Education & Learning Tours and Travel Guide
Education & Learning Attractions & Landmarks Guide
Learning vacations are focused primarily on adding to your knowledge of a particular subject -- anything from studying Spanish in Mexico to digging alongside archaeologists in Egypt to learning art history in Florence. Several tour companies specialize in these types of vacations, which appeal to travelers who want to combine a stay in a far-off location with an educational component. These trips often feature lecturers and local experts to enrich your experiences.
One way to combine a relaxing vacation with learning something new is to learn a well-being activity, such as yoga, meditation, or pilates. Not only are these activities great for the body and mind, but they can make for a peaceful and enjoyable vacation in an exotic location. These activities can take place throughout the world, from retreats in India, to beaches in Southeast Asia, to mountain lodges in South America.
Sport & Active Outings
Traveling abroad can open up new opportunities for learning sports and active pursuits that would be impossible at home, for example, horse riding, sand boarding, and mountain climbing. It’s also a great way to learn water sports such as surfing, waterskiing, and wake boarding. Most of these sports and activities can be undertaken as a single taster course of a day or two, but setting aside an entire holiday to learn a new activity can be rewarding, as you chart your progress and improve day by day.
A popular active learning vacation is sailing, where you can take in a few days or weeks of learning how to sail, while also exploring a region. Another is scuba diving, where you can spend days learning about diving while exploring an underwater world, and receive a qualification at the end.
Taking dance lessons can be a great way to learn a new skill and also learn about the culture of a specific region. Tango, for example, is an integral part of the culture of Buenos Aires, and taking some lessons here will open up a whole new side of the city to you. While salsa lessons are available throughout the world, learning the dance in Central or South America allows you to not only learn the steps, but to surround yourself with the culture of salsa, too.
There are a wide range of dance lessons available worldwide, from the well-known dances of Latin America, to tribal dances of Africa, or Bollywood dancing in India. So you can plan the location around the dance, or plan the dance around the location.
There are countless opportunities for combining a vacation with pursuing a creative passion. If you’re interested in fashion, why not try making your own clothes or jewelry? For those interested in photography, travel can open up a whole new world of photography adventures, allowing you to both pursue your hobby and to improve your skills. Or for those who enjoy writing, a writing retreat can be a great opportunity to focus on your passion, while meeting like-minded people.
Where better to learn to cook authentic cuisine than in the home of the cuisine itself? Cooking courses can range from a single lesson to weeks spent exploring the culinary world of a country, and are a great way to experience the tastes of a region while learning a new skill to take home. Cooking courses can take place anywhere in the world, so all you need to do is pick a cuisine or country that interests you.
There’s no better way to learn a language than by immersing yourself in it. Many language immersion courses are quite limited in where they take place (If you want to learn Mandarin, China is the obvious choice!). But others can take place in a wide range of countries. For example, if you’d like to learn Spanish, you can go pretty much anywhere in Central or South America, or of course, to Spain itself!
Be careful when choosing a location to learn a new language, though, as different places have different regional accents and dialects. The French spoken in France is far different to that spoken in Quebec, or throughout West Africa! So do your homework before you go, and find a course that’s right for you.
Things to Know Before You Go
What is an educational tour?
On an educational tour, the ultimate goal is to learn something new while traveling.
An educational tour can be age specific. For example, learning vacations and educational tours for adults are particularly popular. Some of the best providers of these kind of tours include Road Scholar (previously known as Elderhostel), a company known for its educational cruises and other easy and convenient trips, and Smithsonian Journeys.
An educational tour can take many forms. Perhaps you want to learn more about ancient Incan society at Machu Picchu by hiking the Inca Trail, or you want to learn the history of what was formerly Yugoslavia by rail, or you want to walk the spice trails in Petra -- all of these trips could be (and are!) educational tours.
Service Learning Tours
Another sought after form of educational tour is a learning tour with a service component. Like the traditional educational tour, the intensity of the service and amount of service per trip can vary drastically. Service is a great way to give back to the community you’re visiting, and can help make a trip much more meaningful.
Some examples of service you could be doing while traveling include working at an elephant sanctuary in Thailand, helping run an ESL after school program in Costa Rica, or helping perform animal conservation research in South Africa.
How to Pick your Educational Tour
Once again, group sizes vary dramatically per tour and by company. Generally, large groups are a better price and boast group discounts. Smaller groups, while more expensive, usually offer a more thorough and personalized experience. If you are an independent person, you might even be interested in a self-guided tour -- whatever you’re leaning toward, however, Stride is your best resource to compare and contrast different tour providers and trip options. Check out our educational tour reviews to see what real people have actually experienced.
One obvious distinction between tours, even in the same countries, is what topic the learning tour is focused on. For example, you could experience the south of Italy in a variety of ways. You could learn to wine-taste by visiting its rustic and beautiful vineyards, or maybe you want to get a fuller experience of the countryside by cycling through its small towns … or perhaps you’d rather stick with a more traditional vacation, with guaranteed stops at all of Italy’s most popular monuments and attractions.
Deciding your means of transport is another important decision in picking your tour. Although a tour may be learning-focused, it might be a combination of other things -- for example, many educational tours are done on bicycle, or conducted from the comfort of a cruise ship. Walking tours are also another popular form for educational tours.
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