Join us in Chicago to see the highlights of one of America’s treasured cities. Immerse yourself in the city’s art and architecture as expert guides share fascinating insights during special excursions, including a river cruise.

Starting at: $3,490 Ask Us A Question or Call 855-330-1542
 Chicago skyline  The city of Chicago, renowned for its modern and contemporary architecture

The Arts of Chicago

6 days from $3,490

Join us in Chicago to see the highlights of one of America’s treasured cities. Immerse yourself in the city’s art and architecture as expert guides share fascinating insights during special excursions, including a river cruise.

or Call 855-330-1542

Accommodations

* Click on hotel name to visit hotel web-site.

Palmer House

Chicago, Illinois, United States

The iconic Palmer House has a long and colorful history. The hotel was opened in September of 1871 by businessman Potter Palmer as a wedding gift to his wife, Bertha, but it burned down 13 days later in the Great Chicago Fire. Situated in the heart of Chicago's Loop, within walking distance of the Art Institute and Millennium Park, the hotel faces Grant Park and Lake Michigan. In recent years the hotel has undergone a $170 million renovation to ensure that it includes all of the conveniences and comforts 21st-century guests expect. Guest rooms feature contemporary accents and updated amenities including flat-screen TVs and alarm clocks with iPod docks. The Palmer House has an award-winning restaurant and three bars, and there are many restaurant choices located nearby. Amenities include complimentary Wi-Fi.

Number of nights: 5

Activity Levels

Activity Level 2: Moderate


Expectations: Shorter tour featuring one city and hotel stay. Three full days of activities with standing and walking for long periods of time during city tours, museum visits, and outdoor activities. City walking on comfortable terrain; elevators generally available. One day at leisure to follow personal pursuits. 

Appropriate for: Travelers who are physically fit and comfortable with longer days of touring.

Reading List
Chicago: The Second City
By: A. J. Liebling
Many Chicagoans rose in protest over A. J. Liebling’s tongue-in-cheek tour of their fair city in 1952. Liebling found much to admire in the Windy City’s people and culture—its colorful language, its political sophistication, its sense of its own history and specialness, but Liebling offended that city’s image of itself when he discussed its entertainments, its built landscapes, and its mental isolation from the world’s affairs. Liebling, a writer and editor for the New Yorker, lived in Chicago for nearly a year. While he found a home among its colorful inhabitants, he couldn’t help comparing Chicago with some other cities he had seen and loved, notably Paris, London, and especially New York. His magazine columns brought down on him a storm of protests and denials from Chicago’s defenders, and he gently and humorously answers their charges and acknowledges his errors in a foreword written especially for the book edition. Liebling describes the restaurants, saloons, and striptease joints; the newspapers, cocktail parties, and political wards; the university; and the defining event in Chicago’s mythic past, the Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre. Illustrated by Steinberg, Chicago is a loving, if chiding, portrait of a great American metropolis.
City of the Century: The Epic of Chicago and the Making of America
By: Donald L. Miller
The epic of Chicago is the story of the emergence of modern America. Here, witness Chicago's growth from a desolate fur-trading post in the 1830s to one of the world's most explosively alive cities by 1900.Donald Miller's powerful narrative embraces it all: Chicago's wild beginnings, its reckless growth, its natural calamities (especially the Great Fire of 1871), its raucous politics, its empire-building businessmen, its world-transforming architecture, its rich mix of cultures, its community of young writers and journalists, and its staggering engineering projects—which included the reversal of the Chicago River and raising the entire city from prairie mud to save it from devastating cholera epidemics. The saga of Chicago's unresolved struggle between order and freedom, growth and control, capitalism and community, remains instructive for our time, as we seek ways to build and maintain cities that retain their humanity without losing their energy. City of the Century throbs with the pulse of the great city it brilliantly brings to life.
Chicago's Famous Buildings
By: Franz Schulze, Kevin Harrington
The latest edition of the original and best guide to Chicago architecture for tourists and residents. One of the premier architectural cities of the United States—if not the world—Chicago boasts a breathtaking skyline, dozens of architectural monuments, and a historic legacy few other cities can equal. And it's still growing! Since its first appearance in 1965, Chicago's Famous Buildings has been the standard and bestselling guide to the city's architectural riches. Now thoroughly revised and updated, this fifth edition will remain the leading pocket guide to some of the world's greatest urban architecture.Chicago's Famous Buildings, fifth edition, completely updated and revised by Franz Schulze and Kevin Harrington, covers more than a decade of extraordinary new architecture and takes a fresh look back at the city's classical legacy of Adler, Sullivan, Burnham, Root, Wright, and Mies van der Rohe. The authors have added many new descriptions and images of the most important projects in Chicago since the fourth edition, including the massive reconstruction of Grant Park around Frank Gehry's Music Pavilion, and they cover as well the current status of older buildings—some destroyed, others, such as Burnham's Reliance Building, marvelously restored and brought back to life. Chicago's Famous Buildings, fifth edition, also includes expanded sections on the city's future and the development of its diverse neighborhoods, presented with new maps to serve as an even more effective walking guide. A glossary of architectural terms, an extensive index, and more than sixty new photographs of both old and new buildings bring this guide completely up-to-date.Authoritative, informative, and easier to use than ever before, this fifth edition of Chicago's Famous Buildings will serve tourists and residents alike as the leading architectural guide to the treasures of this marvelous city.
DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Chicago
By: DK Travel
DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Chicago will lead you straight to the best attractions the Windy City has to offer.Visit the Lincoln Park Zoo or the Art Institute of Chicago, shop on Michigan Avenue, enjoy the rides at the Navy Pier funfair, take in the view from the Willis Tower, or explore the areas outside the heart of the city.Discover DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Chicago.   • Detailed itineraries and "don't-miss" destination highlights at a glance.    • Illustrated cutaway 3-D drawings of important sights.    • Floor plans and guided visitor information for major museums.    • Free, color pull-out map (print edition) marked with sights, a selected sight and street index, public transit map, practical information on getting around, and a chart for measuring walking distances.    • Guided walking tours, local drink and dining specialties to try, things to do, and places to eat, drink, and shop by area.    • Area maps marked with sights and restaurants.    • Detailed city maps include street finder index for easy navigation.    • Insights into history and culture to help you understand the stories behind the sights.    • Suggested day-trips and itineraries to explore beyond the city.    • Hotel and restaurant listings highlight DK Choice special recommendations. With hundreds of full-color photographs, hand-drawn illustrations, and custom maps that illuminate every page, DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Chicago truly shows you what others only tell you.Recommended: For a pocket guidebook to Chicago, check out DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Top 10 Chicago, which is packed with dozens of top 10 lists, ensuring you make the most of your time and experience the best of everything.Series Overview: For more than two decades, DK Eyewitness Travel Guides have helped travelers experience the world through the history, art, architecture, and culture of their destinations. Expert travel writers and researchers provide independent editorial advice, recommendations, and reviews. With guidebooks to hundreds of places around the globe available in print and digital formats, DK Eyewitness Travel Guides show travelers how they can discover more.DK Eyewitness Travel Guides: the most maps, photographs, and illustrations of any guide.
Laminated Chicago City Streets Map by Borch (English Edition)
By: Borch
Folded street and travel map in color. Scale 1:8,000. Legend includes sights, museums, theatres, monuments, beaches, international/regional airports, churches, Subway, bus stations, parking, hotels, shopping malls, markets. Includes inset map of Licoln Park (1:16,000), Hyde Park (1:20,000), Chicago & Region (1:250,000), O'Hare Airport (1:22,500) and Public Transport System. Climate charts show the average daily temperatures, humidity, hours of sunshine and precipitation for each month.
Fodor's Chicago's 25 Best (Full-color Travel Guide)
By: Fodor's
Top 25 Must-See Sights. Best bets for dining, lodging, sightseeing. Plus a full-color pullout map. Everything you need to experience Chicago.• Top lodging and dining picks for every budget•  Classic Chicago, from Frank LloydWright’s home to Lincoln Park’s 1,200 acres•  Essential museums, from the Art Institute to the Museum of Science and Industry•  The dish on local restaurants and culture•  Hot nightlife, from River North to Lakeview•  Tours of Chicago’s finest architecture•  Travel tips, from the “El” to O’Hare•  The best of the ’burbs    Insider Tips • Expert Advice The author: Mick Sinclair has made a career of homing in on the nooks and crannies of America’s largest cities. He has authored guidebooks to San Francisco, New York, and Miami, among other destinations.
George F. Will: A Nice Little Place on the North Side : Wrigley Field at One Hundred (Hardcover); 2014 Edition
By: George F. Will
Erik Larson: The Devil in the White City : Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America (Hardcover); 2003 Edition
By: Erik Larson
The Third Coast: When Chicago Built the American Dream
By: Thomas L. Dyja
A critically acclaimed history of Chicago at mid-century, featuring many of the incredible personalities that shaped American culture Before air travel overtook trains, nearly every coast-to-coast journey included a stop in Chicago, and this flow of people and commodities made it the crucible for American culture and innovation. In luminous prose, Chicago native Thomas Dyja re-creates the story of the city in its postwar prime and explains its profound impact on modern America—from Chess Records to Playboy, McDonald’s to the University of Chicago. Populated with an incredible cast of characters, including Mahalia Jackson, Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Chuck Berry, Sun Ra, Simone de Beauvoir, Nelson Algren, Gwendolyn Brooks, Studs Turkel, and Mayor Richard J. Daley, The Third Coast recalls the prominence of the Windy City in all its grandeur.
Lost Chicago by David Garrard Lowe (1993-03-07)
By: David Garrard Lowe
Pocket Guide to Chicago Architecture (Third Edition)
By: Judith Paine McBrien
More than 100 highlights of downtown Chicago, from Michigan Avenue to the riverfront to the Loop. Updated and expanded to chart Chicago’s evolving urban landscape, the third edition of this popular handbook is the perfect companion for self-guided walking tours, as well as an excellent source of information for those wishing to explore the internationally acclaimed architecture of Chicago. Over 100 highlights of the downtown area are covered, with accompanying maps, a glossary of architectural terms, and an index of architects and buildings designed to orient the reader along architectural routes from Michigan Avenue to the Riverfront to the Loop. Also included in this third edition is a fourth section highlighting the city’s diverse campus architecture, from work by Mies van der Rohe and Rem Koolhaas at the Illinois Institute of Technology to the Hyde Park neighborhood of the University of Chicago, where Frank Lloyd Wright’s Robie House stands. 163 illustrations, 4 maps
Boss: Richard J. Daley of Chicago
By: Mike Royko
"The best book ever written about an American city, by the best journalist of his time.”— Jimmy BreslinNew edition of the classic story of the late Richard J. Daley, politician and self-promoter extraordinaire, from his inauspicious youth on Chicago’s South Side through his rapid climb to the seat of power as mayor and boss of the Democratic Party machine. A bare-all account of Daley’s cardinal sins as well as his milestone achievements, this scathing work by Chicago journalist Mike Royko brings to life the most powerful political figure of his time: his laissez-faire policy toward corruption, his unique brand of public relations, and the widespread influence that earned him the epithet of “king maker.” The politician, the machine, the city—Royko reveals all with witty insight and unwavering honesty, in this incredible portrait of the last of the backroom Caesars.New edition includes an Introduction in which the author reflects on Daley’s death and the future of Chicago.
Frank Lloyd Wright: His Life and His Architecture
By: Robert C. Twombly
A complete biography based on a wide range of previously untapped primary sources, covering Wright's private life, architecture, and role in American society, culture, and politics. Views Wright's buildings as biographical as well as social statements, analyzing his work by type, category, and individual structure. Examines Wright's struggle to develop a new artistic statement, his dramatic personal life, and his political and economic ideas, including those on cities, energy conservation, cooperative home building, and environmental preservation. Includes over 150 illustrations (photographs, floor plans, and drawings--many never before published), extensive footnotes, and the most exhaustive bibliography of Wright's published work available.
You Were Never in Chicago (Chicago Visions and Revisions)
By: Neil Steinberg
In 1952 the New Yorker published a three-part essay by A. J. Liebling in which he dubbed Chicago the "Second City." From garbage collection to the skyline, nothing escaped Liebling's withering gaze. Among the outraged responses from Chicago residents was one that Liebling described as the apotheosis of such criticism: a postcard that read, simply, "You were never in Chicago." Neil Steinberg has lived in and around Chicago for more than three decades—ever since he left his hometown of Berea, Ohio, to attend Northwestern—yet he remains fascinated by the dynamics captured in Liebling's anecdote. In You Were Never in Chicago Steinberg weaves the story of his own coming-of-age as a young outsider who made his way into the inner circles and upper levels of Chicago journalism with a nuanced portrait of the city that would surprise even lifelong residents. Steinberg takes readers through Chicago's vanishing industrial past and explores the city from the quaint skybridge between the towers of the Wrigley Building, to the depths of the vast Deep Tunnel system below the streets. He deftly explains the city's complex web of political favoritism and carefully profiles the characters he meets along the way, from greats of jazz and journalism to small-business owners just getting by. Throughout, Steinberg never loses the curiosity and close observation of an outsider, while thoughtfully considering how this perspective has shaped the city, and what it really means to belong. Intimate and layered, You Were Never in Chicago will be a welcome addition to the bookshelves of all Chicagoans, be they born in the city or forever transplanted.
Loving Frank: A Novel
By: Nancy Horan
I have been standing on the side of life, watching it float by. I want to swim in the river. I want to feel the current. So writes Mamah Borthwick Cheney in her diary as she struggles to justify her clandestine love affair with Frank Lloyd Wright. Four years earlier, in 1903, Mamah and her husband, Edwin, had commissioned the renowned architect to design a new home for them. During the construction of the house, a powerful attraction developed between Mamah and Frank, and in time the lovers, each married with children, embarked on a course that would shock Chicago society and forever change their lives. In this ambitious debut novel, fact and fiction blend together brilliantly. While scholars have largely relegated Mamah to a footnote in the life of America’s greatest architect, author Nancy Horan gives full weight to their dramatic love story and illuminates Cheney’s profound influence on Wright. Drawing on years of research, Horan weaves little-known facts into a compelling narrative, vividly portraying the conflicts and struggles of a woman forced to choose between the roles of mother, wife, lover, and intellectual. Horan’s Mamah is a woman seeking to find her own place, her own creative calling in the world. Mamah’s is an unforgettable journey marked by choices that reshape her notions of love and responsibility, leading inexorably ultimately lead to this novel’s stunning conclusion. Elegantly written and remarkably rich in detail, Loving Frank is a fitting tribute to a courageous woman, a national icon, and their timeless love story. Praise for Loving Frank: “Loving Frank is one of those novels that takes over your life. It’s mesmerizing and fascinating–filled with complex characters, deep passions, tactile descriptions of astonishing architecture, and the colorful immediacy of daily life a hundred years ago–all gathered into a story that unfolds with riveting urgency.”—Lauren Belfer, author of City of Light “This graceful, assured first novel tells the remarkable story of the long-lived affair between Frank Lloyd Wright, a passionate and impossible figure, and Mamah Cheney, a married woman whom Wright beguiled and led beyond the restraint of convention. It is engrossing, provocative reading.” —Scott Turow “It takes great courage to write a novel about historical people, and in particular to give voice to someone as mythic as Frank Lloyd Wright. This beautifully written novel about Mamah Cheney and Frank Lloyd Wright’s love affair is vivid and intelligent, unsentimental and compassionate.” —Jane Hamilton “I admire this novel, adore this novel, for so many reasons: The intelligence and lyricism of the prose. The attention to period detail. The epic proportions of this most fascinating love story. Mamah Cheney has been in my head and heart and soul since reading this book; I doubt she’ ll ever leave.”—Elizabeth Berg
Sister Carrie
By: Theodore Dreiser
Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser is a tale about a young country girl who moves to the city to realize the American Dream, first as a mistress, and later becoming a famous actress. Any profits generated from the sale of this book will go towards the Freeriver Community project, a project designed to promote harmonious community living and well-being in the world. To learn more about the Freeriver project please visit the website - www.freerivercommunity.com
Travel Insurance

For the convenience of our travelers, Smithsonian Journeys includes an on-tour Provided Insurance Plan through Travel Guard with the price of your tour. This travel insurance plan includes On-tour medical evacuation insurance (up to $100,000), emergency medical expense coverage (up to $25,000), dental expense coverage (up to $500), travel medical assistance and worldwide travel assistance (U.S. Residents only, not including U.S. Territories). Travel must be more than 100 miles from the Insured’s primary residence.

In addition, you may want to consider purchasing travel insurance to protect your investment from unforeseen events, such as missed flight connections, lost luggage, and cancelled plans. There are many plans you can consider. For your convenience, you may visit www.TravelGuard.com/SmithsonianJourneys or call Travel Guard at 1.800.208.6142 to learn more.

Terms and conditions

Our Mission

Smithsonian Journeys engage travelers in the 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. Your participation benefits the work of Smithsonian’s 19 museums, National Zoo, and nine research centers, helping to preserve our national treasures and shape the future through science, research, and exhibitions.

What Is Included in the Tour Cost

  • Expertise of a Smithsonian Journeys expert, tour director and local guides throughout the tour
  • All gratuities for the expert, tour director, on tour guides and drivers
  • On-tour medical evacuation insurance (up to $100,000), emergency medical expense coverage (up to $25,000), dental expense coverage (up to $500), travel medical assistance and worldwide travel assistance
  • Pre-tour information, including a reading list
  • All on-tour transportation, unless otherwise noted
  • All accommodations for the duration of the tour
  • Meals, as noted in the itinerary (B-breakfast; L-lunch; D-dinner; R-reception)
  • All sightseeing and visits as noted in each itinerary
  • For tours that include  round-trip international airfare:  Airfare to/from your departure city, airline taxes, fuel surcharges, and departure fees are included

What Is Not Included in the Tour Cost

  • Passport and all visa fees and photos; immunization(s); and any other travel documentation fees as required
  • Optional travel insurance, including cancellation/delay/lost baggage insurance
  • Personal items, unless otherwise stated, such as wine, liquors, a-la-carte orders
  • Expenses incurred by our tour operator in making any individual travel arrangements in conjunction with the tour
  • Airline baggage and other airline fees and associated taxes, unless noted in Tour description
  • Communication Charges (e.g.: phone, the internet, etc.)
  • Other items noted as optional or not specifically mentioned as included
  • Airfare to/from your departure city is not included. Optional airfare may be available at an additional cost.

Registration 

To submit a reservation request, please use our secure online system at SmithsonianJourneys.org or call 855-330-1542 to speak with a Reservations Specialist, Monday-Friday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Eastern Time). Submitting an online request does not guarantee space on a tour.  You will be notified by a Reservation Specialist of your status once your request has been received and processed. 

To complete your reservation, the following information is required.

In accordance with the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) Secure Flight program, for all international tours, passport information is required, including the following:   Full name as it appears on your passport, Date of birth, and Gender (for further information, please visit www.tsa.gov).

For tours that include round-trip international airfare: If you provide incorrect information to the ticketing agent, or if you use a different passport than originally cited, you will be responsible for charges associated with the ticket’s reissue.

Payments

A deposit of $500 per person for a land tour reservation or $1,000 for a cruise reservation, unless otherwise noted, is required to reserve a space on a tour.  All payments may be made by credit card or check to the tour operator.  Deposits are applied to final payment of the tour price.

Final payment is due 95 days prior to departure, unless otherwise noted.  Balance is due upon invoicing.  If full payment is not received by the final payment due date, your place cannot be guaranteed on the tour.

Late Registration

Any registration received within 95 days of departure is considered “on-request” and is subject to specific confirmation. Some tours are more restrictive. Payment in full must be made immediately by credit card, or by check sent by overnight mail to the tour operator, before confirmation is possible.

Once confirmed, cancellation penalties apply as set forth below. If confirmation is not possible, all payments made will be refunded in full. Late registration confirmation procedures apply to any participant who is transferred from the wait list to the tour within the designated late registration period for that tour.

For additional information, please contact a Reservations Specialist at 1-855-330-1542 Monday - Friday 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. (Eastern Time), at SJReservations@si.edu or SmithsonianJourneys.org.

A Note About Costs

All prices are based on two persons sharing a room/cabin. All prices are quoted in U.S. dollars. Tour costs are based upon current airfares, tariffs, currency values, and on the basis of a presumptive minimum number of participants. While we will do everything possible to maintain the listed prices, they are subject to change.   Due to fluctuations in oil prices, a fuel surcharge may be added to your tour fee (e.g. internal flights, cruises, etc.).  Details and costs will be advised prior to departure.

Wait List

If the tour of your choice is fully subscribed, you may choose to be placed on a waitlist by contacting a Reservation Specialist at 1-855-330-1542 Mon-Fri 9 am - 7 pm; Sat 9 am – 4 pm (Eastern Time), or SJReservations@si.edu. Individuals on the wait list will be contacted if space becomes available and can inquire about tour status by contacting a Reservation Specialist. If you choose to withdraw from a wait list, please notify us.

Cancellation and Refund Policy

Following enrollment, a participant’s withdrawal from the tour for any reason, including, but not limited to, illness, injury, family engagements, work-related issues, or geopolitical concerns, etc., will be deemed a cancellation. Please understand that there will be no exceptions to our cancellation policy.

Per person cancellation fees are based on date of written notice to Smithsonian Journeys. Tour operator will refund on the following basis:

  • Cancellations within 7 days of booking:  Full Refund (unless it is within final payment date, 95 days before departure)
  • Cancellations after 7 days of booking:  Full Deposit Retained
  • Cancellations made within final payment date, 95 days before departure:  No Refund
  • Cancellation by Smithsonian Journeys:  Full Refund or Credit

Air Service

For tours that include round-trip international airfare, rates are based on economy class from designated departure cities as shown. Airfares from other cities are available upon request.  Airline upgrades at additional cost may be available on request for the international portion of your flight.  If an air schedule requires an overnight stay in a gateway city, the cost of the overnight will be at your expense.  For tours that include round-trip international airfare, we will be happy to help with arrangements.

Individual Arrivals and Group Transfers

A designated group flight is not included on most tours. Your first tour bulletin will thoroughly explain the details of the options available for your individual flights. Airport transfers (when applicable) are complimentary for both Flex Air participants and participants who are able to meet the scheduled group departure times. Reservations are required.

Air Service/Tickets Purchased Independently of the Tour

International and domestic air schedules are subject to change at any time. If you make your own airline reservations, we recommend that you do not purchase nonrefundable tickets or tickets with high penalties for changes. 

We urge you to check airline cancellation penalties before purchasing airline tickets since international departure times and flights can change. Neither the Smithsonian Institution nor the tour operator accepts liability for cancellation penalties related to domestic or international airline tickets purchased independently in conjunction with a tour.

Travel Insurance- Cancellation/Delay/Lost Baggage

Smithsonian Journeys recommends that all participants purchase travel insurance

Travel Documents and Information

Participants are responsible for obtaining any documents required for their participation in the tour such as a valid passport, all visas, vaccination certificates, and any other documents. If your tour requires a visa or other entry documents, we will send you the appropriate information after you make a reservation.  Failure to obtain documents does not negate the terms and conditions, and any extra costs incurred for rerouting or delay due to travel without the necessary documents will be the participant’s responsibility. If you are not a U.S. citizen, please contact your embassy or consulate to ensure you obtain the proper documentation.

For all international departures, a passport valid for at least six months after the completion of your tour, and with at least six blank visa pages, is required for U.S. citizens on all tours. The U.S. Department of State will no longer add visa pages into U.S. passports beginning January 1, 2016. The decision to discontinue this service was made to enhance the security of the passport and to abide by international passport standards. Beginning January 1, 2016, 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).

For more information about traveling to destinations abroad, we recommend the “Learn about your destination” section on the U.S. Department of State travel website www.travel.state.gov.  For medical information, we recommend contacting the Centers for Disease Control at (877) FYI-TRIP or www.cdc.gov/travel

Physical and Medical Considerations

To enjoy the travel experience, participants should be in good physical and mental health. All tours require an element of walking (up to two miles per day over uneven terrain) and of climbing stairs, often without handrails. Participants should have sufficient stamina to keep pace with an active group of participants on long days of touring. If you have any questions about your ability to participate in a tour, please call us at 855-330-1542. Any physical condition, diet, or special request for accommodation must be identified in writing on the Personal Information Form when the reservation is made. Some tours have additional information regarding physical and medical considerations, which may be discussed with the Reservation Specialist at 855-330-1542.

Please be aware that health care standards, facilities, and services abroad may be different or even inadequate for treating certain health conditions.  It is essential that you inform us in writing (on the provided Personal Information Form) of any existing condition for which you may require medical attention or accommodation during the tour. We will make reasonable efforts to accommodate the needs of our participants; however, services of a personal nature cannot be expected or guaranteed. By forwarding the deposit for pre-registration or registration in full, you affirm that you do not have any physical or other limitations that would create a hazard for yourself or other participants or would require adjustments to the tour for other participants.

Itinerary or Tour Modifications

Smithsonian Journeys strives to improve tour itineraries and their features. If improvements can be made, or unforeseen circumstances beyond our control make changes necessary, at our sole discretion, we reserve the right to vary itineraries and to substitute elements of the tour.  These elements include, but are not limited to:  hotels, staff, speakers, experts, and services for any stated in the itinerary.

Every effort will be made to carry out the tour as planned but alterations may still occur after the final itinerary has been sent to you. Please note that weather and other conditions may force changes to the advertised sailing schedule on cruise tours. The ship’s captain has the authority to change the ship’s schedule. Smithsonian Journeys and the tour operator reserve the right to substitute motorcoach transportation using hotels, inns or lodges for cruise accommodations if necessary due to weather, water conditions or levels, other events of force majeure, mechanical, or other conditions beyond their control.

Hotel Accommodations

Smithsonian Journeys chooses hotels based on a combination of location, service, atmosphere, and price. On adventure tours and tours in out-of-the-way places, best-available hotels are used.  Tour prices are based on two persons sharing a room with a bath.

Singles and Roommates

Hotel rooms are always reserved for single participants, however, the number of single rooms available on a tour may be limited. Therefore we recommend that you register early. Please note that a single supplement will most likely apply for a single room.  If you are traveling alone and wish to share a room/cabin, we will do our best to find someone of the same gender and smoking preference to share with you. If you are matched with a non-smoking roommate, it is mutually agreed that you cannot smoke in your hotel room/cabin. When a roommate cannot be found, a single supplement will be charged. Please note that the single rooms in many foreign hotels may be smaller than those to which you are accustomed.

Children

All tours except family journeys, are designed for adults. Some may be suitable for children 16 and older. Regardless of age, children must pay full price unless otherwise noted, moreover, a parent or guardian must accompany those under 18.

Special Travel Arrangements

Participants may wish to extend their stay in the group hotel either before or after the tour. Our tour operators will work with you on these arrangements, dependent upon space availability.  Your pre-tour bulletins will further explain all options.

Should you decide not to participate in certain parts of the tour or use certain goods included in the tour, no refunds will be made for those unused parts of the tour or goods.

Dispute Resolution

If a complaint arises, the participant should first inform a member of the on-tour staff, so that the staff can attempt to rectify the matter. If the issue remains unresolved, the individual should submit the complaint in writing to Smithsonian Journeys within 30 days of the completion of the tour.

The Smithsonian Journeys staff will make a good faith effort to resolve any dispute.  In the event that the parties are unable to resolve the dispute, the parties may agree to use a method of non-binding Alternative Dispute Resolution to resolve the dispute.  In the event that the parties are unable to agree on the method of Alternative Dispute Resolution to use, or in the event that either party is dissatisfied with the outcome of that alternative dispute resolution method, such efforts shall not constitute a waiver by either party of the right to file suit.

Photography and Video

Participants on tour may be photographed or recorded (audio and video) for the educational and promotional purposes of the Smithsonian Institution and Smithsonian authorized third parties.  This content may be used in marketing publications and posted on websites to promote Smithsonian Journeys without compensation to the participant. Participants who prefer that their name, voice and/or image not be used must notify us in writing prior to the beginning of the tour.

Smoking Policy

 For the comfort of all participants, we ask that there be no smoking during all group activities, including excursions and meals. On certain cruises, there is no smoking aboard the ship. Your pre-tour bulletins will provide further information.

READ CAREFULLY: RESPONSIBILITY STATEMENT AND LIABILITY DISCLAIMER

Smithsonian Journeys tours are organized and administered by professional tour operators hired as independent contractors. The use of designated tour operators allows the Smithsonian to offer participants a wide array of educational travel opportunities. The tour operator acts only as an agent for the respective suppliers by making arrangements for transportation, accommodations, and other services. Neither the Smithsonian Institution nor the tour operator shall be held liable for personal injury, death, property damage or accident, delay or irregularity arising out of any act or omission of these suppliers. The Smithsonian Institution and the tour operator reserve the right, without penalty, to make changes in the published itinerary whenever, in their judgment, conditions warrant, or if they deem it necessary for the comfort, convenience, or safety of tour participants.

The Smithsonian Institution and its designated tour operator also reserve the right, without penalty, to withdraw the tour announced, to decline to accept any person as a participant in a tour, or to require any participant to withdraw from the tour at any time (including, but not limited for inappropriate, or offensive behavior) when such action is determined by tour staff to be in the best interests of the health, safety or general welfare of the tour group or the individual participant.

Dates, schedules, tour details, and costs, although provided in good faith based on information available at the time of publication on the website, in the brochure or catalog, are subject to change and revision.

AS A CONDITION OF ACCEPTANCE OF ANY APPLICATION, EACH APPLICANT MUST AGREE TO THE STATEMENT SET FORTH BELOW:

The undersigned has read carefully the Responsibility Statement and Liability Disclaimer set forth above, the schedule of activities for this tour, as well as the terms and conditions of application and participation as set forth in the tour materials, and recognizes and accepts any risk associated with the tour and the conditions, including the refund policy, set forth in the tour materials. The undersigned further acknowledges that there are many risks and uncertainties inherent in any travel tour, including but not limited to the hazards of various modes of transportation, forces of nature, acts or omissions of foreign governments, terrorism, war or insurrection, theft, illness, and damage to person or property due to the negligent acts or omissions of tour staff or others. In consideration of, and as part payment for, the right to participate in the tour, the undersigned, on behalf of himself, his dependents, heirs, executors, administrators and assigns, agrees to release the Smithsonian Institution, its Regents, officers, employees, representatives or agents, the United States, and the tour operator and its officers, employees and agents, from liability for personal injury, death, property damage or loss suffered by any person in connection with this tour, even if caused by the negligence (but not the reckless, willful, or fraudulent conduct) of tour staff or other related persons or entities. In addition, by registering for this tour, the applicant certifies that he or she is mentally and physically capable of full participation in this tour. By registering for a Smithsonian Journey, the participant agrees to the Responsibility Statement and Liability Disclaimer and the Terms and Conditions herein.