Traveling with students is a rewarding experience, but it can also be daunting. Not only do you want the trip to be educational—you want it to be fun. And safe. And as flawless as possible. If a student trip is on your horizon, consider these top tips from industry professionals.
1. Plan early.
Robin Parker, President and CEO of Kaleidoscope Adventures, notes to start planning your trip at least one year in advance. “New buses book out, hotels book out, attractions book out,” Parker said. Make your deposits early to ensure you’re receiving the trip you and your students are expecting.
And when you start planning: “Be realistic with your plans, goals and objectives,” said Deborah L. Baker, Tour Consultant, Kaleidoscope Adventures. “Answer the W’s: Why travel, when travel and what is the objective.”
2. Use a tour operator.
If planning a student trip intimidates you, you don’t have to do it by yourself. In fact, it’s in your best interest to appeal to the experts.
“Never mind the time it takes to plan and organize a tour,” said Kirk Troen, Managing Director, Super Holiday Tours. “Teachers are busy enough with teaching. Let the planning be done by a professiona; it is well worth anything you think you might save by planning the trip yourself.”
First, you might think you’ll save money by planning your own trips—but tour professionals have industry contacts. Pricing for attractions is typically better, and they might be able to bag a few additional perks.
Second, planning a trip by yourself could be detrimental to your school or career. Even when you take every possible measure to ensure student safety, accidents happen. Most schools and teachers don’t have the liability coverage that a professional tour planner carries.
When you’re choosing a tour operator, make sure to find one well-versed in your area of need, such as performing arts.
“There is nothing worse than asking your travel planner if there will be an acoustic piano available, or if an orchestra needs rock stops, and have the planner ask what that item is,” said Troen.
3. Be organized
Unfortunately, student travel comes with a lot of paper work. Lisa Richardson, Sales Manager, Kaleidoscope Adventures, recommends collecting materials a week or two before your deadline. Have all materials organized and ready for quick distribution to students—and if you’re using air travel, double-check spelling of names and actual birthdates.