Europe for Middle Schoolers Program Overview
Say cheerio to London and bonjour to Paris on this perfect introduction to Europe for middle school travelers! From London’s bustling modern vibe to Paris’ chic, elegant atmosphere, these fun, vibrant cities offer something for everyone. Take in London’s iconic sites, go to a theater show in the West End, hang out at the Brighton Pier, and get a bird’s-eye view of the Thames from atop the London Eye!
In Paris, soak up the City of Light as you get the best view from the top of the Eiffel Tower, enjoy delicious French delicacies (macarons anyone?), take a guided tour of the Musée du Louvre, and so much more! Your expert TFT guides will tie together history, day to day life, cuisine and the arts to create the ultimate travel and immersion experience, tailored to suit middle school students’ interests.
Come with Travel For Teens to London and Paris to experience two of the greatest European capitals in one unforgettable trip. This incredible journey, designed with middle school students in mind, will leave you with the travel bug forever!
During this program, you will…
- See London’s most famous sites, including Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, and Westminster Abbey
- Try traditional afternoon tea and scones at Kensington Palace
- Marvel at the Queen’s Crown Jewels and meet a real Beefeater at the Tower of London
- Hear London’s bloody history on a nighttime ghost walk
- Explore Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre and attend a modern play in the West End
- Witness the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace
- Take an off-the-beaten-path bike tour through Paris’s hidden neighborhoods
- Learn about masterpieces like the Mona Lisa at the world-famous Louvre Museum
- Explore the Royal Palace of Versailles and learn about the Sun King’s lavish parties*
*This is an optional excursion
DAY 1: DEPART FROM NEW YORK (JFK)
DAYS 2-5: LONDON > BRIGHTON
Our first stop is London. Bright, buzzing and full of life, London is one of the most exciting cities in the world. We’ll start by exploring downtown, stopping at familiar sights like Westminster Abbey, the Houses of Parliament, Trafalgar Square, the River Thames, and of course, Big Ben! Our next few days will be focused on getting to know the city like locals. We’ll visit the bustling Southbank neighborhood, home to Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, the Cutty Sark ship, Borough Market, and of course the London Eye! You’ll soak up Britain’s royal heritage with a Beefeater-led tour at the Tower of London and Buckingham Palace, as well as trying traditional tea and scones at Kensington Palace. We’ll take a day trip out of the city to the fun seaside city of Brighton, where you’ll hang out on the pier like the locals and even have the chance to go on the amusement park rides. Finally, what better way to wrap up our time in one of the world’s most culturally-rich cities than with a theater show in the artistic West End district?
DAYS 6-9: PARIS > VERSAILLES*
Say farewell to England as you speed through the Chunnel to France, where you will spend four days in Paris. Here we’ll experience the best of French culture as we marvel at priceless masterpieces and stunning architecture, stroll along the quintessential Parisian boulevards, and eat our way through the different arrondissements, or neighborhoods. You’ll see Quasimodo’s home at the Cathedral of Notre Dame, explore the artsy Montmartre neighborhood, and shop til you drop on the Champs-Élysées. You’ll have the option of visiting the spectacular Palace of Versailles, where you’ll learn about the rise and fall of the French Monarchy, walk through Marie Antoinette’s gardens, and go for a rowboat ride on the lake. Have a guided tour through the Louvre, explore the Luxembourg Gardens or Père Lachaise Cemetery, and take a sunset cruise down the Seine. Take a bike ride through Paris’ hidden alleyways with our local guide and learn interesting aspects of the city’s long history. Try some of your favorite recipes, such as crepes, fondue, and omelettes, at authentic bistros–or maybe taste something new (escargot, anyone?). You’ll even attend a pastry-making class to learn how to make delicious French pastries on your own! Finally, let’s not forget the experience of a lifetime going all the way to the top of the Eiffel Tower!
DAY 10: RETURN FLIGHT HOME
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.
"Wow! This is so great :) Thanks for everything that you are doing and for the updates; I’m sure the kids are having a blast already!"
"Thanks for all the great photos, hope everyone is having as much fun as it appears!"
"I just wanted to let you know that Gabrielle had the greatest time on the trip and found the counselors to be wonderful. As her father, that means a lot to me, the way you were looking out for her. Thank you again for everything. I am going to miss your daily email updates."
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 7th or 8th grade and approximately 12 to 14 years old. Students living outside of the USA are welcome to join!
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.
Our London hotel is right in the heart of the city, right near two main train stations and dozens of wonderful restaurants and museums.
In Paris, we will be staying in a beautiful, centrally-located hotel close to the Opera House, surrounded by tons of little cafes, creperies, and shops.
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 do students generally like most on this program?
Students love that they are able to explore two of Europe’s most important cities on an in-depth trip that experiences all the sights they’ve heard about but never before seen. They also like discovering the cultural differences between England, France, and the US.
What is unique about this program?
Between a full week spent soaking in all of London’s most thrilling sights, and TFT’s years of expertise in leading trips through Paris, this program provides unique insider access to these two countries.
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 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.
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 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 Americanized 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!
Even though a lot of food will look familiar to you, we encourage you to be adventurous, and step out of your comfort zone, try something new! Most British food will be similar to American food, although we will try fish and chips, meat pies, scones, and other local delicacies. The French love ham, cheese, and bread, and maybe you’ll be brave enough to try escargot!
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.
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.
What kind of visa do you need for this trip?
Any US citizen that enters the UK is automatically granted a free 180-day tourist visa.
Any US citizen that enters Europe is automatically granted a free 90-day tourist visa.
When joining a TFT trip from outside of the US, please be sure to check your country’s specific visa requirements.
Do I need to speak the language?
No, our skilled staff members will help you get around and even teach you a few fun phrases!