Get ready for the ultimate winter adventure in the mountains of Switzerland and France! The Alps are legendary for their breathtaking beauty and adrenaline-pumping activities. Set off on an unforgettable journey with Travel For Teens filled with majestic views, quaint mountain villages, and postcard-perfect scenery. Hit the slopes on one of our skiing excursions in Chamonix, France or Saas-Fee, Switzerland for the ultimate alpine adventure.
Ice skate on sparkling frozen lakes, sip delectable hot Swiss cocoa with a glorious mountain view, and experience an iconic European Christmas market! There’s no better time to enjoy Swiss fondue or a warm French croissant. We’ll eat and adventure our way through these two incredible destinations over the course of this winter break journey!
This program is the perfect combination of natural beauty and outdoor activities to help us appreciate the best of Alpine culture in Europe!
During this program, you will…
- Stay in a traditional Swiss chalet and spend an evening relaxing at the spa in our quaint mountain village
- Ice skate in the quaint village of Chamonix
- Go tubing down a snow-packed slope
- Snowshoe through the French and Swiss Alps
- Go skiing at one of the most famous resorts in the Alps
- Indulge in Swiss cheese fondue or raclette
- Sip hot Swiss chocolate cocoa while you peruse an authentic European Christmas Market
*This is an optional excursion
Important Note: Keep in mind that we will be participating in physical outdoor activities such as mountain biking, hiking, and canyoning. Please come physically prepared to be active, hike in the mountains, and participate in this range of supercool activities.
DAY 1: DEPART FROM NEW YORK (JFK)
DAYS 2-4: ANNECY
We begin our alpine expedition in the heart of the French Alps exploring the quaint town of Annecy, often referred to as the “Venice of the Alps” due to its beautiful canals. We’ll be spoiled by the unbelievable mountain views surrounding us and the breathtaking turquoise blue lake in the center of this picture-perfect city. We’ll wander through the enchanting old town, lined with pastel buildings covered in flowers and charming cafes, to the iconic Palais de l’Isle Chateau sitting serenely in the center of the main canal.
We’ll get the adrenaline pumping on the Via Ferrata, a high altitude ropes course — after being hooked up to a safety harness, you will reach incredible heights and navigate the mountains while marveling at the views over Lake Annecy. Later we’ll enjoy a boat cruise around the lake and stop to do some hiking, stand-up paddleboarding, kayaking, and hanging out at the beach. The highlight of our time in the French Alps will be soaring through the air above Lake Annecy as we will have an option to go paragliding in this beautiful mountain town.
DAYS 5-7: CHAMONIX > SAAS-GRUND
On the way to our next destination, we will make a stop in Montreux, Switzerland for lunch and shopping. Here we will visit the Chateau de Chillon, one of the best-preserved medieval castles in Europe, and take a dip in Lake Geneva with a stunning view of the Chateau! Then we’ll continue on to Saas-Grund, where fresh mountain air awaits us at our chalet in the Swiss Alps, a sunny paradise of rivers, alpine pastures, forests, and glaciers. Using a mountain lodge as our base, we’ll explore the area and all of the outdoor activities on hand including mountain biking, hiking the spectacular trails nearby, and canyoning through waterfalls. We will also have the option to go skiing on a glacier mountain in one of the most renowned ski resorts in the Saas Valley! Of course, no visit to Switzerland would be complete without a visit to the impressive Matterhorn! As always, our emphasis is on safety and we will be accompanied by professional local guides as we hike, bike, canyon, and ski.
DAY 8 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 were awarded top youth travel organization in 2017.
"For my graduation present last year, I was grateful enough to travel to Italy with TFT! I was a bit nervous about traveling across the world without knowing anyone beforehand, but the staff and my peers were all so friendly and welcoming! Everything about this trip was so FUN, exciting, and very well organized. From the airport designations to the travel itinerary, everything was smooth sailing. There was always something new for us to do/see which was my favorite part of the trip. Although relaxing, it was fulfilling to be kept busy with a new culture to explore. I highly recommend not only the Amalfi trip, but any trip with TFT! They are an extremely trust worthy company and my parents were confident that I was being left in good hands. This trip was hands down one of the best trips I have been on and am excited to be traveling with TFT again soon!"
"When I decided I wanted to travel last summer, I looked at quite a few websites before I finally found TFT. I knew immediately that they were the company I wanted to spend my summer with because they had such a variety of intriguing options. The trip that really piqued my interest was the Europe for Older Teens: Prague, Austria, Slovenia & Croatia, and my experience with TFT ended up being two of the best weeks of my life! The activities were a perfect mix of history, culture, and free time to get to know all of the amazing people this tour allowed me to meet. Whether it was the locals, counselors, or other campers, I so enjoyed spending time with and interacting with them all! From wandering around the magical streets of Prague, gorging on pastries (and just food in general) in Vienna, indulging in the splendor of nature in Bled, and having my breath taken away by the charm of the Adriatic, every day was a treat. My summer with Travel for Teens was unforgettable, and I look forward to seeing even more of the world with them in the future!"
"Traveling with TFT was a life-changing experience for me. I was a very shy person and not very outgoing before I went on my trip to Europe. I was very nervous that I wouldn't fit in and the next month was going to be hard. In the end, it was the exact opposite. I made so many friends that I was sad to leave. The counselors made it easy to communicate with everyone so we were all really great friends. I would recommend TFT to anyone who is looking to step out of their comfort zone and travel. The activities we did were amazing. Although there was a tight schedule to make sure we got the most out of our trip, there was always free time at night where we could just wander and explore. Overall it was a life-changing experience that I will never forget!"
Frequently Asked Questions
What kind of teen typically participates in a TFT program? What are the requirements to join?
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.
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 Annecy, we stay at a charming hotel in the center of the old town, just steps from the best shopping, restaurants, and beautiful canals of this medieval city. In Saas-Grund, we stay in a traditional Swiss chalet complete with absolutely stunning views of the Alps from our balconies. In Lake Como, we will stay in a top-rated hostel overlooking the lake.
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 most about this program?
Students love that they are able to explore the beautiful Alpine towns of three different countries. This program allows them to discover the similarities and differences of the unique cultures in France, Switzerland, and Italy.
What is unique about this program?
From an option to soar over one of the paragliding capitals of the world in Annecy, to our stunning accommodation in a Swiss chalet, and relaxing at Lake Como and soaking up the Italian lifestyle, this program provides unique insider access to all three places. It also provides an adrenaline pumping opportunity for adventure, and in no better place than the alps!
What is included?
Tuition cost includes ground transportation; accommodation; chaperones and guides; program-related activities and admissions; taxes and tips; all breakfasts, three lunches, and dinners.
Not included in the cost (not intended to be an exhaustive list): Airfare, lunches, visas and visa application fees, beverages other than filtered water at meals, activities and admissions not referenced in the itinerary or deemed not program related, such as movies, expenses incurred by the participant that are outside the program description, such as excess baggage fees and damage to hotels, expenses related to unforeseen circumstances, such as transportation strikes and natural disasters, as well as personal and medical expenses.
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!
In France, we’ll enjoy classic French café fare, including the world-famous croissants, French bread, and a classic fondue dinner. And for the brave, escargot of course!
The cuisine in Switzerland has a French influence, and every meal during this duration of our stay is served fresh daily and specifically for our group at our accommodation. There will be fresh veggies and fruit available every day to keep us healthy for all of the activities we will be participating in!
Italian food is all about fresh, simple ingredients. We’ll sample the best of the “three Ps”- pizza, pasta, and panini! Indulging in these Italian specialities for the first time is a life changing experience, and we will be there to document every minute of it as you fall in love with the fresh mozzarella, warm Italian bread, mouth watering prosciutto, and homemade pasta. Don’t forget about gelato! After your trip to Italy, no dessert will ever be the same.
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.
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!