Custom Educational Tours

Build your next short-term study abroad program with FTI.

FTI takes a collaborative approach to creating custom travel experiences, working with International Programs offices & faculty leaders to design study tours that meet their goals. From the initial planning phase through the duration of the trip, your tour coordinator is by your side to ensure a successful program.

Our service-focused staff understands the specific needs that come with student group travel, such as: safety & security, the importance of experiential learning & the need to meet the professor's academic expectations for his or her course.

Group Travel Experts

FTI agents specialize in working with schools & consortiums to promote global learning through student group travel.

Save Time, Money & Sanity

Leverage your buying power & make travel planning easy with one contact for flights, ground transportation, hotels & tours.

Vetted Partners

FTI's experienced local partners provide safety, quality service & knowledgeable guides who help bridge cultural gaps.

Destinations Worldwide

Our experienced travel agents send faculty-led student groups to major cities & remote destinations around the globe.

Trip Management Software

Use this free tool for online registration, participant data, financial updates, trip document access & due date reminders.

Free Emergency Helpline

Faculty, staff & students enjoy peace of mind with 24-hour access to a travel agent in case of an emergency during the trip.

Planning a short-term program?

There’s a world of possibilities. Start exploring!

University student sitting with colorfully decorated sadhu men in Kathmandu, Nepal during a group study tour

Custom Tours Built for Your Program

Enhancing students' global competency through experiential learning. FTI works with educational institutions across the country to develop academically-enriched itineraries for J-term, Maymester & summer study abroad; alternative spring breaks; service-learning projects; & grad programs.

Accomplish your vision for your program by collaborating with your tour coordinator to build a custom tour that engages students through academic, cultural & experiential learning opportunities.

Photograph of a professor and student connecting with a local women during a cultural-immersion program in India.

Global Awareness

Create a tour that engages students from multiple disciplines & cultivates tolerance toward cultural differences. Incorporate a cross-disciplinary view of a region with topics such as: history, art, cuisine, health, politics, culture, economics & of the process of globalization itself.

Encourage your students to gain a better understanding of cross-cultural dimensions – to ask how & why particular similarities & differences exist. Groups can choose to take the path less travelled to develop students’ cultural competency by exploring local neighborhoods & connecting with the people. Choose to gain hands-on experience with regional cooking, dance or music classes, or learn to make local products (such as: perfume, paper lanterns, or artwork).

>> Take a Look at Some Sample Itineraries
Group of students studying the biodiversity of Rupununi, Guyana from a river boat during a study tour.

Study Tours

Work with FTI to internationalize your course syllabus. Offer a global perspective on your curriculum by adding tour components that help students expand their knowledge of their subject area & enhance their problem solving, critical thinking & communication skills (interpersonal, foreign language & non-verbal).

Together, we can build academically-enriched itineraries that include: lectures & professional networking events, business site visits, round table discussions, interviews with locals & behind-the-scenes access to a variety of venues. Send us your course proposal to start building your international program.

>> Get Ideas for Your Field of Study
Students participating in a service-learning project at a wildlife reserve for African lions in Zimbabwe.

Service-Learning Projects

Partner with us to turn students' classroom knowledge into real-world, hands-on experience while offering the opportunity to give back to communities in need at one of our sustainable project sites.

Design a unique service-learning program that will enhance their leadership, communication & professional skills. Students work side-by-side with local NGOs, gaining an appreciation for new problem-solving approaches & learning to collaborate with people from other cultures in an atmosphere of respect, open-mindedness & understanding.

>> Get Ideas for Your Next Service-Learning Project
Group of student volunteers.

Volunteer Projects

FTI was originally founded to serve humanitarian organizations, so we have been developing relationships with NGOs for the past 35 years. In the beginning, we provided flights for groups that travelled to volunteer at international project sites. But, over the years, our relationships with these non-profit organizations have evolved from customers to partners. We now work together to offer faculty-led groups the opportunity to work with a wide variety of sustainable projects.

If your school is looking to produce socially-aware graduates who are ready & able to use the skills they learn in the classroom, let us help you design a custom volunteer or service-learning project for your spring break, j-term, Maymester or summer program. The advanced knowledge students gain through these hands-on experiences makes them more competitive when applying to grad schools or entering the marketplace.

>> Learn More About Our Volunteer Project Options
Band playing jazz in South Africa

Virtual International Programs

Study abroad is vital to improving global competency, yet only a small percentage of U.S. students participate in international programs. Similar to traditional study programs, this online programming critically engages students with communities, industry professionals & service projects, under the guidance of the faculty leader & trained in-country personnel. They are not study abroad "light" or simple distance learning. To the contrary, the focus is sustained discussion, collaboration & exchange between people.

Group meeting in a parking lot with art on the wall behind them.

Choose from Three Program Types

Each program is individually designed to meet your course requirements. You can choose from three different types of immersive programs:

  • Independent program - Multi-day/week program that achieves your learning objectives (typically: 3+hrs/day group work + independent assignments). Choose an existing program or let us design one for you.
  • Hybrid program - Extends & enhances traditional program by offering virtual experiences prior to or following the in-country program.
  • Stand-alone module - Focuses on a specific topic, designed to enhance current content & fit within a class period.
>> Learn more about virtual programs
Group talks with a local vendor in Tanzania in a market.

Intercultural Experiences with Local Professionals

Our virtual programs are built on explorative & interactive activities that are facilitated by trained in-country personnel &/or your faculty leaders.

  • Facilitated Discussions - In-country professors, industry professionals, NGO workers, social workers, conservationists, etc.
  • Intercultural Activities - Interactive language & culture lessons, exploration of a local market, cooking classes & culture demonstrations.
  • Professional Observations - Patient treatment, teaching observation, etc.
  • Collaborative Projects - Work with NGOs, CBOs & other African institutions, case studies, virtual presentations.
>> Learn more about virtual programs

What's your field of study?

We’ve got some great ideas to support the curriculum of your next faculty-led trip.

Don’t see what you’re looking for? Don’t worry.

All of our group tours are made from scratch, so let us know what you're looking for & we'll be happy to create something just for you.

Custom Tour Components

In addition to handling trip logistics & arranging visits to the typical sites, we can facilitate a variety of interactive activities. Build your own program by packaging any or all of these services.

Group Flights

In-country & international flights

Event Tickets

Performances, festivals & sporting events


Hotels, hostels, tented camps & more

Meetings & Site Visits

Networking, lectures & behind-the-scenes


Half-board, full-board & group dinners

Cultural Immersion

Cook, dance & make local handicrafts

Ground Transportation

Airport transfers, coach & rail

Service Projects

Volunteer with sustainable NGOs

Group Cruises

Commercial, windjammer & river cruise

Travel Insurance

Medical & comprehensive policies
Nepal Chitwan elephant safari in water

Planning a Faculty-Led Program

Whether you have an approved program for an existing course, are looking for someone to plan the logistics, or you have a dream for a future program (or find yourself somewhere in the middle), FTI is here to help you get your study tour off the ground.

Do you need help brainstorming?

Are you focused on a specific discipline? Are you partnering with a faculty leader in another field? Is your program open to students with a variety of majors? Let's get the conversation started by throwing around some ideas & seeing what sticks. For example, if you plan on studying centenarians in the Blue Zone, let us know. We've done that & would be happy to offer suggestions of experiential components that could add to your program.

Here are examples of the different types of activities we can build into your itinerary:

Visits & Meetings

Students can gain a global perspective on their coursework by attending lectures & professional networking events; participating in field research, conducting interviews with local people for use as primary sources; or visiting an organization's headquarters to meet with professionals in their field.

Interactive Activities

Engage your students with a variety of interactive & culturally-immersive components. In addition to visiting the typical sites, your students can participate in a variety of hands-on activities, including: local culinary classes, making local products (such as: perfume, paper lanterns, or grass mats), ziplining in the rainforest, learning the basics of capoeira, taking a photo safari of pink dolphins in the Amazon River & more.

Behind-the-Scenes Access

We can also arrange all kinds of exclusive, behind-the-scenes activities such as: spending the night in the prison on South Africa's Robbin Island, hosted by Nelson Mandela's warden; being the alpha lion as you walk with a young pride in Zimbabwe; participating in an archeological dig-for-a-day in Israel; or get an insider's view of a geisha's life in Japan.

>> Get Ideas for Your Field of Study

Which services will you need?

A tour coordinator will partner with each professor/group leader to create a custom package to include: group flights, touring & accommodations (hotels, hostels, dorms, etc.), as well as group transfers, rail, meals & additional services such as travel insurance & international calling/WiFi.

Here's a list of topics to discuss with your agent:


  • Travel Dates
  • Airports
  • Number of passengers


  • Internal flights
  • Airport transfers
  • Coach
  • Rail Passes
  • Metro Passes
  • Cruise

Accommodation Type

  • Hotel (location, star rating, room types)
  • Hostel
  • Unconventional options: team house, chalets, tents, floating hotel, etc.


  • Guide - daily guide or city guides only
  • Sites/activities
  • Service-learning or volunteer component
  • Event tickets
  • Meetings, visits or networking
  • Lectures
  • Eco-tourism
  • Adventure activities

Desired Inclusions

  • Number of meals per day
  • Gratuities
  • Frees & stipends
  • Travel insurance

What happens next?

We're here to help you with recruitment & ironing out the final logistics. Once you've booked a tour, you'll have access to our free online group management software. This online tool assists with the trip management process from registration through the duration of the trip.


Group organizers can use the online registration template & share their custom URL with potential participants so they can submit their own personal information. This feature also allows the organizer to accept or reject participants who apply. If you need tour brochures to help you promote your trip, just ask your agent.

Participant Info

Whether you choose to use the online registration form, upload a spreadsheet, or manually enter passenger details, our software will store everything you need to know. You can use our pre-defined fields to record passport names, dates of birth, emergency contacts, allergies & more. Or, you can create your own fields. It's up to you.

Deadline Reminders

You will receive email reminders when due dates are approaching. The group organizer can also log into his or her online account to track due dates through a calendar & access trip documents & details anywhere, anytime.

Final Documents

All your final documents are available 24/7, including: contract, statement, itineraries (including deviations), etickets, vouchers & travel insurance documentation (if applicable). Your tour coordinator will also ship you a copy of your final documents before you travel.

What if you need help during your trip?

Free 24-Hr Emergency Helpline

All FTI customers have access to our complimentary 24-hour helpline for travel emergencies (ex: cancelled flight or student needing to return home early). If a problem arises that affects the group's flight plan, one of our managers or senior agents can be reached after hours through our free 24/7 travel emergency helpline.

In-Country Emergency Contacts

Our guides are available to assist professors throughout the trip with general supervision & will be available 24/7 if an emergency situation arises during the tour. If a problem occurs when the guide is not with the group, the faculty leader can reference their emergency contact list for the names & numbers of guides, drivers & any other pertinent emergency contacts (provided with the travel documents prior to travel).

Welcome home! Where do you go from here?

Wherever you want! Shortly after returning home is a great time to think about your next program because things are still fresh in your mind.

Give Us Your Feedback

We care about your program, so please complete your post-trip survey! Let us know what aspects you'd love to repeat with your next group & if you saw anything new you'd like to incorporate in the future.

Build Your Program

Now that this year's trip was a success, let's talk about how to increase participation in international programs to give even more students the opportunity to travel abroad. Use your students' excitement (& final project presentation) as a springboard for next year's program.