We can probably all agree that to experience learning while out in the world has a big impact. This on-the-spot learning is one of the best ways to ensure that concepts, skills and knowledge are retained. Planning a school trip is one of the most effective ways to introduce experiential learning to your students. A school trip not only cements learning in a way that kids will still be talking about it years later, it also makes that knowledge applicable to real situations. In other words, it turns knowledge that students just have (somewhere, deep down) into knowledge they can use.
But it’s all very well and good to talk about how great school tours are, but how in the world do you actually go about planning one? Where in the world, for that matter? It can seem like an immensely overwhelming task to think about planning a school trip. You might not even know where to start. Luckily, we’re going to make it easier for you. We’ve put together a step-by-step guide to help you get your next (or first!) tour underway.
First, you’ll need to figure out the basics. What’s the purpose of this tour? You might already take a particular subject, sport, or activity, which makes determining the focus easy. However, it is worth considering the particular areas you would hope to reinforce or improve upon with this tour. Think about your ideal outcomes, or skills you would like students to gain from this experience. Then it’s time to think about the destination/s, time of year, and duration of the tour. A tip from us here is to be sure to check the academic calendar, assignment periods and school events. It’s definitely worth making sure there are no clashes with other activities or events relevant to students. We have had complications in the past with students dropping out of tours because it clashed with their senior ball!
Your next step is to select an educational travel partner. Companies like Student Horizons are here to take all the minutiae of planning a school trip off your plate. You will be able to hand over over all of the organisation, admin, bookings and other details. Right away, the tour planning process becomes so much easier and less stressful for you. Of course, it is important to work with someone you like and trust. If you haven’t used an educational tour provider before, we suggest having a checklist of requirements to help you choose. These might include: support to students, teachers and parents, educational content and resources, industry experience, and crisis management support. Over the last seven years, Student Horizons has proudly cultivated strong working relationships with over a hundred schools across New Zealand and Australia. Our experience, attention to detail, safety and risk management systems and client care has led to extremely positive feedback and a high rate of repeat business.
Now that you’ve decided what type of school trip you’re planning and selected a tour provider, it’s time to start building your itinerary! You will need to know your estimated group size, and budget per student. Student Horizons’ tours are bespoke and can be entirely customised to meet your needs. It’s up to you to choose, therefore, how many fixtures, performances, workshops or coaching sessions you want to include. This is generally a good place to start, as putting the key elements in place first will help determine where additional activities can fit in. It’s also good to think about sightseeing excursions, the type of accommodation you’d prefer, and how many teachers will be travelling on the tour. We recommend a minimum of one teacher for every ten students.
Finally, the last step is to get tour approval! Your school will have specific policies and processes that you need to comply with before booking a tour. Student Horizons will provide all necessary documents to help you secure the support of the principal and department heads.
Planning a school trip can be a long process. We always suggest starting to think about the details we’ve outlined above at least a year in advance. However, working with the right educational travel provider can reduce all the hassle of that year-long process to a mere handful of admin tasks. We would love to show you just how much easier the planning process could be with Student Horizons on board.
To find out more about how we support you, visit our teacher support page.