THE PROCESS: WE MAKE IT EASY FOR YOU BECAUSE WE ARE TEACHERS!
OUR EASY STEPS
- Start with a conversation: Share your goals, ideas, and questions. Our expert educational consultants will work with you to create a program that meets your needs. We listen!
- Review itinerary: make sure it fits your educational vision. We can adjust as many times as needed to ensure we create exactly the experience you are looking for. You review our customized itinerary.
- Confirm itinerary and flights (we can help with this). We set a payment schedule and send paperwork, including our simple online registration and waiver. And don’t worry about any hidden fees! We pride ourselves on transparency and collaboration with teachers to minimize hassle and stress.
- Get the word out to students and parents: We can help! We’ll send materials and join in-person or video call presentations and meetings to help get students on board. We help you recruit students and parents.
- We help you get ready: we offer pre-trip meetings with teachers, guides, students, and our educational team to ensure you are fully prepared for your expedition. We are superb at helping you prepare!
GO! SET OUT ON EXPEDITION!
- Learn about the trip! Attend meetings, check out the itinerary, decide if the experience is right for you
- Get on board: Visit the online registration!
- Get ready: follow us on social media to get excited. Pre-expedition preparation meetings with your teachers and guides make sure you are all set for your field experience.
We do trips for families too!
DIFFERENTIATED EDUCATIONAL APPROACH
We understand that Middle School is a special time when students are growing by leaps and bounds. Our itineraries/experiences are carefully tailored to provide hands-on engagement and challenge students to expand their comfort zones and achieve success through new activities/and new age-appropriate ways of working with one another. We train our guides to be attuned to student needs/ the middle school child ethos and foster personal and group growth through our Expedition Mentality.
What’s next? Our high school programs are designed to provide young adults with new perspectives as they consider their place in the world and the next steps in their journey. We customize each program/experience to provide students with rigorous, engaging, and fun fieldwork- from language immersion to service learning to biological research or whatever you feel would best serve your goals. Our in-depth daily reflection throughout the experience connects to students’ lives back at home, and their future paths. Everything we do is intentionally aimed at helping students better navigate this increasingly complex world, socially, emotionally, physically and intellectually.
TEEN SUMMER TRAVEL
Enrich your summer and expand your comfort zone! Our teen summer programs connect you with special places- a tiny fishing village on the Mediterranean coast of Spain, an off the grid family farm in the mountain cloud forests of Costa Rica, for example- and incredible people – local biologists, artisan weavers, organic farmers. Our fun and engaging programs/adventures help you build new skills, gain confidence, and broaden your perspective …all which combine to strengthen your ability to navigate your life’s journey!
We use our incredibly thoughtful approach to student travel and create one of a kind family experiences. We work with you to craft an unforgettable adventure tailored to your group interests and needs. Our exceptional field guides provide the highest quality of service throughout your expedition and ensure you can focus on enjoying your time together. We create rare opportunities for families to have fun and learn together, and you can’t beat that. Smart families recognize the importance of unplugging to connect with each other, and our experiences provide that.
We have provided customized experiences to schools throughout the country…
Email us today to get our full reference list.
Middle School Teacher,
My 4th trip, first with Chill Expeditions – there is no comparison. The quality of the activities, the quality of the homestay, the quality of the hotels, the quality of the meals was all great in comparison.
High School Teacher,
San Jose California
With Chill Expeditions, I love that our days are packed and we are having fun and we are together throughout our journey. I also love that Chill Expeditions is always seeking to move forward and improve. I highly recommend this company for every teacher, be it Spanish, Biology, other Sciences, or Community Service Clubs. I look forward to traveling with them for years to come!
MORE ABOUT CHILL EXPEDITIONS
Hours of community service performed each year
Customized school expeditions created
Travelers with Chill Expeditions
Great schools traveled
Expanding Your Comfort Zone
10 Minute Conversation
Why choose Chill Expeditions for my school’s trip?
Chill Expeditions is owned and operated by experienced educators who understand your perspective, having been clients themselves for 13 years! We have a dedicated staff in each of our countries we visit available to customize your entire experience, from planning to execution. We are not just travel agents- we are teachers who understand the entire process! We can and will help you every step of the way. We do this by assisting you in recruiting students, helping with fundraiser ideas, customizing a payment schedule that works for you, collaborating on educational goals, and maintaining continuous and clear communication with you. We employ the finest cadre of guides, who are all certified in Wilderness First Aid. We invest in ongoing professional development with our guides to ensure that our educational philosophy and safety standards are executed at the highest level. In short, you want to choose Chill Expeditions because we have the unique expertise to create the most profound educational experiences on your trip, and because we offer the most helpful and thorough support to teachers while planning the trip.
We await your call! 1-800-551-7887.
Can you help me prepare my students for the trip?
Absolutely! As a company run by two former teachers (Biology & Spanish), and with a staff with expertise in Environmental Education, Service Learning, Language Immersion, Scientific Field Research, and much more, we can help you integrate your trip into your curriculum in powerful ways. We help you and your students connect the diverse elements of your trip to come away with a more in-depth understanding of the educational themes touched upon during your journey. We specialize in helping you and your students prepare for the trip and reflect afterwards, to maximize the incredible educational impact of this experience.
How much does this cost?
Owned by teachers, Chill Expeditions knows how to successfully plan and execute an educational tour. All of our trips are customized depending on timeframe, activities, educational goals, group size and price range. Please remember that our EcoClassrom tours are all-inclusive packages once you arrive in the country, and one teacher travels free for every ten paying participants.
What about medical facilities?
Safety is our first priority when planning and executing a Chill Expedition. Throughout the trip we are rarely far from a clinic or Red Cross station, and we have an on-call doctor for consultations in case of emergencies. In the few cases we have had to visit a clinic, excellent medical care was provided. Our guides are trained in Wilderness First Aid and they carry a first aid kit with them at all times. Additionally, they have experience in a wide array of typical travel -medical issues and are prepared to think on their feet.
Where do we stay?
We stay in family-run eco-hotels and sustainability-centered lodges in spectacular natural surroundings, including comfortable cottages and bungalows built from local materials. Whenever possible, we stay in smaller, rural settings and off-the-beaten-path locations. The number of students per room varies from 2 to 4, and sometimes is dormitory-style. Students may be required to share double beds with travel-mates, which is typical in some lodges.
How do we get around?
When we are not hiking, snorkeling, surfing, kayaking, white water rafting, and exploring the abundant marvels of our incredible destinations, we are moving from activity to activity on our own air-conditioned bus with a professional driver. Every bus has a radio so we can listen to local tunes. But feel free to bring your own music to share with the group. If you have an Ipod or MP3, be sure to bring the necessary hook-ups. On some itineraries, an in-country flight rather than a long bus ride makes sense, which of course would be worked out with you as we collaborate on your itinerary.
Do we have free time?
While we aim to make the most of your carefully planned itinerary, we are very conscious of the pace of the journey and the need for a balance of activity, reflection, and downtime, and we plan with you accordingly. Furthermore, we “read” the group dynamic each day on expedition and work with you to make appropriate adjustments as the journey proceeds. In the planning process we calibrate the amount of free time you feel would best suit your group.
What about tipping?
Tipping is customary for most service-based jobs, including guiding and bus driving. Tipping can be logistically challenging for student groups. Most of our returning schools value the guides and drivers as a most integral part of their Chill Expedition and set up a process for tipping them in advance. We can discuss how you wish to pursue this and we are happy to offer some guidelines. In our experience with student trips, if this is not set up ahead of time, it is difficult to pull together at the end of the trip. Thus far, we have noticed that all of our groups want to tip the guides and drivers at the end of the trip because of the magnificent service they provide! We will work with you to figure out what approach will best suit you!
A note about cell phones/internet
While we understand the desire to stay connected via phone/internet while traveling, we do not recommend bringing your cell phone. However, it is ultimately your choice. Not only is there the potential for your cell phone to get lost or damaged in the high humidity and rain, but calls made from cell phones are very expensive (and may not be a nice reminder of your trip when you receive the bill!). Keep in mind that traveling by its very nature requires that we step out of our comfort zones and focus our attention and energy on the present experience. As hard as it may be to forego the frequent communication with friends and family we have all grown accustomed to, we highly encourage limiting phone calls in general to a short check-in/safe arrival/departure call made from a hotel phone using a calling card. When appropriate, there are opportunities to go online at some lodges and in some towns.
Do I need a certain number of students to travel?
No – we have done school trips for 3-80 students! If your group size is above 30, we recommend considering splitting your group to maintain and enrich the special group dynamic formed in smaller group, and to ensure that each student gets ample individual attention, engagement, and interaction with our guides, the people they meet, and the places they visit. We can create identical itineraries for 2 or more groups from the same school traveling at the same time, ensuring students don’t miss any element of the experience. If you do want to keep a large group together, we can accommodate groups up to 60- although this can limit some itinerary options.
How about my other trip leaders (fellow teachers or parents)?
Your Co-leaders are key parts of your trip that can help you and your students make the most of the experience. It is crucial that all trip leaders- whether fellow teachers or parents of traveling students- are fully prepared to be dynamic, positive, and helpful trip leaders- and to work as a team with you and your naturalist guides while on the road. Well prepared trip leaders can help ensure students are engaged, active, and safe, and the connections made between trip leaders and students are truly meaningful. An unprepared trip leader can sometimes be like having another student on the trip… We are happy to meet with the group of trip leaders before your trip to help you all make the most of your experience.
What does “all-inclusive” include?
While some companies include only lodging and food in your initial “all-inclusive” price, and only later point out “add ons” for you to choose and pay for, Chill Expeditions does not work this way. Our version of “all-inclusive” includes just that– all food, lodging, activity costs, guide/s, all land transportation, and even medical insurance. On a Chill Expedition, everything is included in the up-front price we quote for your land cost. The only exception is the airport departure tax (depending on which country you visit), souvenirs, and tips. (We are happy to help you find and reserve the best flights for your needs as well, if you wish. This is an optional service we provide at your request.)
How Can I contact Chill Expeditions during my trip?
At Chill Expeditions, we are available 24 hours a day while you are on expedition. Should you need to contact us, your school, or parents or relatives of travelers, we can ensure that you are able to communicate in a timely fashion. Your naturalist guides have cell phones and can quickly put you in touch with our office on the ground in the country you are traveling in or our US office. In case of emergency our staff are always on call 24 hours a day during your trip.
What do we eat?
We view food as an obvious (and delicious) connection to both the Earth and to the people who live in the region. Most of our meals are taken at local restaurants featuring fresh regional specialties. A Chill Expedition is a wonderful opportunity to learn about where food comes from and about its impact on performance and health. We make a special effort to taste tropical fruits and vegetables that are not readily available in North America. At all meals, you will have a choice of a main entree (usually chicken, fish or vegetarian) with a set menu of side dishes. While American fast food options are sometimes available, our aim is to provide a more authentic (and healthier) experience. We will collaborate with you on how you wish to explore educational opportunities such as the choice between eating beef or not, the choice between fresh fruit snacks or processed snacks, fresh juices versus soda, and so-on.
What are the hikes like?
What better way to get to know a place than by walking through it with a knowledgeable local guide? You will be astonished at what a difference having a guide makes, in terms of seeing wildlife and gaining context for the terrain you experience. None of the hikes are too difficult for anyone in good health and moderate physical shape. We will collaborate with you to create the best balance of fun, physical challenge, and educational emphasis on each hike, so that it is congruent with your group’s interests and ability. We stop often along the way to rehydrate, take pictures and to check out the amazing plant and animal life our guides are so skilled at spotting and explaining! The hikes we can offer feature dramatically varied terrain and ecosystems. We will never be hiking simply to get from Point A to Point B, but rather to experience the beauty and wonder of the places we visit with an educational mission in mind.
Can we drink the water?
Even in places where the water may be safe to drink, we prefer to take the extra precaution of drinking bottled water. Of course, hydration is important in the tropics, so we provide large containers of purified bottled water for you to refill your personal water bottle or camelback device. There is always such a container on the bus and at our lodges for your use.
How much spending money do I need to bring?
The only spending money each participant will need is for the airport departure tax (not included in our Land cost- airport tax varies by country) and any treats or souvenirs desired. $100-$150 has been more than enough for most past participants on a typical 8-day adventure. Add to this amount if your stay is longer than 8 days. We recommend bringing cash — bills in small denominations (no larger than $20 and in good condition). These will be easier to exchange. In case of emergencies, some villages have ATMs.
LEARN MORE ABOUT CHILL EXPEDITIONS
Day 1. Arrival - Welcome to Havana! Welcome to Havana, where we will be greeted by our Chill Expeditions guides. Start our adventure by traveling to the Morro Fortress to enjoy the Cannon Ceremony, an old Havanan tradition that marked the closing of the walls of the...
Day 1. Owning your Experience! Pura Vida! Welcome to San Jose and to this experiential learning adventure of a lifetime! You will be enchanted by this wonderful little country and the friendliest people imaginable. Savor a delicious tropical meal as your guides set...
Day 1. Owning your Experience; Belize Barrier Reef Your students will be challenged to take charge of their experience over the next 9 days in Belize, encouraged to engage in active learning and personal growth, and to have open minds to make the most of this...
On June 26th, fifteen family members ranging from 8 years old to 80 years old descended on Burnsville, North Carolina, on the edge of the Pisgah National Forest, 35 miles northeast of Asheville. We gathered to celebrate my father-in-law’s 80th birthday, expedition...
One of the questions that we often get from teachers is: do you work with middle schools? The answer: yes! We love working with middle school students and embrace the special challenges and opportunities that traveling with this age group provides. An experiential...
There is an easy way to tell if your group had a great trip, it’s at the end when you all have the same exact feeling that you wished it wasn’t over. Our ten-day immersion adventure in Ecuador was filled with unique opportunities to meet local people and explore deep...
WE'RE EDUCATORS. WE GET IT.
We're on a mission to change how students experience the world.
Call or email us today! 1.800.551.7887