Many families dream of spending part of their summer vacation traveling to places far and near. Whether your family makes traveling a reality this summer or simply dreams about it, you can ask your tween or teen to do a research project by acting as your travel agent and coming up with family vacation options.

Skills used in this research project

This activity incorporates a number of skills, including researching a topic, using the internet for research, comparing and contrasting, working with money, reading comprehension, writing, designing a presentation and, of course, giving a presentation. Your child will get to practice math by budgeting, measuring distance and time, and perhaps converting temperatures from Celsius to Fahrenheit. They’ll even get a chance to hone their technology and artistic skills. It also reinforces geography and map-reading skills and can broaden your child’s knowledge of history, logistics, and the world. Plus, since presentation skills are important in middle and high school, you’re building your child’s confidence with a fun project at home.

How to start this research project

Here’s how your child can get started:

  • Get travel brochures and/or search the Internet for exciting places for your family to visit.
  • Discuss where you’d like to travel: domestic or international. Research fun places and choose one or more to compare.
  • Find out how far away it is and how long it would take to get there. What routes would you take? Map it out.
  • Research the best way to travel, by car, plane, or boat — and the ticket prices and journey lengths for each.
  • Where will you stay? Hotel, cabin, tent, resort, house, or villa? What do each of these cost per night, including fees and local taxes?
  • What will you do when you get to your destination? What activities do Mom or Dad want to do? What fun stuff would kids want to do? What about the grandparents (if traveling with you)? Are there historical sites or other educational opportunities to take advantage of while you’re there? What will these activities cost, including transit?
  • Create an itinerary. When are you leaving and returning? What will you do first, next?
  • What will you need to take on the trip? Plan for the weather, account for any new gear or gadgets you’ll need to purchase or rent, and convert temperatures from Celsius to Fahrenheit (here’s the formula: °C x 9/5 + 32 = °F) when necessary.
  • Decide how much money you can spend. Create a budget that includes the cost of:
  1. Travel/transportation
  2. Lodging
  3. Eating
  4. Entertainment
  5. Does your budget cover every activity the family wants to do?
  6. Where can you cut costs to make the money go further?

With all this information accumulated, ask your child to find a creative way to present the complete package of information to the family using slides, poster board, or even a marketing campaign. Your tween or teen may even want to make a multimedia presentation, create a brochure, or use spreadsheets to show how and where costs might fluctuate or travel may be longer or shorter. As your child gets good at this, they may be asked to plan trips for other family members, friends, and neighbors, too.

Enjoy your trip, whether it’s real or virtual! And remember to praise your child’s effort and their hard work. Research and presentation skills take practice, and the more fun your child has with them, the better.