From daydreaming about your destination to relentless researching restaurants to crafting your ideal itinerary, there’s nothing like the anticipation of a trip. But while you may be a well seasoned traveler yourself, traveling with a large group of students requires a few extra pre-departure preparations. Whether you’re dancing your way to Disney or living large in the Lone Star State, here are a few things to consider during the planning process.
Choose a Destination
Choosing a destination may seem like a no-brainer, but there are several questions to ask yourself during the decision process. Should the trip be educational or performance based? Are you seeking a Competitive or Non-Competitive festival option? Would you rather travel by motorcoach or plane? And, most importantly, is the destination student-friendly? Every destination displays a different personality and a quality travel partner can introduce you to each one, ensuring you stay within budget for you and your students
Stamp of Approval
Just as every destination is unique, every school district has its own distinct policy and approval process for overnight travel. Knowing ahead of time what materials and required paperwork will be needed can save you a headache down the road. Don’t forget to check with your travel partner to see how they can help satisfy these requirements with you.
Evaluate & Enlist Your Chaperones
If your travel plans are complex, you may be considering eliciting help from the parents of your students. The role of a chaperone is important and requires accepting certain responsibilities. If not required by your district, consider creating an application, a contract of sorts, for interested parents outlining pertinent district policies and expectations should they be chosen to accompany you on your trip.
Travel can be a large financial commitment for your parents and students. Be sure to allow plenty of time for fundraising and donations. Just as you are willing to work with your parents and students, your travel partner is just as willing to work with you. Ask them about customized payment plans to help su pport your fundraising efforts. Last but certainly not least, keep paying parents apprised of any deposits, payment dates and cancellation policies. Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer, and it pays dividends when finances are in order.
Ensuring your students have a safe trip, means more than simply carrying a first aid kit. It means making note of allergies, knowing where to find medical assistance while on the road, offering trip insurance and making sure your vendors are travel safe. A little pre-trip planning can go a long way should a situation arise.
Travel is often the highlight of the year for your students, and with a little upfront preparation, it will likely be the same for you.