FAQ / Logistics
What exactly do you mean by "outdoors"?
Our trips travel to various locations including the Finger Lakes, the Catskills and Adirondack regions of New York. Exploring the outdoors is an integral part of every Outdoor Odyssey trip. Often traveling a day or more from the nearest road and carrying their own meals and shelter, many Odyssey trips see few other people. Removed from modern conveniences and modern annoyances, you will learn to help yourself and depend on your fellow trippers.
Do I need previous outdoor experience?
No experience is necessary, only an enthusiasm to learn! Each trip is designed to be an excellent introduction to outdoor pursuits for anyone, whether or not you have ever slept in a tent before. At the same time, we draw from the resources of trippers who have been outdoor enthusiasts for years, making the trips challenging and fun for all.
What's a "tripper"?
That's you - the active trip participant. Your guides are present to help you have a safe and fun trip, but they consistently work to make the trip yours. You will learn to carry your own pack, cook your own meals, and live with a group of wonderful people in the outdoors. Think of your Odyssey trip as a metaphor for your next four years at Cornell: your experience is what you imagine it to be and what you make it become. Ultimately, your own efforts are responsible for what you gain from your experience. Furthermore, the journey - the friends you make, the challenges you face, and the changes you experience - is as important as the end result.
How do I know if my registration form went through?
You should receive a confirmation e-mail within 72 hours of submitting your registration. This confirmation will also include your trip placement information. If you don't receive a confirmation within 72 hours of registering, e-mail email@example.com and we will sort things out.
How do I pay for my trip?
The trip cost will be billed to your bursar account during the fall semester. Any cancellation or rental fees will also be billed in this manner. We also offer financial aid; refer to the next question for more details.
Do you offer financial assistance?
Yes we do! Every year we are committed to making Odyssey as accessible as possible. We offer both merit scholarships and fee assistance. We match all financial aid provided by the university for our trip fees and award 2 full scholarships each year. The memorial scholarships require a personal essay on the topic of leadership. All information can be on this form: Financial Assistance Application
Can I cancel my registration?
Please read carefully. The deadline to cancel your registration on any trip is dependent upon your registration date. Those wishing to cancel their registrations may contact the Odyssey Coordinators at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling 607-255-4168. The cancellation policy is necessary because the Outdoor Odyssey program begins to accumulate trip-related expenses shortly after the registration process.
- All registrants that a full refund will be issued should our program be canceled due to COVID-19.
- Participants who cancel their registration on or before June 15, 2024 may cancel without incurring a fee.
- Participants who choose to cancel their registration between June 15, 2024 and July 15, 2024 will be charged $50 administrative fee on their Bursar Account.
- Participants who cancel on or after July 15, 2024 will be charged 50% of the price of their assigned trip on their Bursar Account.
- Cancellations within a week of the start date of the trip will result in a fee equal to the full price of their assigned trip.
Do I really need everything on the equipment list?
Yes, bring everything on the equipment list and nothing else. While you may not think you need all those warm clothes for August, the weather in the Northeast can do anything! Years of experience have shown that the equipment on the list is necessary to keep you safe and comfortable. As noted on the equipment list, certain items are available for rental through our Outfitting Center. If you need to rent any gear, fill out the Rental Form as soon as possible. We have arranged for your group to go to the Outfitting Center the same day you arrive on campus to pick up your group gear and any gear you've rented for yourself (another reason why showing up on time is crucial). Items not available for rent can often be found for very affordable prices. Before shelling out big bucks for clothing and equipment, consider the Salvation Army (or your parent's closet) as a good source of cheap wool clothing.
Can I take a shower before meeting my roommate?
The entirety of all Odyssey trips is spent without shower facilities, mostly in back-country areas. After returning all your personal and group gear on the morning of move in day (TBD by the university), you are invited to use the shower facilities across the hall from Cornell Outdoor Education before heading upstairs to undergraduate registration. For this reason, you should pack a small bag (we have space limitations) that includes a change of clothes, toiletries, a towel, your cell phone, and any papers you'll need for the first day of registration and orientation. We will store this shower bag in the Outfitting Center at Bartels Hall during your trip, and it will be available immediately upon your release. If you are renting a backpack, you'll need to return it before you leave for your dorm, so also bring a bag to carry all of your personal things in (we'll store it with your shower bag at Bartels Hall).
When do I return to Cornell and move in?
On move-in day (to be announced for 2024) participants are shuttled back to campus and can move-into their residential halls once they have completed the wrap-up process.
- A move-in time-slot will be scheduled for you for August 14th according to the estimated time of completing the wrap-up process, plus travel time to get to your check-in location and to the move-in queue.
- After the wrap-up process, you can meet your family at Bartels Hall and head to your check-in location by car or take a bus/walk to your check in location.
- North Campus residents will check-in at The Shops at Ithaca Mall. Free buses will be available from North Campus to the mall and from the mall to North Campus.
- South Campus residents will check-in at their respective service center.
- West Campus residents will check-in at their respective house office.
- There will specific parking and unloading zones during opening weekend, details will be posted in mid-July. Everyone’s cooperation with this process and adherence to the parking and unloading zones will assure a safe move-in for all.
Can I park on campus during my trip?
There are a variety of parking options on campus, which can be found at https://fcs.cornell.edu/departments/transportation-delivery-services/parking/short-term-parking-options
Can I ship things to Cornell in advance?
Yes. Cornell's preferred vendor is Big Red Shipping & Storage, a student-run agency that will have your items waiting in your room when you arrive.
Can I move into my dorm before departing for my trip?
No. Cornell does not allow students to move into their dorms before the designated move-in day. Students have two options regarding move-in:
- Have someone bring your belongings after the trip. Bring all your equipment and needs for your trip, along with an extra change of clothes and shower bag. Once you have been released from your trip (on the morning of move-in day), you may shower, change clothes, and meet up with your parents who must bring all your dorm belongings and assist your move in.
- Bring and store your belongings during the trip. Bring all your equipment and needs for your trip as well as your dorm belongings (packed separately please). You will put everything you do not need for your trip (except an extra change of clothes and shower bag) into a locked storage room near Robert Purcell Community Center. After you've placed your belongings in storage, you won't be able to get at it until after your trip, so you need to make sure that anything you're taking on your trip is not stored away. This takes some planning. Be sure to check in with us at Robert Purcell Community Center on North Campus before you try to store anything. When you check in, we'll give you directions and whatever other specific information you need to make the proper connections. Wherever you'll be living, make sure that everything you plan to store is packed in well-sealed boxes or locked in trunks and marked clearly with your name. Also be sure to include a sheet of paper inside each container with your name, home address, and Cornell address written on it. The people who manage storage facilities here will not accept any loose items or bags. Although we do take every precaution to guard against theft, neither Cornell University nor Outdoor Odyssey will assume any responsibility for items stored. At the conclusion of the trip, participants will have access to the storage facility where their guides and volunteers will assist them in moving into their dorm.
Can I arrive early or late?
If you're arriving at some other time, we need to know about it, and we will send you a notice confirming your early or late arrival. If you are arriving early and need a place to stay in Ithaca, contact your guides first and ask if you can stay with them. If this isn't possible, please contact the Odyssey office for other options and we'll help you find a place to stay. Many guides who are in town have apartments with extra beds, couches, or floor space, so it shouldn't be a problem. The bus to your trip location will leave early the day after you are scheduled to arrive, whether you are present or not, so plan to arrive earlier rather than later! If you don't get a separate notice and, for some unavoidable reason, you're arriving earlier or later than expected, it is imperative that you call the Odyssey office at 607-255-4168 right away and let us know when, how, and where you'll be arriving (including flight times, which airport, etc.).
What if I'm late?
If something comes up at the last minute or while you're en route and you're unavoidably delayed, we need to know about it - call the Odyssey office at 607-255-4168 and leave a message on the voice-mail system, which we will check regularly. If your plans change and you are unable to make it on the trip, please call our office as soon as you can and let us know so that we can try to place someone from a waiting list in your spot. Keep in mind, however, that we will have to charge you for the full cost of the trip if you cancel.
What about food on check-in day?
You should bring about $15 for dinner the night you arrive. Also, since you won't be eating dinner until after 5:00 pm, you'll want to bring something to eat for lunch, or eat on your way here. The rest of your meals, beginning with breakfast on the morning your trip leaves and ending with breakfast on move in day, have been planned and purchased by your guides. If you have any food allergies or preferences be sure to let your guides know by noting it on the registration form. This way, we can ensure that your guides can plan your trip meals with knowledge to any food allergies or dietary considerations you may have.
How do I get to Cornell from the airport?
If you are flying into the Ithaca airport, you can catch the Ithaca Airline Limousine Service to campus for about $13.00. From the Syracuse airport, the same company has a shuttle to Ithaca for around $60.00. In either case, you need to call IALS 48 hours in advance, at 607-273-3030, so you will be guaranteed a timely shuttle. Taxis are also available from the airport as well as from the bus station; call Cayuga Taxi at 607-277-8294, or Blue Light Cab Company at 607-277-2227. Of course, your guides may have cars and may very well be willing to pick you up free of charge at the Ithaca airport during daytime hours, if you arrange ahead of time.
Where do we meet?
Come directly to Robert Purcell Community Center (RPCC) on North Campus, off Jessup Rd. You may park in any of the lots surrounding RPCC. Follow the crowd, signs, and your intuition (and be sure to pick up a Cornell map at one of the information booths on the way in to campus) to find the check-in table located on the side of RPCC closest to Jessup Rd. If it's raining, look for us in the lobby. After you check in with us, you'll meet your guides and fellow trippers. They'll help you unload your car, point out the nearest bathroom, or assist with whatever else you may need.
When should I arrive?
You should plan to arrive at the meeting spot (Robert Purcell Community Center) between 11am and 1pm on the "Day 0" of your trip! On your arrival date, there's a lot to do once you check in, including getting your stuff into storage (for pre-orientation trips), gathering up group and individual gear, packing packs, getting to know your fellow trippers, and basically getting ready for your trip. Your trip will leave the next morning at about 6:00 AM, thus it's very important that you do everything you can to be here on time.