A school trip abroad is exciting for students and teachers alike. After all, an international adventure awaits! But before you get to wander around the Louvre or taste the paella in Spain, there is a lot of preparation that needs to happen. And even when you’re finally at your destination, group travel can be tricky: There are still a lot of variables to account for to ensure the trip goes off without a hitch.
To make sure this international school trip is memorable for all the right reasons, consider using these travel tips — whether you need advice on what to pack to how or to keep the group happy and together.
International Travel Tips for School Groups & Teachers
Make Packing Lists for What to Bring Abroad
There are plenty of items that will seem obvious to students to pack — but there are also ones that may never cross their minds as being an international necessity. Do you need adaptors for electrical items there? Do activities require specific gear, like comfortable hiking shoes or swimsuits? Are they aware of what medications or paperwork they need for travel?
Make a clear and detailed packing list so students know just what they need to bring abroad.
Study Local Laws and Etiquette Beforehand
The most fascinating aspect about going abroad is interacting with an entirely different culture. However, different cultures may mean entirely different societal norms. Make sure to do your research beforehand, and present it to your group. That way, they know what behaviors are considered acceptable in public. Plus, it can help combat any culture shock!
Bring a First Aid Kit
You never know what may happen on a trip — and when you’re abroad, you won’t be as familiar with where the pharmacies are located and what exactly they offer. Bring along a fully stocked first aid kit (think Band-Aids, over-the-counter pain medication, gauze, EpiPens, etc) so you’re prepared for any medical situation! Plus, make sure you’re familiar with the country’s emergency contact lines.
Implement the Buddy System
Speaking of safety, you’ll want to make sure everyone is accounted for at all times and arriving at all the activities. Consider implementing a buddy system so there are always eyes on each person. You’ll also want to make it clear to the students which adults they can turn to while traveling and give them their contact information.
Designate People to Handle Certain Situations
Sometimes, unexpected hurdles arrive when you’re traveling. Designate certain adults to handle specific tasks: Maybe someone is in charge of any airport situations, another handles mealtimes, and so on. Divvying up the responsibilities decreases stress levels for everyone involved and ensures you have an adult on hand to tackle any issues while someone else is with the group. This is where a travel operator like Travel For Teens comes in handy: You get to have incredibly prepared, efficient, and responsible professionals around to solve unforeseen challenges.
Prepare Clear Schedules
The best way to avoid travel hiccups? Have a clear and detailed itinerary! Students, parents, and chaperones alike should study the schedule beforehand so they know what to expect on each day and how to prepare for it. If there is any confusion, they can reference the schedule to know where to be. It really eliminates most basic questions people have on the trip.
But Prioritize Free Time Each Day
It’s a major hazard of traveling: Exhaustion. Students are used to full days with school, part-time jobs, and extracurriculars, but jet lag and overstimulation from unfamiliar situations can be a staggering combination. Plus, students will want time to explore on their own and assert some independence. Pencil in free time each day so that everyone can relax, chat with friends, catch up on any errands, or squeeze in specific travel desires not listed on the itinerary.
Have Identifiers for the Group
There is a reason you regularly see travel groups abroad in matching gear — and it’s not because it can be quite the style statement. (Just check out the bright blue shirts Travel For Teens staff rocks abroad!). When everyone has a common identifier, it makes it easier to keep the group together and makes everyone feel more unified. Plus, it makes it easier for others to find the group if they get separated or contact the adults in charge if a problem needs to be handled.
T-shirts may be too flashy for your class, but there are other identifiers you can hand out, like bands or name tags. Or, if you’d like to spare students the fashion demands, you can have just adult chaperones opt for the style signifiers.
Ready to start planning your school trip? Check out all of the different itineraries Travel For Teens offers here!