The next time you are planning a trip, think about going on an educational road trip. If you want to learn something totally new, continue to learn about something you already know or advance your career, there are thousands of opportunities in the United States each year for you to expand your horizons while taking a few days away for a mini-vacation.
The educational road trip can take several forms including:
- Historical Tours
- Educational Travel Tours
- Music/Craft Camps
- Culinary Travel Tours
The opportunities for educational experiences on the road are too plentiful to list here, so this article will focus on attending conferences and seminars.
According to a study by PwC there were 284,600 conventions/conferences/trade shows in the U.S. with 87-million attendees. Some of these are specifically geared toward professionals, but there are also many conferences put on by organizations with a broader audience ranging from the casual hobbyist to the home entrepreneur to the expert.
Often, the conference is organized by a trade group and may require membership to that organization to attend the event. One benefit of such a membership is that the membership can also include information and resources exclusive to members beyond what they get at a conference.
The trade group will negotiate a discounted rate on accommodations for the conference that usually extend several days before and after the conference itself, allowing the option for the traveler to turn their conference attendance into a mini vacation at a discounted rate. These groups also allow for the attendee to bring family members to stay for the same discounted rate and will often give them discounted rates to some conference events as a guest.
They will also usually provide information about the local tourist spots so you don’t need to spend the time doing that yourself.
You get to attend the classes and seminars that interest you and then visit area attractions as part of your vacation. It is a great way to combine business with pleasure and learn something new in the process. Conferences may also include some of all of the meals during the conference in the cost of registration, also helping to keep the final costs down. Prices will vary depending on the type of conference, the location and the group organizing it.
Jordan Henderson began making handcrafted soaps in his kitchen over 15 years ago. In 2007, he was working as a software architect and selling those soaps on the weekends at a flea market in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. He came across the Handcrafted Soap and Cosmetic Guild online and discovered a whole new set of information and resources to help him with his then hobby and decided to join the organization and attend their annual conference, held the following year in a culinary school in the scenic countryside of Burlington, Vermont.
Among the activities offered at this conference was a seminar by Sandy Maine, the founder of Sunfeather Soap and a tour of the factory itself, something that he would not have had a chance to do without attending the conference.
“It taught me that you don’t have to be a multimillion dollar business to be successful. You could be small and learn to scale up and down,” said Henderson.
It also gave him a tour of the Burlington countryside the day after the conference officially ended. A relaxing end to the week.
Being a member of the Handcrafted Soap and Cosmetic Guild comes with various levels of certification which involves attending various classes and passing certification tests. This became very important to Henderson when he decided to brand his own soaps and start a business.
“Certification is worthwhile because it gives reassurance to customers that I have some knowledge and capabilities recognized outside of my own scope,” Henderson said.
Henderson has gone from a hobbyist to the owner of Soap Alchemy, LLC, manufacturing a variety of natural soaps and other body care products, selling his products both online as well as in a company owned, brick and mortar location in Beaver, Pennsylvania.