Why are school trips more expensive right now?

Kate Moore

2 Oct 2023, 10:34
by Kate Moore


Average ferry and Eurotunnel fares have increased by 24% to 52% in the last year, pushing up the cost of school trips to mainland Europe

If you were lucky enough to go abroad over the summer break, you’ll know that travel is more expensive at the moment. Unfortunately, school trips are impacted by the same market forces as your holiday. Read on to understand the reasons behind this and what you can do to manage the cost of your next educational trip. 

Key factors impacting the cost of a school trip

Though we always try to keep costs down as much as possible, there are external forces at play such as fuel costs and inflation, that will impact the price of your school trip. 

To help explain these factors to SLT, students and parents, we asked the Voyager School Travel experts to give us the hard facts:

  1. Inflation: You can’t fail to notice that your weekly shop is more expensive these days and travel-related services are not immune to inflation, leading to higher trip prices overall. The costs of operating accommodation have risen, with everything from fuel and heating to wages, food and laundry costs more expensive. Hoteliers are increasing their prices to keep pace with rising costs.
  2. Availability & supply of flights and ferries: Demand for overseas flights has returned to 80% of its 2019 level, but capacity is still limited meaning there are simply not enough seats to satisfy demand. According to IATA, airfares are up 25%, considerably outpacing inflation. It’s a similar story for Channel crossings where we have seen average ferry and Eurotunnel fares increase by 24% to 52% in the last year.
  3. Coach driver shortages: Coach companies are struggling to build back their staff levels after the pandemic - drivers from central and Eastern Europe have been prevented from returning to work in the UK because of Brexit. This shortage restricts availability and pushes up the price of hire. Coach firms have increased wages to retain and attract their best drivers leading to higher coach rates across the industry. As a result, we have seen coach costs increase by 42% in the last year.
  4. Fuel prices: Fluctuations in oil prices directly influence the cost of airfares and ground transportation, impacting the overall trip cost. The price of oil is significantly up from 2019, in part due to the war in Ukraine. A barrel of oil cost around $54 in September 2019 but topped $90 in September '23.
  5. Supply & demand for popular destinations: When demand is high and supply is low, prices tend to rise. High demand for tourist hotspots such as Paris and Barcelona impacts the prices of school trips. Seasonality also plays a big factor as school groups compete with leisure travellers in the popular summer months.
  6. Tourist taxes: Popular destinations have introduced tourist taxes to address the environmental impact of tourism, which can contribute to increased costs. France’s ‘taxe de Sejour’ varies between €0.20 to €4.20 per person per night while hotel beds in Rome can incur an additional €4 to €10 in tax per night.

Our response

We appreciate things are difficult for parents who are of course ultimately paying for the trip. We will always try and keep increases to a minimum and get our groups the best deal wherever possible. In fact, in some cases, we have absorbed these extra costs rather than pass them on.

What’s more, though many costs are out of our control, we are able to pack more learning opportunities into our language residentials and exclusive programmes so that groups gain more educational value for money than the average school trip.

5 ways we can help you save on your next school trip

It is still possible to run a cheaper school trip, but it's all about being flexible.

  • Choose a less touristy destination: Popular tourist hotspots such as Rome can charge high prices all year round. To help you stay within budget we can suggest alternative destinations, cheaper out-of-town accommodation, and things that school groups can do for free
  • Avoid the summer term: Choose to run your school trip during the quieter months for a better choice of accommodation and transport. Our expert team will advise you of the best value months to run your school trip
  • Get in early: Organise your trip in plenty to benefit from a wider choice of affordable accommodation options and have your names list ready so we can secure cheaper airline tickets for you as soon as they come on sale
  • Add more value to your trip: Get more bang for your buck by adding extra educational value to your school trip. 2/3 of our customers choose our curriculum-linked trips where our overseas instructors are responsible for delivering the learning 

Final thoughts on choosing a trusted educational travel partner

Finally, while cost is a factor to consider, it’s crucial to weigh it against the overall quality, safety and support offered by a school trip company. Investing in a trusted and accredited travel partner, such as Voyager School Travel, can result in a more rewarding and worry-free educational experience for students.

Useful resources


Why choose Voyager School Travel for your school trip?

You are in specialist hands

Our team use their teaching, language & destination experience to organise educational trips that are not only enriching but hassle-free. Read more →

Safety assured, bonded & accredited

As a member of the School Travel Forum & protected through ABTA & ATOL you can be sure of our high standards. Read more →

Trusted by teachers

Schools trust Voyager School Travel to organise the educational trips for over 32,000 passengers a year. Read more →

We deliver the educational elements

Signature educational experiences with our own language & activity instructors allow teachers to enjoy the trip too. Read more →

Stay at our own residential centres

Groups staying at our own residential centres in France will benefit from high quality learning, safety & service. Read more →

Our own overseas teams

Peace of mind knowing our French managers, instructors, coach drivers & support team will look after your every need. Read more →

For teachers who are serious about the educational outcomes of their school trip.

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