Posts Tagged ‘travel advice’

Frequently Asked Questions about our Private Jet Tours

Wednesday, July 13th, 2011

Smithsonian Journeys offers a unique way to learn while you travel and experience what the world has to offer. Our tours by private jet allow you to see the world’s top sites with top experts and unparalled access. Our experts answer the most frequently asked questions about private jet tours for you here:

Visit the moai of Easter Island on our private jet tours.

 Q.  There will be 78 people onboard the jet – won’t this experience have a crowded “group tour” feel?

A.     The jet is a Boeing 757, originally designed to accommodate about 233 travelers, but for our expeditions, is specially configured to generously accommodate only 78 travelers. So travelers on our expedition will enjoy a very spacious and comfortable interior. And the crew-to-traveler ratio is 1 to 5, so the service onboard the jet is highly personalized, Once on land, travelers break up into small groups, rarely touring with more than 15 others, and often much less than that – and are always accompanied with a dedicated, very knowledgeable guide. And there are multiple alternate and optional touring opportunities to further personalize the experience. When visiting a monument like the Taj Mahal, for example, all groups start in different locations to avoid the “group tour” feeling. The only time you are with the entire group is on the jet and at gala meals – which become a celebratory experience with everyone sharing highlights of their touring for the day.

Q.     I have food allergies and special dietary issues. Can the staff accommodate these concerns?

A.    Absolutely. We invite all travelers to provide detailed personal information prior to departure so that we may address any issues. We travel with a private chef aboard the jet who makes sure all food preferences are accommodated while on the private jet. We also have expert “advance” staff on the ground in each country working with all restaurant and hotel staff to further ensure all special requests are taken care of. You are in good hands.

Q.    Do the seats on the jet lie down flat?

A.    No. None of our flights are at night and all of our sleeping is done in the very best hotels available. Our seats are plush, leather, VIP-style “cradle” seats with ecomfort™ foam support which lean back 45 degrees; and have adjustable leg rests. The, seats resemble very comfortable La-Z-boy™ recliners so if a traveler wants to, they may enjoy a nice nap onboard.

 Q.    How strenuous is this trip?

A.  It is as strenuous as you want it to be. One or two of our small daily touring groups are for “slower-walker” groups, who have the opportunity to see and do what everyone else does, only at a more relaxed pace. In addition, we have options for the “go-getter” group, that wants to hike to the top of the mountain and see and do everything. We create these trips for you, for you to customize in the style and manner in which you prefer.

Q.    I’m concerned about getting all of the necessary visas for this trip as I travel a lot. Can you help me with this?

A.    Yes! We use an excellent Washington, DC-based visa service, which provides a detailed visa kit complete with all forms, instructions, and even sample pages so all you have to do is “fill in the blanks.” The visa service can also obtain additional pages for your passport or procure a second passport for you if you are traveling close to the trip departure.

Q.   There are so many different countries on these trips, what about packing and vaccinations?

 A.    We will send you detailed instructions on everything you need to know about preparing for your journey, including vaccinations, expected weather, packing list, shopping suggestions, and a detailed reading list to help you learn about the adventure before departing.

We’re now accepting reservations for our Fall, 2011 and 2012 Private Jet tours. Click  for more.

Travel Hit List: Central America

Wednesday, December 16th, 2009

As the cold weather sets in, we’re dreaming of warmer places. Join us for a quick journey to the sunny skies and balmy seas of Central America.

Morpho butterflies make their homes in Central America, where they feed on fermenting fruit.

Read: our account of coral spawning at a reef  off the coast of Panama, and why this is critically important to undersea ecology from Smithsonian Magazine.

Hear: how people from Central America once entertained each other with homegrown lyrics on Calypsos of Costa Rica from Smithsonian Folkways.

Watch: How scientists have been studying biodiversity at Barro Colorado Island in the Panama Canal since 1923 from Smithsonian Channel.

Chew: your gum with your mouth closed, while you learn about the origins of chicle in southern Mexico and Central America from our Food and Think blog.

Check out: What’s new at the Smithsonian Latino Center, including the Smithsonian Latino Virtual Museum in Second Life.

Go: Now is a great time to book your travel to Costa Rica, Panama, or Guatemala with Smithsonian Journeys.

Travel Hit List: Spain

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009
Jeff Koons' "Tulips" outside the Guggenheim in Bilbao, Spain. Photo: Jessica Engler

Jeff Koons’ “Tulips” outside the Guggenheim in Bilbao, Spain. Photo: Jessica Engler

We love traveling to Spain, any chance we get. Not only do we get the opportunity to brush up on our rusty high-school Spanish, we take in the paella, the architecture, the modern art, and the cool cafe culture. Get your virtual Spanish fix with today’s travel hit list.

Read: A brief history of Spanish coins, courtesy of the folks at the Smithsonian National Numismatic Collection.

Hear: The Flamenco music of Andalusia, thanks to Smithsonian Folkways.

Watch: Smithsonian Magazine’s video on the history of chocolate, which made its way to Europe after the Spanish conquest of the Americas.

Eat and Drink: Art makes its way to the table courtesy of Spanish chef and innovator Ferrán Adriá and his fellow artists.

Check out: how historian Dana Bleichmar is changing assumptions about the Spanish conquest of the Americas, based on the drawings that naturalists and artists working for the Spanish crown made of the things they found in the new world.

Go: Now is a great time to book a journey to Spain, including our new Study Abroad programs for High School Students.

Join: Smithsonian Journeys is on Facebook. Become a fan today.

Travel Hit List: Ireland

Wednesday, August 19th, 2009


The Gap of Dunloe, a narrow pass near Killarney, Ireland.

The Gap of Dunloe, a narrow pass near Killarney, Ireland.



There are so many reasons to visit Ireland. Take a virtual trip today, courtesy of our Travel Hit List.

Read: about the Hill of Tara, a rich archaeological and cultural site threatened by a four-lane highway.

Hear: Contemporary music from Northern Ireland.

Watch: Scientists from Ireland’s National Museum talk about body parts from 300 BC unearthed from a peat bog.

Eat and Drink: the best fish and chips in Ireland, according to Food & Think blogger Amanda Bensen.

Check out: A report from the Smithsonian National Zoo on why Ireland has no snakes.

Go: Now is a great time to book travel to Ireland.

Join: Smithsonian Journeys is on Facebook. Become a fan today.

Been to Ireland? Share your favorite memory. Haven’t gotten there yet? What are you looking forward to most?