WordsofWisdom wrote:How to Choose a Safe Student Travel Tour Group
In the wake of American student Natalee Holloway's disappearance in Aruba in late May, 2005, parents, students and teachers questioned the safety of organized student travel tour group activities.
Holloway was on an unofficial school expedition when she vanished on the Caribbean island. According to the Birmingham News, the 124 participating students were accompanied by four male faculty members from Mountain Brook's high and middle schools and three of the their wives, a chaperone ratio of 1-18 (industry standard is one adult to ten students).
Jennifer Fontaine of Global Education Tours says, "Travelling out of the country should never be taken lightly. On a non-chaperoned trip, (a student) will be on their own to make decisions. Kids tend to think think they are invincible and don't always use common sense. Parents and students need ask the right questions (to determine a trip's safety)."
Some questions to ask in determining the safety of a student trip or group tour:
* Does the company require or recommend adult chaperones (volunteer parents or faculty)?
* Does the company provide its own tour directors or company representatives who accompany the traveling students?
* What's the student-adult ratio if company representatives join the trip or adult chaperones are recommended or required?
* What is the company's function in assisting adults with planning student tours?
* Does the company mandate rules and regulations for student security and behavior or are such guidelines merely recommended, if they exist at all?
* Must adult chaperones must fill out an application? Are they screened and trained in accordance with any company guidelines?
* If tour company rules, such as a nighttime curfew, exist and are violated by traveling students, will the adult chaperones or company tour leaders have mechanisms in place to be made aware of such violations and, if so, what steps will he/she take?
* Does a student tour group director (a company representative back at company headquarters) exist? At what point do tour group leaders contact the tour group director or the tour group director contact headquarters in case of emergency?
* What does the tour company consider an emergency - i.e.: would a situation such as a traveling student missing for the night (meaning until daylight) constitute an emergency? How will an emergency be handled?