School trips: when to organize them yourself and when to contact a travel agency

Last summer, employee strikes and refugee protests caused problems in the port of Calais. The port was closed and the school groups that had just arrived for their trip to the United Kingdom were met with closed doors. Thanks to the quick response of the travel agency, the groups could be rebooked on alternative routes with minimal delays. This is just one example of the added value of using a travel agency; however, many schools still choose to arrange their own international trips. Why?

Tying off loose ends

Teachers have a lot of experience when it comes to school trips. They know the countries and cities they visit and often have connections at these destinations. It's just a matter of tying off the loose ends and your trip is organized. An additional advantage is that teachers know their pupils well, which makes communication easier. That said, certain challenges may arise when teachers organize their own trips.

Stressful activities

Teachers are busy and regularly find themselves taking on stressful tasks. Organizing a multi-day trip is one such task. And being able to tie off the proverbial loose ends only comes at the end of a lot of hard work. Applications and changes must be registered; transport must be arranged (taking into account driving times and rest periods); and ferry rides, accommodations and excursions must be booked. All of this needs to be arranged in detail and in budget, which takes time.

The expertise of the travel agency

There's a much easier way to arrange things. Travel agents are experts at taking over these processes. They are confronted with issues like these on a daily basis and have more connections in the city than teachers. Travel agents also have the time to carry out the necessary research. That doesn't mean the teacher's expertise and input is cast to the side; the teacher is always involved in preparing the trip. A mutual brainstorming session is organized and the various trip proposals are discussed to make sure everything meets the needs and wishes of the teacher. Teachers also receive the necessary support during the trip and can contact the office or one of the on-site representatives for questions or problems.

Looking back on the situation in Calais, the teachers would have found it hard to make the necessary arrangements. Thanks to the travel agency, everything was rebooked, the trip could continue and the pupils, who had been on the road for hours, even received a last-minute lunch pack when they left the Hook of Holland.

Tamara Lagendijk
Office Manager MGI Travel
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