The World Is a Classroom With These New, Kid-Focused “Field Trips”
Families looking to combine education and travel fun can choose from more than 60 kid-friendly, once-in-a-lifetime trips—including astronomy lessons in Chile and sustainable farming 101 in Denmark—crafted by outfitter Black Tomato.
With domestic COVID cases on the wane and an approved U.S. vaccine for kids on the horizon, travel outfitters are anticipating that more American families will travel in the coming months.
And as more families take to the road and skies, luxury travel outfitter Black Tomato has fully reimagined its educational travel offerings for families with the October 26 launch of Field Trip, a series of immersive itineraries that can be fully customized and added to existing itineraries. Each Field Trip is designed to augment what kids ages 12 and older might already be learning in the classroom or foster a new passion, tapping into Black Tomato’s global network of insider connections in disciplines ranging from sciences and the arts to economics and engineering.
“While education of course begins in the classroom, it certainly doesn’t end there,” says Tom Marchant, the cofounder of Black Tomato. “We believe the world is the ultimate canvas for a younger generation—and arguably the most socially engaged and curious—to put their lessons to the test.”
The company has already observed a notable rise in multigenerational travel, with a 70 percent increase in family trip bookings between January and July 2021 compared to the same period in 2019. During the same time, the company also saw a 33 percent increase in family itineraries with built-in educative experiences.
Field Trip consists of 64 itineraries spanning 37 countries, divided into eight categories, which include STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math), sustainability, and art and history experiences. The trips are searchable by subject or destination and can be booked as is or act as starting points for individually tailored itineraries. For example, a family traveling to Cuba with a specific interest in dissident artists might meet with notable artists at the prominent Fábrica de Arte Cubano in Havana. Itineraries are designed to be inclusive of all age groups (from younger siblings to parents), whether the trip includes a private lesson in kung fu from a Shaolin master in China, an insider’s look at the end of apartheid in South Africa, or a closer study of plate tectonics in Iceland.
This new, purpose-driven approach to educational travel empowers Black Tomato’s younger clients to shape their travels with their own personal interests in mind, according to Marchant, who is a father to two daughters. “Being able to dial down or ramp up from a half day to even multiday experiences allows for more meaningful absorption,” he said. “This less prescriptive approach to family travel puts the interests and dreams of the younger generations firmly in their hands.”
Read on for three sample Field Trip itineraries on three different continents, or explore all eight categories here.
Dig into sustainable farming in Copenhagen
This conservation-minded experience features Soren Wiuff, a Danish farmer who supplies some of the country’s top Michelin restaurants, including the world-famous Noma. He’ll take pupils ages 14 and older into fields to harvest fruit and vegetables, while teaching them principles behind chemical-free farming and food waste reduction. He’ll also lead a cooking tutorial using his own recipes featured in the 2018 cookbook The Noma Guide to Fermentation. From $7,400 per person for a seven-night custom trip through Denmark.
Explore the musical side of Jaipur
In Jaipur—one of India’s most celebrated cultural capitals—renowned musician and installation artist Dr. Ashwin Dalvi leads pupils on a private tour of the Nad Sadhna Institute for Indian Music & Research Centre to offer them a deeper, hands-on understanding of the country’s classical and folk music traditions. Dalvi, a celebrated player of the sur-bahar, or bass sitar, will both perform and guide students on how to play various traditional instruments. From $7,500 per person for a seven-night trip in India from Udaipur to the Himalayas, with a stop in Jaipur.
Take an immersive astronomy tour in Chile
A private, astronomer-led tour takes Field Trip guests to the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope (VLP) array, which is located in Chile’s Atacama Desert and houses the world’s most advanced optical telescope system. Visitors will get a real-time peek at what experts are observing in the sky, and conditions permitting, they’ll even be able to tour the tech-forward control room where the astronomers work. From $7,900 per person for an eight-night trip in Chile from Santiago to Atacama Desert.