Traveling to Adventure Treks

Travel planning and what to expect on opening day

All enrolled families will have specific travel information for their child’s trip in their CampInTouch account by December 2021, but most trips have an arrival window between 8 a.m. and 12 p.m. Most return flights need to be scheduled for departure between 6 a.m. and 12 p.m.*

*Exceptions include Yellowstone Teton Adventure and Alaska Expedition. Please see the travel PDF in your CampInTouch account for specific travel information.

If driving, plan to arrive between 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. on opening day, and between 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. on closing day. A director will be in touch the day before the trip to confirm a time and meeting location for all drivers.

Here are a few tips to create the very best opening day for your child:
  1. TSA does not require U.S. citizens under 18 flying domestically to fly with an ID (unless traveling to British Columbia, in which case they’ll need a valid passport to drive across the border with us). However, check with your airline to see what their ID requirements are for children under 18.
  2. Arrive at the airport at least two hours before departure to ensure your child doesn’t miss their flight. If flying as an unaccompanied minor, you may want to arrive even earlier.
  3. Students should dress for the outdoors on opening day; wear comfortable clothing and closed-toed shoes.
  4. Your child’s daypack (carry-on backpack) should be packed according to their packing list, so students are ready for the park and can survive a few days should the airline lose their bag. In the event that luggage is lost for a day or two, instructors will make sure your child has everything they need.
  5. Pack your child’s prescription medications in their daypack; do not put medications in the checked duffel bag. All medications must arrive in the original container, and your child will give those to their instructors for safekeeping upon arrival.
  6. Even if your child doesn’t fly as an unaccompanied minor (see below for more information about UM services), we still recommend asking the airline agent at check-in for a gate pass to go through security and walk your child to the gate.

Meeting Adventure Treks instructors on opening day

We begin tracking all flights very early in the morning on opening day, and your child’s instructors plus a director will greet each student at the airport. For students traveling as unaccompanied minors, an Adventure Treks instructor will meet your child at the gate when they step off the plane. Sometimes we may be a few minutes late due to several students’ flights arriving at the same time. For students NOT traveling as unaccompanied minors, we try to meet them at the gate but cannot guarantee that due to airline and airport regulations. If we are unable to be at the gate, we will call and text them and let them know exactly where to meet us, which is usually baggage claim. Instructors will be easy to find in an Adventure Treks T-shirt and hat.

Safe arrival notification

Each student will call home upon meeting with an instructor so parents will know they’ve arrived safely (even if they’ve already called or texted parents on their own). This call usually takes place after your child has met an Adventure Treks instructor, collected their bags, and met the other students. Please expect up to an hour between the time your child’s flight lands and the phone call home to you. Instructors will then collect all electronics, medications, valuables, and wallets/passports.

Students will not wait at the airport long; they will be shuttled to a nearby park to meet other students, play games, and have lunch while waiting for everyone to arrive.

Photo ID

Carrying an ID is not required for U.S. citizens under 18 unless traveling to British Columbia, in which case they’ll need a passport. For international students traveling to the U.S., please check your country’s visa requirements several months prior to departure.

Unaccompanied minor service (UM)

The majority of our students fly to Adventure Treks without their parents. With that said, most airlines have an unaccompanied minor (UM) service to young travelers who are flying without an adult. This means you’ll pay an additional fee to have an airline representative accompany your child for the entire length of their travel, from boarding the plane to arriving at their final destination. Each airline’s fees and age requirements vary; for example, Delta, United, and American charge an additional $150 each way and require that students under 15 fly as a UM, while Southwest charges an additional $50 each way and requires UM service only for students younger than 12.

In our experience, the UM service is most helpful for nervous students who also have a connection, as an airline representative will help them navigate the airport to find their connecting flight. However, most of our students prefer not to travel as a UM, instead choosing to navigate airports on their own as a way to build independence. If your child prefers to travel on their own, you’ll want to select an airline that will allow them to fly alone.

Each airline has its own rules, restrictions, and paperwork for UM service, so if your child will be younger than 15 when it’s time to fly to Adventure Treks, please call the airline directly with questions. You should also ask whether your airline will require your child’s ID at check-in.

If your child flies as a UM
  • When you book, the airline will likely ask you for detailed information regarding the person picking up your child (i.e., an AT instructor) at their arrival airport. We cannot provide this information until a week before the trip starts, so please give your airline the following details until then: “Adventure Treks Camp Representative, 888-954-5555, 1899 Berea Church Road, Hendersonville, NC 28739.” You’ll be able to update the airline later with the specific AT instructor’s info.
  • Some airlines will allow you to pre-pay the additional UM fee (round-trip) when booking flights; others may only let you pay one leg at a time.
  • If you pre-pay for the UM service on the return flight, please email a copy of the receipt to admissions@adventuretreks.com so that we may have it on hand at the airport on closing day.
  • You’ll receive a gate pass at check-in to accompany your child behind security to the gate, where an airline official will then walk your child down to their seat on the plane once it’s time to board. (Some airlines require your child to sit in the rear of the plane.)
  • Once the plane lands at your child’s final destination, an airline attendant will escort your child off the plane and stay with them until a designated Adventure Treks instructor arrives at the gate to sign the appropriate paperwork. Then the airline will release your child to us.

If you don’t book UM service, know that parents can request a gate pass from the check-in agents and go behind security with their children until their flight takes off. Adventure Treks instructors will be waiting at the arrival airport, ready to greet students when they land.

Airline fees

Please prepay any unaccompanied minor and/or baggage fees, and send a prepaid debit card or a credit card with your child for additional fees. Usually, $150 is enough to cover the purchase of food in airports, baggage fees, and any personal items. (As of 2021, most airlines stopped accepting cash for fees, so we don’t recommend sending cash.)