Tips for Affordable Student Travel.
Maybe you’ve spent afternoons at your desk dreaming of the next destination for your student trip, but then the reality that travel can be expensive comes creeping in and you aren’t sure how you can make it affordable for everyone. It is possible to plan an educational or performance trip on a budget, it just takes some advanced planning.
Start planning early. The early bird will scoop up the best deals. As availability becomes more limited, prices start to rise. Destinations that cater to the student market tend to increase their prices over the summer, so lock in the lower rate sooner. Seasoned educators usually start trip planning upon returning from their last trip (can you really blame them?). Educational Tours, Inc. recommends starting at least a full year out. It can seem overwhelming to start that early when you don’t even know who your students will be at that time. But laying the groundwork is extremely important.
One of the first stages of planning an affordable trip is selecting an affordable destination. Transportation is always going to be one of your largest expenses. If you have a limited budget, look for something closer to home. Your Travel Consultant should have a horde of suggestions for popular, educational destinations within four to five hours from your area. Ask for cities with multiple free or low cost sites. Washington, D.C., for instance, has a large collection of free museums and memorials. Chicago offers free access to the Lincoln Park Zoo, Millennium Park and Navy Pier. Consider choosing a less popular destination where you may have to pay for activities, but you’ll save on meals and accommodations.
Next get creative! The closer you are to a full bus the better. Can you join up with another teacher’s classroom at your school? Maybe combine with a group in the next town? It could feel like too many cooks in the kitchen, but if you choose wisely it can be a great way to make a trip more affordable, learn from each other and build beneficial relationships.
Also, think of new ways to fundraise, get the kids involved for ideas and you’ll be amazed at the things they come up with. Plus, the more excited they are the more successful they will be.
Don’t cut corners when it comes to your students’ safety. You’ll always be able to make a trip less expensive with a cheaper bus company or hotel or maybe you start to think that nighttime security or a tour manager aren’t really that necessary. These are the key elements you need to be right for your trip. It is important to look at the big picture not just the bottom line. For all the “what if” scenarios, choose quality, even if it means skipping that theater show or going one less night, your parents and school board will thank you.
Planning a trip on a limited budget does not have to mean limited fun. With the right planning, you can make an experience of a lifetime for your students that doesn’t have to break the bank.
Written by Educational Tours, Inc.