Trip Leader's Guidelines

These guidelines are intended to assist members in planning a trip on behalf of the VOA.  In addition to these guidelines, there are experienced trip leaders among the membership that will offer support.  The great benefit to organizing a trip is that you and a co-leader are guaranteed a spot on the trip you wanted to go on!  If other members are also needed (e.g. to lead individual hikes or cycles), they too can be guaranteed a spot.


The Steps at a Glance

Communicate your interest in planning a trip to the VOA Trip Coordinator. 

Research the location, determine activity opportunities and travel options.

Ensure accommodations are available close by.

Submit logistics to VOA Trip Coordinator to ensure no scheduling overlaps with other trips and for inclusion in the bulletin.

Track interested participants, link members to others as needed and communicate logistics.

Trip Planning To-Dos

  • Determine where and when the proposed activity is to take place.
  • Arrange for an alternate trip leader in the event you are unable to do the trip.
  • Research accommodation, travel options and places for meals/groceries.
  • Have participants arrange their own travel e.g. car pooling.
  • Have participants arrange their own accommodations, preferably in the same place.
  • Become familiar with apps useful for hikes or cycles:
    • Hiking - Alltrails, Gaia, Google Maps
    • Cycling - Plotaroute, Strava, Ride With GPS
  • Select locations for morning meetups and end of day meetings to review the day’s activity and plan the next day’s activity.
  • Research daily activities:
    • If possible, recon the potential activities.
    •  Hiking:
      • Plan alternate hikes in the event a hike is not doable.
      • Determine the route to the trailhead, carpooling and lunch spots.
      • Determine elevation gain and distance; ensure variety for participants’ skill and fitness level.
    • Cycling:
      • Plan alternate cycle routes in the event a cycle route is not doable.
      • Determine route to starting point, carpooling, and meal and rest spots.
      • Determine hills and distance; ensure they fit participants’ skill and fitness levels.
  • Selecting participants:
    • Fairest way is “first come first served”. The trip leader has final say on who participates. Only the trip leader and alternates should sign up prior to the trip notice going out to all VOA members.
    • Limit the number of participants to reduce complexity.
    • Trip participants must be paid up members of the VOA.
    • Keep a list of members interested, participants confirmed and who is waitlisted.
  • Communications:
    • Provide those leading activities with all participants phone numbers and emergency contact names, phone numbers and emails addresses.
    • Remind participants:
      • of their responsibilities re: travel and accommodations.
      • to bring appropriate identification (passport, etc.).
      • obtain travel medical insurance if necessary.
      • bring the proper equipment.
    • Arrange meeting times and places; arrange carpooling to activity start points.


During the Trip

  • Document in writing any incidents. Include date, time, witnesses, incident dialogue/unacceptable behaviors and actions taken.
  • Be prepared to change plans due to weather conditions or activities to easy/hard.

Post Trip

  • Record what worked well and what you would do differently on future trips.
  • Provide information to the VOA Trip Coordinator as requested.



Trip planning

  • If your are not certain there will be enough interest or you need more firm numbers before committing to a deposit, consider asking for an expression of interest (either through the bulletin or a membership wide email).
  • If you a planning on booking accommodation for your participants consider borrowing the deposit amount from the club rather than use your own money. You will likely have to pay the deposit with your personal credit card, but then get the money back from the club. This amount can then be repaid when you receive depsoit payments from the participants. See the clubs trip finance policy Trip Finances Policy
  • Check out the room configurations – this may limit your participants. Assume that single travellers will not share a bed, and some singles may not even share a room. You might have to communicate “singles must be willing to have a single bed in a shared room” as part of the write-up, as many accommodations in the past have been bunk-bed dorm type.
  • Find out about the cancellation policy.  

Trying to make things fair

In an attempt to make things fair the following is an approach on how to select participants for a trip:

  • The trip is published in the bulletin whicn includes that people should email the trip leader with an expression of interest.
  • The trip leader will then email each potential participant with a date and time that the trip leader will send an email with a special code word.
  • On the specified date and time, the trip leader will email all potential participants to date with the code word which must be included in the subject line of an email asking to be included on the trip.
  • The trip leader will select participants for the trip based on receiving an email with the code word and on a first come first serve basis.
  • Any potential participants coming after this time will be treated on a first come first serve basis.