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Travel for Teens

Redefining meaningful tourism, this programming for teens is broadening horizons in more ways than one.

teens that travel hawaii

We recently had the pleasure of hosting a group from Travel for Teens for their third private tour with us at Holo Holo, and we couldn’t wait to share their program with you. With “authentic travel” as their motto, the Travel for Teens’ mission is “inspiring youth and providing transformative travel experiences.” The program’s aim is to establish a passion for travel and a cultural learning experience in different settings while experiencing new places “like a local.”

“Travel For Teens is eternally grateful for our connection to Holo Holo Charters for the experience they provide for all of our travelers each summer,” said Travel for Teens rep Emily Jardel, “Giving our students the opportunity to interact with the land, people, and environment in such an incredible part of the world is key to our overall mission of teaching teens to be travelers.”

ecotourism on Kauai

Travel for Teens options include trips to Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, North America and Oceania. All trips include community service and cultural exploration while integrating outdoor activities and adventures based on the region. One of the Hawaiʻi-based programs include touring the islands with service projects mixed in. Teens are able to learn about Hawaiʻi’s delicate ecosystem and work directly with marine biologists on ocean preservation, reef ecology, and even saving the turtles! 

During their visit to Hawaii this summer, Emily’s group participated in the following sustainability efforts:

– Planted Koa trees on the Big Island to restore ecosystems

– Participated in a number of beach clean ups across multiple islands focusing on both on pollution on local beach parks as well as wash up on more remote beaches

– Worked directly with injured sea turtles and learned about the existing dangers to marine life 

– Supplied food, clothing, and donations to the local unhoused community in Hilo

In addition to the hands-on projects, the teen travelers enjoyed exploring the Hawaiian Islands from the summits of Haleakala and Mauna Kea, to immersive snorkeling experiences, ziplining, hiking, and kayaking. 

As ocean preservation activists ourselves, we are especially drawn to the TFT programs that help the next generation understand the importance of best practices for a more environmentally-friendly future.

“It’s no secret that Holo Holo Charters strives to provide authentic and meaningful boat tours while leaving a positive impact on both our ocean resources and our island community,” Holo Holo’s private charters manager Cindy explained, “so, when I was approached by Travel for Teens over 3 years ago and learned about their authentic travel platform, I knew they would immediately become our extended ʻohana!”

Sustainability Efforts in Other Regions (*Provided by Emily Jardel of Travel for Teens.)

Costa Rica “In Costa Rica, our travelers have the opportunity to choose between a variety of travel programs with varying focuses to suit the sustainable travelers goals of travel. We provide programs that work on sea turtle conservation efforts, programs that focus on interacting and assisting with a local community center, animal rescue programs in which travelers volunteer at local animal rescue shelters during their time in Costa Rica, and medical & healthcare outreach travel programs.” 

Ecuador & The Galapagos: “On our Ecuador & The Galapagos program, aside from learning about the diverse biology of the region, students work alongside the local community on a sustainable farm that supplies the food to the local school community.”

Peru: “During our Peru service program, travelers volunteer with local communities in Misminay and Urubamba aiding in construction projects and farming.”

Belize: “Our Belize program is focused on completing projects through SCUBA diving. After becoming SCUBA certified, travelers spend their time diving each day to help remove invasive lionfish from the reef, assist with marine health checks, monitor whale sharks, participate in pollution cleanups, and play a part in coral reef restoration.”

Alaska: “During our Alaska Service & Adventure programs, travelers spend a portion of their trip at the Peterson Bay Field Station, which is dedicated to coastal studies and a wildlife conservation center. Travelers learn about topics such as the changing coastal forests and invasive species, water quality, plankton tows, and harmful algal blooms while working on trail maintenance projects, data-collection, and more.”

Greece Sea Turtle Service: “On our Greece Sea Turtle service program, we partner with a wildlife organization dedicated to protecting the sea turtle species that frequent the area’s beaches. These turtles are at risk of extinction due to a variety of factors, including human activities. Our goal will be to monitor the turtles that nest on Lourdas and Ammes beaches and assist with a strategy for future conservation efforts. Some of your volunteer duties will include evening patrols to look for nesting turtles, tagging turtles for monitoring, observing and collecting data about sea turtle interactions, and conducting health and safety talks in the community.”

Italy : “In Italy, students volunteer in the Cinque Terre with a local Capuchin monastery to help with the maintenance of their fruit and vegetable garden, help restore the trails that have been damaged and closed to the public, and improve the facilities at the local schools.” 

Service Trips

Travel for Teens has 58 different service trips for teens that “create lasting change, encourage cultural awareness, and empower our teens to make a difference in their travels.”  The service programs offer between 10-80 hours of community service hours in 19 different countries, creating global citizens out of young travelers. 

Language Immersion 

Teens of all skill levels are invited to explore foreign languages by immersing themselves into an environment outside of their native tongue. Lesson plans are worked into the itinerary in a hands-on way and designed to help teens build upon an existing knowledge of foreign language, or begin their journey in global communication. Programs are available in Spain, France, China, and Costa Rica.

Cultural Exploration

Through the cultural immersion programs, TFT creates opportunities for teens to engage with different cultures in a deeper and more authentic way. Each destination is unique, and treated as such with tailored itineraries and experiences based on the local lifestyle and traditions. 

Travel Photography

TFT’s  photography programs bring teens to Italy, France, and Iceland and offer a unique perspective to grow their skills behind the lens. 

Age-specific Programs

There are programs for beginning high-schoolers, 11th and 12th graders and as well as middle-schoolers beginning to earn their travel wings. College students also have the opportunity to travel on their own terms by picking and choosing from a flexible itinerary and a plethora of destinations. 

Good for the mind and for the soul

In a 2021 study on adolescents, it was found that globally, one in seven 10-19-year-olds experiences a mental disorder including depression and anxiety. Other medically-backed sources have also confirmed that travel can positively combat these issues in teens by experiencing a change of scenery and the mental stimulation of navigating a new culture.

Travel for Teens offers a shift in perspective for teens, removing them from their day-to-day lives and allowing them the freedom to explore and understand someone else’s life experience. Exposure to other cultures has proven to be extremely beneficial for those in the TFT programs as they develop their confidence and place in the world. 

 “I’ve had the privilege of meeting some of these awesome teens who joined us on our morning snorkel tour and discovered they are genuinely curious to learn more about all things Kaua’i,” Cindy explained.

 Our hope is that the visitors to our islands are able to benefit from the teachings of Hawaiian culture as well, taking those lessons with them long after they’ve departed.You can keep up with Travel for Teens on Instagram or their website. In the meantime, we can’t wait to welcome them back for another tour!

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