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plus airfare to Los Angeles and from Maui.
Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Oahu, Big Island, Volcanoes National Park, Kauai, Maui
After an exciting week in Los Angeles and Vegas, imagine palm trees swaying in the background, a fresh pineapple smoothie (with a mini-umbrella of course!) and a lei around your neck. It’s paradise! Get set for 14 days on the Hawaiian Islands. There’s plenty of time for R&R in between surfing Waikiki Beach, hiking Diamond Head, kayaking the lagoon in Waikoloa, snorkeling with sea turtles and marveling at the lava flow in Volcanoes National Park. You’ll fall so in love with this tropical haven that when your journey ends, the only thing you’ll be thinking is a hui kaua (until we meet again).
Welcome to the City of Angels and UCLA, home of the Bruins, where we will have our orientation. Wander Hollywood & Highland, check out the Dolby Theater (home of the Academy Awards), measure handprints outside Mann’s Chinese Theater and stroll along Hollywood Walk of Fame. Dine at Hard Rock Cafe and explore Universal’s City Walk. Tour the Ackerman Union home of the UCLA bookstore, make use of the campus facilities (basketball courts, gym or swimming pool), and visit the college town of Westwood Village. Go ‘Full Throttle’ on the world’s tallest and fastest triple launch coaster, enter the 4th Dimension on X2 and travel from 0 to 100 mph in 7-seconds on SUPERMAN: Escape from Krypton at Six Flags Magic Mountain. Reflect on acceptance at the Museum of Tolerance. Get soaked at Raging Waters. Eye the chiseled bodies on Muscle (Venice) Beach, watch for celebrities on Rodeo Drive, laugh it up at the IMPROV Comedy Club and indulge your sweet tooth at Diddy Riese.
Lounge by the Monte Carlo wave pool or soak up the sun floating around the lazy river. Sample Italian delicacies at Buca di Beppo before soaring on thrill rides atop the tallest building in Vegas. Blast off on the Big Shot, the highest thrill ride in the world, spin 900 feet off the ground on Insanity or teeter back and forth over the edge on X-Scream. Take in the sights and sounds of Las Vegas Boulevard – the dancing fountains at the Bellagio, the erupting volcano at the Mirage, the forum shops at Caesar’s Palace, the world’s largest coke bottle at the World of Coca Cola and the world’s largest light beam at the Luxor. Feel the pulse of the Big Apple on the Roller Coaster at New York-New York.
Jet to Oahu and check into our resort situated on Duke Kahanamoku Beach, the widest stretch of Waikiki that is one of the best beaches in America. Sunbathe or swim in one the hotel’s five pools including the Paradise Pool featuring an aquatic playground with four slides including a 77-foot lava tube slide (the longest in Waikiki), three waterfalls and two heated spas. Stroll through the hotel’s Rainbow Bazaar featuring over 90 boutiques. Reflect at Pearl Harbor and visit the USS Arizona Memorial. Tour the Dole Plantation and all the great attractions. Learn to surf with professional instructors on Waikiki Beach and then hang out or play sports on the gorgeous white sand. Take a Segway tour just feet from the ocean to the Ala Moana Beach Park and Magic Island. Devour shaved ice at the International Market Place and sing along with the Parrott Heads at Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville. Hike Diamond Head, a crater formed from the eruptions of the Ko’olau Volcano many years ago.
Fly to Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii. Travel by boat to your rooms and throughout the resort on this incredible property located on the Southern Kohala coast. Snorkel or swim with tropical fish and rare green sea turtles in a salt-water lagoon. Go paddle boarding, boogie board or rent a water trike. Swim or lounge by one of three fresh-water pools. Explore the Kings’ Shops and Queen Marketplace for dinner. Visit Volcanoes National Park to see one of the world’s most active volcano, Kīlauea, and the world’s largest volcano Mauna Loa. There, check out Thurston Lava Tube and marvel at the Kīlauea Iki Crater. Stop by the Jagger Museum to see footage from spectacular eruptions. Visit Punaluu Black Sand Beach, one of the most famous beaches in Hawaii, and marvel at the jet black sand and have an opportunity to view large honu (sea turtles) in their protected nesting ground. Visit the Kona Coffee Plantation to learn how volcanic soil contributes to the harvesting of a rare commodity. Snap a photo or two at the Kealakekua Bay Scenic overlook. Marvel at the waterfalls along the Hamakua Coast after a drive through the hills of Parker Ranch. Spend your last evening on this island exploring Old Kailua town.
The Garden Isle is just a hop, skip and jump away; feel the spirit of aloha! Check out the local flavor of Hanalei Bay. Ferry over to Fern Grotto, a lava rock grotto in the Wailua River that acts as a natural amphitheater to authentic Polynesian sounds. Dine in downtown Lihue, an area known for its authentic Polynesian delicacies.
A short flight over to the Valley Isle is our last stop. Try paddle boarding, kayaking or surfing on the pristine ocean shore. Interact with the locals in Lahaina on Front Street. Hold on tight during one wet and wild banana boat right in turquoise waters. Depart from Ma’alaea Harbor to snorkel amongst more than 250 species of fish in the Molokini crater and off the coast of Lana’i amongst wild spinner, spotted and bottlenose dolphins and possibly a sea turtle or two. Be amazed by an authentic luau on the resort’s Sunset Terrace. Reminisce about your incredible journey at a farewell banquet.
As the home base of Hollywood, Los Angeles is known as the “Entertainment Capital of the World”, leading the world in the creation of motion pictures, television production and recorded music.
The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) is considered as one of the flagship institutions of the University of California with over 300 undergraduate and graduate degree programs. With approximately 27,000 undergraduate and 12,000 graduate students, UCLA is the largest university in the state of California.
UCLA student-athletes compete as the Bruins. The Bruins have won over 120 national championships, including 109 NCAA team championships, more than any other university. The Bruins have had at least one competitor in every Olympics since 1920 with one exception in 1924.
With a location near Hollywood, UCLA has been featured in Legally Blonde, Old School, The Nutty Professor, Erin Brockovich, National Lampoon’s: Van Wilder and ABC Family’s Greek.
The Hollywood sign was originally written “HOLLYWOODLAND” and was just used to promote suburban housing around the area. The letters are stationed on LA’s tallest peak, Mount Lee. The sign measures 450’ long and the letters are 45’ tall.
In front of Mann’s Chinese Theater, there are celebrity hand prints by famous actors/actresses. There are nearly 200 Hollywood celebrity handprints, footprints, and autographs in the concrete.
Variations of this honored tradition are imprints of the eye glasses of Harold Lloyd, the cigars of Groucho Marx and George Burns, the magic wands of Harry Potter stars Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint, the legs of Betty Grable, the fist of John Wayne, the knees of Al Jolson, the ice skating blades of Sonja Henie, and the noses of Jimmy Durante and Bob Hope.
The Hollywood Walk of Fame is a series of sidewalks that serves as a permanent public monument to achievement in the entertainment industry. More than 2,500 5-pointed terrazzo and brass stars are embedded along 1.7 miles. The Walk attracts about 10 million visitors annually. Each year, about 200 nominations are submitted. Anyone can nominate someone in the field of entertainment as long as the nominee is in agreement. The committee selects approximately 20 celebrities to receive stars. Living recipients must agree to personally attend a presentation ceremony. A fee (currently $30,000), payable at time of selection, is collected to pay for the creation and installation of the star, as well as general maintenance.
Rodeo Drive is a shopping district famous for designer label and haute couture fashion. Rodeo drive is home to the most expensive store in the world “Bijan”. You have to book an appointment in advance and on average shoppers spend $100,000. If you listen closely to a scene in the movie “Pretty Woman,” you will hear a line that says: “Via Rodeo is the first new street built in Beverly Hills in 75 years.” Speaking of Pretty Woman, did you ever wonder what store Julia Roberts was snubbed in, in “Pretty Woman”? Well, it was a woman’s clothing store named Boulmiche, located just a few steps west of Rodeo, at 9501 Santa Monica Blvd. The hotel she and Richard Gere stayed at in that movie was the Beverly Wilshire Hotel, at the south end of Rodeo
Nearly every big name in comedy has played the IMPROV including Drew Carey, George Carlin, Chevy Chase, Bill Cosby, Billy Crystal, Rodney Dangerfield, Jeff Dunham, David Letterman, Steve Martin, Freddie Prinze, Joan Rivers, and Jerry Seinfeld. New and upcoming performers such as Dante, Dane Cook and Pablo Francisco have performed there as well. Get ready to laugh it up!
The Museum of Tolerance is a multimedia museum designed to examine racism and prejudice in the United States and the world with a strong focus on the history of the Holocaust. The Museum of Tolerance is the only facility of its kind in the world.
On your way to Venice Beach, keep your eyes peeled for Venice High. Venice High School was used as the Rydell High School location for Grease, Grease 2, A Nightmare on Elm Street, American History X, Matchstick Men, and Heathers, as well as in several music videos, including Britney Spears’ Baby One More Time, Bowling for Soup’s “High School Never Ends”, and Young MC’s “Principal’s Office”. Venice High was used on an episode of Glee (Yes/No), which recreates the classic “Summer Nights” scene from Grease.
Venice Beach is known for its canals, beaches and circus-like Ocean Front Walk, which features performers, fortune-tellers and vendors. Movies filmed here include Role Models, I Love You Man, Million Dollar Baby and The Big Lebowski. Entourage, 90210 and even a South Park episode took place here! As you’re strolling along the boardwalk, keep your eyes open for bodybuilders working out on Muscle Beach.
Diddy Riese (often called Diddy’s) is a popular ice cream joint in Westwood Village. They are a local legend known for their made-to-order ice cream sandwiches. Pick out two cookies from a dozen flavors made fresh in-house, as well as a scoop of ice cream from two dozen Dreyer’s flavors.
This 260-acre theme park is better known as the Roller Coaster Capital of the World. Whether riding X2, a 4th dimension coaster featuring seats that rotate 360° forward and backwards, blasting from 0 to 104 mph in seven seconds on Superman: Escape from Krypton or braving Full Throttle, the newest addition to the park with three launches, the world’s tallest vertical loop and the first ever “top hat” constructed on an inversion, you will get in touch with your inner thrill seeker.
Between Drop Out, a seven-story slide that will hurl you down practically vertically in 40 mph, Ragin’ Racer, a slide that allows you to race side-by-side with your up to seven of your friends, Dragon’s Den, a two person tube slide that will spin you around a 35’ bowl, the quarter-mile long lazy river and the other amazing attractions, your day will definitely be filled with plenty of splishing and a ton of splashing!
Viva Las Vegas! In addition to being America’s gambling capital, at least 150 couples each day make their way to Las Vegas so that they can get married. Most wedding chapels work round the clock. And the nearby city of Reno will give you an equally quick divorce if things do not work out in the first place.
Soar more than 100 floors above the Stratosphere. The Stratosphere Tower is the tallest observation tower in the U.S. and one of the most exciting attractions among Vegas Strip hotels!
The Forum Shops at Caesars Palace is a luxury mall with more than 160 shops and high fashion boutiques. This was the first destination mall on The Strip. It is one of the most successful high-end shopping malls in the United States and the highest grossing mall in America, with higher sales per ft² than Rodeo Drive. Make sure to check out the talking and moving statues of Venus, Apollo, Bacchus, Neptune, and other classical deities “acting” in sound and light shows. Also make sure to look up as the sky changes from day to night.
In the 2004 film Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story, the Average Joes stay at the Monte Carlo during the Dodgeball championships in Las Vegas.
Inside Bellagio, Dale Chihuly’s Fiori di Como is composed of over 2,000 hand-blown glass flowers, covering 2,000 sq. ft. of the lobby ceiling.
The Fountains of Bellagio is a choreographed water feature with performances set to light and music. The fountains are set in a 9-acre manmade lake. Below the lake is a network of pipes with more than 1,200 nozzles and more than 4,500 lights.
The Bellagio and its fountains are featured in films Lucky You and 21 and prominently in the film Ocean’s Eleven. In Bolt, the hotel together with its fountains is shown while the song Barking At the Moon is playing. In The Hangover, the Bellagio fountains are featured in the opening scenes.
From the balcony of the Venetian, you can see an artificial volcano erupt nightly and hear the sounds of actual volcanoes erupting (a soundtrack recorded by Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart) and smell pina colada. To avoid the smell of natural gas, the hotel pumps this fragrance into the air.
The skyline of this hotel includes the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building. In front of the property a 150’ tall replica of the Statue of Liberty, the Main Immigration Building on Ellis Island and Grand Central Terminal.
The Roller Coaster travels through the property’s interior and exterior. It features a maximum drop of 144’ and hits speeds of up to 67 mph.
Browse the 500,000 sq. ft. Grand Canal Shoppes or take a gondola ride that will make you believe you’re on one of our European programs.
Oahu, nicknamed the Gathering Place, is the third largest and most populous of the Hawaiian Islands. The island was formed from two separate shield volcanoes, Wai’anaue and Ko’olau. According to Hawaiian tradition in the legend of Hawai’iloa, the island was named after the Polynesian navigator credited with discovering the islands.
Honolulu is Hawaii’s largest and capital city. It is located on the south coast and is the main deep water marine port for the state. In the Hawaiian language, Honolulu means sheltered bay. The city has gained historical recognition following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor near the city on December 7, 1941.
Notable people born in Honolulu include:
In 2004, Men’s Fitness magazine named Honolulu the fittest city in the United States. The city has been the location for many film and television projects including Hawaii Five-0 and Lost.
This area started out as a retreat for Hawaiian royalty. Today, it is home to many beautiful hotels and resorts. The name Waikiki means spouting fresh water in the Hawaiian language. The beach is named for the springs and streams that fed the wetlands that once separated Waikiki. The surf at Waikiki is known for its long rolling break, making it ideal for long boarding and surfing. Half of the beach is marked off for surfers, are you ready to hang 10?
The attack on Pearl Harbor by the Empire of Japan on December 7, 1941 brought the United States into World War II. President Franklin D. Roosevelt proclaimed this date as “a date which will live in infamy” because no formal warning was issued, particularly while negotiations were still apparently going on. The base was attacked by 353 Japanese fighters, bombers and torpedo planes in two waves, launched from six aircraft carriers.
During the attack, the Arizona exploded and sank, killing 1,177 officers and crewmen. Unlike many of the other ships sunk or damaged that day, the Arizona could not be fully salvaged, though the Navy removed parts of the ship for reuse. The wreck still lies at the bottom of Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona Memorial, dedicated on May 30, 1962 to all those who died during the attack, straddles the ship’s hull.
The Dole Plantation is one of Oahu’s most popular attractions and welcomes more than one million visitors a year. Dole is the largest producer of fruits and vegetables in the world, operating with 74,300 full-time and seasonal employees who are responsible for over 300 products in 90 countries. On board the two mile Pineapple Express train ride, you can learn the story of pineapple including how it is grown, hear how James Drummond Dole founded his world-famous agricultural empire, and enjoy some of the North Shore of Hawaii’s beautiful scenery. Then, navigate your way through 2.5 miles of paths carved from 14,000 Hawaiian plants in world’s largest maze. Before heading out, be sure to taste fresh pineapple and sample pineapple ice cream.
This volcanic tuff cone is known to Hawaiians as Le’ahi meaning ahi tuna as the shape of the ridgeline resembles the shape of a tuna’s dorsal fin. Diamond Head is estimated to be about 150,000 years old and has been extinct for the same amount of time. Your short hike to the crater’s rim will take you up 74 steps, through a tunnel, up another 99 steps, into a small lighted tunnel then onto a narrow spiral staircase inside an observation platform built in 1908. From the summit, get ready for unmatched views of Waikiki and arguable the most beautiful view of the Pacific Ocean that you’ve ever seen.
Areas of Diamond Head have been used in filming the television series Lost. Songs by The Beach Boys, Phil Manzanera, and The Ventures are also named after this site.
This outdoor mall is the world’s largest open air shopping center. With over 300 tenants, there are plenty of stores to browse.
With over 130 carts, shops and artisan stands in an open-air setting, this is where you want to pick up the perfect souvenir for family and friends back home. The marketplace sits on land originally owned by Queen Emma.
The International Marketplace was a central location for a climatic ending to a season 2 episode of ‘Hawaii 5-0.’
The Island of Hawaii, or Big Island, is a volcanic island as well as the eastern-most and southern-most island in the chain. It is larger than all of the other Hawaiian Islands combined and is the largest island in the United States.
Established in 1916, Volcanoes National Park encompasses Kilauea, one of the world’s most active volcanoes, and Mauna Loa, the world’s most massive volcano. The park includes diverse landscapes ranging from tropical rain forests to arid and barren deserts. Keep your eyes peeled for rare flowers with spectacular colors.
As you walk through the Thurston Lava Tube discovered in 1913 by Lorrin Thurston, imagine the lava that once rushed through this 500-year old lava cave. When you reach the end of the tube, get ready for views of a lush rainforest.
Imagine a lava lake. The Kīlauea Iki Crater use to be just that and you’ll be hiking over the crater floor. Even after 50 years, the ground surface is still warm to the touch.
Get ready to learn about the history and behavior of volcanoes. You will see working seismographs and an exhibit of clothing and gear from scientists who got a bit too close to lava. There is real footage of eruptions as well.
This is what you think of when you imagine the Big Island! The beach features black sand made of basalt that was created from lava flowing into the ocean. Punalu’u’s most frequent visitors include the Hawksbill and Green turtles who like to sun themselves so keep your eyes open for animals!
Kona coffee is the name of the roast grown and harvested in the Kona Districts on the Big Island. The sunny mornings, cloud or rain in the afternoon, little wind and mild nights combined with the porous, mineral rich volcanic soil, creates favorable coffee growing conditions for this area. Kona coffee is one of the most expensive in the world, but it is well worth it.
At the Queens’ Marketplace, meet at the clock, marvel at the meandering water features and fountains and learn about Hawaii’s Queens from bronze plaques in the rotunda all while you browse the art galleries, jewelry stores and shops. At the Kings’ Shops, get ready for hula performances, live Hawaiian music and tours of petroglyph fields and native Hawaiian plants, arts and crafts displays and historic murals of ancient Hawaii. There is also an observation tower and adjacent telescope for unmatched views.
The Garden Isle is the 21st largest island in the United States. Land in Kauai is very fertile making the island home to many varieties of fruit and other crops such as guava, coffee, sugarcane, mango, banana, papaya, avocado, star fruit, kava and pineapple.
The island of Kauai has been featured in more than seventy Hollywood movies and television shows including Lilo & Stitch, Jurassic Park, Indiana Jones’ Raiders of the Lost Ark, King Kong, Tropic Thunder, and Soul Surfer.
This fern covered, lava rock located on the Wailua River forms a natural amphitheater, making it a great place for musicians to play or vocalists to sing. The grotto is one of the most romantic spots on the island of Kauai and the area is often rented for weddings.
The town of Hanalei sits in the middle of this famous crescent shaped bay. Hanalei means lei-shaped bay in Hawaii, and nothing describes the bay’s shape more perfectly! The water is a beautiful shade of turquoise and the bay is often filled with boaters and those partaking in water sports.
Maui is the second largest of the Hawaiian Islands and the 17th largest island in the United States. It is nicknamed the Valley Isle. The two major industries on Maui are agriculture and tourism. It recently won the travel industry award for Best Island in the World making it the perfect place to end your trip!
Lahaina was the capital of the Kingdom of Hawaii and the center of the global whaling industry for many years. Explore the quaint oceanfront town, admire the sail boats and ships docked in its waterfront and browse the shops in Front Street. Front Street was recently ranked on the Top Ten Greatest Streets by the American Planning Association.
Halloween is a major celebration in Lahaina and has become a signature event in the past decades, with crowds averaging 20,000 to 30,000! Lahaina also hosts the finish of the Vic-Maui Yacht Race, the longest offshore sailboat race on the West Coast, which starts in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.
Hold on tight to your inflatable boat, coincidentally shaped like a banana, for a wild ride! Did you know the banana boat was invented by Glenn Matthews in the 1980s?
The Molokini Crater is a crescent-shaped, partially submerged volcanic crater. It is a great place to go snorkeling as the crater houses a lush reef and visibility often extends to 150’. Get ready to swim amongst 250 species of fish!
Talk about an authentic Hawaiian party! Taste poi, kalua pig and poke while enjoying Hawaiian music, hula dancing and reminiscing about one unforgettable trip.
You will stay in the finest hotels and resorts. All of our properties are chosen based on safety and security, amenities, comfort and location to our activities. Each trip member has his or her own bed to ensure a proper night’s rest.
Located on famous Las Vegas Boulevard, “The Strip,” around the corner from New York New York and just down the block from the Bellagio Water Fountains, Caesar’s Palace and the Forum Shops, this hotel has its own wave pool and lazy river, the perfect place to cool off from all the excitement of Vegas!Check It Out!
As Waikiki’s only true resort, and located on Waikiki’s widest stretch of beach, this Beach Resort is nestled on 22 oceanfront acres. This hotel offers the perfect mix of exceptional hotel accommodations and classic Hawaiian hospitality.Check It Out!
Discover a Big Island hotel like no other at the Hilton Waikoloa Village. A destination in itself, this impressive property is nestled within 62 oceanfront acres, offering breathtaking tropical gardens and abundant wildlife. Enjoy three unique swimming pools – including waterfalls and slides and salt-water lagoon with a white-sand beach.Check It Out!
Set on 25 lush acres on Kauai’s longest beach, this relaxing, beachfront resort surrounds you in the natural beauty of Kauai. Discover a memorable plantation-style retreat where waterfalls, white sand and blue ocean free your spirit of aloha!Check It Out!
Surrounded by 40 lush acres, on a white sand beachfront, enjoy the ultimate Kaanapali beach hotel. The hotel has two free-form pools divided by waterfalls, lava tube slide, a rope bridge and outdoor whirlpool. All guest rooms have plasma screen TVs and a private lanai.Check It Out!
Get a taste of the college lifestyle on world class campuses and as time permits, take advantage of incredible facilities.
The UCLA campus is so amazing that after your stay here, you might not be able to wait to send in your application. Enjoy their unmatched facilities and check out the bookstore in the Ackerman Union (the perfect place to pick up a great hoodie). You know you can wear it with pride, as in 2007 UCLA became the first US College to win 100 team championships.Check It Out!
At Westcoast Connection / 360° Student Travel nothing else comes first. From our extensive trip planning department through our management team and our front line leaders, it is our single biggest priority! Safety procedures, equipment – we’ve got it covered. All Trip Leaders and Directors are certified in First Aid and CPR. We are extremely proud of our safety record and welcome all questions you may have in this area. Please see more under Safety First.
Once you are on your trip, you will have sensitive leaders that are caring, approachable and always there for you. Your Trip Director and Trip Leaders are people with incredible backgrounds including teachers, guitar players, IRONMAN triathletes, SCUBA divers, volunteers, and so much more.
Every staff member takes part in and must complete our extensive training weekends that review our philosophy and procedures to provide a well-supervised and fun-filled program.
Our Trip Directors, the individuals responsible for overseeing each itinerary, take on the roles of teachers, coaches, camp counselors, mentors, concierges, and hosts. They’ve been trained to provide individual attention and create an all-inclusive family atmosphere (our EACH & EVERY philosophy). There’s a definite art to building dynamic groups, and we’ve worked hard to master it! We want you smiling on day one right through to a teary goodbye at your farewell banquet.
Our leaders are non-smokers. To learn more about our staff, please visit our Summer Leaders section.
We can’t say it too many times, this is a really incredible group experience. Great dynamics on every trip starts with our secrets for group bonding. Our bag of tricks goes way beyond traditional ice breakers. Imagine people hunts, Rock, Paper, Scissors championships, Ninja tournaments, flash mobs and so much more. We work hard to get everyone moving beyond first impressions and creating an atmosphere of total acceptance. Our staff hiring and training emphasizes social safety and establishing an inclusive culture. Many of our travelers come as individuals and we have a geographically diverse enrollment with students joining us from across the USA, Canada and internationally. This mix helps eliminate cliques at the outset and establish an open environment that benefits you. We take great care in assembling groups to create an unforgettable social experience.
Your summer of a lifetime starts with us carefully crafting the perfect program. Our team is dedicated year round to creating exciting, meaningful experiences! You have a detailed itinerary, but not one that is so rigid that you lose chances for spontaneity! Our Trip Planning Department pays painstaking attention to detail, sweating the small stuff so that your summer experience is stress free. Our trips are designed with a very logical flow: action, adventure and excitement balanced with structured downtime and relaxation. There is a reason our itineraries are known to be “Perfectly Planned. Perfectly Paced.” Our full time team has over 300 summers combined working with teenagers and we understand what you’re looking for. We describe our trips in as much detail as these web pages allow, but to truly appreciate the flow of a particular program, please speak with us to review the trip of your choice.
Get ready because your summer is not going to be spent staring out of a window! For starters, our Active Teen Tours are very different from tours your parents may have gone on. We are always on the lookout for the newest and coolest activities including zorbing in Boston, playing whirlyball in Seattle, snowboarding in July at Mt. Hood, bobsledding in Calgary, riding thrill rides hundreds of feet over the Vegas strip and surfing in San Diego. In some cases highlights (and words for that matter) that didn’t exist back in mom and dad’s day! It’s much more exciting than summer camp. Depending on the specific itinerary, add in nights out at comedy clubs, baseball games, nightclubs and amusement parks and you know you’re in for a treat.
But “active” also means you get to play a big part in how the summer turns out. We want you engaged and are interested in what you have to say. You have a role in this trip and how it gets molded.
There is so much more to a teen travel experience than just traveling. Summer after summer we love nothing more than the many calls and notes from parents sharing with us how they can’t believe how much their son or daughter has matured, helps out more at home, is more outgoing and confident, is more poised, more responsible and more worldly having had not just the summer of a lifetime, but a life changing experience as well. It’s amazing how much growth can occur when you are having fun, feeling socially safe, branching out into new friendships, and being yourself.
Our experience lends itself to trying new things and stepping just outside of one’s comfort zone. With a taste of age-appropriate independence and a well-deserved break from overly scheduled lives during the school year, teens can enjoy a very healthy reprieve from the usual pressures associated with home and school. We want you to be empowered and will provide opportunity to grow as a leader and further develop your self-confidence!
Living, experiencing, working and learning together, our trip members are afforded the chance to interact with other teens who share both similar and different backgrounds and interests. Everybody grows in their social acceptance of others.
By the end of the program we hope to have lit a spark – to travel, to learn, to meet new people, to try new things and to explore. With new friendships, new memories and new life skills on which to build, our teen travel experiences are truly unforgettable.
There really is a difference in how different summer programs operate! Motivated teens going away with qualified leaders is a given. But what sets us apart is the depth of our qualified personnel that allow us to perform with the greatest consistency at the highest level.
Your Trip Director and Trips Leaders are with you throughout your program. They have daily contact with one of our two 24-hour Communication Centers and are in regular contact with our Company Directors. Our Company Directors are the most seasoned veterans who each oversee specific programs providing support to trip staff and to assist with any situations that may arise. Our Company Directors alternate between traveling to visit programs and being reached in the office.
Program visits enable us to provide ongoing support and development to our Trip Directors, allows trip staff to have a sounding board for their own progress in reaching trip goals, helps us to identify any challenging areas for improvement while it still has relevance to your summer rather than as a mention on your end-of-summer survey, and helps us to identify the future Directors from the current crop of all-star summer staff. These visits are by Company Directors along with our Regional Supervisors, who are former Trip Directors with further experience out in the field. Collectively this supervisory and management team has an incredible resource with 300+ summers of combined teen travel experience. This way we can lend a hand wherever and whenever a little extra effort is called for. Last year we had 150 scheduled supervisory trip visits to make sure all was running well, provide ongoing support to our staff in the field, and have fun! This investment in depth of personnel is unrivaled in teen travel and is a critical element to achieving consistent, excellent program quality and surpassing client expectations!
Included in the trip tuition are all activities and entertainment described, breakfast and dinner daily, lunches as indicated on your specific program, gratuities, taxes, land transportation, accommodations, and fanatical customer service from our full-time team and summer Communication Centers. This can add up to tremendous value!
Once your action packed day is over, you’re going to need a place to crash. You will enjoy a combination of the finest centrally located hotels and resorts, fantastic college dorms to get a taste of college life, and some deluxe camping. Trip members have their own bed to ensure a proper night’s rest. For more detailed information on each trip that interests you, please visit the section marked Where We Stay.
A big part of a summer’s success depends on how well you eat. We are proud of the fact that year after year we are complimented for our quality, quantity and choice of food. Our North American Active Teen Tour programs visit great restaurants. Depending on the specific itinerary, you may order off the menu at the Cheesecake Factory, California Pizza Kitchen, Mel’s Diner, Kyushu Hibachi or Jack Astor’s. Still hungry? Here are more of the places you may enjoy… Hard Rock Cafe, Buca di Beppo, Panera Bread, the Corner Bakery, Boudin Bakery, and some really great local favorites like an award winning restaurant in San Francisco’s Chinatown or Gino’s East of Chicago both featured on The Food Network, or a Boulder institution featured on “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.”
We have satisfied the choosiest of eaters and gladly accommodate most special dietary requests including vegetarian, anaphylactic food allergies, lactose intolerance, celiac disease and kosher style. We welcome discussing your individual requirements with you and have extensive personal experience in this area. Please speak with us to review your needs.
On our North American Active Teen Tours, you’ll ride in a chartered deluxe, air conditioned motor coach with a professional driver. Our buses have iPod/MP3 connections, DVD players and restrooms.
You will only need to bring one week’s worth of clothing as outlined in our packing list as we visit local laundromats weekly. We will supply the detergent and dryer sheets. Don’t worry if you’ve never done laundry before, most of our travelers have not either! We’ll walk you through the Westcoast Connection laundry lesson, and in no time at all you’ll have the hang of it. Parents, we know the thought of your children doing laundry is making you smile!
While you’re out having the summer of your life, your parents should feel like they are in on the action as well. We post updates to our blog and Facebook page and e-mail photos approximately once a week so those at home can be in on the fun. Parents also have access to our dedicated office Trip Monitors 24/7 for any questions and/or concerns. We’re as in touch as any trip operator could possibly be via smartphones with e-mail and text. The goal is uncompromising safety and peace of mind, day after day, hour by hour, minute by minute. Participants may bring their personal cell phones.
Planning teen travel is of course a science. But it is also an art. We know when to pick up the pace and to get adrenaline flowing; we also know when it’s time to relax or have a sleep in. As you review our different itineraries, know that we have worked year after year to make every minute of every day just right. In last summer’s surveys, 98.7% of responding teens and parents said they would recommend us to others. We must be doing something right!
All lodging, breakfast and dinner daily, all recreation, entertainment, gratuities and taxes.
Hotels, Resorts & UCLA Dorms
© 2014 Westcoast Connection Travel Camp Inc.