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Plan Your Architecture Trip

Make the most of your learning vacation

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The Eiffel Tower in Paris

Dream destination: The Eiffel Tower in Paris

Press photo © 2000-2006 NewOpenWorld Foundation

Some people travel thousands of miles just to look at a building. Is it worth the journey? Follow these tips to make your vacation a learning adventure.

It's a traveler's nightmare. You spend the night in economy class, choke down airplane food and finally reach the destination of your dreams: The Eiffel Tower! The Roman Pantheon! The Sydney Opera House! You want to linger, study its lines, contemplate its engineering. But no one can answer your questions, the guide is looking at his watch and a member of your group is whining, "When are we going shopping?"

Just about any tour you sign up for will include architecture. After all, who visits India without swinging by the Taj Mahal? Unfortunately, many so called Art and Architecture tours are not created for the serious student of building design. Before you fasten your seat belt, be sure to ask:

  • Who will be leading the tours? Do the guides have advanced education in architecture or art history?

  • How much time will be spent at each site? Will there be time to closely examine details and ask questions?

  • How many people will be on the tour? Will your group be combined with other tour groups? Will you receive personal attention?

  • What is the typical age and background of travelers who sign up for the tour? Will your fellow travelers share your passion for architecture? Will they mind spending three hours exploring a single cathedral?

  • Will you be permitted to take photographs inside the buildings visited?

  • Will your group be granted access to areas not normally open to tourists?

  • Does the tour include after-hours lectures and presentations? Will specialists be available for in-depth discussions?

  • Will you have the opportunity to see blueprints and building specifications for modern structures?

  • How flexible is the itinerary? Will you have enough free time to pursue special interests?

  • Can you receive college credit for your participation in the tour? Is the tour approved for Learning Units (LUs) and Continuing Education Units (CEUs)?

A tour tailor-made for architects and architecture enthusiasts may be hard to come by. Chances are, the trips recommended by your travel agent won't satisfy your needs. So, where do you look?

Read on for a roundup of favorite architecture tours >>

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