Along with ecotourism and voluntourism, a growing trend in travel is edutourism, where visitors spend part of their trip engaged in a class to learn a new skill or hobby that is indicative of the place and/or culture.
Language study has long been popular while touring since picking up a language can be much easier when embedded in a foreign spot, but more travelers are expanding their learning experiences to include new sports, new skills and new trades to take back home.
With the best schools and experiences in mind, the members and editors of VirtualTourist.com (www.virtualtourist.com) have compiled the "Top 5 Spots to Learn Something New."
1. Cooking and wine tasting in the Napa Valley
California's Napa Valley is synonymous with exquisite food experiences, but you don't need to be a wine snob to visit and learn more. The Culinary Institute of America's St. Helena campus offers a huge variety of classes, from 2 1/2-hour one-day classes, such as "Grilling and BBQ Secrets" to two-, three-, four- and five-day boot camps for "Wine Lovers," a delicious wine and food pairing course.
For the foodies, it offers boot camps on specific cooking techniques, like pastry making or "Techniques of Healthy Cooking." Tuition does not include accommodations, but nearby Calistoga and Yountville are filled with a variety of housing options.
2. Scuba diving in the Red Sea
A popular athletic skill to learn while vacationing is scuba diving, since the best diving for beginners is often in a pool or a body of water with pool-like conditions. For open-water dives, many travelers head to the Caribbean or Hawaii, but VirtualTourist members strongly recommend the Red Sea at Taba, Egypt.
With its calm, clear and warm waters, Taba provides an outstanding underwater experience for rookies looking to do an introductory dive, dives for those who are not certified, and is also a wonderful location to become beginner certified. While below the surface, you can expect to see marine life such as sharks, manta rays, turtles, eels and more. A VirtualTourist member had such a great experience in Taba with Aquasport, a five-star PADI Dive Center with lessons and course materials in multiple languages, that she is headed back for more advanced training in a few weeks!