Your troop had been planning the perfect Girl Scout trip for years. Everything was ready to go… and then suddenly, it wasn’t. Maybe the pandemic cancelled a Girl Scout travel abroad program, or a natural disaster made camping outside unsafe, or even just plain bad luck made the wonderful trip you had in mind no longer an option right now. Now what do you do? 

Save it for later!

If you are anything like me, you cry a little bit (or maybe more than a little), not just for the girls who put the time and effort into planning and prepping, but for the missed opportunity and fun. Instead of the excitement of packing your bags and heading out on a grand adventure, you are stuck at home, doing the same old at home activities you usually do. But don’t despair: we’re Girl Scouts! And Girl Scouts always have a plan. 

Figuring Things Out 

The hardest part of canceled travel plans is not being able fulfill the dream of heading out to explore the world with friends. For those troops who had upcoming plans for travel there are a number of things that come to mind: 

  • What’s going to happen now? 
  • How long will it be before we can re-plan our trip? 
  • What about the money that’s already been spent? Can we get it back? Can it be applied towards future travel plans? 
  • What are the options available to us right now? In the future? 

While these are all important things to figure out, they are just that… things that need to get figured out. There’s no need to get super overwhelmed by it all.  Take some deep breaths and then come up with a plan to tackle them one at a time. Make lists of the most important things to take care of, like cancelling reservations, flights, etc. Prioritize getting these done and figure out what you can pass off to someone else, leaving you more time to deal with the main items on the list. Once you have taken care of these, you can start tackling the smaller things. 

Focus on What You Can Do 

What are some things you can still do now with your girls? Here are some great ideas for bringing the excitement of travel back to your troop when a real trip isn’t in the cards: 

  • Find a way to “explore” your chosen location together online through websites or virtual tours. What places you were planning to visit? What were you going to do? 
  • Do they speak a different language where you were planning to go? Take the time to learn more of the language. That way when you do go you will be ready for conversations. 
  • What are some of the activities you were going to do on your trip? Do they require any special training? Take time to learn more about them through programs online. That way you will be more prepared when you can go. 
  • Are you aware that many museums are offering virtual tours? What a fun way to travel without leaving home. And you don’t have to deal with large crowds or entry fees.   
  • Did you know you can contact the local Girl Scout/Girl Guide office in the places where you were planning to go? Make time to connect with them. They can be a great resource for things to see and do that are not in a travel guide. You could also try to arrange to meet up with a local troop and do an activity together. You may be able to set up a Zoom meeting with Girl Scouts/Guides from where you had planned to travel. It’s a great way to learn about different places and share information. And when you eventually do get to travel, you have already made some new friends to meet up with.  

Don’t Give Up on Your Trip 

Your trip might be cancelled right now, but that doesn’t mean it can’t happen in the future! Here are a few things to think about for when you can go on the wonderful trip you and your girls planned out: 

  • Keep planning for an amazing trip in the future. There are many different ways to connect with Girl Scouts/Guides in other cities, states, and countries. They can be amazing resources for your girls, helping them plan trips or develop service projects and/or award projects.  
  • Funding your trip may be more complex the second time around, as there may be unexpected expenses due to delays or rescheduled travel plans. Make sure you have included extra funds in your travel budget for those “just in case” moments.  
  • Packing your bags and getting ready to goTake time to double check the lists of the things you will need to take with you, and make sure you still have those items. Only bring the necessities. It’s not much fun to carry more than you need, but it’s even worse when you have forgotten to bring an important item. 
  • Share your stories: Make sure that once you have returned you take time to talk with others, especially those who helped make your trip possible. Don’t forget to thank those who helped make it all happen! 

Where to next? It may take a little bit longer for your adventure to happen than your troop planned, but eventually, you will be on your way. Once you have returned home and things have calmed down a bit, it will soon be time to decide where you want to go next! Just repeat the steps above and start getting ready for your next adventure. Happy (virtual) travels! 

What to do next: 

Sandy Norman—Sandy has been a Girl Scout since 5th grade, during which she lived in Naples, Italy. She has been an Extended Troop Travel learning facilitator for 18 years and has loved helping other leaders learn how to travel with their troops! Sandy has also been leading council trips since 2010 and enjoys sharing her travel knowledge with GSNorCal girls and adults.

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