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Academic Travel and American Girl Create Vacation Experiences

Curated trips bring the worlds of popular American Girl historical characters to life for fans

It seems like an age since Americans could travel safely and reliably abroad, but as vaccination programs roll out, companies are preparing for the return of international tourism.

Two of those companies, American Girl and Academic Travel Abroad, are teaming up to create immersive, curated travel experiences.

American Girl, the beloved brand known for helping girls grow up with confidence and character, and educational travel provider Academic Travel Abroad, launched a new immersive travel program, American Girl Vacations. 

Travel + Leisure Group Launches Brand Licensing Business

American Girl is a premium brand for girls and a wholly-owned subsidiary of Mattel, Inc. Headquartered in Middleton, WI, American Girl offers an inspiring world of dolls, content, and experiences that nourish a girl’s spirit and help develop her strength of character. The line has a huge fan base, and has been a major part of Mattel’s drive to make toys more inclusive.

Academic Travel Abroad (ATA) is a 71-year-old, DC-based educational travel company, and creates immersive and experiential travel programs for organizations such as the Smithsonian Institution, The New York Times, and National Public Radio.

Designed for American Girl fans and their families, the first two vacation packages are inspired by two of the brand’s historical characters: Nanea Mitchell, a Hawaiian girl growing up during wartime in 1941; and Rebecca Rubin, a Jewish American girl growing up during the peak of the immigration period in 1914.

The fully guided educational trips will take place in December 2021 and explore the islands of Oahu, Hawaii, and Manhattan, New York. Each vacation package features curated events and activities that bring the American Girl character stories to life in a culturally authentic and unique way.

“American Girl has been celebrating girls and girlhood through engaging experiences for more than 35 years,” says Jodi Goldberg, head of content development for American Girl. “Through American Girl Vacations, we’ve combined the wonder of travel with the magic of storytelling to provide a fascinating glimpse into the worlds of our beloved characters. The personalized experiences inspire children and adults to discover more about the world around them, while making memories to last a lifetime.” 

The partnering companies describe their curated trips as follows:

  • Hawaiian Holiday with Nanea (Dec. 18–24, 2021) traces the story of compassionate and courageous Nanea Mitchell in beautiful Oahu, Hawaii, as she and her family watched their world turn upside down after the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. In addition to a private tour of the USS Arizona Memorial in Honolulu, girls and their families will explore the breadth of Oahu—from the shores of Waikiki Beach to the verdant mountains of the Kualoa Ranch. During the seven-day adventure, girls can walk in Nanea’s footsteps by learning the art of hula dancing, creating lei necklaces, and attending a traditional luau created just for them. See the full Hawaiian Holiday with Nanea itinerary and reservations here.
  • Lights! Camera! Action! Rebecca’s New York (Dec. 26–31, 2021) follows confident and charismatic Rebecca Rubin, a young girl growing up in New York City in 1914 who dreams of becoming an actress. During six days in Manhattan, girls and their families will immerse themselves in Rebecca’s New York by re-imagining the culture and traditions of her Jewish immigrant experience on the Lower East Side—the gateway for many who arrived to the U.S. in the late 19th century. In addition to several museum tours, fans will explore the world of stage through a private acting class, including a chance to make a silent film; take a sewing class while learning about mitzvah or doing good deeds; and enjoy the city’s most exciting holiday treats and activities—like the famous Nutcracker ballet. See the full Rebecca’s New York itinerary and reservations here.

Reservations are open now with limited availability per trip. More information about American Girl Vacations and bookings can be found at or by calling 1-855-395-6100.

“Travel is a life-changing experience for young people, and we have woven American Girl’s core values of kindness, tolerance, confidence and resilience into these trips,” said Chase Poffenberger, ATA Executive Vice President and a mother of two daughters.

Experiential Licensing: Targeting Travelers


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