Exotic Expeditions: Make Bricks in Peru, Renovate an Indonesian Temple
While all types of teen travel are on the upswing, the most pronounced trend is travel to exotic countries on trips with a community service component. Some trips are arranged by churches and school groups. School counselors are often a good resource for information. Below is a sampling of both nonprofit and profit-making companies delivering quality trips for teens.
· Adventures Cross-Country offers service trips in five countries, starting at $4,695 for three weeks in Costa Rica. The most expensive trip, a month in Thailand, is $6,295. That fee covers airfare from Los Angeles, adventures such as scuba driving, whitewater rafting and an elephant trek, and service projects such as helping in an orphanage and building bridges or houses in a hill tribe village. Details: 800-767-2722, http:/
· Global Routes specializes in student community service trips of three to five weeks that range in price from $3,925 plus airfare for three weeks in the Dominican Republic to $4,725 plus airfare for a month in Tanzania. A trip of more than a month to Peru, for example, includes a visit to Machu Picchu, kayaking around Lake Titicaca and making clay bricks to construct a health clinic. Details: 413-585-8895, http:/
· International Expeditions specializes in eco-tourism and nature travel. While standard trips are not for teens alone, the organization creates customized tours for groups, including various trips focused on community service for teens. Prices vary depending on length of stay, destination and the desires of the group. Details: http:/
· Lifeworks International has service-oriented trips in six countries. Trips, ranging from 17 to 22 days, cost from $3,870 to $5,430 plus airfare. Students on a three-week trip to Australia work in a community center for Aboriginal children, and camp on weekends with the children and their parents. At the end of the trip, there is time to visit the Great Barrier Reef and to photograph wildlife. Details: 800-808-2115, http:/
· National Geographic's Student Expeditions in Asia, Africa, the Caribbean and North and South America focus on learning and adventure, with some opportunities for community service. For example, students on a tour of Ecuador and the Galapagos will snorkel with sea lions and penguins, ride horseback in the Andes, sail above the cloud forest canopy on zip lines, study Inca architecture in Quito and work on conservation projects near Cotopaxi National Park. Experts in photography, biology and other disciplines join the trips at certain points. Three-week trips range in price from $5,990 to $7,390 plus international airfare. Details: 877-877-8759, http:/
· Putney Student Travel organizes teen community service trips to Asia, Africa and North and South America. For example, students traveling to Nusa Penida in Indonesia have in past summers helped subsistence farmers in the fields, taught English and art to kids, and worked on renovating a temple. Students may also choose to become certified divers when not working. Three-week service programs range from $5,590 to $7,790, including airfare. Details: 802-387-5000, http:/