Students thinking ahead on their trip treat

ADELE Price has left little to chance. She is yet to finish year 11 but has already booked her schoolies holiday for next year.

Early this year Adele and 11 friends began organising the trip that has become a rite of passage for countless Australian teenagers.

The St Michael's Grammar School student says many other year 11 students have arranged their schoolies trips.

Her friends feared missing out on accommodation if they left it too late to book their holiday.

They first considered travelling to Queensland but decided on a quieter stay in Byron Bay.

"We've heard that Surfers Paradise is really bogany and unsafe," she said.

They organised their trip by researching on schoolies travel websites and then set up a Facebook group to discuss their ideas. "If we saw an apartment or a hotel we liked we'd post it on the Facebook group," she said.

For Adele's father, Ross, the schoolies period will bring plenty of sleepless nights. "They turn 18 and all these legal things become available to them," he said. "You're trusting that what you've said to them sinks in."

St Michael's invites experts to talk to the students about drugs and alcohol and dangers they may confront on schoolies trips and outside school.

Head of school Simon Gipson said many students were organising their trips up to 18 months in advance. Many students were also deciding against party trips and volunteering overseas or staying home, he said.

But schoolies holidays are a boon for the travel industry, with businesses catering solely for the high school graduate market.

Tour company Unleashed Travel books out island resorts in Fiji and Vanuatu exclusively for schoolies groups. Managing director Jot Lynas said year 11 students rushed to book 2013 trips from May this year.

"I guess they know things sell out so they want to try and get in early. As soon as the word spreads, the panic starts," he said.

He said the company sold about 1300 trips within about 12 minutes when it released its travel packages earlier this. The company sends DJs and "ambassadors" who supervise the revellers and run activities.

It bans the teenagers from bringing alcohol onto the islands but sells drinks at the resort bars. "We also control when the bars open and close. If it looks like everyone has had enough, we'll shut the bar down."

Unleashed Travel also offers volunteering tours in Thailand where school-leavers can help build refuge housing for children or work in an elephant sanctuary.

Camille Music, 18, will spend a week in Byron Bay with friends later this month. She booked her trip at the end of last year. Camille and her friends chose Byron Bay to "chill out but you can also party".

"You can go to the Gold Coast or yucky places if you want to go crazy, but that's not really for me," she said. "Byron's a bit more safe."

Communities in coastal Victoria are preparing for an influx of teenagers celebrating their newfound freedom. Lorne and Torquay usually attract about 2000 people during the schoolies period and the Surf Coast Shire will put on extra youth workers to check on the school- leavers.

Mayor Libby Coker said the council was discouraging young people who wanted to party but hoped teenagers would be drawn to activities such as surfing and horseriding.