Travel for Teens: How it Boosted Our Son’s Confidence & Independence

Our son Dylan joined a Travel for Teens trip to Greece! Here is my honest review of his experience as a teen traveler – and ours as parents.

In our home, one of the many lifestyle side effects of the pandemic was that our youngest son Dylan missed out on doing any of the camps that his older sister got to experience. 

As things started opening up again, we sat down as a family to discuss possible options. Were there any camps or activities he would like to join?

Perhaps unsurprisingly (considering that we share DNA) his answer was that he wanted to travel 🙂 When we asked him where, he said New York and Japan. Really? We live in Oregon so it was interesting to hear he had a strong interest in traveling to these places. 

Realizing that family trips to these far-flung locations was unlikely, we began working to find a reputable and safe travel organization that would allow Dylan to explore alongside like-minded teens. Thanks to my husband Bret, he discovered the Travel for Teens program.

Travel for Teens is an organization that sets up group trips for teenagers (both high school and college-age kids), partnering with local experts in each destination to create an authentic experience.

Travel for Teens Logo

These programs are designed to be hands-on and immersive. According to their website they: “emphasize doing and feeling, in addition to just seeing, so teens discover what it means to live like a local in every country we visit.”

Given that Dylan was 15 at the time and we didn’t know anyone who had tried the service, we definitely did our research prior to signing up. They offered opportunities for us to talk to other parents with kids participating in the program. After hearing a number of rave reviews, we decided to sign him up.

Dylan originally chose the trip to Japan but since the country still wasn’t open to visitors due to COVID,  he was able to pivot to another trip. Fortunately, we were able to apply the funds easily to another destination. 

There were two options for the dates he picked – Alaska or Greece. No surprise, Dylan decided to go to Greece. He flew to New York by himself and met up with the group before heading to Athens.

Every day, we eagerly awaited email updates from the program’s dedicated local travel director, who shared snapshots from the trip. These were both reassuring and captivating! It was so helpful to reliably know where he was, that he was safe and having a great time. 

Witnessing Dylan’s transformation firsthand, we were so impressed by the newfound confidence he exuded upon his return. The experience of immersing himself in a new culture, savoring unfamiliar cuisines, and forging connections with other teens from other parts of the country has definitely shaped his character and given him a new interest and awareness of the world.

While the program was an investment, I can’t say enough about how great it was for Dylan. He loved it so much that he signed up to travel to Japan this past summer.  No surprise, he enjoyed the culture, the food and a new found independence.  I saw a quote recently that said travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer. I couldn’t agree more. 

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Danielle Cullivan

Career Insight Studio

Danielle Cullivan is a seasoned leader in tech with over 20 years of experience in Fortune 500 companies. She is also the creator of Career Insight Studio, a career and lifestyle blog dedicated to providing insights and new perspectives for working women. Danielle lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and high-school-aged son, and visits her college-age daughter as often as possible! 

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