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:

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

Covid 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.
  • 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 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.
  • Completed a risk assessment (link to International Risk Assessment template) 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. Your county international advisor and county commissioner should be copied in.
  3. Wait until your plans have been approved before you continue with them. Once approved, your region international adviser will give you deadlines for planning, including when you need to give her the residential event notification (REN) form, risk assessment and Covid-19 checklist, itinerary, travel insurance details and emergency contact information.
  4. Book travel insurance before doing any other planning. This is especially important during the current pandemic.
  5. Complete the REN form, risk assessment, itinerary and emergency contact information. 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.
  8. Submit your REN part two and your risk assessment for sign off by the region international adviser by the deadline they gave in your permission to plan form.
  9. Keep up to date with foreign office and general travel information for your destination. It may change before you travel.
  10. Your REN part two should be signed off 4 weeks before your departure date.

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. But during the pandemic, there are a few more things to be aware of. We have temporarily changed the sign off you need to travel abroad.  Permission to plan forms and international REN forms must be submitted to and signed off by your country/region chief commissioner.

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

Residential event notification and permission to plan 

Speak to your commissioner and send her the completed permission to plan section of the international residential event notification (REN) form 9 - 18 months before you plan to travel. Your commissioner will talk to the relevant advisers and confirm that you have approval for your event and for you to start planning.

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

Your commissioner will send over a copy of the part 2 of the REN form to be held by your country or region office.

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.

Going on day trips

You don't need the Going Away With scheme or a residential event notification form to take girls on a one-day international trip, such as a day trip to France. There are five simple steps that you need to take.

  1. Inform your district commissioner of your plans.
  2. Inform your county international adviser and country and region office.
  3. Organise travel insurance – Travel insurance provides cover for a number of areas. Travel delays and cancellations can still occur on a day trip and these can be expensive. The policy will also cover emergency medical treatment that might be needed during the trip.
  4. Check UK government foreign travel advice to get the latest information on safety and security, entry requirements and travel warnings. If you are travelling to Europe, you should also check whether you need to carry a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) or a UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC). There is further information about these cards on the government website.  
  5. Make sure you have received completed Information and consent for event/activity forms and health information for international travel forms for each participant.

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.