Southeast USA Program Overview
Southeastern America is home to natural wonders and off-the-beaten-path adventures! Join a small group of like-minded peers as you travel south from Washington D.C. to Florida to experience some of the country’s most exciting destinations along the way.
Cruise the stunning Blue Ridge Highway, hike in both Shenandoah and Great Smoky Mountain National Parks, learn to surf in Georgia, and white water raft and zipline through the regions lush forests!
This adventure is perfect for teens looking to make new friends while enjoying exciting outdoor activities.
This program limits exposure to outside groups and the majority of our time will be spent outdoors where we can easily social distance and ensure the health and safety of our participants.
During this program, you will…
- Zipline through the treetops in the Blue Ridge Mountains
- Hike Shenandoah National Park, home to America’s oldest mountain range
- Learn to Surf in Georgia
- Capture the Lincoln and Washington Memorials lit up at night
- Whitewater raft down the Nantahala River
- Swim in the ocean and lounge on white-sand beaches
- Visit two world-renowned amusement parks: Disneyworld and Universal Studios!
- Wander the cobblestone streets of charming Charleston, SC
DAY 1: ARRIVE IN WASHINGTON, D.C.
Spend your first evening getting to know your new friends and learning the highlights of our country’s capital city! After some fun group bonding games and icebreakers, we’ll head to see the Lincoln Memorial & Washington Monument lit up at night and choose one of the Smithsonian Institution’s many incredible museums to explore!
DAYS 2-3: SHENANDOAH NATIONAL PARK & ROANOKE, VA
Leave the city behind and get ready to explore the natural wonders of Virginia. The Skyline Drive through Shenandoah National Park will take you through the peaks of America’s oldest mountain range. Cruise through the Appalachians on the Blue Ridge Parkway to Roanoke, Virginia — nestled between the Shenandoah Valley and the Blue Ridge Mountains. Hike to the largest star in America: The Mill Mountain Star, which overlooks Roanoke from the highest point in the city! Before leaving Virginia, zipline through the treetops at an adventure park.
DAYS 3-4: ASHEVILLE, NC & GREAT SMOKY MOUNTAINS NATIONAL PARK
The next stop on the journey is Asheville, an eclectic mountain city waiting to be explored. Your home base in the Blue Ridge Mountains is the perfect location to enjoy all of the exciting activities the region has to offer. Whitewater raft down the Nantahala River, explore the hiking trails in Great Smoky Mountain National Park, and immerse yourself in the arts and culture of Asheville!
DAYS 4-5: CHARLESTON, SC
Charming Charleston greets its visitors with cobblestone streets, horse-drawn carriages, and unique southern architecture. Go for a sunset sail in historic Charleston Harbor to see the city from the water at the most beautiful time of day.
DAYS 6-8: SAVANNAH & TYBEE ISLAND, GA
Stay on Tybee Island — home to gorgeous beaches, historic lighthouses, and plenty of fun activities! Attend surf camp in the mornings and spend your afternoons sampling southern cuisine, relaxing by the ocean, and wandering through whimsical Forsyth tree tunnels.
DAYS 8-10: ORLANDO FL
Round out your journey through the American Southeast in the sunshine state of Florida! Relax by the shore on beautiful white-sand beaches and visit two famous amusement parks: Disneyworld and Universal Studios! If golfing is your thing, take a trip to a world-renowned course and try to get under par.
Cap off your adventure with a special final dinner shared with all of your new friends as you recap your memories from the past ten days.
DAY 11: RETURN HOME
Frequently Asked Questions
What kind of teen typically participates in this program? What are the requirements to join?
Teens from all over the world join this program! Typically, our participants are 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 for participants who are currently in grades 9th through 12th and approximately 14 to 18 years old. Teens 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.
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 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.
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 a TFT program? Can you accommodate dietary restrictions?
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!
We also love to have picnics al fresco and do this whenever possible, which is a great way to taste some local food while sitting out in the fresh air taking in the sights and sounds of our surroundings.
As always, we are 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?
When joining a TFT trip from outside of the US, please be sure to check your country’s specific visa requirements.