25 Jul 2017

A school rugby team touring Argentina, a college cultural group visiting art galleries in Italy, a junior karate club taking part in a tournament in Tokyo; whatever the reasons for your group travelling abroad, a successful trip relies on three things;  planning, planning, planning!

Planning for an international group trip should start at least a year before departure. There is much to organise.

Organisers who have educational group travel experience, invariably advise first-timers to partner with a good travel management company (TMC).

From the start, the TMC adds value with a detailed planning strategy that emphasises all the somewhat complicated, mandatory documents required for travelling from South Africa with minors.

In an unpredictable world, parents are understandably concerned about their children’s welfare, especially when travelling to and spending time in a foreign country.
Specialist knowledge about the destination country’s people; their beliefs, dress codes, cuisine, etc. is essential.

Invite TMC representatives to all planning meetings. They will give great travel tips and advice, invaluable information about the destination countries and answer questions from you, the parents, chaperones and children.

Attention to detail is important. Speak to your TMC and do your homework. What’s the country’s cultural taboos; the do’s and don’ts.  What is the expected weather during the visit?

Obviously, safety is a top priority. Ask your TMC about the best comprehensive travel insurance for both adults and children. Let children share responsibility. Introduce a buddy-buddy system whereby each child is accountable for another child.

Research what medication is allowed in the destination country and, if there is a problem, what equivalents are available. Ask the TMC’s advice.

Organise that accompanying adults have access to a comprehensive profile on each child which includes any allergies, specific eating habits, culture, emergency details, etc.

Very importantly, be clear about your expectations before departure. Have a clearly communicated disciplinary code that applies throughout the trip. This is where the one adult to 10 children ratio is especially relevant. And keep the group busy. A full itinerary that occupies the children throughout the day deters disciplinary problems.

By planning properly, partnering with a reputable TMC and doing your homework, you’re ensuring that both your adult ‘management team’ and group of children have a superb experience they’ll remember forever. Mission accomplished!