Alaska Service & Adventure Trip Overview
Alaska, known as the last frontier, land of the midnight sun, and place where your life will change! This volunteer trip combines the breathtaking beauty of Alaska, meaningful service work and adventures that will have the whole family wishing they could come! You’ll visit Homer, one of Alaska’s best-kept secrets near Kenai Fjords National Park. A true gem of an Alaskan town, Homer has managed to slide under the radar of Alaska’s typical tourists. Next, a visit to the fisherman’s haven, Seward, will bring even more Alaskan culture and adventure into your life. You’ll have the chance to whitewater raft down a river surrounded by snowcapped mountains, kayak in a glacial bay while looking for seals, and spend your evenings around a campfire! To top off our adventures we will volunteer at a wildlife conservation center for bears, moose, and more!
This trip is best suited for travelers who love the outdoors and are open to amazing adventures in nature with a group of new friends!
So what are you waiting for? Join Travel For Teens this summer on an Alaskan adventure trip for the perfect mix of adventure, service, and exploration!
During this program, you will…
- Earn up to 20 hours of community service volunteering at a field station dedicated to coastal studies and a wildlife conservation center
- Whitewater raft up to Class IV rapids in two stunning canyons
- Strap on crampons and literally “walk on water” as you hike across a glacier
- Spend time in Kenai Fjord National Park
- Stargaze and, if we’re lucky, even see the Northern Lights!
- Channel your inner musher as we visit an Iditarod training camp and take the sled dogs out on a run!
- Hike to a glacially-fed alpine lake filled with icebergs
- Explore the charming town of Girdwood, hike, play disc golf, and adventure to your heart’s content
- Visit the Anchorage Museum and gain insight into the Inuit way of life
- Enjoy delicious seafood fresh from the Pacific
- Kayak in a glacial bay and keep an eye out for seals and other wildlife
DAY 1: DEPART FROM SEATTLE (SEA)
DAYS 2-4: ANCHORAGE > SEWARD
We’ll fly to Anchorage, the capital of Alaska, known as the hub of Alaskan culture and heritage. Enjoy a delicious first night dinner and get ready to set off on an incredible adventure!
We will spend the first few days in the beautiful port city of Seward, one of the best adventure capitals in the state. During our time here, we will get our adrenaline pumping with a world-class whitewater rafting escapade down Six Mile Creek, nestled between two stunning canyons. Afterwards, we’ll sea kayak in Resurrection Bay, learning about the history of the area, discovering wildlife, and exploring the coastal rainforest. We’ll also visit the Alaska Sealife Center to get a close up look at the wide array of species that call the Alaskan waters home.
DAYS 5-8: HOMER > PETERSON BAY FIELD STATION
Then it’s time for our next city: Homer, the halibut capital of the world. Our group will go on a stunning hike in Kachemak Bay State Park to a glacial lake filled with floating icebergs and explore the town of Homer, including the unique Homer Spit, a 4.5 mile strip of thin land jutting into the bay, home to a cluster of local arts, artifacts, restaurants, and some of the most historic areas of Homer.
To begin our service, we will spend time at a living laboratory on the south shore of Kachemak Bay. This unique field station is only accessible by boat from Homer and not on the typical tourist path! We will stay overnight in a yurt which allows us easy access to the great Alaskan wilderness. Participants will work directly with a naturalist guide and assist with onsite projects including tidal pool studies, general maintenance projects, and cleaning projects around the facilities.
We’ll finish up with a morning oceanography cruise, where you’ll explore the waters through a scientific lens as you learn more about oceanography, geology, and the history of our relationship with the environment and modern maritime issues.
Please note, our stay at Peterson Bay is very rustic with basic facilities, but this allows us to be much closer to the stunning nature that surrounds the facilities! Participants should be prepared to assist with a variety of projects and come with an open mind and ready to see what living at a field station is all about!
DAY 9: GIRDWOOD
Next up, get ready to channel your inner Iditarod dog sledding champion! We will visit a camp for sled dogs, get to know the team, ride on a real circuit, listen to some unbelievable Iditarod stories, and to top it off, get to cuddle some playful pups who will someday be racers themselves! Spend the rest of the day hiking, playing disc golf and soaking in the beautiful sights of the outdoor recreation paradise of Girdwood.
DAYS 10-11: ANCHORAGE > WILDLIFE CONSERVATION CENTER > GLACIER TREK
To finish off our incredible Alaskan adventure, we’ll circle back to Anchorage to explore, discover the historic sites that survived the famous quake of 1964, and get an insight into Alaskan history and culture such as traditional crafts, stages dances, and replicas of dwellings from the area’s indigenous groups while visiting the Anchorage Museum.
Continuing with our theme of community service, we’ll also spend time volunteering at Alaska’s Wildlife Conservation Center. Our naturalist guide will give us a walking tour of the scenic property as we immerse ourselves in the natural habitat of the 13 species of Alaskan wildlife housed here. Working alongside expert staff and naturalist interns, we’ll work on projects to better the lives of the animals through husbandry, maintenance, and enrichment projects. We will even get to feed moose and make “toys” for wolves and bear cubs! Not only is this a fantastic opportunity to give the animals unique enrichment experiences, but it is also a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see Alaskan wildlife exhibiting natural behaviors up close and personal!
As our time in Anchorage comes to an end, we’ll take a day trip out for a truly surreal experience, literally “walking on water” as we trek across the Matanuska Glacier. Our expert guides will help us navigate the glacier to discover stunning formations among the bright blue ice. And, of course, no TFT trip would be complete without a fancy final dinner where we’ll close out our Alaskan adventure with traditional cuisine featuring some of the freshest seafood in the world!
DAY 11: RETURN FLIGHT TO SEATTLE (SEA)
Authenticity is engrained in everything we do. Eat, stay, and travel like a local.
Check out what past travelers have to say about TFT and discover why we are consistently awarded “Top Youth Travel Organization” year after year.
"Overall fantastic! A trip of a lifetime and Conor has made memories and friends that will remain with him forever."
"Wanted to thank you so very much for your professional and wonderfully personal handling and care during Dylan's time with you. She was just thrilled and overjoyed with the whole experience. She said everything was planned perfectly, and with the exception of the one van breaking down, not one hitch along the way, that is impressive to say the least. Really appreciate all the hard work and effort that goes into this, and also how kind you and your team are to make these young adults just have the best time, learn a lot, contribute to the world and have experiences that will last forever."
"No one would really think that if they could travel, they would go to Alaska. I was totally like that. But after seeing what this trip had to offer, I decided to sign up and do it. It was such an amazing experience! By far, my favorite Travel for Teens trip. I was with a small group and we all got along so great. The activities were amazing like going sea kayaking and seeing seals, going hiking and seeing a herd of wild goats and a glacier, and going whitewater rafting down a canyon! I would totally do this trip again if I could, I loved it so much. Travel for Teens is a great company to travel with because you’re going with great kids your age and you’re very safe. Also, the dinners and breakfasts are included and the counselors, food and accommodations are great! I absolutely love Travel for Teens and would totally recommend signing up for the USA for Older Teens: Alaska Service & Adventure trip (only if you like the outdoors though)."
Travel with us and discover why we are consistently winning awards for Top Youth Travel Organization.
What is unique about the Alaska Service & Adventure trip?
Alaska Service & Adventure provides a trifecta of incredible wilderness, outdoor adventure, and educational service. Whether it’s hiking through glaciers, whitewater rafting, or service at the field station, each day will leave you in awe of some of the most rugged beauty the United States has to offer.
What do students like most about the Alaska Service & Adventure trip?
Participants love the mix of city, wilderness, and service as they explore our northernmost state. On Alaska Service & Adventure, they will get to see Alaskan wildlife up close and learn the importance of conservation in our service projects along with endorphin-releasing activities like hiking glaciers, white water rafting, and riding with sled dogs!
Who can go on this program? What kind of teen typically goes on this program?
Teens from all over the world join this program! Typically, our participants are culturally curious individuals who are excited to make new friends, experience something unique, and interested in stepping out of their comfort zones and expanding their horizons.
This program is exclusively for students who are currently in grades 9th through 12th and approximately 14 to 18 years old. Students living outside of the USA are welcome to join!
Teens who choose this program are typically adventurous and have a love for the great outdoors and giving back to the local community
Where do we stay?
Our hotels are chosen specifically in safe areas and are well suited to facilitating group supervision. We stay in centrally located accommodations, usually within walking distance of the main attractions. We do not use large, impersonal chain hotels on the outskirts of cities; we prefer to select smaller, family-run hotels where we establish personal relationships with the owners.
In Anchorage, you’ll get your first taste of what it’s like to stay in a college dorm, as we’ll eat breakfast in the dining hall and live dorm-style for the four nights of our stay! Designed for student housing with privacy and security in mind, rooms are available in single, double, and quad suite arrangements. All rooms have single-person beds and private bathrooms.
In Seward and Peterson Bay, we stay in basic yurts at a field station that allow for access to the magnificent Alaskan wilderness. Peterson Bay is only accessible by boat and travelers can expect a more rustic experience with basic amenities including an outhouse and composting toilets. Participants can expect to be unplugged during their stay at Peterson Bay and enjoy the beautiful nature surrounding them.
Participants will work directly with a naturalist guide and participate in onsite projects including tidal pool studies and general maintenance projects and cleaning projects around the facilities.
For safety reasons, we do not publish the names of the accommodations we use. We do not feel it is safe to publish the name of a hotel where a group of teenagers is staying abroad. After registering, participants and parents are given access to our secure parent website where you will be able to see the names of all of the accommodations for the program.
Do most travelers go on their own?
Yes! In fact, over 75% of students who travel with us choose to come independently. This encourages teens to step further outside their comfort zone and make new friends. We believe that one of the most rewarding and exciting elements of travel is the new friendships that form along the way. When we travel by ourselves, we are bound to make new friends from all over the country and even the world. The best part is, you can travel again with your new friends on another TFT program the next summer!
If you are thinking about joining a TFT program by yourself but you are feeling unsure, please let us know! We have plenty of references from solo travelers who had great experiences and would be happy to chat with you about it.
Can I bring a friend?
Absolutely! We ask that if you do come with a friend, you and your friend(s) maintain openness to meeting new people and sharing this special experience with the entire group.
What is included?
Tuition cost includes ground transportation; accommodation; chaperones and guides; program-related activities and admissions; taxes and tips; all breakfasts and dinners.
Not included in cost (this is not intended to be an exhaustive list): airfare; lunches; visas and visa application fees; personal and medical expenses; activities and admissions that are not program-related or referenced in the itinerary; beverages other than filtered water at meals; participant expenses that are outside of the program description, such as excess baggage fees and damage to hotels; expenses related to unforeseen circumstances, such as transportation strikes and natural disasters.
How do the optional group flights work?
Upon registration, you will be contacted by our International Logistics Team to discuss the program’s flight details. There is no requirement to take the group flight, but there are several advantages to doing so. The group flight is usually chaperoned by a TFT staff member, and it also offers an opportunity for the students to get to know one another prior to the start of the program. Parents are responsible for coordinating transport to the departure airport – however, the logistics team will send out instructions detailing the exact meeting spot and airport point person. For additional information about flights, visit our dedicated flight page.
Who leads the program?
Our staff is a cut above the rest! We seek out two main characteristics in our counselors – extensive knowledge of and experience in our destinations, and a passion for working with teens. Our staff’s backgrounds include living abroad and working in summer camps or other educational settings. Team members are proven leaders and role models, who connect easily with others and form genuine friendships with each student – all while bringing each destination to life.
We celebrate diversity! Our staff represents 49 different nationalities, speak a combined total of 21 languages, and visited 142 countries. Additionally, 80% of our staff lived or worked abroad in their lives. With so many unique experiences to share, you are sure to gain a global perspective.
Our average minimum ratios are one staff member to every seven participants. Each program has one Trip Director with several support staff, depending on the group size. Directors must be at least 25 years old within the calendar year and have prior experience working with TFT.
What are the safety qualifications for our staff?
Our staff members undergo a rigorous hiring process. They receive the same background check as school educators, an extensive training process to go over all safety precautions and protocols, and are required to be certified in CPR and First Aid. We exclusively hire responsible, multi-talented individuals who are safety-minded and are as passionate about teen travel as we are.
What is the average group size?
We pride ourselves on small group sizes to create a more authentic and personalized experience. Our group sizes fall between 13 and 24 students – the perfect size to facilitate new friendships without feeling lost in a crowd! We believe smaller groups eliminate the likelihood of cliques, and allows for a well-rounded, healthy group dynamic.
How does this program connect to other programs?
Our program dates are designed specifically so that participants can opt to combine trips throughout the summer. When connecting to another program, your counselor will escort you to the airport on the last day of the program and assist you in meeting your next group at your new destination.
What is the food like on this program?
In a word – delicious! At TFT, we believe food should be an integral part of the travel experience and always make an effort to eat at authentic establishments when we can. What better way to immerse yourself in the culture of a place than by sampling the local delicacies, and we encourage students to do so whenever possible! Just as we stay away from hotel chains, we try to avoid restaurants with menus that cater only to tourists because every good traveler knows the best food is found wherever the locals are eating!
Of course, we are always willing and able to accommodate vegetarians, vegans, gluten allergies, and other dietary restrictions.
Do we ever get time to go off on our own?
Our staff and teens are nearly always together, but we do provide the opportunity to break up into smaller groups to allow for flexibility and customization within the itinerary.
We offer free time in defined safe areas – for example, shopping in a market or exploring a museum. During these times, students remain in groups of at least two and are given no more than an hour. Of course, the counselors remain nearby and available. Additionally, a lifeguard-certified counselor supervises the campers any time they are involved in water activities.
What do I need to bring on this program?
Due to the nature of our service being outdoors, please be sure to bring clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty, waterproof shoes, and a hat.
We will send out a recommended packing list before departure but, the most important consideration is to PACK LIGHT! If your program is 13 days remember you are not packing for 13 days. A good rule of thumb is to pack one week’s worth of clothes that can be easily mixed and matched together– one off outfits are not recommended. Depending on the duration of the program, there will be at least one opportunity for your child to do laundry.
Learning to travel light is great discipline, and seasoned travelers, which is what we want our participants to become, know that packing light is key.
Do I need any vaccinations for this program?
We recommend checking with your family doctor regarding vaccinations and medical advice for the destination you are visiting. For more information, please check the World Health Organization’s website. Upon registration, we provide a list of recommended vaccinations that can be discussed further with your doctor. For Specific questions pertaining to the COVID-19 vaccine, click here.
What kind of visa do you need for this trip?
Any US citizen will not need a visa or passport but will need a government-issued identification to get through airport security.
When joining a TFT trip from outside of the US, please be sure to check your country’s specific visa requirements.