcanic Disruption in Italy

  • What help do you have in Italy to assist us in the event of disruption?

    We have a strong relationship with our agent in Italy, therefore in the event of any disruption to your tour we will liaise with them promptly to ensure that they can offer us all the local support and assistance we need. Our Italian coach operator has robust transport resources to quickly implement changes where necessary.
  • What happens if we are unable to complete our planned excursions whilst in Italy?

    With excellent local knowledge, our internal Italian specialists, in conjunction with our Italian agents, will also be on hand to discuss alternative excursions and activities and changes to your itinerary should they be required. Experience has shown us that, during times of disruption, with some minor changes we are able to carry out the majority of our itineraries.
  • What happens if there is a volcanic eruption whilst we are in Italy?

    Throughout your tour you will have 24-hour access to a member of our team, if you do have any concerns or require any assistance. We also have a strong relationship with our agent in Italy, therefore in the event of any disruption to your tour we will liaise with them promptly to ensure that they can offer us all the local support and assistance we need. This local knowledge and direct communication means that in the event that you are directly affected by an eruption we will be on hand to offer a calm, efficient evacuation to safety, if required. We have access to accommodation in different locations, should your group need to be relocated. Should your return be affected we will be on hand to offer support and assistance until your group is safely back in the UK. We have 24-hour contact available with the majority of airlines and we have experienced the high level of support they offer during the repatriation process. Please be assured that your tour is in safe hands and that the safety of our groups is our top priority. Additionally, please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any further queries or require any additional information at this stage.

Ski Trips

  • What about après events?

    We supply a basic après package to all groups, which includes ideas and materials to run a number of in-house après activities, such as quiz nights, games nights and bingo nights. However, we also offer an extensive list of additional après ski events in each resort, which can be included in your package for a small supplement if you wish. For more details, please see the information on the individual resort pages.

  • What about ski equipment?

    Skis, boots, poles and helmet hire are all included as standard. You’ll usually be issued and fitted with your equipment on the day of arrival.

  • Is a Trip Courier included as standard?

    Yes, all of our ski groups have one Trip Courier designated to them to take care of all the logistics and ensure everything runs smoothly. Your courier may meet you in resort but it’s sometimes possible for them to travel to and from resort with your group.

  • Which ski schools do you use?

    We have close, established links with all the ski schools in the resorts we offer. In all instances, we can guarantee highly qualified, English-speaking ski instructors who will make sure each student gets the most out of their time on the slopes.

  • What else should I be looking for in a resort?

    Choosing the right resort should be governed by two main criteria: the skiing and the resort facilities. If your group has younger children or a majority of beginner skiers, then a large ski area isn’t necessary. However, for advanced skiers, the opportunity to ski more pistes will be important.

    Younger groups will not need a wide-ranging après program and lots of events can be organised in or near the hotel, including those provided in the complimentary après ski pack. However, adult groups and groups with older children will want to organise some evenings out and for après ski events to be in abundance.