How to Control the Cost of Field Trips

This blog post was published in 2016 but was updated on May 9th, 2023.

School districts have an opportunity to control the cost of field trips. Though certain costs such as admissions fees and transportation may be fixed, schools can significantly reduce the hidden costs. When you stop and think about it, all of these small actions add up:

  • Phone calls back and forth
  • Emails for approvals
  • Checking the status of approvals
  • Wasted lunches
  • Invoicing by cost clerks
  • Time to schedule the bus

Controlling the Cost of Field Trips with Automation

By automating the process of routing, tracking, reporting, and invoicing; school districts can cut the amount of time spent by teachers and administrators.

School Districts can also significantly reduce the amount of paperwork, the number of phone calls, and the volume of emails. Automation can also ensure that all people who should be involved in the process are, in fact, included. For example, food service managers can be automatically notified of school trips and they can adjust their meal plans. Transportation managers can know, well in advance, of the precise requirements for buses and drivers.

How Automated Trip Estimate Can Save You Time and Money

We hear from transportation departments across the country that they receive many phone calls from teachers and coaches wanting to know the estimated cost of a field trip. Watch this short video telling why an automated trip estimate is important to your school district.


The TravelTracker-Trips provides field trip software for hundreds of school districts across the country and is the premier field trip solution for schools.  

Save Money on Field Trips by Planning Ahead

When planning field trips for your students, please don’t forget that your cafeteria staff will need to know well in advance. In order to serve your students to the best of their ability and to maintain the quality of their meals, the school cafeteria staff should be notified weeks in advance if a classroom will not be eating in the cafeteria for a day, an extended length of time, or if students will need sack lunches. Every day the cafeteria staff carefully plans the amount of food they need to prepare. Lack of communication changes to staff means lost dollars from your school lunch program.

It may not seem like a lot of time or money at first, but our research shows that there are approximately $35.00 in hidden costs per trip.  Multiply $35.00 times the number of field and athletic trips your school makes per year and it can add up to a lot of savings!

Save Time and Money by Eliminating Hidden Costs

Administrators spend con­siderable time with paperwork, telephone calls, and emails to manage the school trip planning process.

In addition to the costs that are relatively easy to see, school trips also incur substantial hidden costs. These costs are more difficult to quantify and are not visible on a written receipt. They do, however, add to the expense of arranging school trips.

Teachers’ time: Arranging school trips requires a substantial commitment of time from teachers. They may spend several hours initiating the trip, ensuring that all the required elements are in place (transportation, volunteers, accommodations, etc.), getting approvals secured, and paperwork collected. This is time that teachers might otherwise be spending with students.

Several administrators are involved throughout the process of planning school trips:

  • Principals usually review all proposals from teachers.
  • Curriculum professionals might review proposed trips for their academic merit.
  • Volunteer coordinators are involved when non-teacher chaperones are required.
  • Superintendents or assistant superintendents review and approve trip proposals.
  • Administrative assistants in the schools and in the district office track the status of approvals, notify everyone involved, and collect information after trips.
  • Transportation managers need to arrange for buses and drivers.
  • School boards need to review and approve certain school trips if, for example, they are overnight or out-of-state.

Each of these tasks requires forms to be submitted and tracked and can involve multiple phone calls at each step unless you automate the entire process! Think of the paper savings, not to mention the reduced amount of time it takes to make all of this happen. Then multiply this by the number of field and athletic trips you take in a year!  The savings can be very significant when this process is automated.

Learn more by checking out this short video!  Learn more about how your district can control the cost of field trips through the TravelTracker-Trips field trip software.