You may well have guessed from the title that this post is about school trips. You may also have sensed a tone of disbelief in the pricing of said school trips!
Well, let me just set the scene with a little back story for you first.
At ages 9, 10 and 11 my children all go to a Welsh Language camp called Llangrannog. The cost is approximately £130 each for 3 days. I have fond memories of my own time there. Swimming in the freezing cold pool, riding the horses and being petrified of ‘The Black Nun’!
At 12 they to Glanllun. Similar, but set on a lake so the activities are all water based. This trip costs over £150 each for 3 days.
So for the last five years we have been paying for at least two, usually three, of our children to go on what I deem as a costly school trip. Later this year LM will embark on her last and LV his first, so for next three years I’ll only have one to pay for. Woohoo!
But these trips are something they are unlikely to be able to do as adults. I love the fact that they are completely immersed in the Welsh language while there, so we are happy to pay (even if the wallet does groan a little each time).
Anywho, back to the present.
Last week, my teenager daughters had a grave disappointment when I informed them, that under no uncertain circumstances, was I going to shell out £1100 each (EACH!) for them to go on a history trip to the USA.
I even got a bathroom door slammed in my face.
You see, apparently, I am being completely unreasonable because it is an educational trip, everything is paid for and I have over two years to pay.
Oh, and I’m only saying no because they are twins!
They were eventually quiet enough to listen to what I had to say, even if they were still sulking. (Not to tar them both with the same brush, I will admit that one twin was much more vocal than the other!) After I had finally managed to actually read the letter, due to trying very hard not to laugh at some of the more humorous (but still horrible) abuse being thrown in my direction.
So for a seven day trip to New York and Washington…
- The £1100 is only a provisional cost, this could go up. Yes I know this means it could also go down
- This doesn’t include the cost of five out of the seven evening meals.
- This doesn’t include ANY lunches.
- This doesn’t include the cost of public transport between excursion sites.
- They will need passports
- They will need spending money (one of the activities is a mall)
- Only one of them actually wants to do History for her GCSE’s
- Neither want to do History for A-Levels (at this moment in time) which is when the trip would take place.
- I would have to pay over £90 per month in installments for 32 months!
One of the things that was said that stung more than a little, was that they didn’t ask to be part of a big family. It’s true, they didn’t! Maybe if we’d have stopped at just them we’d be more likely to send them. But in all honesty? I have tried to justify it in my head, the experience they would have against the high costs. I really don’t think we would send an only child if we’d had one!
So am I being completely unreasonable? Should I save the, let’s say, £3000? that we will more than likely need to send them? Am I denying them the trip of a lifetime by not allowing them to go?
As far as I’m concerned, this isn’t a once in a lifetime trip. Everything they would see will still be there when they are adults, unless aliens blow up the White House and New York gets submerged when the ice caps melt of course. In this day and age air travel is pretty cheap. Popping over to New York for the weekend is nothing out of the ordinary for some. Taking a road trip around America is a relatively common holiday for many.
I would much rather save the money to go toward a family holiday. Even if it is just a few days camping. I feel that spending time together as a family while they are still young, building memories we can laugh over together when I’m 95, is much more important.
I cannot believe that schools are allowed to run trips that cost so much money, even with the long period to pay in installments. Okay, if you send your child to a private school then you expect higher costs, but this is a standard comprehensive school, where many receive free school dinners. I wonder how many parents will scrimp, save and put themselves into debt just to pay for their child to go on such a costly trip?
Is this an unreasonable amount of money for a school trip? Am I making my daughters suffer by not allowing them to go? Let me know what you think?