St. Olaf College | News

Five reasons to love group travel with St. Olaf

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In addition to offering a wide range of international and domestic off-campus study programs for current students, St. Olaf College offers about a number of group travel programs each year for alumni, families, and friends. These Alumni & Family Travel programs — led by current and retired faculty and hosted by campus leaders — enable Oles to explore and learn in new corners of the world.

Think group travel isn’t for you? Throw out everything you thought you knew about group travel, and read on to discover why it might be perfect for you.

1. We do the advance work — booking hotels, buying tickets, planning meals, and arranging for special access.
For each program, our Alumni & Family Travel staff may conduct hundreds of transactions, such as buying tickets, planning meals, and arranging for special access. If minutiae make your head spin, you’ll love that most of your responsibility is just showing up. “Group travel is well suited for people who enjoy just going and the element of surprise,” says Brian Harrington, a veteran of the travel industry. You’re putting choices about what to include in any given day in the hands of someone else, and can use your free time to pursue other interests you may have.

2. You’re getting a good value.
Package travel can save you 10 to 40 percent over going solo, according to the U.S. Tour Operators Association (USTOA). That’s because we build relationships. Rooms at the Hotel Claude Bernard in Paris’ Latin Quarter, for example, costs us less than if you booked it on your own. Participants consistently tell us that program fees are a good value.

3. Those same relationships can provide you with unique accommodations, authentic meals, and off-the-beaten-path activities.
We prefer to stay at unique hotels and offer meals that reflect the destination. We work with tour operators who are typically based in-country and who have spent the time cultivating relationships with hotels and restaurants.

4. You’ll share experiences that interest you with like-minded travelers.
Our programs are based, however loosely, on special interests. So chances are you’ll have plenty to talk about with your travel mates. In fact, it’s not uncommon for lifelong friendships to develop on a program.

5. Faculty leaders share their expertise and lead discussions for a more enriching experience.
Most programs are custom-designed and faculty-led. Traveling with a current or retired professor provides an opportunity to enhance your understanding of a place or an educational theme. 

The main goal of Alumni & Family Travel is to deliver a highly educational itinerary for each group shaped by the expertise of faculty leaders. All programs will follow COVID safety protocols, and leaders will monitor global conditions ahead of the programs and make any travel adjustments necessary.