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Frequently Asked Questions

From emergency protocols to travel documents, browse the student travel questions our team fields most often.

Will you work with me to custom-tailor my tour? Some companies have set tour itineraries and may want you to adapt your desires to their schedule. Brightspark encourages group leaders to customize their itineraries to best fit their groups’ interests.
Will our group be subject to additional tour costs and fees? Know what is and isn't included in the trip package and how a change in participant numbers will affect your rates. Note the deposit and final payment amounts and schedules. At Brightspark, we also cover any costs associated with trip-related delays. We have no hidden fees, so you can enjoy your trip without worrying about the price tag.
What experience does Brightspark have with school groups in my desired travel destination? Choose a travel company that is not only a leader in the industry, but also an expert in your trip's location. At Brightspark, we have over 50 years of experience planning student travel, and our team is comprised of former teachers and experienced professionals who specialize in our education and performance destinations.
Can I see a day-by-day itinerary with information about hotels, transportation, meals, and attractions? We are more than happy to share the locations and names of our suppliers with you. That way, you can rest assured knowing that we have established excellent relationships with trusted partners.
Who will accompany our trip? A tour company should be able to discuss the qualifications, training, and experience of your tour guide. You should also ask what portion of your trip will be unescorted. At Brightspark, a team member will greet your group at your first destination unless a different location has been pre-arranged.
Does Brightspark Travel offer trip insurance? Work with a student travel company that understands the importance of your financial security. Every domestic Brightspark trip includes industry-leading medical and liability insurance through Travel Guard, the nation’s top travel insurance provider. We also offer Refund Guarantee Protection (RGP) as an optional add-on. With RGP, parents can cancel their child’s tour at any time, for any reason, and every penny spent on trip payments will be refunded. On international tours, families have the option to purchase protection through Travel Guard (RGP does not apply).
Can I be provided with references? A reputable tour company should willingly supply the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of schools that have traveled with them. You're about to entrust thousands of dollars and your reputation to a company; Brightspark is happy to connect you with past clients so you can ask the tough questions.
How is bullying addressed? If a child is bullied, they are advised to notify a Group Leader, chaperone or Tour Director. Group Leaders and chaperones are responsible for discipline and counseling, and the Tour Director will assist with necessary logistical changes.
If an event occurs and students are unable to return home at the scheduled time, what will Brightspark Travel do to assist the group? Brightspark Travel will take care of plans like hotels, dinner reservations and transportation. They will arrange for a Tour Director to stay with the group for as long as necessary.
What are Brightspark Travel’s procedures in case of emergencies? (e.g., medical occurences, natural disasters, acts of terrorism, etc.) Brightspark Travel has response plans for major emergencies developed in accordance with the best practices outlined by the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of State, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Will I need a REAL ID? Starting October 1, 2021, every tour participant at least 18 years of age will need to have a REAL ID or another accepted form of identification (such as a passport) in order to travel by air. Minors are not required to show identification while traveling.
Will I need to carry a passport? On international tours, all tour participants need to carry a passport. If your child does not currently have a passport, be sure to apply several months before the tour departs. For U.S. citizens, the passport needs to be valid for at least six months after returning home and have at least two blank pages. Non-U.S. citizens need to carry a non-expired passport and a multi-entry visa. Verify all requirements with the governing agency of the tour destination.
How do I apply for a passport? For all passport information, including how to apply, please visit the U.S. Department of State website (passports.state.gov) or the governing agency of your home country.
Will I need visas to travel abroad? Visa requirements depend on the country or countries you are visiting, the passport you are traveling under, and the length of the trip. Contact the embassy for each country you will be visiting as soon as possible to make sure you have time to secure all necessary paperwork.
What is the STEP program? The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) is a free service that lets U.S. citizens traveling abroad register their trip with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. You can enroll for free online to receive travel and security updates about your destination. Registering helps the U.S. Embassy, family, and friends contact you in an emergency. Sign up at step.state.gov/step
Will we need any vaccinations in order to travel abroad? Requirements vary for each individual and depend on health status, destination, trip itinerary, and length of stay. Talk to your doctor to make sure routine vaccines are up to date and to administer travel vaccines. Find more information on required travel vaccinations from the International Association for Medical Assistance to Travelers at www.iamat.org/country-health-advice


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