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FAQs

  1. How do I reserve my space on a Smithsonian Journeys tour?
  2. How does Smithsonian Journeys differ from other group travel options?
  3. What's included in the cost of a Smithsonian Journeys tour?
  4. How do I decide which trip is right for me?
  5. How many travelers are on a Smithsonian Journeys tour?
  6. What about traveling alone?
  7. I often travel with a group, and I wondered if Smithsonian Journeys offers any discounts?
  8. How old are your travelers?
  9. What are the physical and/or health requirements?
  10. What should I know about Travel Insurance?
  11. Can I bring children on my journey?
  12. I don't always want to travel in a group. Do you offer "non-group" tours that I can customize to my own requirements?
  13. What is the best way to learn about Smithsonian Journeys tours?
  14. Can you accommodate those with dietary restrictions?
  15. Is airfare included in the tour cost?
  16. Are there any U.S. Passport rules I should be aware of?
  17. How is Smithsonian Journeys affiliated with the Smithsonian Institution? Is my trip tax deductible?
  18. Does the Smithsonian offer student travel programs?

1. How do I reserve my space on a Smithsonian Journeys tour?

It's easy—you can reserve online at any time or call at 855-330-1542 (M-F: 9 AM-6 PM EST) for calls from outside of the United States, please call 989-702-2515. You can pay with most major credit cards. Our programs typically require a deposit, with final payment due later.

2. How does Smithsonian Journeys differ from other group travel options?

Built upon the values and passion of the Smithsonian, our journeys are designed with the same quest to increase and diffuse knowledge. You will engage with the world through the Smithsonian lens, and enjoy an immersive and transformative experience that you will never forget. Our collection of diverse tours and cruises has grown to 300+ annual departures on all seven continents, and like the Smithsonian Institution, our tours enrich lives and satisfy your curiosity about the world. And, your participation benefits the work of the Institution, supporting our educational mission to preserve our heritage, discover new knowledge, and share our resources with the world.

In addition to an experienced trip leader, a Smithsonian Journeys Expert and local guides will join you on your journey. Among the world-class experts who accompany you are scholars from around the world—with an in-depth understanding of history, culture, politics, the natural world, or the fine arts—who have been selected by Smithsonian Journeys for their special knowledge and ability to connect with people. You may also find by your side a Smithsonian scientist who has spent a lifetime studying and interpreting biology, ecology, geology, astronomy, or another discipline. Our travelers tell us that our experts, and overall educational emphasis, are why they choose Smithsonian Journeys again.

3. What's provided with a Smithsonian Journeys tour?

Once you add up the extras that we include — experts, trip leaders and guides, enrichment, most meals, excursions, excellent accommodations, transfers, most gratuities, and even airfare inclusive pricing on many tours — you'll find that many of our trips are a very good value in addition to being an exceptional experience.

Also, for the convenience of our travelers, Smithsonian Journeys provides an on-tour insurance plan. In addition, you may want to consider purchasing travel insurance to protect your investment from unforeseen events, such as missed flight connection, lost luggage, and canceled plans. There are many plans you can consider for your convenience. You may visit www.travelguard.com/smithsonianjourneys or call Travel Guard at (800) 208-6142 to learn more about optional travel insurance options.

4. How do I decide which trip is right for me?

We offer a variety of options to fit every taste and travel interest. We offer land journeys, many including airfare; small-ship cruising; river cruising; cultural stays; special interest tours; active journeys; train journeys; and multigenerational family journeys. And, if group options aren’t right for you, we offer Smithsonian Tailor-Made Journeys, customized to your interests with the help of a Country Specialist.

Note: We have made it even easier to find the trip that is right for you with our web-site Trip Finder. You can search by destination, tour style, departure date, duration, activity level, and even by a particular interest to find your perfect journey!

5. How many travelers are on a Smithsonian Journeys tour?

Group size varies depending on whether the journey is a cruise, land tour, or specialty program. Almost all of our land trips feature guaranteed small groups of 12 to 24 people, allowing for more flexibility, and cruises range from 30-100 participants (with a few slightly larger), depending on the ship’s size. In most cases, our cruises share the ship with other leading cultural and educational institutions, which adds to the excitement and energy of the experience. Please ask our reservation specialists about specific trip sizes.

6. What about traveling alone?

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. Learn more about our solo travelers special offers here!

7. I often travel with a group, and I wondered if Smithsonian Journeys offers any discounts?

Yes, there are some opportunities to apply a group discount. With the exception of Smithsonian Family Journeys, travel agent or Tailor-Made bookings, Smithsonian Journeys is pleased to offer a discount of $250 per person based on eight (8) or more people booking at the same time and traveling together. If the group falls below eight (8), the price will revert to the original price. In addition to your initial per person deposit that becomes nonrefundable after 7 days from booking, a second deposit of $1,000 per person will be due and become nonrefundable at six (6) months prior to departure. Use GROUPDISC promo code when booking online or contact us at 855-330-1542 to learn more.

8. How old are your travelers?

Because we offer a wide range of travel options, our age range is quite broad. More active journeys attract travelers from 45-70 years of age, while special interest tours, including performing arts, typically attract guests from 55-80 years of age. So, while, there is no typical age profile; our average age is 55+. On multigenerational family journeys, you will find parents, grandparents, and children of all ages (generally 8-12 years of age or above). For all of our journeys, we ask that travelers are physically able to participate in all planned activities so that they may enjoy every aspect of the journey. Please ask our reservation specialists about the activity on specific tours. Please read more about our Activity Level Ratings which provide a better understanding of the activity level requirement for each trip. Note: Specific activity level details are located within the “Tour Details” tab on every web tour page. (These descriptions describe the ease or rigors of trip activities, as well as altitude, internal flights, train travel, and length of walks, hikes and treks.)

9. What are the physical and/or health requirements?

Because of the educational nature of our trips and the inquisitive nature of our travelers, our itineraries can be full and active. As a general guide, in order to enjoy your travel experience, we recommend that your level of fitness, stamina, and overall ability match the activity requirements for the trip selected. All trips feature varied activities that require a related level of physical fitness and ability. Detailed information regarding specific activity expectations can be found within the “Tour Details” tab on every web tour page and should be reviewed carefully to ensure you have chosen a trip appropriate to your capabilities.

These detailed descriptions describe the ease or rigors of trip activities, as well as provide information regarding length of walks or hikes or treks, altitude, internal flights, train travel, and more. Visit the activity level page for a general overview of what to expect for each level.

10. What should I know about Travel Insurance?

For the convenience of our travelers, Smithsonian Journeys provides an on-tour Insurance Plan. In addition, you may want to consider purchasing travel insurance to protect your investment from unforeseen events, such as missed flight connection, lost luggage, and canceled plans. There are many plans you can consider for your convenience. You may visit www.travelguard.com/smithsonianjourneys or call Travel Guard at (800)208-6142 to learn more about travel insurance options.

11. Can I bring children on my journey?

Travel is a wonderful way for the younger generation to learn about the world and for families to spend time together. We offer an assortment of family-friendly journeys designed to be enjoyed by adults and children. Past travelers have told us that these have been among the best travel experiences they have ever enjoyed. Trips that are not specifically designated as family journeys, are designed with adults in mind. Some may be suitable for older children, however 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.

12. I don't always want to travel in a group. Do you offer "non-group" tours that I can customize to my own requirements?

Yes! We are pleased to offer custom, private travel for those who are not interested in traveling in a group. Smithsonian Tailor-Made Journeys offer a rewarding experience that can be customized to your specific interests and are truly bespoke. A 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 just for you. Click here to learn more!

13. What is the best way to learn about Smithsonian Journeys tours?

All of our journeys are featured on our website, and we also print catalogs and brochures to support most of our programing. To receive our FREE catalog, submit a request online or call 855-330-1542. To keep up-to-date on "Just Announced" tours and Special Offers, including Early Booking, Solo Traveler, and to receive invitations to our Expert Lecture webinar series, sign up today for our newsletter. Please let us know if you would prefer to only receive our catalogs, and not to receive our brochures, by calling or by sending an email to SmithsonianJourneys@si.edu.

14. Can you accommodate those with dietary restrictions?

Yes, simply notify us in advance of your trip’s departure so we can arrange for your special dietary needs. Note: There is a specific question where you can note this information in the Pre-Trip Personal Information Form that you will receive with your confirmation packet.

15. Is airfare included in the tour cost?

Airfare varies on a tour-by-tour basis. While many of our small group, land tours offer airfare inclusive packages, other trips may not. Should airfare not be included, some of our partner tour operators are 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. You may search for all of our Airfare Inclusive tours in the Trip Finder.

16. Are there any U.S. Passport rules I should be aware of?

The U.S. Department of State no longer adds visa pages into U.S. passports. 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).

Also, the rules of domestic air travel are changing, and you may need a passport to board domestic flights. This is because of the REAL ID Act, a federal law that compels states to update the security of the ID cards and driver’s licenses that they issue. The Department of Homeland Security offers an easy-to-use website that shows your state’s compliance status. Click on your state to learn more.

17. How is Smithsonian Journeys affiliated with the Smithsonian Institution? Is my trip tax deductible?

Smithsonian Journeys engage travelers in the wide-ranging mission of the Smithsonian—"the increase and diffusion of knowledge." Like the Institution, our trips enrich people's 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 our national treasures and shape the future through science, research and exhibitions. Your trip cost is not tax deductible.

18. Does Smithsonian offer student travel programs?

Yes, we offer enriching and immersive travel programs tailored for high school students. To learn more about our programs designed for American students, please visit Smithsonian Student Adventures.