Remote Learning Gets Reinvented: The Best Back-To-School Travel Experiences

It’s back-to-school time across the nation, but with the coronavirus pandemic still raging in many parts of the United States, learning is going to look at whole lot different this year, with many schools opting for remote leaning versus in-person classes and canceling extracurricular activities like sports and chess meets. In an attempt to help bridge the gap, the travel industry has been creating innovative programming that is helping put a new spin on the concept of a global education by redefining the concept of remote learning and introducing kids to new passions from around the world.
The offerings range from online classes hosted by hotel and travel companies to ultra-exclusive in-person opportunities for the ultra-elite. For example, on the high end, Estancia Vik, a luxurious beach resort in Uruguay, can be bought out for an eye-watering $6,000 a night. School here means guided trips to local museums instead of art class, horseback riding in place of gym and Spanish language instruction by local experts.

The travel industry is helping with remote learning by creating in-person and virtual travel … [+] experiences for kids who aren’t going back to school.
One innovative home-schooling concept is Embark World Academy, which has been created by Embark Beyond—a lifestyle and travel planning—in collaboration with Alan Cohen, co-chairman of the Principal’s Center Advisory Board at Harvard. Here, students get access to unique extracurricular experiences curated by hotels around the world. These semester-long immersive virtual activities include topics such as pastry making from Paris, sustainability from Africa and jewelry making from Colombia. Cohen will meet one-on-one with each family to tailor the perfect setup for every student.
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“While we initially launched this program as a destination classroom concept sending a family to a destination with a teacher for a semester abroad, we altered it to bring the world to their home once the world started closing up again,” says Embark Beyond’s founder and managing partner Jack Ezon. “Our goal is to create immersive content to compliment their core curriculum and learn something they ordinarily would not do.”

Want some ideas of how you can broaden your kids’ horizons? Check out these remote and in-person learning experiences.

A number of travel companies are offering virtual learning experiences.
Remote Learning Experiences
Embark World Academy: Embark World Academy offers an array of live, virtual after-school activities from around the world for kids to explore their passions with a global perspective. Think of it as a live, private Master Class for kids from around the globe.
Indagare: A travel planning company founded by a former magazine editor, Indagare has launched Indagare Global Classroom, a virtual program designed to bring the world to its members with private and group virtual tours, family-friendly experiences, participatory lessons and lectures. 
Context Travel: To harness the demand for remote learning, Context Travel—which offers walking tours in 60 cities—has pivoted its business model. Now its network of scholars and experts, who specialize in art history, archaeology, architecture and more, are offering digital learning sessions that cater to families through multi-week seminars and one-time courses.

Beach Plum Farm in Cape May, New Jersey.
Cape Resorts
In-Person Learning Experiences: United States
Beach Plum Farm, New Jersey: This working farm with cottages for rent outside Cape May is offering a new all-inclusive educational program for families—kids can learn where their food comes from, take nature trail walks, go on scavenger hunts, do watercoloring and more.
Gaylord Hotels: The boutique hotel company—which has locations in Colorado, Florida, Tennessee and Texas—offers specially-curated “learn from here” programming that’s available to school-aged kids to supplement remote learning programs. Education experiences range from wildlife rescue to horticulture tours.
Monarch Beach, California: In Dana Point, the Monarch Beach Resort has created a package that gives families a second room for free to use as a classroom. The hotel also offers outdoor exploration and homework tutors for one hour a day.
Montage Resorts: This California-based hotel company with locations from Hawaii to South Carolina is offering a Home School that allows guests an option to drop off kids with a proctor to continue home school in a monitored environment.
In-Person Learning Experiences: International

An aerial view of Four Seasons Punta Mita, which is offering a new remote learning program
Four Seasons Punta Mita
Four Seasons Punta Mita, Mexico: Mexico’s oceanfront Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita has launched the Knowledge for All Seasons program to make distance learning more fun. The program supports learning remotely with a new world-schooling program that features a tech hotline; study buddy program; and art, culture, history and after-school sports classes to encourage educational learning through travel.
Marriott Cancun, Mexico: With its new N.E.D. Talks (which stands for nature, education and discovery), young guests at the Marriott Cancun can learn about nature through a turtle release program, learn math with hands-on recipe lessons and can take Spanish lessons.
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