855-330-1542
(M-F: 9 AM-7 PM, Sat: 9 AM-4 PM EST)

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 am interested in experiencing the world in a more active way. Do you offer active journeys?
  8. I often travel with friends and family, and I wondered if Smithsonian Journeys offers any group discounts?
  9. How old are your travelers?
  10. What are the physical and/or health requirements?
  11. Should I purchase Travel Insurance for the trip?
  12. Can I bring children on my journey?
  13. I don't always want to travel in a group. Do you offer "non-group" tours that I can customize to my own requirements?
  14. What is the best way to learn about Smithsonian Journeys tours?
  15. Can you accommodate those with dietary restrictions?
  16. Is airfare included in the tour cost?
  17. Are there any U.S. Passport rules I should be aware of?
  18. How is Smithsonian Journeys affiliated with the Smithsonian Institution? Is my trip tax deductible?
  19. 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-7 PM, Sat: 9 AM-4 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.

For Smithsonian Active Journeys, we are not accepting online reservations at this time, so please call 833-254-6678 (M-F: 10 AM-8 PM EST) or visit the Active Journeys tour web page and register your interest.

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

Traveling with Smithsonian Journeys is a life-changing experience. Built upon the values and passion of the Smithsonian, our journeys are designed with the same quest to increase and diffuse knowledge to all. 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 350+ annual departures on all seven continents, and like the Smithsonian Institution, our tours enrich lives and satisfy your curiosity about the world. Importantly, your participation benefits the work of Smithsonian’s nineteen museums, our national zoo, and nine research centers, helping to make the world a better place by preserving and celebrating what we cherish from our common past, present, and future.

In addition to an experienced tour manager, a Smithsonian Journeys Expert, local guest speakers, and experienced guides will join you on your journey. Among the 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 included in the cost of a Smithsonian Journeys tour?

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.

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 for the program you are interested in for specific information on what is and is not included.

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 international land journeys, many including airfare; small-ship ocean cruising, and comfortable, convenient river cruising; immersive cultural stay journeys; dynamic active journeys; one-of-a-kind specialty programs; around-the-world by private jet 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: Recently 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. Our land-based tours range from 12-35 participants 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 destination specialists about specific program 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. 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!

7. I am interested in experiencing the world in a more active way. Do you offer active journeys?

Yes! We have developed a collection of small group tours with the active traveler in mind. With no more than 18 participants, each trip is intimate and enriching. And because cultural insight is a key to all of our programming, you will enjoy opportunities to get to know each destination in more depth through special arrangements with local experts. You can find detailed information about Smithsonian Active Journeys on our web-site by selecting "Active Journeys" in the Trip Finder. Or simply call our dedicated team of Active Journeys Specialists who will help you find the right trip to match your interests and pace. Our Active Journeys team is available on a special phone line at 833-254-6678 (M-F: 10 AM – 8 PM EST)

8. I often travel with friends and family, and I wondered if Smithsonian Journeys offers any group discounts?

Yes, 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. This offer can’t be used on travel agent or tailor-made bookings. Use GROUPDISC promo code when booking online or contact us at 855-330-1542 to learn more.

9. 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 programs, 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 programs, we do 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 destination specialists about the required activity on specific tours. Please read more about our Activity Level Ratings which provide a better understanding of the activity level requirement for each tour or cruise. Note: Specific details for each tour/cruise can be located within the “Tour Details” tab on every web tour page. (These detailed descriptions describe the ease or rigors of trip activities, as well as altitude, internal flights, train travel, and length of walks, hikes and treks.)

10. 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 tour/cruise selected. All tours and cruises 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.

11. Should I purchase Travel Insurance for the trip?

Smithsonian Journeys offers on-tour emergency evacuation (up to $100,000) and worldwide emergency assistance service in the price of your tour. In addition and importantly, 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 specialists for information when you call.

12. 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. Tours and cruises 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.

13. 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 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 just for you. Click here to learn more!

14. 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 (M-F: 9 AM-7 PM, Sat: 9 AM-4 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. 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.

15. 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 area for you to note this information in the Pre-Trip Personal Information Form that you will receive with your confirmation packet.

16. Is airfare included in the tour cost?

Airfare varies on a tour-by-tour basis. While many of our small group, land tours do offer airfare inclusive packages, other tours and cruises may not. Should airfare not be included, most 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.

17. 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, in 2018, 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. As of October 2017, the extension granted by the Department of Homeland Security for many states to comply with the REAL ID Act expired. While DHS has granted further extensions to all but six states, these extensions are set to expire in October 2018. If you live in a state that does not comply with the REAL ID measures, you may need to show an alternate, REAL-ID compliant form of government-issued photo identification to get through security for domestic flights. The most common compliant form of ID is a passport, but passport cards, Global Entry cards, and others are also accepted. 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.

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

Smithsonian Journeys tours and cruises 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.

19. 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.