Where did you go on your last school tour and when?
We travelled in October half term last year to Sorrento in Italy. We had such a great time that we have already organised to go back there in October this year.
What made you pick this destination?
We look at Italy and Restless Earth at Key Stage 3 and thought it would be a good opportunity to combine the two units. What better way than to visit somewhere that could bring geography to life, whilst at the same time combine the culture of the area with the threat of living by an active volcano.
When did you start planning the tour?
We started collecting quotes over a year before we wanted to travel. Our aim was to organise it far enough in advance that it allowed plenty of time to organise payment from the parents.
What was the hardest part of organising your tour?
No matter how much time you give yourself, the hardest part is always coordinating payment from the parents.
Any tips for overcoming this?
It’s never an easy task but the key is time – break the amount down into smaller, more manageable amounts so parents can pay these over several months. Other advice I would offer is that you issue each student with a payment card to keep track of how much they have paid and still have left to pay.
If you were to give a first time tour leader one piece of advice when organising a tour what would it be?
Try and be as organised as possible! Make sure you have a checklist in place from the start, completing everything as you go along, such as collecting passport numbers and EHIC cards. Remember to give the students very clear boundaries. If everything is organised before you go it makes the whole experience much more enjoyable.
What has been your favourite tour experience to date?
There wouldn’t be one particular tour, as every tour has new experiences, be it ‘the big tough’ rugby lads wearing Mickey Mouse ears in Paris or students mixing outside of their usual social friendship groups and encouraging each other to climb to the top of Mount Vesuvius in Italy. It’s a brilliant feeling when students try something outside of their comfort zone or try food they wouldn’t ordinarily experience, fully embracing their time away.
If you could choose any destination in the world to take your students, where would it be and why?
Oh my goodness, where wouldn’t I want to take them! I think next on the agenda would be the Grand Canyon, white water rafting down that would certainly bring meanders to life. I would also love to visit Brazil to experience the Amazon rainforest and the beaches and carnivals… or to Australia to see the Great Barrier Reef. Too many choices!!!