As a teacher, there are few experiences more exciting and rewarding than leading a group of students on a trip abroad. Whether it's an educational visit, an enrichment holiday or a school trip based around an activity like skiing, the benefits of travel for school children are numerous and well-documented.
However, when it comes to the planning stages, we know it can be difficult to know where to start. Between striving for your students to achieve their learning objectives, checking off your school’s essential requirements, and considering your group’s unique capabilities, there can be a lot to consider.
So, we thought, why not make it easier? Below, we’ve outlined a brief step-by-step guide for teachers looking to embark on a new destination for their next school trip. Read on for 8 questions to ask when deciding on a destination for your next school trip.
Which school trip destination best fulfils your learning objectives?
The primary purpose of a school trip is to support and enrich the learning objectives of the curriculum. It's important to choose a destination that offers educational opportunities that can't be replicated in the classroom.
While a science class might benefit from a visit to a nature reserve, and a history class might benefit from a trip to a historical site, you’ll want your destination and excursions to be more specific to your classroom teachings. Selecting a destination that directly relates to the learning objectives will make the experience more impactful and memorable for your students. If you’re stuck, this is where our team of experts can help.
How safe is your chosen destination?
Ensuring the safety of your students is always a top priority when planning a school trip, and something your tour provider should provide assistance with. However, you too can do your due diligence by researching your immediate destination (i.e. where your hotel is located, plus any excursion hotspots), and check whether it is well-equipped to handle emergencies.
We also recommend learning about the local weather conditions, customs, and laws to ensure that your students are well-informed and prepared before they travel. Additionally, ensure that your students have a clear understanding of the safety guidelines they need to follow during the trip.
Is your destination age-appropriate?
The age and maturity of your students should be taken into consideration when selecting a school trip destination, as well as any excursions.
For example, you may find an itinerary that’s denser with interactive activities, or those that integrate gamification with learning, is more effective for holding the attention of younger students. Meanwhile, older students are more likely to benefit from trips to museums or cultural centres. That said, we know all students love a trip to a theme park, and often a well-thought-out balance is key for any age group.
What’s the budget for your school trip?
Perhaps one of the most important questions you’ll ask, and typically the main decider on whether your trip goes ahead or not. You may have a dream destination in mind, but can your students’ families – particularly those with multiple children eligible for the trip – actually afford it?
The cost of a school trip can vary greatly depending on the destination, accommodation, mode of transportation, and length of stay, as well as expenses once you’re there, like food and souvenirs.
Is your chosen school trip destination accessible?
Accessibility is another crucial factor to consider when selecting a school trip destination, as well as the accommodation and excursions that come with it.
Consider the mode of transportation, accommodation, and activities to ensure that everyone can participate. Also, check if the destination requires any special arrangements, or whether any of your students with disabilities are required to provide additional documentation for international travel.
How long do you wish to go away for?
The duration of the school trip should also be taken into consideration. Will the trip impact on your students' academics? Is a longer trip realistic in terms of costs and logistical challenges?
The duration of the trip should be appropriate for your students' needs and abilities. For example, you may want to consider a shorter trip for younger students, or for those facing exams.
What’s your chosen destination’s reputation?
Researching the reputation of the destination or activity is also an important consideration. Look for reviews from other schools or educational institutions and ask for recommendations from colleagues, educational professionals, or tour operators (like us!).
A well-reputed destination (like those voted for by teachers in the School Travel Awards) will likely have a well-established educational program, experienced guides, and a positive track record of hosting school trips.
Does your chosen destination offer a unique experience for your students?
Finally, it's important to select a school trip that offers a unique experience for your students. Look for destinations or activities that are not typically offered in your community, and that offer an opportunity for students to experience something new and exciting.
By considering the specific cultural or natural significance of that destination and how it aligns with the interests of your students, you’ll give them memories they’ll cherish, as well as an effective learning opportunity they’ll hold on to forever.
A school trip destination your students will love
In conclusion, selecting a school trip requires careful consideration of a variety of factors. By focusing on the learning objectives of your curriculum, safety, age-appropriateness, cost, accessibility, duration, reputation, and unique experience, you can decide on a school trip that is both educational and enjoyable for your students.
With proper planning and preparation, a school trip can be a valuable learning experience that will stay with your students for years to come.
To speak to our advisors about which school trip is right for you, or find out more about an existing school trip destination you’ve selected, please call us on 01273 648248. You can also fill out our webform, and our school trip experts will get back to you as soon as we can.