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Does your OLLI have a travel program for members?

Posted on March 20th, 2013 by Anne Cardale, OLLI National Resource Center

Abbie Lawrence-Jacobson, OLLI at the University of Michigan, Asks OLLI:

Does your OLLI have a travel program for members?  If so, who plans it – Volunteers? Contractors (such as a travel agency)?  Other?

4 Responses to “Does your OLLI have a travel program for members?”

  1. We are part of Continuing Education and there is a travel program here too ( - not dedicated to our Osher Institute members, but open to them. We are working to convince the instructors who go on the trips to teach at Osher in the year prior. We believe people are more likely to travel with a known/loved instructor that an unknown trip leader. The other challenge we have is the scheduling of the trips - some now overlap our class schedule and people are reluctant to miss classes. The director of GoLearn says that among other factors, he is at the mercy of the instructors when scheduling a trip. Having them regularly teach for Osher would solve that too. I dream of the day that some of these trips are exclusive to Osher members but that is a ways off.

    I noticed there was a related question on this blog in December:

  2. We have found partnerships successful in the travel arena since we offer only study trips. We partner with small local eco- and gastro-tourism companies and non-profits. We also work with our instructors when they wish to add a study travel component to the curriculum.

    Most recently we partnered with the Florida Humanities Council to offer a 3 day study trip focused on the transformation of a historic fishing village into a leader in the arena of commercial clam farming as a result of a net ban that caused the local economy to collapse. Those trips are planned by staff.

    We’ve not had much luck with international travel thus far. However, our ED-ventures (local-ish single day field trips)are wildly successful and have attracted increasing numbers of Boomers. Those trips are created and managed by volunteers with support from the OLLI office.

  3. Abie, we have a very active travel program. Although we have a travel committee, it is advisory and staff handle the details related to day trips and short-term regional (2-3) day trips. We offer about two day trips a month and one or two short-term regional a year. We also offer three longer trips - some domestic and some international. We partner with a professional travel provider on those. These have included Road Scholar, Go Ahead Tours, Globus, etc. And yes, sometimes I feel more like a travel professional than an OLLI director! SVSU’s alumni office does not offer travel. That is something to keep in mind if you decide to offer long-term travel options. You might compete with your alumni office. Since most of our long-term trips fly from Detroit, we might want to consider a partnership. Give me a call if you would like to chat. Also, I’m doing a presentation on this at the Midwest Conference next month!

  4. Abbie: Our OLLI program offers up to a half dozen day trips each year. We’re located in Baltimore, so it’s not unusual for us to travel to New York City, Philadelphia or Washington, DC, to visit museums, special exhibits or even do light walking tours. We have a one-person (volunteer) “Day Trip Committee” who arranges the day trips. If you’d like to communicate with Anne Graham, our chair, she can be reached at

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