6 Things to Look for in Excellent Youth Travel Programs

Distinguishing the “good” from the “great” when it comes to youth travel programs is no easy feat. There are dozens of companies vying for your attention, trying to convince you that they’re “the one.” You’ve heard a few friends who’ve gone with this company or know that your fave teacher loves that company.

But what about what YOU want? What makes YOU the most excited about high school summer travel programs?

If you’re on the hunt for youth travel programs like Rustic Pathways, but offer something a little different, here are the most important things to look for.

What makes GREAT youth travel programs

1. Nonprofits RULE

If you want to spend your money like a conscious consumer, consider directing your research towards nonprofits running youth programs abroad first. Why? Because these organizations often have expansive, meaningful missions—beyond turning a profit. This means that your funds can directly improve a nonprofit’s cause and reach, in turn helping widen your area of impact. 

The business of student travel is thriving; in fact, it’s projected to be a $320 billion industry by 2020! If you don’t want to feel nickel and dimed at every turn (and expense), consider booking high school summer travel programs with a nonprofit.

Consider organizations like FLYTE or No Barriers USA as your first point of contact.

2. Satisfied alumni

In the digital age, you’d be doing yourself a disservice by not seeking information from program alumni in addition to the program facilitator. Alumni can give you a clearer, sometimes more honest picture of the overall experience—logistics, accommodations, cultural immersion, the level of connection they had with the local communities and program curriculum.

Be sure to complement your program research with reviewing reviews on third-party sites like Google and GoAbroad. Happy alumni = happy prospects!

3. Established curriculum

Learning doesn’t always happen by accident when you’re participating in youth travel programs. Since you want to get the most bang for your buck, be sure to scope out what kind of curriculum you’ll be learning on the go. Having dedicated instructors and time to process all the (amazing-cool-scary-exciting-overwhelming) things happening around you is key.

Excellent high school summer travel programs will take their curriculum a step further to help you connect it with your life back home. After all, this isn’t just an isolated experience you had that one time in your teens. With the right curriculum, this can be a world shaking, life-changing chapter. 
happy girl o LearningAFAR high school summer travel programs
For example, do you know what makes a rope team and why it’s essential to success? Do you feel prepared to reach life’s summits and elevate your service learning potential?

Pick from youth programs abroad that take your learning seriously.

4. Comprehensive safety plans

This might not be the sexiest topic for when you’re shopping for programs like Rustic Pathways, but it’ll help you—and your mom—likely sleep better at night. Don’t select a program that doesn’t have all of its safety ducks in a row.

This means communication plans, emergency strategies, trained staff (first aid as a minimum!), and systems in place for if/when disaster strikes. Ask your program advisor for information related to this topic!

5. The experiences YOU’RE after

It actually doesn’t make sense to consider a program that doesn’t operate in your dream destination, or with your ideal program-focus. So, what makes program great? If it fits YOUR goals, needs, and budget.

Do you dream of hiking the Grand Canyon? Do it! Is Tanzania on the mind? Don’t settle for anything but a trip that gets you up close and personal with all those cool animals.

6. A helpful website

You should be able to find the majority of the answers you’re looking for on a company’s website. Questions regarding time frame, application requirements, eligibility, price, and a rough program itinerary should be easily answered through their website.

Turn to their social channels for more real-time interactions. Don’t worry, your gorgeous travel photos will be shared there in no time!

Don’t settle for average high school summer travel programs

hiking student on LearningAFAR high school summer travel programs

Now that you know what to look for in high school summer travel programs, it’s time to kickstart your research. Be methodical, thorough, and timely in your efforts. You’ll be rewarded with an excellent program that matches your goals perfectly. 

August 17, 2019
No Barriers

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