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Teacher-Driven Travel


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Some teachers discovered they enjoyed traveling so much that they wanted to do it as cheaply and often as they could -- and help their fellow educators hit the road as well.

One organization linking educators around the globe is Teachers Travel Web (TTW to regular users), a network of teachers around the world who are willing to host traveling teachers in exchange for being houseguests themselves at another time.

Travel Info Sources

  • U.S. Customs and Border Protection: Know Before You Go
  • U.S. Department of State
  • TravelSense: A Service of the American Society of Travel Agents
  • 10 Tips for Getting Travel Perks

  • New Zealanders Mike and Tricia Legg, teachers who had the desire but not the resources to explore the world, founded TTW in 1999.

    "My husband Michael wanted to travel and we couldn't afford to travel on teachers' wages," explained Tricia Legg. "My husband said teachers work so hard, they deserve to see the world. It was done so all of us could afford to travel."

    Because the Leggs recently started a business, they turned the oversight of TTW over to Chris and Peter De Houwer of Belgium.

    To join TTW, members pay a fee (currently 45 Euros) and then gain access to a password-guarded list of members. Teachers e-mail other members to make their travel arrangements. TTW now includes teachers from 20 countries and has built many international friendships.

    "We know teachers need to travel to be better teachers, but often salaries make this a lifelong ambition," added Tricia Legg. "Remove the accommodation and car expenses, and you have a very affordable vacation."

    The trips are educational for the host families as well. "Often they [visiting teachers] are invited to visit the schools of the hosting members," said Tricia Legg. "For example, when we were hosted in France, we spent the day in the English classes with our host who was an English teacher -- as her show and tell!"

    The De Houwer's stepped in to run TTW because they could not imagine it folding. "We really believe in all the good things of TTW and noticed Tricia and Mike did not find the time anymore to keep it 'alive,' and we thought it would be awful if it just disappeared," said Chris De Houwer, who teaches English as a foreign language.

    "We know teachers need to travel to be better teachers, but often salaries make this a lifelong ambition."

    The value of TTW goes beyond an inexpensive vacation, she added. "Getting to know the locals, they'll show you things and give you precious information of the kind you cannot get anywhere else," she said. "Your stay gets a really personal character and getting to know the people of a country adds so much more to your memories. You make friends all over the world."

    Another couple that has used TTW, Carole and Dominic Weld of New Jersey, said the connections have been an important reason for being TTW members for the past four years. Carole Weld is a retired English teacher and her husband a retired chemistry teacher.

    "All the people we've met have become great friends," Carole Weld told Education World. "It has been wonderful, fun, and exciting. We love it!"

    The Welds have traveled to New Zealand, where they visited the Leggs, and also stayed with TTW members in Charleston, South Carolina. They also have hosted the Leggs and other visitors from all over the world.

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