So you’ve decided to plan a trip for your students. What now? If you’re no stranger to student group travel, you’re most likely aware of the importance of a reliable tour operator. If you’re new, Brightspark is a great place to start. Here are some ways Brightspark helps you pull off unforgettable educational and performance trips.

When you’re planning on traveling with students, you’ll want to work with people who know what they are doing. You’re busy with your own curriculum and agenda; whether you’ve planned several trips before or are a novice, professional tour operators ease your mind and workload.



Brightspark Travel is a Deerfield, Illinois-based student tour operator and a member of the TUI Travel® Group of companies—one of the world’s largest travel and tourism entities. Brightspark has combined the best business practices of four touring companies to provide immersive, customized and price-conscious student and performance group tours. With a senior management team boasting more than 100 years of travel experience, Brightspark handles all the details for school groups—from student payments to group meals, trip routing to hotel rooming lists and everything in between.

When you go with Brightspark, you get a team of sales representatives, consultants and tour specialists at your side, every step of the way. Combined with a 24/7 emergency line and post-trip feedback and evaluations, Brightspark ensures that your students are taken care of from start to finish.

So Just How Does Brightspark Go the Extra Mile?

With Thorough Planning

Brightspark’s travel specialists hand craft a tour itinerary that best meets your curriculum, age group, interests and budget.

0M7A0078_031413 (1)

Once the trip is all plotted out, teachers receive the Spark Kit, which contains destination trip information, posters, videos, swag and more to get students excited about the upcoming trip. Typically, these are given out at parent night or student orientation (held about a year in advance) and used during the promotional period.

Brightspark’s website is the one-stop place to receive updates, register and access pamphlets on food allergies, a packing checklist, and volunteer and chaperone information.

With Safety

From the 24-hour support line to the meticulously vetted travel and transportation partners, Brightspark spares no expense when it comes to safety and security.


“We know we’re carrying precious cargo,” said Mike Schields, president of Brightspark. “We have a good reputation and take proper safety precautions. We put students in good hands, good places and do background checks on chaperones.”

By Offering Preview and Orientation Tours

Brightspark offers preview and orientation tours specifically for teachers and music directors. For example, if you’ve never been to D.C., it’s a good idea to take the three-day, two-night preview tour with other teachers, hosted by the Brightspark team, to get a feel for the area and experience the same sights and attractions that your students will.

Orientation tours are for those who have never led a tour before. This type of tour focuses on how to lead a group and what to do as a tour leader.

By Keeping Everyone Connected

Brightspark provides a blogging platform accessible to students, teachers, parents and friends. Tour participants can keep family and friends updated on what they see, do and learn throughout the tour.


Brightspark also encourages travelers to connect on its Facebook page, Twitter and Instagram. For some added fun, Brightspark has initiated photo contests among students. All of these outlets enable family and friends to follow along the students’ journeys.

By Providing a Variety of Destinations and Touring Options

International travel is growing significantly. Brightspark offers trips to Montreal, Costa Rica, Italy, England, France, Spain, Canada and Germany. International travel is great for language and social studies groups to immerse students into culture.

Performance trips are hugely popular, and educational trips are growing (the standard profile is eighth grade and middle school, while performance groups are typically in high school).

Ideal for 8th Grade Trips

Washington D.C. is the most popular student destination, with groups traveling there to see memorials, iconic government structures, Smithsonian museums and historical sites. Chicago, New York and Disney parks are also popular. Destinations offering civil rights learning opportunities are currently trending.

A Music Group’s Dream

Brightspark can envelop your performance group in major events. By attending Masters of Music, you will inspire students’ passions when they are introduced to the professional music world. The event will take place in Chicago, March 26-29, 2015 and Nashville, April 23-26, 2015. Your students will perform at Chicago Symphony Center or Nashville’s Schermerhorn Symphony Center.

But students don’t just perform; they receive feedback on their performances from experienced adjudicators and have opportunities to further develop their musical talents. Students can bring their instruments and attend interactive classes led by current members of the symphony. Additionally, each ensemble receives an hour-long master class led by professional directors of the highest caliber.

To put the cherry on top of this unforgettable experience, Brightspark’s tour consultants will create a sightseeing itinerary that fits your educational interests while enabling students to see what Chicago and Nashville have to offer, with the grand finale of an awards ceremony on a celebratory cruise. Student groups can stay five days/four nights, or four days/three nights in a downtown or suburban hotel.

“This event is a great part of what we do—it is growth-inducing and could catapult student performers to a new level,” said Schields. “These students get to meet and be inspired by famous musicians and performers.”

Ultimate Performance Opportunities

Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl Festival, taking place Dec. 28-31, 2014, is a field show competition that occurs in Atlanta’s Georgia Dome, a premier performance venue. As festival participants, you will be entertaining nearly 75,000 fans in this stadium, which was home to the 1996 Summer Olympic Games and is the current home of the Atlanta Falcons. Festival participants also march in the National Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl Parade in downtown Atlanta on New Year’s Eve. Following the parade, your students will have the opportunity to perform in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl Pre-Game Show.

DSC03283 (1)

Give your students a chance to shine at Tampa’s National Outback Bowl, which provides a thrilling setting with an audience of 65,000 people. The National Outback Bowl Festival offers adjudication and clinics for concert, jazz and marching bands. The winner of the field show band competition will be presented as part of the featured pre-game show entertainment. Your band will also participate in the Teco Energy Parade, watched by more than 50,000 spectators. This year’s bowl will take place in Tampa, Florida Dec. 29, 2014-January 1, 2015. 2016 dates are to be determined.