Frequently Asked Questions

If you have a specific query about our school trips, you may be able to find the answer below in our frequently asked questions. For any questions that aren't answered below, feel free to get in touch with one of our expert travel consultants who will be happy to help.

  • Who are WST?

    WST have been providing educational travel for more than 30 years. Our award winning team have arranged thousands of successful tours for students from primary and secondary schools across the UK and it is testament that most of our clients come back time and time again. It’s also why our customers have voted us Best School Tour Operator for the fourth consecutive year at the School Travel Awards.

    We pride ourselves on giving first class personal service with an unrivalled attention to detail. We fully understand that every single detail matters and that is why we work closely with group leaders during the tour planning stages to ensure everyone’s expectations are met.

    With over 400 years combined experience in educational travel, we fully understand the need to feel that your money is not only secure but also invested into an experience your child will treasure for many years. You will feel reassured in the fact that WST is fully ABTA and ATOL bonded and we are members of the School Travel Forum which regulates safety and service standards, and have been awarded the Learning Outside the Classroom quality badge.

  • Why are school tours important?

    WST provide safe, secure, educational visits that are affordable. Trips away from home help your children develop their sense of independence, learn about a new culture and encourage bonding with their class.

    WST know how valuable these experiences are and that is why we provide high quality trips that are expertly delivered so that your child’s enjoyment of the trip is not spoilt in any way. All the visits we suggest for the itinerary have strong educational content and we recommend the most enjoyable, interactive and hands on visits so your pupils get the most from their time away.

    We know how precious your child is and every element of a WST trip is designed with safety in mind whilst ensuring your child is given the opportunity to “grow” as an individual and experience / develop skills taking them into adult life.

    WST deliver exceptional tours, expertly delivered – why would you send your child with anyone else!

  • How do I plan a school trip?

    At WST, we have a whole host of school trip planning tools and documents that teachers can use.

    From checklists and insurance documents to planning guides and letter templates, it’s all covered here.

    But as a general guide, here are a few of the key steps in planning a school trip: 

    1. Consider your budget: Think about what is affordable to your students and their parents. You can explore the WST website to get an idea of potential destinations and sightseeing spots within your budget.
    2. Be flexible on dates: This can help you achieve the best price. You should also check the school calendar before proposing anything, and give parents plenty of time to save up for the trip.
    3. Seek approval for your idea: Most importantly, you need to seek approval from your EVC or SLT. Only then can you approach a tour operator, and request a full, written quote.
    4. Choose a provider you can trust: We recommend choosing a school tour operator that’s a member of the STF and holds the LoTC Quality badge, to give you peace of mind about safety standards.
    5. Make a provisional booking: Once you’ve done that, you can start formulating an itinerary, promoting the trip to students and parents, and drumming up funds.
    6. Confirm your booking: And start the countdown with your class…

    WST’s subject and destination experts can help you with all of these steps – it’s just part of the service.

  • How do I raise funds for a school trip?

    Fundraising for a school tour might seem like a daunting task, but it’s actually a great way to get pupils – and parents! – excited about the upcoming trip.

    From themed bake sales to historical dress up days, you can find loads of fundraising activity ideas in this blog.

    We can also provide letter templates for teachers, to help you contact parents and explain the costs of the trip, whilst giving them some great reasons to start saving

  • How do I ensure my child is safe on a school trip?

    Every element of a WST trip is designed with safety in mind, and we have strict rules in place to ensure your child can enjoy their adventure safely and securely. We are members of ABTA which means we are always up to date with the latest safety information. We are also members of STF which means we are audited every year to check that our safety regulations are to a very high standard.

    Before your child departs on their school tour, it’s worth discussing a few key points to help keep them safe while they’re out and about.

    For instance, make sure that your child fully understands that the group leaders / teachers are there to keep them safe. They should listen to them and heed their advice at all times.  

    Children should also stay with their group at all times, and not be tempted to wander off on their own – no matter how tempting the view or shop window looks!

    Other important safety points include:

    • Road safety: remind them that traffic in Europe comes from a different direction – time to “look both ways” again!
    • Water safety: students should never go swimming or enter water (rivers, lakes, streams) without permission from the teachers in charge.
    • Culture clash: Students must remain respectful of other cultures at all times, and remember that most people in other countries understand English (particularly bad language). Try not to cause conflict with locals!
    • Hotel rules: Ensure that pupils listen carefully to fire evacuation procedures and other safety notices on arrival. They should also make themselves fully aware of hotel rules such as noise restrictions, use of lifts
    • Money: Ensure they are sensible with their money whilst on tour, storing valuables in zipped pockets and being aware of potential pickpockets.

    Finally, ensure your child is ready to appreciate the experience they are about to undertake. They should be encouraged to challenge themselves academically whilst away and have lots of fun! Like most children before them, they will return with countless memories of their school tour and tales to share.

  • Should kids take mobile phones on school trips?

    For most groups that travel, the group leaders will advise on whether or not students are permitted to take mobile phones.

    This is obviously the easiest way to contact your child, however we would advise that when taking mobile phones abroad there are number of things to consider:

    Those on phone contracts may need to pay significantly higher “roaming” and connection charges for calls and text messages both received and made abroad.

    The WST Travel Insurance policy (and most other travel policies) does not cover loss, theft or damage of mobile phones. Therefore, alternative insurance is required for any mobile phones taken.

    For peace of mind, make sure your school trip is on WST’s exclusive Trip HQ, created so that teachers can keep parents up to date with the day to day trip activities.

  • What happens if a child needs medical treatment on a school trip abroad?

    Medical treatment in Europe:

    If you are a UK resident, you are entitled to medical treatment that becomes necessary, at a reduced cost or sometimes free, when temporarily visiting a European Union (EU) country, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland. Only treatment provided under the state scheme is covered. However, to obtain treatment you will need to take a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) with you. Please note: Not all UK residents are covered in Denmark, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland.

    Click this link for further information: https://www.ehic.org.uk/

    Medical treatment outside of Europe:

    Further information regarding healthcare abroad can also be found at: Healthcare Abroad

    Your educational tour normally includes insurance through WST Travel. If the group leader has opted out of our insurance provision, please ensure you view full policy details of your child’s alternative cover. You can view our full travel insurance policy details here.

    Take a look at our key travel insurance facts for travelling in Europe.

    Take a look at our key travel insurance facts for travelling worldwide.

  • How much money should kids take on a school trip?

    Spending money for school tours depends on the destination and duration of the trip, and the age of the pupils. Essentials like food and drink will usually be covered, so there is no right or wrong amount of extra pocket money to bring.  

    However, we recommend that teachers set reasonable and affordable levels for all pupils – and that parents follow their recommendations.

  • Can you take iPads/iPhones on school trips?

    Parents should follow their school’s policy. However, it’s always good to be cautious where expensive electrical equipment is concerned. Don’t forget to check your insurance policy and ensure these items are covered.

  • Will school trip travel insurance cover pre-existing medical conditions?

    Yes, most pre-existing medical conditions are covered with WST.

    However, most school travel companies WON’T cover pre-existing illnesses. So always ask the teacher managing the trip to check with their insurance provider.

  • What should I pack for a school trip?

    If you’re a teacher putting together a packing list, think about the climate, consider how long you are staying for, and insist on comfy walking shoes for everyone.

    If you’re a parent or student and don’t know what to take on a school trip, take a look at our handy packing checklist for help.

  • What happens if there’s a terrorist attack during a school trip?

    These attacks, whilst in the news recently, are relatively rare. If an attack happens in a destination within a week of your travel dates, your tour operator will take advice from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office. As an experienced tour operator, WST would normally advise against immediate travel (within a few days) irrelevant of the FCO guidance.

    Even when FCO travel restrictions are relaxed, WST will happily work with schools uncomfortable continuing with their original plans.

    WST will endeavour to keep your learning outside the classroom plans on track and where necessary look to change dates or switch destination, often at no extra cost.

    Educational tour operators who are fully STF bonded are bound by high standards of safety management and must have a 24 hour emergency system in place. Should events occur whilst you are on tour, you can be assured of expert advice and support to quickly and effectively place your group in the safest place possible.

    In the event that the FCO advise against travel, STF members are bound by the Package Travel Directive to offer either a full refund or an alternative tour.

  • What happens if there’s a ferry port or airport strike during a school trip?

    We often get questions about what happens if there is travel disruption on school trips.

    Fortunately, at WST we offer a 24 hour emergency helpline to offer you support and advice around the clock.

    An efficient tour operator should be able to ensure you can carry on with your planned tour by arranging alternative ferry crossings, flights, or solutions; providing it is safe to do so.

  • Will my school trip price change after I’ve booked?

    You’ll find no hidden surcharges with WST. Our pricing is transparent and honest.

    In your quotation and provisional booking letters, we will tell you what is and is not included in your price. We also fairly estimate any future rates, not falsifying prices to create ‘cheap deals'.

    Often flights will come on sale after you have confirmed your booking. As we have no way of controlling these prices, we always advise you to build in a contingency should the flight price be higher than our estimate. Here are some tips on what to look out for in your quote.

  • Will currency changes affect my school trip price?

    Our approach is always to protect against currency fluctuation, by buying currency as your bookings are confirmed.

    This means that once your tour has been booked, your tour price will not change with currency fluctuations.

    If the value of the pound goes up or down during the quotation stage of your booking, we’ll tell you about any price changes before you confirm anything.

  • What happens when students on a school trip are not British Citizens?

    Any children who are not British Citizens will need to have the correct VISA for overseas travel. You can visit the UK government website for more information, or government websites for your destination country. Be sure to apply for the correct visas in plenty of time.

  • Can you get a group passport for school trips?

    If your school trip group are ALL British nationals, who will ALL be under 18 years of age on the return date of your trip, you can use a group or ‘collective’ passport to visit certain European countries.

    A group leader must be named on the passport. Consequently, WST cannot apply for collective passports on the behalf of the school. So you are responsible for securing these.

    The application process takes around 6 weeks. 

    You can learn more about UK group passports here.

  • What is the deadline for final passport information for WST?

    Final passport information is normally required four weeks prior to your departure, however some airlines may require this as soon as the first point of booking.

    We are not able to print boarding passes until we have received all passport information.

    Please note that due to Brexit, the government has advised that everyone must have at least 6 months on their passport. If your child is due to travel in the next 6 months we recommend renewing their passport to be on the safe side.

  • What happens if a flight is delayed on a school trip?

    We always arrange airport assistance for our customers. So if your flight is delayed, your contact at the airport will stay with you, find a location where you can all stay together, and work with the airline to keep you informed.

    They’ll also contact us so that we can cover any changes to your itinerary.

  • Can WST cater for special dietary requirements?

    Provided you give us the information in advance, WST will work with your accommodation or restaurants on providing vegetarian options and allergy/special dietary requirements.

    We always advise you to double check with the hotel/restaurant when you check in, and confirm that they understand your requirements.

    Should you have more specific requirements as a group, such as Halal or Kosher food, then you must advise of this at enquiry stage. We will then research the availability of relevant restaurants before we take your enquiry further.

  • When will I receive my room allocations from WST?

    To receive your rooming details, all forms must be completed and returned to us (this should be no later than 6 weeks before travel).

    This will enable us to finalise the details of your tour for our suppliers, and request your rooming list. Ideally your final rooming plan is then supplied to us at least two weeks prior to travel.

  • Can WST help with risk assessments?

    We can provide useful documents and guides to help you fill in your school trip risk assessments, as well as generic risk assessment examples.

    If you would like a specific coach or accommodation audit, we can also email these out to you.

  • Coronavirus FAQ’s – what to expect when you travel with WST

    Is our tour likely to be affected by Coronavirus?

    No – it’s unlikely at this moment in time. At Next Generation Travel (NGT) we pride ourselves on putting the safety of our customers at the heart of what we do. In a period of uncertainty and increasing news coverage regarding the Coronavirus outbreaks worldwide, as a tour operator we are closely monitoring  ABTA, UK Government and World Health Organisation (WHO) advice. We would also always recommend that you seek the latest travel advice from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office including security and local laws, plus passport and visa information check www.gov.uk/travelaware.

    What if NGT cancel our tour – will we get a full refund ?

    Any tours imminently travelling to destinations which are defined as unsafe for travel by the UK Government FCO have to be postponed, cancelled or re-designed to an alternative destination. Whilst this is not covered by the group insurance it is covered under our obligations as both an ABTA bonded tour operator and as part of the Package Travel Directive. You will be entitled to an alternative tour or a full refund please refer to :  https://www.abta.com/help-and-complaints/frequently-asked-questions/foreign-and-commonwealth-office-advising-against

    As you will see ABTA define imminently as “within approximately 48 hours”. At NGT we appreciate that this timescale would create practical difficulties for group leaders so we will make conclusive decisions on all affected tours no later than 21 days prior to departure.

    What does the Endsleigh insurance policy cover that was included within our tour price?

    • In the event a beneficiary is taken ill with the Coronavirus prior to their trip and is unable to travel they will be able to lodge a claim under the cancellation and curtailment section. (Page 16, section 1 of the attached policy wording)
    • In the event a beneficiary is taken ill with the Coronavirus during their trip they will be able to lodge a claim under the emergency medical section for necessary treatment, repatriation etc. (Page 18, section 2 of the attached policy wording)
    • In the event a beneficiary is in compulsory quarantine on the order of a treating medical practitioner they will be able to lodge a claim under the cancellation and curtailment section of the policy. (Page 16, section 1 of the attached policy wording)
    • In the event the World Health Organisation declares Coronavirus a pandemic – this in itself makes no difference to the policy. Full cover will remain in force unless advice on travel changes.
    • Travel against advice of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office or the World Health Organisation is a general exclusion of the policy. (Page 13, exclusion number 14).

    If we cancel the tour because of Coronavirus, is it covered by insurance?

    It really depends on the destination you are travelling to – if it has been ruled as unsafe to travel to, you will be offered an alternative or full refund. To cancel the whole tour because there is disinclination to travel due to the Coronavirus outbreak but no change in government advice, this unfortunately is not covered by the insurance with Endsleigh. All NGT brands will engage with their customers and consider each booking individually, taking in to account the health & safety of all passengers and any impact on the learning objectives of the group.  We will work with group leaders to consider alternative itineraries, which could include a complete change of location, postponement of the tour, transfer of monies to an alternative tour or possibly running the tour with reduced numbers because of disinclination to travel by some of the party.

    What if I have a number of students that pull out and my group size decreases?

    We understand these are exceptional circumstances and we will work with you in order to minimise any cost creep on your tour price should passengers numbers drop and wherever possible we will ask suppliers to be as lenient as possible with cancellation charges. The most important thing is to deliver safe learning outside the classroom experiences and support you to keep these hugely beneficial events in your school calendar. We want to work with you to ensure as many students as possible benefit from these experiences.

    I’m still concerned – what is my next course of action ?

    Please pick up the phone and talk to your tour consultant – it’s our responsibility to ensure you are aware of all the facts, understand any implications with your school travel arrangements and feel completely reassured that we can work together to deliver the very best outcomes for you and your students.