Leading Extension Gardener International Travel Study Programs
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Review What to Know Before You Go. Get your passport and any required vaccines.
- Register for NC State University Full Tunnel VPN to allow access to your NC State University Gmail account and other services that may be restricted in other countries.
- Review the recommended reading. Learn about the country you are visiting – flora, fauna, culture. (you are not expected to become an expert)
- Host online orientation for travelers (after registration closes). Have travelers introduce themselves. Encourage them to bring their EMGV Name Badges. Introduce Whatsapp and Google Drive image folder. Distribute photo release. Make sure participants are aware that the itinerary may change due to unexpected circumstances, for example, the location closed – every effort will be made to find a comparable experience. Encourage EMGV travelers to talk to their agents about education hours that will be allowed for the trip. Find out what counties everyone is in and if they are an MGV – email agents before a trip to let them know they have volunteers on the trip and share the itinerary.
- Use an app (WhatsApp, Kakao Talk, Remind, etc.) that allows you to communicate with the participants via wi-fi — no charges. Be sure you and each of the participants download the App prior to departure – Test and troubleshoot communications ahead of time. You can create a group with everyone in it and then can send a message to the group or individuals. Really helpful when you are in a large destination e.g. “see you on the bus at 4:00 p.m., It is in the parking lot to the left and just down the hill from the visitors’ entrance”
- Create a Google Drive folder to share images among the group – invite travelers to post to the EMGV Facebook page.
- Connect with the local guide ahead of time to confirm the time for dinner the first night, and the time the bus will depart the first day.
- Get the cell phone number and email of the professional guide and the bus driver and each of the participants so if you get separated you can stay in touch.
- Plan several ice breakers for the first day on the bus.
- Confirm with the tour company who will keep copies of participant passports, emergency contact information, and itinerary (arrival and departure). Hidden Treasures Tours manages all of this information and all emergencies for the trips they host.
- Remind participants that it is traditional to provide both the driver and the tour guide with a tip. Kari will provide you with Thank you cards to have participants sign ahead of time. On the last day of the trip pass a hat (once for the driver & once for the guide)
Portable chargers and chords for phones so you and participants can recharge on the bus between destinations. Avoid the frustration of draining your battery by taking a video of a sloth and then missing an opportunity to photograph a purple hummingbird.
- Things participants may have forgotten (moleskin for sore feet, diarrhea medication, bands to avoid being car sick, see the website)
Take lots of pictures of flora, fauna, culture, and travelers; post on NCEMGV Facebook.
- Encourage travelers to post on their personal page as well on county EMG, and state EMGV Facebook pages.
- Encourage travelers to share their images via Google Drive folder
- Serve as Host, Camp Counselor, Guide
- Keep count of attendees, and make sure no one is left behind.
- Take pictures of the room list and send to everyone after check-in
- Every night at dinner or on the bus at the end of the day. Announce times/daily schedule – when to meet the bus, time for breakfast, etc.
- You will be traveling with a variety of people, with different experience levels, backgrounds, and viewpoints – be prepared to facilitate, counsel, arbitrate, and negotiate as needed. Remember, you are in a leadership role and part of your responsibility is to maintain group harmony.
- Remember to get to know everyone – sit with different groups at meals, rotate/mix with everyone
- Be present and accessible to travelers during tour/meals; save Facebook for later (after dinner)
- Be prepared for colds, stomach viruses, and minor illnesses (bring extra supplies)
- If you are asked how your expenses are covered, let travelers know tour guide expenses are built into the tour package.
- Sometimes, due to the size of the group, not everyone will stay in the same block of rooms/location, possibly even in different hotels.
Survey participants and summarize the results, including your suggestions on how to improve the itinerary and provide it to Lucy.
- Work with participants to host a webinar on your trip
- Assist in promoting future trips
- Send email to agents of participants to share itinerary, estimated CEUs, and names of the traveler.
- Add your advice to the Guide Tips
Things to take
- Thank you cards for bus driver/tour guides and hosts at tour sites if appropriate.
- Name Tags for those who forget their badges. Name Tags for participants are very helpful for the group, especially during the first few days
- Extra batteries and SD card for your camera (or power bank for phone/tablets)
- Extra supplies to share with travelers: first aid/medicines, motion sickness (wrist bands, ginger chews), ponchos, battery chargers, bug repellent
- Don’t overschedule before the tour. Come well-rested and ready for an adventure.
- Don’t overschedule the final day of the tour – people need time to pack
- Don’t overschedule yourself when you return! Plan a couple of days of vacation or professional scheduling time when you return home. You’ll need it to recover, adjust to the time change, and catch up on personal stuff. Also, keep your work schedule light for a week or two after you return to allow time to follow up on the trip, catch up on email/tasks, and in case you need extra time off.
- Add your advice to the Tour Guide Information