Overseas travel packages
(FS260007) (Published April 2007)
Over 11,000 Scouts travel abroad from the United Kingdom each year to take part in camps, international events, exchanges, tours and expeditions. Some of these Scouts travel with commercial travel companies, or as part of a package organised by a Scout County, District or Group. This can be particularly valuable to groups venturing abroad for the first time, as the organisers of the package undertake most of the detailed planning and arrangements, including perhaps optional activities, excursions or other programme content.
Scout Leaders will, however, be looking for packages that provide opportunities for a real
international experience, with a chance to explore the country being visited, and to meet some of its people. There is little point in travelling abroad to hold the same summer camp programme that could have been held nearer to home. The trip should offer members opportunities to progress in the Balanced Programme: during the preparation,
the visit itself, and afterwards.
Your Assistant County/Area Commissioner (International) ACC/AAC(l) will be able to supply you with information on any opportunities organised by the County or Area and sometimes even nationally. This paper is intended to provide details of some commercial operators offering overseas travel packages, either specifically for Scout groups, or for general youth/school group travel. It's not exhaustive, and inclusion in this paper does not mean that the organisation is 'recommended' or 'approved' by The Scout Association.
It's worth contacting local travel agents for information on local travel options. Internet searches are also useful but it's important to ensure that the website is both reputable and genuine.
Your choice of package will depend on a number of factors such as the country and area you wish to visit, your budget, the type of programme that you wish to run, and the sort of accommodation that you want. You might ask your AAC/ACC(I) for details of groups which have travelled abroad recently and could pass on their experiences and
recommendations. Some organisations provide opportunities for leaders to go on a
reconnaissance visit, which can be very useful and is often considered a justifiable part of the budget. In keeping with POR, the party leader needs to be satisfied that the operator conducts adventurous activities in a safe, competent and qualified manner, and in accordance with the Activity Rules of The Scout Association.
It's important to check the booking conditions and terms of the operator. These will cover cancellations, payment schedules and other important information. You may also wish to check whether the organisation is a member of the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) or other appropriate Associations, such as STF (School Travel Forum) or carries an ATOL (Air Transport Operators Licence) qualification. The advantage of booking with ABTA agents is that your money is protected if the agent collapses.