From their first local field trip as Daisies to exploration of another country as Seniors or Ambassadors, girls will find that Girl Scouts is the best way to travel. They’ll challenge themselves in a safe environment that sparks their curiosity, and they’ll create lifelong memories with their Girl Scout sisters. And the Girl Scout Cookie Program can help to make travel dreams a reality!
Traveling with Girl Scouts is very different from traveling with family, school, or other groups because girls take the lead. As they make the decisions about where to go and what to do and take increasing responsibility for the planning and management of their trips, girls build important organizational and management skills that will benefit them in college and beyond.
Girl Scout travel is built on a progression of activities, so girls are set up for success. Daisies and Brownies start with field trips and progress to day trips, overnights, and weekend trips. Juniors can take adventures farther with a longer regional trip. And Cadettes, Seniors, and Ambassadors can travel the United States and then the world. There are even opportunities for older girls to travel independently by joining trips their councils organize or participating in Destinations. There’s a whole world of possibilities for your girls!
Planning Ahead for Adventure
Get in touch with your council as you start thinking about planning a trip. They likely have training programs that will raise your confidence as a chaperone as well as an approval process for overnight and extended travel.
GSEMA troop leaders begin the required pre-approval process for a 1-2 night overnight via a Girl Scout Activity Form, ideally at least four weeks in advance, or with as much notice as possible. For trips of 3 nights or more, this required pre-approval process starts with a Preliminary Application for Extended Trip, which should be submitted at least a year in advance, especially when travelling internationally. Girls who have progressed and are ready to travel independently can apply for these Destinations!
Not sure where to begin? Check out the Girl Scout Guide to U.S. Travel. This resource is designed for Juniors and older Girl Scouts who want to take extended trips—that is, longer than a weekend—but also features tips and tools for budding explorers who are just getting started with field trips and overnights.
Once girls have mastered planning trips in the United States, they might be ready for a global travel adventure! Global trips usually take a few years to plan, and the Girl Scout Global Travel Toolkit can walk you through the entire process.
If you’re planning any kind of trip—from a short field trip to an overseas expedition—the “Trips and Travel” section of Safety Activity Checkpoints is your go-to resource for safety. Your council may have additional resources and approval process. In addition to the required pre-approval for all overnights as noted above, a Girl Scout Activity Form is required for pre-approval of all “high risk”, high adventure day trip activities as defined by the Safety Activity Checkpoints. Be sure to follow all the basic safety guidelines, like the buddy system and first-aid requirements, in addition to the specific guidelines for travel.
Note that extended travel (more than two nights) is not covered under the basic Girl Scout insurance plan and will require additional coverage.
Girl Scout Connections
It’s easy to tie eye-opening travel opportunities into the leadership training and skill building your girls are doing in Girl Scouts! Your girls can use their creativity to connect any leadership Journey theme into an idea for travel, like a Sow What? trip focusing on sustainable agriculture and, naturally, sampling tasty food!
There are abundant opportunities to build real skills through earning badges too. The most obvious example is the Senior Traveler badge, but there are plenty more, such as Eco Camper, New Cuisines, Photography, and, of course, all the financial badges that help girls budget and earn money for their trips.
Looking to incorporate Girl Scout traditions into your trip? Look no farther than the Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace in Savannah, Georgia! Your girls also have the chance to deepen their connections to Girl Scouts around the world by visiting one of the WAGGGS (World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts) World Centers, which offer low-cost accommodations and special programs in five locations around the world.
Travel to an Epic Girl Event
And there’s no better way to combine travel and Girl Scouting than by attending the epic G.I.R.L. 2020 convention, taking place October 23–25, 2020, in Orlando, Florida! It’s the world’s largest girl-led event for girls, young women, and everyone who supports them. This premier gathering for Girl Scouts happens every three years, and they’ll meet fellow go-getters, innovators, risk-takers, and leaders from around the country and the world—it’s an amazing opportunity your girls won’t want to miss!
Are your girls looking to stay closer to home this year? Then ask your council about council-owned camps and other facilities that can be rented out.
Lift up the Girl Scout Leadership Experience at every opportunity in your planning, but limit your role to facilitating the girls’ brainstorming and planning, never doing the work for them. Share your ideas and insight, ask tough questions when you have to, and support all their decisions with enthusiasm and encouragement!