Leading Summer Teen Tours Abroad
By Allyson Klein
Resources updated 6/8/2019 by Transitions Abroad
If you would love to visit Israel or Europe this summer but have no money saved, being a staff member on a teen tour is one way to see the sights without dropping a dime.
Some days, while sunning yourself on a guided sailboat in the San Juan islands with angelic children, you'll feel completely overpaid. But on the day that you're sending a delinquent kid home for smoking and you've been on your feet for 14 hours, a million dollars wouldn't be payment enough.
If you do decide to go for it, here are a few things at minimum that you'll need in order to get your foot in the door for an interview:
- You must be at least 21 years of age prior to the summer you'll be working
- You must possess a driver's license with an unblemished record, be available to attend a training weekend (typically held in May or June),
- You must have your CPR/First Aid certificate or be willing to get it (EMT and lifeguard certification are great pluses).
Each company is different. Some use big tour buses and four-star hotels; others travel by vans driven by the counselors and stay only at campgrounds. Some trips focus on tourist attractions, while others involve a variety of challenging outdoor activities.
You may not get much sleep and you'll be responsible for the welfare of many, but you'll also have the time of your life and truly make a difference in the lives of a great bunch of kids. Also, it looks good on your resume—after this summer your problem-solving skills will be top-notch. It comes down to this: You'll have rock climbing lessons, ski in the Alps, participate in an archaeological dig . . . and get paid for it.
Sample Teen Tour Companies
Note that many teen tour companies are located in the New York area. You may need to travel to and from their office for interviews. Training weekends are usually held in the northeast U.S. or southeast Canada.
A larger collection of summer travel programs with descriptions and contact information can be found in our section Teen and High School Summer Camps and Programs Abroad. Contacting the companies well in advance directly is often the best way to secure a job.
ALLYSON KLEIN worked for Westcoast Connection for three summers on a total of five trips.