Travel broadens horizons, creates life experiences and helps learning. But then we all knew that. It’s unlikely the benefits of a school sports tour will prevent your idea from getting traction, more often it’s practical concerns such as cost, safety and impact on exam preparation that can threaten take-off. So how do you respond? Check out our tips for ‘getting buy-in’ for a sports tour ….
Typical Roadblocks to Sports Travel
Finance – cost is right up there as one of the most common concerns when it comes to tour planning, and with uncertainty surrounding our separation from the EU it looks set to remain top of the list.
The first thing to look for is a package in which foreign currency is locked in at the time of booking – this means with a little advance planning right now it’s still possible to avoid future cost increases.
Experienced operators will also be able to leverage buying power right through the supply chain, from airlines to venues and ground facilities, to deliver competitive rates that are otherwise unavailable. And don’t forget the advantages of planning well ahead. A long lead-time will give everyone more time to budget and fundraise.
Destination choice is also important. Long haul options that aren’t pegged to the dollar and offer excellent value on the ground along with strong itinerary potential, such as Kenya and Sri Lanka, can provide really good value.
But if long haul is off the cards it doesn’t necessarily dictate a short hop to Europe. A week-long sport tour to Dubai and the UAE is still feasible for as little as £995pp with Sporta Tours, including flights and free staff places. It’s a really popular mid-range destination with bags to offer. You can expect perfect weather conditions (especially appealing during our winter), no jet lag, world-class facilities and a seemingly endless choice of cultural and educative downtime options. It’s also a very safe destination and a real winner with schools.
Safety – it’s a significant responsibility for schools and a valid concern for parents. Working with an experienced operator is a good starting point. You should be looking for evidence of a systematic approach to safety and an organisation that’s ready to help with free guidance and a practical toolkit to help you in your planning and tour management. And don’t be afraid to ask about their track record and the kind of support you’ll have access to on the ground, from team personnel to use of a local mobile phone.
It also comes back to destination and itinerary planning. A safe destination combined with a well-planned and detailed itinerary featuring tried and trusted venues, facilities and travel arrangements is important – don’t act as guinea pigs unwittingly. An inspection trip is a great way to gen up on a potential tour destination and good operators should be able to help. For example, Sporta Tours is launching a *FREE trip to Sri Lanka in the May 2017 half-term. It’s an ideal opportunity to check out venues, facilities, and learn more about how much this destination has to offer.
Timing – getting organised well in advance can help avoid clashes with other school departments and ensure troublesome timetable issues don’t crop up. When you’ve invested time and energy getting a proposal together for your senior management team, the last thing you want to hear is that another trip or activity is already in the offing during the same term, or that it’s black-balled down to a perceived adverse impact on pupils’ studies.
If there are concerns in connection with exam preparation or revision time then it’s worth looking at how a tour could in fact address these quite positively. For example, we are often asked to make special arrangements for quiet study areas and to plan out itineraries that allow for revision time. Of course travel can enrich academically too, and an innovative and well-planned programme of excursions and activities off-pitch can help other faculties also glean benefits from their students’ time on tour.
Go For It
Sports tours are unique. They create a time and space for youngsters to bond and develop in a powerful way as they connect over new experiences and environs, as they learn about their sport within a different culture, and meet physical and sporting challenges they haven’t encountered before.
They create excitement, inspiration and deliver lifelong lessons and experiences. So meet those practical concerns and issues head on, get your proposal and plans in place and go for it.
And if you could use some help do get in touch. We provide informative, detailed presentations and can offer a wealth of tried and trusted tour knowledge, experience and guidance.
Written by Sam Wicks, Sporta Tours Destination Coordinator.
*Sporta Tours Sri Lanka Inspection Trip – a £500 contribution to flights is payable to secure a place which is refundable in full against a subsequent tour booking. Sporta Tours Dubai / UAE sports tours are also available from as little as £995. Contact Roger Myall for details.