30 | Top tips

Our top thirty sports touring tips you must read before your sports tour. Whether it is your first, third or thirty-third sports tour we are sure there will be something useful for you to consider.

Image behind: Our South African experts during during their Cape Peninsula Tour.

Ok, so you want to launch a sports tour, play the world, broaden horizons, sample different cultures and create some life-long memories for your players. But where do you begin and what do you need to consider before, during and after tour?
 
Sports touring can become a culture, a tradition, and be the bedrock in a schools sporting calendar that has endless benefits for your team. We understand this and like to think we have helped schools all over the world create their touring journey.  Our loyal clients, many of whom are good friends, are some of the most experienced tour managers in the business who, alongside our dedicated team, have amassed a wealth of knowledge in leading these tours. So here we go, from some of our experts, touring heroes and operations team who are at the coalface of these unforgettable tours, we give you our Top 30 Touring Tips.
 
Dean Hyam, Area Leader PE & Sport, Prince Henry's Grammar School

1

My number one tip when organising a sports tour would be to start preparing early. The more you can get done nice and early, prior to departure, the less stressful the whole process of organising 60 pupils and staff becomes. Get your risk assessments done, approved and out of the way as early as possible.
DEAN HYAM | PRINCE HENRY'S GRAMMAR SCHOOL | 4 TOURS.

2

Some destinations will require each person to have an ESTA Visa before they travel. To ensure that all students get this, set up a ‘Visa/ESTA Evening’ in the School IT room where parents and students can come to complete the application online. That way you can monitor who completes it and chase those that don’t turn up!
REBECCA GENTLE | EDWIN DORAN SPORTS TOURS | 47 TOURS.

3

If your tourists are all taking their own luggage (rather than special tour bags with the school's name emblazoned over it) attach a brightly coloured (laminated) label - with the school crest on it - to each bag using a strong elastic band. It will then be very obvious which bags are yours at baggage collection.
DAN CARROLL, DANES HILL SCHOOL, 20 TOURS.
Greg Gibson, Operations (Europe)

4

Break the payments down and put together a payment schedule for parents allowing more time to pay for an expensive tour. What's more, paying a little bit every month for 20 months doesn't seem as hard to pay as big chunks of cash.
GREG GIBSON, EDWIN DORAN SPORTS TOURS, 35 TOURS.
Dan Carroll

5

Ensure you budget for a laundry session in the middle of your tour. The kit can get very smelly and grass-stained in hot countries! If you are lucky (or sponsored) each child will take two match shirts each, but if you are playing a minimum of five matches on tour, you will still need to launder the kit!
DAN CARROLL, DANES HILL SCHOOL, 20 TOURS.

6

We always give the kids a contact card to carry in their wallets. This may be updated as countries or regions change.
TIM TRUMPER, CHRIST COLLEGE BRECON.

7

Have several meetings both with and without representatives from Edwin Doran. This is great for assuring parents their children will be safe whilst with you and also for answering any questions that all parents will no doubt have. If you can, get someone in from Edwin Doran at some point, as there will always be that one tricky question that you couldn't possibly answer but your Edwin Doran tour coordinator can, or can find out for you!
DEAN HYAM, PRINCE HENRY'S GRAMMAR SCHOOL. 4 TOURS.

 

Gowerton School Swansea

8

I feel that the key element of organising a successful tour is developing communication so that parents, students, staff and other interested groups are kept fully informed of developments as things progress.
DEAN MASON, GOWERTON SCHOOL, 7 TOURS.
 
 

9

I give parents a copy of our school behaviour charter. I ask parents to go home and discuss this with their sons/daughters before they both sign it. Typical things such as no drinking, no smoking and following teachers instructions at all times etc. are on this and the consequences of what would happen if they break any of these rules.
DEAN HYAM, PRINCE HENRY'S GRAMMAR SCHOOL, 4 TOURS.

10

Matching sweaters or tour shirts always helps your pupils stand out on tour, especially at the airport.
BETH ASTON, EDWIN DORAN SPORTS TOURS, 15 TOURS.

11

Always try to work a day or two in advance of where you are on tour, so you have contacted your next school, hotel and/or excursion prior to arriving.
JOHN MACKENZIE, THE GRAMMAR SCHOOL AT LEEDS, 14 TOURS.
Louise Evans, International Sales and Operations

12

Make sure the tour manager takes a copy of everyone’s passports... you are guaranteed someone will loose theirs at some point whilst on tour!
LOUISE EVANS, EDWIN DORAN SPORTS TOURS, 64 TOURS.
Malta Football MasterClass

13

As tour leader I would say delegation is a handy tip as well. Although most tour leaders like to make sure everything is perfect you can't do everything single-handedly. Give other teachers specific roles such as responsibility of: first aid, the tour kit, passports, student welfare, checking in, checking out and playing kit etc.
DEAN HYAM, PRINCE HENRY'S GRAMMAR SCHOOL, 4 TOURS.

14

For me, keeping my boys constantly occupied has been key to my trips over the last 30 years. Pre-booked excursions to fill free time is essential. In Valkenburg, if we arrive back at the hotel by 21:00 we go out and have a pancake, or pizza - it helps the boys sleep! Finally, choose students and staff wisely!
JOHN MITCHELL, SIMON LANGTON GRAMMAR SCHOOL FOR BOYS, 25 TOURS.

15

On visiting Valkenburg down time between training and matches is very important. A great afternoon activity that should definitely be tried is the tobogganing; great value for money and a favourite with the staff!! Our pupils absolutely loved the PSV stadium tour too so get this booked in very early as it's very popular!
NATHAN ROGERS, COMBERTON VILLAGE COLLEGE, 7 TOURS TO HOLLAND.
Zoe Tucker, Operations

16

Allocate each travelling pupil a number which matches their numbered Edwin Doran holdalls, so rather than doing a head count the pupils shout out their numbers. This way you will know which student is missing and if they leave bag behind you can easily return it.
ZOE TUCKER, EDWIN DORAN SPORTS TOURS, 17 TOURS.
Andrew Loughlin, Sales Director

17

Use a ‘banking system’ on tour with pupils giving their spending money to a member of staff and only taking out small amounts as and when they need it. This will mean that pupils will avoid carrying large amounts of cash around with them.
ANDREW LOUGHLIN, EDWIN DORAN SPORTS TOURS, TOO MANY TOURS TO REMEMBER!
Shaun Caffrey, Operations (Africa)

18

When planning an excursion or activity that is weather dependent (e.g. Table Mountain), schedule it into the itinerary at the earliest possible opportunity giving you more time to attempt to reschedule if cancelled.
SHAUN CAFFREY, EDWIN DORAN SPORTS TOURS, 86 TOURS.

19

If you are touring Barbados with a strong prep school cricket team, ask for at least half of your matches to be against representative or club sides. They will give you a far better game than most primary school sides, who can have children as young as seven in their team.
DAN CARROLL, DANES HILL SCHOOL, 20 TOURS.
Springfield Convent School on tour.

20

'What goes on tour stays on tour' except for acceptable photos and videos which could be made into a tour DVD for pupils to keep as a memento. We always do this as it is a nice way to finish off what was hopefully a wonderful sports touring experience.

21

Take your time and plan your trip. Take the experience of Edwin Doran and spend time yourself looking at what the county has to offer you
ROBER FAIERS, BANCROFT’S SCHOOL

22

Communication. Regular and structured. Ensure every process is agreed and actioned in good time prior to the tour.
IAN BARDGETT, HALLIFORD SCHOOL

23

Bring a picnic where possible.   We brought lots of stuff with us and picnicked as the weather was great. The students loved this.
SIOBHAN MCCAFFERY, SACRED HEART SCHOOL

24

For Johannesburg I would thoroughly recommend staying in Sandton near the Nelson Mandela Square. It was an excellent base and provided everything we needed within walking distance.
SIMON MULHOLLAND, SEDBERGH SCHOOL

25

Know alternative things to do if the weather doesn't fit, be flexible, itineraries are guidance on what to do, excursions can be moved around.
ALEX DERBYSHIRE, PATE’S GRAMMAR SCHOOL

 

26

Include your tour party in the decision making processes at the planning phase and let them help shape their Tour. They feel like they own it more, get an understanding of the detail that is required in running an activity of this nature and feel a greater level of pride in its success.
ANDREW QUINN, PEMBROKE SCHOOL

27

Don't think that other companies will be as good, might offer a cheaper trip but it won't be the same quality.
CATRIN WOODS, KING EDWARD VI HIGH SCHOOL FOR GIRLS 

28

Always clarify the strength of your team before the fixtures take place.
MARTIN YOUNG, BISHOP STOPFORD SCHOOL

29

Include as many group meals as possible in the package.
ANDREW COALTER, OLD SWINFORD HOSPITAL 

30

Plan well ahead finding out about the schools you will be playing against.
ALAN CLEMENT, WIMBLEDON COLLEGE

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