10 Ways to Learn While You Travel

  • An Edu-cation

    Are the kids heading off to school this fall? Newly minted empty nesters may be feeling a bit left out of the learning curve, but they shouldn’t. Instead of trying to find new ways to keep busy in an empty home, many are discovering hobby vacations, where you can participate in your favorite hobby or learn a new skill altogether to bring home with you rather than another collection of seashells. Whether you're familiar with the concept or not, learning vacations come in all shapes and sizes, and no matter what your interests, these 10 ideas will at least get you started on planning your next "edu-cation". Note: Prices vary for these activities, typically by the size of your group, the days of the week you plan on traveling and the season. Contact the destinations directly to inquire about pricing. Photo Credit: Getty
    Weave a Rug
  • Weave a Rug

    Travel writer Candy Harrington, author of “Barrier Free Travels”, who writes about accessible travel, says one of the best hobby destinations she’s been on was a visit to Homestead Weaving Studio in Columbus, Ind. Visitors can take one of the one-day classes and have something from the loom to bring back home. One of the best features of the experience, says Harrington, is that the studio is wheelchair-accessible and the classes can accommodate those with disabilities. While in Columbus, you can also check out Zaharakos Ice Cream Parlor and Museum and take a float trip down the Driftwood River. Photo Credit: Getty
    Cooking, Cajun Style
  • Cooking, Cajun Style

    “The New Orleans School of Cooking is fabulous,” says Diana Lambdin Meyer, a baby boomer and travel writer. Who wouldn’t want to learn to cook Cajun-style delicacies while in the Big Easy? For an advertised price on the website of $125 per person, you can sign up for hands-on classes and learn to make a complete New Orleans meal from appetizer to dessert. Of course, there are many other things to do and see in New Orleans, including browsing and shopping in the famous French Quarter. Photo Credit: Getty
    Learn a Language
  • Learn a Language

    If you plan on spending part of your retirement traveling, or you’ve always just wanted to learn a language, Lisa Meyers McClintick, a travel writer, recommends the Concordia Language Villages adult weekend, week or culture-immersion programs. There are several locations in Minnesota from which to choose. Of course, Minnesota is the Land of 10,000 Lakes and outdoor adventurers can find a variety of things to do besides learning a language while there. Photo Credit: Getty
    Learn to Make Goat Cheese
  • Learn to Make Goat Cheese

    Jackie Dishner, a travel writer in Arizona and author of “Backroads and Byways of Arizona”, says if you want to learn to make goat cheese, there may be no better place to do it than at the Black Mesa Ranch, near Snowflake, Ariz. In a three-day immersion workshop, participants learn all about working the ranch, goat management and making cheese. Arizona is a beautiful state full of art and culture and nearby attractions include Monument Valley, Canyon de Chelly, and the Painted Desert. Photo Credit: Getty
  • Skydiving

    If you’re a bit adventurous and skydiving is one of those items on your bucket list, Skydive Kansas will take you on the jump of your life. Tandem first jumps are $190. What else can you do while in Osage City? Visit one of the state’s last remaining drive-in theaters or Eisenhower State Park. See a full list of things to do in Lisa Waterman Gray’s book “An Explorer’s Guide: Kansas”. Photo Credit: Getty
    Boat Building
  • Boat Building

    Planning on spending your retirement out on the open seas or slightly-less-open lakes? If you are, you might find a ton of satisfcation from building your own boat. The Great Lakes Boat Building School in Cedarville, Mich., has weeklong and one-day workshops. If the kids are coming home for a break from college, some of the workshops are designed to focus on family bonding. Located near Lake Huron, visitors can take in the sights of the Upper Peninsula. Photo Credit: Getty
  • Zip-Lining

    Many thrill-seeking vacationers now include zip-lining on their itineraries, and one of the best places to learn about zip-lining is Wahoo Ziplines, near Sevierville, Tenn. Wahoo claims it is the largest canopy tour in the U.S., though more importantly it's a great place to learn about zip-lining and overcoming your fear of heights. The staff is patient and will even do tandem rides until you’re comfortable doing it on your own. They boast of having taken people as old as 80 on the tour. Located in the Great Smoky Mountains near Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, there are hundreds of other activities in the area as well. Photo Credit: Getty
    Become a Las Vegas Sensation
  • Become a Las Vegas Sensation

    At least for a few days, participants in the Fantasy Follies can rehearse and perform on a Las Vegas stage. This workshop and performance is only offered from November 15-18 and is designed for people 55 and over. Break out your inner Broadway performer and become a star, if only for a little while. When the show’s over, you know what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas, so keep your party going! Photo Credit: Getty
    Take a Cultural Cooking Class
  • Take a Cultural Cooking Class

    What could be better than staying in a country inn and taking cooking classes? For some, this is the ultimate getaway. Upcoming three-day classes at the Blair House Inn, located in Wimberley, Texas include courses on cuisines as diverse as French provincial, Mediterranean, Hill Country, and New Orleans. Wimberley was designated one of “America’s 10 Best Small Towns,” by Travel Holiday Magazine, so take in the small town charm of Texas Hill country during your stay. Photo Credit: Getty
    Horseback Riding and Ranching
  • Horseback Riding and Ranching

    Don’t let the news of this year's wildfires in the White Mountains in Arizona scare you from a vacation learning to ride horses, fly fish or participate in an archeological dig, all available at the X Diamond Ranch. There is so much to do at the ranch itself: you’ll find one-day and weeklong adventures. While at the ranch, check out the Little House Museum, a heritage museum full of artifacts from the Old West. Photo Credit: Getty
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