Senior Educational Travel: 3 Planning Tips for an Amazing Trip
Senior educational travel is on the rise. Travel companies offer world-class learning adventures with expert instructors and guides. However, before you sign up to walk in the exact footsteps of Lewis and Clark, it’s essential to understand what will make the trip memorable for you.
What setting will allow you to learn and have fun? Would travel by tour bus be a good fit or camping in the wilderness with a small group?
Here are three tips to help you plan your most memorable learning vacation:
1. What do you want to get out of your educational travel?
Defining your expectations ahead of time will set you up for a rewarding trip. Do you want to focus on one thing (an architectural period, artist or field of study) and fully immerse yourself or do you prefer to get a general understanding of a whole area?
For example, maybe you want to explore the Roman ruins of Carthage—to wander around the massive arches and pillars and walk where traders once gathered at the baths and amphitheater.
But if the guide rushes you through the archeological wonder, as it’s just one part of the day’s tour (and the park is closing), your learning experience may feel incomplete.
Think about what you want to learn and how to make it happen. Research your destination: the educational opportunities, reviews, news, history, academic papers, and social media pages. Then decide how you will see the site to get the most out of the experience.
2. How do you like to learn?
Everyone has a unique learning style. Will a group setting work best for you, allowing you to discuss what you’re learning? Alternatively, do you prefer to be independent—to explore and absorb the experience without distraction?
Guided travel tours
Maybe you’d enjoy a larger tour group, allowing you to take in the lecture-style information as you move from place to place.
On the other hand, traveling with a small group will allow you to interact with your guide one-on-one and discuss the experience in depth. Additionally, within a small group, you will be learning with like-minded travelers. What a great way to learn and develop new friendships!
If you prefer to learn independently—to explore like John Muir, and let your surroundings teach you—a self-guided trip may be a good fit.
That could include planning the experiences yourself or going with a group but breaking away to explore on your own. Of course, the internet will be an essential tool for planning your self-directed learning adventure.
3. What activity level do you prefer?
Whether you’re traveling Europe on a tour bus or doing a seven-day hike through Yellowstone with a naturalist, understand the type and level of activity ahead of time.
For example, the All Hands on Deck USS Missouri maintenance trip gets a high-intensity rating, as it includes climbing the ship’s ladders, refinishing the teak deck and sleeping in the ship’s berthing.
Ultimately, taking your physical comfort into account, from getting in and out of buses to climbing stairs into a museum (where ramps may not be available), will allow you to enjoy the learning experience.
Will learning vacations become your new way to travel?
As you plan for your educational vacation, think about how you’d like to feel after the trip. Will you be inspired to do another, having found your new way to travel? When telling friends about your travels, will you realize just how extraordinary your adventure was and how much you learned?
Who knows, before you even tear off your luggage tags, you may turn around and start planning your next learning adventure!
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