Kay is a Middle School Spanish World Cultures Teacher. She first traveled with EF to Costa Rica in 2009 and has been leading student groups every Summer since. Kay believes that students should experience travel to help broaden their perspectives and allow them to see firsthand how tolerant, global and open-minded we should all strive to become.
If you’re gearing up to travel with your students for the first time, it’s natural to feel excited as well as a bit anxious. Of course you want to have an amazing tour and come back able to further grow and develop your travel program, but first you must prepare yourself to go! From Group Leader to Group Leader, here are a few tips and secrets to help you.
1. Utilize your Tour Consultant. Don’t be afraid to ask them questions! You may think that you are bothering them, but they are there to help you and are one of your best resources. This summer I am taking my group of students to Italy. It is not my first EF tour, but I have never been to Italy before. I asked my tour consultant if I could connect with an experienced Group Leader who recently returned from Italy, and my Tour Consultant obliged. I was able to ask them tour-specific questions and get an inside scoop on my impending trip. It benefitted us both – she was able to share her amazing travel experience with me, and I was able to learn from her and answer my questions.
2. Connect with other groups. If you will be traveling with other student groups on your tour, don’t be afraid to reach out to the other Group Leaders and get to know them prior to departure. There is no better way to start off on the right foot than to make a connection with all the other adults you will be traveling with before you depart!
3. Front-load your travelers with as much information as you can! If you come across a great article or video clip about your destination, send it out to the whole group. You can even make this a fun part of your pre-tour group meetings and encourage your students to all contribute one fun article or video clip before you go.
4. Don’t be afraid to ask for help! No matter how experienced of a traveler you are, there is always more to learn! I always ask people for travel advice, packing tips, and tricks that I can share with my group of student travelers.
5. Have some tricks up your sleeve. As Group Leaders, we need to be prepared for anything. If it’s raining after dinner and you need to entertain your group, have a fun and easy scavenger hunt ready to go. If your group has free time, have some activities planned or places in mind to go. Hint: Your Tour Director is a great resource for these types of suggestions!
These are just a few secrets to help you set up a successful tour. Above all, don’t forget to have fun with your group while traveling! Enjoy!