What makes Teen Treks different?

Teen Treks gives teenagers the chance to discover the excitement and fun of bike touring with a bunch of like-minded people, seeing beautiful natural landscapes and world-class cities while gaining independence and travel skills. You’ll have great experiences out on the road and make memories that will last a lifetime.

Teens who take our trips get a lot of say in what the group does each day, from planning the details of the route to picking out what’s for dinner. If everyone wants to bike hard and get to the beach faster, you can do that. If you want to spend a little more time taking pictures at a breathtaking waterfall or a picturesque waterfront, you can do that. We give our trip leaders lists of activities and interesting sites along the route, but the group has the freedom to follow their preferences – every summer, our trekkers find things to do we didn’t know about, and we add them to our lists for next year.

Teen Treks offers by far the best value in truly extraordinary bike trips for teenagers. Over our history, we’ve run outstanding trips up and down the New England shore from New York to Montreal, in the Pacific Northwest, and along the California coast all the way across America ,and through the best sites in Europe. Check out our testimonials and compare our prices to other organizations’. Our trips, our experience, and our rates can’t be beat.

Who goes on a typical Teen Trek?

Our groups include up to 10 teens, led by 2 outstanding leaders. We try to keep the gender balance even, half boys and half girls, and we group teens by age to create a positive, cohesive social environment.

Some of our trips, like the European Phantom and Pacific Northwest Treks, are designed for older teens, where others, like the Niagara-Toronto trek, cater to a younger age group. When a route will work well for kids across a range of ages, we run several trips, one for each age group. Check out our Trips Table to see what trips we have for your age.

Teens who travel with us have come from all 50 states, Canada, Europe and Asia.

What are the trip leaders like?

Each group gets two leaders, who will be fun, resourceful adults who love hanging out with kids and who know bikes. Many took cross-country bike trips as teenagers like the ones they’re now leading, and they all complete a comprehensive leader training program and get CPR and First Aid certification. They’re teachers, human service professionals, travel and hospitality professionals, graduate students and college seniors. Some are avid cyclists and travel enthusiasts, while others have served in organizations like Americorps. Their average age is 25 years old.

To learn more about our leaders, read some of their profiles.

How hard are Teen Treks’ trips?

Any teenager can enjoy one of our summer bike trips. We love a good challenge, but we keep things fun, too – there’s always time to stop for ice cream, enjoy the scenery, or check out an awesome local restaurant or historical site.

Our Moderate trips really are moderate – that’s not code for “this trip will only partly kill you” at Teen Treks. For our Challenging trips, you need to be in good shape, but assuming you’re healthy and that you enjoy finding out what you’re capable of, you can, in fact, bike all the way across America with us in less than 2 months.

All our trips start with basic bike safety training and an overview of the rules of the road.

Where do we sleep?

Teen Treks groups stay in hostels, hotels, and campgrounds. Wherever you go, you’ll get to know the place. In a major city, you’ll likely get to stay in a hostel right in the downtown area, steps from major tourist attractions and plenty of great restaurants. In the North American or European countryside, you’ll often camp out in beautiful settings, or stay in a hostel that’s part of a historic landmark. Our Lake Ontario Trek, for example, stays at the 1800s-era Tibbets Point Lighthouse hostel.

What’s the camping like?

Camping in natural settings gives you an opportunity like no other to get to know the natural world and bond with each other. Cooking together and relaxing around a campfire encourages everyone to let loose; you’ll find yourself singing, swapping stories, holding impromptu talent shows, and just enjoying the sounds of nature together.

Our groups stay in private, municipal, and state/national campgrounds. Each will have a fire pit and picnic tables. Some will have a pool or maintained beach, rec hall, volleyball or tennis courts, and other sports facilities, while others will be simple and rustic in beautiful natural environments.

Teen Treks provides large tents for the trip, ensuring everyone has room to sleep comfortably. We bring separate tents for males and females, and your sleeping bag and pad will keep you warm through the night. In the morning, you’ll have breakfast with the group, then head out for another day of adventure.

What do we eat?

Your leaders will make sure there’s plenty of food for everyone, and that it’s tasty as well as good for you. Breakfast will be quick but satisfying – hot oatmeal or cereal, for example – and lunch will keep you going with a variety of fruits, vegetables, and sandwiches. For dinner, you may go to a local restaurant or make something hot together, like pasta, flatbread pizzas, or fajitas.

Our trips readily accommodate those with special dietary requirements, and we’re very conscious of food allergies – just let us know what you need.

How will I keep in touch with home?

You’ll be able to call home for short chats using the leader’s cell phones every 6-7 days. We provide parents with a trip itinerary and we post regular updates on our blog to show off the adventures our trekkers are having. In addition, leaders touch base with the Teen Treks office daily, so parents can contact us for information as the trip progresses.

How often will I shower and do laundry?

You’ll get to shower almost daily, and many of our trips give you many chances to swim, too. Groups will do laundry every 5-6 days.

What happens on rainy days?

If it’s only raining lightly, the trip will carry on as planned. Heavy rains or thunderstorms are usually short-lived, so your group will sit out the storm in a coffee shop, at a store, or in some other sheltered location, and continue on your way once it passes.

What happens if someone gets sick?

Illnesses and accidents can happen on one of our trips, and our years of experience have prepared us well to accommodate such issues. In general, leaders and teens will work together to figure out how best to handle the situation. A group may hold off on biking for a day, or one leader may accompany an ill teen on public transportation or in a taxi to keep up with the rest the group. If medical attention is necessary, the leaders will secure it and communicate with the teen’s parents.

Where do trips start and end?

Each trip will start and end at a public park, or at a convenient hotel or youth hostel (which may be where you spend your first and last night). The group will leave from that site at 8 am. For kids coming in from out of town, we offer a pre-night option, which covers pickup from the airport by a trip leader the night before the trip leaves, dinner, and accommodations. Let us know if you’d like to take advantage of that.

What kind of bike should I bring?

We recommend using a touring bike, a road bike, or a hybrid with at least 15 speeds; 15-27 is ideal. If you need to buy a bike, you should be able to get one that will work great for touring for $400-$1000. Teen Treks does not allow participants to use high-performance racing bikes, dirt bikes, fixed-gear bikes, or Dutch-style roadsters.

Your bike should have a set of new tires at the time your trip starts.

We strongly advise against using disc brakes, which are difficult to repair on the road.

Please call or email us if you’d like to talk bike choices.

What do I need besides a bike?

We’ll send you an up-to-date gear guide before your adventure begins. Briefly, though, you’ll need saddlebags (panniers), a sleeping bag, a foam or inflatable sleeping pad, and a helmet, plus clothes, a patch kit, a bike pump, and other basic supplies.

You’ll definitely want a camera to record your travels. However, Teen Treks does not permit individual trekkers to carry personal cell phones, music players, or portable gaming systems.

Do I need to bring a passport?

Passports are only required for treks in Europe. For treks crossing the US/Canada border, you’ll need a copy of your birth certificate or passport (if you have one). Other photo IDs, including school IDs and learners’ permits, are helpful.

When should I apply?

By early February our trips will begin filling up. To ensure you get a spot on the trip you most want to take, apply now and make your deposit as soon as you know you want Teen Treks to be a part of your summer.

How do I apply?

Fill out our online application and pay your deposit. You can use any credit or debit card to pay your deposit. We cannot take payments over the phone, and we cannot guarantee your spot until the deposit is paid.

What is Teen Treks’ refund policy?

If a trip has to be canceled for any reason, we will refund your deposit, application fee, and balance (if paid), in full.

If you sign up for a trip and then cancel your reservation before April 30, you will still be responsible for 25% of the total cost. After April 30, we cannot offer refunds for any reason, including voluntary withdrawal, illness or injury prior to the trip start, etc. If a teen has to leave a trip after it starts for any reason, including but not limited to illness, injury, or discipline problems, we cannot provide a refund.

We encourage all families to purchase trip insurance. TravMark offers insurance for our programs at a very reasonable rate, typically about 4% of the total cost. Visit https://www.aplusplans.com for a free quote on insurance for your trip. Our organization name is Teen Treks and our organization ID# is tetr11.

When should I buy airfare to and from the trip?

Please refrain from scheduling air travel until 45-50 days before the start of the trip. We’ll send you information at that time that will help you finalize your travel plans.

Is Teen Treks affiliated with American Youth Hostels (AYH) / Hostelling International (HI)?

For Teen Treks' first 7 years, it ran self-contained bike trips as part of American Youth Hostels. Today, it’s an independent organization concentrating entirely on running outstanding summer bike travel programs for teens.

“Well worth every penny. A trip that will have positive effects for many years to come.”

  -Vicki Holthaus, Parent

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Teen Treks Across America bicycle trip travels to Mt Rushmore