This one goes out to the parents and students!
Sure we're a little biased, but class trips RULE. Really though, what's better than visiting, seeing, tasting and experiencing new things with your friends?
As you prepare for your epic school trip, you're going to think about spending money. It's inevitable. You'll need some for a few meals (mostly lunch), snacks, souvenirs, etc. Thing is, you're going to need that spending money for the entirety of your trip. It's harder than it sounds! So here's how you can manage and make the most of your student tour spending money.
Take note of all the meals that are listed as ‘individual expense’ in your itinerary and budget 15-20$ for each of these meals. You won’t necessarily spend this, but it’s wise to have a buffer. Whatever you don’t spend can be used for snacks, or added to your souvenir budget.
A note on snacks: we all get peckish, and vending machines are everywhere. Plan ahead by bringing snacks from home – that way, you won’t find yourself, um, eating into your budget.
Know Your Spending Habits
Some of us spend more when we only have cards; others spend more when there’s cash burning a hole in our pocket. What kind of spender are you? The better you know yourself, the better you’ll manage your money.
Try splitting your budget between cash and card. One, it’s safer. In the unlikely event that one of them is lost or stolen, you can fall back on the other.
Two, it’s a management tool. Consider assigning your cash to food and your card to souvenirs; each morning, before you leave your hotel, bring only the cash you need for food that day. Keep your card on you at all times – we recommend a money belt for maximum security.
Street Food is Your Friend
It’s lunchtime! After some brief but important instructions from your Tour Leader, it’s time to explore with your friends; see the sites, do some shopping and grab a bite to eat.
As tempting as it might be – we totally get that you want to see and do as much as possible – don’t skip lunch. Later on you’ll be so hungry that you’ll buy whatever you can find at whatever the cost. They say you shouldn’t do groceries on an empty stomach – this also applies to travel.
To save money and time, look for street food. You’ll find it on virtually every corner in the form of kiosks, carts, even reclaimed train cars. The ones where there’s a bit of a lineup are your best bet.
The Siren Song of the Souvenir
We absolutely encourage you to buy souvenirs, but here’s the thing: it’s not just what you find but also how you find it.
Let’s say you 're on a class trip to New York City and you have free time in Times Square. You’re in H&M and a pair of jeans catches your eye. Just before you try them on ask yourself this question: “Can I buy this at home?” If the answer is yes, is it really worth spending your trip money on it?
A city like New York City is a renowned shopping destination for not only its enormous flagships but also its one-of-a-kind boutiques. A mass-produced item might satisfy you for a season or two, but the experience of finding something in, say, a thrift store in Greenwich Village or along Canal Street will stay with you forever.
Let's keeping running with this example of a class trip to New York City. Classic souvenirs – Yankees hats, miniature Statues of Liberty, ‘I HEART NY’ tees, etc. – are literally everywhere.
But before you buy, make sure you’re getting a fair price. It doesn’t hurt to research the average cost of these items beforehand.
Keep checking in for more useful student travel guides for everyone involved! If you're thinking of organizing a class trip and would like to discuss your plans with us, you're one click away from hitting the ground running.