1. How do I book my Smithsonian Journey?

It's easy—you can book online at any time or call us toll-free 855-330-1542 9am-6pm EST. You can pay with most major credit cards or by check. Our programs typically require a deposit, with final payment due later.

Smithsonian Journeys 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, the National Zoo and nine research centers, helping to preserve our national treasures and shape the future through science, research, and exhibitions.

Our tours are accompanied by Smithsonian Experts and local guest speakers. 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 our experts is the difference between an outstanding travel experience and a mass market alternative. If you choose one of our family adventures, you will be accompanied 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.

So travel the world with a name you can trust and let Smithsonian be your compass and help you get started on your exploration!

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 $50,000) and access to emergency assistance service.

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 and international small-ship cruising, both on the river and ocean; domestic programs, including land, cruise and one-of-a-kind specialty programs; luxury private jet expeditions; and family adventures around the world and right here in Washington, DC with our “Smithsonian Family Adventure” options. And if group travel options do not work for you, we offer tailor-made Private Departures which you and your family “curate” for yourself!

Trip size varies depending on whether the Journey is a cruise, land tour, performing arts, culinary, or outdoor program. Our land-based tours range from 20-30 participants and cruises range from 30-100, depending on ship size.

Smithsonian Journeys are perfect for solo travelers, since you will experience and share the fun with many like-minded people interested in exploring and learning about 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 arrange it for you.

Because we offer a wide range of travel options, our age range is quite broad. Our outdoor, more active adventures attract travelers from 45-75 years of age. Our special interest tours, including performing arts, typically attract 50-80 years of age. There is no typical age profile; however, overall average age is 55-65 on any of our Journeys. On our family adventures, you will find parents, grandparents, and children of all ages. For all of our tours, we do encourage that travelers be physically able to participate in all activities so that they may enjoy all aspects of the journey.

Details of what to expect on each journey are available online within individual tour pages. Each program includes health and medical recommendations which are also sent to confirmed participants prior to departure.

Smithsonian Journeys offers emergency evacuation (up to $50,000) and worldwide emergency assistance service in the price of your tour. However, we strongly recommend that you purchase additional insurance to cover you in the case of a medical emergency. Our Travelers Protection Plan is specifically designed for Smithsonian travelers to offer a simple, convenient way of purchasing supplemental coverage, at reasonable rates, against a wide array of unforeseen incidents. Details about Travelers Protection policies will be sent with your tour confirmation packet. Please also ask our destination specialist for more information when you call.

We offer many journeys appropriate for children (usually age 8+). Travel is a superb way for children to learn about the world and for families to spend "quality time" together. We offer a series of family-friendly adventures to be shared by adults and children, and our past travelers have told us these have been among the best experiences they've ever enjoyed as a family. For tours not specifically designated as family programs, check with us before booking. All children under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. View our family tours.

All of our Journeys are featured on our website, and we print color catalogs and brochures for most of our tours. To receive our FREE catalog featuring over 250 journeys worldwide, submit a request online, call us toll-free at 855-330-1542 9am-6pm EST, or write to:

Smithsonian Journeys
P.O. Box 23182
Washington, DC 20026
To keep up on “Just Announced” tours, and Special Offer, 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. Please note that many of our partner tour operators will be happy to assist you in arranging your flights. When purchasing airfare independently, please pay special attention to cancellation policies before you do so as international flight times and departures may change.

Smithsonian Journeys is the world-wide travel program of the Smithsonian Institution and your participation supports the Institution’s mission – “the increase and diffusion of knowledge”. Your trip cost is not tax deductible.