Take in the highlights of Beijing, Xi'an, and Shanghai, and enjoy a cruise of the Yangtze River. Plus, venture to Lhasa, set high on a Himalayan plateau, for an insider's look at Tibet's Buddhist culture.

Starting at: $7,387 * Includes airfare, taxes & all fees Make a Reservation Ask Us A Question or Call 855-330-1542
 The Great Wall of China  The Potala Palace in Lhasa  The breathtaking gorges of the Yangtze River  A panoramic view of the Forbidden City  Beijing's Forbidden City   The Great Wall of China  The Terra-Cotta Warriors of Xi'an  Monks amid the mountain landscape of Tibet  Young Tibetan monks  Prayer wheels at Lhasa's Potala Palace  Potala Palace, Lhasa  Prayer flags in Tibet  Detail of the Dazu Rock Carvings, a World Heritage site  China's Yangtze River  Pavilion in the Yu Yuan gardens of Shanghai  Yu Yuan (gardens) of Shanghai  The renowned Shanghai Museum

Classic China Featuring Tibet

Including a Yangtze River Cruise

19 days from $7,387 | includes airfare, taxes and all fees

Take in the highlights of Beijing, Xi'an, and Shanghai, and enjoy a cruise of the Yangtze River. Plus, venture to Lhasa, set high on a Himalayan plateau, for an insider's look at Tibet's Buddhist culture.

or Call 855-330-1542

Tour Details

TOUR BROCHURE

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WHAT OUR TRAVELERS SAY

Best quality and attention to detail at a great price!

- Dick S.

I met so many interesting people on this tour. We bonded exceptionally well with each other and with the study leader and tour director. I will certainly use Smithsonian in the future.

- Mary Jeanne C.

This trip was so much better than our expectations (and they were high). My husband hesitates traveling abroad, but we both were totally captivated. Every night on tour, we celebrated the day!

- Christina T.

If you want to learn about the history, culture, and art of China and Tibet, I highly recommend this tour!

- Richard T.

Amazing journey! The quality of our expert and guide were unparalleled in our experience!

- Kathleen S.

This was our first organized tour, and we were a bit wary of how it would work. Our wariness was unwarranted. As the tour went on, we were happier and happier with our decision. We now fear that no future tour will measure up to this one.

- Jim S.

JOURNEYS DISPATCHES

See All Journeys Dispatches ››

Accommodations

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

Wanda Vista Beijing Hotel

Beijing, China

Close to Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City, the Sofitel Wanda Beijing was designed to display the strong cultural links between France and China. Hotel amenities include four restaurants, bar, lounge, Fitness Center with massage and spa, and indoor pool. Air-conditioned guest rooms have private bath with hair dryer, in-room safe, mini-bar, Internet access, TV, and phone.

Number of nights: 4

Wyndham Grand Xi’an South

Xi'an, China

The Wyndham Grand Xian South blends traditional Chinese architectural influences with upscale, contemporary style.  Its surroundings echo the hotel’s connections to history and modernity, as it stands within walking distance of the Giant Wild Goose Pagoda as well as a 24-hour shopping mall.  This contemporary-style hotel offers two restaurants and a lounge, fitness center with indoor heated pool, hot tube, complimentary Wi-Fi Internet access, laundry and dry cleaning services, and hair salon.  Air-conditioned guests rooms have private bath with hair dryer, tea- and coffee-making facilities, in-room safe, mini-bar, TV, and phone.

Number of nights: 3

Shangri-La Hotel Lhasa

Lhasa, China

Situated close to Potala Palace, Norbulinka Palace, and Jokhang Temple in the heart of Lhasa, the newly opened (April 2014) Shangri-La Hotel Lhasa blends traditional Tibetan-style architecture and décor with contemporary design.  The 289-room hotel offers two restaurants, bar, and lounge; oxygen lounge (for altitude acclimation); spa; gym; indoor pool; laundry service; and gift shop.  Air-conditioned guest rooms have private bath with hair dryer, mini-bar, in-room safe, complimentary Wi-Fi Internet access, tea- and coffee-making facilities, ironing facilities, TV, and phone.

Number of nights: 3

JW Marriott Chongqing

Chongqing, China

This modern hotel in the center of Chongqing’s shopping district has two restaurants and a café, fitness center, sauna, spa with massage treatments and steam room, indoor pool, laundry and dry cleaning services, and Internet access. Each air-conditioned guest room is equipped with private bath with hair dryer, tea- and coffee-making facilities, in-room safe, mini-bar, TV, and phone.

Number of nights: 1

Yangtze Cruise

Victoria Cruises, China

With the largest fleet to ply the Yangtze, Victoria Cruises is the leader in Yangtze River cruising. All premier ships that we use are air-conditioned and carry between 218 and 378 passengers. All cabins are outside, non-smoking, and 155 square feet with private bathroom with bathtub and shower, balcony, and satellite TV. Hair dryers are available upon request. The ships offer breakfast and lunch buffets and classic Chinese dinner banquets, reading room, fitness area, gift shop, and beauty salon. On-board activities include lectures on Chinese history and culture, Tai Chi lessons, calligraphy demonstrations, and traditional entertainment in the evening. Victoria Cruises offers a comprehensive Yangtze experience, with multi-lingual cruise directors and informative river guides.

Number of nights: 3

The Kunlun Jing An Hotel

Shanghai, China

The 43-story Hilton Shanghai, set in the heart of the prestigious former French Concession, is within walking distance of the famous shopping areas of Nanjing Road and Huaihai Road and other attractions in the commercial and entertainment district. The 722-room hotel offers a variety of amenities, including eight restaurants and lounges, laundry/valet service, barbershop and beauty salon, gift shop, elevators, Internet access (surcharge), and safety deposit boxes. The hotel also has squash and tennis courts and a health club with fitness center, indoor pool, spa, sauna, steam bath, and massage service. Air-conditioned guestrooms have private bath with hair dryer, sitting area, mini-bar, in-room safe, TV, and phone.

Number of nights: 3

Tour Extension

Shanghai Post-Program Option 3 Days, 2 Nights

Spend additional time exploring dynamic Shanghai, China’s most prosperous, vibrant, and cosmopolitan city. Your tour extension price includes:

  • 2 nights accommodations at Hilton Shanghai (Deluxe)
  • 2 meals: 2 breakfasts
  • Transfer to the airport
Activity Level

Activity Level 3:  Moderate / Active


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. 

Testimonials

WHAT OUR TRAVELERS SAY

Best quality and attention to detail at a great price!

- Dick S.

I met so many interesting people on this tour. We bonded exceptionally well with each other and with the study leader and tour director. I will certainly use Smithsonian in the future.

- Mary Jeanne C.

This trip was so much better than our expectations (and they were high). My husband hesitates traveling abroad, but we both were totally captivated. Every night on tour, we celebrated the day!

- Christina T.

If you want to learn about the history, culture, and art of China and Tibet, I highly recommend this tour!

- Richard T.

Amazing journey! The quality of our expert and guide were unparalleled in our experience!

- Kathleen S.

This was our first organized tour, and we were a bit wary of how it would work. Our wariness was unwarranted. As the tour went on, we were happier and happier with our decision. We now fear that no future tour will measure up to this one.

- Jim S.
Reading List
My Journey to Lhasa: The Classic Story of the Only Western Woman Who Succeeded in Entering the Forbidden City
By: Alexandra David-Neel
An exemplary travelogue of danger and achievement by the Frenchwoman Madame Alexandra David–Neel of her 1923 expedition to Tibet, the fifth in her series of Asian travels, and her personal recounting of her journey to Lhasa, Tibet's forbidden city. In order to penetrate Tibet and reach Lhasa, she used her fluency of Tibetan dialects and culture, disguised herself as a beggar with yak hair extensions and inked skin and tackled some of the roughest terrain and climate in the World. With the help of her young companion, Yongden, she willingly suffered the primitive travel conditions, frequent outbreaks of disease, the ever–present danger of border control and the military to reach her goal. The determination and sheer physical fortitude it took for this woman, delicately reared in Paris and Brussels, is inspiration for men and women alike. David–Neel is famous for being the first Western woman to have been received by any Dalai Lama and as a passionate scholar and explorer of Asia, hers is one of the most remarkable of all travellersߴales.
Understanding China: A Guide to China's Economy, History, and Political Culture
By: John Bryan Starr
In this succinct, modest, and refreshingly forthright book--now revised and updated for the new century--Starr introduces to the uninitiated reader the background, basic data, and issues at stake in China's crisis-ridden present and future.After ten years, John Bryan Starr has thoroughly revised and updated his classic introduction to the background of, the data about, and the issues at stake in China's present and future. In the new edition, Starr seamlessly weaves in additional material on the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, the Chinese government's ongoing efforts to curb the influence of the Internet, and the intensifying trade disputes between the United States and China. Succinct, modest, and refreshingly forthright, Understanding China remains a necessary guide for the uninitiated to everything from the Chinese economy and political system, to its intellectual freedoms and human rights, to its relationship with the rest of the world.
China: A History
By: John Keay
Many nations define themselves in terms of territory or people; China defines itself in terms of history. Taking into account the country's unrivaled, voluminous tradition of history writing, John Keay has composed a vital and illuminating overview of the nation's complex and vivid past. Keay's authoritative history examines 5,000 years in China, from the time of the Three Dynasties through Chairman Mao and the current economic transformation of the country. Crisp, judicious, and engaging, China is the classic single-volume history for anyone seeking to understand the present and future of this immensely powerful nation.
Before The Deluge - The Vanishing World Of The Yangtze's Three Gorges
By: Deirdre Chetham
Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China
By: Jung Chang
The story of three generations in twentieth-century China that blends the intimacy of memoir and the panoramic sweep of eyewitness history—a bestselling classic in thirty languages with more than ten million copies sold around the world, now with a new introduction from the author.An engrossing record of Mao’s impact on China, an unusual window on the female experience in the modern world, and an inspiring tale of courage and love, Jung Chang describes the extraordinary lives and experiences of her family members: her grandmother, a warlord’s concubine; her mother’s struggles as a young idealistic Communist; and her parents’ experience as members of the Communist elite and their ordeal during the Cultural Revolution. Chang was a Red Guard briefly at the age of fourteen, then worked as a peasant, a “barefoot doctor,” a steelworker, and an electrician. As the story of each generation unfolds, Chang captures in gripping, moving—and ultimately uplifting—detail the cycles of violent drama visited on her own family and millions of others caught in the whirlwind of history.
Discover China (Travel Guide)
By: Lonely Planet, Damian Harper, Piera Chen, David Eimer, Trent Holden, Emily Matchar, Rebecca Milner, Kate Morgan, Tom Spurling, Megan Eaves
Lonely Planet: The world's leading travel guide publisher Lonely Planet Discover China is your passport to the most relevant, up-to-date advice on what to see and skip, and what hidden discoveries await you. Explore the Forbidden City in Beijing, marvel at the Terracotta Warriors in Xi'an, or wander around the pagodas and lilting willows of Hangzhou's West Lake; all with your trusted travel companion. Discover the best of China and begin your journey now! Inside Lonely Planet Discover China: Full-colour maps and images throughout Highlights and itineraries help you tailor your trip to your personal needs and interests Insider tips to save time and money and get around like a local, avoiding crowds and trouble spots Essential info at your fingertips - hours of operation, phone numbers, websites, transit tips, prices Honest reviews for all budgets - eating, sleeping, sight-seeing, going out, shopping, hidden gems that most guidebooks miss Cultural insights give you a richer, more rewarding travel experience - history, festivals, cuisine, architecture, religion, environment, wildlife, painting, literature, film Free, convenient pull-out Beijing map (print version) Covers Beijing, Great Wall, Xi'an, Shanghai, Three Gorges, Huangshan, Hangzhou, Yangshuo, Fenghuang, Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Sichuan, Macau, Yunnan and more The Perfect Choice: Lonely Planet Discover China, our easy-to-use guide, filled with inspiring and colorful photos, focuses on China's most popular attractions for those looking for the best of the best. Looking for a comprehensive guide that recommends both popular and offbeat experiences, and extensively covers all the country has to offer? Check out Lonely Planet China guide. Looking for a guide for Beijing or Shanghai? Check out Lonely Planet Beijing guide and Lonely Planet Shanghai guide for a comprehensive look at all these cities have to offer; Lonely Planet Pocket Beijing and Lonely Planet Pocket Shanghai, handy-sized guides focused on the can't-miss sights for a quick trip. About Lonely Planet: Since 1973, Lonely Planet has become the world's leading travel media company with guidebooks to every destination, an award-winning website, mobile and digital travel products, and a dedicated traveller community. Lonely Planet covers must-see spots but also enables curious travellers to get off beaten paths to understand more of the culture of the places in which they find themselves. The world awaits! Lonely Planet guides have won the TripAdvisor Traveler's Choice Award in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016. 'Lonely Planet. It's on everyone's bookshelves; it's in every traveller's hands. It's on mobile phones. It's on the Internet. It's everywhere, and it's telling entire generations of people how to travel the world.' -- Fairfax Media 'Lonely Planet guides are, quite simply, like no other.' - New York Times
Tibet, Bhutan, Nepal Gizi (English and French Edition)
By: Gizi
Discover le Tibet with the colourful Gizi road and geographical map. The best way to prepare your trip, to plan your itinerary, and to travel independently. This map also includes Bhutan, Nepal, Arunashal Pradesh, and the Indian Kashmir. The legend is in 8 languages (English, Chinese and Hindi included).
Lonely Planet Mandarin Phrasebook & Dictionary
By: Lonely Planet, Anthony Garnaut, Tim Lu
Lonely Planet: The world's #1 phrasebook publisher*Lonely Planet Mandarin Phrasebook & Dictionary is your handy passport to culturally enriching travels with the most relevant and useful Mandarin phrases and vocabulary for all your travel needs. Order authentic street food, chat over a game of mah jong and bargain at the market; all with your trusted travel companion. With language tools in your back pocket, you can truly get to the heart of wherever you go, so begin your journey now!Get More From Your Trip with Easy-to-Find Phrases for Every Travel Situation! Feel at ease with essential tips on culture, manners, idioms and multiple meanings Order with confidence, explain food allergies, and try new foods with the menu decoder Save time and hassles with vital phrases at your fingertips Never get stuck for words with the 3500-word two-way, quick-reference dictionary Be prepared for both common and emergency travel situations with practical phrases and terminology Meet friends with conversation starter phrases Get your message across with easy-to-use pronunciation guides Inside Lonely Planet Phrasebook & Dictionary: Full-color throughout User-friendly layout organized by travel scenario categories Survival phrases inside front cover for at-a-glance on-the-fly cues Convenient features 5 Phrases to Learn Before You Go 10 Ways to Start a Sentence 10 Phrases to Sound like a Local Listen For - phrases you may hear Look For - phrases you may see on signs Shortcuts - easy-to-remember alternatives to the full phrases Q&A - suggested answers to questions asked Covers Basics - time, dates, numbers, amounts, pronunciation, reading tips, grammar rules Practical - travel with kids, disabled travellers, sightseeing, business, banking, post office, internet, phones, repairs, bargaining, accommodations, directions, border crossing, transport Social - meeting people, interests, feelings, opinions, going out, romance, culture, activities, weather Safe Travel - emergencies, police, doctor, chemist, dentist, symptoms, conditions Food - ordering, at the market, at the bar, dishes, ingredients The Perfect Choice: Lonely Planet Mandarin Phrasebook & Dictionary, a pocket-sized comprehensive language guide, provides on-the-go language assistance; great for language students and travellers looking to interact with locals and immerse themselves in local culture. Looking for an auditory guide to pronunciations? Check out Lonely Planet Mandarin Phrasebook & Audio CD. Authors: Written and researched by Lonely Planet. About Lonely Planet: Started in 1973, Lonely Planet is the world's leading travel guide publisher with guidebooks to every destination on the planet, and has been connecting travellers and locals for over 25 years with phrasebooks for 120 languages, more than any other publisher! With an award-winning website, a suite of mobile and digital travel products, and a dedicated traveller community, Lonely Planet enables curious travellers to experience the world and to truly get to the heart of the places they find themselves. The world awaits! Check out our Fast Talk Phrasebook mobile app for on-the-go language needs. (Available languages: German, Latin Spanish, European Spanish, French, and Italian.) *#1 phrasebook publisher. Source: Nielsen Bookscan UK, US & AUS
Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth, and Faith in the New China
By: Evan Osnos
Pulitzer Prize in General Nonfiction finalistWinner of the 2014 National Book Award in nonfictionAn Economist Best Book of 2014Winner of the bronze medal for the Council on Foreign Relations’ 2015 Arthur Ross Book AwardA vibrant, colorful, and revelatory inner history of China during a moment of profound transformationFrom abroad, we often see China as a caricature: a nation of pragmatic plutocrats and ruthlessly dedicated students destined to rule the global economy-or an addled Goliath, riddled with corruption and on the edge of stagnation. What we don't see is how both powerful and ordinary people are remaking their lives as their country dramatically changes. As the Beijing correspondent for The New Yorker, Evan Osnos was on the ground in China for years, witness to profound political, economic, and cultural upheaval. In Age of Ambition, he describes the greatest collision taking place in that country: the clash between the rise of the individual and the Communist Party's struggle to retain control. He asks probing questions: Why does a government with more success lifting people from poverty than any civilization in history choose to put strict restraints on freedom of expression? Why do millions of young Chinese professionals-fluent in English and devoted to Western pop culture-consider themselves "angry youth," dedicated to resisting the West's influence? How are Chinese from all strata finding meaning after two decades of the relentless pursuit of wealth? Writing with great narrative verve and a keen sense of irony, Osnos follows the moving stories of everyday people and reveals life in the new China to be a battleground between aspiration and authoritarianism, in which only one can prevail.
Essential Tibetan Buddhism
By: Robert A. F. Thurman
WINNER OF THE TRICYCLE PRIZE FOR EXCELLENCEExpertly and lucidly surveying the basic varieties and teachings of Tibetan Buddhism, renowned scholar Robert Thurman makes this authentic spiritual tradition available to contemporary Western audiences
Shanghai : The Rise and Fall of a Decadent City 1842-1949
By: Stella Dong
Transformed from a swampland wilderness into a dazzling, modern-day Babylon, the Shanghai that predated Mao′s cultural revolution was a city like no other: redolent with opium and underworld crime, booming with foreign trade, blessed with untold wealth and marred by abject squalor. Journalist Stella Dong captures all the exoticism, extremes, and excitement of this legendary city as if it were a larger-than-life character in a fantastic novel.
Art of Tibet (World of Art)
By: Robert E. Fisher
Tibet has produced some of the most distinctive and creative art in the world, with striking qualities that set it apart from other Buddhist and Asian art. With the spread of Buddhism among Westerners and the controversy over its status, interest in Tibet has never been greater. This mysterious land, now a province of the People's Republic of China, has produced some of the most fascinating and creative art in the world. From silk embroidery and textiles to painting, sculpture, and manuscripts, Tibetan art has striking qualities that set it apart from other Buddhist and Asian art. Robert Fisher takes the reader through the history of Tibetan art, starting from its origins in the early days of the Tibetan kingdom. From a bleak and often inaccessible landscape arose a religious and artistic world so vibrant and sophisticated that even China's emperors commissioned works. The art and spiritual life of the region are inextricably intertwined, and Dr. Fisher explores the distinctive character of that relationship. Careful attention is also given to ritual objects, which comprise some of the most important works of art in Tibetan culture. 180 illustrations, 93 in colror
Search for Ancient China (New Horizons)
By: Corinne Debaine-Francfort, Paul G. Bahn
In the late-19th and early-20th centuries, as China opened its doors to the rest of the world, Western archaeologists introduced new field methods that led to important discoveries and the establishment of scientific bodies of research. However, as China turned in on itself from 1949 to 1990, Chinese archaeology entered a dark age. Today, in an era of cooperation, the splendours and achievements of ancient China are revealed to modern eyes. This work is an examination of the latest discoveries in the archaeology of Ancient China, including: the early Neolithic painted pottery; the Shang bronzes; the bronze bells of the Marquis Yi of Zeng; the terracotta army of Qin Shi Huangdi, the first emperor; and the lavish tomb of the Marquis of Dai and his family from the Han dynasty.
The River at the Center of the World: A Journey Up the Yangtze, and Back in Chinese Time
By: Simon Winchester
Rising in the mountains of the Tibetan border, the Yangtze River, the symbolic heart of China pierces 3,900 miles of rugged country before debouching into the oily swells of the East China Sea. Connecting China's heartland cities with the volatile coastal giant, Shanghai, it has also historically connected China to the outside world through its nearly one thousand miles of navigable waters. To travel those waters is to travel back in history, to sense the soul of China, and Simon Winchester takes us along with him as he encounters the essence of China--its history and politics, its geography and climate as well as engage in its culture, and its people in remote and almost inaccessible places. The River at the Center of the World: A Journey Up the Yangtze, and Back in Chinese Time is travel writing at its best: lively, informative, and thoroughly enchanting.
Peaks on the Horizon: Two Journeys in Tibet
By: Charlie Carroll
Charlie Carroll’s obsession began with his chance discovery of Seven Years in Tibet in the “Adult Reading” section of his grade school library. The battered hardcover with faded gold lettering sparked a twenty-year obsession with Tibet, and after combing through every book, article, and documentary on the mysterious and controversial nation, Charlie finally decided it was time to stop reading other people’s records and thoughts. A high school English teacher by then, he took a sabbatical and set out to experience the shrouded land for himself. Contending with Chinese bureaucracy, unforgiving terrain, and sickness-inducing altitude, Charlie sought entrance to twenty-first-century Tibet in all its heart-stopping beauty.The same year Charlie was browsing library shelves, Tibetan-born Lobsang was crossing the Himalayas on foot, enduring to flee the volatile region with his family at the young age of five. An exile in Nepal with an ear for languages, then a university student in India, he followed the love of his life back to their home country, only to be separated by China’s harsh political backlash. In a teahouse at the border between China and Tibet, Lobsang met Charlie and recounted his extraordinary life story, exemplifying the hardship, resilience, and hope of modern Tibetan life.
Seven Years in Tibet (Cornerstone Editions)
By: Heinrich Harrer
The astonishing adventure classic about life in Tibet just before the Chinese Communist takeover is now repackaged for a new generation of readers.In this vivid memoir that has sold millions of copies worldwide, Heinrich Harrer recounts his adventures as one of the first Europeans ever to enter Tibet and encounter the Dalai Lama.
A Single Pebble
By: John Hersey
A young American engineer sent to China to inspect the unruly Yangtze River travels up through the river's gorges searching for dam sites. Pulled on a junk hauled by forty-odd trackers, he is carried, too, into the settled, ancient way of life of the people of the Yangtze -- until the interplay of his life with theirs comes to a dramatic climax.
China: A Traveler's Literary Companion (Traveler's Literary Companions)
By: Brand: Whereabouts Press
Whether revealing small-town superstitions or exposing Beijing’s underworld, these works of literary fiction offer insights to modern China and its myriad of social, cultural, and human concerns. An expansive country, China is made up of numerous ethnic groups with a dizzying array of local dialects and subcultures. In addition, China is experiencing staggering change, which is explored in contemporary literature. From the idyllic mountains of West Hunan to the picturesque water town of Zhejiang, from the high plateau of western Sichuan to the harsh landscape of the northeast — this compelling collection of short fiction represents the incredible diversity that is China.
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

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 (U.S. residents only)
  • Pre-tour information, including a reading list
  • Transfers and luggage handling abroad (for air inclusive guests)
  • All on-tour transportation including flights within the itinerary, unless otherwise noted
  • All accommodations for the duration of the tour
  • Meals, as noted in the itinerary (B-breakfast; L-lunch; D-dinner)
  • All sightseeing and visits as noted in each itinerary
  • Airfare to/from your departure city, airline taxes, surcharges, and fees, which are subject to change until final payment is made (for air inclusive guests only)

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 (learn more at TravelGuard.com/SmithsonianJourneys)
  • 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
  • Transfers and baggage handling abroad when purchasing “land only” package
  • Communication Charges (e.g.: phone, internet, etc.)
  • Other items noted as optional or not specifically mentioned as included
  • Airfare from your hometown to your departure city (for air inclusive guests only).

Registration

To submit a reservation request, please use our secure online system at SmithsonianJourneys.org or contact a Cultural Travel Specialist, at 1-855-330-1542 Mon-Fri 9 am - 7 pm; Sat 9 am – 4 pm (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.  Please note: No new registrations can be accepted within 30 days of most tours. Some tours are more restrictive; please see individual tour pages for these exceptions.

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, 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 (180 for Alaska) 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 Cultural Travel Specialist, at 1-855-330-1542 Mon-Fri 9 am - 7 pm; Sat 9 am – 4 pm (Eastern Time), or SJReservations@si.edu and 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

Please understand that there will be no exceptions to our cancellation policy.

Smithsonian Journeys recommends that all participants purchase travel insurance.

If your flights are delayed or if for any reason you are prevented from joining the tour on the scheduled departure date and time, or if you choose to leave the tour early, we cannot provide a full or partial refund or credit toward a future tour.

Smithsonian Journeys reserves the right to cancel any tour due to low enrollment and when a U.S. Department of State Travel Warning is issued for the destination.

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, the tour operator  will be happy to help with arrangements. Please note that seat assignments for your international flights is usually done at airport check-in. The tour operator is unable to guarantee any seat assignments.

When planning our tours that include international round-trip airfare, the tour operator contracts with those airlines that they feel provide the level of service, routings, and value necessary for your entire trip. While another airline may offer a more direct connection, it may be at a price unavailable at the lower group rates that enable us to offer you the best possible travel value. Please note that frequent flyer mileage credits are issued at the discretion of the airline(s) and may not be available for the flights on your tour. If you prefer to make your own airline reservations, “land only” pricing is available on most of our tours.

Air Service/Tickets Purchased Independently of the Tour

International and domestic air schedules are subject to change at any time. Tours can also be canceled due to low enrollments. 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.  Learn more at TravelGuard.com/SmithsonianJourneys.

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.

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 after the tour. Our tour operators will work with you on these arrangements, dependent upon space availability.  . For participants using air, only post tour extensions are offered. Tour operator may be able to assist land only participants with pre-tour arrangements.

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.