You should be able to Object>Scale or drag with the Scale Tool (or Free Transform Tool) to scale, whether the Bounding Box and/or the Edges are shown or hidden.
In connexion with Area Type you will have to carefully slect the box with the Direct Selection Tool.
What exactly do you do, and what exactly happens, or not?
I am not sure why jacob made such a response but there is no such command Object>Scale.
You san use the scale tool or the Free transform Tool to scale but that will not only change the size of the text frame but also the size of the text.
Which I have a feeling you do not want to do.
The bounding box sounds like what you want since you will be able to scale photos with it as well as change the the size of a text frame without increasing the size of the text.
2 corrections and 1 addition:
Object>Transform>Scale, which I believe most users know.
Select the box itself with the Scale Tool or Free Transform Tool (or individual Anchor Points with the Direct Selection Tool for moving).
I forgot to mention that Smart Guides are your friends. You can drag with either tool without them, if you know where the box is; that is more challenging. But with the Smart Guides, you can cross/hover over the path forming the box for the Area Type or bounding the image.
It is easier with Bounding Box and/or Edges shown, but not necessary.
Edit: Hi Steve.