From Scotland, Ireland & Northern Ireland, this trip runs the gamut of time. Fly a hawk like the Vikings while taking in the green expanse of the Emerald Isle. Explore life in the Aran Islands by bike, visit castles and try your skills at Gaelic sports, all alongside new friends!
This trip begins with your flight to Dublin, Ireland. We help you coordinate your flight to arrive within designated times so that we may greet you upon arrival. For participants from the New York area, we offer a chaperoned group flight that leaves from the New York area. One of your summer leaders and staff from our office will be at the airline counter to greet you, introduce you to fellow travelers, help you to check-in and the leader will be with you from check-in onward.
For the return flight on the 14-day trip from Edinburgh, Scotland, our leaders help you to check-in and remain in the airport until flights in designated times have departed. They continue for the duration of the longer 21-day program and chaperone that group flight home. Depending on the number of students departing after 14 days, one staff may chaperone this flight as well.
Fáilte (Welcome) to Ireland! Step back in time as you explore EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum, the Medieval crypts of Christchurch and Dublin Castle. You’ll indulge your taste buds on your private Irish Food Tour- make sure to try the boxty! Your competitive side is sure to come out as you learn the skills, the history, and the deep community roots embedded within Gaelic football, hurling and handball. Stroll the grounds of Trinity College and see the Book of Kells up close. And of course, you’ll have dinner in the famed Temple Bar District.
En route to Killarney, you’ll stop to explore the Rock of Cashel, a traditional seat of Kings. Killarney National Park will impress you as you kayak Killarney’s lower lake, in the shadows of Ross Castle and hike through Friar’s Glen to the top of Torc Waterfall.
With waves crashing below and the stark cliffs in front of you, it’s hard to not be amazed as you stand atop the Cliffs of Moher, a UNESCO Global Geopark. Be welcomed on the farm as you learn about the Irish sheep industry, sheep herding and roll up your sleeves in your scone-making class. You’ll be charmed by Galway’s Quay St with great restaurants, quaint shops, and Irish music filling the streets.
Ferry to the Aran Island of Inishmore. Experience island life by bike as you pass rock walls, green fields and ruins like that of Dún Aonghasa, a prehistoric fortress.
Explore the gardens of Ashford Castle as you learn the age-old art of falconry. In a small group, you’ll have the chance to put on the glove and fly a bird of prey.
Explore the UNESCO World Heritage site of the Giant’s Causeway and marvel at the near-perfect hexagonal basalt columns. Look down, only if you dare, as you cross the roped bridge of Carrick-a-Rede, suspended almost 100 ft above sea level. Visit the birthplace of the Titanic and learn about her history at the Titanic Belfast Museum.
Cross the sea from Northern Ireland to Scotland by ferry. Once in Scotland, you’ll learn to navigate the rapids while river sledging near Loch Lomond – imagine half a kayak, no paddles and using your legs to help navigate the river. Enjoy an enchanting stroll during the Glasgow City Tour. Complete your first stop in Scotland with a water ski lesson.
Walk the Royal Mile through the heart of Edinburgh, making your way to the historic fortress of Edinburgh Castle that has housed royal families for centuries.
Get a good night’s rest in this charming Georgian-style hotel, located just minutes away from some of the best places to visit in Dublin.Visit Website
Enjoy a comfortable stay in the Holiday Inn after a day of exploration. In your free time, relax in the hot tub, pool and sauna, or stay active in the fitness room.Visit Website
Come back and relax after paying a visit to the breathtaking Cliffs of Moher. Located on Quay Street in the heart of the city center, this hotel is surrounded by shops, cafes, and great restaurants.Visit Website
Lay back and relax at this modern hotel, located in the heart of Belfast just a short drive from great attractions like the Titanic Museum.Visit Website
Enjoy a comfortable stay at this modern hotel after a day of touring the city of Glasgow or an exhilarating river sledging adventure. Hang out with your new friends in the lobby and play a game of pool or foosball in your free time.Visit Website
Chill with your new friends and get a good night’s rest in this modern, stylish hotel.Visit Website
At Westcoast Connection nothing else comes first. From our extensive trip planning department through our management team and our 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. A great dynamic 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 year-round team has 499 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.
Planning teen trips is, of course, a science. But it is also an art. We know when to pick up the pace to get the adrenaline flowing. We also know when it’s time to chill or have a sleep-in. As you review our Global Adventure programs, know that we have worked year after year to make every minute of every day just right.
There is so much more to a teen travel experience than just traveling. Summer after summer we love nothing more than the feedback from parents sharing with us that their son or daughter has matured, has become more confident and outgoing, 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 traveling and sharing the experience with incredible people in a warm and welcoming environment.
As you experience other cultures and customs first hand, your perception will change as your understanding of and empathy for citizens of other countries naturally grows. Whereas prior to your travels media headlines about a foreign government may have led to generalized conclusions, your new interactions with locals and firsthand experience will enable you to see we often share more in common with others than we may have known.
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 healthy reprieve from the usual pressures associated with school life, we want you to be empowered and we provide you with an opportunity to grow!
Living, experiencing, and learning together, you will be 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 our planning, supervisory and management team is an incredible resource with 499 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 212 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!
We provide reasonable, comfortable accommodations. For your convenience and consistency of the group experience. We stay at simple hotels; there is no camping. Each student has their own bed to ensure a proper night’s rest. For more detailed information, please visit the section marked "Where We Stay".
A big part of a program’s success depends on how well you eat. We are proud of the fact that year after year we are complimented for our quality and quantity of food and variety of options.
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.
We travel by a private motor coach between cities and occasionally use public transportation (metro and bus) within cities. We travel by ferry from Northern Ireland to Scotland.
You only need to bring one week’s worth of clothing as outlined in our packing list. Every week we either drop off laundry at a local wash and fold service and then pick it up clean, folded and ready to go.
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.
In last summer’s surveys, 98% of responding teens and parents said they would recommend us to others. We must be doing something right!