As we knock on the door of a new year, take a look at some of these tips for planning and executing successful student travel in 2024.
- PLAN EARLY!
There may be some attractions or tours that you’ve got your heart set on. Don’t let your trip be anything less than you want it to be by not reaching out to Educational Tours, Inc. early. When you plan in advance, we can ensure tickets and space to your desired attractions will be reserved so you and your students don’t miss out once you reach your destination.
- BE OPEN-MINDED ABOUT THE “OFF SEASON.”
From planning early to considering under-the-radar destinations (or those within driving distance), saving money on trips are a huge consideration for educators planning student travel. Don’t write off traveling during a destination’s “off season”—this could be the perfect way to lower your overall costs, secure tickets to attractions and avoid crowds … all while still providing your students with the trip of a lifetime.
- DON’T FORGET FUNDRAISING.
The top factor usually preventing students from attending a trip is lack of adequate funds. Be sure to immediately get into fundraising mode once you’ve secured your trip details with ETI. A bounty of options exist, from hosting bake sales, car washes, etc. Don’t be afraid to get creative, either! Approach local businesses or past donors to see if they’re interested in donating or sponsoring a student’s trip.
- LOOK INTO SCHOLARSHIPS!
Scholarships are often incredibly helpful ways to ensure students who may not have the ability to travel otherwise get the chance. A popular option are the several scholarships made available throughout the year via the SYTA Youth Foundation.
- MAKE A PLAN TO SHARE WITH YOUR SCHOOL BOARD.
In short: Student travel is an education in itself. While you may understand that, your administration and school board may be a bit foggy on the details. Give them your safety plan, provide a general overview or itinerary, emphasize the educational focus and spell out the social benefits.
- MARKET YOUR TRIP!
Half of the battle of planning an awesome student trip is ensuring students and parents are on board.
You may receive overwhelming interest when you first announce a trip, but you also may not. Market your trip by holding several informational meetings, sharing testimonials from past students, incorporating your trip into your curriculum beforehand and sharing posters around your school to build excitement.
- SET EXPECTATIONS BEFOREHAND.
Ensure students are clear on trip expectations well before the trip and remind them of these expectations often, from behavior to technology usage and more. This also extends to parents and chaperones! Remind them that this trip is meant for the students and isn’t a vacation for them—and that no special rules apply to any students who have a parent on the trip.
- COMMUNICATE OFTEN.
Be proactive in communicating and sharing information with parents as early on in the planning process as possible. Emphasize the vital role travel plays in students’ development and hold regular planning meetings—keeping the lines of communication with parents open and transparent. Making yourself available otherwise to answer any questions they may have helps build trust and reassures them that their child is safe in your capable care.
- WHEN CONFLICT HAPPENS, KEEP RESOLUTION TOP OF MIND.
While students sometimes might not ultimately agree or see eye-to-eye on an issue, they should arrive at a place of mutual respect and understanding for one another (and their fellow students and group leaders) to move forward when conflicts arise. Make sure students understand they can come to you or any one of the chaperones on the trip with any concerns.
- ENCOURAGE NEW RELATIONSHIPS WITH CLASSMATES.
Traveling together can be a powerful way to forge new relationships that don’t necessarily happen within the halls of your school. Allow students to spend time with their close friends, but ensure they spend time with other students they may not be as close with, whether it’s who they sit with on the bus or share a room with at the hotel.
Wherever you’re headed in the next year, let ETI help make it an unforgettable success!
Courtesy of ETI.