College alumni group trips
I just got back from an 8 day trip to Provence that was sponsored by my college alumni association. The company through which the college booked the trip was AHI which seems to specialize in college/university alumni tours.
FWIW, I must say this was one of the best trips my wife and I have ever been on. There are several reasons for my saying this:
- AHI did a great job in all respects.
- They provide a "Campus Director" to accompany the group. In our case it was a French-speaking American woman who did everything from facilitating hotel check-in to offering dining recommendations to going along with us on all the tours.
- There was an distinct educational component to the trip. Several days we had morning lectures (about an hour) covering what we would be seeing later that day. For example, before going to Avignon we had a lecture on the Avignon Popes, how that situation developed and how it ended. The day we did the Cezanne-oriented tour, we had a lecture on his art and that of his contemporaries.
- We already knew several couples who went on the trip but it was instant bonding with everyone else since we all had so much in common by having attended the same (relatively small) college. There was a welcome dinner the first night and a farewell dinner the last. Everyone seemed to hit it off very well.
- There was a good mix of included meals and those you did on your own.
- There was a good mix of organized tours and free time to explore on your own.
- There were a couple of reps from the college who were there partly in an official capacity and partly to go along for the tour.
My wife and I have never been big fans of organized tours, but this experience has turned us around. (And it may be that as we get older, we're not so interested in doing everything on our own.) I'm not sure if we would have enjoyed it quite as much starting out with a bunch of "strangers" but this sure was a great experience.