What Is an Edu-Vacation, and Why Should Your Family Should Consider Taking One?

Photo credit: ullstein bild - Getty Images

Photo credit: ullstein bild – Getty Images

There are so many things to consider when booking a vacation: Where to adventure, where to stay, what activities to book, how to get from point A to point B—the list goes on. No matter where you’re headed, though, the common goal of a vacation is to get away from everyday life in an attempt to unwind and make memories with those you’re traveling with. As such, the idea of making a vacation educational often falls by the wayside—but not anymore. Nowadays, edu-vacations (AKA educational vacations) are on the rise. But, before you assume that they’re a boring alternative to a typically laid-back out-of-office retreat, keep reading to learn why you and your family might just benefit from booking one.

What Is an Edu-Vacation?

Edu-vacations are getaways with a focus on learning new things. While most people learn a thing or two from any vacation—like words in different languages, the importance of international travel adapters, and the best restaurants and bars in town—edu-vacations are specifically curated to offer guests an elevated learning experience.

“To me, an edu-vacation is a great opportunity to fully immerse yourself into a destination,” says Kalei `Uwēko`olani, who is the cultural programming manager and leadership educator at Grand Wailea, a Waldorf Astoria resort in Hawaii that offers weekly cultural tours where guests can learn about Hawaiian history, culture, medicine, traditions, and the unique stories of the 40-acre property. “It is making the time to learn something, improve ourselves, and enhance the experience of a destination.”

In other words, edu-vacations transform a getaway into more than just a retreat from daily life—they provide visitors with lessons they can take with them when they head home; lessons that will make them feel more connected to the places they’re returning from.

“While it is nice to take in the stunning surface-level sights of a destination like Maui, the experience transforms tenfold when you allow yourself to embrace the true beauty of the island’s culture, history, and way of life,” `Uwēko`olani says. “At Grand Wailea, we put a large focus on ensuring our guests feel connected to Hawaiʻi beyond just our culinary offerings and ocean views. Our programs put an emphasis on the Hawaiian traditions, the importance of the land around us, and interpersonal relationships within the Wailea community, and our guests from all over the world have enjoyed learning more about the Hawaiian culture, language, and traditions throughout their stay with us.”

Who Is the Best Candidate for an Edu-Vacation?

Everyone could benefit from an edu-vacation! Although many edu-vacations are geared toward children—in an attempt to create learning opportunities in new environments, as well as to provide parents with a child-free break—educational retreats exist for adults, too. Curious to learn more? Check out a few edu-vacation examples, below.

The Best Edu-Vacation Destinations

Conrad Bora Bora Nui

“Conrad Bora Bora Nui provides many opportunities for children to learn while here in paradise,” says Conrad Bora Bora Nui‘s General Manager Stuart de San Nicolas. “The Tamariki Kids’ Club engages children through everything from fun-filled beachside games to traditional craft creations. The resort places a heavy emphasis on culturally relevant activities, such as Tahitian dancing, Pareo painting, recyclable activities, board games, learning about Polynesian culture, making flower crowns, and playing the ukulele.”

The Standard, Huruvalhi Maldives

The Standard, Huruvalhi Maldives offers coral planting, an eco-inspired initiative from our very own dive center team that allows us to foster interest and awareness of coral reefs and the global threats facing them,” says Jesper Soerensen, the General Manager of the resort. “This special experience aims to inspire actions to conserve our resources when people visit the ocean. [This resort] also celebrates special events in relation to environmental and sustainable awareness every year to show support to the global happenings worldwide. Activities include an island and house reef cleaning, coral gardening, and tree planting that guests can get themselves involved in.”

Grand Wailea

“At Grand Wailea, guests of all ages are welcome to enjoy our cultural offerings,” `Uwēko`olani says. “We find that children tend to enjoy some of our craftier activities, where they can weave a lauhala ornament or use natural resources from the property to make cordage, which also acts as a lovely souvenir to remember their time in Hawaiʻi. Our young guests also receive a grand passport upon check-in, which lists numerous kid-friendly educational activities around the property, and receive a ‘stamp’ for each completed lesson.

`Uwēko`olani adds that there are also plenty of activities geared towards a more mature audience: “We’ve recently brought back one of our monthly experiences called E Ala E. It is a ceremonial cleansing of our inner self where guests will enter the ocean and utilize the forces that are greater than ourselves to aid in shedding things that no longer serve a purpose. Upon emerging from the ocean, guests will greet the rising sun with a rousing ‘E Ala E’ chant, seeking to attain greater inner peace and start their day renewed and energized.”

The Lodge at Blue Sky, Auberge Resorts Collection

“The Lodge at Blue Sky’s 3,500 private acres allow for endless opportunity to reconnect with the natural world and expand your mind with enriching, one-of-a-kind experiences at the confluence of fun and education,” says Joe Ogdie, the general manager at The Lodge at Blue Sky, Auberge Resorts Collection. “All ages can learn from our wranglers about Vaquero horsemanship style, discover regenerative farming with the team at Gracie’s Farm or brush up on their navigational skills and identify plants or wildlife on our hiking trails. Our goal is for guests to leave the resort with a greater appreciation for the earth and renewed inspiration to always stay curious.”

Conrad Fort Lauderdale Beach

“At Conrad Fort Lauderdale Beach, we offer GO H20! by Funky Fish, an award-winning ocean adventure program for children 4 to 17 years old,” says Ivette Rourke, the director of sales and marketing at Conrad Fort Lauderdale Beach. “The program aims to connect children with the ocean through an extraordinary day filled with snorkeling lessons, boogie boarding, skimboarding, eco-art, beach games, and oceanology scavenger hunts.”

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