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Canvas & Compass Travel
Canvas & Compass Travel

How to plan for

an international adventure

If you are thinking of taking a group abroad but are not sure where to start, then grab a pad and a pen and read the below. First, before you start planning your international adventure there are some key questions that you need to answer. Remember to ask your scouting colleagues and the young people for their input and ideas. Also take a look at our our Top 10 Sources of Information when planning a Scout Trip blog.


What type of international experience do you want to organise? Your programme will help decide on the destination of your trip and other aspects of the itinerary. There are many different opportunities available, and of course can be combined if you want to create an action-packed trip –

  • International or National Events (e.g. Asia Pacific Regional Jamboree)
  • National Scout Centres (e.g. Kandersteg)
  • Community or Environmental projects
  • Adventure Challenges
  • Cultural Exchanges (Remember the new guidelines regarding home hospitality)


If you are taking young people overseas then you will be restricted to travel during school holidays. Adults do have more flexibility but will be restricted to the amount of days they can take as annual leave. You will need to bear in mind, especially if you want to meet up with local Scout & Guide groups, other countries may have different school holidays.

Do some research on when it is best to visit different countries in terms of the climate and weather. Also remember some activities are seasonal for example – you can only see the Northern Lights between October to March, or the best time to see the Wildebeest Migration in Kenya is July and August.

Most importantly allow enough time to plan and fundraise for the trip to ensure the trip is a successful one.


The trip needs to be affordable to ensure that the opportunity is open to everyone, showcase the trip with all the added value and inclusions. Plan for the worst-case scenario, any remaining funds can be refunded back to the group or put towards a post trip get together. The final tour cost needs to include

  • Transport and travel
  • Camp and accommodation
  • Event fees, food
  • Activities and excursions
  • Kit and equipment
  • Planning meetings, parents’ evenings and training weekends
  • Travel insurance
  • Visa’s (if required)
  • Contingency (in case of emergencies)

* Plan for Rate of Exchange (ROE) fluctuations, as a change in the ROE can dramatically affect your budget *


Once you have answered WHAT, WHEN and BUDGET then you will have narrowed down your options of WHERE you can travel.

The decisions have been made - what do you do next?

  1. Set up the planning team and assign roles
  2. Talk to a youth travel specialist company, like Canvas & Compass to get a quote for your planned trip.
  3. Talk to your ACC(I) about your plans and submit the Visits Abroad Form (Part A)
  4. Promote your trip and sign up participants
  5. Book and confirm your travel requirements with your chosen travel provider. Think about POR when booking activities as this applies equally when you are overseas.
  6. Make sure you have travel insurance in place and it covers you for all the activities you have planned whilst overseas. Make sure you read the small print and double check if you must declare ‘pre-existing’ medical conditions. If travelling within Europe your insurance policy may insist that all group members have a valid EHIC card.
  7. Work out what is the best way to communicate with the group and their parents with any updates. A formal way to communicate is email, however groups also like to have a closed Facebook group to share information too. Think about how you will communicate with everyone whilst you are overseas, including the INTOUCH process.
  8. Think about setting up a fundraising schedule and assign different members of the group to help with different events/roles.
  9. Keep parents in the loop and collect relevant information when required – Parental consent for under 18’s, health forms, passport information (check validity requirements for the country you are travelling to). Remember GDPR and store sensitive information in the correct way.
  10. While taking a group overseas you will still need the appropriate nights away, first aid and activity permits. You will need to complete the necessary risk assessments and make sure all leaders are briefed on emergency procedures.
  11. Make sure that all the group are fully informed and briefed for the trip. Destination knowledge including local customs and culture is key to everyone having an enjoyable trip. Give everyone a kit list and perhaps hold some ‘pre-camps’ to bring everyone together.
  12. Submit the Visit Abroad Form – Part B to your ACC (I) at least 6 weeks before departure. Before you depart you should receive an International Letter of Introduction (sometimes called a Scout Passport).
  13. When you return from your trip make sure you tell everyone about it. Write about it in the next newsletter, talk about it at the AGM or arrange a parent evening to show off your photos. Make sure you thank everyone that helped make the trip possible.