How to plan your next study trip: Expert tips for a successful trip
Planning a study trip for your students can be time-consuming and sometimes confusing, thanks to the huge choice of destinations on offer. But, the benefits to your students are huge! A successful trip can give them a sense of independence and increased confidence, leaving them better prepared for their exams and giving them real-life, practical experience of their subject. Not only that, international experiences have been proven to benefit students in their future careers, whether that’s progressing to university or going straight into the world of work.
Whether you’re planning your first-ever student trip, or your tenth, the prospect of planning and running a trip with large groups of teenage students is always a daunting prospect. That’s why we’ve put together our top tips on getting your study trip off-the-ground and making sure it runs as stress-free and seamlessly as possible!
1. Plan, plan and plan some more!
It’s never too early to start planning your next study trip. In fact, the earlier your start to plan your trip the better. With scheduled airlines releasing flights up to 11-months in advance, you can benefit from great cost-savings by enquiring and booking early. Plus, you’re more likely to get your preferred choice of accommodation and visits when you book ahead of the crowds.
2. Contact StudyLink
Booking through a reputable tour management company means you can take advantage of our years’ of student group travel experience. Our expert team will has an in-depth knowledge of destinations and visits to ensure you get the most from your trip. Plus, your trip would be covered by the Package Travel Directive, meaning that if the worst were to happen, the college would be covered both financially and legally.
Not only that, StudyLink can offer you a choice of travel and accommodation options at preferential group rates. You will get access to a wide range of group-friendly (and safety audited) hotels and hostels at guaranteed room rates – giving you the flexibility to secure your preferred accommodation, whilst you’re confirming your passenger numbers.
3. Get approval for your study trip
If this is your first study trip, you may not be familiar with getting approval from your college principal, finance director or board of trustees. Schedule a meeting with them at the earliest opportunity and be prepared to answer any questions they may have about the trip; is the destination suitable for the subject and what are the links to the curriculum? What safety precautions can be taken? (Your travel management company should have risk management procedures in place). Be prepared and remember that the outcome will be an incredible educational experience for your students.
4. Promote your study trip to your students
Got your board’s approval? Now it’s time to start promoting the trip! The sooner you can promote it to students and parents, the more likely it will be to get the student numbers needed to run the trip. Posters around the classroom, emails to parents and social media posts can help to increase student numbers and engagement. Why not run fundraising campaigns to help your students raise money to finance the trip? Or you could even open the trip up to teachers of other subjects, and run a cross-curricular study trip to increase student numbers and reduce the cost per student!
5. Work on your trip itinerary
Include your students in the planning of the trip. You may want to only include visits that are purely educational and related to the subject, but students can have a limited attention span, so try to include some cultural visits where they can have fun and learn about the city they’re visiting. There may be new and exciting visits you’re not aware of, but StudyLink can keep you up to date and make suitable suggestions for your group.
6. Visit the destination before you travel
Visiting the destination before you travel can help you to conduct important risk assessments, try out the accommodation, familiarise yourself with the local area and check out suitable places to eat. StudyLink can arrange a group leader preview visit; so it’s worth utilising this service to get to know the destination in advance of your trip.
7. Enjoy your time away
Once you’re away on your trip, it should be time for you to relax and enjoy yourself. Having 24/7 support from StudyLink will give you added reassurance that should the unexpected happen, your group is in safe hands. Support available to your group whilst on tour includes; making arrangements for alternative travel services, arranging additional accommodation, and providing you with local assistance should it be required. This support is designed to give you complete peace of mind!
8. Share your trip
Seeing your students getting real-life, hands-on experiences that enhance their classroom studies makes all the planning worthwhile. Take photos and videos of your trip away and share them with colleagues and students to show what an incredible learning experience it’s been. It’s also a good idea to feature them on your college’s website, to help attract new students on to your course for the next intake of students.
9. Share feedback on your trip
Gaining feedback from your students is a must! Inevitably, there will be things that ran perfectly and other small glitches along the way, so getting this feedback is invaluable.
What did they enjoy? What could be improved? Any suggestions for future trips to make it even better? Share this feedback with your tour management company, to ensure you and your students get the best possible experience next time round.