TOP 10 SOURCES OF INFORMATION FOR PLANNING YOUR TRIP
THE SCOUT ASSOCIATION WEBSITE
Your first point of call should be The Scout Association website; there is a wealth of really useful information on here. There are a number of essential documents featured on the TSA website, including their ‘Thinking of Going Abroad’ document (FS260018) and the ‘International Opportunities’ update.
Remember that TSA Policy, Organisation and Rules (POR) applies equally when you are abroad. You will need to check the requirements for every activity in your proposed programme. TSA have Regional Advisers should you need travel advice, cultural awareness guidance or any other general support for countries that you may be visiting, running programme activities.
Also take a look at Globe Trekker, which is an interactive trip and expedition planning tool. Users have the ability to leave reports of their visits to help and inspire others. Each country has an information box containing general information, useful links and access to submitted reports.
SPECIFIC EVENT/VENUE WEBSITE
If you are attending a particular event/venue, then head straight to their website. Here you will find the most up to date and accurate information. Make sure you get added to their mailing list – then all the latest updates will be sent straight to your mailbox. The well organised events release a number of newsletters in the lead up to the main event – make sure you get hold of a copy as they will be an interesting read.
Every registered adult member of The Scout Association should receive a copy of the Scouting Magazine every quarter. The magazine is jam packed with editorials, updates, questions and answers and adverts. A great source of inspiration!
ASSISTANT COUNTY COMMISIONERS – INTERNATIONAL
Your local Assistant County Commissioner International will be available to support you in your research and preparations in going abroad. Please feel free to contact them at anytime for advice. They will know if any other groups in your county have planned a similar trip in the past and will be able to put you in touch with them.
Search the internet for some advice from some inspirational blog authors. They don’t have to be scout related - You will find some valuable information and advice in the strangest of places! Here are a few to wet your appetite -
No planning is complete without a good ‘Google’ search. There are various travel websites, but I would stick to reliable well known sources of information. I also think in the initial planning stages it is nice to have a good travel book for a tourist overview of the country you are planning on visiting.
Visuals are often key in getting young people interested – keep an eye on what is on the television as there are often great programmes on that are really insightful.
I also often find that the best people to contact are the tourist boards – especially for maps and up to date city guides, which are normally free! If you do any pre-investigation trips head straight to the nearest tourist board office/information centre to get you well equipped.
TRAVEL PLACES – WEBSITE, NEWSLETTERS AND HANDBOOK
The Travel Places Scout Department has developed considerably over the last seven years. We understand the needs of a scout group when travelling abroad and have collated all our travel knowledge and experience of working with Scout groups. This has been channelled into our website, newsletters and a Scout Trips and Events Handbook which are all great tools to use when planning your next international adventure. Of course if you don’t find the information you are looking for you can always contact us for advice – we are always happy to help!
SOCIAL MEDIA AND FORUMS
Social media is a great way to communicate and get a snapshot of information about a certain topic that you can later research in more detail. You can follow other group’s adventures and use social media as a quick avenue to ask for advice. Make sure you follow us @TPSchoolsScouts – we like to tweet about all sort of things including when topic appropriate programmes are on the television.
There are also a number of different forums – if you have a question it is quite likely that someone else has asked in the past and the answer is sitting there somewhere.
FRIENDS AND SCOUTING COLLEAGUES
One of the great things about being a Scout is the network around you – people make Scouting friends all over the UK and further afield. Utilise their knowledge and skills – I am sure they would love to help. You never know you might even be able to get them along to be a guest speaker at one of your Scout meetings.
Before you commit to anything financially it is best to get some sort of travel insurance to cover the unexpected. Unity Insurance Unity (Scout Insurance Services) is the official insurance broker of The Scout Association. All their profits are returned to Scouting benefitting young people across the UK. They will be able to advise you on any queries you may have relating to insurance and what to do if something goes wrong!