The best classrooms have no walls -- so get out there and truly explore the world as part of an educational tour. More and more discerning travelers are looking to travel deep into their destinations and come home after having a life-changing learning experience. These tours are a great way to do just that.
What your tour focuses on can vary greatly. Many travelers who choose to go on an educational tour are looking to learn about something that they are particularly passionate about. These tours give you the chance to try out a different career for a bit or learn more about your interests at their very source.
Educational tours for school-age children have been around for a long time. However, the number of adults looking to grow and learn through travel has been increasing for years. Get out there and expand your horizons on an educationally-focused tour!
Where to Go
From one end of the boot of Italy to the other, there are countless opportunities to have a meaningful learning experience. Whether you want to learn to cook authentic Italian cuisine, study theology in Rome, hone your artistic skills in Florence, or delve into classical history, Italy has much to offer. The shoulder seasons of spring or autumn are fantastic times to go to Italy in order to avoid the summer crowds and still enjoy good weather.
The second most populated South American country is a rising star in the field of educational travel. In this diverse country, you can learn how some of the world's best coffee is harvested in the Andean foothills, study biodiversity in the Amazon, and discover how Medellín transformed itself from one of the world’s most dangerous cities to a model of urban renewal. Given its location close to the equator, Colombia enjoys great weather year-round, although the Caribbean region gets a lot of rain in the autumn.
South Africa may be famous for its elephants and hippos, but it also offers important lessons about the struggle for democracy and reconciliation. Explore this remarkable land as part of an educational tour to experience its cultural diversity, natural beauty, and poignant historical relevance. South Africa’s many regional micro-climates mean that you can have a great experience any time of year, although the south coast can get rainy and cold during the winter.
China offers unique educational opportunities for travelers with its dynamic culture, rich history, and unparalleled landscape. On an educational tour of China, you can immerse yourself in the language, culture, history, and cuisine of a country that nearly 1.4 billion people call home. China can be visited any time of year, but it is most pleasant during the spring and autumn months when you can enjoy mild weather and avoid the largest crowds.
Planning Your Trip
What to Look for in an Educational Tour
A great educational tour will include a variety of in-depth experiences to learn about your destination and the people who live there. When choosing a tour, look at who is running it. Do your guides have a particular background or experience to inform a truly exceptional learning experience? It’s a good idea to read reviews and contact the tour company to make sure that they have the best tour for you.
Also, consider what is included in the tour. Are meals covered? Will you have free time for independent exploration? Will you be staying in hotels, homestays, or rental properties? The size of the tour is also important. A tour with too many participants means that all your questions and needs may not be addressed.
Average Educational Tour Cost & Length
The cost of educational tours varies widely based on the location and the activities involved. Expect costs to run from about $200-$450 per day with trips usually lasting between one and three weeks.
Packing Tips & Gear Rental
What you pack depends a lot on where you go. Check with your tour operator to see if they have any special recommendations on what to bring. Pack comfortable clothing for physical activities if that’s what your tour includes. Chances are you’ll be on your feet a lot, so bring along comfortable walking shoes.
Your tour operator will help you with any issues relating to visas. It’s best to familiarize yourself with the exchange rates between your own currency and the currency at your destination. If you’ll be visiting any local homes or families, bringing a small gift can be a nice gesture.
You may want to do some homework on any particular topics covered in your tour. Reading a book or watching a documentary about what you’ll be learning on an educational tour is a nice way to come prepared with a little extra knowledge and appreciation for your journey.
Qualifications & Training
There are no specific qualifications and training required to participate in an educational tour. Having a keen sense of wonder and a willingness to expand your comfort zone will serve you well on one of these tours.
Activities involved in an educational tour are relatively safe. The type activities on your tour will dictate the risks. Always follow the advice of your guides as they are there to keep you safe. If you take medication, bring enough to last the length of your tour as it may not be possible to replace it at your destination.
Take the same precautions you would for any trip abroad. Be vigilant of your possessions and wary of pickpockets when in crowded places. Check with the CDC to see if there are any vaccination recommendations at your destination and with the State Department for any relevant warnings.