Tips to make life easier for organizing your school trips!
In many ways organising a school trip carries with it more responsibility than any other kind of social outing. Having the safety of other people’s children entrusted to you obviously carries with it a serious duty of care. It does not though, have to be too daunting a proposition. In some ways the planning can be easier than for other groups. The type of trip and the children taking it, are in many ways not under discussion. These decisions are often made for you.
It is, however, widely accepted that the benefits of such trips by far outweigh the stress caused in planning and executing them safely.
1 The Children in the group
Normally with school trips the personnel taking part is decided by a simple letter to the parents requesting their involvement. The ages of the children are normally close together, and you will not have the problems of mixing the very young with the more mature.
The main decisions are really simply about numbers. Make sure that you get the head teacher / school principal to ok the trip before you start any planning. Check if your school has an Educational Visits Co-ordinator and consult with them regarding Health & Safety issues.
Finally make sure that you have the written consent of every parent(s).
2 What kind of Trip
Again, here there are decisions to be made. Is this an educational visit to a museum or more of a recreational one to a theme park? In either case it is worth checking out the number of free venues that work with schools. In the UK for example the www.lotc.org.uk website is a very useful resource. All school trips are beneficial to children. More often than not, those with challenging behavioral traits behave better once outside the classroom. Also it gives teachers a useful reference for the future when children claim that they “can’t do” tasks given them. It is difficult for them to say they cannot do a simple task, if they have scaled a wall or abseiled during a school trip.
3 Be mindful of your budget
You should as a teacher already have a good idea of the financial demographics of your parent group. It is pointless planning a skiing trip for a school from one of the more challenged areas of the country. It is imperative that you do not plan something in which only a tiny percentage of your students will ever have a chance of participating.
Whilst budget constraints are imperative, they do not have to be restrictive from an imagination stand point. The simplest of activities can become a very worthwhile experience if they are planned correctly. It’s all about managing expectations.
4 Points to remember
a) The number of adults to children should be at least 1 adult for every 10 children. Never be tempted to begin a trip if this ratio is not satisfied.
b) Make sure you get parental advice on on-going medical problems and also consent for any medical treatment.
c) Always hold a parents meeting before any trip, and furnish them with your itinerary.
d) Keep a detailed account of your planning to avoid any future claims for negligence
e) Carry a full list of all names on the trip and hold regular roll calls.
f) Always ensure that all party members are fully supplied with any necessary equipment needed for the activities in which they are taking part. Also the whereabouts of the first aid kit should be clearly explained to all staff members.
g) Make sure that you are carrying all necessary tickets at the start of the trip and throughout the whole period.
h) Never succumb to pressure from students to permit anything that could feasibly put them in danger.
i) Always inform parents of the standard of behaviour expected of your charges.
j) Always keep all financial transactions away from your own bank account. Keep accurate details of all finical arrangements for the trip
k) Make sure that you have checked and re-checked every detail of the trip.
l) Conduct a full risk assessment prior to the trip and make it available upon request.
j) Consider using tshirts or bright colors as this can help to easily identify the children if in crowded places.
k) Also consider bringing a small flag on a pole for use in crowded areas. The pole can be a extendable baton that you can fold down and keep in your bag. It is a great tool for helping others to find your meeting point in a crowded location.
5 The Sky is the Limit
Children’s minds are amazing things, the benefit that they can gain from this kind of adventure is immeasurable. Keep an open mind as to type of trip that is available, but at the same time always be mindful of safety. The safety of your charges is of paramount importance and cannot be understated. If the worst happens and a child suffers an accident, ensure that the best medical treatment is on hand as swiftly as possible.
An enthusiastic teacher with a vivid imagination, will remain in the children’s memory for the rest of their lives. Be enthusiastic, be imaginative and be professional. Your students will be the real winners.
6 Use Your Group Buying Power
It is important to remember that at all times while making inquiries into the cost of travel, accommodation or activities, that you have the strength of your group buying power. Any business that can see a booking coming their way with upwards or 10, 20, 30 or 60 people will definitely not want to loose out, and will be happy to offer incentives to win your custom.
If you take for example the many businesses out there that are offering up to a 80% discount on their services including administration fees, to post discount deals on some of the most renowned discount sites like Groupon.com and LastMinute.com and many other sites like these, to try and gain customers to promote their services. Bare this in mind if you’re a bit shy when it comes to haggling for discounts, go for it as you’ve nothing to loose, as all they can do is say no.
7 Choosing Accommodations
There are many options for choosing accommodation that need to be considered when considering the level of budget for the overall group. The first and most obvious option is hotel accommodation.
Hostel’s are a very cost effective option to consider as this might suit a smaller group traveling, especially if you are heading to an area that can be quite expensive for accommodation. Hostels do have rooms with a number of bunks in it that might suit the number of people in your group.
This can be a great solution as sleeping can be the last thing on the itinerary for your group, although it can be a noisy option if everybody comes back at different times with a little too much to drink! There are many Hostel booking agents available on line for booking Hostels all over the world and you can see them all in one location here on the Hostel Section on DIYHolidays.com.
Hotel Accommodation is in abundance on many price comparison sites, but sometimes you already know where you want to go based on recommendations from others who have visited the area where you wish to travel. It is always best practice to contact the hotel directly to see if you can get your own discount for your group booking.
Recommendations from others are most helpful in deciding your accommodation, as you don’t want to be stuck in the middle of nowhere!
You can view many of the most popular hotel booking service providers on the Hotels Section of DIYHolidays.com.
Other options available but may not be available:
B&B’s are also an option to consider as this might suit a smaller group traveling, especially if you are heading to an area that can be quite expensive for accommodation. This can also be an adventurous option as you are dealing with local people presenting their local hospitality, and local knowledge. You can also view a multiple of service providers offering B&B accommodation from all over the world on the B&B Section on DIYHolidays.com.
Private Properties are also another great option for affordable accommodation with a twist. There are many fabulous private luxurious villas available for short-term rentals. Some of these villas are like those in which you would imagine movie stars living in. Some of these will have features beyond your wildest imagination, including private swimming pools, Jacuzzis, and a room for everyone in the group!
The cost of renting these villas can be surprisingly affordable when you divide the cost up among the members of your group. There are many websites that provide these options for you, but you can see them all in one location on the Private Properties Section on DIYHolidays.com.
8 Keep your Group Informed
It is always best to inform the people in your group of exactly what costs are involved, what is included in the trip and what, if any, discounts you have managed to squeeze out of service providers.
Collecting the money can also be challenging as this can sometimes create difficulty especially when deposits have to be paid. This is where you avail of the services of GroupandPay.com.
GroupandPay.com is a hugely popular online platform that is free for organisers to use when informing their group of what has been arranged for them, and it also provides an easy hassle free system for collecting the money. It prides itself on being very user friendly.
Watch this video to see how it works!
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9 Travel Insurance
Many people overlook this, but it is so important especially if traveling abroad. Group insurance policies are readily available and do not have to be expensive. The peace of mind that it brings is worth it, especially for the organiser. Many companies specialise in this kind of cover. There are many service providers listed here on the Travel Insurance Section on DIYHolidays.com for you to choose from!
Need inspiration for Planning your Group Experience?
Check out DIYHolidays.com as they inspire individuals and groups to travel, especially around their interests and hobbies.
Here you will see a multitude of interests and hobbies for you to get inspired from and for each one you will see enthusiasts recommending amazing places to go. You also see them sharing their experiences through videos, photos, and blogs. You can participate in live surveys, or ask questions and partake in live discussions. You can also view all the most popular online specialists stores from all over the world for each interest and hobby, all in one location, and you can even play related online games.
And as you have probably guessed it, DIYHolidays.com is a sister company of GroupandPay.com, so we are all about Inspiring Individuals and Groups to do more Traveling and enjoy more Social Engagement!!!
10 Tell us about your Experiences and Offer Recommendations
If you have created a group travel experience for your buddies that turned out to be an awesome experience, then don’t keep it to yourself, tell us about it in the comments section below.
It’s all about sharing the love on #GroupandPay.com
After your trip has been completed ask the children and their parents for feedback. This will provide valuable information and ideas with which to improve future trips.