Today, many new educators and even some experienced ones are having second thoughts taking students on trips due to the potential safety and security risks associated with group travel. As the leader of a student group, safety and security is an overwhelming consideration throughout the planning stages, as well as on the trip. Advance preparation can help prevent any unpleasant experiences and ensure a smooth and productive trip for everyone involved.
Here are some areas of safety for which student group leaders can plan ahead.
Choose the right travel planner
One of the most important aspects of planning a student trip is the reliability of the group travel planner. The following list can help qualify the best travel planner for a student program.
Set the ground rules
While teachers often set behavioral ground rules with students before going on a trip, setting expectations for safe behavior is vital. Some proven safety ground rules include:
General safety tips
Other safety tips that should be shared with students and parents include:
Safety is a team effort. SYTA members are committed to providing student and youth travelers with a safe and secure travel experience. When it comes to travel safety, knowledge is power and communication is key.
SYTA is the association that represents the interests of student and youth travel. The association works to set standards and to help students, parents, and educators experience the social and educational value of travel. SYTA requires its members to meet financial integrity criteria and adhere to a stringent Code of Ethics, ensuring financial stability. Furthermore STYA works with other associations and government agencies to ensure safety standards and best practices for students and youth traveling worldwide.
Additional resources for researching group travel planners and transportation companies are the Better Business Bureau and the State Attorney General’s Office/Office of Consumer Protection. If an educator is working directly with a motorcoach company, the Department of US Transportation has information at www. Buses.org/safety.
For federal guidelines on travel, it is recommended that educators visit the US State Department, US Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board for up to the minute information.
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