School Trips Abroad
Advice from Equity
What factors should schools consider when deciding on where to take their school groups abroad?
Party leaders need to consider destinations that fulfil the objectives and desired learning outcomes of their proposed tour. We have a knowledgeable and professional sales team that are happy to provide some guidance on this to suit their budget, the length of time they wish to be away for, their desired method of transport – coach or air, and the number of students they are wishing to take on the trip.
How much of the planning process do you handle? And what additional planning, if any, is required from the Teachers?
We are here every step of the way to assist the party leader with their planning process. This encompasses the initial enquiry and quote stage, right through to pre-travel planning and customer after care once the group returns.
Once the party leader is happy with their quote and the tour details, it is down to them to communicate this out to their students through letters and school assemblies. As part of our launch pack, we have some templates which the PL can use to communicate the trip out to the students. The next stage would be to collect the first deposits from the students that have expressed an interest in the trip. At the same time, it would be advisable to get their names (as per passport) along with the rest of their passport details such as DOB and passport number. This will enable the travel company to secure the flights as soon as they come on sale with the airline and will prevent any delay in booking.
When first deposits have been paid, the party leader will be given a payment schedule and therefore needs to plan further money collection around these dates.
Once the booking is confirmed, our team of product specialists will take ownership of the booking and will liaise directly with the Pl and guide them all the way, answering any questions that they may have prior to travel.
What duration would you recommend to maximise learning on schools trip abroad?
It's really down to the Party Leader and what they would like to include in their tour in terms of excursions they would like to do. As a guideline, about 2 / 3 nights in Northern France and Paris, 4 / 5 nights in other European destinations, 5 / 6 / 7 nights to the East Coast of America and around 7 nights for Worldwide and West coast of America.
We offer subject specific tours that work in conjunction with the UK curriculum. Examples include geography in Iceland, art and design in France or music in Berlin. Our staff will work closely with the party leader to develop an itinerary that achieves their desired learning outcomes.
Risk assessments are a big part of a teachers school trip planning and with multiple venues being visited on a school trip abroad, this can get quite difficult to organise. What kind of help do you offer for this?
The health and safety of our groups is paramount to us. We have very robust systems in place to achieve this and in addition, we are the founding members of the School Travel
Forum (STF), which supports and promotes health and safety within the schools' travel market. The properties and excursions that we use have all been audited to ensure they meet our safety requirements and standards. We also have a good working relationship with our overseas suppliers who also support this.
What accommodation do you provide for schools on their trips abroad?
We can offer a variety of different accommodation types to our groups in order to meet their requirements and their budget. This can include hostels, hotels of various “star” standards to smaller family run pensions. This is discussed with the Party Leader at quote stage.
How flexible are you with itineraries? Can Schools tailor their own?
Our itineraries are very flexible and can be created to meet our client's needs, so “Yes,” the can be specifically tailored. It is, however, important to point out that if their chosen hotel / excursion has not undergone a health and safety audit by us, we will not be able to offer it to the group.
Can cross curricular trips be organised or are school trips abroad best focused around one subject?
Absolutely. This is really down to the teachers that organise the trip if they want to combine a couple of learning outcomes. We have a number of exciting and popular destinations that can serve several learning outcomes such as Paris as an example, which ticks a lot of boxes! MFL, Geography, History, Art and Design, Travel and Tourism and etc.
What one piece of advice would you give teachers currently planning their school trip abroad?
Timing! Allow yourself time to organise the trip. By doing so, it allows the students (or rather their parents!) to save for the trip. This is especially important for those that wish to travel further afield such as North America or other worldwide destinations, which will cost over the £1,000 per person mark.
What is the most common compliment from schools who have travelled with you on a school trip abroad?
Excellent service is a term that we often hear in our feedback. We pride ourselves on ensuring all needs are met when a Party Leader contacts us for a quote.
A recent quote we received from a Party Leader organising a trip to New York is as follows;
"Excellence all round. Excellent and personal service. Our recent trip to New York was the best organised trip we have had. Excellent communication throughout planning of the trip; excellent support at all stages of the process."