Africa & The Middle East | Inspiration

The beach and beyond: 9 fun places to go to celebrate your teenager's next birthday

Travelling with teens is a special experience. You get to watch their independence grow and help foster their love of travel. It may also be one of the last family vacations you have before your teens fly the coop forever. If you’re planning an epic birthday travel experience to celebrate your teen’s big day, we’re here to help. Whether they love the great outdoors or the big cities, here are 9 fun places to celebrate your teen’s birthday.

RELATED CONTENT: We asked, you answered: These are the most family-friendly trips as chosen by Trafalgar guests

1. Beach day in Lisbon, Portugal

Historic, walkable, and ridiculously good-looking – Lisbon in Portugal is the perfect city to celebrate your teenager with a birthday travel experience. Your teen will love snapping gorgeous photos with the colourful facades and checking out the fairytale castles… Then head to the golden strip of coastline for the ultimate birthday beach party. When you’ve dosed up on Vitamin D, go in search of the tasty Pastéis de Nata, the world-famous Portuguese custard tarts.

GET INSPIRED BY: Best of Portugal

2. Hiking in Banff, Canada

If your teen loves the outdoors, get to Banff. This national park is one of the most beautiful spots on earth, with snow-capped mountains, dazzling blue lakes, and emerald forests. In summer, explore the scenic walking trails, go bike riding, and try kayaking on the water…. And keep your eyes peeled for grizzly bears! If it’s a winter birthday trip, go ice-skating or hit the slopes for an unforgettable family ski trip in Canada

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3. Shopping trip in New York City, USA

The Big Apple has to be one of the most fun places to celebrate your birthday. Your teen will love exploring this effortlessly cool city, whether they’re into the world-class art museums, the trendy neighbourhoods, or the iconic landmarks like Times Square and the Empire State Building. Cycle around Central Park, wander along the High Line, then shop ‘til you drop from SoHo to Fifth Avenue. This is sure to be a party in the USA your teen will cherish forever.

GET INSPIRED BY: New York Explorer

4. Castle hopping in the UK

Let your teen be a king or queen for the day or go castle-hopping in the United Kingdom for their birthday travel celebration. From England to Ireland to Scotland, there are endless ancient castles to explore. When you travel with Trafalgar, you can have incredible experiences like staying in the luxurious Ashford Castle in Ireland or sleeping in the 13th-century Ruthin Castle in Wales – moat and all!

The UK gets bonus points as a family travel destination if your teen loves Harry Potter or Game of Thrones. There are dozens of Harry Potter filming locations across the UK – starting with Platform 9¾ and the Ministry of Magic’s red telephone box in London. If GoT is more your speed, we’ll take you to Winterfell Castle in Ireland where you can try on real costumes from the show and try your hand at archery with ancient bows and arrows. 

GET INSPIRED BY: Castles And Kilts

5. Safari in Tanzania

Birthday travel doesn’t get more epic than this. If you want to treat your teen to the ultimate family holiday before they fly the coop, go for a safari in Tanzania. Spot Big Five wildlife in the world’s most extraordinary national parks like the Serengeti and the Ngorongoro Crater. See the wonders of Africa like Lake Victoria, Africa’s largest lake, and Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest peak. Stay in incredible safari lodges and bond over bush sundowners. You can even top it off with a trip to the exquisite islands of Zanzibar. Go snorkelling in the turquoise waters with tropical fish and relax on the sugary white beaches… This is an experience the whole family will always treasure. 

GET INSPIRED BY: African Safari Adventure with Zanzibar Island Escape

6. Photo shoot in Paris, France

Travel with teenagers can be tricky – but Paris is always a good idea. This legendary city in France is one of the best places for birthday travel and is sure to leave your teen plenty of incredible stories – and selfies – to share with their friends. Snap some iconic shots at the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, and the Louvre. Cruise the Seine River, go shopping on the Champs Elysees or explore the artistic neighbourhood of Montmarte. Whether you want to devour the best croissants and macarons, or marvel at the treasures of the Palace of Versailles, your teen will feel the love in Paris.

GET INSPIRED BY: Paris Explorer

7. Adventure sports in Queenstown, New Zealand

Wondering where to travel for the birthday celebrations of a thrill-seeking teen? It’s got to be Queenstown. Famed as the adventure capital, Queenstown is the place to go for everything from bungee jumping and skydiving to white water rafting, skiing, glacier-hiking, and more. It’s a bonus if your teen is a movie buff, as New Zealand is the home of renowned movies like Lord of the Rings. See the spectacular filming locations in person, visit the gorgeous movie set at Hobbiton, or go behind the scenes at Sir Peter Jackson’s WETA Workshop in Wellington. Wherever you go in New Zealand, your teen is sure to have a blast.

RELATED CONTENT: 7 Trafalgar experiences perfect for adventure family travel

8. Foodie experience in Italy

If your teen is a budding food critic, take them to Italy for their birthday travel trip. Italy is already one of the best family travel destinations, but it’s even better for teens. Munch on the best pizza in Rome in between visiting ancient sites like the Colosseum and the Vatican. Slurp on fresh gelato while you cruise the dreamy canals of Venice in a gondola. Indulge in divine pasta after exploring the stunning beaches of the Amalfi Coast. Tuck into the finest Florentine-style steak after exploring the Renaissance gems of Florence. When you travel to Italy with Trafalgar, you can enjoy foodie experiences like a pizza-making class in Rome and dinners in unique locations like a 12th-century castle in Tuscany. 

GET INSPIRED BY: Best of Italy

9. Ziplining in Costa Rica

Costa Rica is undoubtedly one of the most fun places to go to celebrate your teen’s birthday. From the rainforests teeming with wildlife (like sloths, monkeys and toucans) to the blissful beaches where you can surf and swim, there are endless things to do here. If your teen loves to get active outdoors, head to Arenal National Park, where you can walk through the treetops on the Arenal Hanging Bridges, go hiking on the slopes of a volcano, or even go ziplining through the jungle. This is one thrilling adventure your teen will love reminiscing on for years to come. 

RELATED CONTENT: 7 reasons to go on a Costa Rica family vacation

What are your favourite birthday travel destinations for teens? Let us know in the comments below!

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