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Frequently Asked Questions

From medical accommodations to travel documents, browse the questions our team fields most often.

What is the refund policy in the case that I cancel my child's tour participation, or the Group Leader cancels the tour? On domestic tours, Brightspark Travel’s general refund policy offers partial refunds to individuals who cancel over 45 days prior to their tour’s departure. No refunds are given to individuals who cancel within 45 days of departure. Parents may purchase Refund Guarantee Protection (RGP), an optional addition for domestic tours. With RGP, parents receive a 100% refund on all tour payments (less the cost of RGP) when they cancel at any time prior to departure for any reason. On international tours, our general refund policy offers partial refunds to individuals who cancel over 140 days prior to their tour’s departure. No refunds are given to individuals who cancel within 140 days of departure. RGP is not available for international tours. Exact details can be found in our Terms & Conditions.
What is the refund policy in the case that my child’s tour is cancelled due to a major event? In the case of a major event, Brightspark Travel will try to reschedule your tour on a different date, or will plan an alternative tour to a different destination.
My child has food allergies or a dietary restriction. How will meal options be addressed? When registering for your tour in Brightspark Travel’s portal, you’ll come across a “Special Needs” section and a text box labeled, “Allergies/Dietary Restrictions and Special Needs.” Enter your child’s dietary needs here and also inform your Group Leader. Once made aware of dietary restrictions, Brightspark Travel will send that information to all of the restaurants your child will visit on tour. Our dining partners are fully equipped to deal with food allergies. Your child should also remind their Group Leader and Tour Director of any allergies while on tour.
How will medications be handled? Will there be refrigeration available for medications? Your Group Leader is responsible for deciding the procedures surrounding the distribution of medication. Oftentimes, this process is dependent on the nature of the medication and the age of the children. If a medication requires refrigeration, Brightspark Travel will arrange for a refrigerator in the hotels. We recommend reminding the Group Leader during registration.
My child has a physical disability or handicap. Will they be accommodated on tour? Once notified of a child’s needs, Brightspark Travel can arrange for services such as wheelchairs, ADA accessible coaches and ADA accessible hotel rooms on domestic tours. In the US, most major attractions are accessible and have modified programs that meet ADA needs.
How is homesickness addressed? Will I have any contact with my child? Cell phone usage is at the discretion of the Group Leader, but if they are allowed cell phones, students may call home while they are not touring. If students are not allowed cell phones, they may borrow a phone to call the 800 number listed on their safety lanyard. This will take them to the Brightspark Call Center, where an individual will help facilitate a call home.
How are social/emotional disorders accommodated? Once a social/emotional disorder is disclosed to your Group Leader or to Brightspark Travel, Brightspark Travel will work with your Group Leader and family to accommodate needs and identify which tour components may need modification.
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.
How are disciplinary problems handled? Who is responsible for my child if he or she gets into trouble? The Group Leader is responsible for handling discipline. Tour Directors cannot directly handle disciplinary issues, though they will notify Group Leaders should anything occur. In the rare case in which a child threatens to cause harm to themselves or others, they will be sent home at their parents’ expense.
Can my child forgo participation in a part of the tour? Students are not allowed to skip an activity during the tour. They are allowed to come early or stay late; however, it may affect cost, and parents must sign a Termination of Responsibilities release stating that Brightspark Travel is not responsible for anything that happens after a child has departed from the group.
Can parents participate in a tour without being a chaperone? This is at the discretion of your school and Group Leader. Many sponsors prefer that adults act as chaperones.
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 be able to contact my child in case of emergency? Yes. Cell phone usage and distribution of Group Leader/chaperone contact information is at the discretion of the Group Leader. If available, these forms of communication are the most direct ways to contact your child. If not, call the 800 number provided to you by Brightspark Travel. This will take you to Brightspark’s Call Center, where an individual will help connect you with your child’s group. In the case of an on-tour emergency, you will be contacted at the emergency number provided during registration.
Will I need a REAL ID? Starting October 1, 2020, 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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