Choosing an excursion provider for educational travel is one of the most important decisions an organiser will have to make. A good company can make or break the experience in terms of both education and financial value.
School trips can often seem a mundane part of the curriculum, however, these trips in the UK and abroad, when done properly, can be invaluable to students. Naturally, they represent a considerable investment and no small risk for educators. If you want to find the extraordinary, not just the acceptable, you need to choose a provider wisely, and know how to find the best.
They know their destinations
The best school travel companies invariably know their destinations inside out. From Reykjavik to Moscow, Athens to Budapest, they have expert guides and tour leaders who know exactly how to get the most out of local culture. This is vital because no matter how much research teachers put into their next destination, they will ultimately be at the mercy of the knowledge of their provider. With the better providers, careful consultation and expert guidance will deliver the ultimate experience of the ruins of Athens, the beaches of Barcelona or the museums of Paris, for example.
They know how to educate
They key difference between school travel companies and generic providers is education. Or, at least, it should be. An excellent appreciation of education, the National Curriculum and a precise understanding of how students will learn from the often-exciting experience of overseas trips are vital to making sure the excursion is worthwhile. For example, if students travel to the West Coast of the U.S.A. and only visit classic tourist icons like Santa Monica Pier, Hollywood Boulevard or the Golden Gate Bridge, they may have missed out on vital opportunities to have their minds and memories stirred, challenged and pushed with a well thought out itinerary.
They focus on safety
There is no need to believe that the world is a dangerous place to understand the risks inherent to school trips. You only need to picture travelling with a group of thirty over-excited thirteen-year olds to the hectic streets of New York or London or Paris to begin to appreciate just what could go wrong. This is why the best school travel companies value safety above all else, and only these providers should ever enter into your consideration.
They combine learning with fun
For all the emphasis on learning and safety that should be synonymous with school travel companies, the ones with true quality value fun as well. This is because they understand that not only are excursions unique events in students’ lives, but also how a truly fun environment accentuates learning and serves safety. For example, while traversing the museums, parks and squares of a city, students are more likely to follow safety instructions and take in points of history, art and architecture if they are motivated and enjoying themselves.
Angela Bowden works for EST (Equity School Travel), the UK’s largest educational travel company. A standout amongst school travel companies, Equity School Travel provides tours for secondary schools, primary schools and colleges. Tours can encompass a wide range of learning opportunities in worldwide destinations.