Student-Teacher Travel Tips

by Jacquie Whitt / Apr 25, 2011 / 0 comments

After sleeping under the stars with snoring teens in
tents all around me, I have discovered high-school students can be a different breed
of traveler than adults.  For instance, they can be picky (perhaps
suspicious is a better word!) eaters, but I haven't met one yet that I
couldn't get to at least try the local locro or quinoa soups. 

Away from their parents, teens can be coaxed into a state of
open-mindedness that doesn't always exist when Mom or Dad are hovering. 
(we encourage family travel, but just want to point out that students
are different on group trips.Yes, Mom!  they really are!) 

How do you create an itinerary for students that will tie in
educational goals with their need to be curious about things that may
not be part of the typical educational experience?  Here are some tips
from our American teacher & Peruvian guide team who have crafted
many student itineraries:

  • Preparation is important.  Information about European travel is much
    more accessible than info about travel to South American or China.  Offer
    suggestions for special places to research.  For instance, the floating
    reed islands in Lake Titicaca are a living laboratory of conservation
    and environmental stewardship. 
  • Don't assume that students will know how to protect their valuables
    or even pack their bags.  You really have to explain and teach them some
    basics.  After you arrive, you'll have to remind them almost every
  • Explain the boundaries of safety ahead of time and your
    expectations.  You'll have fewer problems with curious teens who want to
    take off on their own adventures. 
  • Make arrangements for teens who want to do nighttime activities.  A
    guided hike or guided stroll into town will give them a splash of
    excitement and keep them safe.
  • Avoid scheduling long, narrated tours of museums and buildings.  A
    little lecture goes a long way and should be mixed with hands-on
  • Throw in some surprises.  A picnic in a special place or a short hike will keep them interested and make the trip exciting.
  • Teachers should have fun too.  If you're having fun, the students
    will feed off your energy.  That's why it's important to have local resources who know how to manage the needs of teens.  You don't always
    have to be the "go-to" person for everything!  Experienced guides and
    staff should be prepared to accommodate the special needs and interests
    of teens who travel.