Safety & Security Plan

“Safety isn't expensive, it's priceless.” — Jerry Smith

Safety and Security — First and Always ...


The Academic Safety and Security Plan is based on 3 essential components:

  1. Taking no risks whatsoever with travelers’ safety and security.
  2. Having an advanced plan that anticipates anything and everything that may occur.
  3. Ensuring that everything and everyone involved is vetted and focused on safety and security.

While we expect no crises on any Academic journey, we want to assure you that we are prepared for any and all eventualities: The Academic Safety and Security Plan guarantees that we can efficiently and expeditiously respond to any situation and ensure the safety and security of all travelers. 

Please read further for specific details about the Academic Safety and Security Plan.

Do not hesitate to contact us with any questions, suggestions, or clarifications that you may have on this important topic.

Expert Planning in Advance

The Academic Safety and Security Plan is based on extensive and exhaustive planning and our experience leading student travel journeys around the world. 

We are Oaxaca experts: We have experienced first-hand everything that we offer.

We are committed to safety and security: We guarantee that our journey is safe and secure.

We leave nothing to chance and are prepared for everything: We consider and plan for everything — even the unforeseen. Academic Advisory Board

The Academic Advisory Board is a group of teachers, parents, and passionate travelers with extensive travel experience and a firm belief in the value of educational travel. Their mandate is to advise and opine on safety and security issues, best practices, new policies, and trends relative to all that we do.

In addition, the Academic Advisory Board works with us to reconsider and adapt current policies, debate destinations and new offerings, critique our performance on past journeys, and provide an objective outside voice. This helps ensure that the Academic Safety and Security Plan, and every step we take, provides the best, the safest, and the most secure journey possible.

Meet our Advisory Board.

Professional Affiliations & Memberships Academic consults with travel industry professionals for best practices and participates in professional seminars and events to always be on top of everything related to student travel and travel in general.

We are proud to be a member of the following organizations:

  • National Tour Association (NTA)
  • Educational Travel Consortium (ETC)
  • Business Bureau (BBB)
Tour Director Academic on all journeys has a 24/7 Tour Director — the Academic Intelligence Officer, in our parlance — who:

  • Is your primary and emergency contact before and during the journey. 
  • Stays in the hotel with the group.
  • Is intimately familiar with Oaxaca.
  • Speaks Spanish and English fluently.
  • Knows everyone connected with the journey.
  • Manages every aspect of the journey.
  • Participates in every single activity, event, tour, excursion, meal, and social gathering.

For all 2020 journeys to Oaxaca, Jeffrey Kirkman, the founder and owner of Academic and a credentialed Spanish teacher with extensive experience leading international student journeys, will be the Academic Intelligence Officer. 

Chaperones Academic organizes your journey with 1 Adult Chaperone (Group Leader) per 5-6 student travelers.

All adult chaperones are either teachers or other professional adults who are vetted by us and whom we know to be dedicated people with a passion for educational travel.

The Group Leader is responsible for the students in his or her care and serves as their eyes and ears on the journey, with a keen focus on their safety, security, and overall well-being in tandem with the Academic Intelligence Officer.

If a teacher has organized a group of students for the journey and is traveling with the group, their Group Leader will be that teacher.

If a traveler has been recommended to travel by a teacher or a teacher organized a group but is not traveling with that group, the traveler will be part of a group of 5-6 students for which another adult whom we have selected, interviewed, and approved will be the Group Leader.  

If you would like to be a Group Leader, please visit our contact page and let us know.

Air Transportation Academic exclusively uses American and United Airlines to and from your home city to Dallas or Houston, from which your connection is a non-stop flight to and from Oaxaca.

There are no stops, no connections, and no layovers in Mexico on any of flights to or from Oaxaca.

Furthermore, we do not accept any re-ticketing on other carriers nor any re-routing to and from Oaxaca, except in the case of an emergency and always with parental or legal guardian approval.

Ground Transportation Academic uses only licensed, regulation-compliant, registered, and insured ground transportation services in Oaxaca that prioritize the safety and security of their vehicles and passengers.

We require current licensing and insurance for all drivers and ensure that they meet the highest local standards. 

We avoid large busses and opt for 12-15 passenger vans for safety and security considerations and to ensure a more intimate experience for all travelers.

Activities, Tours & Excursions Academic activities, tours, excursions, and events are directly supervised by journey-personnel and adult group leaders.

Every location and activity is confirmed by us to be safe and secure based on our planning visits and an exhaustive review of the location.

We consult all available regulatory and industry information as well as professional reviews for further insight on everything on the journey.

There is no unsupervised free time nor are there any “adventure” activities on our journeys.

Tour Guides & Contracted Personnel Academic only engages tour guides and other contracted personnel who are properly registered, insured, and licensed with governmental tourism entities.

All are known to us to be of the highest professional standards.

We know every single person involved with our journeys and can personally vouch for them.

Hotel Accommodations Academic exclusively uses the Holiday Inn Express Oaxaca.

The hotel is in a safe business and residential area in the historic center of Oaxaca.

The hotel meets our security and safety requirements with:

  • 24/7 staffed front desk
  • 24/7 staffed security
  • Video surveillance throughout the building
  • Fire alarms in public and guest rooms
  • Smoke detectors in public and guest rooms 
  • Sprinklers in public and guest rooms
  • In-room safes
Food Safety Academic takes food safety seriously.

We inspect all restaurants and food establishments to ensure that they meet our highest standards for safety and hygiene. (Of course, with the understanding that food preparation and food hygiene standards can vary from those of the United States.)

Additionally, while we do all we can to accommodate food allergies and dietary requirements on tour, each traveler is responsible to be an active participant in such matters as well.

Communication Academic prioritizes communication with travelers and family before and during our journeys.

We know that information and communication is essential to safety and security.

We take a proactive stance on communication and are reachable 24/7 during a journey.

Everyone can reach the Academic Intelligence Officer during their journey 24/7 via mobile phone, iMessage, Facebook, and WhatsApp.

You are always invited to contact us with any concerns or needs before or during the journey.

We’ll provide you with a detailed communication plan prior to your departure.

Journey App & Broadcast Messaging Academic provides travelers, parents, and legal guardians with access to the Academic Journey App. The app provides:

  • Realtime access to the itinerary and any changes of plan.
  • A messaging feature that allows travelers and family to communicate with the Academic Intelligence Officer or for us to inform those on or involved with the journey of any important information.

In addition, in the case of an emergency, Academic also uses a broadcast messaging service to communicate with all families to ensure that everyone is provided with the same up-to-the-minute information.

Travel Protection Academic requires that all travelers on a journey have a travel protection plan with specific minimum coverages.

The reality is that even with the best safety and security preparation, all travel involves risks. Managing such risks efficiently and effectively requires a travel protection plan to cover costs and needs that are not covered abroad with US-based health insurance. 

Please see Travel Protection for additional details and information about the required travel protection.

Emergencies Academic believes that being prepared for absolutely anything and everything that can happen on a journey is essential to the safety and security of all travelers.

We assure you that we are prepared!

We have have a standing relationship with a doctor in Oaxaca who knows us and our business and is on-call 24/7 during our journeys.

We have visited the hospital that we would use in case of an emergency and they know us.

We know what emergency services to call if needed and have met with those in charge of them.

We have met the US Consular personnel in Oaxaca and discussed our journeys and what to do in case of an emergency.  

We have emergency communication methods in place and have tested them.

In addition, our required travel protection plan, required medical documentation, and all other advanced planning ensure that we can act immediately and efficiently no matter what may occur on a journey.

Registration with the US State Department Academic requires that all travelers register with the US State Department’s Safe Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).

This free service allows U.S. citizens and nationals traveling abroad to enroll their trip with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate and helps the U.S. Embassy contact travelers in an emergency and helps families get in touch with travelers in an emergency.

We will provide all the necessary registration information and details to complete the online registration prior to the journey departure date.

Documentation Academic requires that all travelers have the following documentation prior to departure:

  • A color and laminated copy of their passport
  • New and clear prescriptions for all medication
  • A list of all medications taken
  • A complete list of any medical conditions

The fact of the matter is that in an emergency, being prepared with this information is essential to everyone’s safety and security.

Rules & Guidelines Academic has established a clear set of rules and behavior guidelines based on our extensive experience leading student travel.

These rules and guidelines are all about prioritizing the safety, security, and well-being of all travelers.

All rules and guidelines apply equally to all participants on our journeys, irrespective of age.

Please visit our rules and guidelines page for details: Rules and Guidelines

Money on Your Journey Academic journeys are all-inclusive to make it easier to plan and to lower the risks of travelers shuffling through foreign banknotes, managing money, or losing money.

All one needs is money for souvenirs and any personal extras.

We have found that travelers are safer and more secure when they don’t have to be responsible for large sums of money and can make souvenir purchases in supervised and secure locations.

You can travel with as little as $100 US dollars in local currency on our journeys and be just fine.

More Questions?

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