An overseas trip, particularly as a teenager, can be a life-changing experience. As with most things in the information age, there are more options than there is time (or money). It can be hard to select a trip or activity that’s going to maximize your limited time. If you’re like most of us, you only get so many chances to take big international adventures. Given that, what should you do when you’re overseas?
Perform Community Service:
This activity doesn’t apply to all destinations, and you have to be careful not to select a trip or service opportunity that provides inauthentic service projects for teenagers. However, the right short term service project can provide you the chance not just to give back, but to immerse yourself in an area and the local culture.
Do a Homestay:
Once extremely popular, some people are understandably uncomfortable with the idea of spending time in another person’s home. However, an authentic homestay provides you with the rare chance of seeing how people really live in other countries/cultures. When visiting places for a short period of time, it can be very challenging to forge connections or have genuine interactions with locals. Homestays provide you with that, and many people stay in touch with their homestay families for years after their adventure.
At Bold Earth, all of our homestays take place with two students. Despite our high level of trust in our homestay families, we would counsel against going with companies that place minors in homestay families alone.
Take a Cooking Class:
While I’m not culinarily inclined, I absolutely love taking cooking classes while abroad. Eating out is great, but nothing orients you to local cuisine like a cooking class overseas! Whether you’re in Thailand or Barcelona, a cooking class will help you both appreciate and understand the local cuisine.
Go for a Hike:
Some people love hiking, some people don’t. Regardless, if you don’t go for a hike you’ll be missing out on one of the best ways to explore while traveling internationally. Hiking provides you with an active way to explore your surroundings and appreciate the scenery in an up close and personal way that a bus tour simply could never provide. Depending on the length and difficulty of the trail that you choose, the challenge will make the experience even more rewarding!
At Bold Earth, all of our programs have at least some element of hiking in them. From single day hikes to multi-day treks, we feel hiking is irreplaceable on any teen travel trip. Depending on where you are, going with a travel organization or local operator may be necessary to help you find a safe and appropriate trail. On certain famous treks (such as Kilimanjaro), having a guide service is mandatory.
Try a New Adventure Activity:
I realize this is a bit more vague, but every destination you explore will have its own unique adventure activities it offers! At Bold Earth, we feel it’s important to step outside of your comfort zone and take advantage of all the opportunities to expand yourself while traveling. There’s no better way to explore the natural beauty of any country than adventuring! From snorkeling in the Galapagos to trekking in the Alps, scuba diving in Fiji, or even zip-lining in Costa Rica, trying out a new activity overseas is a great idea! As with all activities, while traveling, safety is of paramount importance. It’s worth considering traveling with a reputable organization.
At Bold Earth, we believe in the power of travel and exploration (international and domestic) to change young people’s lives. Whether you travel with us this summer or not, we encourage you to take a risk and go somewhere new. Sometimes It only takes one trip or new adventure to change your life.