Are you a real group leader?
Traveling abroad with a school group can be stressful. Arriving in a different country, Not having mastery of the local languages (in most cases not even a few words) lacking the experience of group management, being overconfident and underprepared All these things amount to big headaches. We have compiled a list of Handy hints and tips below, to help you navigate your experience with mínimum fuss and máximum reward.
Speaking the Local Language
“English is spoken widely throughout Europe.” Well? That´s WRONG. In Europe, English is the official language only in the UK. Don´t expect a bus driver from Seville to understand you. Even in France or Germany. Don´t be surprised if no one understands you. Their official languages are dominant. They even have local languages such as Catalonian in Spain or Dutch and German in Belgium. If you’re lucky English will be their 3rd language, but don’t count on it.
Do you have to learn Spanish if you are traveling with your group to Madrid? Or French if you are moving to Paris. Of course not. Make sure the tour operator you are hiring to organize your Tour does indeed provide a local bilingual speaker with you at all times. Some Tour Operators provide incredible package prices. Read the small print. It is well worth using aTour Operator that always supplies a Tour Director.
Getting to places
“I don´t need a Tour Director” “I have been already to Madrid.” You are brave. As you probably know by now, traveling with your family or friends is not the same as going with a group. You are the leader. If you get lost with your family and don´t know how to get to the hotel, it does not really matter. You will eventually find the way. You are on holiday, and your family loves you. If you get lost with a group of 30 teenagers and it is lunchtime, good luck to you. When coupled with your lack of language skills you suddenly find yourself with a real mountain to climb. That is why it is crucial to have a Tour Director who would assume the responsibility to guide you through the hours and days, ensuring your stress levels are low, so you can fully enjoy the Tour. Additionally, he/she will show you places you would never have found on your own. The Tour Director knows the area like the back of their hand and can provide you with Nuggets of wisdom like only a local could.
Everybody is on the same page
Are you the group leader? Then choose the right people to travel with you and your group. On an average five day tour, you will spend over 90hrs with the SAME group of people. Nonstop. You can´t hide. Having the right comrades will improve the Tour experience immensely. It will be enjoyable and professional. Even in the smoothest itinerary, situations are bound to arise that you have to deal with. Be ready to adapt and share your duties with the rest of the adults on the trip by engaging them with different assignments such as counting students/players on the coach before departing, helping out at the hotel with check in and check out, etc. Surround yourself with competent, efficient and positive characters and, along with the support of the Tour Director, the journey will be a success.