Hawaii and Alaska Service and Adventure (22 Days)
$6,995 + Airfare + $140 Intra Program Flight
Jun 29 – Jul 20, Jul 10 – Jul 31, Jul 21 – Aug 11
Session 2, Session 3, Session 4
9, 10, 11, 12
|Who can go on this trip?||
Students from around the world!
|Places we visit:||
Maui , Oahu, Anchorage, Seward, Homer, Girdwood
|Optional group flight there:||
Los Angeles (LAX) to Honolulu
|Optional group flight back:||
Anchorage to Seattle
This summer experience fire and ice as we journey to Hawaii and Alaska, two starkly different states with dramatic natural beauty. Our adventure will include a variety of service projects focused on wildlife conservation. In Hawaii we will participate in several projects to protect the endangered hawksbill sea turtles, while in Alaska we will switch from tropical turtles to wildlife that prefers colder temperatures, including the endangered wood bison, moose, and black bears!
In addition to our service work, we will experience the best each state has to offer, from the waterfalls, volcanoes, and beaches of Hawaii, to the glaciers, mountains, and ice fields of Alaska. So grab your bathing suit and your winter cap and join us on the adventure of a lifetime!
On this program you will:
- Earn 40 hours of service on a variety of projects dedicated to wildlife conservation
- Learn about sea turtle conservation and protect the endangered hawksbill sea turtles
- Spend the day with a local Hawaiian family in a beautiful valley at their sustainable farm
- Cook a traditional Hawaiian feast and learn the ways of “old Hawaii”
- Learn to surf on the famous shores of Waikiki Beach
- Try out sea kayaking
- Learn to hula and enjoy a traditional Hawaiian feast at an authentic Hawaiian luau
- Take a step back in time and visit Pearl Harbor Memorial
- Hike through lava tunnels to the top of Diamond Head Crater for stunning coastal views
- Spend time volunteering with the local children of Oahu
- Zipline through lush jungle
- Try a morning of scuba diving and explore the underwater world*
- Catch the sunrise from the top of Haleakala Volcano and bike down through the clouds*
- Play beach volleyball, swim in crystal clear water, and enjoy life under the Hawaiian sun
- Whitewater raft up to Class IV rapids in two stunning canyons
- Strap on crampons and literally “walk on water” as you hike across a glacier, or for those brave enough, learn how to ice climb!*
- Spend time in Kenai Fjord National Park and hike to the top of the Harding Ice Field
- Stargaze and, if we’re lucky, even see the Northern Lights!
- Channel your inner musher as we visit an Iditarod training camp and take the sled dogs out on a run
- Hike to a glacially fed alpine lake filled with icebergs!
- Explore the charming town of Girdwood, hike, play disc golf, and adventure to your heart’s content
- Visit the Anchorage Museum and gain insight into the Inuit way of life
- Enjoy delicious seafood fresh from the Pacific
- Kayak in a glacial bay and keep an eye out for seals and other wildlife
*These are optional activities
DAY 1: GROUP FLIGHT DEPARTS FROM LOS ANGELES
As the group flight takes off, our epic journey officially begins!
DAYS 1–4: Aloha Waikiki!
Oahu is the perfect island for a little bit of adventure! We will take a surf lesson on the famous shores of Waikiki with professional instructors who will have you riding waves in no time. Our hotel is just steps away from the beach, so we will have plenty of time to relax, swim, and enjoy some quality time in the summer sun! For a truly unique experience, we’ll hike through a lava tunnel to the top of famous Diamond Head Crater for breathtaking views of the island.
No visit to Oahu would be complete without a journey to the past to pay respects at the USS Arizona and Pearl Harbor Memorials. Accessible only by boat, this memorial is one of several sites in Hawaii commemorating the attack on Pearl Harbor and honoring those who lost their lives as well as the few remaining survivors.
Our time in Oahu will be made even more special with a visit to the Boys and Girls Club in Honolulu. While here we will run a program for the children involving sports, arts and crafts, or anything else we can dream up! This provides the opportunity to bond with the children and gain more insight into BGCH’s mission of inspiring the local Hawaiian youth.
DAYS 5-11: MAUI SEA TURTLE SERVICE & ADVENTURE
Maui is truly a Hawaiian paradise with pristine white sand beaches, colorful coral reefs, lush vegetation, and turquoise ocean. Lucky for us, our hotel is right across the street from some of the best beaches on the island! We can hop over any time we like for beach volleyball, relaxation, and a refreshing swim.
Maui is also home to our sea turtle service project. We partner with a local organization dedicated to protecting and researching this endangered species. We’ll learn all about the hawksbill sea turtles and will participate in a variety of projects dedicated to sea turtle conservation. Some of these projects include snorkeling and reef surveying to collect ocean data and look for turtles, beach cleanups to protect their natural habitats, watching over basking turtles on the beach, and educating tourists.
Summer is also the time of year these turtles typically come on the beach to nest. This means that it is very likely that we will have the opportunity to participate in a night watch for nesting turtles or watch over a nest hatching and help the babies make their way safely to the ocean!
For a truly authentic experience while on Maui, we will visit a small village tucked away in a private valley. Here you can fully immerse yourself in the traditional Hawaiian lifestyle. The valley is stunning and surrounded by rolling hills, lush vegetation, streams and hiking trails. It’s a place tourists would never be able to visit. Only those with a special invitation can visit this magical place and we will have the unique opportunity to spend the day there!
Connect with a local Hawaiian family and help out with their sustainability projects including taro farming and fish pond restoration. Embrace Hawaiian traditions and try your hand at a variety of activities such as hula, drumming, and even cooking a Hawaiian feast! This is a true cultural immersion experience and a wonderful way to experience the true meaning of Ohana in Hawaii!
Our service work will be complemented with plenty of fun activities, including sea kayaking, zip lining, walking through bamboo forests to waterfalls, scuba diving, and learning to hula from a professional hula dancer.
There will also be an optional excursion to catch the sunrise from the top of Haleakala Volcano and bike down through the clouds. For those who don’t feel comfortable biking, don’t worry, there is the option to ride down in a vehicle too!
Of course, no trip to Hawaii would be complete without a traditional Hawaiian luau!
DAYS 11-14: ANCHORAGE, ALASKA & WILDLIFE CONSERVATION CENTER, AND GLACIER TREK
After we say Aloha to Hawaii, we will travel to the other non-contiguous state: Alaska! We’ll fly to Anchorage, the State Capital, a city holding 40% of the state’s population yet, only the 4th biggest city (In square miles). Here we will explore the city, see what survived the famous quake of 1964 and get an insight into Alaska history and culture while visiting the Anchorage Museum.
We’ll spend time volunteering at Alaska’s Wildlife Conservation Center. We’ll have a walking tour of the property with a naturalist guide and immerse ourselves in the natural history of the 13 species of Alaskan wildlife housed here. Working alongside staff and naturalist interns we’ll work on projects to better the lives of the animals through husbandry, maintenance, and enrichment projects. We will even get to feed moose and make “toys” for wolves and bear cubs! Not only is this a fantastic opportunity to give the animals unique experiences, it is a once in a lifetime chance to see Alaskan wildlife exhibiting natural behaviors up close and personal!
While in Anchorage we will take a day trip out for a surreal experience literally “walking on water” as we trek across the Matanuska Glacier. Those who are looking for an adrenaline pumping experience will have the option to ice climb instead! Our expert guides will help us navigate the glacier to discover stunning formations and bright blue ice.
DAYS 15-16: HOMER
Continuing with our theme of service we will be spending time at a living laboratory on the south shore of Kachemak Bay. This is only accessible by boat from Homer and we will stay overnight in traditional Yurts. Our group will learn about natural history and assist with maintenance and light construction projects.
Once the project is completed we will have a chance to explore Homer, the Halibut capital of the world. Our group will go on a stunning hike in Kachemak Bay State Park to an iceberg lake and explore the town of Homer, including the unique Homer Spit, a 4.5 mile piece of thin land jutting into the bay where the harbor, restaurants, hotels, and some of the more historic areas of Homer are located.
DAYS 17-20: SEWARD
Seward is considered one of the best adventure capitals of the State. During our time here we will get our adrenaline pumping while Whitewater Rafting down Six Mile creek between two stunning canyons. We will Sea Kayak in Resurrection Bay and learn about the history of the area, discover wildlife, and check out the coastal rainforest. We’ll also visit the Alaska Sealife Center to provide a close up look at many of the species that make up the waters.
To top off our time in Seward we will experience what many people call the most beautiful hike they have ever done heading up to the Harding Ice Field at Exit Glacier.
DAY 21: GIRDWOOD
What better way to end a dream trip than channeling our inner Iditarod dog sledding champion? We will visit a camp for the dogs, get to know the team, ride on a circuit, listen to some incredible Iditarod stories, and to top it off, get to cuddle some pups who will someday be racers themselves! We will spend the rest of the day hiking, playing disc golf and soaking in the beautiful sights of Girdwood before taking a tram 2,000 feet up and dining overlooking the spectacular valley and the Turnagain Arm.
DAY 22: GROUP FLIGHT DEPARTS FROM ANCHORAGE
What kind of teen typically participates in this program?
We have teens join this program from all over the world! They are typically culturally curious teens who are excited about making new friends, stepping out of their comfort zone, expanding their horizons, and trying something new.
What are the requirements to join?
This program is only for students who are currently in 9th through 12th grade and approximately 14 to 18 years old. Students living outside of the USA are welcome to join!
Where do we stay?
Our hotels and hostels 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.
In Maui we stay at a beautiful hotel right across from the beach in sunny Kihei. We will also spend two nights at rustic cabins in a beautiful private valley. In Oahu we stay at a great hotel right in the center of vibrant Waikiki that is walking distance to all of the shops, restaurants, and best of all, just a few blocks from Waikiki Beach! There are swimming pools at both hotels perfect for cooling off after a fun day spent under the sun. In Alaska we will stay at the University of Anchorage, a waterfront hotel, and even have the unique Alaskan experience of staying in yurts!
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 program.
Do most travelers go by themselves?
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 are formed along the way. If you travel by yourself, you 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 BFFs on another TFT program the next summer!
Can I bring a friend?
Absolutely! We just ask that if you come with a friend, you and your friend(s) are still open to meeting new people and sharing this special experience with the entire group.
What do students like most about this program?
Students love that this trip is the perfect combination of two very different, yet beautiful states. These states are effortlessly tied together with the common theme of wildlife conservation.
What is unique about this program?
We have an exclusive invite to a private valley where we have the unique opportunity to spend the day with a Hawaiian family learning their traditional way of life. Those lucky enough to visit describe the valley as magical, and it would be impossible to have this experience as just a tourist! In Alaska, working with the Wildlife Conservation Center provides special access to a wide variety of Alaska’s unique wildlife.
What is included?
Ground transportation, accommodations, all breakfasts and dinners, chaperones and guides, program-related activities and admissions, taxes and tips.
Not Included (not intended to be an exhaustive list): Airfare, 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 this program’s flight details. You are not required to take the group flight, although there are several advantages to doing so. The group flight is chaperoned by TFT staff, it offers an opportunity for the students to get to know each other before the program starts, and we get preferred group flight prices on programs that have group contracts (ask for details). Parents are responsible for arranging for participants to get to the group flight airport. Travel For Teens staff are at the airport, greet arriving participants, and help them get to where the rest of the group has assembled. For more information about Flights, visit our Flights page.
WHO LEADS THE PROGRAM?
The Trip Director for every program is a seasoned teen travel professional with extensive TFT experience. Trip Directors often live or have lived and worked in the destination country. Extensive knowledge of the language and culture of the destination is crucial. Our Senior Counselors are experienced, responsible and fun-loving individuals who our participants can share experiences with and look to for guidance and support. At Travel for Teens we pride ourselves on our rigorous staff application process and the professionalism of our full time and summer staff.
It is the job of the counselors to keep the program fun and exciting, the learning and the laughter in good balance, and to oversee the safety of the participants. Minimum ratios are on average one staff member to every seven participants. Programs may also include one or two Junior Counselors, who are college students with a history of TFT travel, and one or more Counselors in Training (CIT’s) with limited responsibility. CIT’s are not counted in staff-participant ratios.
In addition to the TFT staff from outside South Africa, there will also be a local full-time TFT guide with the group for the entirety of the program.
What are the safety qualifications for our staff?
All of our staff members attend a week-long training session prepare for the upcoming summer and go over safety precautions and protocols. Likewise, every counselor is CPR/First Aid certified and Trip Directors are Lifeguard certified. All staff undergo a rigorous interview process and thorough background check.
What is the average group size?
Group size is important! A smaller group size provides unique opportunities that a large group cannot accommodate. Think of your favorite local restaurant; could it easily accommodate a group of 50 teens? Probably not! Our group sizes average between 14 to 21 students, which means that we are able to comfortably use local transport, enjoy local restaurants, and have a more authentic experience overall! A smaller group size also eliminates the likelihood of cliques, meaning that our groups all tend to bond as a cohesive unit. We guarantee that you’ll have enough people to meet some new best friends, but not so many that you feel like “just a number” or lost in a crowd.
How does this program connect to other programs?
Most of our programs are designed specifically so that participants can combine them with other trips. If you are connecting to another program, your counselor will escort you to the airport on the last day of the trip and help you get to your next destination where you will meet up with your new counselors and group.
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 food in Hawaii involves plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, and of course, seafood! Some typical foods we will have the chance to try are Poke bowls, Acai bowls, poi, and breadfruit. In Alaska, gorge yourself on salmon and sample the delicious king crab!
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.
How much free time do we get?
Our counselors are with the group almost always. Everyday we will break up into smaller groups to give our participants some choices and flexibility in their itinerary. We do offer some free time to do some shopping, for example, in defined areas that we are very familiar with. If participants are ever shopping by themselves within these defined areas they go in groups and for no more than an hour. A counselor will always be nearby when participants have free time in each location. A lifeguard certified counselor will be supervising the students any time they are involved in water activities.
Do I need any vaccinations for this program?
We recommend that you check with your family doctor regarding vaccinations and medical advice for the areas you will be visiting. For more information, please check out the World Health Organization’s website www.who.int/en/. After you register, we will provide you with a list of vaccinations you should consider discussing with your child’s family doctor.
What kind of Visa do you need for this program?
If you are coming from somewhere outside the US, please be sure to check your country specific visa requirements.