Frequently Asked Questions

  • Alumni Travel Study is the opportunity to learn and to experience – in fascinating places around the world. All of our travel-study opportunities are led by faculty or expert alumni who provide a unique understanding of the locations and/or topics explored in the program. Study leaders accompany all of our programs, providing 2-4 lectures, field commentary, and optional readings prior to the trip. Think of these programs as “mini” study abroad experiences designed for Williams alumni & friends!

  • Williams Alumni Travel Study is differentiated by our exceptional faculty study leaders, behind-the-scenes access, and likeminded and intellectually curious Eph travel companions. We have nearly 40 years of experience curating educational journeys in nearly every corner of the globe. We can help you decide if a tour is right for you, and we assist you from the time of booking to the time you return.

  • Williams offers a variety of travel programs throughout the year, internationally and throughout North America. Tours range from four days to three weeks and can be land or ship based. Some land programs focus on a particular region, and you will “unpack only once” for your travel – using the same hotel as your home base from which to explore. Other tours may cover much more ground, with up to five hotel changes on some itineraries. Our cruise programs offer a happy compromise, as your accommodations and meals are aboard small (200 passenger or less) cruising vessels and afford you the opportunity to visit a different port city/area daily. There is something for everyone, based on how you like to travel.

  • We utilize the expert services of the most experienced, professional, and reputable tour companies to plan and guide all aspects of our tours. All of our operators are dedicated to educational travel in the pursuit of lifelong learning. Our vetted cadre of tour operators do advance planning through their local contacts to provide many benefits that are not available to individual travelers. Enjoy safety, convenience, and ease when your daily activities are programmed by expert tour operators.

  • We welcome anyone with an abiding affection for Williams to travel with us, not just Williams alumni or parents. The most important thing our travelers have in common is that they want to be connected with Williams in a meaningful way.

  • We note in our catalog and on our website when trips are “exclusively Williams,” meaning the group will be comprised of only Williams travelers. This is the case on essentially all of our land tours, while our cruise offerings will generally include passengers from other like-minded institutions. The latter can be a surprise benefit, as you will have the opportunity to enjoy lectures from all the representative study leaders in attendance – on a single cruise, you may hear up to 12 or more academic lectures from faculty of all disciplines and expertise, from different institutions.

  • Many people prefer smaller group sizes, but fewer people to share costs means that program fees are higher. The minimum number that each program fee is based on varies from program to program. Williams group sizes can be as small as 12 or as large as 55 – with most programs capping out at 24.

  • Travelers range in age from late teens to late retirement. Shared interest in the educational themes and destinations, as well as an abiding affection for Williams, result in common bonds regardless of age! That being said, most of our traveling alumni have historically engaged with the program between the ages of 60 and 80.

  • Mature teenagers are welcome to accompany adults on travel programs. Unless designed as a family program, programs are not generally well suited for children under 12.

  • Because we specialize in educational travel, our itineraries are often busy with excursions, museum visits, and lectures. To be mindful of the entire group, it is difficult to change the itinerary to meet the needs or wishes of an individual or couple; however, it is always possible to leave the group for periods of time to explore on one's own.

  • We strive to build in some form of free time every day. These unstructured times allow you to explore your interests, pursue new experiences, and savor the delights of different cultures. Schedules vary by program, however, and some of our “city stay” programs can be more intensive as we cover many educational and cultural highlights over the course of just 5-6 days!

  • We find that Traveling Ephs are drawn to these trips for the intellectual content provided. Discussions and educational opportunities offered by the faculty leader, guest speakers, or guides are integral to each travel program. Groups visit historic sites, museums, and art galleries, or attend music or theater performances that illuminate topics discussed in the seminars. Our study leaders do provide optional readings and resource lists for those interested, but we do not administer tests or quizzes on tour!

  • Travelers should be healthy and fit to successfully participate. Transportation between cities is usually by private coach. All other movement is usually on foot and with public transportation. Participants should be capable of walking up to five miles per day over possibly uneven terrain, climbing stairs that might not have handrails, climbing in and out of a variety of transportation vehicles, keeping pace with an active group of travelers on long days of traveling, dealing with the emotional highs and lows that can occur when experiencing a different culture, and being part of a group for several hours each day.

  • You can make your own air arrangements or let the tour operator do the planning for you. Many people participate in frequent flyer clubs and prefer to book their own flights. Ground transfers between airports and hotels are typically only guaranteed for those passengers who book on the group flights.

  • Limited medical and group evacuation insurance is something we include for all Williams travelers. Trip cancellation and loss of baggage -- among other important benefits -- are not included. We highly encourage travelers to purchase optional travel insurance, to protect your financial investment and ensure robust medical benefit.

  • Most tour rates are based on two people sharing the cost of the hotel room or ship cabin, otherwise known as double occupancy. If you are traveling alone, a single traveler must cover this entire cost instead of half. Please note that the single supplement for a cruise is generally much higher than a land trip since a substantial portion of the total trip cost is the ship cabin. We try to offer several trips a year geared toward the solo traveler where no additional fee is charged, denoted as “no single supplement” or “waived single supplement.”

  • The Traveling Eph community is convivial and welcoming to all, and we generally anticipate that single travelers will represent about 20% of each departure. Our “no single supplement” programs typically have many more solo travelers! We also offer single travelers the opportunity to roommate match.

  • Travel brochures are mailed to individuals who have made recent inquiries regarding our travel program and those who have traveled with us in the past. Travel brochures are also sent to alumni within specific class years or academic majors and interests, based on the style of travel and thematic content of the trip. You can always be removed from our mailing list if you’d prefer not to receive these brochures.

  • Brochures signify that ‘registration is open’ – and we do suggest making your reservation as soon as you receive the trip brochure. Some trips sell out very quickly (within 30 days). The longer you wait, the greater the chances are the trip will be filled and on a waitlist status. In addition, we are assigned cabin allotments on cruise programming, so it can save you money and/or ensure a preferred cabin type to book early!

  • Don't despair! If you have your heart set on a trip that is sold out, let us know at [email protected] We can always put your name on a waitlist in case there are cancellations. Also, if interest is very high for a sold-out trip, we may try to book another departure date. We take all trip requests into account when curating the tour schedule for the following year.