Your child (who you are SURE just started kindergarten yesterday) is going on the school trip. You’re certain he’ll never be able to function without you. He’ll lose his money, get lost in the big city or not get enough rest and end up sick. What’s a parent to do? Take a deep breath and ask questions! The more you know the better you’ll feel about letting your child travel. Here’s what parents should ask about the school trip.
Who’s in Charge?
Identify the decision-makers on the trip. Is there a reputable and insured student tour company handling the details? Check to see if the company is a member of the Student Youth Travel Association. Will there be a designated tour consultant traveling with students? Is the coordinating teacher taking the lead? Are chaperones provided through the school or parent volunteers? Does everyone have clearances? Knowing the key players will go a long way in establishing peace of mind.
Is There a Safety Plan?
If this is the first time your child is traveling alone, safety probably tops your list of concerns. Check that a safety plan is in place- including emergency procedures for transportation, hotel and attractions. Ask if the group is using a communication app like Remind to keep students informed of changes or challenges. Find out if a nurse will be available for medical emergencies or to assist with medication. A safety plan should be available to any parent who asks!
How are Students Traveling?
Typically, students travel by motorcoach or air. If traveling by motorcoach, ask for the safety record of the company. You can find this information at the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) website. You should also find out when the coach will be moving. Try to avoid driving through the night if possible. While many groups find this a cost-friendly option, it also comes with additional safety risks.
If traveling by air, ask for the id requirements (passport), carrier, and type of flight (chartered or commercial). Will the group fly together or separately? These may seem like common sense questions, but ones you may not think of until after the parent meeting!
How is Discipline Handled?
While we hope our children behave like angels while away from home, the reality is that sometimes trouble finds them. Ask for the discipline code, which in most cases follows the district’s policy. There should be clear indicators for unacceptable behaviors and resulting consequences.
What Will Students Do on the School Trip?
The itinerary of activities and stops will really depend on why the trip is happening. Some trips are intended to be learning experiences, some performance opportunities and some rewards. Know the purpose of your child’s trip and don’t be afraid to ask for a detailed itinerary.
These are highlights for what parents should ask about the school trip- especially if it’s the first! Arm yourself with answers and know that you’re giving your child an incredible opportunity to experience the world around them. Happy (and safe) travels!
Consider these other blogs for more information about your student traveling on a school trip!