If you’re planning an educational trip for your students, it’s important to think about the size of the group you want to travel with. Will you make the trip available to a select group of students based on grades, academic effort, membership in a school club or other criteria? Will you open up the trip to your whole class? To several classes? To the whole school?
Take time to consider your educational objectives for this trip, the number of chaperones you’ll be likely to find, your school’s policies governing travel, and your students’ budgets. Because there are advantages to both small- and large-group travel, having the above information in mind will help you keep your priorities straight and will make for an easier decision.
The advantages of traveling with a small group are...
1) Group cohesiveness
Before, during and after your student trip, your group is more likely to form a close bond when there are fewer participants. Travel helps participants really get to know each other while having fun, and this is even more apparent in a small group.
2) Smaller footprint
It’s easier to move around museums and other sites in a small group. There are also many small restaurants and boutique hotels that are only available to smaller groups.
It’s easier to get a small group of people to decide on an afternoon activity or change previous plans to take advantage of something new that comes along.
4) Improved logistics
A smaller group can cover more ground in a day. You’ll be able to get out of the hotel faster in the morning, spend less time at restaurants and move around your destination more quickly, should you choose.
The advantages of traveling with a large group are...
The biggest advantage of having a large number of travelers in your group is that each traveler will have a lower price to pay for his or her tour. While student tour companies have already negotiated airfare, hotel rates, and restaurant prices in bulk for separate groups, there are still additional discounts to be found for a single large group.
2) Ability to "gift a tour"
Some larger groups choose to “sponsor” the trips of a few students who would otherwise not be able to afford to travel with the group. They do this by spreading the cost among the other tour participants, much in the same way that a chaperone’s travel costs might be covered. Depending on the size of the group, gifting one or more tours can have very little impact on the tour price for each participant—and yet a very meaningful impact for the student who would otherwise be unable to travel.
3) Large pool of travelers
The more, the merrier! With a big group, each of the travelers is likely to have a friend or two in the crowd. Not only will they have the security of traveling with old friends, but they’ll likely make new ones within the group.
Group size is an important thing to consider when planning your student trip. There’s no right or wrong answer. The decision depends on your priorities and your preferences. How do you want to travel?
So don’t shy away from taking your students abroad. Seek out a quality student tour provider, ask all your questions and get all your answers—and then some. And then get excited, because you’re about to become the teacher your students will always remember.