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The Cost of School Trips & How to Explain the Value

Next to safety, the most common question on the minds of parents when it comes to a school trip is, “How much is it going to cost?” It doesn’t matter if you teach in the wealthiest zip code in the country, price is always part of the conversation. There are so many competing interests for a family’s financial resources, so it makes sense that the investment in a school trip be worthwhile and understood.


Let’s walk through five ways to explain the price of an educational or performance tour and three ways to make sure the value of the experience is understood by families.  

      1. Shop around and offer comparables. Let families know that you have done your research because you appreciate the financial investment that they are making. And, don’t get too comfortable with one company. Go through the process every three years to make sure your price is still the best in terms of price and service.
      2. Share the price and break down the payment options. Most tour companies will provide a monthly payment plan to help families spread out the cost of the trip. Make sure your student travel company does not charge a fee for payment plans. While it may not be much, it’s a hidden cost that some companies charge.
      3. Explain the inclusions - transportation, hotels, admissions, insurance, quality tour guides, meals, entertainment, tips, etc. Families should know what they get for their money.
      4. If you are planning to do fundraising, offer a realistic estimate of how money raised will impact the out-of-pocket expense for families.
      5. Explain the importance of leaving the trip coordination to the professionals so teachers and chaperones can focus on what matters most: the kids.

Sometimes it’s not about the price. What some parents might really be asking is about the value of the opportunity.

      • “What makes this trip better than going on a family vacation?”
      • “Is it worth time out of the classroom?”
      • “I don’t know if my child will appreciate the experience to make it worth the cost.”

When these questions and comments come up, there is an opportunity to explain three benefits that are unique to a school tour versus a family vacation and the many ways the trip will enrich the lives of their children.



1. Curriculum connections made before, during, and after the trip by professional educators help to deepen academic understanding, learning, and achievement. More on the educational value of student trips is covered in a previous post, Exceed Curriculum Standards with Your Student Trip.


2. Tours are planned to provide personal growth opportunities, from basic travel skills, like going through airport security, to career exploration. This is hard to do on a family trip when parents are there to lead the way.


3. Traveling with their peers supports the social-emotional development of teens and tweens, including the chance to develop resiliency, independence, confidence, and empathy. For more on this benefit, please read my previous post: Three Ways School-Sponsored Trips Support the Emotional Growth of Tweens and Teens.

Most parents understand that school trips are a rite of passage and they appreciate the many opportunities they offer their children. As the trip leader, it will be worth your time to make sure they know as much as possible to help gain their support.  


To learn more about popular student travel destinations, browse tours here


Topics: How to Pay for Student Trips

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