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Best travel groups for 19-year-old female on gap year?

Best travel groups for 19-year-old female on gap year?

Old Jul 12th, 2018, 04:56 AM
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Best travel groups for 19-year-old female on gap year?

Hi! My daughter is 19 and is taking a gap year this year and was hoping to participate in a travel program/tour group for people around her age (18-22/24 y.o.) She is particularly interested in going to western Europe, specifically the UK, France and/or Italy. She and I have been doing a lot of looking online and have come across a few different programs that seem to offer great tours with excellent itineraries such as Contiki, Topdeck, and EF Ultimate Break. However, these tours cater to travelers aged all the way up to 39 years old, and my daughter would prefer to be with people closer to her age like other gap year students and/or university-age students. Also, these travel programs seem to do a lot of partying/drinking, and my daughter isn't really into any of that. She's a bit more introverted, but loves to meet new, like-minded people at the same time. She's very interested in history, art, nature, local cuisine, and cultural immersion while being able to make new friends along the way! Budget is not our primary concern and is flexible. What's most important is that my daughter has an enjoyable, memorable experience! So, I was wondering if anyone has done or knows of any travel programs that might suit my daughter's interests?

Thank you!
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Old Jul 12th, 2018, 06:26 AM
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I think it may be difficult to find a "young people only" tour and certainly one that doesn't involve partying. For instance, these are principally marketed to students, but they are only for weekends and certainly look like there is partying: https://andysteves.com/ What does she have against slightly older people? If she is willing to be more flexible she might look at Intrepid.

Western Europe is very easy to do on your own. I would suggest that she plan her own trip, using trains (see seat61.com ) and budget flights (see skyscanner) and staying in hostels and taking day tours or walking tours to meet people.

There is a gap year forum on Lonely Planet's thorntree.
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Old Jul 12th, 2018, 10:02 AM
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How much time will she have for the trip?
I am not familiar with Topdeck, but I would definitely NOT recommend EF or Contiki for her.

EF can be fun for younger students traveling with school classmates, but they are generally fast, rushed kinds of tours, with lots of time on a bus, short quick looks at a few major sights and no in depth experiences with culture, food, etc.

Contiki is similar but for young adults with lots of opportunity for drinking and partying.

I recommend your daughter pick a few places she is personally very interested in, do some research about them and plan visits to them, using trains to go in between. Stay in hostels where she will meet other people and have access to help and advice.

Don't try to see every thing and cover miles of country. Spend the time seeing and doing. Plan some activities in which she is interested. Perhaps take a language class and stay with a local family someplace for a week or two. That is easy to do in Italy and Spain. Cooking classes, painting classes, adventure hiking? Look for places with nice hostels and make that a base for two or three days. They are everywhere. If she starts with a few places, people here can help,with specific advice.

Perhaps she can find a friend or relative to join her for just part of the time. Knowing she would have that for a few days would be fun without a commitment of company the whole time.
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Old Jul 12th, 2018, 10:44 AM
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I don't think what you & your daughter are looking for exists. Unless perhaps as part of university programs or something?

Either a more serious focused educational type of small group tour, but that isn't going to have only young people. Or tours with only young people but those are more party-focused.

I agree with the idea of her planning her own trip. Find one like minded friend or go solo. Or you go with her the first time. It's very easy to plan a trip to UK, France, or Italy independently.

As I suggested on this same post on TA, and as Thursdaysd mentions above, Lonely Planet's forum The Thorn Tree might be of some help.
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Old Jul 12th, 2018, 12:02 PM
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You might want to also post this on the Europe forum (it has a lot more readership than this "tips and ideas" branch.
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Old Jul 12th, 2018, 05:02 PM
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Definitely post over on the Europe board too. But in general I agree with everything posted above. If it is her gap year it won't be a semester abroad-type trip so she will do better just planning a trip on her own (either solo or with a friend).
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Old Jul 12th, 2018, 05:21 PM
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There are specific Gap Years programs available. I do not have the names but several friends’ kids
spent time with them in Africa and Europe. Some were charity based. Research online should turn these programs up.
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Old Jul 13th, 2018, 11:35 AM
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The charity-based volunteer work opens up what might be more suited to her? Like a Habitat for Humanity assignment? Not everyone will be young, but it would not have the party focus like some tour groups for teens are. Or what about a language course at a university somewhere, as a home base to then do some weekend traveling around Europe?
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Old Jul 13th, 2018, 02:35 PM
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Is she American? The problem is that most of those type programs aren't straight forward when talking about Western Europe. They are considered 'work' which is not allowed on a tourist visit. If she is from some other countries it is different . . . OZ, Canada etc there are some options like that. But not for Americans. Especially since it seems she won't be attached to a school program.
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Old Jul 13th, 2018, 02:47 PM
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You mention a gap year, but then ask about tours that usually last a couple of weeks or so. How long is she thinking of spending in Europe? What are her objectives for this year?
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Old Jul 13th, 2018, 11:25 PM
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I believe this thread is currently tagged only for "solo travel" -- if the goal is to find a GROUP tour, you might want to ask the moderators to move it....
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Old Jul 14th, 2018, 09:10 AM
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>>I believe this thread is currently tagged only for "solo travel" -- if the goal is to find a GROUP tour, you might want to ask the moderators to move it....<<

Changing a tag really doesn't move a thread (and tags really don't meant much on this board in any case) -- it will still be on this (relatively) slow general travel board. . As suggested up thread - they may get useful advice if she re-posts on the Europe Forum.
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Old Jul 15th, 2018, 09:49 AM
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This is also posted on the Solo Forum on Trip Advisor, I'm guessing is maybe why jessm thought to tag it that way here

Unfortunately there isn't a viable solo forum here on Fodor's any longer. And Travel Tips branch has only a few people who check in. That's why we're pushing the report in Europe branch.

Or check The Thorn Tree at Lonely Planet.
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