Resources & training

Pre-tour ice breakers: Luggage derby


At one of my later pre-departure meetings, I like to hold a luggage derby. This activity has two purposes: it helps travelers to gain an understanding of just how heavy and cumbersome their luggage will be when they overpack, and it also helps students get to know each other better by working together to win the derby.

Here’s how it works:

Before the meeting

  • Tell the travelers to bring the suitcase that they are using on tour and to put 40lbs of anything in it—most use textbooks or free weights.
  • Set up the derby course by creating signs with arrows pointing in the direction that the travelers should follow. I require them to go to different stations in the building where they will have to successfully pass through “passport control” and “customs” before they head to “baggage claim” and then look for the “exit.” As part of the derby, I require them to go up and down stairs with their suitcase at least once.

At the meeting/before the derby

  • When the travelers arrive at the meeting, I divide them up into two teams and give them a very vague description of what they have to accomplish.
  • Let them know it is a race (but they cannot run!), and that the first team who correctly follows the path and makes it back to the start wins.

After the derby

  • Discuss the most difficult parts of the activity.
  • Ask students how this might impact how they pack for tour.

To be honest, the parents watching from the sidelines really enjoy this the most because it is quite comical to watch the travelers go through the obstacle course and try to make it back quickly without running. It never hurts to think about how heavy your luggage will feel when it is over-packed, as you have to carry it quite a bit on tour.

Need another ice breaker for your pre-departure meeting. Read all of our pre-tour meeting tips.

Jessica T.

Jessica is a Career Technology Teacher, and author of the blog, The Well Traveled Teacher. She has led 14 EF Tours since 2009 and is passionate about inspiring her students to become citizens of the world.

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