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There are a lot of moving parts to consider when planning a class trip like budget, fundraising, airfare, lodging, transportation, itinerary, chaperones, safety, etc. That feeling of overwhelm beginning to sink your stomach? That’s exactly why working with an educational travel company like Gerber Tours is well worth the investment.
Gerber Tours takes care of all of the logistical pieces from beginning to end like reservations for air or ground transportation, hotels, meals, attractions, events, and anything else you can think of. But what about the things you didn’t know you needed to think of? Well, we’re here to help you brainstorm through 5 unexpected situations you may find yourself in during an educational field trip.
If you forget your jacket at home on a regular weekday, you know you just have to make it through the next few hours of discomfort. But if you forget your jacket at home and then fly across the country where it happens to be snowing, it’s not quite so simple.
There are two big ways that you can help your students prepare for and make it through the trip. First, provide them a packing list before departure and go over it in the days leading up to the trip. Second, bring an extra stash of essentials like toothpaste, toothbrushes, deodorant, and sanitary pads. It’s also a good idea to include an “incidental” line item in your budget in case a student needs something a little less predictable you actually have to purchase once you’ve arrived at your destination.
No matter how healthy everyone seems the morning of departure, there is always the chance that someone will catch a cold, eat something that doesn’t agree with their stomach, twist an ankle, have an allergic reaction, etc. Ruminating all of the possibilities of adverse events is probably elevating your blood pressure, but don’t let it. Here’s why you can relax.
First, Gerber has layers of built-in safeguards designed for just these kinds of scenarios. For one, Gerber offers a limited insurance policy that will cover the cost of illness and accidents (up to the policy’s limit). Second, every tour includes Doctors “On Tour” so that you and your students have 24/7 access to on-site medical care by licensed physicians.
In addition to relying on your tour company’s systems and procedures, there are a few things you can do as well. Keep a binder containing emergency contact information, a list of dietary restrictions, and a written plan outlining the steps you will take if a student requires medical intervention.
Let’s face it. Traveling can be stressful, and in a large group of teenagers, one or two stressed-out kids may take that anxiety out on their peers. So what should you do if you notice that conflict has arrived and feelings have been hurt?
As an educator, there isn’t a cookie-cutter answer to this question. Each situation calls for a different level of mediation. These tips can help you navigate the murky waters of adolescent conflict resolution.
It’s important not to run away from these kinds of situations—history is a powerful teacher. It is equally important to prepare students for and acknowledge the emotional burden they may carry as a result of history’s more difficult lessons.
Make sure your students are aware of the itinerary in advance and let them know that in some cases, they may find the content that they will be exposed to upsetting. Be clear and concise—this doesn’t have to be a dramatic or extended disclaimer. Something along the lines of a “today, we’re going to see depictions of life in the concentration camps of Nazi Germany. The images will be disturbing and may upset you. If you need or want to talk about how you’re feeling, don’t hesitate to come to me” should suffice.
In addition to previewing each day, offer your kids ways to cope with emotional triggers. Have them bring a journal so that they can express their feelings privately while on tour. Ask your tour guide to create time in the itinerary for the kids to reflect on and discuss what they’ve seen. Encourage them to name their feelings—they can do this privately or in conversation with you, a friend, or in a group. Ask them to think about the positive lessons they can glean from the painful content they’ve witnessed. Reassure them that it is normal to feel sadness, confusion, and/or anger in response to disturbing information. If there are tears, let them know that it’s okay to cry.
That 300 tons of metal can launch into the atmosphere, stay there, and take hundreds of people from one part of the world to another in a matter of hours is astonishing. But, it’s also kind of scary to think about.
Nervousness surrounding air flight is pretty common. If you have a student who is suddenly reconsidering the entire class trip right before takeoff, having these comforting facts available may relieve some of their anxiety.
You can also suggest that students who are afraid during takeoff, turbulence, and landing distract themselves from that fear by writing their name on a piece of paper with their non-dominant hand. Focusing on something other than the flight will help to reduce anxiety.
The great thing about thoughtful and thorough preparation is the peace of mind it gives you when it’s time to enjoy your class travel experience.
Taking the time to imagine the unexpected will prepare you to be flexible and ready to deal with challenges as or if they arise and working with the travel experts at Gerber Tours will make the entire experience all the easier and more enjoyable.
So don’t worry—the unexpected may come, but you’re a teacher. You’ve been dealing with the unexpected since day one on the job. You’ve got this, and Gerber Tours has got you.
By Dianna Benjamin