- How do I reserve my space on a Smithsonian Journeys tour?
- How does Smithsonian Journeys differ from other group travel options?
- What's included in the cost of a Smithsonian Journeys tour?
- How do I decide which trip is right for me?
- How many travelers are on a Smithsonian Journeys tour?
- What about traveling alone?
- How old are your travelers?
- What are the physical and/or health requirements?
- Should I purchase Travel Insurance for the trip?
- Can I bring children on your tours?
- I don't always want to travel in a group. Do you offer "non-group" tours that I can customize to my own requirements?
- What is the best way to learn about Smithsonian Journeys tours?
- Will I automatically receive brochures for all of your tours?
- Can you accommodate those with dietary restrictions?
- Is airfare included in the tour cost?
- Are there any U.S. Passport rules I should be aware of?
- How is Smithsonian Journeys affiliated with the Smithsonian Institution? Is my trip tax deductible?
- Does the Smithsonian offer student travel programs?
It's easy—you can reserve online at any time or call at 855-330-1542 (Monday – Friday 9:00 am – 6:00 pm EST) for calls from outside of the United States, please call 989-393-3218.. You can pay with most major credit cards or by check. Our programs typically require a deposit, with final payment due later.
Smithsonian Journeys tours are designed to engage travelers in Smithsonian's mission - "the increase and diffusion of knowledge." Like the Institution, our tours enrich our guests' lives and satisfy their curiosity about the world. Your participation benefits the work of Smithsonian's 19 museums, national zoo, and nine research centers, helping to preserve our national treasures and shape the future through science, research, and exhibitions.
In addition to an experienced tour manager, our tours are accompanied by Smithsonian Journeys Experts, local guest speakers, and guides. Among the experts who accompany you on your trip are curators and scientists who plumb the deep seas, investigate wildlife populations, and study cultures and arts worldwide. You'll find that the quality of their insights and expertise is the difference between an outstanding travel experience and a mass market alternative. And, if you choose one of our family journeys, you will be joined by experienced guides, and in some cases, youth counselors, who will bring your destination to life with enlightening experiential learning activities for the whole family.
Once you add up the extras we include as a matter of course — experts, tour managers and guides, pre-planning packages and reading lists, most meals, excellent accommodations, transfers, behind-the-scenes access and exclusive excursions, gratuities (except for on some cruise programs), little luxuries, and even airfare inclusive pricing on many tours — you'll know you are getting more than you pay for. That is what we call real value!
Our programs also include emergency evacuation insurance (up to $100,000 for U.S. Residents only) and access to emergency assistance service. (And, we also encourage our guests to consider purchasing additional travel insurance to protect against unexpected events that may leave you with cancelled plans, lost luggage or unforeseen medical expenses.)
See the itinerary and Terms and Conditions page for the program you are interested in for specific information.
We offer an enormous variety of options to fit every taste and travel interest. We offer international small group land journeys, many including airfare; international small-ship ocean cruising, and comfortable and convenient river cruising; domestic programs, including land and cruise; one-of-a-kind specialty programs, international and domestic; luxury around-the-world private jet journeys; and multigenerational family journeys. And if group travel options do not work for you, we offer Smithsonian Tailor-Made Journeys, customized to your specific interests with the help of a Certified Country Specialist.
If you are interested in student travel with Smithsonian, please see question 18 below for more information.
Trip size varies depending on whether the journey is a cruise, land tour, or specialty program. Our land-based tours range from 16-35 participants and cruises range from 30-100 participants (with a few slightly larger), depending on ship size. The majority of our cruises share the ship with other leading cultural and educational institutions, which add to the excitement and energy of the experience. Please ask our destination specialists about specific program sizes.
Smithsonian Journeys tours are perfect for solo travelers, since you will experience and share the fun with like-minded people interested in exploring the world. If you prefer a single room, you may reserve one by paying the single room supplement (which reflects the additional costs charged by hotels and cruise lines). Please note that there may be a limited availability for solo travelers. If you would like to share a room, we will do our best to partner you with a compatible, like-minded, same-sex roommate who is also traveling solo. Learn more about our solo travelers special offers here!
Because we offer a wide range of travel options, our age range is quite broad. Our outdoor, more active adventures attract travelers from 45-70 years of age. Our special interest programs, including performing arts, typically attract guests from 55-80 years of age. So while, there is no typical age profile; overall average age is 55+ on any of our journeys. On our family journeys, you will find parents, grandparents, and children of all ages (generally 8-12 years of age or above). For all of our tours, we do ask that travelers be physically able to participate in all activities so that they may enjoy all aspects of the journey. Please ask our destination specialists about the required activity on specific tours.
Please note that our tours require that participants be in good physical condition. You must be capable, without assistance, of walking a minimum of two (2) miles daily over uneven terrain and of climbing stairs that may not have handrails. Participants should have sufficient stamina to keep pace with an active group of travelers on long days of touring. If you have any questions about your ability to participate in a tour, please call us at 855-330-1542. Some tours have additional notes regarding physical and medical considerations, which are noted on the tour's web page.
Smithsonian Journeys offers on-tour emergency evacuation (up to $100,000) and worldwide emergency assistance service in the price of your tour. However, we highly recommend purchasing additional travel insurance. You never know when the unexpected will happen, and this additional (optional) insurance can help to cover your investment. Details can be found at www.travelguard.com/smithsonianjourneys. Please also ask our destination specialist for more information when you call.
Travel is a superb way for children to learn about the world and for families to spend time together. We offer a series of family-friendly journeys meant to be shared by adults and children, and our past travelers have told us these have been among the best travel experiences they've ever enjoyed. Tours not specifically designated as family programs are designed for adults. Some may be suitable for older children, but please check with us before booking. Regardless of age, children must pay full price unless otherwise noted, and a parent or guardian must accompany those under 18. View our family journeys.
11. I don't always want to travel in a group. Do you offer "non-group" tours that I can customize to my own requirements?
We also offer custom, private tours. Smithsonian Tailor-Made Journeys offers travelers a rewarding experience that is customized to their specific interests and truly bespoke. A Certified Country Specialist will advise you on the best guides, food, lodging, and local secrets in the region you wish to visit and help you design the perfect journey. Click here to learn more!
All of our journeys are featured on our website, and we also print color catalogs and brochures for most of our tours. To receive our FREE catalog, submit a request online or call 855-330-1542 (Monday – Friday 9:00 am – 6:00 pm EST). To keep up-to-date on "Just Announced" tours and Special Offers, including Early Booking, Solo Traveler, and "Last Call" Savings, sign up today for our email updates.
Not all of our brochures are automatically mailed to everyone. Brochures are generally printed six to nine months in advance of a tour. If you request a brochure before it is printed, you will automatically receive it once it is available.
Yes, but only if you notify us in advance of the departure so that we can arrange for your special dietary needs. There will be a specific area for you to note this information on the Pre-Trip Personal Information Form that you will receive with your confirmation packet.
Airfare varies on a tour-by-tour basis. While many of our small group, land tours do offer air-inclusive packages, other tours and cruises may not. Should airfare not be included, many of our partner tour operators will be able to assist you in arranging your flights. Please note: when purchasing airfare independently, it is important to pay special attention to cancellation policies before you do so as international flight times and departures may change.
The U.S. Department of State will no longer add visa pages into U.S. passports beginning January 1, 2016. Previously, U.S. passport holders had the option to pay for the insertion of additional 24-page visa inserts when valid passports lacked adequate space for entry or exit visa stamps. The decision to discontinue this service was made to enhance the security of the passport and to abide by international passport standards. Beginning January 1, 2016, applicants in need of additional pages in their valid passports must obtain a new passport. For more information on how or where to apply, please visit Travel.State.Gov/ApplyEarly or call the National Passport Information Center toll-free at 1-877-487-2778/1-888-874-7793 (TTY/TTD).
17. How is Smithsonian Journeys affiliated with the Smithsonian Institution? Is my trip tax deductible?
Smithsonian Journeys tours engage travelers in the wide-ranging mission of the Smithsonian—"the increase and diffusion of knowledge." Like the Institution, our tours enrich our guests' lives and satisfy their curiosity about the world around them. When you travel with Smithsonian Journeys, your participation benefits the work of the Smithsonian's 19 museums, national zoo, and nine research centers, helping to preserve national treasures and shape the future through science, research and exhibitions. Your trip cost is not tax deductible.
Yes, we offer enriching and immersive travel programs tailored for high school and college students. To learn more about our international programs designed for American high school students, please visit Smithsonian Student Adventures. For more information on travel for college students, please visit Smithsonian University Travel Programs.