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Budgeting for Teen Tours

Understanding the True Cost of Teen Travel

By Choice Camps Staff

Updated Oct. 28, 2009, 12:51 p.m.

Summer travel opportunities for teens are available to almost every continent and country in the world. Costs vary dramatically from trip-to-trip, and it's important to be aware of the following factors when selecting a teen tour that fits your budget.

Accommodations Often Influence Cost

There are generally five types of accommodations on teen tours: hotels, hostels, dorms, home stays, and outdoor camping. Because most teen trips travel to the world's most popular destinations, trips that offer hotel stays tend to be the most expensive due to high room rates. Teen tours that visit backcountry locales are often the least expensive as camping accommodations don't usually come with high costs. Some trips offer a mix of different accommodations, bringing the price to a happy medium.

Airfare is Rarely Included
Almost no teen trip operators include airfare in the tuition cost of the trip. Depending on where the trip begins and ends, airfare could potentially add hundreds (or even thousands) of dollars to the total price of the trip. Ask the teen tour operator about airfare - even if it's not included in the initial price, providers often negotiate group rates to help families save.

What About Meals?
Most meals are typically included in the cost of a teen trip. However, many times trip operators will give students several "free choice" meals on their own, which are generally not included in the cost of the program. Be sure to ask how many meals each day are included in the tuition price, and where students typically dine (restaurants, college dining halls, campgrounds, etc.). Can vegetarian or other special diets be accommodated (the answer is typically a resounding "yes")? Finally, be sure to pack some extra cash for snacks and beverages along the way.

Don't Forget Extra Spending Money

There are always souvenirs and other items that students want to bring home to remember their trip. Everything from college sweatshirts to foreign country flags may be purchased, and it's important to budget for those items. Some travelers bring just a couple of extra dollars to spend on unique items, while others splurge on high-end shopping sprees in foreign fashion hot-spots.

Know Your Refund Rights
It's important to know the trip's refund policy before booking. If a student can't make the trip for whatever reason, is there any refund? Beyond the trip tuition cost, if airfare or other travel expenses must be incurred, are they refundable? You never know when your plans may change, so it's important to learn about the program's refund policy and flexibility.

Take Advantage of Seasonal or Special Discounts
Most teen tours offer early bird discounts to families who book in the fall. These discounts can sometimes be as much as 20% off the tuition price! Discounts are also available to students who bring friends or family with them. The more friends and family you refer, the more money you'll save!

For great deals on teen tours anywhere in the world, call a Choice Camps Expert at 617-264-0939. We'll be happy to match your family with a great teen trip free of charge!

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