How To Make Your Summer an Adventure

Posted on:   Posted by:

Planning to do something adventurous with your summer? Here are four of the most popular summer adventures reviewed.

It can be a chore trying to cut through the advertising you see online when it comes to summer programmes. Sometimes it can feel like everything is either “really good” or “really bad”! So, if you’re considering a summer scheme, I’ve compiled my honest reviews of what you can expect from each one.


£50 cost for four weeks

National Citizen Service (NCS) is a scheme mostly offered to Year 11s after they have taken their GCSE exams, though anyone from 15-17 can apply.

In total, NCS lasts for four weeks. In week 1, you will make camp and complete an itinerary packed full of outdoor fun and group activities. In week 2, you will stay closer to home in university halls or a residential centre, with a schedule of activities, workshops and challenges. Week 3 and 4 are based at home. Your challenge for the last two weeks will be to fundraise for and carry out a project for charity alongside your group.

As well as going on the scheme initially, NCS graduates can later apply to be group leaders. This is a paid role and although the salary isn’t comparable to a full time summer job, you do get accommodation and food paid for and some useful CV experience working with older kids.

Honest Review

I went on NCS in the summer after my GCSEs and although it wasn’t a bad time overall, it wasn’t for me. Since I had struggled making friends through school, I struggled to get on with my group. Some of it felt a little like work, but I did enjoy having the structure there instead of having to find ways to entertain myself over a long summer break. Luckily, the weather was perfect, the food was pretty okay and my group did end up doing some good for our local YMCA shelter.

My words of advice would be don’t do it if you think it’ll look good on your CV. If you think you won’t enjoy it or it isn’t quite your thing, then don’t go because you feel like you have to do something “productive” with the time. My friends who went on NCS will joke about how much teachers had begged them to do it for the sake of it being employable experience.


  • Budget friendly
  • Can be placed with friends
  • Meeting new people


  • Quality depends on location
  • Also meeting new people

Has the deadline passed? No, but when dates are released they go relatively quickly.

Where can you find it?

Camp America/Canada

£429+ cost/$1500+ salary

Camp America and Camp Canada are separate schemes that offer largely the same experience but in different countries. Both schemes operate traditional summer camps, usually where children will stay overnight for around two weeks.

Most camps are located in a rural area (usually one of outstanding natural beauty) where children will have the opportunity to take part in outdoor and water activities as well as leader led workshops. If you have a specialism in any craft or sport, camps will be excited to hear from you and you may even be paid more for your expertise.

Part of the job of a camp counsellor or activity leader will be making sure kids on camp are safe and ready for the day. In some specialised camps, this will mean caring for children with disabilities and adapting activities so that they can take part. 

Honest Review

As with working at any summer camp, there are pros and cons that come with the job. Largely, both Camp America and Canada are brilliant opportunities to explore another country, especially if you wouldn’t usually be able to fund a trip out of your own pocket. You also have the potential to make friends and to travel around the country cheaply through them between and after camps. Looking after the kids at camp can be draining, but hopefully what you get back will be more than rewarding experience. Make sure before you go that you’re ready for early morning starts, long busy days and the demands of younger children.

When I was researching Camp Canada as an option before university, I found next to no negative reviews. That’s not to say that they don’t exist but from the huge amount of positivity online, it seems like the team at camp and during the application stage really do make the effort to help and make you feel comfortable.


  • No need to learn a new language
  • Scheduled-in holiday time
  • Variety of roles


  • Limited flexibility on dates
  • Buying your own travel tickets
  • Busy timetable

Has the deadline passed? For some camps, yes. For others, applications are still open.

Where can you find it? Camp America and Camp Canada


€349+ for 15 days ticket

Interrailing is the experience of taking a train-based tour around Europe, usually over the summer. It is most commonly done by those in gap years or newly graduated university students. Most holidays last around 3 weeks but the length depends on what interrail ticket you buy.

Honest Review

Many people say interrailing gave them the best time of their life and brought them closer to the friends they travel with. If you’re just about to go to university or freshly graduated, you may not get the chance to coordinate a trip again so if you do want to go, go whilst you have the chance to. If you’ve never really had the chance to go outside the UK before, interrailing is the perfect opportunity to experience other countries.

I was considering interrailing with my friend but came across some horror stories about packed trains and heatwaves on my TikTok. If the only time you have is the summer, watch out for very busy trains, especially if you’re booking day long train rides. You may be left with no seat and no sleep. A common complaint of interrailers is forgetting to reserve seats on a train and being turned away at train stations, so if you do go make sure at least somebody in your group is responsible enough to plan ahead and keep tickets on them. It can also become very expensive and for many will be flat out inaccessible, but if you are fortunate enough to have the savings make sure to do your research and book cheap.


  • Young Adult discounts on tickets
  • A varied adventure
  • An escape from home


  • Lots of planning
  • Juggling the availability of your friends
  • Potential for crowded trains and very hot weather

Has the deadline passed? No. You can book interrail tickets any time, for any time of the year.

Where can you find it?


££ Camp Dependent

PGL is a traditional summer camp experience, providing outdoor activities and camp-based fun. There are a range of camps on offer and also a range of options once you arrive. The most common form of camp is a multi-activity holiday, this means outdoor activities and team challenges mixed with traditional staples of a summer camp such as campfires and talent shows. Camps are generally aimed at kids who would usually need a parent to supervise – hence why the camps have the option to bring your parents along.

If you’re over 16, you won’t be able to take part as a camper, but you might be able to get a job. The jobs come with a regular salary as opposed to some other summer scheme options. If you want to save some money over the summer but still have a fun time working with kids, this might be the option for you.

Honest Review

If you’ve been a Girl Guide or a Scout then there’s a big chance you’ve been on a camp similar to what PGL offers. The main form of accommodation is dorm rooms and everyone is fully catered for by the camp team while you’re there, so the experience is very much a team experience. You don’t have much freedom in planning your day and if you are younger, will have no say in where you go and when. If you are closer to 16, this relaxes a little but such a regimented experience might leave you feeling frustrated that you cannot make many of your own decisions.

The common denominators in the bad reviews I could see online were about hygiene, bad food and the attitude of activity leaders. Good reviews focus on how cheap food and shops around the area were, how enthusiastic team members were and have mainly been submitted by those who went with parents or as parents themselves.


  • Large variety of camps
  • Range of prices and affordability
  • Family focused


  • Younger focus
  • Regimented

Has the deadline passed? No.

Where can you find it?

Related Information

Looking for more things to keep you busy? Check out the Things To Do section on TheSprout.

Cyber Essentials Logo

Funding Partners

promo cymru
TheSprout :