As a Group Leader you are responsible for explaining your travel rules to your students. Part of this is discussing with them that you expect everyone to behave appropriately while on tour. I usually try and set the bar pretty high, so they understand that the rules should not be taken lightly. I also make sure that we have this conversation before our departure, so there is no confusion as to what my expectations are. In fact, I and many other Group Leaders print out a behavior contract and ask that parents and students sign it, so everyone is on the same page. Here are some of the rules that I always communicate clearly to students and parents:
1. Enjoy your tour experience and have fun! Everything is designed to maximize the tour’s educational outcome. But to do that it is essential that everyone respects one another. That includes the tour director, bus drivers, chaperones and all other fellow student travelers.
2. Remember that you represent your school and your country. While visiting a different country it is important that you do not insult their culture. Make yourself aware of their daily customs and norms. If you need some assistance, ask the Group Leader! For example, many European churches and cathedrals require that shoulders and knees are covered when you’re inside. Therefore, make sure you pack accordingly.
3. Get involved and actively participate in the tour’s hands-on activities and learning moments! Allow yourself to try new things–it will help you make the most of your tour experience and provide lasting memories in the process.
4. Eat when it is time to eat and sleep when it is time to sleep. It is important to respect your nightly curfew. This will ensure that you are energized and ready to take advantage of each day on tour. Also, it is up to the student to pack snacks for longer bus or airplane rides.
5. Take only pictures and leave only footprints. Try not to leave anything behind, but above all, be respectful of your surroundings. It is your responsibility to clean up after yourself. Trash should never be left behind.
6. Be on time! Listen to your Tour Director so you know when things are taking place. If you are late, your entire group is late. You do not want to miss out on any tour activities because you didn’t follow instructions.
7. Keep track of your stuff, especially your passport, cash and personal valuables. You should know where these items are at all times. I recommend that you purchase a passport holder to wear under your clothes or around your neck!
8. You are expected to go everywhere on the itinerary. If you are feeling ill, you need to tell your Group Leader immediately so they can work out a plan.
It is important for each traveler to know these rules in advance. The Rules of the Road are put in place to help every student have the best possible tour experience!
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