With an abundance of rolling hills, plunging cliffs, emerald green grass, and fairytale castles, you can’t help but fall in love with the unique beauty of Scotland and Ireland! Discover the cultural and historical connections between these two countries, starting in majestic Edinburgh. Explore this imperial city with a stroll down the Royal Mile and a visit to Edinburgh Castle. Climb to the top of Arthur’s Seat for a stunning panorama of Edinburgh, get transported to a fairytale while driving through the Scottish Highlands, and cruise down Loch Ness searching for Nessie.
After a stop in the vibrant city of Dublin, we will have a truly unique experience while staying at an adventure camp on Achill, the largest island off the coast of Ireland. Hit the magnificent beaches for surfing, coasteering, and sea kayaking. Hike 2500 feet up to the summit of Croagh Patrick for an unforgettable view of the greenest islands scattered across a crystal blue bay below. Try your hand at flying falcons at a Falconry School in the quaint village of Cong. End your Emerald Isle adventure in Galway, a charming coastal city filled with rich Gaelic culture. To top it all off, stand atop 700-foot-tall cliffs and enjoy a banquet feast at a medieval castle. Join us on this unforgettable trip through charming cities and green countryside!
On this program, you will:
- Stroll along the Royal Mile and explore Edinburgh Castle
- Take a boat cruise on Loch Ness in search of the Loch Ness monster
- Ride through the unforgettable Scottish Highlands
- Have lunch at the cafe where J.K. Rowling wrote the Harry Potter books
- Climb Arthur’s Seat for the best view of Edinburgh from above
- Take a ghost tour through the most haunted parts of this Scottish city, going belowground through spooky vaults and secret passageways
- For those brave enough, sample a traditional dish, haggis
- Try surfing and sea kayaking on Achill Island (for all skill levels)
- Jump, climb, swim and slide your way along coastal rock formations on a coasteering adventure
- Conquer Croagh Patrick mountain for breathtaking views of the bay and islands below
- Take a lesson in the ancient art of falconry at a castle and let falcons soar from your hand
- Bike ride around Inishmore and visit a ring fort on the side of a cliff that was built around the 2nd century BC
- Shop for your very own authentic wool sweater at the Aran Islands sweater market
- Eat like the locals at Galway’s most famous fish and chips restaurant
- Visit one of the most famous natural sights in the world at the Cliffs of Moher
- Feast like kings and queens at a medieval banquet with a show of traditional Irish dancing and fiddle music
DAY 1: DEPART FROM NEW YORK (JFK)
DAYS 2-5: EDINBURGH > LOCH NESS
Welcome to the regal city of Edinburgh! We’ll get acquainted with a walk down the famous Royal Mile, with the iconic Edinburgh Castle on one end and the official residence of Her Majesty the Queen (Holyrood Palace) on the other. Marvel at the impressive architecture towering above the city and sneak a peek down cobblestone passageways off the main road. We’ll visit the eclectic Grassmarket area, which during medieval times was a bustling marketplace and is now packed with lively restaurants and great shopping that makes for a truly dynamic atmosphere. Get the adrenaline pumping on our climb to the top of Arthur’s Seat, which legend holds could have been the site of Camelot, and sit back to enjoy the view of this beloved medieval city below. Once the sun sets, we’ll delve into Edinburgh’s spooky past with a local guide. Exploring the haunted closes and courtyards first, we’ll then go underground to unravel the city’s chilling history. In addition to getting to know Edinburgh like a local, we’ll take a trip out to Loch Ness to experience the stunning beauty of the Scottish Highlands, and cruise through the lake searching for Nessie before touring Urquhart Castle, the medieval fortress on the banks of the river.
DAYS 6-9: DUBLIN > ACHILL ISLAND
Hop a flight from Scotland to Ireland and visit the vibrant city of Dublin for a quick tour and lunch. Then we’ll head west to our next destination, Achill Island, Ireland’s largest island. Our local guides will provide all the fun needed for a true Irish experience at this hidden gem. Achill is full of natural beauty: from the pristine beaches to rolling hills and with the charm of frequent sheep appearances, you’ll never want to leave! We’ll throw on our wetsuits and hit the waves for some surfing, kayaking, and coasteering. In the evenings, we’ll grab a bow and arrow and shoot for the bullseye at the camp’s archery center or scale the rock climbing wall. The highlight of our time spent on the west coast of Ireland will be our ascent to the top of Croagh Patrick, a mountain named after St. Patrick, which one million pilgrims climb each year. Our local experts will tell lively accounts of Irish history and the great famine, lead a tour through historic abandoned villages, and take us on a sunset drive along the coast to end our magical island experience on Achill. We’ll leave all the tourists behind on this off-the-beaten-path getaway to a truly unique place and learn what it’s like to visit Ireland as a traveler.
DAYS 10-12: CONG > GALWAY > ARAN ISLANDS
We’ll bid farewell to our friends on Achill and head to the adorable, picturesque village of Cong. Here we will learn the ancient sport of falconry around the grounds of the beautiful Ashford Castle. With help from our expert instructors, we will watch in amazement as the birds fly from our very hands! Launch them into flight, watch them soar into the distance, landing on the trees,and marvel as they swoop back to your glove on command…A rare opportunity and one not likely repeated in a lifetime.
Next, we’ll continue on to our final destination of Galway. We will wander the charming streets of this coastal town, and enjoy the iconic pastel buildings along the buzzing harbor. We’ll spend a day out on the Aran Islands, home to the warmest, softest genuine wool sweaters which have been hand knitted there since the 1800s! Hop on a bike and cruise around the island of Inishmore to discover this ancient fortress town. We’ll save the best for last and round out our time in Ireland with a visit to the iconic Cliffs of Moher, peering over the edge of the Atlantic at this mesmerizing view. Finish this unique adventure with a decadent banquet feast in a medieval castle on our final night. Join us for an unforgettable adventure of emerald green landscapes, clear blue sea, and medieval treasures!
DAY 13: RETURN FLIGHT TO THE USA
Frequently Asked Questions
Who can go on this trip? What kind of teen typically goes on this trip?
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!
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 Edinburgh, we stay in a top rated youth hostel located right in the city center, just steps from the Royal Mile. On Achill Island, we stay at an adventure center that caters specifically to student groups. Our expert guides are on site 24/7 and the center provide us with home cooked meals everyday. In Galway, we stay in a hostel within walking distance of all the sights and best shopping.
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 like the most about this program?
Students love that they are able to explore some of the most beautiful parts of these two countries, from the trendy city of Edinburgh to the tiny village of Cong, Ireland. This program allows them to discover the similarities and differences of the unique cultures in Scotland and Ireland.
What is unique about this program?
Practically everything about this program is unique, as Travel for Teens offers an unparalleled experience in Scotland and Ireland. From the search for Nessie, to a stay on the exclusive Achill Island with expert local adventure guides, flying falcons in Cong, and biking around the Aran Islands, this program offers insider access to some of the most untouched destinations in these two countries. This program is perfect for the student who wants to take the path less traveled, and explore the hidden gems of Scotland and Ireland.
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.
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.
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.
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!
The UK is famous for a wide variety of international cuisine and we will have plenty of choices each day in Scotland! From fresh-baked scones to warm herbal tea at the cafe where JK Rowling wrote Harry Potter, we will taste the best of Edinburgh. Those brave enough will even have the opportunity to try haggis, a famous Scottish delicacy!
In Ireland, we will indulge in the most delicious fish & chips you will ever eat! We will also eat at traditional Irish pubs and on Achill, we will enjoy delicious home-cooked meals every day from our accommodation.
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.
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.
"Thank you for such thorough updates. As we’re sure you have heard from others, it feels like we are right there with you. With the exception of feeling the indescribable waterfall you mentioned. We are so thrilled that Max has another opportunity with Travel for Teens this year. So far Japan, Peru and now Iceland. His feedback to us is that he’s surprised with all the beauty of the country. He knew it would be beautiful but not to this extent. Thank you so so ...much for making his journey pleasant and delightful. With our experience of your company we don’t expect anything less. Thank you for choosing this path, with your true passion and enthusiasm, you must know that you are changing teens lives forever. The ripple effect is hard to speak of and write."