Come experience a quintessential European summer amidst the buzzing streets of London, elegant squares of Paris, sun-drenched promenades of the French Riviera, and vibrant markets of Barcelona! We’ll explore these legendary destinations like locals with an epic train journey — so we can soak in the varied cultures and landscapes of these dynamic countries!
Our travels begin in London where we’ll enjoy everything this fantastic city offers – from visiting royal Buckingham Palace, to browsing the colorful stalls of Camden Market, to catching a theater production in the bustling West End. From St. Pancras station, we’ll hop aboard the Chunnel train to be whisked beneath the English Channel toward the City of Light. In Paris, we’ll glimpse the city from atop the Eiffel Tower, taste homemade macarons from a famous patisserie, and take a tour of the world-renowned art of the Musée du Louvre.
After perusing Paris we’ll head south to the pebbly shores of Nice — the gem of the French Riviera. Get ready to dress in red, white, and blue to celebrate France’s national day, Bastille Day! Then we’ll answer the call of the mountains and venture into the French Alps. Our adrenaline will surge as we whitewater raft our way through the unbelievably turquoise waters of Europe’s most picturesque canyon, Gorges du Verdon. Once we have our fill of adventure we’ll wind down with a stroll through the famous Provençal lavender fields.
Onto country number three, as our trip of a lifetime concludes in lively, funky Barcelona! We’ll wander amongst the ornate architecture of Gaudí, sample tapas in the old town, admire the dancer’s flying feet at a flamenco performance, and relax on the beautiful beaches of the Mediterranean.
Our Older Teen programs are carefully crafted with 11th and 12th graders in mind. We do not just take our standard programs and open certain dates to an older age group without changing the itineraries. Instead, we understand that older teens require a different type of program, and need itineraries with more challenges and independence to help them grow and encourage even more confidence with traveling.
These programs are designed to nurture older teens and teach them to be more independent and savvy travelers. Because as you grow, your interests and needs do too. So get ready to travel like a pro as you cruise down the River Seine at twilight, take in the best views from atop the London Eye, savor the fresh fruits at the Boquería Market, and visit medieval fortresses!
During this program, you will…
- Stroll along the River Thames and see the world-famous Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, Trafalgar Square and Buckingham Palace from atop the London Eye
- Browse the trendy Camden Market for hip treasures
- Climb the towers of Notre Dame for the best view over Paris
- Savor mouthwatering crêpes in the funky artistic neighborhood of Montmartre
- Celebrate France’s national holiday, Bastille Day, by watching a fireworks show over the Mediterranean Sea
- Relax on pristine beaches in the French Riviera
- Go on an all-day rafting and ropes course adventure in France’s version of the Grand Canyon
- Soak in the thermal baths at a French spa*
- Make your own paella at our cooking class in Barcelona
- See the home of FC Barcelona at Camp Nou Soccer Stadium
*This is an optional excursion
DAY 1: DEPART FROM NEW YORK (JFK)
DAYS 2-4: LONDON
Our trip of a lifetime begins in regal London, home of the Queen, afternoon tea, and the famous red double-decker buses! Upon arriving, we’ll take a walk downtown to get acquainted with this buzzing capital city. Visit the royal family at Buckingham Palace, listen to Big Ben chime on the hour, and see where the royals get married at Westminster Abbey. Observe the seats of the British government at the Houses of Parliament and 10 Downing Street before crossing the River Thames to the London Eye. No trip to the United Kingdom would be complete without a visit to the Crown Jewels at the Tower of London, where the Yeoman Warder guards will tell you all the spooky stories of this infamous prison. Spend an afternoon browsing for treasures at the fantastic Camden Market, where you can try foods from all over the world and find just about any souvenir you’re looking for. Finish off our time in Great Britain with dinner and a live show in the West End (London’s version of Broadway).
DAYS 5-7: PARIS
After enjoying our time in London, zoom underneath the English Channel to Paris on the high-speed Eurostar train. What better way to welcome you to France than by going up the Eiffel Tower? Enjoy a fresh ham-and-cheese baguette on the Champs de Mars and savor homemade fondue in the Latin Quarter for dinner. Cruise down the Seine at twilight and watch the Eiffel Tower sparkle. Marvel at the world’s best masterpieces in the Louvre Museum–Will you be able to figure out what the Mona Lisa is smiling at? Stroll through the lush Tuileries Gardens with a fresh macaron in hand, climb the towers of Notre Dame to see the famous gargoyles up close, and gaze in awe at the Arc de Triomphe. See Monet’s and van Gogh’s most famous paintings up close at the Musée d’Orsay, and of course, shop ’til you drop on the Champs-Elysées. On this program, you’ll even have the opportunity to go to the spectacular Chateau de Versailles, where you’ll see where history happened in the Hall of Mirrors and stroll through Marie Antoinette’s gardens!
DAYS 8-10: THE FRENCH RIVIERA > THE FRENCH ALPS
Say “adieu” to the City of Light as we catch the high-speed train down to the gem of the French Riviera, Nice, just in time to celebrate Bastille Day! This is the biggest French holiday, and we’ll celebrate just as locals do by watching the fireworks down by the beach. During our time in the French Riviera, we’ll visit the incredible hilltop village of Èze, which is so well-preserved that you wouldn’t know it dates from medieval times. Spend the afternoon relaxing on a pristine beach. Our next stop is the alpine village of Castellane, where we’ll go on an adrenaline-pumping rafting and ropes course adventure in the Gorges du Verdon–the Grand Canyon of France. En route to our next beautiful French destination, Aix-en-Provence, we’ll stop and smell the lavender at Provence’s famous purple flower fields! Of course, what better way to finish your time in France than with a soak at a spa? While in Aix-en-Provence, you’ll have the chance to visit the city’s thermal baths, which are famous for the healing properties of the water.
DAYS 11-12: BARCELONA
After another train ride, we’ll cross the border from France into Spain. Barcelona is famous for its rich Catalan culture, delicious cuisine, and vibrant nightlife. Explore the colorful Boquería Market and choose your favorite fruit juice flavor from the friendly vendors. Shop along the Passeig de Gràcia Boulevard or soak up the sun on Barceloneta Beach. Marvel at Antoní Gaudí’s incredible unfinished basilica, the Sagrada Familia–no other church in the world looks like it! Take a piece of Spanish culture home with you as you learn to cook your own homemade paella at our private cooking class. For soccer fans, make the pilgrimage to Camp Nou, the football stadium where FC Barcelona plays. We’ll even watch a flamenco performance–watch the dancers’ feet fly!
DAY 13: RETURN FLIGHT TO THE USA
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 11th through 12th and approximately 16 to 18 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.
In London, we stay in a residential neighborhood just steps from two main train stations, which means we can easily travel over the whole city.
In Paris, we stay in the heart of the 9th Arondissement, close to the Opera House. In Nice, we will be in the historical quarter. Our hotels are modern and feature air conditioning, always a must in France in the summer!
Our Barcelona hotel is in the center of the Gothic Quarter, just steps from La Rambla but located on a quiet side street away from all the noise.
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 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 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!
The food in Spain can be a variety of styles, but one of the most amazing food traditions to ever exist remains the same throughout the whole country – tapas! Can’t decide on what to order? No problem! With tapas, you can try a little bit of everything. Tapas are small, shared dishes that accumulate to a full meals served in multiple appetizer sized plates.
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 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.
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 were awarded Top Youth Travel Organization in 2017.
"On my TFT trip, I had the most amazing time. Not only did I get to explore a few cool cities, but I was supported by the best staff. I instantly became extremely close friends with the other kids on TFT trip. Everyone who went was so nice, and within minutes after my arrival in San Diego, any nervous energy I felt had been let go. Over those two weeks, I learned how to be independent, and trust myself as well as how to rely on other kids my age. I loved swimming in the Pacific Ocean. I had so many favorite parts that I can't choose one. We stayed at this incredibly beautiful mountainside lodge in Lake Tahoe, it was so nice. The last night of my trip was really fun. All the kids stayed up together and talked about how much we would miss each other. Two years later, I hung out with a few of my friends from the trip a month ago. Go on a TFT trip, it's an adventure that you'd be crazy to miss. The connections you will make can last a lifetime."
"Visiting the West Coast and Canada was one of the best decisions of my life hands down. The National Parks were incredible sights to see. Rock climbing in Utah was the scariest adventure of my life, but so rewarding. I loved white water rafting and Alcatraz had the best audio tour I’ve ever heard. Camping out underneath the stars in Utah and Colorado was beautiful and I cannot imagine having a better experience. I loved the friends I made on the trip and my trip leaders were well equipped for all situations we experienced and amazing people in general. I can’t wait to travel with TFT again!"
"Over the summer going into my senior year of high school I took a trip with TFT to Hawaii. I wanted to go out of the country, but my mom was skeptical. I honestly decided to go to Hawaii because it was the farthest state away from home for me. Before going on the trip, I never really thought about what I wanted my major to be in college. I can honestly say that TFT gave me the push start on my current major and helped me find my passion. During the trip, we did beach clean ups, learned about sea turtles, and hung out with some local children. I got volunteer service hours while having so much fun. I had the best time and met so many amazing people. I am a freshman in college now studying conservation biology at the University of Minnesota. I still to this day keep in contact with some of the people I met on that trip and I am so thankful I did it. To anyone thinking about traveling with TFT- I highly recommend it."