So, you have decided you would like to organise a trip abroad for your students. Where do you begin? And how do you keep costs down? Once you have the go-ahead from your school head, let us take you down the safe, cost-effective and stress free path of planning a successful and beneficial school trip abroad, with our handy quick guide for teachers:
Whilst the following is by no means exhaustive, it is a great starting point and will hopefully give you some ideas when planning your trip.
Destination: The first thing to consider is, of course, where to go. Easy to reach and with increasing numbers of direct flights on budget airlines, Europe is the obvious choice, especially for language trips. Avoiding larger cities allows students to see the country in less touristic settings
for a more authentic experience and smaller cities are also often more affordable. Our school trip to Benalmadena is one of the most budget-friendly trips we offer in Europe and is a winning location for students, with its sunny Mediterranean climate and abundance of outdoor activities. From the leaders’ perspective, it is safe and a very manageable size, and just a stone’s throw away from Malaga airport. Similarly, in France, smaller towns such as Antibes or Rouen, and Lucca in Italy provide authentic local cultural experiences without breaking the bank. However, don’t write off long-haul destinations just yet. Cuba is surprisingly excellent value for money and once there you can have a really integrated and safe cultural experience – and truly unforgettable memories.
Accommodation: Once you have decided on a destination, it’s time to think about accommodation. Homestays are a great budget-friendly option as they provide a safe and welcoming environment for students to improve their language skills and feel more immersed in the local way of life. If homestay accommodation is not suitable for your group, we can also arrange residences or hotel accommodation in most locations.
Meals: Take the stress out of finding somewhere for lunch every day by going for full board accommodation. Not only is this excellent value for money, most diets can be catered for and students end up taking less spending money during the trip. On full day excursions, groups are provided with delicious packed lunches – you could end up having a picnic on the beautiful beaches of Antibes or in the shady Retiro park in Madrid! Some of our schools have their own cafeterias and can provide lunches for your group on site.
Lesson format: When planning a school trip abroad, have a think about whether open or closed language classes will suit you best. Students can either join open international groups, improving their social, communication and intercultural skills, or closed groups for just your students, allowing class content to be more focused. Group leaders can request tailor-made class content to tackle specific topics designed to suit whatever they feel would be the most suitable for their students.
Activities: A careful balance of well thought-out half day and full day activities can really help keep costs down. This balance is important for keeping energy levels and interest up whilst choosing activities that students will enjoy and which provide educational value.
Time of year: Most of our school group trips take place around Easter time or in October in line with mid-term breaks. This avoids the expensive summer months and avoids missing any school time, and you can really take advantage of cheaper flights if you book far enough in advance. We often plan school group trips up to a year in advance so don’t leave it too late.
Booking through a tour operator: Not only have we personally visited all the locations we recommend, we also ensure your trip runs as smoothly as possible by anticipating and managing your group requirements from start to finish. We provide you with our personal suggestions to make the most of your trip, based on our experience in the location, and negotiate the best value itineraries. We take the stress of organising the trip away from group leaders and teachers. Should anything go wrong, we are there to support and manage the situation for you, keeping the trip as stress free as possible!
For an informal chat about planning a school trip abroad, give Rachael Cameron, our educational travel specialist, a call to find out more about different options or email us with your school group travel plans.