There is nothing more exhilarating for most students than hearing the news of an upcoming school trip. It gives students a reason to get out of the classroom, and educators a way to teach and connect with their students on another level. But what kind of trip should you take your students on – a field trip or an educational tour – and is there a difference?
While it might just be an issue of semantics for some people, there is an important difference between field trips and educational tours, particularly those organized by Junior Tours.
Field trips are the typical school trips that most schools plan for their students, lasting anywhere from a few hours to 1-2 days while visiting certain learning sites.
Educational tours are professionally planned tours that have been finely crafted based on the needs of the entire group.
Essentially, an educational tour is an enhanced and upgraded version of the traditional field trip.
While the difference between a field trip and an educational tour may seem unimportant, there are many ways that a professional tour organizer such as Junior Tours can enhance the learning and overall experience of any trip, making it well worth the time and money of every student involved.
Educational Tour VS Field Trip: What’s the Difference?
We’ve all been on field trips, whether as students or educators, and we know the typical expectations that come with school trips. Typical school field trips include:
- The local museum for sciences or arts
- A visiting play or musical performance
- A local university or research center, with an expert or professional
While children always enjoy getting out of the classroom and experiencing something new, it can be difficult to truly engage with the entire group at all times. In many cases, school field trips end up with most students goofing around, not listening to the tour guide, or getting in trouble in unique ways.
And it isn’t always fair to educators to expect them to plan and execute the perfect field trip, as these skills aren’t in their everyday job description. Teaching a classroom of students and implementing a successful field trip are worlds apart.
An educational tour is like a field trip, but handled professionally and every aspect made perfect. With an educational tour planned by professional organizers, schools and teachers can focus on their roles – teaching – while the organizers focus on everything else that children want from a school trip – exciting destinations, interesting guides, awesome activities, effective planning for every step of the trip, and so much more.
Many schools do not realize how much value a professional educational tour organizer can add to a school trip, turning it from just another trip to something that will act as a key part of every school year.
Here are just a few of the places you might visit during an educational tour with Junior Tours:
- Notre Dame Basilica in Montreal
- The Plains of Abraham in Quebec City
- Concerts, performances, and music festivals in North America and Europe
- Rockefeller Center in New York City
- Niagara Falls
- Improv Chicago
- Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta
- Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London
And so many more. Whether for the sciences, business, culture, or the arts, no two educational tours are exactly alike, as each trip is planned with your group’s needs and expectations in mind.
What Can You Expect from an Educational Tour?
How exactly does a Junior Tours educational tour differentiate from a typical school field trip and what can you expect from it? A tour planned by our veteran tour organizers shares the same objectives as typical field trips, but then we do so much more:
|Field Trip Objectives||Educational Tour Objectives|
|A learning experience outside the classroom setting||A learning experience outside the classroom setting|
|An opportunity for students to observe and interact with their learning in the context of the real world||An opportunity for students to observe and interact with their learning in the context of the real world|
|A potential one-on-one or group interaction with an expert or professional in their field of interest||A potential one-on-one or group interaction with an expert or professional in their field of interest|
|An extended out-of-the-classroom activity that forces students to develop social learning skills|
|A full itinerary of sites and activities over several days that introduces children to a habit of 24/7 learning|
|A private trip for your group alone that ensures students will bond with their peers and teachers|
|A hyper-focused tour determined by your chosen subject matter to keep students excited and engaged for the entire trip|
|A school trip students can share with each other as a treasured memory for life|
Educational tours offer the full experience for students and educators who are looking for something more than just the average community school trip. With our tour, groups can pick their journey based on their subject interest, with popular choices of:
- Music & Band
- Foreign Language
- African American
You can see that the difference between a field trip and an educational tour can be found at the most foundational level: the purpose for the trip, and the direction you build from there. With typical field trips, most schools will pick a local area of interest and try to explain a reason for how students can benefit from visiting it.
With professionally organized educational tours, the organizer and the school will discuss and pinpoint the desired learning experience, and then curate a trip around it to maximize what the students can learn. This means that we focus on enriching a student community with education-focused events, rather than building it the other way around.
How Students and Educators Benefit from Educational Tours Over Field Trips
Students – As a student or parent who might be interested in attending one of our educational tours, you might be looking to see how you or your child will most benefit from this journey. Here’s what you can expect as a student:
Out-of-Classroom Learning: Students will see how to truly learn in context, taking their learning out of the classroom and into the real world. They will see the purpose of what they are learning, and its impact on and how it works in the world.
Social Education Habits: Students will develop social education habits that they can carry with them beyond the classroom and their high school or university lives.
Maximum Engagement: Students will enjoy a trip that is curated to maximize their engagement, excitement, and learning, teaching that learning can be fun 24/7.
Educators and Schools: As an educator or school administrator, you might be interested in the tour but don’t know if our terms are worth the additional planning over a traditional field trip. Here are ways our planning and expertise can help you:
Your Choice of Involvement: A fully planned and organized trip. It is up to the school or educator to decide how much involvement they want with the planning and organizing of the trip; if they would like Junior Tours to handle every part of the itinerary, or if they want to be involved in crafting the perfect tour. We report to you and work on your terms.
As Easy as Possible: We make it as easy as possible to help get all your students and parents on board with the tour – we offer free promotional materials such as posters, flyers, and registration forms; professionally trained tour escorts to help hype up the tour 24 hours a day; complete planning of transportation, food, and first-rate hotel stays; and optional direct billing for your parents to pay directly online. And of course, no hidden costs are involved, with free scratch card fundraiser and scholarship suggestions if necessary.
Absolute Flexibility: We offer absolute flexibility with virtually every aspect of the trip. We only require a minimum group size of 20, while larger groups are gifted cheaper pricing. Trips don’t have to be approved by school boards or affiliated with any school, and travel dates can be picked at any time of the year. Whether this is your first time or tenth time organizing a trip for students, don’t sweat it: we can help you with everything.
The Educational Tour Experience with Junior Tours
Ready to start planning an educational tour to share to your group of students? You can start today – just fill in your information on our request form and we will send you over a free itemized price quote and itinerary within 72 hours. Our required information for now includes:
- Potential destinations
- Type of group
- Mode of transportation
- Number of days
- Approximate travel date
- Estimated group size
- Goals for your trip
- School or group name and address
Based in New Jersey, Junior Tours has been helping schools and student groups tour around the country and the wider world since 1967, and we pride ourselves on our history and tradition as a family-run business with an impeccable reputation. Students and teachers who travel with us are guaranteed to have an amazing time – just read our reviews.
Have a question, need some tips? Contact us through our site or call us at 1-800-631-2241 (for group leaders) or 1-800-237-4797 (for students and parents) and let us know how Junior Tours can help your school or community today!