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ACIS Culture of Care: Preparing for the What Ifs of Travel

May 20, 2024 Sarah Bichsel No Comments

When talking about travel, we love to focus on the big picture, that travel changes lives. But we know, as planners, that while you likely agree with the sentiment, you also have a series of ‘What Ifs’ scrolling through your brain, from “what if my flight is cancelled?” to “what if someone loses a passport?” How we respond to these What Ifs ultimately showcases our ACIS culture of care. And, when comparing ACIS to budget tour operators, it’s this unrivaled support for our travelers on top of hotel location, number and quality of inclusions and authenticity of meals, that cost a bit more but are so worth the price.

We are proud to say that for every What If, there is an ACIS Next Step – and those next steps require time, care, and financial investment. Here are just some examples of those responses.

What if my flight is cancelled?

Despite our most meticulous planning efforts, airline delays and cancellations are an unfortunate reality in travel. Luckily, ACIS has a 24/7 Duty Officer network in place to pivot from Plan A to Plan B as quickly as possible. Group Leaders will communicate the issue, whether a delay, a cancellation, or lost baggage, and ACIS staff will be on-call to help you work with the airlines. Check out some highlights from just one weekend in 2024, including one group who was treated to a guided tour of Boston after their connecting flight was cancelled. We can’t always guarantee a full day of city sight-seeing, but an ACIS staff member taking their day off to bring students around the city does show tour commitment to quality care.

ACIS students at the parthenon

What if my itinerary is delayed?

For big travel delays, there’s a (remote) chance that your itinerary could become delayed, but ACIS makes sure you won’t miss out. Oftentimes we look into if it’s possible to add a day to your trip, and at a minimum will try to rearrange activities to ensure key items aren’t missed. We do this even if we won’t receive a refund for the missed hotel night and activities, so your loss is never our gain.

What if someone loses a passport?

Losing key travel documents is never fun, especially when there is an imminent flight home to make, but you have an ACIS team on-call to create a plan of action. Your Tour Manager will work with the ACIS Duty Officer, Group Leader, and any necessary parental involvement, to get the item replaced ASAP. If that means having a Group Leader stay behind with students while they wait for the new document shipment, we put in financial resources to arrange additional hotel and airport travel.

“From start to finish my ACIS team makes my trip INCREDIBLE. I feel so supported and fortunate to have such talented people working to make my experience the best it can be for my groups.” ACIS Group Leader Felise S.

ACIS students on a Costa Rican beach

What if I have a question before my trip?

Need support prior to takeoff? We’re there for you. Group Leaders can always check in with their dedicated ACIS program consultants to ask pre-trip questions and will always have a Bon Voyage call that emphasizes the ACIS resources available while the group is overseas. Students can reach out to for information on their personal accounts and can also chat with our Traveler Support Team via our online chat on In any case, with the ACIS culture of care, you will be rewarded with superior service than you can’t find at the budget travel operators.  

The company provided help and support whenever we needed it, and our representative was very prompt in addressing issues and difficulties.” ACIS Group Leader Jonathan S.

ACIS students in Versailles

What if someone needs medical attention?

If there is an injury on tour, ACIS takes care of the process, always aiming to do so in a way that does not disrupt the full group experience. Your Tour Manager is there to act as a language interpreter and ACIS representative who help us liaise with the insurance companies. It’s important to remember that when registering for the trip, every student traveler is automatically enrolled on our Basic Protection Plan at no extra cost, and upgrades are available for additional coverage. You also have the Duty Officer on-call if any other support is needed.

“Our Tour Manager helped us find a pharmacy to obtain needed supplies to care for a students foot injury and on our departure day she single-handedly averted disaster when a student confessed on the way to the airport that she had lost her passport. She called the hotel located the passport and had it delivered to us at the airport just in time for the student to check in.” ACIS Group Leader Denise W.

“A few summers ago one of my students had an emergency appendectomy–while we were in Greece! ACIS really helped me just concentrate on my student without having to worry about all the logistics. Transportation, hotel, and hospital were all taken care of.” ACIS Group Leader Claudia C.

Sarah Bichsel

Sarah Bichsel

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