How to plan your student performance tour
We love to dive deep into music education and student travel topics here on BRT Travel Notes – it’s so much fun to share what we’ve learned in nearly 40 years of sharing the world with student performers. But today, we’re getting back to basics and sharing a bit of our “secret sauce” with you by walking you through our process of planning an awesome student travel experience. This will be a quick peek into how a BRT tour comes together, if you want our comprehensive guide to planning performance travel, we’ve got you covered.
First things first – figure out why you want to travel with your students in the first place. What are your goals for the trip? Are your students new to your program or seasoned veterans? Is competing a priority or performing in world-renowned venues? You know your group better than anyone else and are the best person to think through your reasons, goals and ideals for your performance travel experience.
Let’s talk timing. We know that the sweet spot for planning an incredible student performance tour is 10 to 18 months in advance of your trip. Ideally, finalizing your group’s destination and travel date in January of the year before the big trip will give you the perfect amount of time to plan, fundraise and get students excited and signed up to join you. Of course, we’ve been known to pull off travel magic if your timeframe is shorter, but the earlier you book your trip, the more options you’ll have for transportation, lodging, attractions and performance venues. In our world, early = awesome.
This is the fun part, right? Once you know why and when you want to travel, you can choose where you’ll be taking your students. And that choice will be mostly guided by the reasons for travel that you identified early on in the planning process. You’ll also be guided by the budget you have for your trip. Are you headed to the cherry blossoms of Washington, D.C.? The St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Dublin? Or perhaps the bright lights of Broadway? The world is yours for the planning! Need ideas?
Next up, how will you pay for this amazing performance tour? That’s a two-part question actually – how will you fundraise the amount needed to ensure that every student can join you AND how will you track payments throughout the process? We have answers to both! We’ve worked with hundreds of student groups and love seeing their creative and effective fundraising methods so much that we created a guide that gives you all those resources. If you’ve given yourself enough time to fundraise, there’s no reason you can’t achieve your goals. When it comes to collecting money from students and tracking those payments, we’ve taken all the guess and drudgework out of that process with our Individual Payment System (IPS). No more spreadsheets and envelopes with money! Our IPS allows each family to pay for their student’s trip online in installments with reminders of each due date. All you have to do is check the system to see where everything stands. Easy peasy.
There’s a bit more to planning than just these five topics, but they’re the best places to start when you’re dreaming up a fantastic student trip. But we love to give you the full scoop on every aspect of the planning process, so if you’re looking for more specific information, these guides may be just what you need:
Planning a tour on your own is possible but requires you to wear all the hats of travel coordinator, tour guide, payment tracker and trip boss. We make the whole process enjoyable for you as the director, allowing you to focus on your students and the amazing music they make. It’s our privilege to partner with you, planning performance tours that both realize your travel dreams and give you the opportunity to enjoy the ride along with your students. If we can give you more insight into the travel planning process or if you’re ready to get a trip on the calendar, let’s get started.
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