As if we needed another reason to start planning our next trip, the “learning holiday” offers the chance to master life-changing skills while you travel.
Is there any greater joy in life than travel? We think not, and we’re not alone. 75 per cent of Australians say travel is just as important as tertiary education.
But as life gets more and more frantic, and taking time out from work gets trickier, Australians are looking to multi-task - even when they’re taking a break!
According to research from AVANI Hotels & Resorts, seven out of ten people are keen on learning a new skill while on holiday. This growing demand for ”learning holidays” has seen a dramatic increase in the quality and range of experiences on the market. We scouted out the best learn-on-leave breaks, no matter your passion.
For the passionate foodie
They say the best way to discover a new place is through its food (or is that something we made up?), so use your time away to learn to cook and eat a country's traditional foods.
Intrepid Travel's Real Food Adventures are perfect for those looking to hone their culinary skills while on holiday. On the Northern Spain Real Food Adventure in San Sebastian, you can master the building blocks of traditional Basque cuisine and, during the Indian Vegan Food Adventure in Jaipur, learn traditional techniques for making staples like chapati and pakora.
For the budding photographer
Discover Japan while pushing your photography to the next level, alongside award-winning landscape photographer, Andy Yee, taking in the country's natural, man-made and gastronomic sights via your camera lens.
For the green design devotee
With sustainable building paving the way for future home design, tiny houses are growing in popularity. In the picturesque surroundings of west Wales, you can embark on a four-day course to learn how to make a beautiful and bespoke tiny house from the ground up, including a timber frame structure, interior and relevant renewable systems, guided by master craftsman and designer of the Dragon's Eye (below), Carwyn Lloyd Jones.
For the outdoor adventurer
Wonder how you'd survive if you ever got lost on a bushwalk? Amidst your usual holiday R&R, fit in a wilderness survival skills course and learn to build a shelter, light a fire, purify water and navigate your way through the bush using the sun and stars.
A two-day bush survival course in NSW's Blue Mountains could be just the ticket, instilling the essential skills for anyone venturing out bush.
For the aspiring novelist
Whether it's the start of your writing journey or you're putting the finishing touches on your second novel, escaping your everyday routine can provide the space and inspiration you need to write.
London has nurtured writers like Charles Dickens, Virginia Woolf and Agatha Christie and is an idyllic place to hone your literary skills. Take a one-day 'Start to Write' beginners' fiction, poetry course or a five-day fiction Bootcamp led by award-winning, working writers at Faber Academy, in Bloomsbury: The literary heart of London.
For the language lover
The best place to learn or practise a language is wherever it's spoken as the native tongue. You'll find it easier to grasp the context of words, accent and pronunciation while increasing your opportunity to practise your newly-acquired skills.
Whether it's learning French slang in a cool Parisian wine bar somewhere off the tourist track, a two-week immersive language experience in Portugal or fish, chips and Maori language tips, you'll do your best work learning from local tutors.
For the bushwalker
You'll learn so much more about a place when you explore it on foot: The slower-pace makes for ample opportunities to look around, absorb your surroundings and uncover hidden treasures.
Take a historical and archaeological hike in the Scottish wilderness and discover Viking ruins, medieval churches and castles, which you might have missed in a car.
Kathmandu’s Summit Club offers members access to treks in the Indian Himalayas, Bhutan and Nepal, joined by an expert adventurer. Trekkers are encouraged to raise funds for the Australian Himalayan Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to improving education, health and conservation in Himalayan communities.
In the lofty peaks and pristine alpine lakes of Mt. Aspiring National Park, best known as the backdrop of The Lord of the Rings, there's an abundance of self-guided or guided walks. While you're there, plant a native tree to provide food to the Buff Weka, a rare flightless bird extinct on New Zealand's mainland.
For the eco-warrior
The Republic of Palau in the Western Pacific is known for its pristine white sand beaches, stunning coral reefs and unique wildlife. But, with large-scale mass tourism threatening to destroy its fragile ecosystem, Palau has become the first country to ask all inbound visitors to make a pledge to preserve their home before they can enter the country.
By taking the pledge, visitors promise to learn about the culture and people, support local businesses and communities, respect Palau's cultural traditions and take care of the archipelago's incredible flora and fauna.