When planning your Soccer Tour, your key decision is which tour operator to choose to arrange it. Cost is an issue, but not the critical one. Tour efficiency is more important than tour cost.
The Athletic Center has over 10 years’ experience in soccer tours. Our headquarters is in Brazil and we have excellent contacts with every affiliated country, what ensures all arrangements here work perfectly to provide you a great experience.
When choosing the operator, make sure the travel company takes proper care of the clients (you and all group members) and that they can be trusted. You are dealing with a great deal of money and must protect every group member.
Making contact with group leaders who have already travelled with the company is a good way of checking their competence and reliability.
Although soccer is the original reason to your trip, Athletic Center is also focused on offering much more quality with creative educational and cultural content. Our experienced tour directors are a plus to youngsters and adult soccer players.
GETTING YOUR GROUP TOGETHER
Regular parents and players meetings are important, and so is organization. Establish a small and dynamic Trip Committee to do most of the planning – with specific functions like Secretary, Treasurer, Fund-Raising, Coach and Contact Person who liaises with the Tour Company.
Establish key decisions such as travel dates, budget, and tour preferences at group meetings. Make sure that every member understands and agrees with these decisions, especially the Tour Costs. This will make it easier to plan the tour details.
Get all the parents’ email addresses in order to communicate quickly and written. Also send attachments concerning the tour itinerary, useful websites, insurance and Tour up-dates.
Announce the key Payment Dates and collect early Tour Deposits – this will establish exactly who intends to go and who does not. Start a Tour Bank Account, to receive the group members’ payments and transfer funds.
DECIDE WHICH TOUR IS FOR YOU
PLAN WELL AHEAD: Allow enough lead-in time to plan your tour and raise funds: we suggest you plan one year ahead of the tour departure date for international tours.
CUSTOMISE A TOUR: Remember we can always tailor any tour to suit your own criteria concerning, for example, Tour Dates, Budget, Inclusions or Destinations.
DATES: Decide which dates suit your own commitments and availability. For example, check school vacations, holidays and others.
TOUR COSTS: Decide with your group your maximum Tour Budget. This factor alone may well decide which tours are possible. Be realistic and ensure you all agree.
TYPE OF TOUR: Do you want a Tournament Tour or a Friendship Tour? Remember, the major International Tournaments are in summer, with a few at Easter. Winter, Spring Break and Easter Tours are less expensive, but the weather is poor. Take into account the standard of your team – Select, Club or Recreational – and the level of the Competition that would be suitable for you. We can guide you on this important subject.
DESTINATIONS: Choose between the main options. Brazil is the home of soccer and provides fabulous choices of destinations for sightseeing and cultural attractions as well as world-class soccer experiences. We can help you whether you prefer a short trip or a soccer vacation in summer. If you are seeking for a tournament, then look at Rio de Janeiro or Northeast Region.
MAKING A TOUR ENQUIRY
Elect a Tour Contact person to communicate on behalf of the group and, once you have decided your main criteria like dates, duration, type of tour and tour budget – go to “Contact Us” (see top of page), and complete the E-Enquiry Form. Try to be as detailed as possible with regard to your team, the group size, tour dates and choices.
Athletic Center will then forward specific details on your tour choices for you to present to your group members and parents, leading eventually to a firm tour proposal and costs.
Once you are happy with the information and costs, it is decision-time – have a Group Meeting to discuss the details and reach an early conclusion on your tour. Early booking is always very helpful – this allows maximum time for fund-raising and best choice of flights and hotels.
Every group will receive a booking form and tour proposal which highlights the main financial and cancellation details. The booking form should be signed and returned to us on behalf of your whole group. This acts as your contract with Athletic Center.
The tour deposit of $250 per person is non-refundable.
Your tour proposal will outline your specific group payment schedule, usually the following applies:
Deposit – $250 per person
Progress Payment 1 – 30 weeks before Departure
Progress Payment 2 – 20 weeks before Departure
Final Balance – 12 weeks before Departure
This is clearly outlined in your Groups Tour Proposal; ensure every group member receives a copy. Usually the following cancellation policy applies:
Up to 25 weeks before travel $250 per person Deposit is lost.
Between 25 – 16 weeks before travel $500 per person is lost.
Between 16 – 12 weeks before travel $750 per person is lost
Between 12 weeks and departure Whole tour fee is lost.
* NB – If separate airlines tickets are issued for you due to a deviation, then these tickets are non-refundable as well as the cancellation penalties above.
The Athletic Center strongly advises all travelers to take out insurance for their Brazil Tour which covers game participation. Athletic Center has a very suitable policy available, or you can research your own policies. It is your responsibility to be properly insured for your trip. The Athletic Center takes no responsibility in any issue covered by insurance (including cancellation).
TEAM TRAVEL DOCUMENTS
All teams need to apply for “Permission to Travel” from your State or Provincial Soccer Association, who can provide Application Forms and details.
Every person travelling to BRAZIL needs to have a valid Passport, even small children, so apply at least 6 months before the trip. It may be necessary for some members of your group to apply for a visa to enter. Search for specific information on each country’s Embassy website. Each group member must give their official passport name to their group leader at least 12 weeks before the trip. The names on the airline tickets must be identical to the official passport names. If airline tickets are printed incorrectly due to spelling errors or complete names not being supplied, then a fee will need to be paid in order for a new airline ticket to be re-issued. We go through an extensive checking process so hopefully this can be avoided.
MEDICAL & TRAVEL RELEASE FORM
We suggest you ask all parents to sign a form before allowing their child to travel permitting them to be treated in case of injury or illness whilst on tour. This is not a procedure required by Athletic Center, but according to our experience it is very useful to have the back-up of such a document. Important medical and contact information shall be included, as the permission of the parents to hospitalize a child in Brazil, especially if neither parent is travelling with the child. Athletic Center will supply you with a sample document which you can modify, but we stress that this is your responsibility.
RELEASE OF LIABILITY
The Athletic Center acts only as an agent to the owners, suppliers and contractors providing transportation, accommodations and any other services related to this tour. By signing the booking form, the group leader agrees on behalf of the group, that Athletic Center shall not become liable or responsible for additional expenses, injury or damage to person or property in connection with any transportation, accommodations, excursions, or other services resulting directly or indirectly from acts of God, terrorism, damages incidental to flight, fire, acts of government or other causes beyond the direct control of Athletic Center.
Each member of your group not only represents their family but also their team and, by extension, their country, as well as themselves as individuals. How individuals conduct themselves both within the group or their own reflects on everyone’s reputations. Drugs, cigarettes, alcohol, peer pressure and curiosity combine to tempt all people no matter what age. Players are to be aware that being caught with any of these can have serious consequences both for themselves and the group. Penalties will be discussed with group leaders & parents or guardians and will be consistent throughout the trip. Drugs will not be tolerated. You may wish, therefore, an “Acceptable Conduct Form” which each player signs before the trip to promise not to engage in this kind of unacceptable or anti-social behavior.