Planning a field trip can be a frightening event for the ill-prepared. Field trips can be a great time for both you and your students where classroom lessons are brought to life! Allowing your students to learn in a hands-on environment is a dream, right? It should be, but that dream field trip can quickly become a nightmare if not properly prepared. The most important thing is knowing where to start… 

With this step-by-step guide, we hope to make your field trip planning a breeze. We’ll cover the A to Zs of questions to ask while planning, from choosing the field trip location using Tripology to engaging students through classroom reinforcing experiences!

1. Where do we attend our field trip?

The most important question! Without the where there’s no need to go any further. Pick a date and then think of locations that would bring out the best in your students while also strengthening lessons taught. Are you teaching art? Try heading down to the nearest art museum with rotating exhibits for a fresh experience. How about something with science? There is a great children’s museum located right around the corner with an emphasis on blended learning.

If you’re in need of a little inspiration, we’ve got you covered!

2. Does your field trip have approval?

Talk with your administrator or principal. Do this as soon as you know where. You don’t want to be springing an idea too late in the process!

Explain the details, fill out the necessary paperwork, and talk cost. The earlier you request, the smoother the process, the happier the principal! 

3. How will the day be scheduled?

Once you’ve figured out the basic plan for field trips, you’ll need to decide the schedule. The most important component to consider is timing. When do children need to arrive at school? When will you be departing? Figuring out the specifics of the trip will allow you to plan meals, activities, and any additional recreation time. Planning extra activities is a great way to keep your children engaged.

Do your diligence in creating a detailed itinerary with times and descriptions… but be flexible! Understand that plans change and details might need adjusting depending on any unplanned surprises.

4. How will we get there?

Make the mode of transportation work for you. If in need of a school bus, make sure you allow plenty of time for arrangement. This permits the proper scheduling of buses and bus drivers who might otherwise have been booked. Sometimes private transportation works just fine as well, so organizing volunteer drivers is key to a successful field trip transportation plan. Most importantly…  don’t forget the return trip!

5. What will we eat?

Food planning choices can make or break a field trip. A misplanned meal could leave you with a bus full of grouchy students and turn the journey sour in a hurry.

Scope out local choices. Does the destination have an onsite cafeteria? Make sure that you include any extra costs that the student’s parents or guardians might need to take into consideration ahead of time. 

Preparing meals and having an outdoor lunch on the field trip is a great way to unwind on the way back to school!

6. Which students can attend the field trip?

Incentivize, incentivize, incentivize. Make your students want to attend! Use this to your advantage and as an opportunity to captivate your students. We all remember field trip days growing up, so convey that same sense of reward for them!

Create permission slips for parents to sign that clearly detail the field trip. Be as specific as possible and make sure to reinforce getting them signed and returned as early as possible. The standard details to include are:

  1. The purpose of the trip
  2. An itinerary (including pickup/departure times)
  3. Contact information for both you and the school
  4. Any information regarding necessary extra funds for food, entry fees, etc.
  5. Transportation plans
  6. A date for the signed permission slip to be returned

7. Do we need chaperones?

This will be predicated on headcount and age. As a rule of thumb, you’ll want to have at least one adult for every 10 children. If you’re working with an older group of students, that number can be more.

The easiest way to gather chaperones is to ask parents! Engaged parents love to participate in their child’s learning, so if in need of a few extra eyes, extend an invitation. Once you have a clear idea of how many students and chaperones, it will be important to group these students for a more organized field trip.

8. What will we be learning?

It’s a great idea to have the lessons that you’ve been teaching relate to your field trip. Pick a topic that you’ll be covering leading up to the trip and you’ll never see your students so engaged! Using our field trip location search will allow you to pick a perfect field trip to tie in, with many different categories to look into!