Taking girls abroad

Take your girls on international residentials, day trips and meet other guiding members abroad

Give your girls an experience they'll never forget.

You'll need to fulfil all the requirements for residentials in the UK and do some extra training, depending on the type of trip.

Training you need

To take girls abroad on a residential, you must:

  • Hold the relevant modules of the Going Away with scheme for the type of event you're planning.
  • Hold, or be working towards, the Travelling Abroad module.
  • Hold the relevant module - Module 6 - for the sections you are taking away.

Make sure you keep checking government travel advice for any country you wish to visit or travel through.

Covid-19 responsible travel

If you're starting to plan a trip abroad with your unit, or if you want to reschedule on a trip that was postponed from last year, check our Covid-19 guidance and follow these steps and read out guidance below.

  • Check the current travel restrictions for your country. And make sure you know where to look for updates if these change.
  • Check the government Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) travel advice for the country you'll be visiting. Take a look at the Covid-19 advice, government guidelines for your own country and the country you'll be visiting, and any local restrictions that might apply at either end of your journey or in transit in your own country. 
  • Make sure your planning follows any other guidance that's relevant. Our Covid-19 guidance is a good place to start, but also think about youth sector, tourism industry and education guidelines.
  • When thinking about travel, find suitable and accessible transport to the station or airport you're leaving from. Make sure this leg of the journey is included in your risk assessment and follows Covid responsible guidelines. And once you arrive at your destination, follow the local guidance when planning transport in that country.
  • If you are using a third-party travel company or accommodation provider, ask to see their Covid-19 risk assessment. And take a look at the hire agreement so you're familiar with any special conditions. You should check that the risk assessment includes appropriate Covid-19 considerations, like social distancing and hygiene measure, in line with the guidance in that country.
  • Find out if you have any extra cleaning responsibilities for any venues or transport you use.
  • Have enough leaders available to run the trip safely. Have a back-up plan in case your volunteers with A Safe Space, relevant Going Away With licence or 1st Response training cannot make the trip. If someone needs to isolate, catches coronavirus, is shielding from Covid risks or can't come because of work or caring responsibilities, how will you make sure you're meeting adult:child ratios?
  • Consider financial risks. What refunds and cancellation terms apply if the changing Covid-19 situation affects your plans?
  • Take a first aid kit that's in date and has extra PPE, like gloves and face coverings.
  • Update the details on GO for everyone going on the trip.
  • Complete a risk assessment to help you mitigate the risks of this trip. Include Covid-19 related risks in this risk assessment and send it along with your REN form to your country or region international adviser for approval. Any updates to REN forms should also include an updated risk assessment.

Follow these steps to plan your international travel. Even if your country does not allow international travel for the youth sector at the moment, you can start planning international trips for the future. We advise that you do not pay for anything until travel is allowed.

  1. Complete the permission to plan form at least 9 to 18 months before you plan to travel.
  2. Because of the risks of Covid-19, all planning forms need to be submitted to your country or region chief commissioner and country/region international adviser via your country/region office. Your county commissioner and county international advisor should be copied in for their information.
  3. Wait until your permission to plan form has been approved by your country/region chief commissioner and country/region international adviser before you continue. Once approved, your country/region international adviser will give you deadlines for planning, including when you need to send them and your country/region chief commissioner the residential event notification (REN) part 1 and 2 forms, risk assessment and Covid-19 checklist, itinerary, travel insurance details and emergency contact information.
  4. Book travel insurance before doing any other planning. 
  5. Complete the REN form part one, including your risk assessment, programme/itinerary to your country/region chief commissioner and country/region international adviser by the deadline set out when you received back your permission to plan form. Read emergency planning guidance.
  6. Use the risk assessment to consider the specific risks of coronavirus, as well as the usual risks you would anticipate on international travel. Think about what you can do to reduce these risks. This could include social distancing while you travel both within the UK and once you are abroad, understanding the restrictions of the destination country and what to do if government guidelines change.
  7. As with all international travel, think about how you will expect the young members and adults to follow regulations and how you can tell them about this in advance. Plan for Covid specific emergencies and how you can manage them. Your country/region international adviser may ask for updated risks assessments to be sent at regular intervals during your planning of the trip. They will make this clear when permission to plan has been approved. 
  8. Complete and send your REN part two, your updated risk assessment, programme/itinerary and home contact information to your country/region international adviser and chief commissioner by the deadline they gave in your permission to plan form (usually 4 weeks before the date of travel).
  9. Keep up to date with foreign office and general travel information for your destination. It may change before you travel.

If you have any questions about this process, please contact [email protected].

Forms you need to fill in

You must follow all our usual procedures and guidance for taking girls abroad. Permission to plan forms and international REN forms must be submitted to and signed off by your country or region chief commissioner and country or region international adviser.

When planning an international trip, you should use the online REN form through GO.

Residential event notification and permission to plan 

Speak to your country or region chief commissioner and country or region international adviser and send them the completed permission to plan section of the international residential event notification (REN) form (PDF or DOCX) 9 - 18 months before you plan to travel. They will review your form, check you have the relevant licences or support in place to complete the necessary ones and confirm that you have approval for your event and for you to start planning.

On the permission to plan form, your country or region international adviser will tell you when you should submit parts 1 and 2 of the REN form, your risk assessments, your itinerary and any other updates.

Copies of the forms you submit will be held by your country or region office. 

If you're using a group passport, you'll need a letter signed by your county commissioner or Girlguiding HQ as one of the supporting documents. Girlguiding advises that you use individual passports, as this means if individuals need to travel separately to the group, they can do so.

You also need to make sure you have a licence holder in a ratio of at least 1:50. Events with 100 or more participants in total are defined as large-scale events.

Ensure you have organised travel insurance before you book anything for your international trip, that way you're covered if anything unexpected happens.

International risk assessment checklist

We've created a checklist to help you plan your international trips. Download the checklist

Complete a risk assessment to help you mitigate the risks of this trip. Include any Covid-19 related risks in this risk assessment and send it along with your REN form to your country or region international adviser for approval. Any updates to REN forms should also include an updated risk assessment.

Going on day trips

If you're thinking of taking girls on an international day trip, speak to your country or region international adviser before you start to plan. 

International partnerships

Partnerships with guiding groups in other countries can be one-off or ongoing arrangements, and can provide girls with life-long memories and lasting friendships.

To link with an overseas unit, contact the country's guide or girl scout association. You can find details on the World Association of Girl Guides and Girls Scouts (WAGGGS) website.

Travelling abroad grant

The travelling abroad grant is for adult leaders working on the travelling abroad module of the going away with scheme.

You can apply for a grant of £100 towards you travel and accommodation. A £200 grant is available if you're meeting Guides from another country or doing a community project.

Do the travelling abroad module

Learn all you need to know to take girls on residentials abroad.

Travelling abroad module