From their first local field trip as Daisies to exploration of another country as Seniors or Ambassadors, girls will find that Girl Scouts is the best way to travel. They’ll challenge themselves in a safe environment that sparks their curiosity, and they’ll create lifelong memories with their Girl Scout sisters. And the Girl Scout Cookie Program can help to make travel dreams a reality!
Traveling with Girl Scouts is very different from traveling with family, school, or other groups because girls take the lead. As they make the decisions about where to go and what to do and take increasing responsibility for the planning and management of their trips, girls build important organizational and management skills that will benefit them in college and beyond.
Girl Scout travel is built on a progression of activities, so girls are set up for success. Daisies and Brownies start with field trips and progress to day trips, overnights, and weekend trips. Juniors can take adventures farther with a longer regional trip. And Cadettes, Seniors, and Ambassadors can travel the United States and then the world. There are even opportunities for older girls to travel independently by joining trips their councils organize or participating in Destinations. There’s a whole world of possibilities for your girls!
Planning Ahead for Adventure
Get in touch with your council as you start thinking about planning a trip. They likely have training programs that will raise your confidence as a chaperone as well as an approval process for overnight and extended travel.
Overnight trips up to and including three days and two nights (with no activities that require GSNI-M approval according to Safety Activity Checkpoints) only require notification to email@example.com. Trips longer than three days/two nights, international trips, and specialized activities require prior approval from GSNI-M. Please read Group Policy 8 (Trips) in Volunteer Policies for more information and the exact steps to follow.
Encourage the girls to submit much of the information themselves, including the following:
- A detailed itinerary, including specific activities involved, mode of travel, and all dates/times
- Location and type of premises to be used
- Numbers of girls who will be participating (parental permissions must be obtained)
- Names and contact information for the volunteers participating
- Any other groups, organizations, consultants, or resource people who will be involved
- Participants’ skill levels, if applicable (language skills, backpacking or camping experience, and so on)
- Any specialized equipment that will be used, if applicable
- Required agreements or contracts (for example, hiring a bus, use of premises)
Not sure where to begin? Check out the Girl Scout Guide to U.S. Travel. This resource is designed for Juniors and older Girl Scouts who want to take extended trips—that is, longer than a weekend—but also features tips and tools for budding explorers who are just getting started with field trips and overnights.
Once girls have mastered planning trips in the United States, they might be ready for a global travel adventure! Global trips usually take a few years to plan, and the Girl Scout Global Travel Toolkit can walk you through the entire process.
If you’re planning any kind of trip—from a short field trip to an overseas expedition—the “Trips and Travel” section of Safety Activity Checkpoints is your go-to resource for safety. Some activities require prior approval from GSNI-M. Per Group Policy 8 in the Volunteer Policies: “A specialized activity is an activity that a group is conducting that Safety Activity Checkpoints requires council approval or that requires facilitators with specific certifications. The Safety Activity Checkpoints for each activity will state if that particular activity requires council approval. Prior to participating in the activity, please complete a Non-GSNI-M Specialized Activities form and submit to firstname.lastname@example.org at least one month before the event. This form is not needed if the activity is happening at a council-sponsored activity or event.” Be sure to follow all the basic safety guidelines, like the buddy system and first-aid requirements, in addition to the specific guidelines for travel.
Note that extended travel (more than three nights) is not covered under the basic Girl Scout insurance plan and will require additional coverage.
Girl Scout Connections
It’s easy to tie eye-opening travel opportunities into the leadership training and skill building your girls are doing in Girl Scouts! Your girls can use their creativity to connect any leadership Journey theme into an idea for travel, like a Sow What? trip focusing on sustainable agriculture and, naturally, sampling tasty food!
There are abundant opportunities to build real skills through earning badges too. The most obvious example is the Senior Traveler badge, but there are plenty more, such as Eco Camper, New Cuisines, Photography, and, of course, all the financial badges that help girls budget and earn money for their trips.
Looking to incorporate Girl Scout traditions into your trip? Look no farther than the Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace in Savannah, Georgia! Your girls also have the chance to deepen their connections to Girl Scouts around the world by visiting one of the WAGGGS (World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts) World Centers, which offer low-cost accommodations and special programs in five locations around the world.
Travel to an Epic Girl Event
And there’s no better way to combine travel and Girl Scouting than by attending the epic G.I.R.L. 2020 convention, taking place October 23–25, 2020, in Orlando, Florida! It’s the world’s largest girl-led event for girls, young women, and everyone who supports them. This premier gathering for Girl Scouts happens every three years, and they’ll meet fellow go-getters, innovators, risk-takers, and leaders from around the country and the world—it’s an amazing opportunity your girls won’t want to miss!
Are your girls looking to stay closer to home this year? Then ask your council about council-owned camps and other facilities that can be rented out. [NOTE: could include all TROOP TREKS when up and running. This will likely be for next year.]
Lift up the Girl Scout Leadership Experience at every opportunity in your planning, but limit your role to facilitating the girls’ brainstorming and planning, never doing the work for them. Share your ideas and insight, ask tough questions when you have to, and support all their decisions with enthusiasm and encouragement!