Parents need to know exactly what their students are going to get out of it and that you, as a teacher leading a student trip, have done as much as you could to make the tour as affordable as possible.
There are two important things you need to explain to the parents: The price and the value of your study tour.
1. The price of your school trip.
-> How much is it going to cost?
-> Are there any ‘hidden cost’ and how much pocket money is needed?
-> How much time do you have to pay for it?
-> What if we can’t afford it?
Here are some tips on what you can do to be prepared for these questions:
Compare quotes and shop around. Make it clear to families that you appreciate the financial investment that they are making by showing them that you have done your best to keep the cost low. Ask for a few different quotes, ask your colleagues and other teachers for recommendations and make sure you compare ‘apples to apples’. Make sure you know the exact inclusions; it will be easier to justify the investment if there is no extra cost to be covered later on or during the tour. You may want to read this Guide To A Low-Cost High Quality Educational Tour.
Explain the inclusions. Let your students and their parents know what exactly they will get for the investment – Flights, accommodation, meals, insurance, quality tour managers and tour guides, transportation, tips, fees, taxes… Also explain to them the recommended amount of pocket money the students need.
Plan in advance. Booking early will not only allow your tour consultant to secure the best rates for your travel arrangements, but it will also make it easier for parents to manage the large sum of money. The families have time to spread their payments over many months, instead of having to pay in a few big chunks. Spending $ 5000 on a tour seems like a lot of money – if you organise your trip a year in advance it is 'only' around $ 415 a month.
If you do fundraising for the trip, explain your plan, your goal and the impact it will make on the families’ out-of-pocket expenses. Make sure that the amount you want to fund is realistic and achievable.
2. The value of your overseas trip
-> What makes it better than going on a family holiday?
-> I don’t know if my child will appreciate the experience to make it worth the cost.
-> Can’t they just go on a domestic trip or a camp?
Be pro-active by explaining the benefits of an overseas educational trip:
The reason for going on a language trip or is obvious: You want your students to immerse themselves in the language and improve their skills by speaking it in every-day situations. But what are the connections between the history curriculum and a history tour? Or how is the English language and literature curriculum represented on a student tour to the UK? Being there will deepen the student’s understanding of a specific topic and will get them more excited about your subject and academic results. Communicate this to the parents!
Improved academic and career opportunities. Educational travel and exchange programs increases student’s opportunities throughout their academics as well as later on in their careers. Having travelled to foreign countries at a young age will set students apart from the crowd and mark them as someone who has proven themselves in challenging circumstances. If you are planning on including homestay – even better! They will immerse themselves in a different culture and gain a new outlook on life.
Personal growth and development. Travelling without their parents offers young people the opportunity to explore while granting them a chance to be independent and responsible. Their problem solving and communication skills will strengthen as they will wind themselves in situations they have to deal with on their own for the first time.
Developing international relationships. One of the greatest things about travelling is meeting new people from different backgrounds. Students have so much to learn from other countries and what better way to experience culture than through interacting with locals and people their age? Building these lifelong relationships is not only super fun but extremely beneficial down the road in regards to their network. Who knows… The people they meet can be their future travel buddies and maybe they can be the locals who show them around your hometown when they decide to visit.
If you need support with explaining the price and value of your student tour, your chosen group travel consultant will join you during the parents’ meetings and answer any and all questions.
Most parents understand the value of a student trip and appreciate the opportunities they offer their children. As a trip leader, make sure they know as much as possible and keep them updated regularly.