NPR Partners With Academic Travel Abroad To Launch NPR Travels : NPR

Atacama Desert, an amazing place in the southern hemisphere of the Earth, maybe the driest desert in the world is a combination of salt flats, salt lakes, amazing turquoise waters beaches, volcanoes and awesome landscape with the best night sky.

abriendomundo/Getty Images/iStockphoto

hide caption

toggle caption

abriendomundo/Getty Images/iStockphoto

Atacama Desert, an amazing place in the southern hemisphere of the Earth, maybe the driest desert in the world is a combination of salt flats, salt lakes, amazing turquoise waters beaches, volcanoes and awesome landscape with the best night sky.

abriendomundo/Getty Images/iStockphoto

August 18, 2021; Washington D.C., Today NPR launched NPR Travels, a collection of immersive, educational trips designed for public radio enthusiasts with insatiable curiosity about topics such as music, history, astronomy, politics, and climate change. Beginning in 2022, NPR’s group trips will depart throughout the year, from January to November, and host up to 24 people at a time. Each trip will be led by an engaging expert who will provide insight and context, and a professional tour manager to handle logistics. Special NPR “touches” will be woven into each itinerary, such as a curated reading and listening list and favorite “in-country” recommendations from NPR journalists.

“We selected a diverse portfolio of trips we thought our beloved listeners would find educational and entertaining,” said Jane Scott, Director of Consumer Products. “NPR listeners are a community of curious people; these guided tours are an opportunity for them to connect with like-minded people over their love of travel and NPR.”

Geology, astronomy, and climate change take center stage on science-themed trips.

  • Clean Energy, Green Living: A Journey through Iceland will explore the forces of nature – from cascading waterfalls to rising geysers, destructive volcanoes and soaring glaciers. Travelers learn how the country’s investment in geothermal and hydroelectric power contributes to its remarkable success as one of the greenest countries on earth. They will also visit the largest puffin colony in the world and learn about the unique properties that have created the iconic Blue Lagoon.
  • Winter Wonderland in Yellowstone celebrates one of the world’s greatest ecosystems. Travelers will journey deep into the park over snow-packed roads when the crowds are gone, stopping often to watch Old Faithful’s dramatic eruptions and the bubbling mud pots, colorful thermal pools, and gushing geysers of the Upper Geyser Basin, eerily veiled in steam. They will also learn how the reintroduction of wolves has affected the ecosystem of the Park.
  • Santiago and Starlight in the Atacama Desert is a star-gazer’s dream trip. With more than 300 cloud-free days each year, and the absence of light pollution, the Atacama is one of the few places on earth where one can observe the Andromeda Galaxy with the naked eye. The group will enjoy a private stargazing session with a local astronomer and visit the largest public collection of telescopes in South America during the new moon, when the stars are at their brightest and most colorful. They will also explore lagoons, hot springs, mountains and salt flats under dry, desert air.

Several trips focus on changing urban spaces.

  • The Future of Cities: Exploring London In A New Era will surprise and delight both the seasoned and the first-time traveler to London. This ever-changing vibrant city carefully balances historic preservation with sustainable urban renewal. In the company of urban planners and architects, the group will visit the transformed Docklands and Canary Wharf neighborhoods; discover the iconic Battersea Power Station, and experience the new, controversial soaring skyscrapers–all while discussing how Brexit, immigration patterns, and Covid-19 continue to shape the contours of this remarkable city.
  • Singapore and Malaysia: Sojourn in Southeast Asia introduces the rich cultural and natural diversity of two thriving nations. Travelers will explore the temples, marketplaces, and restaurants that are important to these diverse populations and learn about Singapore’s quest to be the “greenest city in the world” through thoughtful urban design, conservation, and a robust public transit system. In Malaysia, listeners will witness the country’s cultural diversity, with visits to Buddhist and Thai temples and Chinese clan houses. Along the way, delicious meals, including a visit to Singapore’s Michelin-starred food market, are planned.

NPR Music’s Tiny Desk concert series also inspired trip selection.

  • Southern Rhythms provides a fresh take on the musical legacy of Nashville and Memphis. The group will visit the studios – including RCA, Sun and Stax; see the one-room schoolhouse where Tina Turner once studied, tour the new National Museum of African American Music with its founding Curatorial Director and cross over to Arkansas to visit the Southern Tenant Farmers Museum that captures Johnny Cash’s life-long affinity with the struggles of Depression Era life in the Delta.

Trip experts are seasoned leaders in their respective fields, and include Dina Bennett (Director of Collections, American Jazz Museum); Jim Robbins (Science Writer, New York Times); David Pierson (SE Asia Correspondent, LA Times); Andres Espinoza (Ethnomusicologist and Jazz Composer) and Frances Anderton (Author and Architecture Critic); Nicholas St. Fleur (Author) and John Schwartz (Science Writer, New York Times).

Reservations are open now with limited availability per trip. More information about NPR Travels and bookings can be found at or by calling 1-877-544-3040.

“At Academic Travel Abroad, we believe in the power of travel to deepen appreciation of cultures, foster empathy, and fuel curiosity. We’re delighted to work with NPR to craft one-of-a-kind, immersive travel experiences for its very loyal fan base,” said Chase Poffenberger, ATA Executive Vice President. Academic Travel Abroad (ATA)is a 71-year-old, DC-based educational travel company, and creates experiential travel programs for organizations such as the Smithsonian Institution, and Hearst Magazine Media.

About NPR

NPR, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, is widely known for its rigorous reporting and unsurpassed storytelling that connects with millions of Americans every day — on the air, online, and in-person. NPR strives to create a more informed public — one challenged and invigorated by a deeper understanding and appreciation of events, ideas, and cultures. With a nationwide network of award-winning journalists and 17 international bureaus, NPR and its Member Stations are never far from where a story is unfolding. Listeners can find NPR by tuning in to their local Member stations (, and now it’s easy to listen to our stories on smart speaker devices. Ask your smart speaker to, “Play NPR,” and you’ll be tuned into your local Member station’s live stream. Your speaker can also access NPR podcasts, NPR One, NPR News Now, and the Visual Newscast is available for screened speakers. Get more information at and by following NPR Extra on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram


Academic Travel Abroad, Inc. is an educational travel provider for some of the world’s most prestigious organizations. Riding the post-war wave of interest in travel to Europe, ATA launched operations in 1950 by assisting universities and cultural institutions in the creation of group travel programs for their members. Today, ATA is a leader in educational and branded group travel and offers an array of programs and services that marry travel and learning, such as study abroad programs, call center services, and international conferences. ATA’s proud list of partner organizations includes The Smithsonian Institution, The New York Times, and The Philadelphia Orchestra.

Facebook: @AcademicTravelAbroad

Twitter: @AcademicTravel

Media Contacts:

NPR Media Relations, [email protected]

Melinda Schrom, Academic Travel Abroad, [email protected] or 202.349.7345