11 S-Trip! Myths
It’s a big step to send your son or daughter traveling without their parents. Here we review common myths or misconceptions about S-Trip! to help everyone feel safe and prepared for their Grad Trip.
S-Trip! was founded by teachers.
As The Toronto Sun put it in their recent article S-Trip! adapts to meet expectations of 'Experience Generation' .
The Toronto Sun boasts S-Trip! As being, “originally founded by a group of former teachers who saw an unexplored niche in organizing trips for young travelers, has remained one of Canada’s leading student tourism and grad trip providers, in part because the company has worked to keep pace with the changing demands of their target demographic.”
With that said, S-Trip! Is ready to show you an unforgettable #TripofaLifetime!
See what others are saying about S-Trip! Now.
Trip Leaders & Supervision
Myth: There is virtually no adult supervision on S-Trip!
Fact: We have an S-Trip Leader to student ratio of at least 1:25
We choose 350 travel veterans that have backgrounds like teaching, coaching, student leadership, event planning and our own past travelers. Our Trip Leaders become trip experts by staffing in the same destination and developing lasting relationships in the community. We review all of our Trip Leaders and they are evaluated on their on-site performance, which creates an overall rating for them. We place our highest rated Trip Leaders on every trip first.
Specialized Trip Leader Roles
S-Trip! Leader Statistics
Program Directors & Mentors
• Most senior S-Trip! Leader and responsible for all aspects of Grad Trip
• Manage all emergencies
• Track, measure, and report on Happy Traveler metrics
• Manage coordinators
• Manage Sr. Hotel and Supplier relationships
• Plans trip in head office 6 months in advance
• Quality standards training
Avg. Age = 31.8
Avg. # of trips = 10
• Manage all Trip Leaders, including schedule
• Handles student discipline including communicating with parents
• Coordinates off-site excursions and events
• Coordinates all daytime activities and night time events
• Manages all medical cases
• Coordinates all flights & airport logistics
Avg. Age = 26.5
Avg. # of trips = 5
• Meet Travelers at international gateways and travel with them to the resort
• Manage Info Desk and hype program schedule
• Roam resort to ensure Happy Travelers
• Travel back with group to final international gateway
Avg. Age = 23.2
Avg. # of trips = 2
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Myth 2: S-Trip! Leaders receive no Training
Fact: All leaders receive training. Senior Leaders receive extensive training including medical emergencies and procedures.
Senior S-Trip! Coordinators on every trip are well trained in dealing with serious and sensitive situations like overconsumption and who to contact in cases of emergency medical incidents. All Coordinators and Program Directors go through an entire weekend training course that puts them in real life scenarios that force them to act quickly, efficiently, and with professionalism.
All Trip Leaders go through our specialized training and certification process to learn how to deliver the #TripofaLifetime in a fun and safe environment. Our extensive screening process which includes a background check, phone screening, group interview, and extended training programs for specialized staff ensure we only have the best of the best.
- Quality standards training
- Travel day & airport training
- Communication training
- Incident & Code infraction training
- Destination research
- Hotel/Resort research
- Itinerary & responsibility training
- Roaming & monitoring training
- Medical procedure training*
*This training does not include giving medical care. It is intended to allow a Trip Leader to know who to contact in cases of medical incidences.
- Full Trip Leader training
- Staff management training
- Staff schedule training*
- Traveler management training
- Serious S-Trip! Code infraction protocol
- Overconsumption protocol
- Incident report training
- On-resort clinic procedure
- Hospital procedure
- Emergency procedure
- Financial record training*
- Program debriefing
*Some training is specific to only 1 Coordinator based on role
Program Director Training
- All Trip Leader training
- All Coordinator training
- Supplier management taining
- Escalated incidences training
Program Directors typically work year round at S-Trip! headquarters planning and developing all aspects of the trip including traveling to the destination two times prior to the trip. Destination visits include supplier meetings and ensuring quality standard checks at the resort and on excursions.
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Myth: S-Trip! Leaders are the same age as the students themselves
Fact: Trip Leaders are between the age of 21-35. Program Directors average age is 30.
The minimum age someone can become an S-Trip! Trip Leader is 21 years of age. These are usually the persons responsible for accompanying the group from their country of origin to their final destination. On-site Coordinators and Directors are all senior members of the team that have staffed a minimum number of trips and are usually between the ages of 25-35. These members of the team are responsible for student discipline, communications with parents if there is an emergency, executing awesome activities and excursions on the trip, and handling any emergency situations if they were to occur.
I have 12+ years experience working with youth including camp counselor and back-country guide. I have been running trips for 8 years and have special training in outdoor recreation, leisure, and am High5 certified.
I organized my Grad Trip 10 years ago. Afterward, I studied tourism, business management, and recreation, and graduated Teacher’s College. I began my career as an elementary school teacher, and have organized youth events around the world.
I have 4 years of volunteer experience with Best Buddies Canada creating opportunities for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. I also have 2 years experience working as a teaching assistant at a Toronto High School.
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Myth: There is no control of alcohol consumption
Fact: Alcohol consumption is limited through S-Trip! policies and procedures
Travelers who meet the age of majority receive a special wristband that allows them to order alcoholic drinks. We do know that all travelers have access to alcohol. Our staff will step in if a traveler is at risk, and if they have committed an infraction their parents are called. Any further violations of the S-Trip! Code are subject to removal from the program.
For all Canadian Travelers
The age of majority in all Caribbean destinations is 18.
For all American Travelers
The age of majority in all Caribbean destinations is 21. Except in Freeport where age of majority is 18.
We also meet with the hotel, bartenders, and food & beverage managers and review our very own Code of Conduct, which outlines our policies and procedures with regards to serving alcohol. Any violations of this code from the resort will be reported and fixed immediately.
Please review the expectations for S-Trip!, Travelers, and Parents:
S-Trip! Leaders do:
- Follow check-in system 3 times per day
- Roam the resort and make themselves available at all S-Trip! activities, excursions, & events
- Manage all medical emergencies including accompanying traveler to clinic and contacting parents
- Ensure a Leader can be reached via the front desk throughout the night in case of emergency
- Perform extensive briefing upon arrival to review the S-Trip! Code and guidelines to a fun and safe Grad Trip
- Call parents when there is an infraction to the S-Trip! Code
- Remove offenders that pose a threat to themselves or others
- Ensure hotel checks traveler I.D. upon arrival to receive age appropriate wristbands
- Establish alcohol consumption policy with hotel management & staff
- Work with hotel gift shop to limit access to purchase alcohol
S-Trip! Leaders do not:
- Know the exact location of every traveler at all times
- Watch or supervise individual travelers unless related to an incident
- Enter rooms of travelers, unless in case of emergency
- See all actions of travelers and are not present at all times to help curb behaviour or language
- Smell drinks for alcohol
- Supervise all bartenders at all times
- Guarantee travelers will not get drinks from other guests
- Guarantee that travelers will not have access to alcohol from shops or other means
Expectations of parents:
- Sit down with son or daughter & read the S-Trip! Code
- Set expectations of behaviour
Have a mature conversation about decisions your child may be faced with on Grad Trip, similar to a friday night out, and in a couple months at college/university.
Expectations of Travelers:
- Act like an adult & treat others with respect
- Be responsible for your own actions
- Be safe on balconies and in the water
- If you're the age of majority, please drink responsibly
- Be respectful of other guests, especially during quiet hours
- Sign-in at the S-Trip! Info desk 3 times per day and let us know you are safe
- Bring any problem directly to leaders who are ready to provide assistance
- If you can be smart and safe back home on a Friday night then you will have a fun and safe experience on Grad Trip
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Behavior & The S-Trip! Code
Myth: The S-Trip! Code is often disregarded
Fact: The overwhelming majority of travelers follow and believe in The S-Trip! Code
The S-Trip! Code must be signed by all travelers and, where applicable, their parents. It highlights a wide range of important responsibilities including swimming and water safety, balcony safety, respectful behavior toward others and prohibited activities such as fighting, underage drinking, the operation of motorized vehicles and possession or use of illegal drugs. We encourage all students to live by this code, not only on our trips but for the rest of their life as they become world travelers and enter College/University.
The overwhelming majority of our travelers comply with the code of conduct and have a fun and safe experience. Nevertheless, designing and supervising trips for travelers in this age group can be uniquely challenging. Misconduct and mistakes do occur. We try to be honest and direct about that fact – with our S-Trip! Leaders, with travelers and with their parents. Roughly 2% of all travelers receive sanctions for code violations and 1 in 600 travelers will be sent home due to serious misbehavior.
Read more Parent Reviews
"Our contact with S-Trip! has been nothing but positive. Thanks for all that you did and do! S-Trip! seems to be a quality organization that we are proud to have our daughter involved with."
"When I realized how long the company had been in business I felt a lot better. We have traveled quite a bit as a family but he had never gone on his own. I was impressed with the staff I saw or spoke to. Thanks for caring how we all feel! Hopefully Mike can be a staff someday!"
The S-Trip! Code is a set of guidelines to create a fun & safe environment. We recommend all parents/guardians have a meaningful and honest conversation with their son/daughter prior to their trip and review expectations and behaviour while abroad. If you can be smart and safe back home on a Friday night then you will have a fun and safe experience on Grad Trip.
- Everybody love everybody #ELE. We’re all friends on Grad Trip. No bullying! Ain’t nobody got time for fighting.
Make it epic
- Do more! Get out of your comfort zone and get involved. Play volleyball, go surfing, dance with your friends and take it all in.
- Represent your home town and country. Respect the local culture as well as other guests around you. Be smart and take care of yourself and others.
You’re an adult
- You are graduating high school and you deserve to be treated like an adult! But with independence comes responsibility, act accordingly.
Good vibes only
- Embrace every moment. Share smiles, high fives, and hugs. Your attitude while traveling will go a long way. Radiate positivity and be happy!
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Myth: “Quiet hours” are not enforced and students can stay up all night
Fact: Final sign-in is at 1 am when all travelers must be back in their rooms
Quiet hours are from 10 pm to 7 am in common areas such as lobbies and hallways of the resort to not disturbed other guests. S-Trip! events are from 10 pm to 1 am.
All of our events are supervised by Trained S-Trip! Leaders and usually run from 10pm-1am, at which point the event shuts down, and all travelers must do their final sign-in and head to their own rooms. S-Trip! Leaders also have scheduled “roaming duties” in which they walk around the resort in case anyone has any issues before bedtime.
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Myth: Students aren’t required to sign-in daily with S-Trip! Leaders
Fact: All Travelers sign-in with at the S-Trip! Info Desk 3 times per day
S-Trip! Leaders perform a sign-in procedure 3 times a day, in the morning, afternoon, and at night. Each traveler must present themselves at the Info Desk to sign-in and cannot have a friend or roommate sign-in on their behalf. The final sign-in coincides with quiet hours beginning at 10:00PM and all students must have completed final sign-in after evening events and before 1:00 AM.
Failure to sign-in will result in a warning with a senior member of the S-Trip! Coordinator team. Any violation after that will result in steeper consequences including a phone call home to the parents informing them of the infraction, and even as severe as sending the traveler home if seen as a liability.
Morning sign-in: 10am - 12pm
Afternoon sign-in: 4pm - 6pm
Night sign-in: 10pm - 1am
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Myth: Travelers have no support if something goes wrong
Fact: Travelers and parents have access to S-Trip! Leaders on-site and an emergency phone line during travel
All Leaders are trained, and live through the mantra of ‘Care’ which leads S-Trip! Leaders to go out of their way to help travelers with any problems they have. No incident is too small or too big. S-Trip! Leaders are trained to identify anyone not having the #TripofaLifetime, and ensure they find a solution that will turn them into a Happy Traveler. Travelers and parents both have access to a 24/7 emergency line during travel if they need to relay any messages from destination to back home, or vice versa.
Full Service Parent Support
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Myth: S-Trip! runs through the school
Fact: S-Trip! Is not affiliated with any school or board. The trip is planned and happens outside of school hours and dates.
We are always up front and forward about this fact. Indicated in multiple marketing materials including Organizer booklets, brochures, website, and emails we are always transparent that we are not a school-sanctioned trip. All of our trips occur when students are not in school, and a majority of our travelers travel in the summer time over their summer holidays. All trips are led by S-Trip! Trip Leaders and do not include teachers from the school board.
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Myth: S-Trip! Organizers sell the trip
Fact: The Student Organizers role is to inform all grads about the trip
We want everyone to have the opportunity to go on their Grad Trip. Organizers never sell the trips. They are the ones in the school that are most comfortable talking to a range of friend groups in order to involve everyone. Organizers have their own dedicated Trip Planner that works full-time for S-Trip! and together they help choose a destination & travel time that works best for the group. They also help distribute more information about the trips to both students and parents telling them a little bit of background into the company, as well as all of the amazing things to do while on the trip. All Organizers and their parents must sign an Organizer Agreement which explains the process, and the steps involved in planning an S-Trip!.
In no way are student Organizers liable for other students signing up. All students book independently through the S-Trip! website.
We create young leaders. We believe that youth have the power to change the world. Every year we work with thousands of students from across North America who are doing incredible things in their community. Many of these students apply to be an Organizer. As an Organizer these students grow their presence in the local community as they bring together a group, create deeper bonds and provide a once-in-a-lifetime travel opportunity. Through the Organizer process these youth develop strong skills in leadership, time management, prioritization and communication. They also receive reference letters for future jobs, colleges, universities, and scholarships.
Read more Organizer Reviews
"The Trip Leaders are absolutely incredible on this trip. They are all caring, approachable and love travel! And in my opinion, if I need help or somebody to go to that is the type of person I want near me. I think I can say this for myself as well as the majority of students from my school, Volunteering Abroad was a life changer. Being given the chance to help rebuild a school and play with these children for a day was unforgettable. This trip taught many life lessons. No matter the lesson, students learned a lot and took a lot from this trip."
- Alexa Tickner
"Had a great time on the trip! lots of fun and memories, definitely a trip to remember! Hotels were great, activities were fun, and the staff was amazing!"
- Shelby Welterlich
"I would just love to give a HUGE thank you for the amazing time I and my friends had on grad trip! I wasn't really sure what to expect on a trip like this and it was more then I had ever hoped for! 🙂 The adventures were all amazing! The S-Trip! Leaders that made this experience a whole lot better!"
- Aubrianne Pudwell
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Myth: The S-Trip! price is often double similar trips
Fact: The S-Trip! package includes way more and cannot be compared to traditional travel
Of course, you can go and look up standard flight + hotel packages on your own for a little bit cheaper than an S-Trip! Package. But those cookie cutter packages are just that, hotel and flight and that’s it.
S-Trip! is designed to provide student and youth with the #TripofaLifetime. We have worked so hard to develop the ultimate Grad Trip for students. Our packages include flight, hotel, meals, drinks, snacks, resort transfers, medical travel insurance, S-Trip! Leaders on-site, day activities, a volunteer abroad experience, featured off-resort event, featured off-resort excursion, S-Trip! Graffiti T-Shirt, themed night events, & a professional group photo shoot.
So yes, the S-Trip! package can sometimes be slightly more expensive, but we provide an incredible amount of value that you can’t get anywhere else. Oh, did we also mention we do the work of bringing together tons of other grads from across North America?
You can see the S-Trip! Package here
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Every year S-Trip! meticulously evaluates every program in order to make adjustments that will make Grad Trip even safer.
This includes reviewing all practices and protocols from the time a traveler signs up for their #TripofaLifetime, until they safely return home after a week in paradise. We have spent 40+ years developing the ultimate Grad Trip that is both fun & safe for youth. Our trips take up to 18 months of planning that involved hundreds of people behind the scene developing a ton of systems, policies, and procedures to make everything perfect. We truly believe we are the best in the world at creating memorable travel experiences for students and youth.
Everyone from the founders of the company, to the Trip Leaders that take students to and from destination are involved in the process whether it’s post-travel questionnaires, senior destination staff debriefs, or executive analysis of Happy Traveler metrics. All follow up and feedback is compiled, analyzed, and then implemented into the next set of trip training, safety protocol, standards, and communication.
What you should know
S-Trip! was recently awarded with the Global Youth Travel Award for Best Youth Tour Operator beating out other international travel brands Rustic Pathways & Bus 2 Alps.
Thousands of travel companies around the world are eligible for this award and it is given out by the World Youth Student Travel Conference.
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Our existing Standards & procedures we have in place as Leaders in the Student Travel Industry:
Happy Traveler Stats From The Cayos of Cuba, Summer 2016
Travelers over 3 weeks
Travelers who participated
in Volunteer Abroad
Had been on 6+ trips
See our Cayos of Cuba Happy Traveler Report
Of travelers would
We try to cover everything at help.s-trip.com
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