Travel for Teens Shows Main Line Youth the World

The Wayne-based travel company has cornered the market on serious cultural immersion for globe-trotting teens. PLUS: Five rules of etiquette for French travel.

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See also "Five Rules for French Travel."

A Travel for Teens group lands in Rome. See more photos below.While most 14-year-olds were perfecting their cannonball technique, sitting around campfires or hitting the beach, Upper Dublin’s Zach Gellman was heading overseas to Germany and Switzerland, then France. Now 18 and a freshman at Vanderbilt University, Gellman credits his maturity, cultural awareness and gratitude for the little things in life to the four summers he spent bouncing around the globe—all thanks to what’s fast becoming a local travel-industry juggernaut.

Founded in 2003, the Wayne-based Travel for Teens has grown at warp speed since its inaugural trip to Paris. Its initial client base was  fewer than 25 students. Now, 700 teens find their way to 28 different countries on five continents each year.

And there’s nothing typical about the Travel for Teens experience. “The industry is mostly dominated by teen tours, where you go to Paris, and then you get on your American minibus and go somewhere else,” says the company’s founder and president, Patricia Maloney. “That’s not meaningful travel. How do you get to know what makes the French French?”

Maloney has found that her clients are more interested in the behind-the-scenes pass. That’s why cultural coaching and language preparation are musts before any TFT trip. Landmarks and museums are also part of the experience, but that’s hardly all of it.

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