Planning a school tour is no different to any other part of the curriculum in that if it's not planned right it doesn't have the desired effect. The main thing to consider is (naturally enough, I suppose) the destination. After that comes the logistics of getting there. Below is a brief outline of the checklist you'll need to get right ahead of a school tour.
Cost: Make sure the cost of the tour is finalised in plenty of time. This will give parents an opportunity to plan ahead. School budgets are under a lot of strain these days with so many requirements. You can even set up a weekly payment scheme to pay a little each week.
Safety: The importance of safety goes without saying as you need to take the age and capability of pupils into consideration. Do a risk assessment of the venue in advance to ensure there are no unseen problems. Keep activities simple and avoid unnecessary risk taking.
Liaise: Get in touch with the places you plan to visit. Let them know that a coach load will be arriving at a precise time. See if a guide is available and book early. Nothing is worse than showing up out the blue and expecting everything to run like clockwork. You also need to know if the place you plan to visit can cater for large numbers.
Prepare the children: This is a good idea. Not only does it get kids excited, it also gets them to learn about the place or subject to plan to visit with plenty of enthusiasm. Ask the kids a few weeks out from the trip to do a research project on the destination. They can then identify with points of interest on arrival. It's a good learning technique.
Have fun: Sounds obvious, but all too often things can become overly regimental when policing a school tour. Allow children to be themselves and enjoy it. Being organised is always important. But so is fun.