Teen Travel Programs

Written by Jeremy Horelick
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Teen travel programs have been a popular alternative to day camps for years. There are dozens of thrilling adventures available for kids looking to escape the standard swimming-lunch-softball routine of most summer camps. Horseback riding and soccer are great, but they hardly compare with scuba diving and yachting.

There are teen travel programs that emphasize different disciplines and give adolescents unique skill sets. Whether your children are more aquatic, camping, or hiking oriented, fabulous summer trips all over the world give them the opportunity to hone their talents and explore new fields. And while most travel camps are eager to let their participants follow their passions, they also strive to introduce them to new challenges.

Circumnavigate the Globe

Maybe you won't circumnavigate the entire globe, but but many teen travel programs do take their campers to distant reaches of the map. From French Polynesia to the British West Indies, there are few destinations untouched by an adventure camp of some kind. Send your kids off to the Mediterranean and have them return with proficiency in Italian or Greek. Or let your child explore the only living, breathing natural wonder that's visible from space--Australia's Great Barrier Reef!

Whatever spot you and your child agree on, know that teen travel programs are a safe investment, not just in your youngster's growth, but literally as well. Summer travel camps are closely monitored for their safety and supervision, and no single adventure ever prompts staff members to compromise your child's well-being. Common sense always wins out over thrills, no matter how alluring they may be, and the trained counselors at your program always have this firmly in mind.

The Appeal of Teen Travel Programs

A summer adventure has innumerable benefits, physically, spiritually, and emotionally. While your child is away on the high seas, he or she will gain self-reliance, leadership skills, and lasting friendships. Crew members--that is, the young adventurers themselves--pilot their own ships, lead their own hikes, and cook many of their own meals.

As you can imagine, when your teen returns home, he or she has an infusion of newfound confidence, not to mention trust in self and in others. The team-building skills obtained in distant lands frequently pay off in better group homework assignments, athletics, and friendships at school. Indeed, many teachers and coaches can quickly spot a student who's made emotional and personal breakthroughs in the course of several months. Colleges too can see the virtues of an independent and self-assured youngster.

The Value of a Summer Adventure

The value you and your child get from such an adventure requires an assessment of its costs and benefits. When children express their interest in an international pilgrimage, many parents' first response is "How much will this cost?" Rather than thinking of the summer in terms of dollars, compare the life skills your child will develop with those he or she might get at a summer or sleepaway camp.

Yes, adventure camps can sound expensive--that is, until you look more closely. A good program will provide everything from food and shelter to incidentals, chartering fees, reservations, and expert training. You'll want to send your young pioneer off with enough cash for snacks, photo supplies, and other sundries, but aside from that everything is included. There's a value in the peace of mind that comes with knowing your teen is well taken care of by an expertly trained staff of climbers, divers, medics, and cooks. And it's hard to put a price tag on that peace of mind.

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