Frequently Asked Questions
With over 47 years experience of organising tours you can be assured that there is no question we have not already been asked, we are happy to answer any queries you may have. Below is a list of some of our most frequently asked questions, if you can not find the answer to your query below, then please do not hesitate to contact us.
Concert Tour Specific FAQs
Is my group's money safe with Rayburn Tours?
Yes. We are ABTA bonded and can therefore guarantee total financial security. Booking with an ABTA bonded company like ours ensures peace of mind and guarantees financial security in the unlikely event of financial failure. In addition, our air travel packages are ATOL protected, (we hold an Air Travel Organisers Licence granted by the Civil Aviation Authority).
Can you provide Risk Assessments?
Yes. We provide a Risk Assessment Handbook for all of our tours. These are very beneficial and will greatly assist you with your own risk assessments. In addition, we carry out audits of all our accommodation centres and we can provide copies of these on request.
What does STF Assured mean?
Rayburn Tours is a founder Assured Member of the School Travel Forum (STF). The STF is a group of leading school tour operators who promote good practice and safety in school travel. It signifies that the tour operator meets all the requirements of the DfE and Scottish Executive guidelines and adheres to a rigorous Code of Practice and Safety Management Standards.
How many free places am I entitled to?
We are happy to quote you for the number of free places you require. Our Youth Music website prices are based on one free place in eight on all of our coach tours and one free place in ten on our flight tours. However, we understand that some LEAs insist on a higher ratio of staff to student, so please let us know if you require more.
Are excursion costs included in my price?
No. All of our tours are tailor-made and we do not finalise any of your excursions until you have had the opportunity to discuss your needs with us. We can provide you with a price list for excursions to give you an idea of the additional cost.
Does the Rayburn Tours Insurance Policy cover musical instruments?
No, but we are able to provide a quote for competitive and comprehensive instrument insurance on request.
Can I undertake an inspection visit before I travel?
Yes. We understand how important inspection trips are to give a party leader complete peace of mind. We are more than happy to arrange an inspection visit and believe that we are unique in offering an inspection trip regardless of whether or not you have booked your tour. Please contact us for further details.
Do the coaches you provide have seatbelts?
All UK coaches have seatbelts in accordance with the law. Please note that these are usually lap-belts rather than the three-point seatbelts which are fitted in cars.
Regarding foreign coach hire, it is important to note that coaches outside the UK vary in standard and specification. Whilst all coaches adhere strictly to both the safety and coach operator regulations, these may not be the same as UK regulations and whilst every effort is made to request coaches with seatbelts for our groups, it is not currently a legal requirement in the majority of European destinations.
We often use a local coach company. Can we use them on our Rayburn Tour?
Yes. We understand what a positive difference a trusted coach company can make to the success of any tour and we are always happy to use your preferred operator, subject to a coach being available on the dates of your tour.
Can we fly with low cost airlines?
Yes. However, they are not always suited to group travel. Our experience has shown that scheduled airlines offer greater reliability and peace of mind for groups, especially if you are travelling with instruments and heavy equipment. If you would like us to provide you with a quote based on a low cost airline, we are happy to do so.
What is a collective passport and how do I get one?
A collective passport allows groups of under 18s to travel without their own individual passport, provided that they are part of a school or recognised youth group. All students travelling under the collective passport must be British nationals and the group leader must hold a full and valid UK passport. Group leaders can apply for a collective passport from all UK passport agencies and are advised to allow at least six weeks for your application to be processed.
Some members of my group have non-UK passports. Is this a problem?
All passengers with non-UK passports should contact their issuing office to check entry and visa regulations for the destination country. It is also important to check that the holder of the passport may travel through all countries en-route. Please remember that non-UK nationals are not permitted to travel on a collective passport.
Will I need a trailer if we are taking instruments?
In our experience groups with 45 passengers or more on a 49-seater coach with large instruments such as timpani and double basses will need to hire a trailer for extra luggage space. In order for Rayburn to assess the need for a trailer we always request an instrument list.
Can we cater for special needs and disabled passengers?
Yes we can. Please advise us of any special needs or access requirements well in advance of departure so that we can ensure the tour arrangements incorporate the appropriate facilities. Read More
How do we plan the itinerary?
On booking completion, one of our specialist tour coordinators will contact you at your convenience to discuss in detail what you would like to achieve from your tour. Firstly, we will arrange your concert locations, followed by the excursions you wish to partake in. Remember, our tours are truly bespoke, so if you have some suggestions for your tour, our coordinators will do their very best to incorporate them.
Is there an emergency contact available at all times in the UK?
Yes, Rayburn Tours operate a 24 hour emergency service, maintained by a senior member of staff at all times.
How do I get the students/members to sign up for the tour?
Rayburn Tours is more than happy to assist you in gaining support for your tour. We can help you gauge interest in the tours and proposed destinations through personal meetings and presentations, or host a parents evening to answer any questions parents may have.
How far should I book in advance?
We recommend booking as early as possible. As a general guideline our tours generally book between 9 and 14 months in advance. For instance, if you intend to tour in July, we recommend that you get in contact with us by September the preceding year. This allows us to ensure you get the best available rates and availability for your hotels, flights and concert venues. However, if you do have to make a late booking, our dedicated team will do everything they can to ensure your tour success.
General Rayburn Tours FAQs
Leading a Tour... what do I need to do to comply with safety?
For school and youth groups the DfE's guidance 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.
Information is available from your Local Authority on what is expected from party leaders leading a school tour; in addition we are happy to assist you in ensuring that you have all of the necessary information.
By completing and following the guidance laid out by your Local Authority, with our assistance, you are showing that you are taking safety seriously and are demonstrating that you are taking all reasonably practicable steps to ensure your groups safety on tour.
What safety support does RT have in place for clients choosing to tour with them?
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
- Member of the School Travel Forum
- ATOL Licensed
- ABTA Bonded
- Risk Assessments
- 24 hour emergency contact system
- Hotel Audits
- Coach Audits
- Activity Audits
- Crisis Management System
What is Rayburn Tours Responsible for?
Safety is everyone's responsibility - Our commitment to you is highlighted in our Safety Management System.
Risk Assessments and pre-tour forms
Do you provide risk assessments?
All schools are expected to complete risk assessments for tours.
At Rayburn Tours, we appreciate how time consuming completing risk assessments can be when organising a tour, however we realise their importance and how integral they are to help ensure your groups safety.
Therefore, we are pleased to be able to provide our groups with risk assessments to support their tours. Our current tour risk assessment portfolio covers ‘Generic Risks on Tour’. These can be used as an aid to completing your own assessments, or, dependant on your individual LA’s requirements, submitted in conjunction with your own as supporting evidence that risks have been identified and considered.
Group leaders are advised that whilst almost any activity carries some inherent risk, particularly where children and young persons are involved it is important to be realistic and not to let it detract from the purpose of your tour.
We all have a responsibility to participate in risk assessments to help ensure that students stay safe – at Rayburn Tours we are proud to offer you this support.
What should be included in my risk assessment?
A risk assessment is simply an examination of possible risks involved within activity/surroundings. Everyone should take responsibility for their own safety and that of those around them by ensuring that they are behaving appropriately and that they highlight any potential risks should they encounter them.
- Identify the potential hazards
- Decide on precautions to alleviate potential hazard
- Record your findings and implement the precautions
Specific requirements are available from your LA.
What do your generic risk assessments include?
Our generic risk assessments include information on:
- General "Out and About"
Download our generic risk assessment handbook.
Do you provide risk assessments for hotels?
Rayburn Tours have individual audits which are completed on every hotel/accommodation centrewhich we use, these are available for you to see, and areas covered by our audits include:
- Fire Safety
- Means of Escape
- General Safety
I am required to complete an Educational Visits (EV) form by our LA and I cannot answer all of the questions?
We are happy to assist you in completing your EV4 forms and to return them directly to your LA on your behalf.
Do hotels comply with our LA guidelines?
All hotels are audited to standards set by the School Travel Forum (STF), the 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 please feel free to request a copy.
Is all of your accommodation audited in advance?
Yes, all of our accommodation is audited prior to our groups staying there. The criterion of these audits is governed by the School Travel Forum (STF). We therefore have specific standards to attain and following the criteria set within these standards we have to classify our hotels.
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.
Are all of your UK coaches audited?
All of our UK coach companies are audited by our in house Transport Manager. Copies of which can be made available to you.
Are all of your foreign coaches audited?
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 confirming the following:
- General information on the coach company
- 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 & diligence.
- The vehicle is fully insured for the duration of the tour.
Are all of the coaches you provide fitted with seatbelts?
All UK coaches are fitted with seatbelts by law.
Unlike within the UK it is not currently law in foreign countries for coaches to be fitted with seatbelts, wherever possible we will request that foreign coaches are supplied to us with seatbelts however we cannot guarantee this.
Do you CRB check your drivers?
As part of our coach audits we request that all UK coach drivers are CRB 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.
Do you CRB check your Couriers?
All Rayburn Tours staff accompanying any of our groups on tour have been subject to a CRB check, again we are happy to confirm individuals as required.
Do you CRB check foreign drivers and foreign tour couriers?
At present CRB checks are not valid for non UK residents and therefore we cannot legally insist that these checks are carried out. Where possible we can ask our agents for local equivalents, if available,, for further clarification please speak to your Tour Coordinator.
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 is there if my group is involved in an emergency whilst on Tour?
As part of our commitment to ensure our clients have continued support and a high level of service we offer a 24 hour emergency phone line available to all Party Leaders during their tour (details of which will be in your final documents). A fully trained member of our staff will assist you, should you encounter any issues during your tour.
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 FOGG (our insurance).
In 2010 our robust crisis management system was successfully implemented following the volcanic eruption in Iceland and 290 passengers were quickly and efficiently repatriated – this gives you the reassurance that support is on hand in exceptional circumstance.
Details of our Crisis Management procedures can be made available to you on request.
What does our Insurance cover?
Our insurance company FOGG Insurance offers comprehensive cover to our groups. 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.
For further information and to see what is covered please read a copy of our policy:
For groups opting to take their own insurance, we highly recommend that you read all inclusions and exclusions prior to departure.