5 Reasons to Take a Teen on a Nature Trip

Maddi Higgins March 12, 2014 1

Some teenagers are masters at weaseling their way out of so-called “family time.” Taking teens to see the world on a nature journey is a great way to foster deeper family ties—and make them better world citizens to boot.

It’s a great use of summer vacation time.

A family with teens traveling in Bhutan

Photo (c) Jim Sano

Your teen is not likely to have another summer vacation like this again, so grab hold of the free time while it’s available. This works especially well for older teens in college, who often have long breaks during off-peak travel times. Popular summertime tours include the Galapagos, African safaris and  Yellowstone National Park.

They can make a difference.

Teen and adult travelers celebrating in Alaska

Photo (c) Elisabeth Kruger/WWF

According to a 2006 survey by Cone Inc. and AMP Insights of 1,800 13-to 25-year-olds, 61 percent of young people feel personally responsible for making a difference in the world. Nature travel fosters that personal connection between a person and a cause. Research the benefits of ecotourism before leaving on your trip to show how traveling eco-consciously protects wildlife. Start your education with ecotourism expert Court Whelan’s blog series “Spotlight on Sustainability.”

Share the experience on social media

A family having fun traveling in Alaska

Photo (c) Elisabeth Kruger/WWF

Raking in “likes” on Facebook is a major ego boost. And nothing catches the eye of a Facebook browser like a close-up photograph of an animal or a dramatic landscape. Many digital cameras are equipped to quickly upload photos and videos to your teen’s various social media outlets.

Try new (and lots of) food

Columbian food

Photo (c) Diego M. Garces/WWF-Canon

Teenagers, especially boys, are famous for the amount of food they can pack away. I have a 15-year-old brother and can assure you the fame is well-deserved. Why not put those indulgent superpowers to good use by trying out local cuisines? Explore local restaurants and immerse yourself in the culture. Even ship-based tours are staffed with chefs specializing in local cuisines.

Tell amazing stories

A teen viewing a gorilla in Uganda

Photo (c) Ben Bressler

Most college admissions processes require applicants to write a personal college essay. To stand out from the pack, students clamor and rack their brains to find that one special story that sets them a part. Traveling somewhere new will give your teen a jump-start on life-changing experiences many people never receive. It’s cliché to say that travel will change your life, but it’s a cliché because it’s true—nothing gives you a whole new perspective like leaving your comfort zone.

Check out WWF and NatHab’s Family-Friendly Adventures.

One Comment »

  1. Cathy Beach April 9, 2014 at 4:54 am - Reply

    Great Article! Love the inclusion of using Tech one way of tapping into teen engagement. Would be great if you could get a share button added to these pages? Have shared on Twitter manually – couldn’t find a Twitter share button. Thanks!

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