Planning the Great Adventure
By: Randy Mink – Managing Editor
Traveling with more than 700 students on a train from London to Paris this past spring, I was impressed how the whole movement went off without a hitch. Thanks to the staffs of Eurostar and student tour operator EF, every detail of the rail charter, including bus transfers on both ends, had been taken care of months in advance. The middle school students were extremely well-behaved—and I had been expecting a chaotic scene with a lot of crazy teenagers.
If moving an adolescent army of 700+ is a piece of cake, then a simple busload should be a snap. But you know that a smooth-running trip doesn’t just happen. Whether you’re putting together a day trip, weekend outing or multi-week trip to Europe, it all takes a lot of forethought—securing chaperones, charting itineraries, setting up meals, dealing with students and parents. We hope this sixth annual edition of Student Travel Planning Guide, aimed at educators and other youth leaders who want to plan the best possible trip, will provide inspiration, practical tips and just some reassurance that you’re not alone.
Talk about a complicated trip—consider the logistics of a school band trip with all the uniforms and instruments. I recall my son’s band trip to Disney World and how his high school band directors had everything in marching order. See “I Love a Parade” in this issue and all that’s involved in having your music group perform in a distant city or state.
Having students with food allergies can also test the travel planner, as our own staff writer, Lauren Reiniger, explains in an article based on her personal experiences coping with conditions she’s battled since childhood. Also in this issue, Lance Harrell, our online media director, suggests time-saving tech tools for tour leaders in “Toward a Paperless Travel Experience” and ways for your group to travel green in “Teaching Responsible Tourism to Students.”
International features include a report on the trend in language immersion programs to countries beyond Europe, with EF’s Hélène Vincent discussing high school students’ heightened interest in studying in Costa Rica and China. If you’ve considered incorporating train travel into a European itinerary, see my article on what Rail Europe can do for student groups.
We’re confident this guide, combined with our online resources, will help you plan a trip to remember. We do appreciate your feedback, so let us know how we can make Student Travel Planning Guide an even more useful tool in helping you lay the groundwork for A+ trips.