Live out the last days of summer in the Golden State and Grand Canyon! From LA to San Diego you’ll soak up the SoCal sun in two of California’s greatest cities. We’ll begin our journey in the star-studded city of Los Angeles where you’ll stroll the Walk of Fame in Hollywood and admire the city lights at sunset from Griffith Observatory. Enjoy the Pacific Ocean while hanging out at Venice Beach and ride the ferris wheel at the Santa Monica Pier. In San Diego, hang ten as you learn to surf at one of the city’s most famous beaches and kayak through secret caves in La Jolla while looking out for sea lions. If the San Diego Zoo or Disneyland* has been on your bucket list, check them off here!
On our way to the Grand Canyon State of Arizona, we’ll make a pitstop in Nevada in the vibrant city of Las Vegas. Ride the High Roller ferris wheel and enjoy a delicious feast at an interactive dinner show! There’s no downtown in America quite like the Las Vegas Strip! The flashing lights and fountains compliment the high energy of Vegas.
There’s no better way to end this road trip than through some of the most famous places in America than at one of the seven natural wonders of the world: the Grand Canyon. See it for yourself and try to envision how the Colorado River created such a masterpiece over hundreds of thousands of years. Using Flagstaff as our home base, we’ll also travel to Page, Arizona to see less known hidden gems! Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend are not to be missed sites in the Grand Canyon area.
During this program, you will…
- Watch sunset from Griffith Observatory, stroll the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and see that famous sign for yourself
- Live out your childhood dream of visiting Disneyland*
- Relax at the beach in Santa Monica or enjoy one of the rides at the pier
- Kayak secret caves and look for sea lions in La Jolla
- Ride the High Roller in Las Vegas for views of the strip
- Take in the wonder of the mighty Grand Canyon
- Check out the natural beauty of Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend
*This is an optional excursion
DAY 1: ARRIVE IN LOS ANGELES (LAX)
DAYS 1-3: LOS ANGELES
Tackle the second-largest city in the US without feeling overwhelmed! Wander through “Tinseltown” to spot your favorite celebrity along the Hollywood Walk of Fame, window shop in Beverly Hills at Rodeo Drive and check out the Chinese Theatre. Spot the Hollywood sign on your way up to the Griffith Observatory where you’ll watch the city light up as the sun sets. Explore vibrant Venice Beach and shop in the famous Abbot Kinney neighborhood. Play on the Santa Monica Pier, or relax on the beach. You will even have the chance to go on an optional day trip to one of America’s favorite theme parks: Disneyland!
DAYS 4-6: SAN DIEGO
Our adventure continues in sunny San Diego. We’ll get a taste of the laidback SoCal lifestyle as we explore the neighborhoods and coastline that make this city so well known! Wander through Balboa Park and visit the world famous San Diego Zoo. Kayak through secret caves and watch the lazy seals in La Jolla. Take a surf lesson and learn to catch a wave in the Pacific. Absorb the history of the gaslamp neighborhood and enjoy colorful sunsets every night in the beautiful San Diego weather with your new friends.
DAYS 7-8: LAS VEGAS
On our way to Arizona we’ll stop in the vibrant city of Las Vegas to stroll the Strip and check out some of the well-known sites, including the dancing fountains at the Bellagio and the High Roller ferris wheel. We’ll hang by the hotel pool and catch a dinner show at one of Vegas’s top casinos before heading to our next destination.
DAYS 9-11: FLAGSTAFF > GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK
Flagstaff is a perfect jumping-off point to both Grand Canyon National Park and Page, where you can find some of the best hidden gems of the Southwest. Discover one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, the Grand Canyon, and see for yourself what makes it one of the most incredible sights in the entire country! Page is home to both Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend. If you love traveling to natural wonders off the beaten path, this stop is sure to satisfy your spirit. A short walk takes you to the overlook of Horseshoe Bend where the Colorado River wraps around the canyon below in a literal horseshoe shape! Antelope Canyon is a slot canyon secretly tucked below the ground. You’ll wander through the canyon, gazing up at the bright orange walls that make you feel like you’re on another planet. If you’re feeling up for a swim, stop by the beautiful Lone Rock Beach on the shores of Lake Powell.
DAY 11: DEPART FROM PHOENIX (PHX)
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 11th and approximately 14 to 17 years old. Students living outside of the USA are welcome to join!
Where do we stay?
Our hotels are specifically chosen to be in safe areas and well-suited to facilitating group supervision. We stay in centrally located accommodations, usually within walking distance of the main attractions. This means 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.
All accommodations on this trip have been selected to ensure quality while still maintaining character of the places we are visiting. All hotels or dorms are guaranteed to be clean, safe, and equipped with 24 hour security.
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 a trip.
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 do students like most about this program?
Students love that they are able to explore a wide variety of cities and landscapes on this 11-day program. From Los Angeles to Las Vegas, you truly get something for everyone. In addition to the cities, the natural wonders along the way are not to be forgotten. Seeing the Grand Canyon is on every true traveler’s bucket list and this trip is sure to accomplish many more!
What is unique about this program?
This program is a legitimate road trip designed for teens in mind. Intimate sized groups make this an incredible experience for everyone on board. You’ll see cities and spend time outdoors in some of the greatest places in California and the Southwest that will create lifelong memories. In addition to the Grand Canyon, your journey to the American Southwest will include visiting hidden gems in Page, Arizona–a destination no other teen travel company ventures to.
What is included?
Ground transportation, accommodations, all breakfasts and dinners, chaperones and guides, program related activities, program related activity admissions, taxes and tips.
Not included in cost (this not intended to be an exhaustive list): airfare; visas and visa application fees; lunches; 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.
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 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 14 and 21 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.
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.
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.
Families who sign up for more than one program will also receive a 15% discount on the lesser-priced program.
What is the food like on this program?
In a word – delicious! At TFT, we believe food is an integral aspect of the travel experience, and we make an effort to eat at authentic establishments whenever possible. There is no better way to immerse ourselves in the culture of a place then through sampling the local delicacies. We stray away from westernized restaurants and chains that cater to tourists, because every true traveler knows the best food is found where the locals are eating!
While in California, we’ll have seafood and food influenced by the neighboring continent of Asia. In the Southwest, try the best Mexican food you’ve ever had!
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 kind of visa do you need for this program?
US citizens do not need passport or visa for this program, but a form of government-issued identification is needed for airport security.
When joining a TFT trip from outside of the US, please be sure to check your country’s specific visa requirements.