Let’s face it: school group trips are unlike all others. You need a packed, educational, and entertaining itinerary. You also need to be sure that students will be safe, and that all your plans will go off smoothly. To help you along the planning process, read some of our top student travel tips for educators and group leaders, below.
1) What experience does this company 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, our team is comprised of former teachers and experienced professionals who specialize in our 40+ education and performance destinations.
2) How closely does the tour company work together with the group leader?
Some companies will have a set tour itinerary and may want you to adapt your desires to that schedule. At Brightspark, we encourage our tours to customize their itineraries to best fit your group's interests. We believe that student travel shouldn’t be a headache for teachers and directors. That’s why we manage every tour group’s itinerary, transportation, accommodations, tour guides, payments, registration, and more.
3) Can I see a day-by-day itinerary with information about hotels, transportation, meals, and attractions?
While most companies won't be able to give exact information about your trip before you book, they should be able to mention specific hotels, restaurants, and bus companies they have used in the past. A great student travel company will be more than happy to share the locations and names of their suppliers with you. That way, you can rest assured knowing that they have already established excellent relationships with trusted partners.
4) Are there any additional tour cost and inclusions?
Know what is and isn't included in the trip package, and how a change in participant numbers will affect your rates. Be sure to note the deposit and final payment amounts and schedules, and ask what the withdrawal penalties are. Price is important, but it may pay off in the long run to spend a bit more per person up front for a higher-quality trip than to try to save money and be burdened with hidden costs later on.
At Brightspark, you pay what we quote: Any costs associated with trip-related delays — be they at the hotel, the airport, or on the bus — are covered by us. Plus there are no hidden fees, so you can enjoy your trip without worrying about the price tag.
5) Who will accompany my trip?
A tour company may not be able to give you the name of your tour guide 6 months before departure, but they should be able to discuss qualifications, training, and experience. 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 (the airport or your first attraction, depending on transportation), unless a different location has been pre-arranged.
6) Does this travel company offer a refund guarantee protection plan?
Find a student travel company that understands the importance of your financial security. An honorable tour company will be more than happy to provide you with a copy of the insurance policy upon request. 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 for tours. With RGP, parents can cancel their child’s tour at any time, for any reason, and every penny spent on trip payments will be returned to them.
7) Can you please provide me with references?
A tour company should gladly 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 with a company — do your homework by calling that company’s past clients and ask some tough questions. See what some of our past group leaders have to say about us.
Are you ready to start planning your custom student tour?