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?
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?
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
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.
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.
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
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.
Single accommodations are available on every trip
on a first-come, first-served basis.
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.