About one-fifth of adults, or over 30 million people, have taken an educational trip to learn or improve a skill, sport, or hobby in the past three years, according to a recent survey by the U.S. Travel Association (USTA, www.ustravel.org).
Overall, educational travelers are more likely than total U.S. travelers to be men (56%), younger (39 years, average age), college graduates (49%), professional or managerial (38%), have children in the household (51%), and have a higher annual household income ($75,000 mean annual household income).

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According to Virtuoso (www.virtuoso.com), a luxury travel network comprised of over 300 agencies, the most popular educational travel experiences are as follows:


• Archaeological exploration

• Cooking school

• Foreign-language immersion

• Genealogy research

• Sports lessons

Artistic Getaways

Several programs let travelers engage in artistic endeavors. The following are some examples:

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• Artista Creative Safaris for Women (www.artistacreative.com), at Carmel-by-the-Sea, California, offers mini-courses in abstract painting, printmaking, and holiday art gift-making.

• Snow Farm (www.snowfarm.org), in Williamsburg, Massachusetts, offers dozens of classes ranging from photography to sculpture to landscape painting.

• In Montana, Triple Creek Ranch (www.triplecreekranch.com) hosts artist-led workshops called Spectrum of Color & Artistry during weekends in October.

• At the Museum of Glass (Tacoma, WA; www.museumofglass.org) travelers can learn glass-blowing at a school founded by famed artisan Dale Chihuly.

Other art getaways are listed online at www.art.shawguides.com.

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Pairing learning with cruising is another niche within travel and tourism. Crystal Cruises’ Creative Learning Institute, for example, presents a series of interactive classes as well as an array of wellness seminars. One program with Cleveland Clinic includes specialists leading seminars on such topics as neurology, cardiology, arthritis, and osteoporosis. The cruise line also partners with Berlitz, the world’s premier language services firm, to offer complimentary foreign language instruction. Spanish is offered on most cruises, and many itineraries feature instruction in a language of the region visited. Parsons School of Design offers introductory classes in fine art, floral design, and interior design through its partnership with the cruise line.

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Of course, educational cruises are still a vacation. Between lectures, travelers can partake in the usual pampering, like spa treatments and gourmet dining.

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