Common Student Travel Issues Solved: A Teacher’s Guide

In today's travel world there are key issues that are of utmost importance as far as planning, prep, and precautionary action go, especially when it comes to student travel.

Between new terrorism threats, safety updates, and airline mishaps, there are plenty of issues that need to be addressed, for both tour operators and teachers/chaperones before and during the trip. The responsibility of the safety and comfort of students during trips, whether domestically or internationally, should be of utmost importance to any professional in the industry, and we at Adventure Student Travel want to help solve a few key issues before your travels.

  • Safety

    • Evacuation Preparedness

      streetsign emergency route in eastpoint

      • The school, the chaperones and teachers, and the parents themselves all need to be prepared for natural disaster evacuation mandates while traveling, both nationally and internationally. As you will read a few points below this, most responsibility will fall on the school system and the tour operators on location. To prevent chaos during a situation like this during your travels be sure to read up on common serious weather evacuation processes, keep up with the weather forecast, and figure out your transportation meeting points and overall plan in case of an emergency.
    • Terrorism Threat/Attack
      • We highly suggest taking advantage of online resources during all stages of travel and travel prep, with travel warnings and alerts located on government sites such as travel.state.gov. Consider enrolling in the STEP program (Smart Traveler Enrollment Program) to receive regular security messages about terrorist threats, and also consider a visit to the nearest U.S embassy consulate if traveling internationally.Safety Side Note
      • This year many, if not all, eyes have been on the Munn v. Hotchkiss case in the legal travel industry, the most recent, and perhaps most serious, case dealing with student travel internationally in regards to disease prevention or the lack-thereof. The Connecticut Supreme Court ruled against the school that was responsible for a total of $42 million, using the basic rationale that the school should have ensured the students were fully prepared for the hiking and outdoor conditions in the desired travel area, in this case being Northeast China. In this case, a student suffered from unfortunate neurological damage due to a tick bite after not being properly covered, a mishap that is pinned on the school system as a management failure.

  • Dietary Restrictions

    • Food Allergies
      Food Allergies

      Food Allergies

      • One of the most common issues in the student travel world, as well as one of the easiest to solve, is that of food allergies. Several students in your group may have fish, egg, nut, milk, or gluten allergies that need to be taken into consideration while planning restaurants, boxed lunches, and snacks while on your trip. Not only do meals need to be planned around it, but if the allergy is severe enough you also need to plan ahead for seating on buses and in eateries, as well as rooming for hotels, in the case of one student eating a particular allergen next to the student with the severe allergy.
    • EpiPens
      • One of the most important things to remember when dealing with EpiPens during student travels is to come prepared with more than one pen. We suggest bringing 3 EpiPens total, one for the student themselves, one for the chaperone in charge, and one for the leader of the trip. Be sure all three people know of the allergy and how to respond to the situation in a hurry.

  • Rooming

    • Rooming Blocks and Hotel Security
      • It is always wise to pre-plan hotel rooming blocks, meaning you should ensure certain rooming sections, hallways, or corners have the same sex students and have at least one chaperone rooming nearby. Hotels with inward facing rooms are always preferred for easy security if possible, as well. Night security is also recommended, if not already provided by the hotel itself.
    • Hotel Safety
      • Just to drive the point home, it is worth re-mentioning preparedness in natural disasters, evacuations, and terrorist attacks when it comes to your particular hotel and transportation to/from. Be sure to research your hotel's evacuation plan and layout beforehand.
    • Rooming Preferences
      • Going hand in hand with the rooming blocks issue, rooming preference is an important aspect to keep in mind, in regards to the student's sexuality and gender preferences. Ask the students and parents for rooming preferences in this situation rather than assuming or placing them in an uncomfortable situation.

  • Airline Cancellations and Delays

    • 2018 Real ID Airport Enforcement

      Delayed Flight

      • First and foremost to be mentioned within the subject of anything airline related is the upcoming changes in ID requirements in certain states during air travel. The 2018 Real ID Airport Enforcement act requires that passports, military ID's, or permanent residency cards be used at airport security checkpoints, rather than your state issued driver's license or ID. The states affected by these changes include¬†Kentucky, Maine, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Washington.
    • Visa Requirements for International Borders

      • There have been a few rare experiences of student groups running into Visa requirement troubles during a flight over international borders. Teachers and tour operators need to be fully aware of the Visa requirements for travel, whether internationally or domestically. For instance, if your group happens to cross the Canada border, even just briefly, during a flight to Niagara Falls, Visa's are required even though you didn't land in a different country.
    • Cancellations and Delay Plans
      • Something to consider and prepare for before departure is possible flight cancellations or delays. Itineraries may need to be changed on a dime, as well as lodging and eating plans. Speaking of dimes, consider paying for possibly needed hotels or meals during the delay on your travel company's dime, ensuring the group doesn't have to go through any extra hassle during an already stressful situation.


  • Technology Changes

    • Student GPS Systems
      Smart Phone GPS

      Smart Phone GPS

      • There are certain systems now that may be utilized for a sort of student GPS while traveling (with the parent's permission, of course). With every student connected socially, it is easier than you may think to keep track of everyone traveling in your group through group texts, location reminders, and GPS systems.Note*: if the student group contains students 18 or over, request extra permissions for travel safety and control before the trip, as you are not legally allowed to interfere with certain situations regarding their well-being as they are officially adults.
    • Social Media and Photography
      • Tying in with the point above, every student is connected socially today on their cells, through various social media platforms and apps. If necessary for your particular group, set rules ahead of time for appropriate social media updates during the trip, as well as photography rules for certain locations or sacred spots.
    • Parent/Chaperone Updates
      • This one is pretty basic: make it a requirement that students, teachers, and chaperones update each other regularly on the student whereabouts, meeting spots, and lodging plans for the night.

For more information on how to keep your student group safe and worry-free on your upcoming student trip give us a call at 877.397.5700.