A friend mentioned recently how her son wants to go on the Year 9 overseas school trip, and she can’t afford it. I had to play devil’s advocate and discuss School Trips now vs then, when a few friends agreed it was too expensive.

The Cost Of School Trips Then

In 1997, I went on a 4 night school trip to the Lake District. I was in Year 9 at the time, and it cost £175. Add to that the cost of buying all of the outdoor clothing I’d never use again. Not to mention an old set of clothes and a decent set of clothes for each of the 5 days we were away. That was 21 years ago. According to This Is Money, £175 then is equal to £312 now.

Paying For School Trips Then

The £175 cost of the residential trip I did go on was paid for mostly by my parents,. I had to put my £5 a week pocket money towards the cost as well, though. This meant that I paid £75, and they paid the other £100 . My parents also bought me everything else I needed, as well as spending money. I know my folks had to save for me to attend, and I definitely appreciated it. The fact they made me contribute made me appreciate it even more too.

When I was in Year 10, we had the option of a French Skiing trip. For 4 nights, it was £535, which is around £927 in today’s money. I didn’t go as it was much too expensive for us as a family with 6 kids to afford.

School Trips Now

Another friend told me her son was going on an educational trip to New York with his school. She had been able to set up a weekly payment plan 18 months beforehand. My friend said this made it more affordable. She has halved his pocket money so he’s contributing too, and she is paying £15 a week. While £60 a month for 18 months seems a lot, she said she has made conscious changes and isn’t missing the money.

I asked her what she had changed and she said she now picks a friend up en route to work and they halve the fuel costs, which has saved her £10 a week. She also swapped her usual 6 weekly hairdressers appointments to 8 weekly, which has saved her £150 a year. Her son’s pocket money makes up the other few pounds. She says she will have to plan carefully nearer the time, to cover the cost of his clothes and spending money. Her son already knows he’s not getting as much as usual for his birthday and Christmas, plus any money he gets will be saved for spends for the trip.

My Thoughts

When the time comes for Sam and Syd to go on school trips like this, I definitely won’t be handing them their trip on a plate. I feel that getting kids to “earn” the trip and contributing to the cost is a great and incredibly valuable lesson. When they want to go on their first holiday with friends, they’ll have to work hard to pay for it, so why should educational school trips be any different?

Finally, if you’ve enjoyed this post, check out more of my parenting blog posts here.

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