Activity Levels

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With such a wide-ranging and diverse collection of travel options, how do you choose the right Smithsonian Journeys tour or cruise for you? We’re making it easier to choose all the time! Our website's Trip Finder provides easy steps to sort tours and cruises by destination, dates, tour style, special interest, and activity level.


And our Activity Level descriptions (found under the “Tour Details” page for each trip) provide you with specific activity expectations for each tour and cruise.


As a general guide, in order to enjoy your travel experience, Smithsonian Journeys participants should be in good physical and mental health. Because of the educational nature of our trips and the inquisitive nature of our travelers, our itineraries are generally full and active. In fairness to your fellow participants, your level of fitness, stamina, and overall ability should match the activity expectations of your selected trip.


All Smithsonian Journeys tours and cruises feature varied activities that require a related level of physical fitness and ability. Detailed information on specific activity expectations can be found on the website, and should be reviewed carefully to ensure you have chosen a trip appropriate to your capabilities. These brief overviews describe the ease or rigors of trip activities, as well as appropriate information regarding length of walks or hikes, altitude, internal flights, train travel, and more. The guidelines below provide a general overview of what to expect for each Activity Level.


Please review the specific activity level expectations relevant to your trip of interest online. Then, should you have any questions about your ability to participate fully or if you have physical or medical considerations, please call Smithsonian Journeys at 855-330-1542 and one of our Cultural Travel Specialists will be happy to assist you.


Level 1: Easy


Smithsonian Activity Level 1 Easy Expectations: Tours stay in just one city. Standing and walking for extended periods of time during museum visits or city tours. Shorter travel days. Walking typically on flat terrain; stairways sometimes without handrails; elevators sometimes available.

Appropriate for: Travelers in good health with overall good mobility, and who are comfortable participating in at least three hours of activity  per day.

Level 2: Moderate


Smithsonian Activity Level 2 Moderate Expectations: Long touring days with many full-day motor coach excursions. Standing and walking for long periods of time during city tours, museum visits, and/or outdoor activities. Walking over sometimes difficult terrain (e.g. cobblestones, city hills, stairs without handrails, absence of elevators, climbing aboard trains with high steps); some longer walks to get to city centers where coaches are prohibited. Possible exposure to higher altitudes. River cruises may offer a choice of excursions with varying activity expectations.

Appropriate for: Travelers who are physically fit and comfortable with longer days of touring (both walking tours and coach time).


Level 3: Advanced


Smithsonian Activity Level 3 Advanced Expectations: Most trips will feature long touring days, many full-day excursions, and a full and active itinerary with a faster pace and longer distances. Some tours may have activities with higher intensity and more active choices/options. Excursions require standing and walking for extended periods of time over more difficult terrain (cobblestones, city hills, stairs without handrails, limited or no access to elevators, muddy/slippery walking/hiking trails), and walking to city centers where coaches are prohibited. Specific itineraries may feature hiking, use of local transportation, extended overnight train travel, extensive use of Zodiac crafts or other smaller ship conveyances, or multiple internal plane rides. Some itineraries may require early morning departures and later evening returns. Travelers may be in remote and/or rugged regions, and may be touring at higher altitudes with steep ascents/descents. Leisure time may be limited (sometimes only in the later evenings). Certain tours feature more active excursions (such as moderate hiking, swimming, snorkeling, canoeing, bicycling, rafting, or kayaking), though another choice may be offered for an alternate skill level. Walking/hiking tours may feature up to six-mile walks/hikes.

Appropriate for: Travelers who are physically fit, lead active lives, are comfortable participating in long days of activities, and expect some physical exertion.