When student travel groups embark on a class trip to a destination far from home, it can seem like a daunting endeavor. Over the last 25 years of planning class trips to a variety of U.S. destination, I have found that pre-trip planning and organization can be key to a smooth trip.
Student groups need to be given clear instructions in planning for a class trip. These student tour groups will manage their departure from home and arrival in another city much better than those who do not receive directions.
I am going to detail some basic preparation tips for class trips that assist in creating a tour that proceeds on schedule and allows student travelers, chaperones and teachers to relax and derive maximum enjoyment from the journey.
1. Luggage rules for airline carriers have changed over the past two years. To avoid extra baggage fees students are best advised to limit their luggage to one suitcase and a small carry on.
2. Students should bring a minimum amount of cash with them. My educational travel company recommends $50 total. If students require more than this on tour, then credit cards, bank cards, or travelers checks are a wise alternative.
3. While taking a student tour of the destination city, we strongly advise that students stay in groups of four or more and with their assigned chaperone.
4. Eating and drinking is allowed on most buses. Should the bus driver decided to discontinue this privilege, then the student travel group must honor this request. Encourage all members of the student tour group to keep the buses clean.
5. These days, many students have their own cell phones. For those who do not, hotel phone numbers are listed on the itineraries. Parents should retain a copy of the itinerary so they may reach their children easily.
6. While staying in hotels, long distance phone calls and pay television are turned off. The group sponsor may elect to allow students to pay for movies at the front desk, but the student must be accompanied by an adult. Local phone calls made from the room are paid for by that room’s occupants.
7. Hotel rules need to be made and ultimately enforced by teachers. This includes curfews (which are usually set at 11 p.m.), room assignments, and room-to-room calling.
8. If a security person is retained for this class trip, then this person will meet the group sponsor to be apprised of the rules and implementation.
9. If problems occur on the class trip and a tour escort is unable to solve them, the educational travel company should be contacted directly.
My educational travel company provides a list of preparation tips for class trips prior to departure. I recommend teachers copy this list and give the written tips to the students that are traveling. If students and parents are made aware of these class trip suggestions, the majority will follow these requests. Wherever their destination may be, we feel these guidelines help create a safe and enjoyable class trip.