When you and your students are ready to see the world, consider these 10 countries, selected by SYTA member tour operators as the current top International travel destinations favored by students and teachers.
Trek “Down Under” to Australia, a country teeming with breathtaking natural sights and wildlife. It’s here students could see democracy in action in the capital city of Canberra, step behind the curtain and take in world-class performances inside a highly-recognizable white-roofed building in New South Wales, snorkel along one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World in Cairns, and hear from Indigenous storytellers in Adelaide. Despite the devastating bushfires a few years ago, they want you to know “There’s still nothing like Australia.”
From capital Beijing and economic hub Shanghai to culturally rich Xi’an and beautifully scenic Guilin, vibrant China is home to one of the world’s oldest civilizations. Whether students tour stunning gardens, hike along iconic landmarks, look for the kneeling archer among 8,000 Terracotta Warriors, or enjoy a traditional performance—complete with ancient costumes, singing, and dancing—there’s much to experience. Be sure to partake in a tea ceremony and try the amazing cuisine.
Bordered by the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea, Costa Rica teems with biodiversity and is an ecotourism hub. Opportunities to immerse students in the local culture are plenty, with artisan crafted goods, markets, and distinguished expressions of music, theater, and art close by. Students could get an adventure fix with activities such as whitewater rafting, kayaking, horseback riding, surfing, snorkeling, birdwatching and more. ¡Pura vida!
A cultural powerhouse, France is the place for students to tour exceptional sites rooted in history while taking in beautiful sights renowned throughout the world. Dance and theater performances abound beside grandiose cathedrals and celebrated cuisine, while essential war landmarks and locations enthrall history enthusiasts. A particularly recognizable tower—the most visited monument in the world—offers sweeping views of Paris, from 906 feet up!
Museums inspire imagination and offer a wide range of subject matter. Soak up cultural epochs in Berlin, admire old and modern art in Frankfurt, and delve into science and technology in Munich. Through 16 national parks and 15 UNESCO biosphere reserves, Germany’s natural beauty is a hiker’s paradise, waiting to be tapped. Learn a history lesson at the site of the Berlin Wall, the most visible manifestation of Cold War mentality that existed after World War II.
Whether seeing historic castles and cathedrals and a museum dedicated to Irish heritage in Dublin or catching a Donegal Bay wave, you won’t need luck to truly take in all Ireland has to offer. Aspiring performers will delight in film and music festivals and opera performances. Students with a passion for golf will love teeing off at world-renowned Royal Portrush—but not before visiting a famous set of cliffs, named a UNESCO Global Geopark.
Home to more UNESCO World Heritage sites than any other country, Italy is a vision of history, art and culture. Museums, historical cities, libraries and archaeological sites abound—along with performance opportunities in once-in-a-lifetime venues. Students will be in awe of world-renowned sculptures and paintings, created by some of art’s most recognizable names, in addition to taking in outdoor attractions and wildlife exploration. A sinking city and a leaning tower await!
Incredible rock formations, unique islands and active volcanoes are just the beginning! A dose of adventure is never far away, with caving, jet boating, canyoning and whale watching available year-round. Enjoy a wealth of performing arts, literature, museums and art galleries before learning about New Zealand’s Maori culture— an integral part of Kiwi life. There’s even a chance to journey to Middle Earth and The Shire, as well as catch the stunning southern lights in a Dark Sky Sanctuary.
Spain offers opportunities for students to become immersed in rich culture and traditions alongside unparalleled looks at art, history, science, technology, and beyond. Through a diverse landscape filled with lakes, mountains, volcanoes, marshes, forests, valleys and cliffs, there are endless ways to soak up fresh air while having fun along the way. The country is an ideal destination for elevating students’ Spanish-speaking skills, giving them a lesson in real-world usage
Whether you fancy England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, or all four, the United Kingdom is a storied land filled with history—and maybe mystery—worth exploring. Soak up highly recognizable landmarks, among them the world’s most famous clock tower, in London. A bustling arts and theater scene compliments museums celebrating timeless writers and a legendary detective. In Scotland and Wales, you get buzzing cities and off-the-beaten-path natural beauty with fairytale-like castles. And Northern Ireland is the ideal place for history buffs!