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Brightspark Blog

How to Cook Up the Best Thanksgiving Ever

Written by Brightspark Travel

Are you struggling with making the same Turkey Day dishes year after year? The Brightspark team has the perfect solution. We recently came together to find new and old favorites that could easily join your repertoire. 

Keep reading below for more cooking tips and treasured traditions this holiday season.

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7 Days in France With Our Expert International Team

Written by Brightspark Travel

Our expert International Tour Consultants, Paula and Brian, recently joined a student tour headed to Paris & Normandy. Now, they're sharing their experiences so you can get a feel for a Brightspark Travel international student trip. 

Originally from Bogotá, Colombia, Paula has lived in Chicago for 10 years. An avid traveler — she has visited 27 countries and counting — her favorite destinations are France, Perú, and Iceland.

Originally from Southern California, Brian has been travelling internationally since he was 11 years old. His favorite places to visit are Costa Rica, France, and Thailand.

Follow along as you hear about their journey through France, learn about their favorite destinations, and even find out their favorite French snacks!

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Thanksgiving Family Recipe, From the Brightspark Family to Yours

Written by Brightspark Travel

Our very own Hotel Coordinator, Carrie LaVigne, shares her special family Thanksgiving recipe: The Dowse Family Cranberry Recipe

This recipe has been passed down from generations of Irish and English families spread throughout the New England states. 

Following this recipe will not only give you delicious cranberries for your family gathering, it will also provide a fun history lesson of the American Revolutionary War!

Wishing you a warm and wholesome Thanksgiving season.

The Brightspark Team

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How Student Tours Work: Planning and Executing

Written by Brightspark Travel

Student travel shouldn’t be a headache for teachers and directors. That’s why Brightspark Travel manages every trip’s itinerary, transportation, accommodations, tour guides, registration, and more. To ensure an even smoother experience, use this blog post as a guide to help you keep the tour-planning process on track.

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Brightspark Employee Spotlight: Josh Bruman

Written by Brightspark Travel

Meet Josh, a Brightspark Tour Consultant and Tae Kwon Do black belt, who is just as enthusiastic about traveling as he is about camping and sports. He is always excited to get his hands on a nice juicy steak and his favorite super hero is Professor-X from the X-Men. Josh has been with Brightspark for nine years now and has taken student groups to over 20 different destinations including Washington, D.C., Louisville, and the Bahamas.

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Brightspark Employee Spotlight: Matt Bartling

Written by Brightspark Travel

Editor's Note: Originally published on April 13, 2016, this blog post was updated with current information on August 2, 2019.

Matt Bartling is a business development manager at Brightspark Travel and is responsible for inspiring new groups to embark on student travel adventures.

We decided to sit down with Matt to learn a little bit more about what makes him tick. To learn more about Matt, keep reading!

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New Orleans for Student Travelers? Why Performance Groups Love NOLA

Written by Brightspark Travel

Our New Orleans performance tour is more popular than ever. Why? The birthplace of jazz has a rich cultural history, beautiful outdoor performance spaces and plenty of live music. Tour Consultant and former band director John Aboud shares need-to-know information about student travel to New Orleans.

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Brightspark’s 2015 Teacher and Chaperone Photo Contest Winners

Written by Brightspark Travel

The Brightspark staff has voted for their favorite pictures, and the winners of the Brightspark 2015 Teacher and Chaperone Photo Contest are in. We had some awesome photographers on our tours, and we’re sure you’ll enjoy checking them out!

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Brightspark’s 2015 Student Photo Contest Winners

Written by Brightspark Travel

Our student travelers sent in a ton of great pictures for the Brightspark 2015 Student Photo Contest, and we had a great time looking through all of the entries. Though it was hard to only pick a few winners, these shots stood out to us as truly exemplary.

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Working Together to Make Dreams Come True

Written by Brightspark Travel


Brightspark is committed to creating travel opportunities for every kid.

Recently, we heard about a student whose desire to join in on his school’s trip was compromised by debilitating personal and medical issues. While his parents were unable to pay the extra costs associated with his struggles, his Group Leader knew he was more than deserving of this inspirational experience. In fact, the Group Leader even offered to handle the fee.

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