“We can barely keep up with it” said Kathy Stewart, the director of family trips at Butterfleld & Robinson, when asked about demand for the trips she organizes. Pamela Lassers of Abercrombie & Kent, reports that A&K has seen a 30 percent increase in family travel over the past year.
Outdoor and adventure travel companies like these have been increasing the number of organized multigenerational trips they offer—in an effort to satisfy clients looking for experiences that will stimulate each person while keeping the group together and happy.
“River rafting is one of the best of the family-bonding trips.” Lassers said. “We get letters saying this all the time. Sitting around a campfire, with no TV and no computer, brings a family together. In the raft, they have to work as a team to negotiate the rapids and control the boat. And it’s great for teens, young kids, and grandparents because it lets some take it easy and others be more active.”
These family-specific excursions also relieve the group of the burden of planning several days’ worth of different meals, lodging, and activities for individuals with different needs—so that all of the family’s members get the freedom to bask in a shared enriching experience.
A primer on exciting learning adventures that take high school students around the world.
To have an extraordinary adventure that provides cross-cultural exchange, youth development and service, students in grades 9 through 12 should consider traveling with any of the following organizations. Some scholarships may be available.
VISIONS Service Adventures takes small groups of students to one of nine sites in the United States or abroad, including Dominica, the Dominican Republic, Guadeloupe, and Peru, to work intimately on a community project. A premium is placed on youth development and partnership with local people.
Founded in 1961, Global Routes has a wide range of programs in the United States and throughout: the world. Its Center for Experimental Learning offers summer, semester, and bridge-year (grade 12 plus) programs—academic, community service, or friendship exchange—with host families.
Students participating in the Experiment in International Living travel in small groups to one of 25 foreign countries or in the United States, to work with the Navajo. Programs emphasize cultural discovery with service, outdoor wilderness/ecology training, and language immersion. Trips include a weeklong homestay
Global Works takes students to 14 countries with low political and health risks, such as New Zealand and Fiji, and to one U.S. site to participate in service projects and, often, in outdoor adventures. Many programs include a homestay.
Sensitive to the culture of Latin America, Amigos de las Americas arranges community and leadership development projects for students, placing an emphasis on health-care issues in Bolivia, Brazil, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Honduras, Mexico. Nicaragua, and Paraguay
Putney Student Travel coordinates adventure, language, community service, and academic travel programs throughout the world, taking students to the Himalayas and Tibet, Costa Rica, Ecuador, the Caribbean, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Tanzania, as well as to Montana and Alaska.
AFS Intercultural Programs goes just about everywhere, with trips for students and adults to 44 countries that include study, travel, work abroad, and homestay for a summer, a semester, or a year. AFS also brings 10,000 students to the United States each year