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8 Travel Grants and Fellowships for Educators

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Summer is the perfect time to research and apply for a teacher travel grant. The key is to look in the right places and write a compelling application. Then, once you win an award, you might find yourself kayaking the length of the Mississippi River while developing a river ecology unit. (At least, that’s what one teacher did with a Fund For Teachers grant.)

To help you get started, here are some tips for writing winning proposals, a few inspiring articles, and a list of interesting travel grants that you might want to research or apply to this summer.

The Best Places to Look

Edutopia has covered travel grants in the past. Be sure to check out other content on the subject, including "Teacher-Tested Travel Grants," "Five-Minute Film Festival: Travel for Teachers," and "No-Cost Teacher Travel," for more grant-writing tips and funding sources.

Also, the Institute for International Education is an organization that anyone interested in educational travel should get to know. In addition to administering tons of interesting travel grant programs, the IIE is also a source for research, policy updates, and relevant resources for teachers.

  • Grosvenor Teacher Fellowships From National Geographic: Each year, National Geographic and Lindblad Expeditions take K-12 geography teachers on expeditions around the world. Usually, 25 educators are selected for fellowship trips each year, and participants travel to exotic locations and participate in professional development and curriculum-building activities. Applications for 2017 expeditions open in December.

  • Fund for Teachers Fellowships: Fund for Teachers fellowships enable educators to design their own professional development programs. International and domestic travel are often included in grant proposals, and FFT has been supporting these grants since 2001. Additionally, FFT has links to some other great travel fellowships. Each year, applications are due in the first two months of the year.

  • Teachers for Global Classrooms Program From IREX: This Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs program, administered by IREX, is a year-long cultural exchange for U.S. elementary, middle school, and high school teachers. The program includes intensive training, an international field experience, and a global education symposium in Washington, D.C. Applications are due in the spring.

  • Grants to Travel to Polar Regions From PolarTREC: PolarTREC offers annual grants to K-12 teachers that enable them to spend 3-6 weeks in polar regions and participate in field research projects. Since the program's launch in 2007, teachers have traveled to Greenland, Alaska, and Antarctica and have studied a range of science-related topics, including wetland dynamics and coastal ecology. The application process for next year's expeditions will open this summer.

  • Teacher at Sea Grants From NOAA: Since 1990, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Teacher at Sea program has enabled 600+ teachers to sail aboard NOAA research ships and gain hands-on research experience. The program is open to K-12 and college educators, and participants study oceanic and atmospheric science alongside NOAA scientists. Applications for the 2017 progam will open in Fall 2016.

  • Teach Earth Conservation Research Grants: The Earthwatch Institute's Teach Earth program offers K-12 educators the chance to support conservation projects in natural locations around the world. In addition to research, educators also participate in science learning and professional development. To apply, educators must fill out an interest form, and qualified teachers will be invited to complete a full application that's due in December.

  • German Study Tours From Goethe-Institut: Every year, the Goethe-Institut offers U.S. and Canadian social studies and STEM educators the opportunity to travel through Germany on two-week exercusions. During the tours, "each corner of Germany is sampled through sight, sound, touch, and taste." Application details will be released later this year.

  • Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellows Program in STEM: The Einstein program enables teachers to advocate for STEM on Capitol Hill and/or Congressional offices for up to a year. The application process for the 2016-2017 school year is currently closed; the application process will open again late next year.

Other Great Travel Grant Sources

  • Travel the World With Grants Just for Educators: This article from the National Education Association features ten scholarships designed to help teachers travel the world. Included are program details, funding amounts, and eligibility requirements for applications.

  • 35 Travel Grants and Other Travel Opportunities for Teachers and Education Professionals: Travel Beyond Excuse is a blog that is "helping teachers who want to travel." This article features 35 sources for teacher travel grants, and in addition, you'll find tons of ideas and strategies for traveling on the cheap.

  • Travel Grants From Teaching Traveling: Another website dedicated to education travel, Teaching Traveling is a great source of inspiration for educators looking for travel funding. In addition to the site's Travel Grants section, you'll find inspiring interviews with "teacher-travelers," as well as ideas and tips for securing funding.

Writing an Awesome Application

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saturdaysun's picture

I just saw this article on my news feed. Isn't it too late to get a grant for this summer?

Samer Rabadi's picture
Samer Rabadi
Online Community Manager

saturdaysun, while this piece focuses on summer, the grants listed don't necessarily share that focus. Their deadlines will vary depending.

Gordon's picture

A great source of paid summer travel for teachers is actually the federal government
Go to http://www.neh.gov/divisions/education/summer-programs
In late October for the following summer teacher seminars, institutes and landmark classes.
Running anywhere from 1-6 weeks you receive a stipend to cover your expenses. 2015 was the last year for international programs but they have them based in the humanities all across the U.S.

Mattie Johnson's picture
Mattie Johnson
Media Specialist for Southern High School

The National Consortium for Teaching about Asia (NCTA) offer study travel tours for teachers after you complete CEU credit with them. Their main purpose is to provide professional development on East Asia for K-12 teachers nationwide.

Liz's picture

Does anyone know of any no coast summer teacher institutes in Cuba?

Carrie Pillsbury's picture
Carrie Pillsbury
Communications Director at Fund for Teachers

Thank you for helping us let teachers know about FFT grants. Our 2016 grant deadline is 1/28. Would you like to help us select our new class of Fellows?

Guest's picture

Great article. I have a little confusion.Does TEACH Grant Program also involves travelling like this?

GEEO's picture

If you can't find a grant, or are looking for a programs to use your in your FFT application, check out www.geeo.org. GEEO sends over 300 teachers abroad each year on 1-3 week enjoyable travel programs to over 30 different countries. Participants also receive professional development credit and optional graduate credit. There is no application process and GEEO accepts educators from all nationalities, all grade levels and all subject matters. Our participants are permitted to bring along 1-2 non-educator guests over the age of 17. The programs are are all discounted to be less expensive than what is available to the public and GEEO can also get you humanitarian rate airfare.

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