FAQs for School Trips

Resource added: 03 December 2021

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Safety Management System

Your Frequently Asked Questions

If we haven't answered your question below, please don't hesitate to contact us

About your quotation

What is your free place ratio?

As standard, we include a ratio of 1:8 for coach trips and 1:10 for air trips, but this can be tailored to whatever your school or local authority require. Please let us know if you require different ratios when you enquire.

Does the price you quote include a rep or courier?

Not normally. We will arrange a full itinerary and provide you with emergency contact details for all visits/accommodation and, therefore, we usually find that a rep or courier is not required.

If we have not included a rep for your trip and you would like to have a rep or courier with you for the duration, please let us know and we will be pleased to quote you for this.

We are also able to arrange local guides for specific areas, such as the battlefields, if required.

Please note that reps are included as standard for school ski trips. 

Does the price you quote include admission fees?

Your quote will detail exactly what’s included in terms of visits in the ‘what’s included’ section. It’s completely up to you whether you decide to include visits in your tour price.

However, please note that if you choose not to include visits in the tour price, you will need to make it clear to parents from the outset, so that they understand that they may need to pay extra for visits later on.

Do we need to purchase group travel insurance through Halsbury?

Our group travel insurance is offered as an optional extra and will not be included in the price quoted. It is not compulsory for your group to purchase group travel insurance through Halsbury, as long as you have other travel insurance arrangements in place.

View our insurance policy here

Can we use the Pupil Premium to reduce the cost of our trip?

This is certainly possible, although it is at the discretion of your school. Please see the government's guide to Pupil Premium for further information.

About your booking

Will we be sent invoices each time we need to pay monies for our trip?

Your payment schedule will be set out in your booking acknowledgement email and no further invoices will be issued unless you add further elements to your trip (e.g. extra passengers).

I need to provide an itinerary to my local authority/students' parents at parents' evening - can you send me a confirmed itinerary for this?

We would strongly advise that you use the itinerary on the quote in these situations but do be clear that, although the inclusions will be as per the sample itinerary, the order of visits is subject to change.

In our experience, as long as this is made clear, the sample itinerary is more than sufficient for these purposes.

We will send you a confirmed itinerary once all your visits are confirmed. Your Itinerary Coordinator will use all their experience, expertise and supplier relationships to ensure that your itinerary makes the best use of time for your group, subject to availability.

Please be aware that this is a meticulous process that takes even our experienced Itinerary Coordinators a significant amount of time and, therefore, we will only send you a confirmed itinerary when everything is indeed confirmed.

Passports

Does my passport need to be valid for 6 months when I travel?

Some countries do require a certain period of validity on passports after your proposed date of exit from the country, and this does vary from country to country. So, we strongly recommend that you visit the FCDO website for the most up-to-date information on passport requirements.

There is also a dedicated page of the FCDO website on passport requirements for travel to Europe after Brexit.

And if you have any passengers who are not British citizens, we would strongly advise that they contact the relevant embassy well in advance of your trip so that they have time to arrange a visa if required.

More details here

Can we arrange a group passport?

The list of countries that still accept a collective or group passport is quite limited. To check which countries accept them and for further information, please see the government website.

And please note that it is currently unclear if/how group passports will work once the ETIAS visa waiver scheme is introduced - this is expected in 2024. 

Compulsory US entry requirements and procedures

Please be aware that all passengers travelling to or transiting through the US on the current visa waiver programme (ESTA) will need to obtain an electronic travel authorisation prior to travelling. For more information, please visit the ESTA website.

Medical

Do we need an EHIC/GHIC?

We strongly advise that everyone travelling ensures they have a valid EHIC/GHIC card. This will allow you to access healthcare at the same cost as locals (you should then be able to claim this cost back via your travel and medical insurance).

For anyone who has an EHIC, this remains valid until its expiration date, when it will need to be replaced with the new GHIC. This is also free and easy to arrange via the NHS website, so please don’t pay anyone to arrange this for you.

For more information on GHIC, vaccinations and travelling with medication, please see our ‘Know Before You Go’ resource.

Itinerary

Can we travel out by Eurotunnel and return on the ferry?

Yes, this is possible but please make your Tour Adviser aware of this preference as early as possible in the process so that this can be accounted for in your quote. 

Can we travel by North Sea Ferries?

We can provide quotes that include these journeys but they are normally more expensive than Dover-Calais. Please contact us for advice.

What happens after we accept the booking and send in deposits?

Once you have signed to accept your booking and upon receipt of your deposit, you will receive a booking acknowledgement email confirming your booking in writing.

Your Itinerary Coordinator will get in touch with you to arrange a call when it’s time to start planning the finer details of your trip, although if you have any questions in the meantime, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Do you recommend full or half board?

From experience we recommend full board (breakfast, lunch (usually packed) and evening meal) as this is much easier for you as the Group Leader - you won't need to wander around trying to find restaurants or other food outlets that can cater for your group at short notice.

Passenger numbers

Can I add an additional passenger?

Please contact us as soon as you can to check if this is possible. This will be subject to availability and may well incur a supplementary charge.

A student had to drop out, can somebody take their place?

If another student (or person) would like to take their place, it's usually possible provided this does not materially affect your trip arrangements (i.e. change the ratio of boys to girls or adults to children).

For air tours, in most cases, this will incur a supplement, as airlines usually charge for name changes or may even require us to book a new flight. Please contact us to check.

A student has had to drop out and there is no-one to take their place - what happens now?

If no replacement is found, then the passenger who dropped out will incur a cancellation charge (please see our booking conditions for further details).

Please confirm any cancelled places in writing including the name(s) of the cancelled passenger(s) as soon as possible.

If the reason for cancellation is covered under our travel and medical insurance, please request a 'cancellation invoice' from us, which you can forward to the insurers to make a claim. If you have any questions at all, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Please note that we are unable to process passenger changes within two weeks of your departure.

About our coaches

Do the coaches have toilets?

Our executive coaches do have toilets on board, although we recommend that they be reserved for ‘emergencies’ only. If they are used often, they can become very unpleasant, as the driver is not permitted to empty the toilet anywhere other than licensed toilet ‘dropping points’, which are few and far between. However, we do build plenty of comfort stops into the journey, so that passengers are able to use the facilities.

Do all your coaches have seatbelts?

Yes, all coaches used by school groups are required to have seatbelts by law. Please note, these are usually lap belts and not the 3 point belts that are usually found in cars.

Are there drinks facilities on the coach?

There are sometimes tea/coffee-making facilities but these will be for staff only (we recommend that children do not use the hot drinks facility for safety reasons). Some coach companies will sell cans of soft drinks, but this must be arranged in advance.

Is there a first aid kit on the coach?

Yes, there is, but we suggest you take your own as well (your LEA/school regulations will probably require this).

Where can I find more information about your coaches?

Please contact us for any further information you require.

Will the driver speak French/German/Spanish/Polish?

This is very unlikely.

When and where will we have stops on the journey?

The time and location of the stops will depend on the prevailing traffic conditions on the day.

Can we use the coach in the evenings?

This is dependent upon the driver's hours and itinerary. On the first night, this will not normally be possible because the driver will have been driving all day. On other nights it is usually OK to use the coach, provided we are informed in advance and this is shown on the itinerary. The driver must also have his 11-hour overnight break, so if the coach is used until very late in the evening, the coach cannot be used until late morning the following day.

Can we eat on the coach?

It depends on the driver as some prefer that food is not consumed on their vehicle. When pupils do eat on the coach please make sure that all rubbish is put in rubbish bags.

Can we leave things on the coach?

Yes, but at your own risk - no valuables! Items left in the main part of the coach will not be covered by insurance if the coach is broken into.

Can I have the coach company’s telephone number?

If you have a problem or the coach is delayed then please call the 24hr emergency numbers for Halsbury that are in the Final Information Pack and on your Vamoos app. We have all the out-of-hours numbers for coach companies and drivers, so we'll be able to get you the assistance you require.

About health and safety

Have your drivers been police and DBS checked?

Normally, yes. We ask all coach operators to take all reasonable precautions to ensure that drivers allocated to school tours are child-friendly and have been appropriately vetted.

Does your company have a Safety Management System?

Yes, and we publish our Safety Management System for the benefit of Group Leaders, teachers, parents and LEAs.

How often does your company conduct inspections of hotels or coach companies?

Our Safety Management System gives details of all aspects of both the frequency and the scope of the vetting of the hotels and coach companies that we use.

Do you provide risk assessments for all the places on our itinerary to be visited?

We have a great many risk assessments for most of the places that you may visit. However, there is no substitute for you conducting your own risk assessments, as only you know the unique needs of the pupils and passengers that will undertake the trip. Check out our guide to risk assessments for school trips for more information.

Miscellaneous

Can students be collected by students at any point other than the official pick-up and drop-off points for the group?

In short, no. All trips are considered closed tours and all passengers must be picked up and dropped off at the official pick-up and drop-off points for the group. In other words, all passengers that travel out must travel back. Any exceptions to this can cause issues, particularly with the port authorities at Dover and Calais, for example. We would recommend making this clear to parents as early as possible, so that they don't plan their own holidays on the basis of being able to collect their child in France, for example. 

Can we travel by Eurotunnel rather than ferry?

It is possible to travel via Eurotunnel. However, Eurotunnel has vastly reduced its capacity for coach traffic recently. This means that it is incredibly difficult for us to secure crossings via Eurotunnel for coaches and, when there is availability for crossings, they are often at inconvenient times, which can negatively impact trips.

So, while we will do our utmost to secure your crossings via Eurotunnel if this is your preference, this is subject to very limited availability and cannot be guaranteed. If we are unable to secure your crossings via Eurotunnel, we will book appropriately timed ferry crossings to ensure your trip can continue as planned.

The Halsbury Difference

School trips designed by teachers for teachers

Originally founded by teachers in 1986 and with several former teachers in our team, we understand the pressures on you as Group Leader and work hard to relieve them.

Trips tailored to your curriculum and learning objectives

We’ll design your trip around your specific learning objectives and curriculum, to ensure it meets your particular requirements.

Rewarding loyalty scheme

Work together with other teachers in your school to save thousands of pounds on future school trips with our multi-trip loyalty scheme!