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Student Travel ABCs

We know that educators, students and parents are faced with many choices when selecting a travel company. It can be confusing and frustrating to sift through all of the options and make a decision. Below we try to help you through this process by providing some points to consider as you make your student international travel plans.

Organizational Mission

Many parents consider a school’s philosophy and mission as they make a decision about where to educate their children. Similarly, we believe it is important to understand the organizational philosophy of the travel company that you select. As you read through a company’s materials, what sense do you have for the organization’s mission? Is it dedicated to: Education? Student travel? Making long-term contributions to the communities it visits? Is it a nonprofit organization?

Good questions to ask
  1. What is your mission?
  2. What percentage of your work is with students?
  3. What age are the majority of students with whom you work?
  4. Is your organization a nonprofit organization?


Even experiences that are priceless come with a price tag. After a close analysis of other aspects of a travel company, you should carefully examine program prices. The most important thing to consider is what the price DOES and DOES NOT include. Many companies offer low prices but then hide costs that you have to pay such as tips, travel insurance and even some meals. Some companies combine you with other students from different places to decrease costs. Also, free spots frequently are offered for teachers based on a certain number of paying travelers', be sure to ask!

By way of example, here’s a list of what the Global Explorers price DOES include:

  • One free teacher traveler for every 10 students.
  • One trip to your school prior to travel to help with promotion and organization.
  • Preparatory Curriculum (9 to 12 lessons that prepare students for their travel experience)
  • Administrative Guide (information on everything from passports to packing lists to fundraising)
  • One Staff Person Assigned to Help you Prepare for Travel
  • Books for Travelers (groups receive either a compilation of resource books or one book per student)
  • One Global Explorers T-Shirt/Traveler
  • Travel Guide for Students Prior to Travel
  • Basic Travel Insurance
  • 100% of the in-country costs for your destination such as tips, transportation, in-country flights, food, guides, lodging.

The Global Explorers Price DOES NOT include:

  • Immunizations
  • Visas (if required)
  • Spending Cash for Souvenirs
  • Cash for Any Trip Equipment/Clothing
Good questions to ask
  1. What does your price include?
  2. What does your price NOT include? Be sure to provide examples of what it might not include such as tips, travel insurance, visas, food, drinks and lodging.
  3. Do you offer free spots for teachers?
  4. Will my students be joining students from other schools on the trip or is it just my students?

Preparatory Support

Good student travel organizations should provide your group with a tremendous amount of preparatory support because organizing an experience like this takes time and effort. At Global Explorers, we assign one staff person to your group the minute you register for a program. This staff person’s job is to respond to any of the questions and/or needs that your group has as you prepare for your experience. Your group’s lead teacher can contact this person at any time with any question and expect a prompt response. Your Global Explorers staff person will send you monthly updates about things that you should be considering as you prepare for your travel experience. In addition, Global Explorers provides the lead teacher with outstanding preparatory resources that help you plan for everything such as fundraising, immunizations, packing lists, organizing parent meetings.

Good questions to ask
  1. What kind of preparatory support do you provide?
  2. What materials will you send me and my students prior to travel?
  3. Can you send someone to my school to talk to parents?
  4. What support do you provide me for fundraising?
  5. What suggestions do you have for good fundraisers?
  6. Can I talk to another teacher who has successfully raised funds?

Educational Content

People travel for many reasons: for fun, for work, for education. When considering an international travel program, you should consider your goals for the kind of experience you want to have. At Global Explorers, we believe the primary goal of student travel should be education, and education is our passion. That’s why we’ve developed strong core disciplines that are a part of all aspects of our programs. We also provide an outstanding preparatory curriculum to the lead teacher as well as trip-specific books to all travelers. See a sample lesson. . We expect the lead teacher to conduct lessons from our curriculum with the group prior to travel. While on the international field workshop, students are taught by talented guides, scientists and experts as they learn about science, culture, leadership and service. Finally, students follow-up with service projects back in their home community when they return from travel (Read about our Service Philosophy) . It’s the most comprehensive educational experience available!

Good questions to ask
  1. What are the educational goals and/or learning objectives of your program?
  2. What curriculum do you provide me for use with my students prior to travel?
  3. Can you send me some references who can speak to the educational quality of your program?
  4. Do you provide any support after travel?

Quality of Staff

Understanding who travels with your students is essential to selecting a high quality program. Many travel companies exclusively use local guides. Others include field experts. Still others send along an educator or group leader. At Global Explorers, we offer a combination of all of these. First and foremost, we believe that a group should have a Global Explorers Educator along with them. This person’s job is to make sure that the students are having a safe and educational journey. In addition, each group has a local guide to provide insights into local cultures and wildlife identification. Finally, we find that if students are going to learn science, they often need to hear and learn from real scientists. That’s why we often send experts along with a group.

Good questions to ask
  1. Is there a trip leader other than the local guides? If so, what are the credentials of the trip leader/educator?
  2. What is the background of the local guides?
  3. Are there any experts/scientists that work with us along the way?
  4. Can you send me some references who can speak to the quality of your staff?


Safety should be the number one priority of any student travel organization. If you are taking a school-sponsored trip, your School Board will undoubtedly require you to look into the safety of the organization with which you are traveling. At Global Explorers, we take a proactive approach towards safety. That’s why we spend so much time preparing students and our staff beforehand for the kinds of experiences they are going to have while traveling.

Good questions to ask
  1. What kind of training does your staff have for dealing with emergencies?
  2. How far is the travel destination from the nearest medical facility?
  3. What is the quality of medical facilities in the area?
  4. What kind of travel insurance, if any, do you provide?
  5. Can I have a copy of your emergency planning manual?
  6. Can I see proof of your General Liability Insurance coverage?


It is a great privilege to be able to take an international trip at a young age. At Global Explorers, we believe that this privilege comes with a responsibility. That’s why we ask all of our groups to conduct a follow-up service project upon returning from their international field workshop. This follow-up helps students process their experience and incorporate the lessons they learned into their everyday lives. Because follow-up is expected of students from the moment they enroll in our programs, we find that by the time they return from international travel, they are excited to make something happen.

Good questions to ask
  1. Does your organization offer any follow-up activities after travel?
  2. Do your groups typically do anything as a group after travel?