On Pick-Up Day, Drivers will give you a pouch containing your name tag and luggage tags. You will also receive a Travel Companion which contains supplies and paperwork for the trip. The paperwork contains information about both everyone in the group and detailed information for the individuals you will be caring for at the hotels. When you arrive at the bus, your tagged luggage will be loaded under the bus while you help Travelers get boarded and settled for departure. Once the bus has departed, the Tour Leaders and Med Team organize all the Traveler medicine and spending money.
When we arrive at a hotel, the Tour Leader gets off the bus first and checks in the group. The Med Team sets up a med station, and Travel Companions open the hotel rooms while the bus drivers deliver the luggage to the rooms. Once the rooms are opened, Travel Companions will lead the Travelers to their rooms after they have received their medicine. Shower mats are set up in the accessible shower room and CPAPs are delivered to the rooms. Special Journeys also drops off distilled water to each room that has a CPAP. Special Journeys also attaches shower bars to the tubs in any Traveler’s room when their application indicates they need one.
On hotel check-out days, luggage needs to be placed outside the rooms by a designated time, to be collected by the bus drivers. Once Travelers are ready, Travel Companions will escort them to breakfast. Travelers will also be brought to the Med Station to receive their morning medicine. A few Travel Companions will also be responsible for doing a final sweep of the hotel rooms to make sure nothing is left behind. As soon as the bus drivers are ready, we load up and start the day’s journey!
When we arrive at any destination, the Tour Leader gets off the bus first and lets the venue know we’ve arrived. Once the step stool has been placed down by the bus driver, most Travel Companions get off to assist the Travelers getting off the bus and into the attraction.
At various shopping venues, Travel Companions help the Travelers shop, and Tour Leaders will be at the cash register to assist with checkout and track the balances. If it has not already been done at the register, Travel Companions ensure shopping bags are labeled for each Traveler and then they are placed in the overhead storage on the bus. When the bus is headed home at the end of the tour the Travel Companions place Traveler Souvenirs into drop-off route friendly bags and tag them with pre-prepared labels that identify the traveler and their specific drop off route.
Once we arrive at a show the Tour Leaders gets out to check us in. Most Travel Companions exit the bus next and then assist the Travelers off. The Tour Leader will be given specific directions where to go in the theater, and the entire group with follow the Tour Leader in. One or two Travel Companions typically assist in seating the group – ensuring there is a staff member on the end of each row – and that Travelers who may be louder have a staff seated beside them. At intermission the Travel Companions assist Travelers getting to and from their seats.
Cruises: Port Day
As a prepare to head to our cruise ship we need to have the luggage and Travelers ready before our pickup time. Our suitcases also need cruise specific cabin labels attached before we load onto our bus. When the bus arrives, the Travelers are loaded up, and the Travel Companions help get everyone settled.
When we arrive at the cruise port it’s extremely important to keep all the Travelers together. The entire group will go through security together and the Tour Leader will organize checking the group into our cabins. Once we have all been checked in we head onboard and enjoy lunch!