The Best Travel Program for Middle Schoolers: Learn More

Jacqueline Comola28 Feb, 2024

In today’s fast-paced digital age, the value of real-world experiences and cultural immersion is more significant than ever for young minds. Middle school travel programs offer a unique blend of education, adventure, and personal development that textbooks simply can’t match. But how do you choose the right program that ensures safety, fun, and meaningful learning?

A group of kids sits on a wooden boat in Thailand

As a parent, you might wonder about the benefits these programs bring and how they shape your child’s perspective. In this article, we delve into these questions, exploring the transformative power of travel for middle schoolers and what makes a program truly outstanding.

Understanding Middle School Travel Programs

Middle school travel programs are not just trips; they’re a leap into the vast pool of real-world education. Stepping out into the world opens up a textbook’s worth of chapters in one go, setting the stage for experiential learning to happen. These programs mix culture, adventure, and skill-building like ingredients in an exotic dish that you can’t get enough of.

Let’s talk about the objectives of middle school travel programs. Picture learning Spanish not from flashcards but by conversing with locals in Costa Rica or understanding sustainability by protecting sea turtle nests on moonlit beaches. The aim is to shape young adventurers who are as comfortable navigating through social dynamics as they are trekking through forests. 

Travel programs foster communication and social skills for young teens. Making friends isn’t easy for everyone, but traveling with a group of peers who are sharing the same experience can help open the door to deeper connection. 

Unfortunately, according to a study by the American Psychological Association, middle schoolers who struggle to make friends are more likely to experience emotional distress or academic issues. In the post-pandemic era, many of us have needed a framework for building our social circles and reaching out to find new friendships. Group travel can help provide that framework. 

What to Look for in a Middle School Travel Program

When it comes to choosing a travel program for your middle schooler, it’s important to know what factors to consider. This decision can shape their growth, learning, and memories in significant ways. Here are some key elements to look for:

Safety First

Safety should always be your top priority. Look for programs that have a strong track record of safety, clear safety protocols, and trained staff. Ask about the student-to-leader ratio and ensure that it’s low enough to provide individual attention to each child. Inquire about the training of the staff, especially in first aid and crisis management. Knowing that your child is in safe hands allows you both to enjoy the experience worry-free.

Educational Value

The best travel programs offer more than just sightseeing. That’s why at Bold Earth, we integrate educational elements that align with your child’s learning. This includes language immersion, exploration of historical landmarks, or sustainability projects. You can also look for programs that offer hands-on learning experiences and opportunities to engage with local cultures and communities. These experiences can offer real-world learning that is both exciting and enriching.

Three girls sit on the edge of a red rock canyon with arms around each otherPersonal Growth Opportunities

Travel can be transformative, especially at a young age. Seek out programs, like our Colorado adventures, that emphasize personal development. This can include building independence, leadership skills, or teamwork. Programs that encourage stepping out of comfort zones in a supportive environment can be particularly beneficial. These experiences can help nurture confidence and self-esteem.

Balanced Itinerary

A well-planned itinerary is key. It should be a mix of structured activities and free time, allowing students to explore and learn at their own pace. At Bold Earth, we try to maintain this balance while offering a variety of experiences – from outdoor adventures to cultural immersion – to ensure that your child stays engaged and excited throughout the trip. One example to check out is our California Discovery tour where students have the chance to surf, rock climb, hike, and raft while also spending quality time together camping under the stars.

Small Group Sizes

Smaller groups allow for a more personalized experience. Your child will have more opportunities to interact with the leaders and peers, creating a close-knit community feel. This setting can be more comfortable for middle schoolers, helping them to open up and fully engage in the experience. It can also lead to closer friendships, even after the trip has ended. 

Communication Plan

As a parent, staying informed is crucial. Choose programs that have a clear communication plan, including regular updates. At Bold Earth, this looks like access to a trip blog and scheduled calls with your trip leaders and child. Knowing how and when you’ll receive updates can give you peace of mind while your child is away.

Cultural Sensitivity and Respect

Opt for programs that teach and practice cultural sensitivity. We recognize that we represent our home countries, our company, and our Bold Earth families when we travel, and because of that, our trip leaders take respectful travel practices seriously. Interacting with local communities is a big part of all our trips, both international and domestic. Respect and cultural sensitivity are also important within our groups of participants and with our professional trip leaders. We aim to create group environments where kids feel free to be themselves, safe in their vulnerability, and valued by their peers. 

How These Programs Shape Future Leaders

Middle school travel programs do more than just fill photo albums; they are a meeting place for tomorrow’s leaders. At Bold Earth, teens tackle challenges head-on in Colorado’s rugged terrain or Costa Rica’s vibrant communities, learning that leadership is not just about taking charge but also about collaboration and adaptability.

A group of kids poses with climbing helmets in front of tropical cliffs in Thailand

In these dynamic settings, students develop a keen sense of independence. Away from their usual routines, they learn to trust their judgment and make decisions on the fly. But it doesn’t stop there; these young adventurers return with stories that transcend borders and an understanding that leadership has many languages.

Beyond individual growth, participants cultivate a global perspective—a crucial trait for modern leaders. Whether navigating California’s coastal ecosystems or engaging in local conservation efforts abroad, they grasp how interconnected our world truly is. This broadened outlook inspires them to think big but act thoughtfully—a balance necessary for shaping a better future.

Choose Bold Earth’s Adventures For Your Next Trip! 

Bold Earth has been around for over 45 years – that’s right, we’ve been operating these adventures since before smartphones were a thing!

Our team’s strength is in creating meaningful small-group adventures. Bold Earth is about creating a tight-knit community vibe. Each group is intentionally small, so everyone gets to know each other. It’s like going on an epic road trip with a bunch of friends – some you’ve just met and some you’ll never forget.

Our incredible leaders are why we really stand out. They’re experts in outdoor activities, professionally trained in first aid and safety, and prioritize making everyone feel included and valued. Plus, they have stories that could fill a book – or, you know, at least a really interesting Instagram feed.

If you’ve got a teenager who’s ready for an adventure, Bold Earth might just be what you’re looking for. It’s more than a trip; trust us! 


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