Learn a New Skill While Traveling the World
Educational vacations are becoming one of the most popular ways to travel. Tourists are requesting unique local experiences where they can learn a skill, sport or art from residents of that region. So whether you’re looking for an extreme quest or you want to learn an age-old skill, here is a list of activities to try around the world.
Sand-Boarding in Doha, Qatar
If you’re an adventure junkie, hit the dunes in Qatar because sand-boarding is the new sport for you. Similar to snowboarding (but with sand), this is a regular activity in Qatar for locals and a “must-do” for tourists.
There are plenty of tour operators that offer lessons in the desert about 90 minutes south of Doha, the capital city of Qatar. 365 Adventures offers half-day adventures for about $40 where you can learn how to sand-board, dune bash and take in gorgeous views of Khor Al Adaid (Inland Sea). Dust will be flying in that Arabian wind, so thrill-seekers can take a dip in the sea post sand-boarding escapade. By the way, don’t forget your sunscreen, it is the desert.
Truffle Hunting in Rome, Italy
Italy is the epitome of good food, so this may just be the perfect destination to learn about truffles and how to forage for them. The Rome Cavalieri, A Waldorf Astoria Resort offers guests the ultimate experience in truffle hunting in Umbria.
After a quick transit from the hotel, you’ll be greeted upon arrival by the family that has been truffle hunting for centuries and their pack of well-trained dogs. Spend the morning learning tips and tricks that have been handed down for generations as you join the hunt for the elusive truffle. After participating in the hunt, you’ll enjoy a truffle-filled lunch while learning about the best ways to prepare truffle dishes. Don’t worry; you’ll depart with a basket full of truffles and firsthand insight on where to find truffles and how to eat them. Mangia!
Coasteering in Pembrokeshire, Wales
Ever heard of coasteering? This was an activity that surfers in Pembrokeshire coined as they traversed rocky coastlines in the 1980’s. The term coasteering came from combining coast and mountaineering and you can expect just that.
A tour guide will take you on an aquatic nature-trail along the cliffs as you explore caves, rock-hop, jump off cliffs and maybe even swim with seals. This is a family friendly activity though, so cliff jumping is not a necessity, as the level of adventure is up to you and your tour guide will lead the way. You’ll be given helmets and life jackets as well, and as long as you’re over the age of eight and you can doggy-paddle this adventure is for you.
Glassblowing in Corning, New York
The Corning Museum of Glass offers “Make Your Own Glass” classes, where visitors are offered the chance to work with a range of glass techniques. Learn flameworking while making a bead, glassblowing while making a pumpkin or sandblasting where you’ll apply a frosted look design to a cup or dish.
These classes are open to all ages and do not require any experience as there will be glassmakers on site to assist and guide participants through the process. The class is up to 40 minutes long depending on the project booked. Your creation will be ready for pick-up the following day!
Wood Carving in Oberammergau, Germany
Experience an authentic wood carving experience in Oberammergau (located within the Ammergauer Alps), a natural alpine park in Bavaria, Germany. The craft dates back to the middle ages and today approximately sixty active wood sculptors live in Oberammergau carving and selling their pieces.
Each shop has hundreds of wooden masterpieces from intricate statues to birdhouses and every kind of figurine you can imagine. The hands-on wood carving experience is 90 minutes and costs approximately $44 per person. You’ll learn the basics of the art of woodcarving and take home your creation.
Fly Fishing in Provo River, Utah
Try your hand at fly-fishing in scenic Provo River, which is about 45 miles south of Salt Lake City. You can count on the gorgeous flowing waters, along with Mend Fly Fishing to help you catch an abundance of fish on your first outing.
During the lesson, you’ll learn the basic concepts of casting, fly selection, reading the water and knot tying (to name a few skills). The Utah native guides all grew up fly-fishing these local waters, so by the end of the day you can expect to have fish swimming your way. A half-day guided tour is $275 and includes all your gear (flies, waders, boots, snacks, beverages, rod).
Surfing in Tamarindo, Costa Rica
Learning how to surf is every wanderluster’s dream. So pack your bags and head to Costa Rica for this one. Iguana Surf, located in Tamarindo, Costa Rica (along the North Pacific coast) is a surf camp and tour agency. There you can take a few lessons or enroll in a full on surf camp.
Iguana Surf caters to beginner surfers who want a local experience while they check out the beautiful sites of Costa Rica. The camp is a one-stop-shop destination that provides surfing accommodations in their picturesque beachfront hotel located directly in front of the most famous break in Tamarindo Beach. You can expect to learn about the art of surfing including, popping up on your board (in and out of the water), how to position your body, how to spot a wave to catch and a newfound respect for the ocean. Hang ten!
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
Note: Author J.K. Rowling has created a world filled with unexpected magic and tongue-in-cheek humor. All the details found in this travel guide, written by Steve Vander Ark, come from Rowling's books. If you're curious, you can learn more at Vander Ark's unofficial fan site, harrypotterlexicon.