Planning a Day Trip
January 19, 2017
Day trips are a fun way to explore new places or revisit favorite old ones. In addition to providing a good time of fellowship for church members, trips can be a great way to reach out to unchurched friends, newcomers, and those you’ve met through church outreach activities such as block parties or health fairs.
The key to a good day trip is planning, preparation and teamwork. And good weather helps, but we can’t control everything!
- Choose your location and date for the trip. Allow at least several weeks to promote the
- Do your homework. Get as much detailed information about the event or site as possible. Ask the facility what preparations should be made and what to
- Make reservations if needed. Ask for group discounts or discounts for older adults. Give the name of your group and church in addition to your own contact information. Ask if there is a particular person you should ask for when you arrive.
- In cases where no set reservation time is required, let them know the approximate time they can expect you to arrive as well as the approximate number of people to expect.
- Arrange transportation. If using the church bus or van, arrange for a driver and backup driver. If everyone is carpooling in individual cars, check your church’s policy regarding private vehicles used for church activities (for instance, does your church require the driver to provide proof of insurance, etc)
- If possible, scout out the location to plan and troubleshoot. Find out where the bathrooms and handicap entrances are, how much walking is required,
- Plan how much time should be allocated for the trip and make a schedule. Even if you are going to a specific event such as a show, allow ample time for trips to the restroom, snack bar, etc. How much time will it take to travel to and from the church at that time of day?
- Plan a budget for the trip. Will the church pay for the transportation or will the cost be shared by the participants? If a deposit is required, how will it be handled? How much will this trip cost each participant? If a meal stop is included, what is the cost range they should plan on?
- Remember that some of your members may be on a tight budget. Try to plan some free or low-cost trips in addition to more pricey
- Post a sign-up sheet on a bulletin board that everyone can see. Find a way to get word to those who may not see a bulletin or hear the morning announcements. Extend a special invitation to the pastor and other church staff. Make a special effort to reach out to those new to the church or to unchurches persons you’ve met through church outreach events or personal
- Who else needs a fun day out with friends? Consider those who might not be able to come unless they get a ride to church. What about the man or woman who usually stays home caring for a homebound family member? There are usually some “younger” adults in the church (who would never dream of going on a ‘senior adult bus trip”) but who would be delighted to offer their services as a driver, trip helper or respite care giver. They may be bashful, so don’t wait for them to volunteer—ask them personally.
- As you promote the trip, make sure everyone is aware of what is expected of them. What is the cost? When and how do they sign up? Do they need to wear walking shoes? Can they bring an unchurched friend? Can they bring a family member to assist them? What happens to their deposit if they have to cancel at the last minute?
- Establish some basic ground rules and make sure everyone understands them, particularly if this is your first trip as a group. Don’t treat adults like kindergarteners, but make sure they know that if they are 30 minutes late getting back on the bus, the bus will be leaving without
- Be sure your vehicle(s) is inspected thoroughly before the start of the trip. Use a checklist to insure everything such as fuel, oil, tires, transmission, seatbelts, wipers, etc are in good order. Plan on taking a first aid kit, cell phone and map. Carry the church office phone number and other emergency numbers with you ‘just in ”
- Provide a warm welcome for those new to your group, especially if they are not “church regulars”. Discreetly ask your sweetest, kindest people to be their special friend for the day or better yet, have a standing team of hospitable folks who will always be on the lookout for those they can welcome and introduce to
- Take photos of each trip to be posted on a bulletin board, scrap book, or end-of- year slide
- If, despite your very best planning, something goes wrong (which it will), don’t flip out! Just make a joke, whisper a prayer and go to Plan B (you do have a Plan B, don’t you?)
- Begin and end your trip with prayer, asking for God’s protection for the day and thanking Him for a safe
- As a general rule of thumb, don’t try to do everything yourself. Even if you are the most organized person you know, let others be involved in the work. Let them know how much you and the group appreciate their efforts.
Some helpful planning resources:
- Delaware office of Tourism http://www.visitdelaware.com/
- Free Delaware Visitor’s Guide http://www.visitdelaware.com/visitorguide.htm
- Maryland office of Tourism http://visitmaryland.org
- Free Destination Maryland Travel Planning Guide http://220.127.116.11/ordervacation/mossorder.asp
- Washington DC office of Tourism http://www.washington.org/