Below is a sample itinerary for the trip. Varsity Spirit reserves the right to make any changes in its discretion.
SATURDAY 26 DEC
- DEPART from your gateway airport on a wide-bodied jet for London, England!
- FLY OVERNIGHT with a Varsity Spirit escort and other All-Americans and families, and enjoy dinner, beverages and on-board entertainment.
- ENJOY A GOOD NIGHT’S SLEEP and a little breakfast before touching down at one of London’s major airports.
SUNDAY 27 DEC
- Once off the aircraft, pass through customs and immigration before being met by a London Parade Representative.
- Make the short journey into CENTRAL LONDON by luxury motor coach to your London hotel.
- Upon arrival at the hotel, check into your room and attend an orientation meeting to find out all about the week ahead. Regular check in time is 3pm, the hotel will do their best to accommodate our guests.
- Adventure out into London in your escort groups. Dinner this evening will be served in one of the hotel’s banquet rooms.
MONDAY 28 DEC
- Gather by bus groups this morning for a GUIDED TOUR of the greatest capital city in the world!
- During the day, visit such places as BUCKINGHAM PALACE (home to Queen Elizabeth ll), The TOWER OF LONDON, ST. PAUL’S CATHEDRAL (one of the world’s most impressive cathedrals), WESTMINSTER ABBEY (England’s most important ecclesiastical building and scene of the recent royal wedding of William & Kate), BIG BEN and the HOUSES OF PARLIAMENT (the country’s political heart)
- Dinner will be served in your hotel, and followed by a WEST END SHOW in the heart of London’s Theatreland!
TUESDAY 29 DEC
- Receive a London transport day Oyster Card for use on the extensive underground network. Follow a unique itinerary for the day and head off in small escorted groups by taking “the tube” to visit a variety of London landmarks!
- Have the opportunity to USE ONE OF YOUR VOUCHERS TO DINE in your small escorted groups, in any of a range of popular London restaurants.
- Throughout the week, enjoy four optional GUIDED WALKING TOURS for a firsthand look at some of London’s most magnificent sites. Headsets included for an up close and personal experience. Take advantage of them all!
WEDNESDAY 30 DEC
- Today’s FULL-DAY GUIDED TOUR takes you out of the capital towards the west, to one of England’s greatest and most historic cities—WINDSOR.
- This city has been home to a ROYAL PALACE for over 900 years. Although still used by the Royal Family, parts of the Palace are open to the public, and you will be able to see some of the chapels, where Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan were married, the State Apartments and even Queen Mary’s Doll House– all within the castle walls!
- Upon your return to London, you will DINE WITH VOUCHERS.
- Return to the hotel for the LONDON PARADE REHEARSAL – final chance to perfect the routine! Rehearsals will be held in a ballroom in your hotel.
THURSDAY 31 DEC
- Another chance to EXPLORE LONDON in smaller escorted groups. Continue to use your tube ticket.
- Check in your London Parade WELCOME PACK for details of many more places of interest, like the Tate Gallery or Covent Garden!
- Use one of your meal vouchers for DINNER in Central London to experience a unique British dish!
- RING IN THE NEW YEAR with a private party at your hotel before turning in for the night as it’s the big day tomorrow.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
FRIDAY 1 JAN
- Rise and shine for the London NEW YEAR’S PARADE!
- Upon departing the hotel for the Parade Assembly area, the day will begin with the OFFICIAL LONDON PARADE PHOTO SHOOT! Your performance group will have a professional photograph taken in performance uniform, with a major London landmark as an iconic backdrop.
- PERFORM alongside 10,000 performers before a street side audience of more than one million, and via television, a total audience of more than 20 million around the world! Celebrate with all of London, as you cheer and dance your way past BERKELEY SQUARE, BIG BEN, DOWNING STREET, TRAFALGAR SQUARE, PICCADILLY CIRCUS and The Ritz Hotel.
- END THIS EXHILARATING DAY in the heart of the capital with a voucher dinner in one of our many restaurants before preparing for tomorrow’s journey home.
SATURDAY 2 JAN
- With your belongings and memories all packed, it’s TIME TO BOARD YOUR MOTOR COACH and HEAD TO THE AIRPORT for your return flight to the U.S.
- During the DAYTIME FLIGHT HOME you will be served lunch shortly after take-off and afternoon tea shortly before arrival.
- COMPLIMENTARY DRINKS and in flight ENTERTAINMENT will also be provided as you travel home in comfort following what will have been an extraordinary week on the London Varsity Spirit Tour.
Who gets to go:
- UCA Varsity All-Americans that try out and are selected at camp
- NCA Varsity All-Americans and All-American Nominees that are selected at camp
- UCE Varsity All-Americans that try out and are selected at camp
**This event is for 9th- 12th grade VARSITY ALL AMERICANS** (An adult age 25 or older is required for 9th grade participants and participants 15 years of age or younger.)
Must have a current passport in order to be eligible for this trip. A copy of a valid passport must be received in the Varsity office before October 1.
AUSTIN, TX AUS
NEW YORK JFK
KANSAS CITY MCI
LOS ANGELES LAX
MONROE, LA MLU
NEW ORLEANS MSY
ST LOUIS STL
WASHINGTON, DC IAD
How will I know if my payments were received?
When we receive your initial deposit and completed reservation form, we will send an invoice confirming your reservation via mail. You should also receive an invoice after you have made a second payment via e-mail. A final invoice will be emailed reminding you of your last payment. It is your responsibility to make all payments by the due date regardless of when you receive the invoice.
Can someone make payments on my behalf?
YES. Please make sure that the check or Money Order is made out to “Varsity Spirit LLC London Tour” with your name and invoice number indicated on the check or Money Order. If you are collecting donations, please remind donors that Varsity will not accept any payments after NOVEMBER 5 or once your account is paid in full. Please ask donors to make checks payable to YOU – the participant AFTER this date.
Can I send cash?
NO. Under no circumstances should you send cash. Only personal checks, Cashier’s Checks or Money Orders are acceptable form of payment.
If I use my credit card for purchasing the air-fare from my hometown to my Gateway, when can I expect to see that charge appear on my credit card statement?
After we issue the ticket, the charge will appear on your next statement depending on the closing date of your billing cycle.
If my check is returned by the bank, what is the procedure for making my payments?
You must make good the insufficient check by sending a Cashier’s Check or Money Order payable to “Varsity Spirit LLC London Tour” for the check amount plus $50.00 returned check fee within 10 days. Please include your name and invoice number on the Cashier’s Check or Money Order. No additional personal checks will be accepted by Varsity as payment for your tour. All further payments must be in the form of a Cashier’s Check or Money Order.
Where do I purchase a Cashier’s Check or Money Order?
You may purchase a Cashier’s Check or Money Order from a local bank or convenience store. We strongly suggest that you DO NOT purchase a cashier’s check or Money Order from the U.S. Post Office. In the event it is lost in the mail – it takes 3-6 months to be replaced and in the meantime, you are still responsible for the payments for your tour.
CANCELLATIONS AND REFUNDS
PLEASE READ THE FOLLOWING SECTION CAREFULLY. PLEASE BE FAMILIAR WITH ALL CANCELLATION DATES AND PENALTIES. EXCEPTIONS CANNOT BE MADE.
How do I cancel and how strict are the cancellation penalties?
We adhere strictly to the cancellation penalties. Varsity must make nonrefundable deposits on your behalf on or before the dates listed in the brochure and are, therefore, unable to offer refunds other than those outlined in the cancellation penalty information.
If you are sending a cancellation notice via US mail, please be advised that Varsity is not responsible for delayed or lost mail. We strongly suggest that you send your notice via fax or email in order to ensure prompt delivery.
If you do not receive a written confirmation from Varsity within 3 weeks after submitting your written cancellation, please contact our office immediately.
I want to send a payment via an overnight service. Which one should I use?
Although the US Post Office may be the cheaper way to send something overnight, it is rarely the best. We strongly recommend that you use FedEx or UPS to send any documents overnight to our office.
What documents do I need to travel?
YOU WILL NEED A VALID PASSPORT. APPLY NOW! You must send a copy of the picture page of your passport so it arrives in our office by October 1. If you live in a city with a passport office, you can apply there. In other localities the application form can be obtained from any post office. You may also obtain a passport application via the Internet at http://travel.state.gov. You must have a completed application, your official birth certificate (with raised seal), and two passport sized photos along with the applicable passport fee. APPLY FOR YOUR PASSPORT IMMEDIATELY. During travel your passport must be readily available at all times. IF YOU HOLD A PASSPORT FROM ANOTHER COUNTRY, YOU MAY NEED A VISA TO ENTER ENGLAND. PLEASE CONTACT INTROPA TOURS IMMEDIATELY FOR INFORMATION REGARDING VISAS at 1-800-666-3838 ext. 203.
Do I need vaccinations to travel to England?
No additional vaccinations are required for travel to England.
Do I need to provide Varsity with my passport information?
YES. We must have a photocopy of the picture page in our office no later than October 1 in order to issue your trans-Atlantic ticket. If we do not receive your passport copy by this date, you may be removed from the tour. Do not fax your photocopied passport to our office, as they are not legible. Please send the copy via mail or courier. In addition, you should keep a copy of your passport at home and carry extra copies in your purse, suitcase and carry-on luggage. You will be required to give your Gateway Leader a copy upon arrival at the airport.
How much money should I send with my child to London?
We suggest $100.00 minimum per day for miscellaneous expenses such as snacks, soft drinks, meals not included, etc. Money for shopping is your individual discretion. Shops in London do accept most major credit cards, but they will not allow a child to use a parent’s credit card. Ask the credit card company if a temporary card can be issued in the child’s name. If you do give your child a credit card to use, have a clear understanding with your child as to the amount they may charge on the card as well as under what circumstances it may be used. In addition, most ATM cards are honored throughout London.
Can I send gift cards with my participant as spending money?
No. Gift cards are US Dollars and not accepted in Europe.
What is the exchange rate?
Please refer to your local newspaper, bank, or the Internet for up-to-date information prior to departure. Currency used in England is the British pound.
What is the weather like?
The weather is very cold and sometimes it rains and snows. Please refer to your local newspaper or the Internet for up-to-date information prior to departure. We recommend a heavy winter coat, all-weather comfortable shoes, gloves, scarf and a small umbrella.
Will there be a practice or rehearsal time?
YES. A rehearsal will be scheduled. A link to the routine will be sent with your uniform from Varsity. Please learn your routine prior to departure.
Is the parade televised?
NO. The parade is not televised in the US by any major station. Some cable companies may pick it up such as Skynews and Fox. If this changes, you will be notified. Varsity will share information when it becomes available.
Can relatives or friends visit me in London and how do I arrange this?
YES. Friends or relatives may visit you. Your parents must complete the “Visitor Permission Form” included in the back of this manual and return the signed form providing the visitor’s name, phone number and address, no later than NOVEMBER 5. This person should be prepared to show a picture ID when he/she checks-in with the Varsity Staff at the Hospitality desk. This permission slip must be in our office in advance; we will not accept hand-carried permission slips, phone calls or faxes in London for your protection. Note: Parents on tour do not have to fill out this form. Please explain this to your All Americans!
If I become ill during the trip, what will happen?
A signed Medical Release Form must be completed before traveling. A Varsity First-aider will be on duty at all times during the event. In addition, a Medical Doctor will be available to the participants at the hotel at various times of the day or evening. Participants and spectators are responsible for any medical costs incurred.
If I misbehave, will I be sent home?
ABSOLUTELY! You and your parents have signed a contract stating that you understand what is expected of you and that you agree to abide by the rules. You were initially selected to represent your school and then selected as an All American, therefore, we doubt that you will behave in a manner that would warrant your expulsion from the tour. However, you must be aware that if any infraction of the rules occurs, you will be sent home at your parents’ expense and there will be no refund for unused portions of the trip. In addition, your principal and advisor will be contacted.
How will I call home from London?
The most economical way to phone home is to have either a Sprint, MCI or AT&T calling card. Pre-paid calling cards purchased in the U.S. will NOT work when calling home from London. Pre-paid calling cards can be purchased in London, which will allow you to call home. The easiest way is to bring cell phone & check with provider about adding UK.
What is my Gateway City?
Your Gateway City is the city from which your flight will be departing for England. In most cases you will be assigned to the Gateway City you request. Please be aware that when you depart from one Gateway City, you must return to the same Gateway City. If we are not able to assign you the Gateway City of your choice we will attempt to accommodate you out of the next most economical city.
How do I travel to my Gateway City?
If you live within driving distance, you may travel to your Gateway City by car or bus. If you are traveling to your Gateway City by plane, you must book your domestic air reservations with VARSITY/INTROPA. We have secured special rates with the airlines for participants in this event. Please contact Intropa Tours air reservation (toll free) at 1-800-666-3838 at your earliest convenience after you have received your Gateway City assignment. YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR PAYMENT FOR DOMESTIC AIRLINE TICKETS TO AND FROM YOUR HOMETOWN TO YOUR GATEWAY CITY. Please note: Participants traveling alone under the age of 15 years old will be required to pay an additional minor fee in addition to the airline ticket price. Please ask your Intropa Tours air representative for exact prices and details when making your reservation.
Will Varsity Intropa Tours call me to book my domestic airlines reservation?
You will fill out the domestic flight request sheet. (Note: If you are driving to your gateway city you do not need to fill this out.)
Can I make domestic travel arrangements to my Gateway City through a local travel agent rather than VARSITY/INTROPA?
NO. You may not make your domestic travel arrangements with a local travel agent. No airline will allow Intropa Tours or any other travel agency access to any information regarding reservations booked by another agency. Second, if you purchase your airline ticket from another agency, Intropa Tours cannot assist you in rerouting or rebooking your reservation in the event of mechanical or weather delays. In most cases you will be traveling on a day when your local travel agent is closed, whereas Intropa Tours will be open on departure and return day and can assist in arranging an alternate schedule if necessary.
Can I use frequent flyer miles to purchase my domestic airline ticket?
YES. You must contact the airline with which you have accrued mileage and make the reservation directly with them. It is imperative that you supply VARSITY/INTROPA with a copy of your flight schedule. We cannot make any changes to your ticket if it is not booked with our office.
How do I pay for my domestic airline ticket?
You may pay by credit card at the time the reservation is made. WE DO NOT ACCEPT PERSONAL CHECKS, CASHIER’S CHECKS OR MONEY ORDERS FOR DOMESTIC AIRLINES TICKETS.
How do I collect frequent flyer miles on my domestic ticket and my international ticket?
For DOMESTIC FLIGHTS ONLY – prior to travel, please supply Varsity/Intropa Tours with your membership number and we will enter in your airline reservation. FOR INTERNATIONAL FLIGHTS – you must give your membership number at the ticket counter upon check-in and save your boarding passes and flight coupon receipt.
Can I sit next to my friends/family on the airplane?
We will request that people traveling together be seated together. The airlines have final say on seat assignments.
Can I leave before December 26 or travel to other countries in Europe after the tour is over?
NO. The entire group will travel on the same days and no deviations are allowed due to the size of this tour.
What if the weather prevents me from reaching or departing from my Gateway City?
If you have concerns about possible weather delay. Please purchase travel insurance. This is the only way to protect your investment against weather delays, etc. Please call Intropa Tours immediately and we will do our best to assist you. Intropa Tours is not responsible for expenses incurred due to flight delays or cancellations. Any expenses incurred are the responsibility of the passenger. If you did not make your domestic airline reservations through Intropa Tours, please call our office to let us know you are delayed. VARSITY/INTROPA cannot rebook or reroute reservations that are not made with our office we highly suggest travel insurance.
Where is the hotel? What is it like?
The hotel is a deluxe facility reserved almost exclusively for this group. The hotel is very modern, large and lovely, however, the rooms are quite small as is typical throughout Europe. There is a television and hairdryer in every room.
What meals are included? What will be served?
A continental breakfast is provided each morning. Coffee and tea are available in each room. One other meal, usually dinner, is provided each day, either in restaurants or at the hotel. The menu is prepared with teenagers in mind and is not fancy or sophisticated. Generally, the meals will consist of grilled or baked meat, such as chicken or beef, pasta, vegetables, potatoes, salad, bread and butter and dessert. The meals are served buffet style and are quite plentiful. Soft drinks are not provided with meals but are usually available for purchase. Ice water will be provided.
If I have special dietary needs, i.e.; lactose intolerant, diabetic, vegetarian, gluten free how do I inform Varsity?
Due to the heavy volume or phone calls, we ask that you put any requests in writing and send by mail, by fax or by email to our office as soon as possible. Please send email requests to firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. Special requests made by phone will not be accepted. Any requests must be countersigned by parent or guardian. See form in the back of this booklet. Must be received by October 1.
As a participant, how many roommates can I expect?
All hotel rooms are twins or triples with two or three persons per room. We do not allow single rooms for participants. The rooms are very small; some rooms have 1 double bed, 2 twin beds, or one double bed and a rollaway bed or sofa bed. Please be aware that if you are occupying a double or triple room, you may have to share a bed. We cannot guarantee bed types unless there is a particular situation such as a father traveling with a daughter who requires twin beds.
Can I choose a roommate?
YES. If you have a roommate request and did not indicate this on your Reservation Form, you may mail, fax, or email us a letter with his/her name.
(Please do not call with this information.) Be sure your roommate has signed up for the trip and has asked for you as a roommate as well. Request taken until NOVEMBER 5, NO CHANGES WILL BE MADE AFTER NOVEMBER 7.
If I don’t have a roommate, who will assign me a roommate and when will I know who it is?
If you do not have a roommate request, we will try to assign a roommate from your area and within your age group. The name of your roommate will be included when you receive your final documents approximately 7 days prior to departure. If you prefer, you may room with your parents. All roommate requests should be received no later than NOVEMBER 5. (Absolutely no requests will be taken over the phone and no changes can be made after NOVEMBER 7)
Who are the chaperones?
The chaperones or escorts are UCA/NCA/UCE Staff, many of whom you will recognize or know from camp. These escorts have been carefully selected by Varsity. All escorts are at least 21 years of age with experience in chaperoning tour participants. Each escort is generally responsible for 12 to 15 participants.
Who will meet me at the Gateway City upon arrival?
When you arrive at your Gateway City, you must proceed on your own to the international flight ticket counter of your scheduled airline. After you check in you will make your way through security to your assigned international gate. There you will meet your escort, the gateway leader, and the rest of the All Americans. Escorting begins at the departure gate and ends in Customs on January 2, 2020 at the gateway city airport.
I have never traveled this far by myself! Will there be a Varsity staff person flying with me from my hometown to my gateway?
NO. Staff persons are not provided to fly with each participant from their hometown to the Gateway. However, it is very likely that there will be other participants on your flight, and Intropa Tours personnel may be able to provide you with this information when you book your reservation. You will also recognize other performers by their All American jackets when you board the flight.
Who is a spectator?
A spectator is anyone, other than a performer, who wants to accompany you on the trip and purchases the tour package. They must meet certain qualifications to be accepted as part of the tour. We will not accept anyone who is under 25 years of age unless they are accompanied by a parent or guardian.
As a spectator, will I have time to spend with the participant traveling with me?
YES. The schedule will allow you to spend all of your time (except rehearsal and performance) with the participant.
If I am a spectator and do not want to pay the single supplement, can I be guaranteed a double room if I request it?
NO. Varsity will not assign roommates for spectators. If a spectator does not have a roommate, they must pay the single supplement listed in the brochure.
As a spectator will I receive any special Parade/Event seating?
YES. Grandstand seating for the Parade is available, and transfers are included to and from the Parade. Varsity staff will assist you to the viewing area.
What kind of clothing should I take?
Take jeans, sweaters, shirts, a warm all-weather coat, hat, gloves, scarf and comfortable shoes. Pack warm clothes as it is cold in December. Layer dressing is the key to staying warm and comfortable.
Can I bring jewelry or valuables?
NO. The rule of thumb is NEVER bring jewelry or valuables when traveling. Intropa, Varsity and/or the hotel are not responsible for theft, loss or damage.
How much luggage can I take with me on the trip?
YOU ARE ALLOWED ONLY ONE (1) CHECKED PIECE OF LUGGAGE PER PERSON – NO EXCEPTIONS. If you bring more than one suitcase, you will be charged a very costly excess baggage fee, as there will not be room for excess baggage on the motor coach. In addition to your purse, you may bring one piece of carry-on luggage, which must fit under the seat in front of you. Porterage is not included in this tour, which means that you are responsible for carrying your luggage through the airport in London to the motor coach and to your hotel room. The hotel rooms in England are small compared to those in the United States and have very limited storage for clothing. Go to: www.tsa.gov for updates.
Can I use my hairdryer/curling iron or any other electrical appliance in England?
YES. European appliances run on a different current, 210-220 DC. In order to use your small appliances, you must have a converter to convert the electricity from 110-120 AC, as well as an adapter plug. These can be purchase from any good luggage or hardware store for between $10-$20. You can also purchase “universal” appliances that have a switch which converts to 210-220 DC, but you will need an adapter plug. Butane curling irons also work well, but you cannot carry them in your carry-on luggage; they must be packed in your checked luggage. Remember, there are hairdryers in the hotel rooms – so save the space in your luggage.
What type of clothes do I need for New Year’s Eve?
Plan to bring one nicer outfit for New Year’s Eve. This is not a formal occasion – something fun and for a party will be fine! Please wear appropriate style for high school type event!
When will I receive my final documents?
Your final documents will be sent to you by FedEx from Varsity within 5 days of departure. We must have a physical address for you where someone is available to sign for your package, since FedEx cannot deliver to a Post Office Box. The final documents will contain your domestic airline tickets (if purchased from Intropa Tours), international airline tickets, your nametag. Please remember, if you will not be at your home address the week prior to departure, it is your responsibility to provide Varsity, via letter, fax, or email, the address to which your final documents should be sent. Someone must be present at the address to sign for the package. We must have this information no later than NOVEMBER 5 or the delivery of your package could be delayed. Please remember to keep us informed of your current mailing address and phone number. NOTE: All emails received will be answered – if you do not receive a confirmation, your email was not received and/or processed.
When will I receive my uniform and my routine link?
Your uniform and video routine will sent to you by Varsity prior to departure. Please learn your routine prior to the trip. If you have not received your uniform by December 5, please contact Ginger Hauser at email@example.com or 1-800-238-0286 ext. 4363. This is very important! Included with your uniform will be the All American jacket for all participants. You MUST wear this on travel day to London.