Frequently Asked Questions
Do I have to be a member of Mass Audubon to be on your tours?
No. We welcome all travelers who love birds, birding, or observing nature. For those first-time travelers who have never been a member, we give you a one-year free trial membership after you return from the tour.
Who leads your tours?
Our tours are led by our Mass Audubon staff naturalists who are chosen for their love of teaching and enthusiasm for sharing secrets of the natural world. They are also experienced travelers and all-around personable companions. Our leaders partner with local guides on each tour to support the local economy and conservation efforts. Local guides add greatly to your travel experience with their knowledge and love to share “insider’s information” about their community.
Who goes on Mass Audubon tours?
Travelers and birders (although sometimes it is a birder and a “non-birding” partner!) of all ages and skills join. What they have in common is an enjoyment of travel and observing beautiful birds, fascinating wildlife, new landscapes, and the distinct cultures of different places.
What are the Mass Audubon tours like?
Our itineraries are designed first with knowing where we will find the interesting birds. Then we balance fabulous birding with other appealing wildlife, ecological, and cultural stops, providing a comprehensive visit to the country. Before, during, and after the trip, our office staff will provide friendly and personal service. We want to make the tours as pleasurable as possible, with reasonable logistics, good pacing, and first-rate field ornithologists who are fun and skilled at finding birds.
How large are Mass Audubon tour groups?
Our tours have between 8–12 travelers. We usually limit the maximum to 14 people. It is important to keep group size to a minimum to ensure the best birding experience for all travelers.
Do I have to be an experienced birder to join your tours?
No. Most of our trips are designed to accommodate beginner and experienced birders alike. Our leaders are flexible and skilled educators who are happy to share their knowledge and enthusiasm. Most new birders will benefit from the excitement and shared experience. Some destinations are particularly fun for new birders: Trinidad and Tobago, Costa Rica, and Belize, as well as the nature cruises all offer a opportunity to “ease into” the delights of birding.
How strenuous are your trips?
All travelers are expected to be in reasonably good health and should notify us prior to booking of any concerns or health-related issues. However, most of the trips are only moderately rigorous. Birding and wildlife watching often involve slow walks along rough trails and getting in and out of vans often. Long strenuous hikes are rare and travelers are always given the option to do something else when they are offered.
What happens if I get sick/injured or a security issue arises in-country?
Our travel director maintains an around-the-clock logistics, security, and emergency assistance center in partnership with Global Rescue. Learn more >
What kind of accommodations might I expect?
We work hard to find the best accommodations available that are close to the sites we want to visit. For almost all itineraries, our accommodations have comfortable rooms, private bathrooms, and excellent dining. There are a few tours, in more remote locations, where the accommodations are much more modest and rustic. As always, we will provide you with complete details before you sign on.
Can you arrange my international flights as well?
Most of our customers prefer to arrange their own air, so most of our tours do not include international airfare. However, we work with quality tour operators and an excellent local travel agent who are happy to assist you with your arrangements. You will receive specific flight recommendations for your tour after you book, but questions are always welcome in advance.
Should I purchase trip cancellation insurance?
We strongly recommend that all travelers purchase trip cancellation insurance and will send you detailed trip cancellation insurance information after we receive your trip deposit. See our travel resources for details about travel insurance.
Can I have a single room if I am traveling alone?
Single accommodations are available on most trips on a first-come, first-serve basis. If you would like us to find you a roommate, we will do our best, but cannot guarantee a share. If we cannot find a share, you will need to pay the single supplement.
What is the Mass Audubon travel program doing about carbon offsets?
We have teamed up with NativeEnergy to offset the carbon costs of all tour program flights. NativeEnergy is an expert provider of carbon offsets, renewable energy credits, and carbon accounting software. Through Help Build™ carbon offsets, the Mass Audubon tour program helps to finance carbon reducing projects with strong social and environmental benefits.
How does the carbon offset program work?
Each quarter, Mass Audubon travel program staff sends NativeEnergy a list of flights to and from our tours. NativeEnergy then calculates the “carbon footprint” and bills us for the cost to offset this footprint. The funds we pay to NativeEnergy will support a community-based project that will reduce greenhouse gases. Learn more about how NativeEnergy calculates the carbon footprint of our air travel.
What else does Mass Audubon do about climate change?
Mass Audubon is committed to mitigating climate change and addressing its impacts. Learn more about our climate change work >
I already try to reduce my carbon footprint, but what else can I do about climate change?
While you may already be taking great steps, there are many things you can do to minimize your carbon footprint and to encourage others to do the same. Learn how you can make a difference >
How can I reach the Mass Audubon Tours Program?
We are available by telephone 800-289-9504, Monday–Friday 9 am to 5 pm EST. You may also send us an email.