It’s easy to forget that travel can be about more than relaxation or adventure. We can expand our knowledge, significantly, in exhilarating settings. The holiday crush of family get-togethers provides unexpected inspiration for this sort of journey: Have a blowhard uncle who lectures endlessly on politics? Reconvene a year from now with impressive first-hand geopolitical knowledge, courtesy of The New York Times luxury tours. Snap-happy in-law orchestrates awkward group photos? National Geographic photographers will teach you to beat them at their own game. Pick a tour and arm yourself for next year: Whatever your destination, world-class experts await your arrival.
National Geographic Expeditions
Another venerable publication with a grand history is also curating tours. Nat Geo’s traditional tours promise peak experiences across the globe, but the magazine brings its particular heritage to bear in its dedicated photography tours, designed for all photographers, beginner to expert. More importantly, a National Geographic photographer accompanies every group to discuss technique and offer advice. There are one- to two-week expeditions (think the Acropolis at sunset, or the minarets of Cappadocia), but also short-but-intensive workshop trips with destinations closer to home (Wyoming, New Orleans, Santa Fe, and so forth). Workshop participants receive serious, focused instruction, complete field assignments, and benefit from professional-yet-gentle reviews of their work. Expeditions begin at $5,500; workshops start at $1,600. Visit nationalgeographicexpeditions.com for more information.