The world is getting smaller

22nd March 2019

It’s my experience that children are now better travelled than the generation (or two) before them.

When taking children on an excursion into London I was chatting to them about what we had planned – we were getting dropped off by our bus near Piccadilly Circus and were going to walk through Leicester Square and into Covent Garden where they could have some time to shop, watch the street performers and have lunch. In the afternoon we were going to walk down to the London Eye for a rotation before hoping back on the bus home. I for one was excited for a couple of reasons. The first because I’m a big fan of London having spent a lot of my teenage years exploring the city with my friends (something I don’t get to do much anymore) and secondly I was excited on behalf of the children I was taking into London because it’s a brilliant place to visit and a ride on the Eye is a great experience – the ideal way to end the day. 

What I found whilst chatting with them was that they were split 50:50. All were looking forward to getting into the city and exploring however half of them had already been on the Eye, some more than once! I found this quite amazing as I thought this would be a first-time experience for everyone. Maybe I, as a child did a particularly low amount of travelling? To have been to the capital city of another country more than once by the age of 12 was just unheard of within my friend group. Or maybe it is more of a British thing, that we tend to head off to resorts with our children rather than taking them to cities for cultural experiences? Who knows? Or maybe it is just a generational thing and the children of today are better travelled than those of us who grew up in the 70s, 80s and 90s. Let’s face it, the world has and is consistently becoming a smaller place as technology and the ease of travel brings us all closer together (I’m ignoring the B-word for now regarding ease of travel!) so it is logical that the children of today may well have been to lots of other countries before they hit their teenage years.

So, this year we have added some choice into our excursion programme to ensure students can choose where they want to go and don’t have to go over old ground unless they want to. Every Friday and Sunday we offer 2 or 3 destination options that parents and children can pick prior to the student arriving with us in the UK. We’ve tried to create a balance so there are options for those wanting to experience some British history (e.g. London with entry into the Tower of London), those who want to relax (e.g. Bournemouth Beach day) and those who want to be hung upside down and thrown around like a mad thing (e.g. Chessington World of Adventure Theme Park). There is the option to go into Oxford each week with entry into one of the Universities and punting on the river (which is harder than it looks) so students have loads of opportunity to explore the rather excellent city that sits on our doorstep!

Personally, I’ve been into London hundreds of times, walked the same routes hundreds of times and seen different things every time so I would always encourage children to take that option again even if they feel they have done it before. The beauty of it is that the choice is theirs.

Written by: Mark Vingoe, MD