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How to Plan A School Trip

The school year is now on fast forward. You have curriculum to cover, testing to complete and a million tasks waiting on your desk. Oh- and it’s time to think about next year’s class trip! Relax… we’ve got you covered with five easy tips to get you started. Here’s how to plan a great school trip.

1. Choose Your Destination and Travel Dates

Decide where you want to go with your group. Are you traveling for curriculum? Performance? Fun? There are tons of great student destinations (link to destinations page) to meet and exceed your travel expectations. Boston makes an ordinary history lesson extraordinary with unique tours and “revolutionary” attractions. Cleveland is picking up “STEAM” with science groups. Orlando is a premier performance destination for bands, orchestras and choral groups. There are so many fantastic destinations your students will love!

Top 10 Student Travel Destinations

Once you know where you’re going, decide when you’re going. The best travel times depend on the specific needs of your group. Consider weather, school schedules, rates, tournaments, etc. Some destinations like Washington D.C. have lots of student groups in the spring. You may want to think instead about how to plan a great school trip in the fall. If you’re destination gets cold (Chicago, anyone?) you might want to travel in the spring or summer. Some destinations’ rates vary by season as well.

2. Communicate the Details with Parents and Students

One you’ve figured out where and when you’re going, it’s time to get parents and students on board. According to SYTA’s independent research study 60% of teachers agree that student travel increases a students willingness to know/learn/ and explore. What parents wouldn’t want to help their child increase their willingness to learn?  Build excitement for the school trip using social media or hype it in class. See if your trip planner can put together a website just for your trip to send information out to your students and parents. Plan a parent meeting (and be prepared to answer LOTS of questions!) or see if your trip planner can come and facilitate this! The more information you share, the more successful your trip will be.

3. Set A Schedule

Setting a schedule is one of the most stressful parts of planning a school trip. You may not know when to book attractions, when to take payments or make payments, or when to book transportation. Creating a checklist and timeline will help you manage the process. We’ve included some general benchmarks to help you plan successfully!

4. Make A Safety Plan

I take it back. THIS is the most stressful things about planning a school trip. It’s a bit daunting to realize you are now responsible for the health and well-being of a group of poor decision-makers- I mean, students. In an age of cell phones and instant communication, parents often know when something goes wrong before you!

A solid safety plan and open communication are the keys to a successful student trip. We can’t guarantee that nothing bad will happen as you travel. After all, Mother Nature doesn’t always care that we have plans, buses occasionally break down or students get sick. The good news is that excellent safety resources are available to help inform you as you create a safety plan for student travel.

The Student Youth Travel Association is a superb place to start. This organization is committed to providing student and youth travelers with safe, rich and rewarding travel experiences. A Safety Resource Guide and Safety Tips Brochure is available to download.

Creating a clear safety plan and method of communication will go a long way in helping to alleviate that all-encompassing anxiety associated with student travel. Parents will breathe easier knowing there’s a strategy for dealing with the unknown and students will clearly understand the safety procedures.

5. Choose Kaleidoscope Adventures as Your Trusted Travel Partner

If this abundance of information is starting to make you feel more anxious about how to plan a great student trip, RELAX. Kaleidoscope Adventures can help you simplify the process. KA has been a leader in student trip planning for more than 25 years. Kaleidoscope’s founder and CEO is a former teacher and understands your challenges and time constraints.

The team at KA is accessible, competent and incredibly knowledgeable. They have the inside scoop on the very best student destinations and performance venues. They’ll work with you to create an itinerary that meets your curricular goals and budget needs.

Planning your student trip with KA is easy and convenient – especially when time is not on your side! Contact Kaleidoscope Adventures today. They’ll handle the details of your school trip while you handle, well, everything else!

Get Started Planning Your School Trip

Choose A Reliable Tour Operator with Professional Memberships                                  Travel Beyond Expectations with Kaleidoscope Adventures                              Fundraising for the Class Trip

5 Best Factory and Museum Tours for Students

Everyone wants to know where their favorite stuff comes from and how it’s made. That’s why factory and museum tours are so much fun! These are our picks for the 5 best factory and museum tours for students in some great student destinations.

World of Coca Cola in Atlanta, GA

If your group is going to Atlanta, be sure to stop at the World of Coca Cola. It’s a fantastic tour for students with 125 years of stuff to check out! Students can start in the lobby with an ice-cold Coke before checking out the Loft, an area packed with Coca Cola’s rich heritage. The Bottle Works is a super cool replica of a bottling facility that gives a behind-the-scenes look at the bottling process. It uses some of the same equipment the plants use but runs more slowly to allow students to see how it’s done.

Everyone loves a hidden treasure, and the Vault of the Secret Formula doesn’t disappoint. Students can pass through interactive, multimedia exhibits while learning about the history of Coca Cola’s top-secret formula. Kids can become effervescent bubbles, protectors of the secret and creators of a flavor that they can taste.

Of course, the best part of the museum is Taste It! Guests can sample more than 100 different beverages from around the world (arranged geographically- you’re welcome, teachers!)

Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory in Louisville, KY

If your student group is heading to Louisville, you have to “swing” by the Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory. The world’s biggest baseball bat (120 feet and 68,000 pounds of steel) greets you as you enter. The museum exhibits celebrate the role the of the Louisville Slugger in baseball throughout the years.

The Hold A Piece of History exhibit is pretty awesome. You can actually hold a bat used by Mickey Mantle, Derek Jeter and other greats throughout the years!

The factory tour is a one-of-a-kind experience. You’ll be right in the middle of the production line where you can see, smell and hear these iconic bats being manufactured. You’ll even get a free souvenir mini bat at the end of the tour. It’s a swing and a hit!

 Corning Museum of Glass in Corning, NY

I know what you’re thinking. Glass + student groups = DISASTER! Time to rethink because this is a really cool experience for kids. The Corning Museum of Glass is an ultramodern facility with a designated education department for student groups. You can learn about the history, science and art of glass, as well as its daily applications. There are tour options for all ages, each with a S.T.E.A.M. focus. Demonstrations, exhibits, glass making and more make this a great stop on any New York itinerary!

Turkey Hill Experience in Lancaster, PA

I scream, you scream… the Turkey Hill Experience in Lancaster, PA will make everyone scream for ice cream! This bright, spacious facility in the middle of Amish country is tons of fun. Students can learn how ice cream is made, milk mechanical cows or sit in an old-fashioned milk truck. The Turkey Hill Taste Lab allows them to virtually create their own ice cream flavor and then EAT IT!!

Tea Discovery will let them learn about and taste teas from around the world. Turkey Hill Experience offers discounts for groups and educational supplements for the classroom as well.

Hershey’s Chocolate World in Hershey, PA

Just a short drive from Lancaster is Hershey’s Chocolate World in Hershey, PA. Anything with the words “chocolate world” in the title is already a win. Now factor in free admission, a free tour and free candy at the end of said tour and it’s like winning a championship!

Hershey’s Chocolate World is a fun look at Hershey’s chocolate making process from bean to bar. See, hear, feel and smell as you ride through the chocolate making tour in comfort. Cows will sing, and kids will love it!

If you want to add to your visit, you can create your own candy bar or participate in a tasting for an additional fee. Both are immersive learning experiences and lots of fun for students.

These the 5 best factory and museum tours for students in some of the best student travel destinations. If you’re looking for more things to do with students, check out some of these great ideas…

Atlanta is One of the Top Student Destinations

Day at the Museum

Travel Student Planning Guide’s  See It Made: 10 Top Factory Tours

5 Awesome Travel Blogs Teens Will Love

My daughter is obsessed with Kara and Nate. She follows them everywhere and wants to do everything they do. This seems like pretty typical 7th grade behavior, right? Sure, until you realize that Kara and Nate are travel bloggers with a wildly popular YouTube channel, not friends from school. My daughter is consumed with the idea of travel, and evidently so are many of her friends!  Blogs and vlogs are an amazing way for kids to explore the world virtually. They inspire adventure, promote critical thinking, encourage budgeting, even help prepare for potential travel-related careers. Here are 5 awesome travel blogs teens will love…

Kara and Nate

Kara and Nate were broke newlyweds when they decided to sell their cars, move out of their apartment and buy one-way tickets to Tokyo. They set a goal to travel to 100 countries by the year 2020. As of this writing, they’ve flown 425833 miles and made it to 94! They blog and vlog to share travel hacks, budgeting tips and their crazy adventures. They are PURE entertainment with an easy-going style and fun-loving attitude. No wonder they have nearly a million followers!

Dreamtime Traveler

Meet Reka, a teen traveler who’s been telling her stories of the world since starting out with her family and twin brother in 2011. She’s been to 52 countries on six continents, and her narratives highlight the people, cultures and history of humankind. Through these personal journeys, she motivates others to pursue their dreams. Oh- and one more small thing – she’s a PUBLISHED AUTHOR of her own novel Dawn of the Guardian! Pretty amazing stuff!

Dan Flying Solo

This guy spent 1467 days traveling between 2014-2018 and has lots of good advice to share. He really gets that life is a journey and not every experience can be the same. There’s something to learn in each adventure, though. Dan’s style is fun and engaging with more than a million page views (slightly up from his original 18!).

Nomadic Matt

This is a great travel blog because it’s not clouded with sponsors. Matt shows what real life on the road is like staying in budget motels, waiting for buses and generally traveling like the average joe. There’s no sponsored content or paid trips – just a passion for travel as a life-changing experience.


Aly is a psychology graduate turned world traveler. Her love for adventure shines through in a very real and relatable way. She uses her platform to show others how to live their best life through travel. She shares great destinations and advice while taking us along for the ride- and what a ride it is!

These are 5 awesome travel blogs for teens. They spotlight people, places, cultures and foods that fascinate. More than that, they are an entrée into the world of travel. Just like my daughter (who is already planning her career path with travel in mind), kids will be hooked. If you want to take it beyond the virtual, you can

Why Are Scrunchies Back In A Big Way?

If you spend any time around teens or tweens, you may have picked up on a new trend. If you’re a child of the late 80s or early 90s, the trend may seem familiar. Little bits of elastic wrapped in colorful fabric are used in hair or found on wrists. They are stacked, wrapped or coiled. Ringing a bell? That’s right, the Scrunchie is on the scene!  The question is, why are Scrunchies back in a big way?

What’s a Scrunchie?

A Scrunchie is a fabric-covered, elastic hair tie. It was invented in 1967 but not widely used until it was patented in 1987. It was sold as a “Scunci” but evolved into the “Scrunchie” since the fabric can be “scrunched up.” They were much gentler on hair than elastic bands. You could also wear more than one on your wrist as stylish accessories. These were sometimes called bunch bangles. Any way you wore them, they accessorized those flowy, shoulder-padded outfits perfectly!

When were Scrunchies popular?

Scrunchies were wildly popular in the late 1980s and early 90s. Girls everywhere wore ponytails high and wrapped in rainbow colored Scrunchies. Icons like Madonna made the velvet version a hit and TV shows like Full House put teen star power behind the trend. Grandmas everywhere were busy stitching up knock offs to sell at craft shows or gift to granddaughters.

Why are Scrunchies popular now?

The Scrunchie revival is in full swing for several reasons. First, those of us (ahem) who wore these stretchy gems as teens are feeling nostalgic. After being uncool for so long, we’re happy to see them resurrected by our children and made cool again. The 20-year rule is in effect; what was old is new again!

Second, celebrities and social media fashionistas are championing the stretchy, style-saving wonders. VIPs like Bella Hadid and Jennifer Lopez are sporting Scrunchies in high hair. Of course, let’s not forget that we are layering them on wrists as well. They’re a bright addition to an outfit and won’t cut off your circulation!
Finally, if you claim status as a “VSCO” girl (which is a blog for a different day), a Scrunchie is as essential to your status as a shell necklace!

Do Scrunchies on the wrist mean anything?

Scrunchies on the wrist are not just cute accessories – and they’re not just for girls! Guys will wear Scrunchies on their wrists as an indicator that they are in a relationship with someone. His significant other gifts him with the hair tie as a visible symbol of the relationship.

If you spend time with students, chances are you’ve seen the return of the Scrunchie. It may be made with new fabric or may have taken on new meaning, but it’s out there. Boys and girls are decking themselves in trendy, multi-colored bits of stretchy fun. In the halls or in the malls, Scrunchies are back in a big way! I guess it’s only a matter of time before my beloved banana clip makes a comeback- right? This child of the 80s will be ready and waiting!

What Are the New Rules for Driver Hours?

Not so long ago, my husband traveled with students. Many, MANY days started at 3:00 a.m., or worse, were already well underway at that ungodly hour. I spent countless late nights and early mornings worrying about leaping deer, drunks on the road or exhausted motorcoach drivers. He is no longer keeping such crazy hours and I’m happy to report that the drivers aren’t either. There are new rules for driver hours. If you travel with students, you’ll want to be up to speed.

What is an Electronic Logging Device (ELD)?

In the old days, drivers could fudge their driving times. Not saying they did, just that they could. Traffic delays pop up, tour leaders get antsy about staying on schedule or unexpected stops throw trips off track. When hours were logged on paper, it’s conceivable that they could be misrepresented. This practice meant tired drivers might be behind the wheel longer than they should be.  Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) changed this potentially dangerous practice. ELDs require drivers to log hours electronically, eliminating the stress of placating tour leaders.

An “equalizer” in the industry

Pete Pantuso, President of the American Bus Association (ABA), called ELDs an “equalizer” in the industry. In a recent article that appeared in ABA’s publication Destinations, he referenced ELDs. “Companies who may have operated under the radar and tried to push driving hour limits now must follow the same legal requirements for drivers’ hours or quickly be identified through electronic logs and reports, all of which will easily be accessible to enforcement officials,” said Pantuso.

Which vehicles are affected by the new rules?

ELDs are required for all commercial motor vehicles weighing 10,001 pounds or more or are used to transport 9 or more people (including driver) for compensation. They are also required on vehicles designed to transport 16 or more people (including driver) not for compensation.

How long can a driver be on-duty?

The question of how long a driver can be on duty has been settled. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) set regulations allowing drivers to drive up to 10 hours and be on-duty up to 15 hours in a 24-hour period. On-duty time includes the 10 hours driving and a half hour of maintenance prior to and at the end of the day. It also includes responsibilities related to the group. Ten hours driving is the MAXIMUM a driver can drive after 8 consecutive hours off-duty. Drivers can only drive 60 hours in 7 days or 70 hours in 8 days.

How do these changes affect your trip?

Let’s translate these regulations into real hours. Your group has traveled 7 hours to its destination. You arrive at 11:00 p.m. The driver parks, unloads the bus and goes off-duty at 11:30 p.m. He or she will not be back on-duty again until 7:30 a.m.  Bus loading can then begin at 8:00 a.m. It’s important to be mindful of these changes as you plan the itinerary so the day goes smoothly.

Why are the changes necessary?

These updates are the direct result of a need to improve motorcoach travel safety. They help eliminate the temptation to keep driving beyond safe boundaries and cut down on drowsy driving. While it may mean rethinking the itinerary a bit, these new rules for driver hours are designed to keep passengers and drivers safe.  We’ll all sleep a little better knowing drivers are rested and alert when those deer start jumping!