Advantages of Booking Group Travel
Group travel offers benefits individual travelers don’t have. If you plan to take 10+ people on your trip, you can:
- Lock in airfare up to 11 months in advance for the best rates.
- Defer final payment until after recruiting.
- Submit passenger names only a couple months before departure.
- Change a passenger’s name if someone drops out.
- Work with your agent to design a custom tour or service project for your group. Whether the purpose of your trip is educational, faith-based or humanitarian, we can customize any itinerary to meet your group’s goals & budget.
Preparing Your Participants
Passports & Visas
For most destinations, passports need to be valid a minimum of six months after travel & contain at least two stamp-free pages. Make sure your group members apply at least six weeks before departure if they need a new passport.
Important: International travel often requires a visa. Your FTI agent will advise you if one is needed for your destination. Make sure to let her know if any of your travelers are not U.S. citizens.
Know Before You Go
Be aware of the culture, customs & laws of your destination. We’ve all heard about stories of people who traveled abroad & broke a law they didn’t even know existed. Understanding expectations is key to a successful trip. Check out resources on our website to find quick links to other helpful info.
The Process for Booking Group Travel with FTI
Step One: Request a Quote
Call our office to speak with an agent. Or, if you prefer, you can submit a group travel request through our booking engine. Remember to specify:
- Number of passengers traveling
- Dates of travel & any flexibility
- Departure/arrival cities & any flexibility
- Services needed, such as: flights, airport transfers, ground transportation, accommodations, guided tours, service projects, special event tickets, or travel insurance.
Step Two: Review the Proposal
Your group travel agent will take a few business days to negotiate with our dedicated airline representatives on your behalf & email you a proposal as soon as possible. Tour proposals will take longer as we work with our ground providers to design an itinerary for your group. Once you are ready to book, your agent will send you a contract with clear deadlines as well as information about seat reductions, names changes & cancellation.
Step Three: Sign Your Contract
For group travel, we typically require a deposit & signed contract within two weeks. This secures your reservations & locks in the negotiated rate with our vendors. Deposits typically start at $100/person for flights & $250/person for tours.
After booking, you’ll receive an email invitation to create a username & password for your Ubi website (a free online group management tool). Once signed in, you can view your contract & statement, make payments, manage passenger lists & even receive email reminders of upcoming deadlines.
Step Four: Recruit Participants & Manage Trip Details
Use Ubi’s online registration template to recruit participants for your group trip. Whether you choose to use this tool, upload a spreadsheet, or manually enter passenger details, our software will store everything you need. You can use our pre-defined fields to record passport names, dates of birth, emergency contacts, allergies & more. Or, create your own fields. It’s up to you.
Step Five: Finalize Your Group
Once the number of passengers is finalized, usually 60-45 days before travel, you’ll receive an updated statement showing the current airline taxes & fuel surcharges. Your final payment & name list are due at this time. Make sure all names match the travelers’ passports exactly to avoid additional costs & denial of boarding.
We’ll ship final documents at least two weeks before you travel. For tours, that includes itineraries, vouchers, lanyards & an emergency contact card with cell phone numbers for in-country contacts.
Note: We’ll always request your group travel together, even though seating procedures vary by airline. Please advise your agent if there are travelers with special seating requests.
Protect Your Group with Travel Insurance
In many cases, domestic health insurance will not cover you while you are out of the country. Emergency medical travel insurance policies are designed to provide healthcare coverage while you’re traveling in addition to medical evacuation, if needed.
In addition to medical coverage, a comprehensive policy will also cover: trip cancellation, interruption & delay; lost, stolen or damaged baggage; & baggage delay. Groups & individuals will also have a personal advocate, available 24 hours per day, who’s ready to help when needed.
For more information, visit the services page.
Day of Travel
Anticipate delays when you travel internationally with a group. Arrive at least three hours before boarding to ensure plenty of time to navigate the airport & get through security. If you know any passenger is going to miss a flight, call us immediately to avoid being classified as a “no show.” Giving the airline advanced notice will give you the best chance of being able to apply the value of the unused ticket to a new one.
Free After-Hours Helpline for Travel Emergencies
Everyone who books travel through FTI has the benefit of 24/7 assistance with travel-related emergencies. We can help with re-booking if you miss a connecting flight or your flight is cancelled, as well as accommodations or transfers needed as a result. Simply call 1 (804) 550 – 0121 & an agent will assist you.
It’s a big world. Get out there!
Your FTI Team