For many of the young people who join one of our trips, it is often the first time that they will have travelled overseas without their parents and we understand that committing to join one of our trips might be a significant family decision. To help parents fully consider all aspects of being involved with our trips, we recommend that you read through the information below regarding the most common queries that we receive from parents…
How do I know if this is right for my child?
The feedback that we receive from teachers, parents and participants varies so much, it is impossible to put a limit on what can be experienced and achieved during any of our trips; we can only be sure that everyone will take away many different memories from this one, same experience. Our trips will appeal to those with a sense of adventure and challenge. Itineraries are designed to provide an opportunity for personal development, team building, cultural exchange, exploration and for learning life skills. Trips may contain hurdles that need to be overcome and, although support and reassurance is always available, it is essentially the dedication of the individual that will determine the personal success of this entire programme, both here in the UK and abroad.
Is there anything I should be aware of before agreeing to let my child join the trip?
Our trips are specifically designed to be adventurous. Itineraries will spend time in challenging and alien environments, undertake physically demanding activities and open all participants to destination, climatic and activity health and injury risks that may go beyond the day to day risks encountered at home. Whilst we assess the risks associated with all of our trips, we cannot forecast all risks and accidents can occur. Before agreeing to your child joining this trip, we urge you to familiarise yourself with the Foreign & Commonwealth Office Travel advice for the destination your child intends to visit and that you also strongly consider your child’s suitability for the intended venture and whether or not you are comfortable with handing over their duty of care.
What commitment is required of me, as the parent of a participant?
Throughout the planning and development process you will be required to attend formal evening presentations that we will organise at your child’s school to cover essential updates to the planning of the venture. Similarly, your support and assistance will be required to ensure that your child attends any regular group meetings scheduled by the Lead Teacher. In addition to providing presentations and meetings at the school, we will provide a series of Tour Information Packs designed to help your child prepare for the trip (including visa, inoculation, kit & equipment advice), which we require you to read and help your child prepare for the trip, accordingly.
What is included in the price?
Before launching a trip, we provide the school with a quotation highlighting exactly what we do and do not include in the costs of our trips. Being a tailor made company, we adapt these to the specific requirements of the school, ensuring the trip includes the elements desired. However, there are standard inclusions as follows: all International flights and taxes, Group Leader costs, in-country road transfers, meals, kitbag, satellite telephone, comprehensive overseas First Aid Kit, all administrative support for teachers, parents and pupils. Standard exclusions are travel to and from UK airport, personal equipment and kit, personal travel insurance, drinks and personal funds, local tips and passport and visa costs.
Can my child fundraise towards the cost of the trip?
We would strongly encourage you to set a target for your child to fundraise and we provide a Fundraising Pack of ideas for the group to consider. Whilst we place no obligation on anyone having to fundraise towards the cost the trip, there is no doubt that fundraising is a fantastic opportunity for your child to work as part of the group on group-fundraising events, develop entrepreneurial skills in personal fundraising activities and learn the true value of money. It is also worth noting that in our experience, the evidence clearly demonstrates that pupils who have fundraised towards the cost of their trip play a far greater role in the trip and actively participate in all areas of the learning experience far more than those who have not.
What information do I receive about the trip?
Before confirming the trip, you will be invited to a Launch Meeting, which is designed to introduce you to our company, the specifics of the trip and address the key points of the practicalities of running these trips. You will also be invited to a Pre-Departure Meeting which takes place two to three months before the trip leaves the UK to update you on the planning of the trip, the day-to-day logistics of the trip and introduce you to the Group Leader. Naturally, both meetings also provide an opportunity for you to raise any questions. Throughout the development you phase you will also have access to a secure online members area, dedicated to providing comprehensive information to help prepare everyone for the trip, including full details of the itinerary, as well as practical travel advice such as visa and passport information, personal travel advice such as health and hygiene matters, and trip planning advice such as clothing and equipment lists.
What level of physical fitness will my child need to have?
A good level of fitness is required by all participants to ensure that they are capable of withstanding the physical demands of the experience. We strongly recommend that you encourage and support your child to do whatever they can to physically prepare for the trip, in order that they can appreciate and enjoy the experience more. We will provide the school with a Fitness Test that the group will need to undertake before departure, that we will require the results of to share with the Group Leader.
Who is responsible for the safety of pupils?
Although we expect all participants to agree that they will take their own personal safety seriously, we are responsible for the safe planning and development of our trips and the accuracy of the supporting guidance we provide all participants and leaders. Once the trip has begun, the Group Leader has the Higher Duty of Care and overall responsibility for the safety of the group for the duration of the itinerary. The Lead Teacher and any additional adult staff have a Duty of Care to act as a responsible parent and take pastoral responsibility for each participant.
What if the group needs help overseas?
We operate all trips with support from local suppliers and ground agents, who are on hand to assist our groups however necessary. Group Leaders carry a satellite telephone or local mobile phone and a comprehensive list of contacts that they can use in-country to seek assistance. We are also available for groups to contact us 24 hours a day to provide any assistance from the UK with the support of our in-country agents, diplomatic services and travel insurers.
How can I contact my child overseas?
We operate our trips on a ‘no news is good news’ policy. However, in situations where you feel that you must relay a message to your child, parents can contact us during office hours and we have systems in place to endeavour to forward messages to the Group Leader each day of the itinerary during a pre-designated period of ‘Open Comms’, when the group’s phone will be turned on. In very serious cases, we are able to draw upon the help of our local suppliers or group agents to assist in relaying urgent messages.
Can my child take a mobile phone?
In our experience, mobile phones can isolate participants from the group and become a negative distraction to the objectives and purpose of the trip – focusing participants on whether there is a signal or not, for example - and we do not encourage mobile phones to be taken by any participant. Our trips are designed to provide a period of self discovery with no distractions or reminders of home and all participants will be encouraged to openly share and communicate with their fellow group members and leaders, as well as local staff. Regardless of the itinerary, there will always be something to look at or a conversation to be had – both of which we feel are more important than communicating with friends and family at home.
Who has access to the information I submit about my child?
We do not forward any personal data to 3rd parties for marketing purposes, however, we cannot accept any ‘patient confidentiality’ whatsoever relating to your child. Before the trip departs and at any time after returning, all information that you provide us about your child will be made available to your child’s school, our trained and qualified medical advisor, our technical advisor, the group leader/s and the itinerary’s country British Embassy, as standard. This (and any additional medical information that may update at any stage during or after the itinerary) may also be released to our own insurance company and the groups travel insurance company.
What about travel insurance?
Individual travel insurance polices should not be arranged for each separate traveller. We always recommend that individuals are covered under a group travel insurance policy and most school or college travel insurance policies can be extended to cover pupils for these types of trips. Alternatively, we recommend our optional group travel insurance which includes cover of medical and repatriation expenses for all participants, although cover for personal items is not included in this policy. This policy should be arranged by the group organiser. Please liaise with your travel consultant to receive a full copy of this policy schedule.
What about financial security?
We are part of The Natural Travel Collection, a fully bonded and licensed travel agent and tour operator, who hold an Air Travel Organisers' Licence (ATOL) granted by the Civil Aviation Authority to protect your money should we go out of business.
Where can I read the booking conditions?