Greetings Geographers, Parents, and Friends of IGC!
From high above the Arabian Sea en route from Bangkok to Dubai (doing some research for our Travel and Tourism Exam…) and then onwards to Vienna for more planning, here’s your next IGC update email! There’s a lot to digest here, so please read through everything carefully, including last month’s update email (especially if you have registered in the meantime). We’ll have another update ready for you around April 20-25, but as always, please contact me if you have any questions at any point.

1. Adding Bratislava / Budapest Trips and Updates for these

A full list of people who are currently registered for the Budapest trip on July 13 is here.
A full list of people who are currently registered for the Bratislava trip on July 16 is here.
Please double check to make sure your family is correctly listed for each trip!
If you, your competing student, or anyone in your contingent who will be at IGC is/are not yet on the list for either trip and would like to add either trip or both trips, please fill out this form for each person. Note that you do NOT need to be enrolled in the Family and Friends Program to come on either trip (but still please do fill out the above-linked form in that case).
Please note that for the Budapest trip, the maximum allotted hours that the bus company is legally allowed to provide us is 13.5 hours. We will leave Vienna at 7:30am from Westbahnhof (West Train Station) on the U3 and U6 subway lines and return there by 9:00pm. We will need to leave Budapest at 5pm in case we encounter traffic on the return trip. This timing does not allow for dinner in Budapest or en route. Dinner had been included in the entry price, so we will provide 20 euros (approximately $22 USD) in cash on the bus to each participant instead, and we will provide recommendations on where to eat when we return.
The Bratislava trip will leave at 12:30pm and return at 7:00pm (also leaving from and returning to Westbahnhof). We will have approximately 3.5 hours in Bratislava to sightsee there.
If you are signed up for either trip and no longer with to come, please send me a quick email to that effect. We can refund trip fees in accordance with our refund policy at the top of the page here.

We have confirmed with the bus company that we will have two buses with 56 seats each for the post-IGC tour from Vienna to Berlin. Of those seats, 8 are reserved for our staff. We will also have guides in the places we visit who don’t need seats on the bus. That leaves 104 spaces (and no more: we will not be expanding the tour capacity further) for the post-IGC Tour to Vienna. If you are planning on going on the tour or are on the wait list, your names should be on this filePlease let me know as soon as possible if any of the following are true:
a) You believe your family had registered for the tour and your family is not on the list
b) You are planning on coming on the tour and you have the wrong number of people listed
c) You are planning on coming on the tour and your family is in orange (in which case, I need the names of adults and the names and ages of children)
d) You are on the Wait List in yellow (please let me know the number of people from your family coming on the tour along with the names of adults and the names and ages of children)
e) You haven’t yet signed up but wish to be added to the Wait List
The confirmed price of the tour is $1975 per person. There will not be any difference in cost depending on what type of room you have, though note that we cannot guarantee the exact configuration of rooms at each hotel. That is to say, if you are a family of 4, for example, at some hotels, you may have a quad occupancy room, and at some hotels you may have two double occupancy rooms (next to each other). If you are a family of 3 or 5, you will get some combination of triple occupancy rooms (we will try to find as many of these as possible) or potentially a single occupancy room and a double occupancy room. 
The $1975 cost includes 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. Tips are not expected at any point. 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.
If you are going on the tour, you will be sent an additional email by Monday that will have the link to the official tour registration form. This should be filled out next week. Once we receive this, we will send you an invoice, and that needs to be paid by (update) April 25. If we do not receive payment by April 25, we will no longer guarantee your spot on the trip and will open it up to anyone on the wait list.
At this point, if you have not yet paid the $300 tour deposit, just hold off on that, and then submit the full payment per the invoice. If you have paid the deposit, it will be deducted from the $1975 cost and the invoice will reflect that.
This information supersedes the information on the Central Europe Tour from the February Update Email.
3. New Family and Friends Program Option
A number of families have written to us asking if there is a less expensive option available for the Family and Friends Program. We are pleased to announce that there is now a Basic Option for the Family and Friends Program. The preexisting option is henceforth referred to as the Expanded Option. Please note the following conditions for the Basic Option:
A. The Basic Option for the Family and Friends Program costs $175 per person. These fees are charged as we still need to keep track of the number of people in the school at all times and prevent people who are not affiliated with IGC from entering the building, ensure that we do not have too many people in any one space and run afoul of fire codes, and provide staff for additional security. 
B. The Basic Option includes access to the school and to all ceremonies and competitions that are open to spectators (remember, some, like exams, are not open to any spectators).
C. The Basic Option does not include any sightseeing entry fees, nor does it include a public transit pass, T-Shirt, hat, pin, nor water bottle.
D. The Basic Option does not allow people registering under this option to themselves compete in any competitions in the Family and Friends Division.
E. While we certainly cannot (and will not) prevent Basic Option family members from tagging along with our group when we go to museums and sites, we will not a) wait for you, either at the entrance or at the exit when our group is done, b) have extra tickets for sale, nor c) will you be permitted to take your child away from our group without expressly notifying the tour leader. We have run into instances of Type C at prior summer events, and it has led to delays and concern for missing students. Any violation of this policy by family members will result in a ban from all further IGC 2024 activities without recourse to a refund.
F. Tagging along to walking tours is not permitted.
If you would like to register for the Basic Option for the Family and Friends Program, please fill out the form here. If you would like to change your Family and Friends Program registration from the Extended Option to the Basic Option, simply fill out the above-mentioned form, and that will overwrite your initial registration of the Extended Option. 
4. Connecting with others from your state (or metro area) or country
If you are interested in connecting with other families from your state or country in advance of IGC, please take 30 seconds and indicate that here on this form. If you fill this out, then I will connect you with all other families from your state (or metro area, where applicable) or country who also fill out the form and so that you can get in touch regarding travel, studying, and other plans. 
5. Visa, Passport, Travel, and Hotel Reminders
Restating all the points made here from the February email – again, please do not forget to reach out to me re visa letters if needed! Please note the passport advice below even if you do not need a visa!
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.
We recommend that you also make flight and hotel reservations sooner rather than later as prices will inevitably rise over the coming months. If you are looking for our advice on booking hotels (or Airbnbs, hostels, etc), it is available here
Please also 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!
6. Small updates to schedule (moving Knockout prelims, some exams, etc.)
Certain small adjustments to the schedule have been made, and will continue to be made on an ongoing basis until event selection opens. For example, given the large number of participants taking part in the Bratislava trip, it made sense for us to move the Knockout preliminary rounds to Monday morning rather than have them be immediately when participants return (since they will likely want to get dinner then instead). We’ll keep fine tuning the schedule over the spring, so don’t be surprised if you see more of these changes (but we don’t plan on scrapping any announced competitions, not to worry).

7. Adjunct Staff Reminder

If you are looking for a discount on registration and are interested in helping us out at IGC at some of the events for which we need the largest number of staff (in particular, the Scavenger Hunt, the International Geography Bowl World Championships, the International Geography Bee World Championships, and some of the field trips within Vienna), please consider being an Adjunct Staff Member at IGC! The conditions of both the Basic and Extended options for Adjunct Staffing are listed under Point 5 of the February Update Email. Please contact me if you are interested.
If you had already indicated interest in adjunct staffing, you can expect to hear from our staffing coordinator within the next week or two.
8. Event Selection (including application only events)
Event selection will open at some point between May 20 and June 10 and run through June 27. The application only events (i.e. the Congress of Vienna and OPEC simulations) will likewise only be open for applications then as well.
Thanks for reading through, and best of luck with all your competitions over the course of the spring!
Best regards,
David Madden