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Travel faq


Why should I travel with UC Retirees Travel?

You have many choices for group travel, but UC Retirees Travel offers an opportunity to travel with other retired faculty and staff from the 10 UC campuses and three national laboratories. We find that our travelers often share an instant camaraderie and similar approach to world travel because of our shared history working for the University of California. 

By traveling on our escorted trips, you help to support CUCRA (Council of University of California Retirees Associations), a systemwide consortium of volunteer representatives from all the UC retiree associations. CUCRA represents retiree interests and advocates for retiree benefits in regular meetings with UC leadership. For example, CUCRA was instrumental in establishing the UC Healthcare Facilitator program, maintaining UC contributions to retiree healthcare premiums, advocating for the establishment of campus-funded retirement centers. The UC Retirees Travel program helps CUCRA continue to be the voice for UC retired faculty and staff.

Will our trip have a UC Retirees Travel escort?

With at least 12 UC travelers, the trip will include a UC Retirees Travel escort. 

What is the difference between a UC Retirees escort and the tour operator’s dedicated trip leader?

Each tour is led by a trip leader working for the tour operator. The trip leader is an experienced bilingual or multilingual guide in the country/cities you will be visiting. The trip leader coordinates all details while on the tour, including the itinerary, transportation, group activities, any local guides, meals, and accommodations. A UC Retirees Travel escort is a UC-affiliated volunteer that does much of their work pre-trip but also assists the trip leader as needed during the trip.

Do I pay a premium to book through UC Retirees Travel?

You pay the same for our tours whether you book one of our scheduled tours or book the same tour on another date directly with the tour operator. 

Where is the UC Retirees Travel Office and how can you be reached?

UC Retirees Travel is managed by volunteer UC retirees working out of their home offices. The best way to reach us is via email at

Will all travelers be UC-affiliated?

UC Retirees Travel offers a variety of tour types. Many of our tours are exclusive to UC Retirees travelers, but others will be a mixture of our travelers and other group(s) or individual travelers.

Choosing a trip:

How do I find out the daily itinerary and activity level for a trip?

It is important that you review the trip flyer, including the daily itinerary and activity level, before registering for a trip. Most of our travelers are moderately active to very active retirees, and daily itineraries may include three or more hours of physical activity and walking on uneven terrain. If you are unsure about the appropriateness of a trip, as the tour operator or email us with specific questions.

Do you make any provisions for travelers with mobility limitations?

Most UC Retirees Travel trips are not appropriate for those who use walkers, wheelchairs, or motorized scooters, as assistance or accessibility in international destinations cannot be guaranteed. 

Trip Registration:

How do I register for a UC Retirees Travel trip?

Click on the trip image on the UC Retirees Travel website to view the trip flyer with details and registration information. The trip flyer will list the group number or trip number that you will need to give the tour operator to ensure that you are correctly registered with our group trip.

Do I have to pay for the trip when I register?

Prior to the final payment date, trips can be reserved with a deposit, the amount of which varies by tour operator, and the cost of travel protection insurance, if desired. Trip flyers list the deposit amount. If booking after the final payment due date, payment in full is required when registering. Final payment for most trips will be due 90 days prior to departure; trips that include ship may have earlier final payment dates.

Can I invite friends and family?

Yes, friends and family are always welcome on our trips. 

What is/is not included in the trip price?

Our air-inclusive trips include economy flights, a dedicated tour leader, hotels, most group activities, many meals, and transfers, as well as gratuities for local guides, bus drivers, and waitstaff for included group meals. Not included are:

  • Some optional activities (usually one to three activities on each trip). Visas—For countries where visas are required, the cost is not included. Some mealsSome tips—For the dedicated trip leader, cruise staff if on a boat/ship, meals that are not included and housekeeping staff.


Your trips list airfare from San Francisco and Los Angeles. Can I fly from other cities?

We list air-inclusive prices from San Francisco International Airport (SFO) and Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) because most of our travelers depart from one of those two airports. However, travelers can depart from any city, and do not have to route through SFO or LAX. When booking your trip, let the tour operator know your desired departure city. Prices may vary for other departure cities.

Can I book my own airfare? All of our trips include an air-inclusive price as well as a land-only price, so if you prefer to book your own flights, book the land-only tour. Be aware that if you book your own flights, you will be responsible for booking your own arrival and departure transfers between the airport and hotel.

Can I request a particular airline or routing if I book an air-inclusive tour?

The tour operators have contracts with specific airlines, so let the agent know your preferences when you book your trip. In some cases, you will be able to request specific airlines and/or routing, but there may be an additional fee.

Can I upgrade to premium economy, business class, or first-class seats?

Each airline has different policies, but in general, the tour operator can arrange for an upgrade to business class or first-class tickets for an additional fee. Depending on the airline, upgrades to premium economy may be available, but in many cases, you will need to arrange for your own upgrades directly with the airline once the tour operator has ticketed your flights, usually 60-80 days prior to departure. If upgrades are vitally important to you, and the tour operator cannot make the arrangements you prefer, we recommend purchasing the land-only tour and arranging your own flights.

Health and Well-being:

What are your COVID-19 protocols?

As of April 2023, most tour operators are no longer requiring COVID vaccines, so check with the tour operator when registering for a trip.

Should I purchase travel protection insurance?

It is highly recommended that travelers purchase travel insurance that includes COVID coverage. 

  • If going on a group tour, insurance can be purchased from the tour provider or another insurance provider of the traveler’s choosing. Some insurance providers offer an annual plan that is cost effective if the traveler is taking more than one trip per year. 
  • The University of California Office of the President (UCOP) offers personal travel insurance for retirees, employees, students, alumni, and their traveling companions. Learn more at  
  • Certain credit cards offer some level of travel insurance if the card is used to pay for the trip, so check for coverage you already have.

Can you recommend some useful travel services?

  • Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) is a free service to allow U.S. citizens and nationals traveling and living abroad to enroll their trip with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate to receive information about your destination country and allow the embassy to reach you in case of emergency. Learn more at
  • Global Entry is a federal Trusted Traveler program, designed for low-risk travelers, that requires an extensive background check, an interview, and a $100 fee for a five-year period. Global entry can significantly reduce the time needed to reenter the U.S. through customs. Learn more at
  • Mobile Passport Control (MPC) is a free, secure app that can be installed on a smart phone or other device and allows users to complete customs declaration documents in the app after arriving at the entry point. Instead of vetting passengers like Global Entry, MPC expedites the document formalities. Learn more and check for participating airports at

Message from Dolores

For more travel news see Dolores Talks TravelEmail Dolores Dyer. 

When you participate in UC Retirees Travel trips, you help to support CUCRA (Council of University of California Retirees Associations), a systemwide consortium of volunteer representatives from all of the UC retiree associations. CUCRA represents retiree interests and advocates for retiree benefits in regular meetings with UC leadership.

Email the Retirees Association at

Or phone the UCLA Emeriti/Retirees Relations Center at 310-825-7456

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