How to plan a successful class trip

A guide for parents and others who will organize class trips.

The terms school trip and class trip are used interchangeably from place to place. Some use "school trip" for trips for several classes, others think "school trip" can only be used if the trip is organized by the school. For the sake of simplicity, we use the term "class trip" to refer to all trips arranged for one or more school funds in this article. 
If you are planning a trip for the sports team, corps, scout group or leisure club, you can use most of the guide, but something is special for schools.

What kind of trip are you going on?

There are mainly three forms of class trips, at least in primary school:

1) Class tour during teaching hours, with teachers

You are away from school for a few ordinary teaching days to go on a class trip. Teachers are on the trip, usually together with parents.

2) Class trip for which the parents take responsibility the teaching

Pupils are asked to leave school by their parents to go on a class trip. When pupils are asked to be free from regular lessons, it is the parents' responsibility to arrange for lessons on the days the pupils are away from school. Such trips should have a certain academic content in order to be approved by the school. No teachers are involved, only parents.

3) Class trip in spare time

The trip is added to a weekend, a holiday or other holidays. Here you can freely choose what kind of content the trip will have and again it is the parents who have full responsibility for the trip. The teachers can be invited on a trip. There are many combinations of these main types, you can have one day on a trip during teaching hours and two days at the weekend, some days with teachers and some without.


Here you have to see what fits in the individual situation. Which type of trip you choose is often about which rules your school/municipality has for class trips. Some municipalities do not allow pupils to go on trips during school hours or teachers to go on trips. Others have more liberal frameworks, encourage such trips and even cover part of the expenses. Check what is the practice in your municipality before you start planning.



How long will you be gone?

Most people choose a trip with 1-3 nights. The longer the journey, the more overnight stays it is natural to have. If you want a short trip with only one overnight stay, or no overnight stay, you should add the trip to an area nearby, otherwise most of the trip is included in the actual trip.

Make sure the trip is filled with activities and experiences! It is better to cut an overnight stay and get as many activities as possible than spending money on accommodation to delay the trip if you can't get the budget to stretch. An alternative is to come up with activities that don't cost anything, but there should not be much free time on the trip. Then the students will quickly get bored, dead time leads to a bad turn. Remember that young people have greater demands for "something to happen" than the adult leaders.



How much does a class trip cost?

It varies from free to close to ten thousand kroner depending on the type of trip you choose, how long you will be away, how many people will be there (some offer discounts for larger groups)


Some price examples:

  • Fishing trip with borrowed tents and fishing rods: Free + food
  • 3 days of action activities in Norway: approx. 2,500 + pocket money
  • 4 days to Copenhagen: approx. NOK 3,500 + pocket money
  • 4-day trip to Krakow: approx. NOK 4,500 + pocket money
  • Weekly trip to England approx. NOK 5,000 + pocket money

Check with the supplier about what is included in the packages theirs and what comes in addition. Some operate with a price for the scheme, but that the journey comes in addition. Some have everything included, some allow the managers to join for free, others require payment for everyone. Some give discounts for large groups, some have a fixed price regardless. Most have a minimum number to get package prices.


Tips: Are you going to sell toilet paper, have a cake lottery at the convenience store or similar to earn money for the trip? Check with the other classes at the school, as well as sports teams and other popular leisure activities in the local area, what plans they have to make money, so that four groups do not try to sell toilet paper in the same housing estate in the same week.


Get good tips in the article 25 ways to earn money for the class trip.


When of the year should you go?

It depends on a few things: A final trip for 10th grade should be added to the spring semester, close to the end of school. If the point is to connect the students more closely, an autumn or winter trip is often a better choice than a trip that is arranged just before a long summer holiday.

Make sure that trip don't crash with exams, exams and confirmations!

The time is also determined by what to do on the trip. Ski days must be added to the winter, rafting must be done in the summer. If you are not sure what is the best time for the trip, talk to one or more suppliers.

Remember that it can be large differences from region to region. There may still be skiers on the mountain when the tough guys have started the swimming season in the lowlands.


Who will be on the trip?

Regardless of whether it is a trip under the auspices of the school or a trip organized by parents outside of school hours should all students can participate. There are usually some for whom it is not suitable, for various reasons, but make sure that everyone gets the opportunity and that it is not finances that stop those who do not join. There have been some sad media reports recently about individual students who cannot afford to go on a class trip. If not everyone can join, much of the point of the trip is lost.

A class trip during teaching hours is often considered regular teaching and then can the students are required by the school to participate. Talk to the school (contact teacher or principal) about whether teachers should be involved and what is normal at your school.

It should be with some adults, but how many varies depending on the scheme. 2-3 adults to keep track of a class that participates in organized activities all day is basically enough. However, it is often the case that where you have teachers on the trip, they have them not necessarily any responsibility for students in the evening/night, so then it must be with a few extra adults.

Our experience is that more adults is not necessarily better. Pupils and leaders get to know each other much better in groups with 2-4 adults and in general each individual leader takes much greater responsibility in groups with few leaders than in groups with 6-7-8 adults. If it is possible to have one or more teachers with you, it is usually a great advantage, as the teachers know all the students and have good training in organizing a large group.

However, there are many considerations here, for various reasons some classes may need many leaders.

Feel free to spend some time together before the trip, so that students and leaders get to know each other before departure, especially if it is a trip without teachers. The adults should know the names of all the students before you leave.


Checklist when ordering:

How many students and leaders will you have?

It is common that this is not completely determined when ordering, but try to guess as best you can. In the event of large changes in quantity, it may affect the price you have received.

How will you travel?

If you want to book train/bus/air tickets yourself, you will need to get it nailed down exact number and ordered in as much time as possible to get the best possible price.

Most operators have own representatives for group bookings, contact them.

If you are traveling by plane, think about who will be checking in. Collecting information from passports and checking in 30 students return on a low-cost route is much work.

Are you planning to use scheduled bus so remember that it is not certain that there will be room for 30 more people than usual on the route in question, so check with the bus company in advance.

If a supplier is going to arrange the transport for you, they will know How many you are, where you will be picked upapproximate time for departure/return and whether you will be bringing a lot with you luggage.

Allergies and other considerations in the alimentary canal:

It is always someone in the class who have an allergy or intolerance, or who do not eat certain foods for religious reasons. Check this out well in advance of your trip! Some suppliers take extra paid for participants who have special dietary needs.

The catering establishments can usually prepare food adapted to most needs, but they have to know about it in good time. It may well be that menus are set up and raw materials are ordered several weeks before you arrive, and then it becomes a problem if you notify of an allergy the day before arrival, or even worse; at the start of the first meal.

Many people now avoid using pork for groups, because it often with Muslims cannot eat pork, but check to be sure. It's not fun to go to bed hungry on the trip because you couldn't eat the food which was served.

A tip for you who will be organizing the trip is to require that everyone declares allergies and other food considerations when registering. Then you save yourself a lot of work by checking this separately.

Travel abroad?

Everything both students and managers have is important passport that is valid for the entire stay ready in good time. In some countries (mostly outside Europe) it is required that the passport must be valid for 6 months after returning home, so check what applies to your trip.

If you are traveling to Sweden and Denmark, a bank card with photo or driver's license is also valid as identification, but border controls have become stricter in recent years and one will be controlled. Children who travel with their guardians in the Nordics do not need identification, but very few do on a school trip.


Are you booking a trip through a supplier? This is what you need to ask:

What is included in the price?

Activities? Accommodation? Meals? Transportation? What do you have to take care of yourself?

Room distribution:

How many in each room? Are you set up room distribution in advance? What kind of rooms are available for the managers?When are the meals?If the last meal of the day is dinner at 5:00 p.m., you will be hungry before bedtime. Then you have to calculate some form of evening meal in addition or use a kiosk or similar on site. Do you need to bring a packed lunch on the first day?Does it cost extra for allergies and adaptations in the menu?Is there wifi/access to electricity?Everyone is online during the day, even when travelling. The students will have a desire to charge smartphones, cameras, tablets and perhaps laptops. Is there a power outlet available? (If you are going abroad, find out if you need to bring/buy adapters.) Is there wireless Internet on site and does it cost money or is it free?Sanitation?Is it shower and toilet in the room Or do you have to share? In that case, how many showers/toilets are available for the participants and do they have to share with other groups or only within the class? When staying in a tented camp, lavvocamp and similar places - Is there a sanitary building and how far away is it?Rules of orderWhich rules apply to behavior along the way? Should there be quiet at a certain time? Are students required to keep their rooms tidy and clean/wash common areas? Should you have a separate set of rules for the trip that regulate behaviour, smoking, alcohol and other drugs? Can the school's rules of order be used?Responsibility Who has responsibility? Are their managers or the supplier responsible for the students?InsurancesAre the students insured for the trip? What happens if someone has booked/paid for a trip, but stays sick before departure? Do you need additional insurance? Serious players have liability insurance that covers activities etc. that the students participate in, but it can often be a good idea to have a travel insurance in addition, which covers such things as lost luggage, travel home due to illness, equipment that is damaged and the like.Kiosk Is it kiosk or shop on site you shall? Calculate that there is some pocket money there. It may also be a good idea to check whether suppliers sell effects such as T-shirts, or other things that the students might want to buy.When do you have to order?Can you hold space? School groups often book well in advance, it is not unusual for 8th graders to book trips until they are in 10th grade, and a year in advance, the most popular periods are often fully booked. The more important it is for you to make the trip to a specific place and at a specific time, the earlier you should book, or at least reserve a trip.When do you have to pay?When will the invoice for the trip arrive and when must it be paid? Is there anything deposit which must be paid when ordering? Does the price depend on the quantity? Do you get a discount if there are many of you? Is it worth traveling two classes together?What do you have to pay for managers? Some places go managers free, in some places you pay a smaller amount for the managers and in some places you pay full price.

Are there other groups in the same location?

Some people think it's awesome meet students from other schools, others would rather be completely to themselves. If there are other schools, it might be a good idea to check where they are from, it is often more fun to make completely new acquaintances than to meet the parallel class. Is it other guests on site? Are the school classes kept to themselves or do you risk living next door to a stag party?Detailed packing listAsk for one packing list that is adapted to the scheme you are going on. There is a big difference between what you need in the mountains and in Berlin. Do you need hiking boots, woolen underwear, sunscreen, rain gear or hand towels? How about a sleeping bag or bedding?

Take care of the memories

It is wise to organize photos and videofrom the trip so that everyone can take part in it. Maybe you can bring a GoPro camera on the trip and take turns filming, so you can see the trip from several points of view? Maybe someone in the till is very interested in video and/or photography? Can it be done as a project to make a video or photo exhibition from the trip? Listen to the school!

Videos can be easily uploaded to services such as YouTube and Vimeo free.

Flickr and Dropbox are fine alternatives to upload and share photos after the trip.

Many in the class probably use Instagram and Twitter - Come up with a hashtag (#) that they can use on photos they share from the trip so everyone can find them.

Last but not least: Agree on what should be shared with the world and what should be private. Not all photos and videos are suitable in the public space, some have good reasons for not wanting photos or videos of themselves online. These must be respected. A conversation about this in advance can save both organizers and students a lot of trouble afterwards


General packing list for the class trip:

  • Appropriate clothing and footwear
  • Sleeping bag or bedding (if needed)
  • Towels (if needed)
  • Toiletries
  • Any medication (If you have pollen allergies in the group, it may be a good idea to advise them to check the pollen forecast for the place you are going to. It varies greatly, a month after the pollen season has finished by the sea, it can be fully spread in the mountains.)
  • Mobile phone
  • Camera
  • Chargers
  • Pocket money/card

Are you going abroad?

  • Passport (remember to check its validity in good time!)
  • Adapter