Planning overseas educational travel for your students? Consider these five things so that their return to the world is a smooth and safe one.
As the world welcomes back travellers, knowing the ins and out of visiting certain destinations in a new post-pandemic climate can be tricky to navigate. There are things like what requirements are necessary and what happens when there’s a Covid case on tour?
We list five key things to consider so your student’s return to overseas travel is a smooth and safe one.
While it is a completely different travel landscape from what it was pre-pandemic, one thing that hasn’t changed is the importance of consulting with those in the know. The expertise of educational travel professionals and travelling with financially sound organisations is more critical now than it has ever been to ensure you offer your students not only a rewarding experience but a safe and well managed one.
If you are planning a return to overseas educational experiences for your school, or perhaps looking to venture on your first foray into this exciting world, here are some top tips to take into account.
1. Where can my students go?
Which countries are open? Which countries require testing? What is their testing procedure?
As we’ve all learned during the pandemic, the goalposts keep moving, and they can move quickly. It’s a cumbersome task for most people to stay up to date with the rules and regulations of their own country let alone those overseas.
Choosing a destination is often the first step for most school travel organisers. This is where you would benefit from dealing with an organisation, such as World Expeditions Schools, who have experts to monitor such things daily and can utilise their extensive network of overseas contacts.
2. What happens when there’s a Covid case on tour?
Risk management strategies need to be updated to cater for Covid cases.
School travel organisations that have carefully navigated through the pandemic should have updated and strengthened risk management plans to deal with a potential Covid case before and during a trip.
World Expeditions Schools have been fortunate enough to assist some schools with educational experiences within Australia during 2021 and 2022 where they have successfully managed Covid cases that occurred.
3. How to protect your communities’ funds
Some of the largest school trip providers were not able to financially manage their way through Covid. When researching who to use, it is important that you query any provider about how they plan to keep your monies safe. What is their policy?
Pre-pandemic, some experienced school travel organisers felt comfortable dealing directly with smaller local companies in their destination to save some money. Such a scenario offers zero financial protection and the pandemic highlighted what a risky move it is.
Working with an established organisation within your own country, that has a transparent policy on how they will protect your funds, removes several key obstacles, reduces stress and gives you peace of mind that you are providing the best possible scenario for your students and their families.
4. Be ready to be flexible with services
Many service providers (hotels, transfer services etc) are not as resourced as they were pre-pandemic. It will take time for the world to build up capacity again, especially in some developing countries.
There is a large staff shortage in many areas and last-minute changes may occur. Flights can be cancelled at short notice, baggage lost, and hotels overbooked.
Expert travel companies have back up plans for their back up plans as per their risk management. Having an experienced guide and team behind you plus 24-hour support in your destination of choice is incredibly important in the current environment. Be sure you organise your school program through a reputable company that offers all the support you need.
For the best chance of a smooth experience, it is important to start planning now to ensure the program and service you want to provide your students can be achieved and fulfilled.
Post-pandemic planning requires advance consideration and meticulous planning. If you are considering a return to international travel in 2023, start the conversation with an expert today.
5. Talk to an Educational Travel Expert
There’s so much more to consider now than there was pre-Covid. You’re busy enough dealing with the situations that arise at your school courtesy of Covid.
This is where organising a student’s once-in-a-lifetime experience simply cannot be left to chance. Speak to an expert for the best knowledge and travel with a company that has stood the test of time and that can comfortably answer all of the above considerations to you comfortably for your added protection.This article was written by Scott Pinnegar, General Manager of World Expeditions Schools