Leading your first school trip can seem daunting. You’ve thought about the benefits of being a group leader and the positive impact of student travel, but what is next? How do you put your thoughts into action and prepare for a great school trip? Here are few tips to get you started:
Do Your Homework: Learn as much as you can about the tour process and your destination before taking any further action. Talk with a Scholastica Travel consultant. They can guide you in choosing a destination that matches your group’s interests and educational focus. They can also talk you through the tour process from start to finish, letting you know what to expect in terms of planning, cost, and the overall experience of a student trip.
Start Early: The earlier you get started planning your school trip, the better. We generally recommend a year or earlier for first-time group leaders, but a shorter time frame can also work. The earlier you start, the more time you have for learning about your destination, fundraising, and recruiting chaperones. You may also have a higher chance of securing certain attractions or accommodations at times that work best for your tour schedule.
Recruit Great Chaperones: Chaperones can make or break a school trip. Recruit chaperones with a positive attitude that are genuinely interested in the safety of the students. Before they commit, make sure they are aware of their roles and responsibilities, the benefits of chaperoning, and what to expect on tour. The more you can prepare them ahead of time, the smoother everything will go during the school trip.
Prepare Your Students: Before departure, let your students know what to expect during their trip. For many, this may be their first trip without their parents or their first time to a new city or place. While this is very exciting, it can also create anxiety for students. Providing information on what to expect can alleviate these nerves. Walk them through the itinerary and build excitement for your destination. Outline expectations for their behavior during travel on the bus, at various attractions, and at the hotel. If they are novice travelers, give more information on hotels, buses, meals, airlines and subways, as needed.
Engage Your Students: The trip is often more meaningful to students when they learn about their destination before they travel. There are many ways to engage student learning before departure, including creating a class blog, pinterest board, and taking turns being a tour guide, among others.
Hold a Pre-Trip Meeting: Host a pre-trip meeting for parents and students to inform everyone of the logistics of the school trip. This is a great opportunity to recruit chaperones, build excitement, and fundraise. Feel free to use our Pre-Trip Presentation for this meeting.
Start Walking: Walking is often the best way to see the city! Most Scholastica tours have a fair amount of walking built in. Make sure that you build your stamina before departure and encourage students to do the same!