Here is a list of characteristics to look out for as you and your teen select a youth tour program.
Departing for a group tour sans parents can be an exciting new experience for a teenager. Just because a trip is without parents, however, doesn’t mean that it should be without guidelines or safety.
Today’s teens can pick from specialized sports camps, cultural immersions, community service projects, learning abroad semesters, college courses and more, each supervised in a different way. In past years, the Parent’s League of New York offered the following screening tips for teen tour programs and FTF recommends them:
• Interview the tour’s director — does he/she speak openly and consider your questions carefully?
• Try to obtain the complete itinerary including accommodations, hotels and hostels. Consider the size of the group, the number of supervisors, and whether the groups are coed or segregated.
• Discipline: Are teens “curfewed,” that is sent home for repeated infractions of the rules? Is there a policy on cigarettes, alcohol and drugs? If so, be sure to discuss it with your teen beforehand.
• Are supervisors trained in CPR and First Aid? What is the procedure in case of an accident? How can parents make contact with their kids in case of an emergency?
• How do they accommodate special diets such as diabetic, vegetarian, etc.
• For bicycle tours, is there transportation by bus/vans (to where the tour starts). If so, are they inspected regularly and are seatbelts worn? Does the tour travel on any major highways and what special gear is required?
• Referral by “word of mouth” is the best way to obtain both information and endorsement. Is there a list of references with whom you can speak?
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