• Parlay Vacay

Level Up on Vacation with a New Kind of Educational Travel

By Chelsea La Near

Skill sharing vacations, a growing trend in educational travel, are experiences designed to help you develop a new or existing skill during your vacation - a dual purpose that may just be the motivation you need to start planning your next trip. Your destination is your new classroom.

Educational Travel: photography, surfing, pottery

There's a popular saying that "travel is the best teacher." It's true that travel provides us with perhaps the most effective environment to learn about the world around us and about ourselves - it can even help us learn and develop in-demand career skills. We often choose to travel in the first place in order to learn about a different region - it's history, culture, and food among other things. For this reason, many travel itineraries include activities like historical site visits, museums, and eating at famous restaurants.

This typical itinerary, however, is losing its appeal for a growing number of travelers who seek more personalized knowledge and authentic interactions out of their trips. These travelers are increasingly turning towards the rapidly emerging industry of educational tourism for adults that combines vacations with learning a new skill or leveling up an existing skill. The destination itself provides the classroom where you can learn in a more meaningful and stimulating context compared to traditional schools.

Educational travel provides an exciting way for tourists to learn about different cultures through the lens of their own specific passion or interest. Whether you're digging up dinosaur bones in Canada, assisting a marine research team in Seychelles, harvesting grapes with a Chilean winemaker, or practicing yoga with gurus in India, the intentional focus of your educational travel program will contribute to more meaningful connections with local people and a deeper, more unique understanding of your destination.

We've categorized some popular education adventures to give you an idea of the possibilities. If you don't see something that interests you, keep in mind that as the industry grows, so too does the list of options. Some companies can even help you create a unique itinerary for whatever skill you have your heart set on.


Of course we have to start with language learning as it's one of the most sought-after skills to learn while on vacation, and it happens to be Parlay Vacay's specialty. If you don't see the language you're interested in learning or your desired destination among their available options, reach out for a customized learning experience.


Yoga on the beach in Rishikesh

Yoga - The wellness practice that originated in India is growing quickly in popularity, with schools all around the world. The most authentic destination, though, might be Rishikesh, a city in India nestled in the lower Himalayan mountains that has been a celebrated yoga mecca for centuries.

Dancing - Just about every culture has a dance style that reveals so much about the people and their history. Learning a new dance on vacation is a great way to get up-close and personal with locals while getting some exercise. South America is a hot destination for dancing schools, with salsa in places like Cuba and Colombia and tango in Argentina.

Martial Arts - While martial arts schools can be found in just about every country, learning a specific type in its location of origin can provide a more intense, transformative experience. You could study Kung Fu in Shao Lin (China), Taekwondo in Korea, Capoeira in Brazil, Karate in Japan, or Kalari in India just to name a few.

Skiing - Whether you want to learn cross country, downhill, or are just a beginner, there will be a ski school just right in the mountains of your destination. Skiing vacations can be good for the whole family, and if you ski in another country, you are sure to spend plenty of time with locals who are also on vacation.

Scuba diving with yellow fish

Scuba Diving - Why get your open water certification in a swimming pool when you could be surrounded by tropical fish in the clear, shallow waters off the coast of the Philippines or Mexico?

Most destinations where scuba diving is a popular activity also have an array of diving schools to choose from. A typical open water certification course takes around 3-4 days, and many diving schools offer room and board as well.

Surfing - Surfing, wind surfing, and kite surfing, are sports that demand hands-on experience in water swells in order to learn. Just about any surf destination typically has a few schools or instructors nearby to help you out. One of our favorites is Edgar Sanchez Guega's Improve Surf Company in Costa Rica.

Sailing - If you've always wanted to learn sailing, what better way than to hop on a sailboat with a nautical expert who can show