School Field Trip Planning Guide

Phil True
March 13, 2015

Why Choose Lancaster Field Trip Blog Article BannerAlong with the arrival of spring, March through June signals the start of field trip season for many schools. After being cooped-up in the classroom during the cold, wet dreary winter months, teachers are anxious to get students out into the real world exploring and learning. While a day on the town sounds like a welcome retreat, careful planning is the key to a successful day. There are a number of factors to consider before venturing out with a busload of eager children.


Letting students run free at a museum could very well result in discipline issues and frustration for all the adults involved. It’s important to choose a location that supports concepts and skills you recently covered within the four walls of the classroom. Establish key learning objectives before arriving so you and your students understand the purpose for your visit.

For example, you might design a scavenger hunt for students to find several important pieces within the museum. Choose a location that is age-appropriate. First graders will get more out of hands-on activities than a sit down lecture while high school students are mature enough to handle more in-depth explorations.


It’s extremely important to consider how much money is available for the trip. Most school districts are on a tight budget, some even forgoing field trips entirely. Calculate the cost of transportation, admission, food or other miscellaneous expenses before announcing the trip to your administrator, students and families. Consider whether you will need to ask students to bring in a fee to attend.

Permission Slips

Check your school or organization’s policy on taking minor children off of school grounds. You’ll likely need to obtain permission slips from parents. On field trip day, remember to bring a file containing student information records and emergency contacts so you have all the necessary information in the event of an emergency.


Create a schedule that accounts for every minute of your day. Even if you allow flexibility in the schedule, you will have it to fall back on as necessary. Remember to account for travel time to and from the destination, and snack and bathroom breaks. Make sure you double check the hours of operation of the place you are visiting.


The only way to effectively manage a large group of students on an outing is to assign them to small groups. Form groups depending on the age of the students, the younger the children the smaller the group. You’ll likely want at least one adult chaperone per group. Give each adult leader a schedule and list of activities for the day.


On or before the morning of the field trip, sit your students down for a clear explanation of rules and expectations at your destination. Young students especially tend to forget about rules the moment they step off school grounds. Make behavioral expectations clear.


There’s a good chance you’ll be eating a meal or at least a snack during the field trip. Think ahead if the students will need bring their own sack lunch/snack, if the destination will provide it or if they will need money for food. Whatever the case, ensure every student has what they need before leaving the school building.


Create a backup plan for weather-related inconveniences. Will students need rain gear? Warm clothing? Sunscreen? Perhaps the trip, or part of it, will be rescheduled or changed if the weather is inclement.

A proactive approach is best in creating a successful field trip. Think through every aspect of the day in order to create a fun day for everyone involved.

Refreshing Mountain is a great option for a school field trip, with outdoor adventures, team building exercises and educational activities, we provide a great mix of fun and learning for students of all ages.  When it comes to planning your event, we’ve got you covered with easy to understand packages just for school groups, sales coordinators that assist you with planning your event and experienced facilitators to guide your group throughout your event on our property.  If you’re interested in exploring a school field trip at Refreshing Mountain, visit our school field trips page or give us a call at (717) 738-1490!