Fifty students on one bus can become chaotic pretty quickly, especially on the multi-hour drive to your destination. Turn chaos into organized travel by following these suggestions.
Seat Students and Chaperones Strategically.
- The bus leader should sit in the very first row to coordinate logistics with the tour leader.
- Space chaperones evenly throughout the middle and back of the bus, preferably near their assigned students.
- Seat students next to their chosen bus partner. Bus partners should be roommates.
- Seat pairs of roommates near each other (one hotel room of students). This makes determining who is absent very easy.
- Don’t forget to save a front row seat for the tour leader!
Pack Your Bus Leader Bag.
- Scholastica provides a bus organization bag for each bus leader to help you prepare for all bus circumstances. Whether it be motion sickness or slow traffic, you will be ready!
- Pack the bag with the enclosed recommended packing list.
- For easy access, keep this kit in the front seat of the bus or in the overhead compartment at the front of the bus.
Put a Sign in the Window and Chaperones on a Roster
- Many buses look alike. Print a customized sign to hang in the bus window for easy recognition.
- Assign chaperone groups with our bus roster.
Coordinate Comfort Stops Every 2-3 Hours.
- Although the bus does have a restroom, use should be saved for emergencies only. Restroom contents are disposed of when the bus is serviced (about once per trip).
- Coordinate with the tour leader and bus driver to make comfort stops every 2-3 hours on the drive to and from your destination. This will give students the opportunity to stretch and use the restroom, keeping the bus fresh.
Communicate Bus Safety Guidelines.
- All travelers should remain seated unless the bus is parked.
- Trash should be kept in seats until the next parked stop.
- Overhead bins should only be accessed at parked stops.
- Flash photography is prohibited on the bus. Flashes reflect off of the windows and can interfere with the sight of the driver.
Keep Trash to a Minimum.
- At each comfort stop, encourage students and chaperones to bring all trash to the front of the bus to throw away.
- Encourage students and chaperones to avoid bringing milk-based products on the bus (ice cream, milkshakes, etc.). These can become very smelly if spilled!
Bring Entertainment for the Long Drives.
- Bring age-appropriate DVDs.
- Play destination bingo.
- Distribute cross word puzzles and word searches.
- Hand out scavenger hunts.
Load the Bus Efficiently.
- Encourage students to find their seats as quickly as possible.
- Avoid accessing overhead bins until everyone is loaded and counted.
- Assign one chaperone to do a head count of the entire bus. The head count can be double checked on the chaperone’s walk back to the front of the bus.
In certain cities like Washington DC and New York City, loading the bus efficiently is imperative. Drivers are given minimal time to idle in any particular location. Also, it is easy to lose valuable touring time loading and unloading the bus. An efficient process will help your group experience more sites!
Unload the Bus Efficiently.
- A few minutes before arriving at your drop off location, announce to the students what they will need at the next stop.
- Encourage the students to prepare themselves for departure while remaining seated.
- If possible, avoid accessing overhead bins during unloading. This slows down the process.
- Encourage students to unload as quickly as they can.
Just as with loading the bus, drivers are given minimal time for unloading in busy cities.
Minimize Distractions While Touring.
- Encourage students to remove headphones, turn off gaming systems, and avoid texting while the tour leader is speaking and/or while touring your destination. Minimizing distractions maximizes the educational experience.
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