Choosing Your School Music Tour Operator

Choosing Your School Music Tour Operator
Resource added: 02 December 2022

Choosing Your School Music Tour Operator

Once you’ve decided to run a school music tour, and decided to use the services of a tour operator, the next step is deciding which one to use!

There are four key questions you’ll need to ask, which are:

  • Are they fully accredited?

  • Are they a specialist school tour operator?

  • Are they experienced?

  • What extra value will they bring to my tour?

Are they fully accredited?

The most important question is – what accreditations do they have?

A tour operator’s accreditations are your reassurance that they’re reliable and that your tour will be financially protected. So it’s important to check these!

At the very minimum, we would recommend making sure that your tour operator is ABTA bonded and, if arranging flights, ATOL protected.


An ABTA membership means your tour operator abides by the ABTA Code of Conduct. This code of conduct governs how it manages changes to bookings and customer complaints, as well as the accuracy of its advertising and the fairness of its trading terms.


ATOL protection also offers assistance should the tour operator cease trading, meaning you won’t be left stranded abroad and you won’t lose your money.


The Association of Bonded Travel Organisers Trust Limited (ABTOT) provides financial protection under The Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements Regulations 2018 for Halsbury Travel (5493), and in the event of their insolvency, protection is provided for:

•    Non-flight packages

ABTOT cover provides for a refund in the event you have not yet travelled or repatriation if transportation was included in your package.  Please note that bookings made outside the UK are only protected by ABTOT when purchased directly with Halsbury Travel.  

In the unlikely event that you require assistance whilst abroad due to our financial failure, please call our 24/7 helpline on 01702 811397 and advise you are a customer of an ABTOT protected travel company.

You can access The Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements Regulations 2018 here: 

You can find out more about ABTOT here: 

School Travel Forum

And if you’re planning on using a specialist school travel company, we’d recommend you look for one that is an Assured Member of the School Travel Forum. This is your reassurance that: * They understand and facilitate the needs of educational travel

  • They manage safety effectively

  • They offer fair terms and conditions

  • They offer financial security

  • They are fully inspected every year by independent experts

Learning Outside the Classroom

And finally, we’d also recommend that you look for a tour operator that holds the Learning Outside the Classroom Quality Badge. This means that they have been identified as offering good quality, safe tours.

Is Halsbury fully accredited?

Yes, Halsbury holds all the accreditations mentioned above, which means that when you book with us you’re in safe hands!

Are they a specialist school tour operator?

You could use any tour operator that works in group travel. But a specialist school tour operator can provide you with expert advice a normal group tour operator would not.

For example, a specialist school tour operator will be able to advise you on destinations, visits and activities that will best suit your learning objectives. And they’ll be able to guide you on the suitability of every aspect of your tour for your particular group.

They’ll also understand the specific challenges that face you as a teacher, which are often very different to those arranging other group tours.

As we mentioned previously, if you are intending to use a specialist school tour operator, do check whether they are Assured Members of the School Travel Forum and that they hold the Learning Outside the Classroom Quality Badge.

Is Halsbury a specialist school tour operator?

Yes! We were originallyfounded in 1986 by a former French teacher determined to make the process of planning school trips easier for teachers, so that they could offer these opportunities to more students.

Many of our staff are former teachers and it’s this first-hand experience, as well as over 35 years in the school travel industry, that enables us to tailor-make tours designed to suit the unique requirements of your group and help you meet your tour objective.

And our Music Tour Specialists are just that - specialists! They understand the different challenges involved when arranging a school music tour and will support you throughout the process of arranging yours!

Are they experienced?

Be wary of statements boasting of the ‘combined’ experience of tour operators – this may mean the company is relatively new and not yet well-established.

Using a well-established company offers a huge number of benefits, not least the long experience and financial stability.

What experience does Halsbury have?

We’ve been arranging school trips for over 35 years – we started in 1986!

And we were originally founded by a former teacher who wanted to make the process of planning trips easier for teachers, so that more young students could enjoy the educational opportunities offered by school trips abroad!

What extra value will they bring to my tour?

So, you’ve checked that the tour operators you’re considering are fully accredited, experienced, specialist school tour operators and are now left with a couple of options – how do you decide?

Our advice is to look into the ‘extra value’ offered. For example, does one offer more comprehensive support? Perhaps one is able to offer in-resort concert promotion, or a rep to accompany you to take the pressure off while you’re abroad?

What extra value will Halsbury offer my tour?

Our Music Tour Specialists will be able to advise you on the best destination and venues for your ensemble and repertoire, as well as your tour objectives.

We’ll ensure your concerts are promoted in-resort, to ensure you have audiences to perform for.

And, you’ll be accompanied on your tour by a Halsbury Music Tour Leader, to provide any assistance you require, leaving you free to enjoy your tour with your students!

We hope this has given you a better idea of what to look for when choosing your school music tour operator.

If you’d like further information on how Halsbury can help make your next school music tour the best yet, please don’t hesitate to contact us.