5 'smart' getaways
The best vacation souvenir isn't a trinket or a T-shirt but a skill you can use for life.
By Janet Paskin, Money Magazine staff reporter

(MONEY Magazine) -- After his second day working on a dig in rural Thailand, Roger Prior was sore, dirty, hungry - and giddy.

"Most of my friends in Kalamazoo think I'm crazy," says Prior, a retired math teacher, who spent his vacation on an archaeological site. "But the excitement of digging up these artifacts far outweighs any desire I have to be on the beach."

See the getaways
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It's not so crazy: Behavioral research suggests we're happiest when we're learning new skills or challenging old ones.

And while learning vacations have been around for decades, there are now higher-quality choices, and more of them. In 2000 the Culinary Institute of America offered 70 classes; last year there were more than 300.

"We're creating new courses twice a year," says CIA marketing director Sue Cussen. "People are pushing us for the next new thing."

These days, if you can dream it, you can learn it.

See the getaways: Learn survival skills in Boulder, high-performance driving at the Skip Barber school, more...

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Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer LIBOR Warning: Neither BBA Enterprises Limited, nor the BBA LIBOR Contributor Banks, nor Reuters, can be held liable for any irregularity or inaccuracy of BBA LIBOR. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.