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Of Intererst To Parents

Joining a Trip Late or Leaving a Trip Early

It is possible to join a trip one or two days after the official starting date. Leaving a trip early is also possible. Talk with the director for details.

Spending Money

Trippers should bring some personal spending money (in travelers, checks) to use for postcards, stamps, pay showers, snacks, souvenirs, etc. We recommend $40-50 a week for US and Canadian trips, and $60-70 a week for European trips, depending upon the area being visited, the thriftiness of the tripper, and whether or not the tripper is expected to buy any special gifts, etc. Even with these amounts, some trippers do run out of money towards the end of the trip simply because this is the first time in their lives that they have had to budget over such a long time and with such a variety of enticing things on which to spend money.

As an optional service, parents of trippers on 3 to 9 week trips will be sent a special envelope into which they can put (if they wish) some spending money for the last week of the trip - when many trippers are either running low or are calling home (collect!) pleading for more money. The leader will hold this envelope and will not give it to the tripper until 7 days before the end of the trip. Especially in Europe, this can save parents the hassles and time involved in trying to wire money to little villages deep in the countryside (where the only bank closed down 4 years ago ... ) If you are thinking of giving your son or daughter a credit card, be prepared for the financial results of peer pressure buying, the attractions of buying things that can't be bought at home, and the craving for material goods that can come upon someone who has just spent 3-5 weeks away from shopping malls.

Special Medical Needs

People with special medical problems or needs should contact SHP prior to signing up to find out if their particular need or problem can be handled on such a trip. Generally, trippers needing regular medication, prescription refills along the way, braces at night, etc. can be accommodated (this includes people with diabetes). People with medical problems that unduly inconvenience the group or that may interfere with cycling ability, safety, or keeping up with the group, would present more of a problem. Knee and leg problems are a special concern. We do have trippers with previous, chronic, or incipient leg or knee problems: many of them experience no problems during the trip, but some others do have painful flare-ups that make it difficult or impossible for them to continue. In such a case, the tuition refund policy would NOT apply.

Illnesses and Accidents

If a tripper needs medical attention due to illness or accident, he or she will be taken to the nearest hospital or doctor. When a tripper is taken to a hospital or doctor, the leader must call SHP and every effort is made to reach the parents.

Most illnesses are brief and mild (i.e. stomach virus), and do not require that the tripper go home. The tripper can be sent ahead with the assistant leader, by cab or private car, to the next one or two accommodations to rest. Trippers in the New England area can be brought back to SHP headquarters for a few days rest before rejoining the group. In all cases of illness or accident, efforts are made to keep the tripper and assistant leader in daily contact with the group, so that they won't feel left out when they rejoin the group.

Orientation at SHP

Travel programs, especially teenage bike travel programs, are unique in that, unlike traditional stationary camps, the leaders and trippers are in a sense "on their own". Because of this fact, it is vital that an orientation be in a place that builds out as many potential problems as possible before the group starts off on their own. Orientation at our base camp provides full backup support for you and your son or daughter if your transportation plans for getting to the trip get mixed up due to airline delays, etc.. Trippers' bikes and other equipment are evaluated by our knowledgeable staff and any problems quickly and efficiently taken care of, before the group gets on the road and such problems begin to interrupt the group's travel plans or cause unsafe situations.

The trippers are given their equipment and shown how to pack their bikes. Without the pressures of travel and dealing with strange places, the leaders go over all of the SHP rules and policies for the trip. The group takes a 10 mile practice ride to learn the rules of safe cycling, checkstop procedures, and to make sure the bikes are in good order. If problems arise such as a tripper who doesn't want to follow the rules, an unsafe cyclist, or a tripper who can't handle the biking and should be on an easier trip, the situation is taken care of by the Directors, without interrupting the trip.

In addition, it is important for the trippers and leaders to have a time to come together as a group before the stresses of dealing with travel logistics (especially bike travel) begin. Our headquarters is set up to be sensitive to the needs of the groups at this point and to provide the experiences and setting necessary to set the stage for a close group. We provide the emotional, logistical, and psychological support for leaders dealing with a new group of students, allowing the leaders to get to know their groups while our staff takes care of unexpected problems.

A less obvious but extremely important benefit to orientation at our base camp headquarters - a benefit that has lasting positive consequences during the trip - is that by being a part of the larger SHP community, the trippers get a sense that they are part of something bigger than just their small group. They know from being here that there are other people here to call if they have a problem, that there are other people here to deal with them if they are a problem. This is vital for a teen travel program, because leaders will confront many issues on the road, and it is much harder for even the best leaders to deal with group problems large or small if the trippers think that the leaders are out there on their own. Equally important is the fact that the Directors are able to see each group here at our headquarters, and get a sense of the group that can prove very helpful if problems arise later in the trip.

What Information You Will Receive Before the Trip

Trippers get three separate mailings from us before the trip. Included in the mailings are clothing lists, medical forms, details of getting to and from the trip, itineraries, equipment and bike information, and much more. After you send your application to SHP, allow about 7 to 14 days for delivery of your first mailing information.

Communicating With Trippers During the Trip

In June, you will receive a final itinerary listing mail stops and (except for the challenging trips) the name and phone number of each night's accommodation. There is a mail stop every 7-10 days where people may write to trippers. Trippers may phone home whenever they wish, and parents can phone trippers directly if necessary.

How SHP Keeps in Touch with Its Trips

The itinerary of overnight stops is one of the major trip structures, and can be changed only after consulting with one of the Directors. Therefore, SHP knows where each group is every night. Each leader is required to phone SHP regularly to let us know how the trip is going, discuss any problems, get messages, etc. In addition, the leaders must call SHP in the event of any illness, accident, change of itinerary, or other such problem.

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