WS - MJFW One colunm

Group Leaders FAQ

FAQs

Can you custom design a tour that suits my class? Absolutely. We encourage group leaders to customize their itineraries so it best fits their group's interests.
Will our group be subject to additional tour costs and fees? We have no hidden fees, so you can enjoy your trip without worrying about the price tag. Your trip package will include a list of all the costs that are included with your tour. It's important to note that if there is a change in participant numbers, your trip price will be affected. If your number of participants change, talk to your Sales Consultant about options on how to best accommodate your group.
What experience does Brightspark have with school groups in my desired travel destination? We have over 40 years of experience planning student travel with a team of experts when it comes to planning a trip of a lifetime, partnering with schools across the country to send students to destinations around the world.
Will I have access to a detailed itinerary? Yes! You will be working with a Sales Consultant on your detailed itinerary, which will include everything from activities to meals and hotels. Your group will also receive a final itinerary confirming all the reservations made on your school's behalf 60 days prior to travel.
Will we have a tour leader? Of course. We know that a great Tour Leader can make an even better trip, so we make sure each Tour Leader has over 50 hours of training so they can bring all the fun, education and excitement to your trip.
Does Brightspark offer trip insurance? As a TICO licensed company, we are obligated to offer travel insurance. We offer a comprehensive insurance package provided by Travel Guard. It includes medical coverage while on tour, trip interruption, cancellation as well as cancellation due to a school board ruling. Details can be found here.
Can I be provided with references? Yes! We are happy to provide you a list of the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of schools that have traveled with us, so you can ask for their first-hand experience with our company.
What if the Principal or school board cancels the trip? All school sanctioned trips have the right to be cancelled by the school's principal or school board for any reason. In this case, you will be subjected to our cancellation policy unless you have purchased the Travel Guard insurance. Travel Guard insurance will cover the trip cost in the event the trip is cancelled by the school or school board for any reason. Please refer to the Travel Guard booklet for more information on their policy.
What happens in the event that my school's tour is cancelled due to a major event? In the case of a major event, we will try to reschedule your tour on a different date, or will plan an alternative tour to a different destination.
What happens if we don't reach our numbers? Is the trip cancelled or are we expected to pay more? All decisions on how to move forward will be made with the approval of the Group Leader (i.e. the teacher or principal). Every situation is different, but based on what's most important to the school, we will discuss if any fundraising can be done to offset any price increases due to lower numbers or, we will adjust the program slightly to make it work for the group.
How many Tour Leaders will there be on the trip? We assign one Tour Leader per bus travelling unless otherwise specified by the school. For example, if all students fit all on one bus, there will be one Tour Leader present for the duration of the tour. If there are two buses travelling, there will likely be two Tour Leaders assigned, one to each bus.
Is the Tour Leader considered a chaperone as well? No, the Tour Leader is not part of the chaperone count. Because they are facilitating the tour, it is their responsibility to lead in some guided tours, facilitate team building activities and games and liaise with our vendors and suppliers to make sure everything is running smoothly on tour.
How many buses will there be? How many people does it hold? The number of buses/coaches a school needs is determined by the number of participants attending the trip and may vary depending on special accommodations. A standard coach (for Domestic Canadian trips) holds a maximum of 56 passengers, although capacity for each coach may vary.
Do you offer overnight drives to and from a destination to save cost? Overnight drives are becoming more of a risk to safety, especially because the driver needs to switch their sleeping pattern mid-trip. Because of this, we no longer provide overnight drives on our tours.
Can payments be made online? Yes. We have an online portal where parents and families can make payments directly to us.
Is there a post-tour survey? Yes. We value your feedback and want to hear all about your tour! You will be emailed a tour survey on the final day of your trip. Your Sales Consultant will also follow up once you return for a full debrief.
What happens after the tour? Your Sales Consultant will review the trip together with other members of our team and make notes for future tours. Your Sales Consultant will then connect with you to review and plan for future travel.
Will we need any vaccinations in order to travel abroad? The requirements vary for each individual and depends on health status, destination, trip itinerary, and length of stay. Talk to your doctor to make sure your student's routine vaccines are up-to-date and to receive any necessary 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
How does the rooming work? Are students required to share a bed? How big is the bed? It's common practice to have students share a room on school trips for two reasons: cost and availability. Because overnight school trips are very popular especially in the spring time, hotel and accommodation availability is very limited if everyone were to have their own room or bed. For this reason, there are usually 4 students per room and each student shares a double bed with one other student.
What does night security look like if the hotel has to divide our group onto two floors? The number of Night Security is ultimately chosen by the Group Leader. However, we recommend one Night Security personnel per bus travelling (ie. if the school has 1 bus, 1 Night Security is recommended). If the school is a one bus movement and needs to be on two floors at the hotel, the Night Security will alternate between floors throughout the night. If another guard is requested by the school, we will work with the school on the best solution and request a second guard if possible.
How are the chaperones chosen? All chaperones are chosen at the school's discretion.
How are payment dates set? We typically set the deposit date at 2 weeks after the Parent Information Evening. The remainder of the balance is split into interim and final payments. The final payment is due 60 days prior to departure for domestic trips and 90 days prior to departure for international trips.
Why should we purchase the Travel Guard Insurance being offered? Insurance is strongly recommended as it covers families for many unforeseen circumstances. In addition to this, the school board can cancel the trip for any reason and your trip cost would be covered.
Is the deposit refundable? The deposit is non-refundable. Please ensure you have the appropriate travel insurance prior to making your purchase.
What is your cancellation policy? Deposits are non-refundable and non-transferrable. All payments up to the full cost of the trip are non-refundable and non-transferrable between 60 days and the date of departure for Canadian and US destinations, and between 90 days and day of departure for international destinations. Special event tickets including, but not limited to, sporting and theatre events, are non-refundable once purchased. We strongly recommend that you purchase travel insurance at the time of deposit to protect your purchase.
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 Canadian citizens, the passport needs to be valid for at least six months after returning home. Non-Canadian 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 Government of Canada's Website or the governing agency of your home country.
Are visas needed to travel abroad? Visa requirements depend on the country or countries your child is visiting, the passport you are traveling under, and the length of the trip. Contact the embassy for each country your child will be visiting as soon as possible to make sure you have time to secure all necessary paperwork.
Do you have any fundraising efforts? We have a great step-by-step process in our fundraising blog here.
Is there Wi-Fi on the bus or hotel? Wi-Fi is available with certain coach companies for an additional fee. Please speak to your Sales Consultant about adding this. As for the hotel, most hotels provide complimentary Wi-Fi.
How will the group be divided at the hotel? Each hotel configuration is different, but we typically request that hotels keep each group on a minimal number of floors (with boys and girls separated). If necessary, please speak to your Sales Consultant about alternate arrangements.
Can my child forgo participation in a part of the tour? Students are expected to participate in all activities scheduled in the tour. There is no reimbursement for any activities in which a student decides not to participate. Any arrangements to shorten or extend your child's tour should be coordinated with the Group Leader. Please note that no discounts will be provided for a child that joins a tour after the initial departure or ends a tour early.
What will flying be like?

If you are flying to your destination, each airline we work with has slightly different processes and protocols to respond to COVID-19. We recommend you check the website of your airline for the most up-to-date information. Airlines are deep cleaning between flights, some are reducing flight capacity, and some require passengers to wear face coverings while on board. Additionally, food service on the plane is either not available or pre-packaged, and so we recommend packing a meal and snacks, particularly if you are flying around a meal time.

You can read more from some of our top partners here:
• United
• Delta
• American
• Southwest

Will we need to wear masks?

Brightspark will provide disposable masks for our participants, as well as reusable masks for our staff. You will need to follow any local, state, or national guidelines. In addition, be prepared for airlines, venues, and cultural sites to have their own specific guidelines you must follow during your visit. When the group is on the bus or outside in open public areas, you may be able to make a group decision about wearing masks.

For performing arts groups (playing musical instruments or singing), we're actively monitoring discussions in the scientific and music education communities to develop options that are appropriate for your ensemble.

What would happen if a student has COVID-19 symptoms while on tour?

If a participant feels ill with symptoms of COVID-19 (which include fever, chills/aches, shortness of breath, coughing), our team will immediately facilitate movement of the participant to a location where they can safely be separated from others. We will simultaneously engage our Doctors on Call or a local medical facility to consult on the next steps, testing, and treatment. We would then, as required:

• Establish and coordinate communication with the participant and the family
• Facilitate transportation for the participant to a local medical facility
• Coordinate quarantine arrangements for the participant, in consultation with local health authorities
• Arrange for transportation for a family member to join the ill traveler
• Provide guidance to the group to reduce the risk of additional exposure and coordinate testing

Brightspark Travel will provide the resources necessary to facilitate the recommended treatment, including an isolated, chaperoned location for the participant to recover and arrangements for a new itinerary to return home.

Will we get our temperature checked?

For the time being, we will ask each Group Leader to facilitate temperature checks each morning to ensure that all participants are feeling well. You may also encounter temperature checks at the airport and at certain sites prior to entry.

How will our group dynamics be impacted?

We may make adjustments to reduce each individual's daily exposure to other people and allow more flexibility in meeting COVID-19-related requirements. This could include changes to keep groups from mixing or adjusting the size of a group (i.e., 7th and 8th grade classes may be kept in separate touring groups rather than mingling during sightseeing activities). These changes will be made on a case-by-case basis and communicated in advance.

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