Tips and Suggestions
As with any international trip, you are at the mercy of the travel Gods, and all you can do is pray all goes well. At times that simply does not happen, here are a few scenarios that I have experienced while traveling with students.
Very likely to happen especially during the summer months with storm season, nothing you can do about it, let the airline work it out and get comfortable in the airport in a general location where you can monitor everyone. Yes, you may miss a portion of your trip, but the tour company works this out flawlessly and your travel insurance will cover your refund.
This might also happen due to a late flight, connecting flight or a maintenance issue that can’t be fixed. You would rather be safe than sorry, get on the airline call back list and try to secure a hotel room for the crew. The airline usually handles this one for you, just be prepared to wait at the customer service line. It was easier to call the number and have them call you back. Pre-advise parents that if this does happen, the travel insurance will reimburse the full cost.
Students may not budget wisely during the trip, be prepared to make sure everyone eats if they are out of cash and mom says no more! We can’t let them starve to teach them a lesson in money management! Don’t allow them to order the lobster and steak, but make sure they are getting the required meals to stay healthy.
Make sure you have extra medications for those students who have a prescription in the event they are lost or misplaced. Some meds may need to be kept by the chaperone if the student is known not to take them consistently as needed. The last thing you want is an unmedicated student in the middle of a foreign country, with a language barrier and no access to a pharmacy.
Let’s be honest, you are traveling with a group of teens, someone may be pregnant, ( yes we had a pregnant student on our trip, we made sure she was well hydrated, took her prenatal vitamins, and ate as much as she needed to eat, did it stop her from enjoying the trip, no) or get pregnant, kids have sex. Be observant about love affairs that transpire during the trip and limit the time they are “unsupervised” but let’s face it, kids will be kids, and good safe sex briefing before the trip begins is a MUST! Now, they may meet a new love who is a citizen of the country you are visiting, make sure nobody sneaks off and gets married during a tour, this might create a whole different set of problems when you are trying to get them home. You did not sign up to produce another episode of 90 Day Fiancée, so keep an eye out! Nobody gets pregnant on my watch, nobody!
A great app to use on international trips is WhatsApp, create a group chat with everyone and send messages to the students and other chaperones with important information daily. This ensures that when they have a Wi-Fi signal, they will all be receiving the same message and you can also use this as a form of check in when they have free time on their own.
Please do not steal in another country I can’t help you. Period!
The beauty of high school student trips is that you do not need to spend every waking moment supervising, create some boundaries, stick with them, but let the students have some time to explore and be the responsible young adults that you have guided them to be while exploring the world. I sure hope these examples and tips have encouraged you to take a trip with students and have some fun. Despite all of the crazy things that can happen, it’s an adventure that opens your heart to the world of student travel!
Much love from the brown girl, traveling the world with students, trying to make something beautiful. Find me and the team at Unnerved Travel Tours for our daily travel updates, tips and vents @Unnervedtraveler, @Dearnyri and @Unnervedtraveltours on Instagram and Facebook!