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Set your kids on the path to a lifelong love of travel by making the journey from family holidays – to encouraging adventurous school trips – before letting them fly the nest and embark on their own GAP years and self-organised discovery. We asked travel expert, Adrian Ferraro, founder of The Specialist Travel Consultancy (STC), how we can spark their imagination for learning about the world, its opportunities, its challenges and its diversity.

Adventure holidays for the family (approx 5 – 12 years old)

These offer a great way to open kids’ eyes to different cultures and standards of living around the world. The children see some amazing sights and experiences – creating a bond as a family through the shared experiences and adventures. The kids are not expected to get involved in the organisation or look after themselves, but it’s nevertheless a hugely educational experience and lots of fun too.

For the natural world: Costa Rica – 16 days, age 5+, ideal time to go: year round. Climb an active volcano, walk through tropical rainforests and moss covered cloud forests, discover incredible wildlife, relax on palm-fringed beaches, see turtles nesting . . .

For people, cultures and religions: India – 14 days, age 7+, ideal time to go: October to April. Experience the colour and bustle of Old Delhi, The Taj Mahal at Agra, bird watching and wildlife at Bharatpur reserve, tiger safaris in Corbett National Park, and much more.

For actives: Turkey – 8 days, age 8+, ideal time to go: May to October. A perfect location for a week of centre based active exploration. Go sea-kayaking, walking in the foothills of the Taurus mountains, canoeing to hidden beaches and take boat trips to ancient ruins.

Prep school and early secondary school adventures (approx 10 – 15 years old)

This is the opportunity for children to start to become a little more independent. They need to look after all of their own things, organise themselves on a daily basis, plan ahead as to what clothing they may need in the coming day or two – generally start to look after themselves a bit more – as the teacher’s not going to do it for them! This is also an ideal time to start to challenge and push them – both mentally and physically, with easy trekking, more wilderness experiences and less ‘sanitised’ holiday experiences – i.e. a chance to show them the REAL world, warts and all, and for them to start learning about and experiencing, first hand, different cultures, lifestyles, conservation challenges, natural resources, how religion affect politics and government etc.

There is no reason why they shouldn’t camp out in deserts, trek up mountains, visit hill-tribe villages in Thailand. Of course, with younger children it’s important to manage things appropriately – particularly the expectations of parents. Some schools have arranged more adventurous and challenging trips for younger age children. One London school even organised two trips for boys aged 12 and 13 with The STC to Mount Meru in Tanzania and Mount Kenya!

School expeditions (16 – 18 years old)

For this age group, the world really is their oyster. On these older trips there is the opportunity for the kids to take on more of an organisational role – from helping plan the itinerary and finding out about visas, vaccinations, climate, clothing, kit, cultural expectations, safety, planning rules and budgets etc, to actually taking a lead whilst on the trip – perhaps managing daily budgets, making their own way from A to B etc.

Teenagers can travel to Peru for trekking and project work, Rwanda to see the Gorillas and work in a linked- school near Kigali, Kenya to visit the game parks and spend time working on local community projects, Morocco to spend a week living and working amongst remote rural villages building incinerators and drainage channels - there are so many options.

By the time these kids get to organising GAP years and heading off into the world on their own, they really will be ready for anything!

The Specialist Travel Consultancy: Photo credits: Mount Meru – Ceri Davies Elephant – Emily Collyer

Unique summer art retreats for teens / tweens that integrate art, nature, history, culture, creativity and outdoor activities into one extraordinary journey in the french countryside

• visit ancient medieval villages and museums • see prehistoric art caves • live in a 200 year old restored farmhouse in sw france • slow down/unplug and learn the art of "being" • attend village fetes and outdoor markets

• prepare and eat healthy meals together • go kayaking, rock-climbing, zip-lining and hiking • draw and paint everyday • have daily french lessons

Raison d'Art, 7 rue del Pebre 82140 St. Antonin Noble Val France, 05-63-26-50-08

Give your child a summer they will never forget

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