Looking for an alternative to the cookie cutter tour group experience? Or perhaps seeking some camaraderie and security while exploring new places on your own? An option you may not have considered is a travel excursion organized by your college/university’s alumni association.
Alumni trips offer appealing benefits–you already share an affiliation with your fellow travelers, so breaking the ice and making fast friends is easy. Also, these vacations feature well thought-out itineraries, saving you the hassle of worrying about planning, reservations, transfers, admission fees and the like (sometimes they even offer “exclusive” experiences, like a cruise on a specially chartered yacht). Another great plus is that you’re typically accompanied by one or more professors with special knowledge of the region you’re visiting, providing meaningful context and an educational spin on the journey. And finally, perhaps best of all, alumni tours tend to include a nice balance of group “together” time alongside plenty of free hours to venture out and explore on your own.
Keep in mind: Many young people haven’t yet caught on to the appeal of alumni travel, so your companions may be on the “seasoned” side. I say embrace it and make friends with older, wiser people who may just teach you a thing or two about seeing the world. If you absolutely must make sure there’s a contingent of young people on the trip, check to see if your school has annual “young alumni” adventures planned (it’s an annual tradition for many).
Bonus tip(s): Didn’t go to college? No worries–check out the catalog from your local community college or university extension program. Many include a travel “class” that functions in a way very similar to alumni travel excursions (led by a professor, multiple cities visited, etc.)