I was speaking with my wife the other night, despite the fact that the England football match was on. She hates being disturbed whilst watching football…
We were discussing the trials and tribulations of having a school expedition business in a time of a global pandemic. In case you were considering it, it’s not something I would recommend!
In the last 18 months, students have been deprived of the opportunity to undertake life changing school trips. They have been disappointed too, as school expeditions long looked forward to have been cancelled, postponed, and then cancelled again. In fact, they've also been denied access to sports clubs, classrooms, discotheques (I was born in the 1960’s), sports fixtures and many other normal everyday school activities. Indeed, until very recently, some kids have not actually attended secondary school in a normal way since they moved up from primary school.
Of course, there are no end of articles from people in our industry espousing the benefits of experiential and outdoor learning - and rightly so. So what’s new? Although planning an overseas expedition or educational trip for your students may still be a long way down your list of things to do, it actually needs to make its way close to the top. And fast.
Let me explain.
Under normal circumstances, now would be the time that most schools would be looking at starting to plan and launch school trips for 2023.
“What?” I hear you say… “Circumstances are not normal!”. And it would be very difficult to contradict you.
However, for my son’s sake, and children like him up and down the country, I'm very much hoping that the world will have returned to some degree of normality by 2023; and that includes overseas travel. And if I'm honest, I believe his school should be thinking the same way I am. As alien as it may seem, we need to be planning these trips now, in order that when travel does return, which it will, they’ve not missed the boat. I want to know that young people (Like my Year 9 son) are not disappointed and not denied the opportunity to explore and learn about their world - just because the likes of you and I decided we didn’t want to plan 18 months ago.
18 months ago, the pandemic was just getting going. 18 months later, and with recent changes to travel restrictions, it feels like international travel is starting to return in a meaningful way – albeit with a hefty dose of ‘anything could happen’ in the coming months. Looking 18 months into the future we’re fairly sure that the situation will have changed again – in a positive way, as the world builds on progress made in 2021.
Given what we have all experienced over the past year and a half, we know there needs to be some reassurance and support to help schools and teachers take that first step. As a result of how some schools were treated by tour operators over the last year, it is understandable that they are hesitant about starting the journey back to overseas trips.
But the good news is we now include COVID cancellation insurance as standard as part of our packages, AND your money is protected through the Package Travel Regulations and our ATOL licence. We’ve also undertaken a wholescale review of our operations and destinations.
Trust is hard won. There’s a reason our clients come back to us year after year. They look to us for unbiased, independent, expert advice. When you’re ready – we’re here and ready to guide you through the minefield of post-covid international travel.