How Student travel companies can help & benefit you

How can choosing a reliable student travel company benefit you

An international student trip is an effective way to give the studious ones a deserved break from the classroom, while making room for the opportunity to explore the world, and learn from the diverse experiences one encounters along the way.

Educational travel does have its own set of benefits: improved critical thinking skills, stronger teacher-student relationships, and an expanded worldview, are a few of the amazing takeaways. Now, that’s just the icing on the cake you need, isn’t it?

Increasingly and quite interestingly, it’s becoming more and more common for teachers and schools to recruit school travel companies to help organise educational trips abroad, underlining the paradigm shift – from a curricular to a more worldly-wise approach towards learning.

Since 2010, the number of schools offering international trips to students has increased by 127% particularly in the UK, Australia and New Zealand, a statistic that substantiates this radical shift in experiential learning. Experts attribute this phenomenon to the increased pressure of the education system to produce global citizens that are adaptable and ready for the modern workplace, armed with real-world exposure and practical life insights.

Recruiting a school travel company to organise an educational trip can be extremely beneficial especially for your first time visiting abroad, when you need guidance from a reliable expert. School travel specialists know the logistics of travelling with a large group of students and can organise seamless itineraries with time, travel, accommodation and educational activities and all the other variables factored in and accounted for. Moreover, they can also help with the peripheral yet crucial aspects of student travel, like school trip risk assessment, and health and safety planning, so that your journey becomes truly hassle-free.

School travel specialists exist for a reason – they’re very passionate about travel, they know what they’re doing and want to work with you to create a fun, engaging, enriching, once-in-a-lifetime learning experience for your students.

Now imagine the D Day, the defining moment has finally come. You and your students are about to embark on an educational trip to some of the world’s most notable and historic destinations, and are extremely thrilled at the prospect of exploring new realities. For months, your classroom has been abuzz with all the banter of the experiences that lay in store for you out there, outside the safe, predictable confines of the classroom. You realize, in order to make this vision a reality, you’ll need the help of reliable educational travel companies.

Here are a few important stages of the journey an educational travel expert can help you with:

Where to Begin?

Travel is a transformative experience, and the unique learning opportunities offered by educational travel can inspire young minds, so much so that the impact made can prove to be a profound one, lasting an entire lifetime. The experienced ones will tell you what’s the most important aspect of student travel: The devil that lives in the details. This means that relying on a knowledgeable, experienced travel company that will consider everything—even things you don’t realize you need – is a crucial step towards ensuring smooth execution of the travel plan. You’ll also want to choose companies that simplify this rather tedious, complicated task for you—in the planning stage, during your trip, and even afterward—so that you can continue to focus on your classroom instruction as well as on achieving the overall goal – of gaining invaluable experience. All educational travel companies do not offer the same kind of experiences, yet there are sure-fire ways to determine which ones will prove to be the best fit for you. Getting your groundwork right, is the first step towards ensuring assured success.

EXPERIENCE

What’s the tenure and nature of the experience of the travel organization, in the niche domain of student travel? It is extremely rare to come across a one-stop shop that possesses expertise in all areas of life, and we certainly can’t be everywhere at all times. Every day we rely on specialists for advice and guidance in order to navigate through life, and choosing to travel with students should be no different.

Coordinating vendors, booking hotels, and securing travel arrangements, involves a lot of moving parts and finer cogs and wheels, so choosing a company that will take care of all of these aspects is of much importance. Working with an experienced educational travel company is crucial for the success of your trip, while allowing that organization to utilize its network of resources while you focus on what’s important: educating and inspiring your students to be outgoing and fearless in life pursuits.

The best educational travel providers will help you prepare and customize your program so that all you have to do is pretty much show up and execute your plan, and soak in all that your new experiences have to offer you. These providers, apart from possessing sound expertise, also have long-standing relationships with vendors, that make securing and handling travel arrangements easy and hassle-free. In order to avoid unforeseen roadblocks like logistical nightmares, be sure to choose companies that have documented experience of taking students on tour.

It’s also helpful to ask the company for references from teachers who have traveled with them previously, so you can gain insights from prior experiences. These teachers have been in your shoes and likely had some of the same questions you did. Their experiences will help give you an idea of what to expect from the company, and prepare yourself accordingly. And, like any other good research, it’s also beneficial to check out independent reviews to get balanced input and an uncoloured perspective, so your expectation setting is fair.

SAFETY & SECURITY

What systems are in place to prevent incidents from occurring and to mitigate ones outside anyone’s control— when they inevitably happen? A fool-proof contingency plan is as important as a flawless itinerary is.

As teachers, mothers, and fathers, we know that accidents happen, and that safety of your family members has to be prioritised above everything. While it’s certain that new experiences like travel involve unexpected changes and unforeseen emergencies, you should be wary of any travel organization that tells you otherwise. A quality educational travel company has the following features:

  1. A well-defined system that helps prevent mishaps in the first place. This structure should include non-negotiables like overnight support, important phone numbers on name tags for students to wear throughout the duration of their trip, safe and reliable vendor support, etc.
  2. Access to trained support if issues arise while on tour. Be sure there is a direct line to a representative at a central office staffed 24/7 with company employees—not a third party. It is also recommended that you have access to an experienced on-staff physician, in case a medical emergency occurs.

While it may be unlikely that you’ll need to utilize all of these resources during a single program, the availability will give you peace of mind to rest easy and focus on your students’ experience while you’re traveling. Peace, of having a dependable support system, is an invaluable asset during travel.

SUPPORT

Who is with me while I’m on tour? Having help as you prepare for your trip is essential, and that support should continue while you’re traveling. Select a company that will be with you every step of the way, choose an able companion in life’s key journeys.

Ensure you have access to both, an emergency call center and to someone on-site for more immediate needs (e.g., getting your bags at the airport, last-minute changes to room assignments, a run to the pharmacy to grab a prescription for an ill student, or help locating the breakfast location so you can corral your 40 students, to getting local intel when in a foreign land, to everything in between).

You should also consider who will be leading your group as you visit each destination, because a lot depends on how well the pack is shepherded. Choose a travel provider who employs a course leader to engage your students and who prompts your group with thought-provoking questions, so that the scope of learning during your experience becomes boundless. The best course leaders have been trained in instructional strategies and differentiation, and they know how to make meaningful connections between classroom lessons and trip experiences – so as to link theory to practical learning. These leaders also use technology and speak the language of today’s students, and are at the pulse of modern learning. These features add value to your program by extending education beyond classroom walls, and make an otherwise rudimentary program meaningful and stimulating for your students, so that the lessons stay etched in their hearts long after the travel experience is completed.

AFFORDABILITY

What if my students need help funding their trip? What if the budgets are not sufficient to achieve the overall objective? We all know that there is a cost associated with taking education beyond classroom walls, but it’s also an investment with immeasurable return and unexpected pleasant windfalls. That’s why it’s important to choose an educational travel company who understands the value of making experiential travel accessible.

ACCREDITATION

What are the educational benefits of taking my students on this trip? A focus on education is paramount when you decide to take your students on a trip outside the classroom, because the exploration will help them step out of their comfort zone and overcome real-world challenges.

Be sure the educational travel organization you choose values education as much as you do.

Some of the reasons you should choose a renowned, trustworthy student travel partners are:

  • They know how to prepare for the worst:

News sources frequently report on the rising global threat levels on account of climate change. This means having a solid contingency plan in place is crucial when planning an international school trip, so as to avoid confronting the wrath of nature.

One of the best ways school travel specialists can support you is by ensuring every unforeseen scenario is thoroughly evaluated and accounted for. School travel companies have the knowledge, years of experience and connections to support you on the ground if an unlikely event occurs. They can also easily change accommodation, flights and activities so that your trip runs smoothly, without unwelcome interruptions.

  • They take the stress out of organising a school trip:

As a teacher or a parent, your time is valuable and planning a trip can be an added stress in your already busy life. Planning a student trip is very different from a personal vacation, you’ll need to consider finding hotels that can accommodate everyone, restaurants that cater to different dietary requirements, what activities are worthwhile, how much time you’ll need to get between activities, and so much more. And all these factors have a significant bearing on how fulfilling your overall experience will be.

Your student trip organiser should have the experience and training required to critically look at your school’s needs and deliver a seamless itinerary at the best price. They make sure each aspect of your trip meets your specific requirements, so you and your students can thoroughly enjoy the experience.

While you’re likely excited to show your students the world outside your classroom, no one should expect you to be a travel agent or tour operator on top of being an educator, which is your primary forte.

  • Custom itineraries crafted to suit your needs:

A student tour company works closely with you to bring your travel vision to life. Understanding that every group of students is unique and every school has its own learning objectives, the experienced travel experts do not force fit your passionate students into a cookie-cutter tour. Rather, they gain thorough understanding of the group’s goals, expectations, and budget, and accordingly craft custom itineraries that help you actually achieve your educational outcomes. So that your trip provides real-world experiences for your students, which create exponential possibilities, that multiply the impact of your curriculum and accelerate the students’ growth.

  •  Expert, local guides:

Forget the tour bus, forget the classical map, forget internet research. A good student travel company ensures students don’t travel across the world only to stay in chain hotels and eat at chained restaurants, but gain from authentic grassroots experiences. Because student tour operators have professional relationships with local vendors, your students are guaranteed to have true cultural experiences.

  • Teacher benefits:

Teachers give so much to their students—their unwavering energy, support, passion, and let’s not forget, patience. Choose a student tour company that provides benefits to teachers too, because they deserve to be treated well for all the selfless effort they put in.

We hope this comprehensive guide will help you make an informed decision, so that you can plan and execute memorable travel plans for your students.

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