Activity Levels

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To enjoy your travel experience, Smithsonian Journeys travelers should be in good physical and mental health. All land tours and cruises involve group activities. Because of the educational nature of our programs and the inquisitive nature of our travelers, the itineraries are generally full and active. In fairness to your fellow group members, your level of fitness, stamina, and overall ability should match the program’s activity expectations.


In addition to physical fitness, each participant should have a strong level of mental preparedness to handle adverse weather conditions, road conditions, sea conditions, and other issues that can be challenging when traveling. Each Smithsonian Journeys land tour and cruise features a program of varied activities requiring a related level of physical fitness. Detailed information on the specific activity level is provided online and should be reviewed carefully to ensure you have chosen a program appropriate to your capabilities.


The following activity level guidelines provide a general overview of the pacing of our programs and will help you select a land tour or cruise that matches your expectations.


After reading the activity level relevant to your program of interest, should you have any questions about your ability or physical or medical considerations related to the land tour or cruise, please call us at 855-330-1542.


Level 1


Smithsonian Activity Level 1• Programs that often stay in just one or two locations or feature shorter travel days.
• Pace of the program is light to moderate, with walking on typically flat terrain, and ascending and descending stairs (sometimes without handrails though elevators are often available). Standing and walking for extended periods of time during museum tours or city tours. Managing personal carry-on luggage when necessary.
• Appropriate for travelers in good health with overall good mobility, and who are comfortable participating in at least three hours of activity  per day.
• Example Tours: Celebrate Smithsonian, Toronto Film Festival


Level 2


Smithsonian Activity Level 2• More active programs that feature some longer travel days (ex. full-day motorcoach excursions).
• Programs feature a moderate pace, with walking on more difficult terrain (uneven terrain, cobblestones, city hills, stairs without handrails, absence of elevators).
• Standing and walking for extended periods of time during a variety of tours in cities, museums, or outdoors. Managing personal carry-on luggage when necessary. Possible exposure to higher altitudes.
• Appropriate for travelers who are physically fit and comfortable participating in at least five hours of activity per day.
• Example Tours: Hamilton's Caribbean, One-Week Stay Programs (London, Paris, etc.)


Level 3


Smithsonian Activity Level 3• Moderately active programs that feature many longer travel days.
• Programs feature a full, active itinerary with a faster pace, longer distances, and activities with higher intensity. Extended walking on more difficult terrain (up to four miles possibly on uneven terrain, cobblestones, city hills, stairs without handrails, absence of elevators), and occasional steep ascents and descents.
• Standing and walking for extended periods of time, possibly at high altitudes. Itineraries may include many full-day excursions, moderate hiking, use of local transportation, embarking and disembarking Zodiac crafts or other conveyances during cruises. Managing personal carry-on luggage when necessary.
• Appropriate for travelers who are physically fit, lead active lives, are comfortable participating in six or more hours of activity per day, and expect some physical exertion.
• Example Tours: Treasures of Southern Spain and Portugal, In the Wake of Lewis and Clark


Level 4


Smithsonian Activity Level 4• Very active programs that feature long travel days.
• Programs feature a very active pace and a demanding daily schedule. Walking can be on difficult terrain (up to six miles possibly on uneven terrain, cobblestones, city hills, stairs without handrails, absence of elevators). Travelers may be in remote or rugged regions with challenging terrain, possibly at high altitudes with steep ascents and descents. Leisure time is more limited (sometimes only in the evenings).
• Programs may feature extended overnight train travel, extensive use of Zodiac crafts or other smaller ship conveyances, or multiple internal plane rides. Itineraries may feature many full-day excursions, use of local transportation, moderate hiking, optional swimming, snorkeling, canoeing, bicycling, rafting, or kayaking. Walking tours may require long distance walks (up to six miles).
• Recommended for travelers who have a high fitness level (very physically fit), who expect a vigorous pace, are comfortable participating in up to eight hours of physical activity per day, and enjoy challenging themselves physically.
• Example Tours: Discover Cuba, Patagonian Explorer