Tips & Tricks for Traveling Abroad with Students

Selecting a Tour

I would strongly advise you not to arrange the trip yourself unless you get a great rush from making a thousand minor decisions and perhaps having a lot of unhappy clients. There are several trustworthy firms that provide excellent vacation planning services. Sure, no vacation is flawless, but then again, neither is one arranged by a teacher. Of course, the price is greater than if one planned the trip oneself, but not by enough to make the effort worthwhile.

But if you’re worried about a lot of assignments at university and don’t have free time to travel, you can use the services of online companies like to get quality expert help with your writing assignments.

If You Choose a Tour Company, You (Usually) Get…

  • a personal website where you may keep track of tour registrations and other information There is also a website dedicated to our tour that students may visit for information on the itinerary, costs, dates, and other aspects of the orientation tour. This means I’ll be visiting New York City in January to get a firsthand glimpse at what a tour is like. Isn’t it lovely?!
  • With 6 full-price paying travelers, your tour is covered (excluding spending money, meals, and other incidentals). The majority of tour organizations take six pupils, while some take ten.
  • a discount for family members who accompany you on your trip. However, everyone who obtains a discount does not count as an additional number toward the 6 or 12 or 18 required to have a passenger go for free, at least with the tour operator with whom I am traveling.

Informational Meeting

After you’ve done your fair amount of marketing (via word of mouth, emails, posters from the company, etc., you’ll have The Big Night! At our school, you have to fill out an official building permit request, so you may want to check and see if that is what you need to do at your school.

  • On the night of the event, put signs up at certain places in the building to help direct people to your classroom, even if you think it is easy to find.
  • Have a sign-in sheet with student name/parent name/parent email at the door along with a bowl of hard candies. I liked the hard candies because it was something thoughtful without requiring too much work on my end.
  • Think about a good meeting time. I would suggest 6:30 pm or 7 pm. Of course, there are inevitably those parents who won’t be able to make it either way.
  • Set realistic expectations. You won’t have 20 kids go home and sign up that night, but you might have 2, which is a great start!

The First Meeting of the Group

When it comes to preparing for your first trip meeting, you’ll need to think about the length of your journey. My trip meetings were held in the same month as a teacher friend’s, but because her trip was on a two-year plan and mine was on a one-year one (i.e. sign up in September, go in June), my first group meeting was held sooner after the informational meeting than hers.

You’ll need the following items for the meeting:

  1. a schedule – one for them and one for you with additional specifics so you don’t forget anything
  2. emergency contact list – Make a list of parents’ and students’ mobile phone numbers to take with you when you travel.
  3. OTC medication form – This document provides you permission to offer the kids a range of medications, such as advil and tums if they require them for common travel problems. It must be signed by the parents.
  4. Passport applications and other related forms – unless they already have one, all of the kids will want one.
  5. A list of often asked questions, such as reminding students that this is not a vacation where they can sleep in every morning or going through what they may require, such as immunizations, documentation, and power converters.


Some ideas for Fundraising (and what I thought if we did it):

  1. I worked concessions at a local college sports event. This was fun for the students but required a high amount of manpower for little reward. Not sure if I would do this again.
  2. My friend does a garage sale with her group. We might do this if we have some time next spring.
  3. At my school, a club does offer “windshield insurance” during the winter. The teachers pay $20 for November through March or $5/month to have a student go and clean off their car from ice or snow should it occur during a snow day. I love this idea! Of course, you’d have to live where there is snow but this is a great service-based idea that provides pretty good reward for the labor.
  4. A friend I met at the orientation weekend gave me a cute idea. They hold a cookie walk. The way that they do it is that they have a bunch of people make a bunch of cookies. Then you invite people to the school and have them choose from all the cookies. You give people boxes to take them home in and you weigh the box at the end. She charged $6/pound.
  5. There is always the selling of items: cookie dough, pizza, wrapping paper, etc.
  6. We’ve been having a lot of clubs do sponsor nights at local restaurants. For example, you get a local popular place, like Chipotle, to do a night where 10% of the sales are given to your club for anyone who comes in and mentions your group name.


Make a pre-departure meeting at least a month before your anticipated departure date. By this time, you should have made your aircraft or bus bookings and created a vacation schedule, which are both excellent subjects to cover during the meeting. A behavior contract was also needed for the students. This is especially crucial if you’re going with children you don’t know well or who have never been in your class before, since you may not know what to expect from them (of course, I wouldn’t accept any student without a teacher recommendation from someone I trusted). Students and parents were also instructed to verify emergency contact information. Your tour operator may also ask pupils to have a notified permission sheet confirming that their parents have given them permission to enter into the nation if they are traveling overseas. We had them but didn’t use them on the trip. Finally, at our pre-departure meeting, I had students complete a brief get-to-know-you questionnaire, which included questions like “Do I hit snooze when my alarm goes off or do I get up immediately?” and “Am I typically on time or late?”

I had the meeting off-campus, at a local eatery in their conference room, just for a fun change of pace but it wouldn’t be necessary to do so. If you are doing a trip that is longer between sign up and departure (2 years for example) then you may want to plan a 2nd pre-departure meeting sometime a few months ahead of the departure date to remind families of various items like getting passports and travel expectations.

Of course, you’ll want to keep track of how students are doing when it comes to paying for their trip and any other services provided by the company. You’ll also need to organize student rooms, assemble a medical kit (feminine products, advil, and sunscreen are musts), write thank-you notes for your tour guide and bus driver (I had students sign these at our pre-departure meeting, and you’ll have to collect extra tip money from the students if your tour company doesn’t provide it), make copies of passports and arrange to have this information with you at all times), and so on.

Another idea I have is to check in ahead of time for your flight. We flew with an airline that wouldn’t let us check our bags at the counter and instead required us to check them in electronically, so we had to use the self-check-in computer three times before we could board our flight. You’ll need to double-check your airline’s policies on this one, but the airline we used enabled each person to check-in and pay for a checked bag individually, which would make things easier for you, the group leader.

During the Journey


It should be a rather easy sailing from here if you prepared carefully and used a travel firm. The larger your gathering, the more planning you’ll need to guarantee that everything runs well. It’s rather easy to keep track of everyone with just six pupils, for example. With 30, though, more division of work will be required, which will be more stressful. Because 6-1 is a decent counting ratio, I recommend assigning one group leader to each of the six tourists. You might just double-check with the other four group leaders, who have already double-checked to confirm their six members are there, rather than counting 30. (or however the numbers would work out with your group). As you go, you’ll be conducting a lot of head counting.

If you opted with a travel agency, the most labor you’ll have to do is count heads because the tour guide will take care of everything else. This was a huge relief for me, and it allowed me to enjoy the vacation even more. You may occasionally have students that don’t fit in with the rest of the class, in which case you’ll need to perform some careful maneuvering anytime pupils need to be in groups or appear lonely.

The rest, I believe, is common sense, which you, as an educated professional, should have. I hope these tips help you prepare for your trip and that you have a fantastic time!