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 tour and three ways to make sure the VALUE of the experience is understood by families.
Explaining the Price of an Educational Tour
Some parents may experience sticker shock when they see how much their student’s school trip costs. It’s important that they know exactly what they’re investing in, and it’s even more important that they know YOU [the teacher] did their research!
Here are five ways to explain the price of your school trip to parents.
- 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.
- 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 many companies charge.
- Explain the inclusions. Transportation, hotels, admissions, insurance, quality tour guides, meals, entertainment, tips, etc. Families should know what they get for their money. Make sure your parents know if there will be anything they need to pay on top of the trip cost (for example, spending money on souvenirs).
- Fundraising. If you are planning to do fundraising, offer a realistic estimate of how money raised will impact the out-of-pocket expense for families. There are a lot of great ways to offset the trip cost for your parents (check out 15 Great Ways for Kids to Raise Money for a School Trip), but you can also look into scholarships and crowdfunding.
- Tour coordination. Explain the importance of leaving the trip coordination to the professionals so teachers and chaperones can focus on what matters most: the kids. Your tour company should give you a full run-down of what resources will be available to you while traveling (check out what our team lineup looks like for every tour).
Your parents should (and will) have more questions. In our experience, it usually boils down to five main concerns. Check out our blog post – 5 Questions Parents Should Ask About a School Trip – to learn more.
Understanding the Value of an Educational Tour
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 think 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.
- Curriculum Connections. Curriculum connections made before, during, and after the trip by professional educators help to deepen academic understanding, learning, and achievement. Students can actually exceed curriculum standards of learning on a school trip.
- Personal Growth. 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. Studies have shown that travel can “kickstart a child’s global learning and understanding.”
- Social-Emotional Development. Traveling with their peers supports the social-emotional development of teens and tweens, including the chance to develop resiliency, independence, confidence, and empathy (check out Three Ways School-Sponsored Trips Support the Emotional Growth of Tweens and Teens). The Student Youth Travel Association also completed a study on the Top 10 Social Effects Travel has on Students.
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.
Originally published February 2019, updated July 2021