How can I reach the HMNH Travel Program?
What is the purpose of the HMNH Travel Program?

How long has your program been in existence?
Do I have to be a member of the Harvard Museum of Natural History to travel with you?
How are you different from the Harvard Alumni Association Travel Program?
Do I have to be an alumnus of Harvard to go on an HMNH trip?
How rigorous are your trips?
Are children welcome on HMNH trips?
What kind of accommodations might I expect?
Can I book at private trip?
Can you book my international air as well?
Should I purchase trip cancellation insurance?
What are the penalties for canceling my trip?
Do I need vaccines for my trip?
Can I have a single room if I am traveling alone?
Will there be any other groups besides the HMNH on my trip?

How can I reach the HMNH Travel Program?
We are available by telephone (617) 495-2463, Monday – Friday 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM EST. You may also send us a fax (617) 496-8782, or e-mail us at hmnhtravel@hmnh.harvard.edu.

What is the purpose of the HMNH Travel Program?

The purpose of the Travel Program is to give interested observers a first-hand experience of the cultures and natural history of the world’s remote and beautiful areas, while helping to support the HMNH’s outreach efforts. These efforts include education programs, special exhibitions, free public lectures series, and other events devoted to furthering the understanding of important cultural and ecological issues in the world at large.

How long has your program been in existence?
The HMNH Travel Program began as the MCZ Travel Program (Museum of Comparative Zoology) in 1974 with a full-day whale symposium to introduce the first trip, “Baja Whale-Watching,” which took place in January 1975. The purpose was to draw attention to the endangered status of the California gray whale, which has since made a great comeback. Since then, the program has expanded dramatically through word-of-mouth and each year more departures were added to more exotic destinations. It became known as the HMNH Travel Program in 1995 when the Harvard Museum of Natural History was officially formed from its three research-focused parent museums: The Harvard University Herbaria, the Mineralogical Museum and the MCZ.

Do I have to be a member of the Harvard Museum of Natural History to travel with you?
We ask that our travelers become members of the HMNH, although it is not required for travel. There is a place on each reservation form to indicate which level of membership you would prefer, or we might ask you if you make your reservation over the phone.

How are you different from the Harvard Alumni Association Travel Program?

Entirely separate from the HMNH Travel Program, the HAA travel program supports the HAA, whose mission is the promotion of the welfare of Harvard University and the establishment of a mutually beneficial relationship between Harvard University and its alumni. As with the HMNH, HAA travelers are not required to have a Harvard degree or any formal connection to the University.

Do I have to be an alumnus of Harvard to go on an HMNH trip?
No. The HMNH is a public institution and so its programs are available to everyone. Although many of our travelers have attended Harvard, many others have no official affiliation with the University.

How rigorous are your trips?

Although the rigors of each trip vary, HMNH trips are generally moderately active. Early morning wake ups, boarding zodiacs, and walks through areas with uneven terrain are common elements of HMNH trips. All trips offer opportunities for nature walks or hikes, but some trips are more active than others. All HMNH travelers are expected to be in reasonably good health and should notify us prior to booking of any concerns or health-related issues.

Are children welcome on HMNH trips?
Children are welcome on HMNH trips, keeping in mind that activities are geared toward adults and that some itineraries might not be appropriate for younger children. The HMNH runs several family trips each year, which encourage intergenerational travel. It is on these trips that children find the most enjoyment because there are activities planned for all ages and there are other children present as well.

What kind of accommodations might I expect?
Our tour operators strive to select the best accommodations available that maintain the integrity of the destination and are appropriate for the itinerary. Accommodations tend to be in the 4 or 5 star range, with some much more modest and rustic (though comfortable) in more remote areas.

Can I book a private trip?

Yes. Most of our tour operators are skilled in the art of FIT – Foreign Independent Travel. We can help you arrange anything from a private Kenyan safari to a family trip to Honduras. You let us know if you would like a museum representative to accompany you, or if you would prefer to simply have a guide. Please call us for more information at (617) 495-2463.

Can you book my international air as well?

Although most of our trips do not include airfare, our tour operators are happy to assist you with your arrangements. You will receive additional air information specific to your trip after you book, but questions are always welcome in advance.

Should I purchase trip cancellation insurance?

The HMNH Travel Program strongly recommends that all travelers purchase trip cancellation insurance. Although $50,000 of emergency medical assistance and evacuation insurance is included in your trip price, coverage for if you have to cancel prior to departure is not. We will send you detailed trip cancellation insurance information after we receive your trip deposit.

What are the penalties for canceling my trip?

Cancellation penalties vary from trip to trip, but are primarily based on the time of cancellation. Basically, the closer your cancellation to the scheduled trip departure, the higher the cancellation penalty. Please refer to each individual trip for particular cancellation fee schedules.

Do I need vaccines for my trip?

Each trip destination is different regarding the health precautions the Center for Disease Control recommends. You will receive a details regarding your trip’s specific destination(s) after booking. If you have questions in advance, please visit the CDC’s web-site.

Can I have a single room if I am traveling alone?

Single accommodations are available on every trip on a first-come, first-served basis.

Will there be any other groups besides the HMNH on my trip?

Our land-based itineraries are always exclusive to HMNH travelers. However, we often share our cruises and jet programs with either tour operators or other affinity-travel programs, simply because we cannot run these types of trips on our own. To find out if other groups will be present on a particular trip, please call us at (617) 495-2463.

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