Travel Safety

A Word About Risk and Quo’s Travel Safety Standards

In some ways, the world seems more uncertain than it was in “the good old days.”

Many families are feeling very real anxiety about international travel. Parents have always felt uneasiness about letting their kids gain the benefits of travel, but especially these days.

This heightened apprehension is a perfectly natural response to 24/7 media coverage and fraught political sound bites.

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It is possible, however, to feel those nerves and still make a calm, rational decision about travel. We know because we have been there ourselves, year after year, through all manner of global events. We have been parents sending our own young children off to travel, just as we have been shepherds entrusted with others’ precious children. After decades of experience at traveling so many students safely around the world, Quo’s leadership team wants you to know, we sympathize.

What makes Quo so different?

The fact is, there IS a difference between Quo and other student travel companies – and the recipe for that difference is complex. That’s why we’re pointing out a few things that may help soothe some feelings of anxiety about your student traveling abroad:

Our Safety Obsession

Quo is positively obsessive about the safety of our students. That’s way more than words – it’s a 20-year track record. It’s a history of setting the standard for safety in the student travel industry. More time in our careers have been invested in solving safety challenges than almost any other task, so we’re good at it. Exceptionally good. Some would say we’re the best, in fact. That’s because our team pioneered and perfected the travel safety protocols and procedures that are in use today by nearly every student travel organization in America. We literally wrote the book on student travel safety.

Priority One: Safety

Safety is ALWAYS at the forefront of our minds as we work with our International Partners to continuously monitor and evaluate travel security, be that the situation in Europe, Asia or anywhere around the globe.

Safety Network

Speaking of International Partners, Quo programs are designed to make the most of expertise within our global network of long-time professional partners. These people are the seasoned & sage torchbearers of the travel industry. They have dedicated their careers to delivering excellence in safety as well as in quality. Throughout the year we maintain regular communication with these in-country contacts who know the realities of regional and local security, as well as daily life “on the ground.” They have longstanding relationships with authorities in their own regions, which gleans information and access surpassing what we can get in the US.

Security Intelligence

Of course, that’s not to suggest that we don’t work our own contacts here at home. We vigilantly observe all State Department communications regarding global travel safety, and we maintain decades-long relationships with contacts within American security agencies. We maintain an Emergency Operations Center that activates in the event of any significant global event that threatens to disrupt or jeopardize the safety of any Quo student program.

All this is to say that, with Quo Student Travel, nothing that affects safety is taken lightly.

Regardless of our destination and world events, you can rest assured that if Quo decides to travel someplace, that decision is extremely well-informed. If any circumstance arises to suggest it’s unsafe in an area where Quo travels, we will take swift action to amend our travel plans and assure students’ safety.

What can we do?

You know what helps? Putting risk in perspective.

These days, we all grapple with the vast logical gap between actual real-world risk of terrorism affecting our travel safety (which is incredibly low), and the overwhelming sense of fear we get from watching media and listening to those who profit from our feelings of insecurity. We get it – fear of the outside world generates ratings and sways opinions.

Even if we know that the real risk and perceived risk are a world apart, it’s difficult to turn down the volume on those feelings of anxiety and fear of the unknown. So, if our fear of international travel is so irrational, what CAN we do to reduce real risks and help keep students safe?

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As travel safety expert Wendy Perrin puts it:

”the answer is not to stop traveling, or to avoid huge swaths of the globe out of a misperception that your risk is greater there than anywhere else. The answer is to keep traveling, make friends around the world and be a thoughtful ambassador for your country.”

Practically speaking, while Quo continues to focus serious attention on global concerns, we also put our extensive experience to work focusing extra attention on genuine risks that real travelers do face every day. Here’s how that works:

We train our Leaders.

Our Leaders are trained in a broad range of tactics, strategies and practices that help prepare them and their travel groups for the best possible outcomes while on program. Sure, they train on the custom curriculum that makes Quo the educational travel leader in America. But they also learn what steps to take throughout each day to ensure optimal safety for their group. They learn what to do and what not to do, how to use the resources at hand and how to prepare the individuals in their care for optimal decision-making. If an incident occurs that does in fact impact your trip, our Leaders are trained to know what steps to take.

We do our homework.

We inspect every restaurant, every hotel and every activity not only for quality and hospitality, but for cleanliness, security and location. Food safety & nutrition, clean comfortable accommodations and convenient, safe access are critical to every student’s success on program.

We take smart precautions.

And we take them seriously. For example:

  • We avoid public demonstrations.
  • We steer clear of bad neighborhoods the same way you would at home.
  • In addition to the experienced Travel Group Leaders you already know, we have sharp-witted Travel Managers and street-smart Local Guides with our groups at all times.
  • Leaders carry thorough itineraries, location details and directions – and a copy written in the local language if that’s not English.
  • Students have emergency contact information printed on their lanyards, which are on their person at all times.
  • Leaders carry an international cell phone pre-programmed with emergency numbers.

Yes, it’s smart, and natural, to worry about risk. But we’ve learned over the years that it’s critical to multi-task – we know which are the “right risks” to focus on at any given time. As much as we work constantly to mitigate those highly televised risks that are extremely unlikely to affect our travel, we also focus on the risks that are more likely to disrupt students’ program: sunburn, food poisoning, traffic accidents, pickpockets, etc.

We get them there safely.

Naturally, we only use major air carriers with impeccable safety records. But where the rubber meets the road is the motorcoach. Travel groups will spend almost as much time on their motorcoaches as they will sleeping in their hotels. It’s imperative that the bus is clean, modern, comfortable and above all, safe. So we are discerning about the quality and maintenance of the vehicle. But even more essential is the expertise of the driver. Our motorcoach drivers are highly trained professional drivers who are extensively vetted. They are experienced, conscientious and known for their proven excellence. In fact, our drivers are often noted as one of students’ favorite aspects of their program.

We prepare you.

It turns out that all the diligent planning in the world is of no consequence if students don’t know how to handle themselves in the real world. That’s why your pre-travel and orientation meetings are so critical. In addition to the valuable curriculum that helps your child become a smarter, savvier Global Citizen, these meetings teach them how to travel safely. For instance:

  • How important is it to wear sunscreen every day? (It’s essential.)
  • What are the 3 most important things you can do to stay well while traveling? (1. hand washing, 2. getting good sleep, 3. eating properly.)
  • What are the items most frequently lost and left behind?
  • How do you manage and protect your valuables each day?
  • How do you avoid becoming the target or victim of a pickpocket?
  • What are the key elements of good travel hygiene?
  • How do you ensure that you get up and are on time each day?
  • What should be on the “personal checklist” you repeatedly verify throughout each day?
  • How do you cross a road safely in each country you’ll visit?
  • What should you avoid photographing?
  • What’s the best way to stick together when your group is in a crowd?
  • What should you do if you become separated from your group?
  • What are the 3 things you should never, and the 3 things you should always, do in your hotel?

Answers to these questions and much more help prepare students for travel, teach them how to conduct themselves and put them on the road to greater responsibility and maturity.

What the experts are saying

While we feel that we can never say enough about the importance of student travel safety, we’d like to give some other experts a chance to share their wisdom. Check out these links to excellent, insightful and helpful articles.

Travel Protection Coverage

There is one thing we can always do that will help us protect our investment in travel: travel insurance.

Don’t worry, we have the basics covered. Quo includes basic travel, medical and emergency coverage for every student – it’s built right into the cost of the program at no additional charge. You don’t have to think about that – it’s already done.

But for some travelers, Cancel for Any Reason (CFAR) coverage and the most comprehensive coverage is essential. That’s why we also offer additional insurance that includes greatly enhanced travel, medical and emergency coverage, plus CFAR. And, we offer this incredible coverage at an incredibly affordable rate.

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Educational Travel - People to People - Quo Student Travel
Travel Safety - People to People - Quo Student Travel