Frequently Asked Travel Questions

What kinds of trips does the Club offer?
How educational are your trips?
Do I have to be a member of The Commonwealth Club?
I’ve never taken a group trip before. How do I know it is right for me?
What is the average group size?
Who leads the trips?
I'm traveling alone. Will there be others with whom I can spend time?
Can I share a room with another traveler?
Are all activities scheduled, or will I have some free time?
What is included in the trip cost?
Are international flights included in the trip cost?
Can the Club help me with my international flight arrangements?
What if I want to arrive early or extend my stay after the trip?
What are the physical requirements for the trip?
What if I need to cancel my trip?
Do you offer travel insurance?
How can I learn more about a specific trip or make a reservation?

 

What kinds of trips does the Club offer?

The Club offers travel experiences that foster a deeper understanding and appreciation of the history, politics, culture, art and natural history of a region. We offer trips by land, sea and rail, or some combination of these. You might choose a safari in Africa, a historical cruise in Europe, an exploration of Iran, an expedition to Antarctica, or a walking trip in Utah’s National Parks. Club Travel provides a world of choices! Some trips are quite active and cover a lot of locations, while others provide an opportunity to stay in one place for several days. We are happy to speak with you to make sure that the trip is right for you.

How educational are your trips?

A real highlight of our trips is what you will learn. Our knowledgeable local guides teach you about the sites you visit, as well as discuss the history and culture of their country. On expeditions you will have a team of expert naturalists. Food and wine programs feature guest personalities, such as chefs and winemakers.

Most trips also include lectures and discussions. On some programs you will hear from local speakers on a variety of subjects. On other trips, you may have an expert study leader traveling with you. They give lectures either "in the field" or in a formal lecture room. Our speakers are often prominent academics, journalists and diplomats, with a focus on historical, political and contemporary issues of the region. If we are traveling with other educational institutions, we might have multiple study leaders, which provides a robust and comprehensive on-board lecture series.

Do I have to be a member of The Commonwealth Club?

Yes. We have a variety of membership levels, including a "worldwide" membership for people who live outside of the Bay Area. You can easily sign up for membership when you book your trip.

I’ve never taken a group trip before. How do I know it is right for me?

Most people are pleasantly surprised by their first group travel experience with the Club. The benefit of having everything taken care of and not spending time figuring out logistics allows you to focus on the destination and relax. Because things are well planned and organized, we can cover a lot of ground. You will do and see more than you would traveling on your own. Your traveling companions usually share similar interests, and have wonderful life stories and accomplishments. Making great connections and new friends is an added and often unexpected benefit of Club trips.

What is the average group size?

Our groups range from 8 to 24 members on a land or rail program. Cruises and expeditions are shared with other educational organizations and usually consist of 50 to 150 travelers on board. The group is broken up into smaller groups for touring and excursions.

Who leads the trips?

Every trip is led by a professional tour director who speaks the local language. On most trips, you will have a Club representative who serves as an assistant tour director and host. You may also have a study leader, depending on the tour.

I'm traveling alone. Will there be others with whom I can spend time?

Yes. One major benefit of Club travel is that you are surrounded by like-minded travelers who share some of your interests. Most meals and activities are shared together, so you will get to know people quickly. You might even make lifelong friends.

Can I share a room with another traveler?

We'll do our best to pair you up with an appropriate roommate, but can’t guarantee it. We do not "assign" roommates. We put travelers looking for a roommate in contact with each other directly. We suggest meeting (if possible) or having a phone conversation to determine if you would be compatible roommates. Our goal is that everyone has a great trip, and this is a personal decision.

Are all activities scheduled, or will I have some free time?

Admittedly, our trips are pretty packed with wonderful experiences. However, we strive to also provide some time for individual experiences. If you want more time in a particular country, we may suggest adding independent days to your trip. You can also sit out of a group activity one day to explore on your own.

What is included in the trip cost?

Our trips include all touring, entrances, activities, accommodations, and most meals. The services of a study leader and/or Club host, tour manager, guides and guest speakers are also included. Gratuities for group activities and meals are included. We itemize exactly what is and is not included in each trip brochure.

Are international flights included in the trip cost?

Given the variety of carriers, frequent-flyer options, and personal flight preferences, most of our trips do not include international group flights. On trips that do include international air, travelers can opt out of the group air package and make their own arrangements. If international flights are included, it will be noted clearly in the pricing section of the brochure.

Can the Club help me with my international flight arrangements?

Yes. Though the Club doesn’t have an air department, each of our tour partners has a designated air agent who can assist you.

What if I want to arrive early or extend my stay after the trip?

You are more than welcome to add time on to your trip. If you arrive or depart outside of the group arrival and departure times, you will need to arrange private transfers and may not be able to take advantage of group air pricing. If you do choose to extend your time, we can help you arrange private transfers and additional hotel nights.

What are the physical requirements for the trip?

For all our trips we require that travelers be in overall good health. To fully enjoy our trips, one should be able to walk up to one mile and stand for one to two hours during touring. Participants also need to be able to board buses without assistance by staff. Most trips are more active than this. The physical requirements for each trip vary by the activities involved, which are specified in the trip brochure. Please call us at (415) 597-6720 to discuss your desired activity level so we find a trip that is right for you.

What if I need to cancel my trip?

Please review the cancellation policies in the trip brochure for details; refund and cancellation policies vary by trip. We highly recommend trip cancellation insurance, available for coverage of expenses in case of cancellation due to illness or accident.

Do you offer travel insurance?

The Commonwealth Club has partnered with Travel Insurance Services to offer trip insurance to our members. You will receive information in your trip confirmation packet.

To review various policies and coverage levels, you can also visit the Travel Insurance Services website. Please know that there are many travel insurance companies, and this is just one option for you.

How can I learn more about a specific trip or make a reservation?

Go to Upcoming Trips to find the itinerary, costs and inclusions for each specific trip. Reservations are granted on a first-come basis and require a deposit to secure your space. To sign up, call (415) 597-6720, or fax the brochure’s reservation form to (415) 597-6729 or send an email to travel@commonwealthclub.org.