So today A headed off to Krakow, Poland with the school on their GCSE History & RS trip. Just after 3am the Mister loaded up the car with teen & her suitcase and off they went to meet the coach at school to send her on her merry way. They of course also had to turn around and come back again because she forgot her phone charger, but they got to the coach on time. Just.
I naturally had the task of getting her organised and ready to go. Passport - check, EHIC - check, behaviour contract signed - check. Then I had to make sure she had everything she would need for four days/three nights away from home, and of course money to spend.
Tip - Don't leave buying your currency until the last minute, particularly if you live in a small town with just a handful of bureau de changes and the local senior school is going on a trip... You see where I am going with this? Lots of people wanting the same currency at the same time = it's going to run out fairly quickly.
Try and do it the week before if at all possible, to make sure you have time for them to order what you need where necessary.
Luckily for me the Post Office was able to provide me with the currency I required for her snacks & drinks (the Mister & I decided £10 a day was sufficient, with £10 extra "just in case"), and I changed some of her own money for her, for spending. It worked out as 250 Zloty (£56) for food, and 180 Zloty (£40) to spend which we thought adequate for the trip duration.
I did all of her laundry (I'm still trying to figure out how she has so much when she seems to only ever wear her uniform or her PJs?) and put it in her room so that anything she could possibly want to take was clean & ready. I also asked her to put the rest of it away before she left... You know it's all still in the basket. I also packed her personal care kit in a small bag containing just about everything she could possibly need.
I'm probably over-cautious when it comes to packing for a school trip but I covered all the bases and I am satisfied that she won't be caught on the hop and has everything she could have a need for in the four days she will be away. A is almost 16, and so the things I have packed for her are items she is able to take care of & use responsibly herself. For younger children on a school trip I would suggest checking with staff as to what should be packed or instead given to the teachers who will be 'in loco parentis'.
A's basic personal care kit includes miniature bottles of shampoo, conditioner and shower gel which were £1 each from Wilko. You can of course save money by purchasing reusable miniature plastic bottles and just filling them up with products from your regular bottles at home.
A insisted on having some 'travel mouthwash' so we bought a small bottle of mouthwash and a miniature tube of toothpaste. I included a container of antibacterial hand wash, and a tube of hand cream as I would imagine it is rather cold there and it might come in useful, in addition I also put in a small cardboard emery board.
As well as a travel hairbrush (with mirror) and hair bands, I also packed facial cleansing wipes, deodorant, and a small pot of vaseline (to prevent chapped lips in the cold air) along with some tissues - handy for general use but she will be visiting Auschwitz & Birkenau during the trip, and so I imagine they will be essential for such an emotional experience.
I included her multivitamins for the four days she will be away, so don't forget to send anything you usually give your kids on a daily basis, a few plasters 'just in case' along with a pack of paracetamol and one of anti-diarrhoea capsules. As they will taking several excursions while they are there, the last thing I want is for her to miss out due to an upset tummy or any pain, so those two medications for us were a must.
She picked out her own clothes to wear (can you even imagine her letting her mum pick her clothes haha - that would never happen these days), including hats and items for her to layer up and keep herself warm, and a good pair of sturdy walking boots, a size too big to allow for thick socks. I even bought her a pair of 'smart tip' gloves so she can still use her iPhone without having to remove the gloves, because I'm thoughtful like that. I also advised her to write her name & address on a sheet of paper and put it inside the suitcase in addition to the luggage tag on the outer handle, just in case. In her carry-on bag she packed her phone, some chewing gum, books, the camera (with charger & adaptor in the suitcase) & her wallet with her cash.
After all that preparation, she was ready to go so here is hoping she has a good time, and learns a lot from her experiences there. She's due home on Sunday, although the last thing I got from her was a call to say they'd had to land in the Czech Republic due to bad weather in Krakow but they were sitting in the plane on the runway, refuelling & waiting to fly back within an hour or so (after the hour or so they had already spent circling the airport before being diverted).
Fingers crossed the rest of the trip is more straightforward and that she makes it home without more diversions. Although judging by this note ^^ I found on my calendar - if J had his way, I don't know that she'd be able to come back at all. Teenagers are such charmers, aren't they?
NB: There are many bogus sites online that will attempt to charge you for an EHIC. Please note, the EHIC is free and the link I have included in my post will take you to the genuine site, where you can apply for an EHIC without charge.