Smithsonian Journeys Health & Safety Protocols

Updated as of March 28, 2024

Since our beginnings over 50 years ago, Smithsonian Journeys has focused on providing worry- free, enriching, and enjoyable educational travel experiences. The health, safety, and well-being of our guests and staff members has always been our highest priority.

We have worked with our travel partners to develop these health and safety measures, in consultation with organizations such as U.S. Department of State (DOS) Travel Advisories, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and travel industry guidance.

Please note: These Health and Safety Protocols apply to all Smithsonian Journeys except for Private Jet, Ocean Cruising aboard PONANT vessels, and Tailor-Made Journeys. Please see details at, and, respectively. These documents will be periodically updated as we obtain any new information or guidance.


Preparing for your Journey

For Smithsonian Journeys tours, COVID-19 vaccination is not required, though we highly recommend that guests stay up to date with all recommended vaccines, including COVID-19 and influenza, in accordance with the CDC recommendations.

Please note: If there are other specific in-country health requirements for certain tours, guests will be notified of those requirements in pre-tour documents.

You should also consult your physician for best practices to keep you safe and healthy before, during, and after your trip with us.


We strongly recommend that you purchase a travel protection plan to protect yourselves and your investment in the event of illness prior to or during the tour. When purchasing a policy, please consult with a travel insurance agent to review COVID-19 related coverage.

To learn more about Smithsonian Journeys' provider’s policies, please click here.

Smithsonian Journeys Travelers

In order to provide a safe travel experience for our guests, we also need your help. By joining a tour, you agree to make the following commitments to health and safety:

  • Follow local requirements and the directions of tour staff in instances where face masks are recommended or required. This applies to both group activities and to time on your own.
  • If you exhibit cold or flu like symptoms while on tour, you may be required to wear a mask. A separate table will be provided at included group meals for guests exhibiting cold or flu like symptoms or alternatively we will arrange meals in guest rooms.
  • For guests exhibiting cold or flu like symptoms, Smithsonian recommends but does not require self-testing for COVID-19. If you test positive for COVID-19, you may be required to isolate if local regulations require quarantine for a certain period of time. While these regulations are subject to change, most tour destinations no longer require isolation following a positive COVID test.
  • You agree to take personal responsibility for your health and to respect the well-being of fellow travelers and the tour staff. 

Your Smithsonian Journeys travel director will outline and reinforce traveler expectations at the beginning of your tour.


Upon Arrival

Please bring a supply of face masks in the event they are needed. Our travel directors will also have a limited supply of hand sanitizers and disposable masks available.

Tour Staff

Your Smithsonian Journeys Experts and travel directors are required to adhere to the same health and safety protocols as outlined for guests. Tour staff will also receive additional training on health and safety measures to support you during your tour.

Accommodations and Meals

All hotels and lodges on our trips maintain a high level of sanitation and cleanliness. We select restaurants that also meet our cleaning and sanitation requirements.

Group Activities and Independent Time

Smithsonian Journeys is dedicated to providing our travelers with high quality group travel experiences. Many of our tours utilize whisper audio devices for excursions. All headsets and controls will be sanitized, and sterilized ear buds will be in sealed plastic bags. You will receive a headset at the beginning of the tour that will be in your possession and used only by you for the duration of the tour.

Traveling by Ship

For ocean and river cruises, there may be additional or different health and safety protocols which will be provided in your pre-trip materials.