Here are some helpful tips when thinking about getting to and from your Alumni & Family Travel trip.
DON’T ACT TOO EARLY
You should not purchase non-refundable airfare until we can confirm the program has enough participants to go. The latest go/no-go decision date is generally around 4 months prior to departure. However, programs are often called a go much earlier than that.
CHECK THE DATES
Study Travel program dates typically include flight days. For example, Divas and Delights was listed as March 17–30, 2017, meaning you should depart the U.S. on March 17 in order to arrive in Italy on March 18, which is the first official day of the program. But Visual Arts in New York was listed as March 18–25, and March 18 is both your “fly-away” day and the official start of the program.
CHECK THE CITIES
Many programs start in one city and end in another. All transportation within the program (between the starting city and ending city) is included in your program fee. A good example of this is Norway: Highlights of Oslo and Bergen, which began in Bergen, but ended in Oslo. Part of the program fee is getting the group from Bergen to Oslo. But if you were to book your flights in and out of Oslo, you would be responsible for getting yourself back to Oslo after the program ends. Instead, of course, most people simply fly into one city and out of the other.
planning EXTRA DAYS PRE- AND POST-PROGRAM
If you choose to arrive a few days early or to extend your stay a few days after the program, we can help you get a reservation at the group hotel. We’ll bill you for the cost of extra nights.
USING A TRAVEL AGENT
If you want to save yourself some time and take advantage of a professional’s expertise, consider using a travel agent. Travel agents have experience, know their products, and can help save you hours of research. Using a local agent near you is your best option: they will be more knowledgeable about flights in and out of your nearest airport, and you may be able to nurture a more personal relationship, setting both you and the travel agent up for success.
When looking for that agent, consider asking these questions:
- Are they a member of the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) (www.asta.org)? This is the world’s largest association of travel professionals, stating that their “members are all bound by a shared code of ethics.” Or, affiliation with a large organization like AAA can be a sign that the agent is legit.
- How long have they been in business?
- What are their booking fees? Yes, they charge booking fees, but are worth it if they can assist you in a bind. In which case, you should also ask …
- What can they do for you if your flight is delayed or canceled? Are you on your own, or can they spring into action? Do they have an emergency contact phone number for when it’s 11 am where you are but 3 am where they are. And what do they consider an emergency?
- Are they familiar with laws in your specific state for sellers of travel?
- Do they carry error and omission insurance?