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Unlike traditional guided tours, educational travel programs are led by highly experienced experts in history, architecture, and art, explaining in depth a country’s past and present, and its culture.  The disadvantages of these tours are the higher costs and lack of opportunities to explore by yourself. Although they are usually welcomed, solo travelers are often asked to lodge with a roommate or pay an additional fee. However, if you book a trip at the last minute, you may find a deal. Here are some of the best companies that provide educational travel opportunities.


Road Scholar

The most well-known educational tour company is Road Scholar, formerly known as Elderhostel. Since 1975, the organization has conducted affordable tours in 150 countries, estimating that its participants can save up to 20 percent compared to other companies.


Road Scholar has 5,500 learning tours that you can choose from. Some of its most popular offerings include trips to Ireland, Scotland, Iceland, Southern Italy, New Zealand, and Australia. If you’re planning on a grand adventure, the World Academy tour from Road Scholar can take you around the world in 131 days with experts from 30 countries.


Go Ahead Tours

Go Ahead Tours, part of EF Education First, offers small tour groups of 14 to 35 people. The experienced tour directors and local guides know everything about their cities.

Besides the usual destinations, Go ahead also offers specialty tours. For instance, the “500th anniversary of the Reformation” explores the life and times of Martin Luther in Germany and the Czech Republic. The “Wines of Eastern Europe” explores the region’s vineyards, abbeys, and villages. Additionally, if you have a group of six or more people, Go ahead will let you travel free.


The Archeological Conservancy

If you’re a fan of Indiana Jones and want to see more of the ancient past, an archaeological tour might be a perfect choice. Some organizations, such as The Archaeological Conservancy, can take you to places such as the ancient Mayan pyramids and the Silk Road cities of China.


Travel with The Met

The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Travel with The Met program is a prestigious program that allows travelers to explore different areas with their curators. According to the museum, this type of travel experience combines the best of both worlds: art and travel. The Met runs about two dozen tours a year, and these trips often feature interesting and unique experiences.


In 2017, some of the popular destinations that the organization visited included Azerbaijan, Georgia, Morocco, and the Balkans. Some of these trips were aboard the Sea Cloud, a 1931 sailing ship.


Smithsonian Journeys

The museum travel program operated by the Smithsonian Institution, known as Smithsonian Journeys, offers over 350 trips that take place on seven continents.


The organization’s special interest tours are designed to cater to different interests. For instance, the “Russian Space Program” tour takes participants to the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to watch the launch of a Soyuz spacecraft. The “Italian Cars” tour takes participants behind the scenes of the Maserati and Lamborghini factories. The group then goes on to participate in the prestigious “Mille Miglia” racecar rally. Other tours that the Smithsonian sJourneys offers include family trips to places such as Ireland, Peru, and Japan.