There are several reasons why going with Pathinator would be a good idea. First, this would be a more personalized, authentic trip, specific to what and your group want. This is the advantage of going with a company like ours as opposed to one of the big, Walmart-style ones that only do cookie cutter tours.  

The importance of a specialized trip can be illustrated in the service component of the trip. Many service projects entail showing up for a couple hours then going home without much connection to the project or people the project is attempting to help. The more effective model is the IPARD (Investigate, Plan, Action, Reflect, and Demonstrate) model. The service is the action part but as you see there are two steps before and after the actual service.

Our trips in general and service component specifically use this method. For example, you have 35 students that would like to take a trip somewhere in the world next summer. We limit the possible trips to Central America. As a group we Investigate where in Central America we might want to go and narrow choices down until as a group we decide on Guatemala. Most people want to do a Spanish language course, service, see a volcano, animals, white water rafting and shop. Then we Plan some of the specifics and decide on going to Antigua for the Spanish classes, service, rafting and volcanoes, Lago de Atitlan for the animals and Chichicastenango for the market and shopping. We plan on type of accommodations and transport and then I deal with the actual specifics and booking. Then the Action component is going on the actual trip. Reflections are done daily especially after the afternoon service time. Demonstration is done after the trip in a variety of ways but is a very important part of our trips. Many travel companies claim a “life changing” 10 day trip but within 10 days of returning, many have forgotten the trip. My goal is for travel not to temporarily change one’s life but to change people’s soul which in a 10 day trip is difficult but much more likely on an individualized trip designed like this as opposed to one where thousands take the same trip.

Furthermore as a fellow teacher, I know high school aged students and the best methods to teach them. Other guides in my company are teachers as well, which is different than many other student travel companies. However, doesn’t it make sense for teachers to lead students on trips like these?

Costs are always a major factor and are another major advantage of traveling with Pathinator. We do not have the overhead other companies have, our marketing costs are low (largely word of mouth) and our profit margin is lower. In talking with the competition, there goal is $1000 profit per person on a trip. This covers additional cost beyond accommodations and food, such as additional guides, advertising, pad and insurance but also a large chunk is profit. Although our company profits from the trip, as a teacher I am more concerned with student learning and experience as opposed to making money.

For example, Interact is reasonable and cheaper than many student travel companies but Pathinator can do the same trip cheaper.  When compared with the Walmart style, cookie cutter companies, Pathinator could do it for around $100 per person cheaper because of less overhead and profit margin. Furthermore, instead of a supervisor student ratio of 1:6, there would be a ratio of 1:9 which would be effective considering the homestay option. Thus on a trip of 35 students instead of 6 supervisors there would be 4. The two less supervisors on a $2000 trip would equate to $4000 less which divided by 35 students would be another savings of $100 per person for a total of $200. So instead of a $2000 trip it costs $1800. This is the promise we can make, that for the same type of trip (accommodations, food, sites), Pathinator’ s cost will be at a minimum the same but most likely cheaper.

Finally, having administration sign on. Safety is always brought up and Pathinator takes the same precautions that all travel agencies take; this is one of the few ways we go “cookie cutter” and are similar to other travel companies. Costs will be at a minimum the same as Interact and the proposed Guatemala trip would definitely be cheaper than Costa Rica. Experience, I have lead student trips since 2004 and by next summer Pathinator will have been around for 5 years. Also with the IPARD method, the experience is much more authentic and the service provided could be great marketing your school. For example, I’m working with a school to have students develop solar panels in their science club that can be rolled up in their backpack and delivered by those students to a school in Belize that is currently off the grid. Imagine that story in the local newspaper; it would make your school look amazing!

 A trip with Pathinator would be an advantage to your school for a variety of reasons. Become a Pathinator!