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Educators often are frequent and knowledgeable travelers who have learned to stretch their vacation dollars, several travel experts said.

"Teachers have the intellectual curiosity and blocks of time other people in the workforce don't [that makes travel appealing]," Kalish noted.

"Teachers tend to go all over -- Hawaii, Mexico, the West Coast, and national parks," added Jim O'Malley of Diplomat Travel in Chicago, Illinois.

Travel Tips

These travel experts offered some tips to help your trips go more smoothly:

Always get travel insurance, especially if you are going to a hurricane-prone area, according to Skip Fortier of MacNair Travel.

Hook up with a tour, especially if you haven't been to the country before. "You'll maximize your experience, plus save money," said Rob Brown of World Class Vacations.

Pay with a credit card -- it's easier to work out the refund if you have to cancel or change plans.

Weigh all the costs before making a decision about a vacation destination. "Renting a place at the beach for a week or two could be more expensive than going to Europe," Brown said.

Use a travel agent to plan and book your trip. If something goes wrong, you have someone to advocate for you.
 

Cruises continue to be a popular vacation choice for teachers, because of the relative low cost and the variety of destinations and activities. Many cruise lines now offer onboard lectures or courses in subjects such as foreign languages, computers, and other topics for those who want a learning vacation, while still providing plenty of leisure activities for those who just need to unwind.

"Cruises appeal to teachers because typically they are very cost-conscious, and the idea of paying for everything ahead of time in U.S. dollars is very appealing," according to Kalish. "Teachers tend to appreciate getting a lot for their money, and cruises are a good value[Plus] you have to try hard not to find things to do. Or you can just relax."

Cruises also are a safe and comfortable way for singles to travel, she added, because there are so many activities, and guests don't have to eat alone.

Popular destinations for the summer include Alaska, the Baltic region, and the Mediterranean. The Caribbean remains a popular year-round destination, added Kalish.

Many of his teacher clients opt for cruises as well, Fortier told Education World. "They are very popular and economical -- you know ahead of time what you are going to spend. They are very popular with teachers because they can drive to many of the popular ports. Many don't want to fly a long distance."

Teachers often avoid destinations that draw a lot of children, since they spend all of their working days with kids, Fortier continued. "They usually like the Caribbean and destinations to which they don't have to fly. The Caribbean has the relaxation factor. In Aruba, it's 82 degrees every day."

Now for the downside of booking a summer Caribbean cruise. Meteorologists are predicting that the 2006 hurricane season could be the worst ever -- sobering news considering the number and strength of storms in 2005 -- and the hurricane season starts June 1. Cruising earlier in the season can be less risky, some said.

"I would avoid mid-August to mid-September for cruises," advised Rob Brown of World Class Vacations in Allentown, Pennsylvania. "You take more chances. Aim to go before the end of July."

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