School Guidance Office

One of the first places to visit is your school counseling center or guidance office. Counselors and advisors often have access to information regarding a wide variety of financial aid and scholarship possibilities. There are opportunities for scholarships where your school can nominate students such as yourself, as well as other resources where students must apply independently. Counselors are there to help you and present various alternatives to any student, whether based purely on merit, local residency, or financial need.


There are several websites out there that you can use to help crowdfund your trip. A few are listed below to help get you started. You can even start fundraising with each of them for free! Make sure that you write a good description that outlines why you want to go abroad as well as some of your goals during your travels.

Suggested websites

Letter Writing Campaign

Get the addresses or email addresses of family members, family friends, and your parents’ co-workers and write a letter telling them why you want to go abroad and hope to experience during your travels and how they can help you. Include in the letter a link to your online fundraiser if you chose to set that up.

Scholarships and Grants

If you’ve done everything you can to raise some funds but you still need a little more help, don’t hesitate to ask for it! Here are some websites to check out for applying for travel scholarships and grants. 

Suggested websites and books

There are also books in your local library or bookstores that list scholarships available to high school students. The majority of guides focus on scholarship opportunities for college, but the following may prove helpful:

  • The Scholarship Scouting Report: An Insider’s Guide to America’s Best Scholarships (Ben Kaplan)
  • Let’s Talk About Scholarships: A Scholarship Reference Guide for High School Students Only (The Scholarship Lady Staff)
  • The Ultimate Scholarship Book 2016: Billions of Dollars in Scholarships, Grants and Prizes (Supercollege)

Donation instead of gifts

For your next birthday or for the holidays, ask your parents and family to replace the gifts and store cards with cash donations to put towards your trip. This will show them how committed you are to going out and having the experience rather than holding onto material things. Who knows, maybe they’ll be willing to throw in a little extra!

Host a party

Gather some friends and family and host a dinner or movie night with a cuisine related to where you want to travel. At some point during the dinner or after the movie, get everyone’s attention and talk a little bit about your goals for the trip. Make sure to leave a donations jar by the door.

Sports Pledges

Do you play a sport? Or you do just want to keep yourself in shape? Ask friends and family to pledge a certain amount for every mile you run over the next 6 months, or for every goal you make for the rest of your sport’s season. Not only will it motivate you to keep going to earn more, you’ll be more motivated to keep exercising too!

Pet Service

Are you good with pets? If so, offer to take care of family members’ and neighbors’ furry pals while they are away from home or during the day at work. You can also offer a grooming service if you feel comfortable with that.

Bake Sale

Who doesn’t love a good homemade bake sale? Put on your apron and get baking! Get some friends together and start a baking line, putting each person in charge of one part of the recipe. Speaking of recipes, make sure to check out Pinterest for some new, interesting, and delicious treats.

Local Organizations

Often local organizations will offer scholarships or grants and leave information about them at the local library after they stop by schools. Go to your library and see if they have a section where they keep all of that information. 

Here’s a list of some other places you can checkout:
  • Your local branch of the Rotary, Lions, Elks, Kiwanis, or similar organizations
  • The Parents & Teachers Association at school
  • Local medical research or pharmaceutical companies (especially if you are interested in science-oriented subjects)
  • Banks and insurance companies – although larger financial institutions often run nationwide scholarships, both big and small companies may offer more localized competitions as well
  • Companies involved in education in one form or another – these could include suppliers of educational equipment, county and statewide educational associations, etc.
  • Local youth organizations and foundations
  • Educational publications and websites
  • Sometimes, businesses will donate air miles towards your trip

Share your experience

Get in touch with some local businesses or larger companies and see if they will sponsor you to go abroad. Think about starting a free blog or website or even a travel Instagram to share your experiences. Offer to bring some some of their official swag with you and show if off in pictures or give them a shoutout in your blog posts. Make sure to tag us in posts from your trip too and you might also win some of our swag! @travelforteens #gotft

Thank you letters

Finally, make sure to write a thank you letter to everyone who helped back you and your travels. Sending just a simple thank you note will show your gratitude for their help. Maybe they’ll even put more money towards trips in the future!