Don’t Forget to Include the Class Trip in Your Back-to-School Plans

In teacher speak, the 4th of July signals the end of summer. Any teacher will tell you that once the fireworks are over, the mind jumps back into planning and prep mode for the next school year. The short summer break has refreshed and energized, allowing for a new perspective and excitement toward the coming year. As you prepare for your return to the classroom with renewed enthusiasm, dont forget to include the class trip in your back-to-school plans.

Summer is the perfect time to think about your pending class trip because you have some time! Once the school year is underway, youre swamped with lesson plans, deadlines, activities and more. Those last sweet weeks of summer allow you to focus on the nuts and bolts of the trip. You can choose your destination thoughtfully and take time to research your attractions. Youll have a better chance of those attractions responding to your queries if they arent knee-deep in the student travel season. You can lay out the perfect itinerary, considering flow and timing, proximity of attractions to the hotel and each other, etc. You can search for great educational programs or performance workshops, depending on the needs of your group. You can decide what kind of transportation will work best and secure contracts and rates early. You can think about the best fundraiser for your group or research grant or scholarship opportunities for your students. Finally, you can plan a payment schedule that makes sense for everyone and not scramble at the last minute to pay those deposits.

Kaleidoscope Adventures: Educating Students Through Travel

If you need a helping hand getting started, give Kaleidoscope Adventures a call. As a leader in the student travel industry for more than 25 years and a former teacher at the helm, KA is equipped to handle your every need with ease. Trust the experts at Kaleidoscope Adventures to make your class trip one your students will remember for years to come! Contact KA at (800) 774-7337 or email

If you plan trips on your own, theres a great new resource available that takes you step-by-step through the process. Group Experience was designed with busy teachers in mind and takes the guess work out of putting together your class trip.

As much as we want summer to last into perpetuity, the 4th of July is a reality check. Its time to get back in the groove and start prepping for a fantastic year in the classroom and beyond!

Group Travel Video- Make a Memory That Lasts!

My brother and his wife recently visited Spain, a spectacular country rich in history and culture. Upon their return, we were treated to an hour-long PowerPoint presentation highlighting the trip. One hour. One very long hour. Una larga hora. It was lovely, but as I found myself fighting to keep my eyelids open, I thought perhaps there might be a better way to share these once-in-a-lifetime travel moments.

Enter Group Travel Videos , a memory keepsake storytelling video program available to groups that travel to virtually to any place in the world. This amazing company has been around for more than 20 years, producing videos that beautifully and creatively capture the best moments of a travel experience.

Group Travel Videos will use the photos everyone has taken on the trip (and lets face it, our phones hold TONS of photos) and combine them with music and titles chosen by the group. They will carefully inspect each photo and remove the unusable ones, correct color or crop as necessary. To make it even easier, they have an app that allows you to upload and share photos while you travel! These photos will be used to create a masterpiece of memories as a hard copy digital video AND a streaming digital version that can be stored on whatever media you choose. You can even provide your own performance music or live video clips to be added at no charge!

This year, Group Travel Videos added a geo-mapping and messaging feature to their app as well. It allows the teacher to view where the class is while on tour and can message a single traveler or the entire group. Its really an outstanding communication tool for the travelers and a huge reassurance for nervous parents!
This product is especially fantastic for student groups- a particularly prolific population when it comes to photos (wink, wink.) Group Travel Videos knows how to take this abundance of photos and streamline them into a fantastically fun video that students will watch and share again and again. For a quick demo of the app, click here!

If you travel with students, as a teacher, tour operator or even a home school co-op, consider adding the Group Travel Video product to your trip. Some student travel companies like Kaleidoscope Adventures include this service as part of their travel packages (which both teachers and students love!). Group travel planning sites like Group Travel Odyssey also have a link to Group Travel Videos so you dont forget to document your adventures! Many travel leaders use the videos each year to generate interest and excitement for the trip and recruit new participants- smart!

When we visit an incredible destination, we want to share it with everyone we meet, hoping they will be just as enamored with the experience as we were. These videos, created with such precise attention to detail, meet the mark beautifully. Group Travel Videos really does put you in the middle of the action- with a starring role! I must say, it makes for much better viewing than the PowerPoint, lo siento, mi hermano!

Group Travel Planning- Safety When Traveling with Students

When my oldest child left for his first week of sleep-away camp, I worried. I worried that he wouldnt eat well, that he would get a sunburn or be sick, or that he wouldnt change his underwear (turns out that I had good reason to worry about that!) As parents, we worry incessantly when our children are out of our protective reach. As you plan your group travel, its a strong possibility that you will be traveling with students- many of whom will be on their own for the first time ever!

Safety When Traveling with Students
Its 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- once you leave the relative safety of home or school. In an age of cell phones and instant communication, parents often know when something goes wrong before you might! A solid safety plan and open communication are the keys to a successful student trip. We cant guarantee that nothing bad will happen as you travel after all, Mother Nature doesnt always care that we have plans, buses occasionally break down, students get sick, and so on. 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 are available to download at no charge and offer some thoughtful suggestions for student group travel planners.

As you are preparing your safety plan, you may want to consider including the following suggestions
? Think about using a communication app like Remind to reach students without using personal numbers
As You Travel
? Cover any emergency evacuation procedures if traveling by motorcoach or airplane
? Encourage a teacher or chaperone to remain close to TSA in the event that a student requires personal screening during air travel
At the Hotel
? Distribute room keys to students in a private area away from the general public
? Decide where chaperones should be stationed throughout the property as students move about
? Clearly identify the areas of the property where students are permitted as well as expectations of behavior
? Provide clear instructions for security guards or nighttime chaperones (i.e. dont ask students to open doors, etc.)
? Determine nightly room check procedures and communicate clearly with chaperones
? Provide emergency evacuation procedures to the group and establish a safe meeting place 300 feet from the building
? Emphasize the importance of communicating any illness, dizziness or bleeding to a chaperone (look out for your roommates!)
At the Venue
? Register your group at first aid upon arrival at amusement parks or other large venues
? Be sure to have a weather emergency plan available for outdoor attractions
? Steer clear of large exiting crowds (i.e.- stay seated until the bulk of a crowd clears out and exit the venue together)
? Ensure that students and chaperones know meeting locations and times
To reiterate, these are SUGGESTIONS for establishing a student safety protocol. It would be wise to check with your district for any additional policies that may already exist.

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 theres a strategy for dealing with the unknown and students will clearly understand the safety procedures. The only thing to left to worry about is that smelly laundry when they return!