Pre-Travel and Pre-Field Trip Reflection Questions
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Pre-Travel and Pre-Field Trip Reflection Questions

Throughout our teen travel programs, we have group discussions and reflections to hear how students are engaging with their surroundings in real-world situations. Typically, we sit in a circle and give everyone a chance to respond, so they can hear each other’s reflections and key points. We also allow time for journaling and written reflections if preferred.

When students reflect to consider the “so what” before and after travel, and let today’s lesson connect to their own lives, the learning process speeds and academic performance increases.

Use the prompts below to start student reflection conversations with our reflective questions.

High school students sitting a circle on the floor talking with each other.

A group of student travelers reflecting on their trip to Seoul, South Korea together.

Pre-Trip Reflection Questions

Here is our recommended list of pre-departure questions to get your students ready to learn and grow during their travels or field trips:

Learning and Knowledge

  • What is the most important thing you hope to learn on the upcoming trip?
  • What should someone else know about this destination or topic before stepping outside the classroom to see it firsthand?
  • How do you think the information you will learn on this trip will connect with key concepts you already know?
  • What is one way that you think the information you will learn on this trip will confirm what you already know? What is one way that it might challenge what you already know?
  • What is the most important concept you hope to learn?
  • What is one thing you expect to connect to your learning/previous knowledge?
  • What is one thing you would like to know more about or have a question about?
  • What is an issue you want to learn about in your host community?

Anticipation and Expectations

  • What part of the upcoming trip are you most looking forward to?
  • Who else do you think would enjoy this trip and why?
  • What are my initial feelings about the upcoming trip: curiosity, excitement, apprehension, joy, or nervousness?
  • What are my expectations for the trip, and how do I imagine the reality will compare?
  • If I had to describe my hopes for the trip in one word, what would it be and why?
  • If I had to tell a five-minute story about my expectations for the trip, what would it be about?
  • In your own words, what are you most looking forward to?
  • How do you think you will be perceived?
  • What do you think locals’ first impressions of your group will be?

Sensory and Emotional Experiences

  • What smells do I anticipate experiencing in the new place?
  • What sounds do I think will stand out to me in this new environment?
  • Personal and Social Reflections
  • What challenges do I expect to face? How do I plan to respond, and what might I learn about myself from these experiences?
  • What aspects of the destination spark my curiosity or fascination?
  • What type of interactions or conversations do I hope to have with locals? (What do I want to learn from them? What do I want to remember about these interactions?)
  • What surprises do I anticipate in the place or culture I am visiting?
  • How do I expect to behave differently on this trip (positively or negatively—more adaptable, irritable, spontaneous, disorganized, peaceful)? Why do I think that might be?
  • One quality I really appreciate about someone I’m traveling with is… (What do I look forward to experiencing with them?)
  • What personal identities are you most conscious of when you are traveling?
  • How can you ensure you’re an excellent ambassador for those identities?

Practical Considerations

  • What aspects of my own life and current environment will I be glad to leave behind for a while?
  • Is there anything I hope to do more or less of while on this trip?
  • Would you recommend this trip to friends and why or why not?
  • One thing that you think could be changed or added to the trip?
  • When visiting someone else’s community, how can we be sure we are asking the right questions and avoiding generalizations? What are some questions you’d like to be asked about your life and world?

Long-Term Reflections

  • In five years, what do you hope to remember from this trip?
  • What part of the trip are you most looking forward to and why?

Your Community

  • Tell me about your own community in less than three sentences.
  • What is your favorite thing about your community and your home?
  • What do people in your community eat? What are the origins of this food, both culturally and agriculturally?
  • What is one of the biggest social issues in your community? What future projects can you create based on what you hope to see?

Reflections on Traveling

  • What do you think you will learn about other students from your school on this trip?
  • What do you think will push your own limits?
  • How will this trip impact your next semester or next school year?
  • What is one way you want to grow as an individual? As a class?
  • How do you think this trip will affect the way you relate to your classmates?
  • What is the benefit of traveling as a class?

Get more pre-travel prompts to get your students thinking broadly about their upcoming trip and begin exercising their travel brains.

Click below to learn more about how to customize the perfect Rustic Pathways Group Travel program for your students.

About the Author

Lauren DeAngelis Alvarez

Director of School Partnerships

Lauren brings experience from across Rustic Pathways’ sales and operations, including as our Strategic Partnerships Manager and USA Country Director. She lives between two Caribbean cities—New Orleans and Santo Domingo—and spends time by the ocean in New England where she grew up. She is a Temple University alumnus and non-fiction reader. You can usually find her hosting unexpected parties, exploring cities, or hiking the bayous with her family.