Luke also wrote a great explanation on APDA vs. NPDA: viewtopic.php?p=241321#p241321
From my experience, it's almost completely accurate. Just two things:
"the crowd" - APDA and NPDA tournaments are a very different crowd. APDA is almost exclusively Ivy League schools and semi-Ivys like William&Mary and Johns Hopkins, etc. The NPDA is almost exclusively small private schools and large state universities - the riff raff if you will
That's sort of true, and sort of not. Yale definitely dominates Club of the Year rankings. However, large state schools like Rutgers and Maryland always post good showings (I think Rutgers was top 5 last year -- beat out a bunch of Ivies).
At an NPDA tournament, you'll get there, spend the night in a hotel, debate all day, and then go off with your team for dinner or whatever. At an APDA tournament, you'll sleep on the couch in the dorm room of one of the host debaters, debate all day, and then party at night. Tournaments always have a banquet and a party.
A significantly larger amount of alcohol is consumed at APDA tournaments than at NPDA tournaments. Let's just put it that way. Maybe that has something to do with PHC being in the NPDA, I don't know...
More alcohol may be consumed, but from my limited experience, you don't have to drink. I have quite a few friends on my team that don't drink, and while there are parties, it's not like they're mandatory (though that probably depends on the school you go to -- I've heard Middlebury kids rage hard
Also, some schools do pay for hotels. I think the main difference here is the budget size: since APDA clubs are often student-run, they don't always get the funding they need for hotels. It's the same reason many NCFCA families choose to host-house.