Discipline Guidelines: Respecting Boundaries During Travel

Sep 21, 2020

Traveling with students always offers challenges—ranging from interesting to irritating. While your SYTA Member tour operator is responsible for making sure your trip runs smoothly, there are things you as an educator and leader could do to help. Your knowledge of your students and their personalities could go a long way toward a smoother experience.

Discipline guidelines are an important part of travel, from a safety standpoint and beyond. Before the trip, work with your tour operator to establish a list of behavioral expectations for all participants and what could happen if these are not followed. These guidelines should be in conjunction with any already in place by the tour operator company.

Important Aspects for Consideration

  • Students will be held responsible for any damage caused in their room and on their motorcoach.
  • Students are responsible for phone calls made from their hotel room and other extra hotel expenses.
  • Students may not consume alcoholic beverages from a hotel room’s mini-fridge, if available.
  • Students may not take hotel room items as souvenirs.
  • Running or shouting in hallways and other hotel areas is not allowed at any time.
  • In general, students may not go barefoot or shirtless when outside of their hotel room.
  • Students must remain serious and respectful when going through security and other checkpoints and lines.
  • Alcohol and drug use, curfew violation, sexual misconduct, sexual harassment and bullying require action, calls to parents or guardians, and the decision as to whether the students involved remain on the trip.
  • Also consider a signed contract with students, to ensure their understanding of conduct rules and repercussions.

As possible, go over the established guidelines with students, their parents or guardians, and chaperones—and any others who may need to know or are involved—well before travel, so everyone is aware of the expectations.

Student travelers are often young adults and should be treated accordingly. Still, guidelines and boundaries are critical to ensuring group and individual safety, as well as supporting students’ effort to reflect their school and community in a positive light.

Safe travels!

This article originally appeared in the September 2018 issue of Teach & Travel.