WHO - WHAT
- WHERE - WHEN - HOW
(we'll skip the WHY!)
Basically two types of group travel abroad as Guides :
1) "Selected" groups, travelling as official representatives
of the Guide Association - selected by whatever means, usually by
attending a selection camp and/or interview - and usually consisting
of girls and leaders from different units but within the same county
2) Unofficial groups - may be from one unit, District, Division, County
etc., but are not OFFICIAL representatives although of course they
still go as Guides.
If your group is a Selected Group, you may or may not
have any say in who you're taking with you, although if the girls
have gone through the rigours of interview and/or a selection camp
they should be OK. One would assume that girls presenting themselves
for International Selection would have some - preferably plenty of
- experience of camping but this isn't necessarily so. You need to
check and find out - and be prepared to run a weekend camp for them
before you go so you can see for yourself and teach them the basics
if needed. In any case, you will want to get to know them before you
go off to foreign parts together, so a few social occasions where
they can mingle and chat are a good idea - ten-pin bowling is a good
"mixer" activity, and fun too!
If you're taking your own girls abroad, the getting-to-know
you bit is easy, and it's up to you how you select your group.
WHAT? and WHERE?
Pretty obvious questions to ask yourself, really. Where will you
be travelling to? What sort of trip - residential holiday? camp? touring?
International Jamboree? "Selected" groups will usually have
their venue selected for them too, as these groups are usually travelling
as a result of official invitations from the host country's Guide
or Scout Associations.
Unofficial groups may be travelling to popular Guide destinations
(e.g. Adelboden) or venturing into the unknown. They may be camping,
staying in hostels, renting accommodation or even staying in one of
the World Centres. The choices are endless but the sooner you decide,
the better. Ask other Guiders who've travelled abroad previously,
contact all those overseas email Guide and Scout friends you've made,
or search the Web for ideas (links to the World Centres here
on this website)
BACK TO TOP
Whichever you choose (or have thrust upon you) - to coin a phrase,
"Book early to avoid disappointment." For a big Division
trip where everyone is paying their own way, two years isn't too far
in advance. If you have a "Selected" group to take, you're
unlikely to get that much notice, but start planning the minute you're
asked to lead the group!
Most Guide groups travel during the school summer holidays
- and so does everyone else! So in order to get the accommodation
and transport (coach, ferry or flights) you want, you need to book
early. Make your initial enquiries by telephone but make sure you
get confirmation in writing.
BACK TO TOP
How are you going to fund the trip? Selected groups can usually
apply for grants from various sources and raise funds (see below)
to offset the costs and minimise parental contributions, individual
groups either pay their own way or organise major fundraising drives.
Whichever way you pay for the trip - make sure you don't underestimate
Actual travel costs - flight/ferry fares, coach
hire to get to your destination, travel to and from the airport if
you are flying, etc.
- Internal travel in the country you are visiting
- Travel insurance
Camp fees, accommodation etc.
Food if you are self-catering
"Treats" such as swimming baths, boat
rides, days out etc. (unless they are included in a package holiday)
Add 10% to your estimated costs for emergencies
- you can always give a rebate if you come home with money to spare,
but it's infinitely preferable to running out of money while you're
How are you going to get there? Are you making
all your own arrangements or are you going for a group package with
one of the recognised Guide/Scout holiday operators (e.g. Venture
Abroad, Jeka - see Guiding magazine for adverts)? Both ways have their
advantages and disadvantages. Making your own arrangements is cheaper
but going with a package tour is easier; you usually have more freedom
to do what YOU want to do and go where YOU want to go if you aren't
tied to an operator's schedule, but you do have to do your own planning,
Travelling abroad from the UK has one absolutely inevitable
component: you have to cross the sea. If you are going with a tour
operator you will have no choice in the matter, but if you are making
your own arrangements there are two basic options for travelling to
Europe - plane or ferry, or if you are going via France, through the
Channel Tunnel. You will have to weigh costs against convenience -
flying is certainly faster but is of course more expensive, and you
are also limited as to the amount of luggage you can take - quite
a headache if you are planning to camp! From experience, I find it
pays to book flights direct with the airline : check with your nearest
airport to see if it is possible to get to your chosen destination
from there, it will cut down on travel costs at this end and if it
is near enough, parents can deliver the girls direct to the airport.
Travelling further afield has to be by air unless you are planning
a marathon trek along the Silk Route or something similar...... don't
just go for the obvious route, check different airlines and you may
find you can save money by selecting a less obvious route (such as
UK - Mexico via Frankfurt - it's true, honest!)
BACK TO TOP
|PASSPORTS : Make sure the leaders and all
the girls have passports which will still be valid for your return
journey - some countries require"leeway" on the passports
- they should have two or three months left on them after you
get back. If not, get them sent away for well in advance. [NOTE
- you can no longer get the GB 1 year passport]
|E111 Health forms : if you are travelling
to - or through - an EEC country, the E111 form gives you access
to health care as part of a reciprocal arrangement and is essential.
Everybody needs one; they are free and available from Post Offices.
|INJECTIONS - check if you need any injections
for the country you are planning to visit and check if the girls'
vaccinations are still up-to-date. Notify the parents in good
time and don't forget to get yours done too.
|TRAVEL INSURANCE - the cheapest seems to
be the Guides' own policy - check the GA
website for contact and cover details.
|TICKETS - airline, coach, ferry, train etc.
Book early if you are travelling in peak periods.
|MONEY - some in local currency (don't forget
countries you are planning on passing through) and some in Travellers'
Cheques. You might also consider taking a credit card with you
in case of dire emergency.
|MAPS - route and local area - even if you
don't need them to navigate, the girls will be interested to see
just where they are and where they are going.
|FIRST AID - have a small first-aid kit in
your hand luggage. Carry a list of any prescription drugs with
details of dosage, who it's for etc., on you at all times and
have duplicates in the first-aid kit and one with one or more
of the other leaders.
- permission to travel (preferably signed by both parents
if they are separated, if this is at all possible)
- health forms including permission for specified medicines
and treatments, details of allergies, emergency contact details
- You need to start the "Forms" process much earlier
than the usual camp or holiday in the UK - start off with
applying for "Permission to plan" (!) The GA forms
book is well worth investing in.
|KIT LISTS - get them out well in advance.
You will need to draw up individual (for each girl) and group
(for you) lists. If you are camping AND flying you will have to
have lightweight camp equipment and possibly spread it between
|UNIFORM - you will of course
be travelling in uniform, but are you having special teeshirts
/ sweatshirts / fleeces made? Search around for the best deal
or go on recommendations from others who've had them made, order
in plenty of time, and don't forget those International neckers!
BACK TO TOP
SOME FUNDRAISING IDEAS
"Official" Guides groups are eligible
for a number of grants - write to your District, Division, County,
Region and even HQ. Tell them where you're going and why, how you're
getting there, how much it's costing and above all, what you've
already done to raise funds yourself.
Contact the Trefoil Guild (local, county and region)
- these wonderful ladies are, in my experience, more than willing
to help - after all, THEY understand!
- There are a number of charitable trusts set up to benefit youth
groups (some specifically for Guides and Scouts) : your local library
is probably the best source of information about these.
- Write to local businesses asking for a donation (explain about your
trip - where, when etc.- and stress the Promoting International Friendship
and Building Bridges side of it.)
- Major national businesses are very supportive - try the big banks,
multinationals, etc. Send them all the information and ask for their
support (some may give money, others goods for sale/auction/prizes.)
- "Private" Guides' holidays don't attract so much in grant
aid but there are ways of raising funds to offset the costs for these
- Sponsored events are a good standard fundraiser - try to think
of something original rather than the usual sponsored walk or
- Quizzes (lots to choose from here)
of the pay-for-a-question-sheet variety are very popular, especially
if they are quite challenging.
- Supermarket bag-packing is hard work but a good way of raising
a lot of money in a relatively short time. Check this
page for the basic "rules."
- Be wary of trying to raise money by selling the girls' work
at craft fairs - the public expects excellent quality and often
things sell for less than they cost you to make, not counting
all the hard work! Far better to rent the local hall and put on
a craft fair - advertise for stallholders in the local paper,
charge £10 per table, advertise the fair locally, take the
"door money" and put on (and sell) teas, sandwiches
- If you're fundraising in the summer and get the chance, run
a sideshow or two at the local fete or summer fair : surefire
moneyspinners are face-painting, glass-in-a-bucket game (small
tot glass immersed in a bucket of water, punter has to try to
drop a coin into the glass, prize if they succeed - they won't
but they'll keep on trying.) Second hand ("previously read")
books sell well if in good condition. Prize-a-time games for the
children, with lollies etc. for the losers.