Greetings Geographers and Family and Friends!

We have just departed from Vienna after the most recent planning trip, and are very much looking forward to welcoming you all here this coming summer! With IGC 2024 now less than 5 months out, we wanted to check in with an update on several important matters. Please read through this email carefully, there are lots of important details here. As always, please continue to direct all IGC related questions to me directly at this email account.
For reference, this email has now also been posted
1. Visa Reminder
Citizens of the USA, Canada, the UK and any number of other countries do not need visas to visit Austria, but citizens of many other countries (including India, China, Ghana, and Thailand) do. I strongly recommend that you check if you need a visa, and if so, that you then let me know that as soon as possible. In order to get a visa, you will need a visa letter from IAC, which I can then provide. I will need certain details (e.g. name, passport number, etc.) to do this. You will then need to request a visa appointment at the consulate for Austria that handles visas for where you live and bring the letter with you as part of your application.
It can take some time to get a visa appointment – please start this process as soon as you can if needed! Each year, there are a few families who are unable to join us for our summer events because they were unable to get visa appointments in time; please don’t let this happen to you!
Note that if no appointments are currently available, you may need to check back in a few days. Appointments are often given out a few at a time; if no appointments are available, don’t panic, but continue to check in every few days. If after two weeks you do not find an appointment, I recommend you call the Austrian Consulate for your country/region for advice. It might also be possible to get a visa for a different country within the Schengen travel area if you plan on doing some travel there as well before or after IGC (e.g. Germany, Czech Republic) and then traveling to Austria from that other country. But we recommend trying to get an Austrian visa first if at all possible. If you do wish to travel for a few weeks before or after IGC within the Schengen area (which includes every country Austria borders), that should not be a problem, but that is one of the things that I will ask for when I write your visa letter.
2. Passport Reminder
Be sure your passport is valid for over 6 months after you plan on returning from IGC. If not, you can run into trouble even if you do not need a visa and you should then get it renewed before you leave for Europe! If you need a passport or to get it renewed, please start that process as soon as possible too!
3. Flight & Hotel Reminder
Note that while the deadline for IAC to receive payments for IGC is not until the end of June (and our prices obviously will not increase during that time), flight and hotel prices will certainly get more expensive the closer we get to the summer. I strongly suggest that you book your travel arrangements as soon as you can (especially for flights). We are expecting over 600 people in Vienna for IGC, and that alone can lead to higher prices (especially on direct flights on Austrian Airlines to Vienna on July 11 or 12 and on hotels and Airbnbs close to the host school) once most attendees have booked. The sooner you take care of your travel plans, the sooner you will be able to lock in better rates.
There is no hotel that it is required to stay at but a list of suggested accommodations is available at the link here.
4. Family & Friends Program Reminder
Please read through the Family & Friends Program description carefully. We are not making any exceptions to these rules. Please be sure to register here for the Family & Friends program if you wish to attend any of the events, including ceremonies and competitions, and any of our sightseeing. It is required to be a part of the Family & Friends program to participate in the Budapest and Bratislava trips as well. 
5. Adjunct Staff Discounts Now Available!
If you are interested in an Adjunct Staff discount on registration, please let me know at Adjunct Staff will be asked to help with the Scavenger Hunt, the International Geography Bee and Bowl World Championship preliminary rounds, and other events (not including the Budapest and Bratislava trips) as applicable. Adjunct staff will not be needed for Final Rounds or Playoff Rounds. Being able to read quiz questions in clear English, and staffing at least one IAC event prior to IGC (this can be done online this spring) is a prerequisite for being an Adjunct Staff member, as is passing a basic background check. The total time commitment for being an Adjunct Staff member is approximately 12 or 20 hours as follows:
Adjunct Staff Basic Option
Training Session – 1 hour (during or immediately after the Battery Exam)
Scavenger Hunt – 4 hours
Intl. Geography Bee prelims (reading or scoring; you should be prepared to read) – 3 hours
Intl. Geography Bowl prelims (reading or scoring; you should be prepared to read) – 4 hours
Adjunct Staff Extended Option
All of the above and…
Additional event 1 (either chaperoning a field trip or reading questions) – 1.5-2.5 hours
Additional event 2 (either chaperoning a field trip or reading questions) – 1.5-2.5 hours
Additional event 3 (either chaperoning a field trip or reading questions) – 1.5-2.5 hours
Additional event 4 (either chaperoning a field trip or reading questions) – 1.5-2.5 hours
Please also note:
A. Basic Adjunct Staff receive a discount of $300.
B. Extended Adjunct Staff receive free Family & Friends Program admission ($450) or a discount of $400 if they are not otherwise taking part in the Family & Friends program.
C. Adjunct Staff do not need to be enrolled in the Family and Friends Program.
D. Adjunct Staff would staff the Bee and Bowl and any other competition in a different age division than their children.
E. For field trip chaperoning, this can be for events in which their children take part.
F. Which additional events Adjunct Staff would staff are at the discretion of IAC and will be determined by July 10.
G. You must be 18 years old to be an Adjunct Staff Member. Siblings who are 18+ are allowed.
H. IAC reserves the right to reject Adjunct staff members who are unable to read questions at the level expected at our championship tournaments.
I. IAC likewise reserves the right to limit Adjunct Staff numbers, but we encourage everyone who is interested and capable of staffing to take advantage of this opportunity. We are unlikely to cap the number of Adjunct Staff prior to the end of March at the earliest.
J. If you are unable to staff any of the events listed in the Adjunct Staff Basic Option, then it is not possible to be an Adjunct Staff member: all 4 events (the training session, Scavenger Hunt, and the Intl. Geography Bee and Bowl World Championships are required, including both days of the Geography Bowl prelims).
6. Post-IGC Trip Update: Vienna to Berlin via Wachau, Bohemia, Prague, & Dresden 
Last week, we traveled the route of the Post-IGC trip in reverse from Berlin to Dresden to Prague to Vienna to scope out hotels and points on our itinerary. We are now in the process of finalizing the hotel arrangements in each city, and once these and the finalized itinerary are set, we will open official registration (most likely between March 10 and 15). Please note the following if you are at all interested in the trip!
A. The cost is projected to be approximately $1950 per person regardless of age. There will be some adjustments to this depending on whether families desire double or triple occupancy. Quad occupancy generally will not be available. There may be a limited number of exceptions to that in one or two cities, but families should not expect that (quad occupancy as a rule is much harder to find in Europe than North America).
The tour cost will include all transport, accommodations, sightseeing organized as part of the tour, guides, competitions (all of which are open to family and friends), and breakfast each day. It will not include lunches or dinner, nor any additional sightseeing you wish to do during your free time, nor does it include travel to Vienna or onward travel from Berlin.
For ease of logistics, we do not expect to offer different accommodations at different price points. All hotels will be approximately 2.5-3.5 star hotels by standard US ratings.
B. As stated here on the tour website, the tour is mentioned as having a maximum of 50 places available. Currently we have about 40 people who have submitted their deposit, and therefore have reserved a place on the tour. Quite a few other people indicated when they registered (either for IGC or the Family & Friends program) that they wished to take part (or at least pay the deposit), but have not yet submitted it.
To clarify: you do not need to pay your IGC fees until the deadline at the end of June, but your place on the post-IGC tour is only secured when we receive your $300 per person trip deposit! Thus if you are planning on going on the tour, you must submit your deposit as soon as possible! Even if you have been invoiced, your place is not guaranteed on the trip until payment has been received.
C. If you have paid your deposit, you will have until April 15 to then submit payment in full for the trip. After April 15, if you have not submitted payment, then your deposit no longer officially holds your spot, though we will not yet refund it, in case you are still potentially interested in coming (unless you request us to do so, or unless space runs out). After June 1, we will refund unfulfilled deposits unless we hear otherwise.
D. After April 15, no deposits will be taken and payment in full will be the only method of securing a space (as long as space is still available).
E. Note that once we have received 50 deposits, the trip will go to a waiting list. We are likely to increase the possible number of guests to 90-100 (but certainly no more than that), but that is not guaranteed.
F. If you had indicated “unsure” as to whether you wished to reserve spots on the tour, and you now wish to do so, please send me a quick email stating this, and let me know which people you are looking to reserve spots for.
G. As a reminder, the deposit is refundable in full minus credit card or wire transfer transaction costs if you choose not to attend. If you had paid your deposit, and wish to have it refunded at any point, simply email me, and I will take care of that as soon as I can.
H. The tour is open to non-IGC participants but all students must be accompanied by a parent, family member, or parent/guardian of a friend (both families must consent to this). And all adults must be accompanied by a student aged 8-18 – it is being organized as a tour for families with a child/children not adults on their own.

7. Next Update 
Expect another email from us between March 10-15 when the tour details are confirmed and we have an update regarding the wait list / expansion of the tour numbers. There will likely be a few other updates to pass along then too that apply to all participants and their families.
Thanks for reading through, and good luck in all your competitions over the coming months in the lead up to IGC!
Best regards,
David Madden