Delve into the history, culture, and natural beauty of four vibrant Canadian urban centers: Toronto, Ottawa, Montréal, and Québec City.

Starting at: $4,192 Make a Reservation Ask Us A Question or Call 855-330-1542
 Evening cityscape of Toronto  Niagara Falls  Parliament and Rideau Canal, Ottawa  Notre-Dame Basilica, Montreal. Credit: Dale Youngkin  View of Quebec

Cultural Capitals of Eastern Canada

Featuring Niagara Falls

12 days from $4,192

Delve into the history, culture, and natural beauty of four vibrant Canadian urban centers: Toronto, Ottawa, Montréal, and Québec City.

or Call 855-330-1542

Accommodations

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

Sheraton Centre Toronto

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Number of nights: 3

The Westin Ottawa

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Number of nights: 2

Le Centre Sheraton Montreal

Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Number of nights: 3

Hotel Chateau Laurier Quebec

Ville de Quebec, Quebec, Canada

Number of nights: 3

Activity Level

Activity Level 2: Moderate


Expectations: One of our Classic Land Journeys, this tour features visits to many cities, iconic sites, hidden gems, and various regions. Although comprehensive, it's not rushed, but well paced and finely tuned. Expectations include longer touring days with many full-day motor coach excursions and four different hotels. Mostly full-day excursions from four to six hours, with four afternoons at leisure, plus a free day in Montreal. Standing and walking for long periods of time during city tours, museum visits, and outdoor activities. Daily walks of up to three miles; walking over sometimes difficult terrain that includes cobblestones and city hills, uneven pavement, stairs without handrails, and absence of elevators; longer walks to get to city centers where coaches are prohibited. There are four longer coach rides of approximately two to four hours duration. This tour also features two boat rides.

Appropriate for: Travelers who are physically fit and comfortable with longer days of touring (both walking tours and coach time).

Reading List
A Traveller's History of Canada
By: Robert Bothwell
To outsiders, Canada is synonymous with a vision of wilderness, glaciers, mountains and forests. Distance and space define Canada, but so do large modern cities, an extraordinarily diverse population (30 million plus) and advanced social systems that won it recognition from the United Nations as the most desirable country on earth in which to live. Canada's story begins with the arrival of the first immigrants over 15,000 years ago who travelled across a land bridge from Siberia to Alaska. Starting around 1000AD with the Vikings, European settlers arrived, bringing with them their cultures, languages and societies. By 1700 Canada was divided between the French and British. The next century was spent in wars to determine who should rule in North America. The French lost, but left behind a vigorous colony that evolved into modern Quebec, and 6-million French-speakers scattered across modern Canada. Unlike the rest of the Americas, Canada long maintained a close connection with Europe, actively participating in two world wars and in the Cold War that followed. The impact of these events and its relationship with its neighbor, the USA, are discussed. The book is brought fully up to date with a profile of modern Canada, its successes, present difficulties and a prognosis for the future.
How to Be a Canadian: Even If You Already Are One by Will Ferguson (June 01,2007)
By: Douglas & McIntyre (June 01,2007)
So, You Want to Be Canadian: All About the Most Fascinating People in the World and the Magical Place They Call Home
By: Kerry Colburn, Rob Sorensen
So, you want to be Canadian? Who doesn't these days? Canucks are enjoying a major renaissance in attention, from their enlightened social policies to their wild and wooly pop culture. This playful, trivia-packed book is a long-overdue celebration of all things Canadian, from the mysteries of "eh?" to the difference between an Ogo Pogo and a Windingo to how to prepare moose stroganoff (mmm!). Featuring a dreamy list of Canadian hotties, a toe-tapping roundup of Canadian smash hit songs, a handy CanadianAmerican translator, and pointers on how to eat, dress, and apologize like a Canadian if you weren't lucky enough to be born a Canuck, So, You Want to Be Canadian demonstrates once and for all why Canada is so cool (formerly just cold).
A Wilderness Station: Selected Stories, 1968-1994 (Vintage International)
By: Alice Munro
A New York Times Editors’ Choice BookSpanning almost thirty years and settings that range from big cities to small towns and farmsteads of rural Canada, this magnificent collection brings together twenty-eight stories by a writer of unparalleled wit, generosity, and emotional power. In A Wilderness Station: Selected Stories, 1968–1994, Alice Munro makes lives that seem small unfold until they are revealed to be as spacious as prairies and locates the moments of love and betrayal, desire and forgiveness, that change those lives forever.   A traveling salesman during the Depression takes his children with him on an impromptu visit to a former girlfriend. A poor girl steels herself to marry a rich fiancé she can’t quite manage to love. An abandoned woman tries to choose between the opposing pleasures of seduction and solitude. To read these stories is to succumb to the spell of a true narrative sorcerer, a writer who enchants her readers utterly even as she restores them to their truest selves.
Top 10 Montreal & Quebec City (Eyewitness Top 10 Travel Guide)
By: DK Travel
True to its name, DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Top 10 Montreal & Quebec City covers all the region's major sights and attractions in easy-to-use "top 10" lists that help you plan the vacation that's right for you.This newly updated pocket travel guide for Montreal and Quebec City will lead you straight to the best attractions these cities have to offer, from walking around Old Montreal to visiting Notre-Dame Basilica to the Montreal Botanical Gardens. Find the best hotels, food, and attractions for every budget.Expert travel writers have fully revised this edition of DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Top 10 Montreal & Quebec City.   • Brand-new itineraries help you plan your trip to these areas of Montreal and Quebec City.    • Expanded and far more comprehensive, new laminated pull-out map now includes color-coded design, public transportation maps, and street indexes to make it even easier to use.    • Maps of walking routes show you the best ways to maximize your time.    • New Top 10 lists feature off-the-beaten-track ideas, along with standbys like the top attractions, shopping, dining options, and more.    • Additional maps marked with sights from the guidebook are shown on inside cover flaps, with selected street index and metro map.    • New typography and fresh layout throughout. You'll still find DK's famous full-color photography and museum floor plans, along with just the right amount of coverage of history and culture. A free pull-out map is marked with sights from the guidebook and includes a street index and a metro map.The perfect pocket-size travel companion: DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Top 10 Montreal & Quebec City.Recommended: For an in-depth guidebook to Montreal and Quebec, check out DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Canada, which offers a complete overview of these cities and more of Canada; thousands of photographs, illustrations, and maps; and more.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.
Fodor's Toronto: with Niagara Falls & the Niagara Wine Region (Full-color Travel Guide)
By: Fodor's Travel Guides
Toronto is a major North American cultural and business hub, attracting millions of international visitors. This new full-color edition covers everything travelers are looking for: a diverse dining scene, sophisticated and trendy shopping, top-notch museums and the high-profile Toronto International Film Festival.
Feast: Recipes and Stories from a Canadian Road Trip
By: Lindsay Anderson, Dana VanVeller
Two friends. Five months. One car. Ten provinces. Three territories. Seven islands. Eight ferries. Two flights. One 48-hour train ride. And only one call to CAA. The result: over 100 incredible Canadian recipes from coast to coast and the Great White North.In the midst of a camping trip in Squamish, British Columbia, Lindsay Anderson and Dana VanVeller decided that the summer of 2013 might be the right time for an adventure. And they knew what they wanted that adventure to be: a road trip across the entire country, with the purpose of writing about Canada's food, culture, and wealth of compelling characters and their stories.     37,000 kilometres later, and toting a "Best Culinary Travel Blog" award from Saveur magazine, Lindsay and Dana have brought together stories, photographs and recipes from across Canada in Feast: Recipes and Stories from a Canadian Road Trip. The authors write about their experiences of trying whale blubber in Nunavut, tying a GoPro to a fishing line in Newfoundland to get a shot of the Atlantic Ocean's "cod highway," and much more.      More than 80 contributors--including farmers, grandmothers, First Nations elders, and acclaimed chefs--have shared over 90 of their most beloved regional recipes, with Lindsay and Dana contributing some of their own favourites too. You'll find recipes for all courses from Barley Pancakes, Yukon Cinnamon Buns, and Bannock to Spot Prawn Ceviche, Bison Sausage Rolls, Haida Gwaii Halibut and Maritime Lobster Rolls; and also recipes for preserves, pickles and sauces, and a whole chapter devoted to drinks.     Feast is a stunning representation of the diversity and complexity of Canada through its many favourite foods. The combination of Lindsay and Dana's capitivating journey with easy-to-follow recipes makes the book just as pleasurable to read as it is to cook from.
Why I Hate Canadians
By: Will Ferguson
First published in 1997, this hilarious book launched satirist Will Ferguson's career. Challenging the notion that Canadians are “nice,” the book asks, “Do we as Canadians deserve a country so great?” Tackling subjects from Canada's favorite inbred royals to the mighty beaver as national icon, from sex in a canoe to all-Canadian "superhero" Captain Canuck, Ferguson rampages across the cultural landscape. The book also provides a fast-paced, opinionated overview of telling moments in Canadian history, including its run-amok Mounties and “fun-loving days” of the country's (unacknowledged) slave trade.
Champlain's Dream
By: David Hackett Fischer
In this sweeping, enthralling biography, acclaimed historian David Hackett Fischer brings to life the remarkable Samuel de Champlain -- soldier, spy, master mariner, explorer, cartographer, artist, and Father of New France. Born on France's Atlantic coast, Champlain grew to manhood in a country riven by religious warfare. The historical record is unclear on whether Champlain was baptized Protestant or Catholic, but he fought in France's religious wars for the man who would become Henri IV, one of France's greatest kings, and like Henri, he was religiously tolerant in an age of murderous sectarianism. Champlain was also a brilliant navigator. He went to sea as a boy and over time acquired the skills that allowed him to make twenty-seven Atlantic crossings without losing a ship. But we remember Champlain mainly as a great explorer. On foot and by ship and canoe, he traveled through what are now six Canadian provinces and five American states. Over more than thirty years he founded, colonized, and administered French settlements in North America. Sailing frequently between France and Canada, he maneuvered through court intrigue in Paris and negotiated among more than a dozen Indian nations in North America to establish New France. Champlain had early support from Henri IV and later Louis XIII, but the Queen Regent Marie de Medici and Cardinal Richelieu opposed his efforts. Despite much resistance and many defeats, Champlain, by his astonishing dedication and stamina, finally established France's New World colony. He tried constantly to maintain peace among Indian nations that were sometimes at war with one another, but when he had to, he took up arms and forcefully imposed a new balance of power, proving himself a formidable strategist and warrior. Throughout his three decades in North America, Champlain remained committed to a remarkable vision, a Grand Design for France's colony. He encouraged intermarriage among the French colonists and the natives, and he insisted on tolerance for Protestants. He was a visionary leader, especially when compared to his English and Spanish contemporaries -- a man who dreamed of humanity and peace in a world of cruelty and violence. This superb biography, the first in decades, is as dramatic and exciting as the life it portrays. Deeply researched, it is illustrated throughout with many contemporary images and maps, including several drawn by Champlain himself.
An Illustrated History of Quebec: Tradition and Modernity (Illustrated History of Canada)
By: Peter Gossage, Jack Little
Some 7,500 years ago, the continental ice sheet retreated from the landscape we now know as Quebec. This cold, unique, and beautiful land has continued to shift with the movement of peoples and their often troubled interactions. The retreating ice marks the beginning of this fascinating and richly illustrated history. Peter Gossage and Jack Little recount the history of Quebec from the earliest days to the present in concise and elegant prose. By around 1000 BCE the Iroquois of the St. Lawrence Valley were making pottery and cultivating crops, with evidence of trade as far as the Gulf of Mexico. Of course European contact changed this world forever, from the introduction of metal to the introduction of Christianity. Early settlements became a militarized colony; Wolfe defeated Montcalm on the Plains of Abraham; and control of the colony's commerce slipped into the hands of English-speaking merchants, setting the stage for political conflict in the early nineteenth century. At the same time, the Industrial Revolution brought increased tension between tradition and modernity-two forces that even today can be difficult to reconcile. Quebec, in its often uneasy union with the rest of Canada (not to mention its own Aboriginal peoples), continues to evolve as its population becomes ever more diverse.Detailed chapters on modern Quebec evaluate the political turmoil of recent years, from constitutional wrangles, to the Oka crisis, to sovereignty discussions, and the debate about cultural accommodation. Quebec remains a "curious and fascinating political space," a beacon of French-language culture in North America, and an extraordinary nation within a nation.Rarely seen illustrations are accompanied by in-depth captions, opening a world of visual narrative to the history of this complex society.
Canada: An Illustrated History: An Illustrated History, Revised and Expanded
By: Derek Hayes
From the early days of exploration and settlement to Canada's participation in space exploration and the 2015 federal election, this illustrated history conveys the drama and scope of the nation. Through accessible commentary and a wealth of images, both well-known and obscure facets of Canadian history are presented in this splendid compendium.Read about Canada's first newspaper, the Halifax Gazette, which, in its first iteration, was a single sheet of paper. Find out which Canadian bridge collapsed not once, but twice. Discover the nation's history of crime and punishment, firefighting, the 25-cent and $50,000 bills, Prohibition, early aviation, and much, much more. Here also are the tales of a myriad of individuals who shaped Canada: the famous, the infamous, the popular and the unknown. Hayes details stories of First Nations, separatists and statesmen, astronauts and inventors, motorists, mail carriers, fur traders, photographers and politicians.More than 450 illustrations accompany the text, including 200-plus photographs, 50-plus paintings and drawings (many by Canadian artists) and 35 historic maps, as well as posters, stamps, cartoons, stained glass and tapestries. Canada: An Illustrated History is a visual experience every Canadian can enjoy.
Historical Atlas of Canada: Canada's History Illustrated with Original Maps
By: Derek Hayes
Maps tells the story in this innovative volume, and the story of Canada they tell is profoundly engrossing and rewarding. The atlas covers a period of a thousand years and contains essentially all the historically significant maps of the country. Gathered from major archives and libraries all over the world, they include treasures from the National Archives of Canada—many never before published—and many from the archives of the Hudson’s Bay Company. Included are maps by the founder of New France, Samuel de Champlain, by Philip Turnor and Peter Fidler. There are English maps and French maps; Spanish maps and Russian maps; American, Italian and Dutch maps as well as maps drawn by Native people such as the Beothuk, Blackfoot and Cree. Canada’s colourful past unfolds in sumptuous visual detail—history seen from a whole new perspective.
Toronto: Biography of a City
By: Allan Levine
With the same eye for character, anecdote and circumstance that made Peter Ackroyd’s London and Colin Jones’s Paris so successful, Levine’s captivating prose integrates the sights, sounds and feel of Toronto with a broad historical perspective, linking the city’s present with its past through themes such as politics, transportation, public health, ethnic diversity and sports. Toronto invites readers to discover the city’s lively spirit over four centuries and to wander purposefully through the city’s many unique neighborhoods, where they can encounter the striking and peculiar characters who have inhabited them: the powerful and powerless, the entrepreneurs and the entertainers, and the moral and the corrupt, all of whom have contributed to Toronto’s collective identity.
The History of Canada Series: Three Weeks in Quebec City: The Meeting That Made Canada
By: Christopher Moore
In 1864, thirty-three delegates from five provincial legislatures came to Quebec City to pursue the idea of uniting all the provinces of British North America. The American Civil War, not yet over, encouraged the small and barely defended provinces to consider uniting for mutual protection. But there were other factors: the rapid expansion of railways and steamships spurred visions of a continent-spanning new nation.   Federation, in principle, had been agreed on at the Charlottetown conference, but now it was time to debate the difficult issues of how a new nation would be formed. The delegates included John A. Macdonald, George Etienne-Cartier, and George Brown. Historian Christopher Moore demonstrates that Macdonald, the future prime minister, surprisingly was not the most significant player here, and Canada could have become a very different place.   The significance of this conference is played out in Canadian news each day. The main point of contention at the time was the issue of power—a strong federal body versus stronger provincial rights. Because of this conference, we have an elected House of Commons, an appointed Senate, a federal Parliament, and provincial legislatures. We have what amounts to a Canadian system of checks and balances. Did it work then, and does it work now?
Across Canada by Story: A Coast-to-Coast Literary Adventure
By: Douglas Gibson
More adventures from one of Canada’s premier editors and storytellersCanada is a country rich in stories, and few take as much joy as Douglas Gibson in discovering them. As one of the country’s leading editors and publishers for 40 years, he coaxed modern classics out of some of Canada’s finest minds, and then took to telling his own stories in his first memoir, Stories About Storytellers.Gibson turned his memoir into a one-man stage show that eventually played almost 100 times, in all ten provinces, from coast to coast. As a literary tourist, he discovered even more about the land and its writers and harvested many more stories, from distant past and recent memory, to share.Now in Across Canada by Story, Gibson brings new stories about Robertson Davies, Jack Hodgins, W.O. Mitchell, Alistair MacLeod, and Alice Munro, and adds lively portraits of Al Purdy, Marshall McLuhan, Margaret Laurence, Guy Vanderhaeghe, Margaret Atwood, Wayne Johnson, Linwood Barclay, Michael Ondaatje, and many, many others. Whether fly fishing in Haida Gwaii or sailing off Labrador, Douglas Gibson is a first-rate ambassador for Canada and the power of great stories.
The Blind Assassin: A Novel
By: Margaret Atwood
From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Handmaid's TaleWINNER OF THE BOOKER PRIZEIn The Blind Assassin, Margaret Atwood weaves together strands of gothic suspense, romance, and science fiction into one utterly spellbinding narrative. The novel begins with the mysterious death—a possible suicide—of a young woman named Laura Chase in 1945. Decades later, Laura’s sister Iris recounts her memories of their childhood, and of the dramatic deaths that have punctuated their wealthy, eccentric family’s history. Intertwined with Iris’s account are chapters from the scandalous novel that made Laura famous, in which two illicit lovers amuse each other by spinning a tale of a blind killer on a distant planet. These richly layered stories-within-stories gradually illuminate the secrets that have long haunted the Chase family, coming together in a brilliant and astonishing final twist.
Shadows on the Rock
By: Willa Cather
No Great Mischief: A Novel
By: Alistair MacLeod
Winner of the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award: “This sturdily textured debut novel never hesitates or meanders.”―Library Journal Alistair MacLeod musters all of the skill and grace that have won him an international following to give us No Great Mischief, the story of a fiercely loyal family and the tradition that drives it. Generations after their forebears went into exile, the MacDonalds still face seemingly unmitigated hardships and cruelties of life. Alexander, orphaned as a child by a horrific tragedy, has nevertheless gained some success in the world. Even his older brother, Calum, a nearly destitute alcoholic living on Toronto's skid row, has been scarred by another tragedy. But, like all his clansman, Alexander is sustained by a family history that seems to run through his veins. And through these lovingly recounted stories-wildly comic or heartbreakingly tragic-we discover the hope against hope upon which every family must sometimes rely.
Last Night in Montreal
By: Emily St. John Mandel
When Lilia Albert was a child, her father appeared on the doorstep of her mother's house and took her away. Now, haunted by an inability to remember much about her early childhood, Lilia moves restlessly from city to city, abandoning lovers and eluding the private detective who has dedicated a career to following close behind. Then comes Eli. When Lilia goes out for a paper and fails to return to their Brooklyn apartment, he follows her to Montreal, not knowing whether he wants to disappear, too, or help her find her way home. But what he discovers is a deeper mystery, one that will set past and present spinning toward collision.
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.