DYNAMIQ IN THE NEWS: 6 TIPS FOR PLANNING YOUR NEXT SCHOOL OVERSEAS TRIP
You won’t find that on trip advisor: 6 essential considerations when planning your schools next overseas adventure.
- Conducting a travel risk assessment: With a disproportionate focus on terrorism, it is easy to overlook the most likely risks when planning your trip. Transport strikes, weather events, issue motivated rallies, and petty crime are just some of the events that occur daily throughout the world that can seriously disrupt your plans. Identify the risks and have a plan.
- Staff selection: Who wouldn’t want a trip to Paris? Just because staff want to go doesn’t mean they will be the best custodians of the students. Staff selection criteria should be rigorous; previous travel to the destination, language skills, security awareness, physical health with enough authority to ensure students are not left to run rogue on foreign streets. It is a fine balance and should be a thorough process. Once suitable staff are identified pre-travel briefings and involvement in the risk management process, and response plans are essential.
- Transport: Stringent licensing, vehicle standards, alcohol and drug testing and fatigue management systems are things we demand of our transport providers in Australia. Unfortunately, it is likely that standards may not be so stringent in your chosen destination. Utilise open source resources on the internet to identify the corresponding standards to ensure that your selected provider meets and exceeds the required standards.
- Accommodation: Just because it’s a brand name hotel in a well-known city doesn’t ensure that it is appropriate for your group. Every city has areas of higher crime and anti-social behaviour, be diligent and read reviews and travel advisories to ensure the area surrounding your hotel is safe. 24-hour reception desks, on-site security and CCTV cameras help to minimise the occurrence of petty crime. Even a stolen passport can throw the best-made plans into disarray.
- Communication: How do you communicate with the group? Have you established communication pathways, do you have a redundancy, have you scheduled daily check-ins or updates? A social media post can outrun the best-laid communications platform, so it's important to hold pre-travel briefings for stakeholders to help manage expectations and demonstrate a clear communications plan in the event of an incident.
- Support: You have diligently gone through steps 1 to 5 but what happens when you need to switch from being proactive to reactive. Do you have the necessary support both in country and from your parent organisation? Do you have a critical incident management team to activate? When selecting your insurance provider, it is important to go through the fine print to ensure your insurance comes with an emergency support element. Emergency operations centres can provide 24-hour expert medical, travel and security assistance to ensure that support is provided allowing travelling staff to focus on the students and parent organisations to focus on the management of the heavily invested stakeholders back home.