Four hundred years ago Galileo developed a telescope that forever changed our views of the heavens—literally and philosophically. This new special interest tour explores the man and his achievements through the Smithsonian lens of scientific discovery.

Starting at: $5,395 Make a Reservation Ask Us A Question or Call 855-330-1542
 Galileo showing his telescope to the Doge of Venice. Credit: Scala / Art Resource NY  The Campanile in Piazza San Marco, Venice  The skill of glass blowing in Murano  Observatory Tower, University of Padua  Historic Observatory Tower, University of Padua  The iconic Duomo of Florence  Basilica di Santa Croce, Florence  Tomb of Galileo, Basilica di Santa Croce, Florence  Visitors outside the renowned Uffizi Gallery. Credit: John Kellerman/Alamy  Some of the many treasures in the Uffizi Gallery. Credit: Art Kowalsky/Alamy

In the Footsteps of Galileo

8 days from $5,395

Four hundred years ago Galileo developed a telescope that forever changed our views of the heavens—literally and philosophically. This new special interest tour explores the man and his achievements through the Smithsonian lens of scientific discovery.

or Call 855-330-1542

Accommodations

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

Palazzo Giovanelli

Venice, Italy

Elegant boutique 4-star hotel, overlooking the Grand Canal near the church of San Stae. It is located away from the hustle and bustle of the Rialto and St Mark’s Square but still within convenient access by public waterbus. The 41 guest rooms are furnished with a contemporary style and offer all amenities and enchanting views over Venice. There are a number of artisan shops and typical Venetian inns within easy walking distance.

Number of nights: 2

Plaza Lucchesi Hotel

Florence, Italy

With unique and unforgettable views of the Florence skyline, the Plaza Lucchesi Hotel offers superb luxury and original character. Opened in 1860, each room presents stunning views of either the Arno River or the majestic Santa Croce and both can be seen from the magnificent rooftop bar. Located minutes from the Galileo Museum and the Uffizi, the hotel’s location cannot be beat. With local wine vintages available at the restaurant and bar, and a heated outdoor pool, also located on the roof, guests will be able to relax in style. Rooms feature wood flooring, complimentary water, safe, bathrobe and slippers, tea and coffee making faculties and complimentary wi-fi.

Number of nights: 4

Activity Level

Level 2: Moderate

Expectations: Long touring days with many full-day motor coach excursions. Standing and walking for long periods of time during city tours, museum visits, and/or outdoor activities. Walking over sometimes difficult terrain (e.g. cobblestones, city hills, stairs without handrails, absence of elevators, climbing aboard trains with high steps); some longer walks to get to city centers where coaches are prohibited. Possible exposure to higher altitudes. River cruises may offer a choice of excursions with varying activity expectations.  (Typical travel opportunities: Most Cultural Stays, River Cruises, some Land Journeys, U.S. Train Tours)  


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

Reading List
The Essential Galileo (Hackett Classics)
By: Galileo Galilei
Finocchiaro's new and revised translations have done what the Inquisition could not: they have captured an exceptional range of Galileo's career while also letting him speak--in clear English. No other volume offers more convenient or more reliable access to Galileo's own words, whether on the telescope, the Dialogue, the trial, or the mature theory of motion. --Michael H. Shank, Professor of the History of Science, University of Wisconsin–Madison
Sidereus Nuncius, or The Sidereal Messenger
By: Galileo Galilei, Albert Van Helden
Galileo Galilei’s Sidereus Nuncius is arguably the most dramatic scientific book ever published. It announced new and unexpected phenomena in the heavens, “unheard of through the ages,” revealed by a mysterious new instrument. Galileo had ingeniously improved the rudimentary “spyglasses” that appeared in Europe in 1608, and in the autumn of 1609 he pointed his new instrument at the sky, revealing astonishing sights: mountains on the moon, fixed stars invisible to the naked eye, individual stars in the Milky Way, and four moons around the planet Jupiter. These discoveries changed the terms of the debate between geocentric and heliocentric cosmology and helped ensure the eventual acceptance of the Copernican planetary system. Albert Van Helden’s beautifully rendered and eminently readable translation is based on the Venice 1610 edition’s original Latin text. An introduction, conclusion, and copious notes place the book in its historical and intellectual context, and a new preface, written by Van Helden, highlights recent discoveries in the field, including the detection of a forged copy of Sidereus Nuncius, and new understandings about the political complexities of Galileo’s work.
DK Eyewitness Italy: 2020 (Travel Guide)
By: DK Eyewitness
Discover the Italian knack for la dolce vita.Whether you want to explore the evocative ruins of an ancient empire, traverse Tuscany’s vineyard-cloaked hills, or simply sip espresso and watch the world go by, your DK Eyewitness travel guide makes sure you experience all that Italy has to offer.From erupting volcanoes to magnificent coastal scenery, this breath-taking country is rich in natural beauty. And with more UNESCO World Heritage Sites than anywhere else on Earth, there is no better place to experience the glories of European art and architecture. Of course, Italy is not only a sumptuous feast for the eyes; famous for some of the world’s finest food and wine, the country’s vibrant gastronomic traditions differ from one town to the next.Our annually updated guide brings this captivating country to life, transporting you there like no other travel guide does with expert-led insights and advice, detailed breakdowns of all the must-see sights, photographs on practically every page, and our trademark illustrations.You'll discover:   • our pick of Italy’s must-sees, top experiences, and hidden gems    • the best spots to eat, drink, shop, and stay     • detailed maps and walks make navigating the country easy    • easy-to-follow itineraries    • expert advice: get ready, get around, and stay safe    • colour-coded chapters to every part of Italy, from Venice and Rome, to Sicily and Sardinia    • our new lightweight format, so you can take your guide with you wherever you go Planning a city break? Try our DK Eyewitness Rome or the pocket-friendly Top 10 Rome for top 10 lists to all things Rome.
Italy in Mind: An Anthology
By: Powers, Alice Leccese (EDT)
Comprised of short stories, novel excerpts, essays, poetry journals and letters, this work will delight anyone who loves Italy or great travel writing. Pieces include Barbara Grizzuti Harrison marveling at baroque Sicilian confections, Mary McCarthy celebrating Venice's threadbare dignity, and Henry James's Isabel Archer succumbing to the treacherous antiquities of Florence.
Galileo's Telescope: A European Story
By: Massimo Bucciantini, Michele Camerota, Franco Giudice
Between 1608 and 1610 the canopy of the night sky changed forever, ripped open by an object created almost by accident: a cylinder with lenses at both ends. Galileo’s Telescope tells the story of how an ingenious optical device evolved from a toy-like curiosity into a precision scientific instrument, all in a few years. In transcending the limits of human vision, the telescope transformed humanity’s view of itself and knowledge of the cosmos.Galileo plays a leading―but by no means solo―part in this riveting tale. He shares the stage with mathematicians, astronomers, and theologians from Paolo Sarpi to Johannes Kepler and Cardinal Bellarmine, sovereigns such as Rudolph II and James I, as well as craftsmen, courtiers, poets, and painters. Starting in the Netherlands, where a spectacle-maker created a spyglass with the modest magnifying power of three, the telescope spread like technological wildfire to Venice, Rome, Prague, Paris, London, and ultimately India and China. Galileo’s celestial discoveries―hundreds of stars previously invisible to the naked eye, lunar mountains, and moons orbiting Jupiter―were announced to the world in his revolutionary treatise Sidereus Nuncius.Combining science, politics, religion, and the arts, Galileo’s Telescope rewrites the early history of a world-shattering innovation whose visual power ultimately came to embody meanings far beyond the science of the stars.
Galileo's Muse: Renaissance Mathematics and the Arts
By: Mark Austin Peterson
Mark Peterson makes an extraordinary claim in this fascinating book focused around the life and thought of Galileo: it was the mathematics of Renaissance arts, not Renaissance sciences, that became modern science. Galileo's Muse argues that painters, poets, musicians, and architects brought about a scientific revolution that eluded the philosopher-scientists of the day, steeped as they were in a medieval cosmos and its underlying philosophy. According to Peterson, the recovery of classical science owes much to the Renaissance artists who first turned to Greek sources for inspiration and instruction. Chapters devoted to their insights into mathematics, ranging from perspective in painting to tuning in music, are interspersed with chapters about Galileo's own life and work. Himself an artist turned scientist and an avid student of Hellenistic culture, Galileo pulled together the many threads of his artistic and classical education in designing unprecedented experiments to unlock the secrets of nature. In the last chapter, Peterson draws our attention to the Oratio de Mathematicae laudibus of 1627, delivered by one of Galileo's students. This document, Peterson argues, was penned in part by Galileo himself, as an expression of his understanding of the universality of mathematics in art and nature. It is "entirely Galilean in so many details that even if it is derivative, it must represent his thought," Peterson writes. An intellectual adventure, Galileo’s Muse offers surprising ideas that will capture the imagination of anyone—scientist, mathematician, history buff, lover of literature, or artist—who cares about the humanistic roots of modern science.
Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems: Ptolemaic and Copernican
By: Galileo Galilei
Galileo’s Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems, published in Florence in 1632, was the most proximate cause of his being brought to trial before the Inquisition. Using the dialogue form, a genre common in classical philosophical works, Galileo masterfully demonstrates the truth of the Copernican system over the Ptolemaic one, proving, for the first time, that the earth revolves around the sun. Its influence is incalculable. The Dialogue is not only one of the most important scientific treatises ever written, but a work of supreme clarity and accessibility, remaining as readable now as when it was first published. This edition uses the definitive text established by the University of California Press, in Stillman Drake’s translation, and includes a Foreword by Albert Einstein and a new Introduction by J. L. Heilbron.
City of Fortune: How Venice Ruled the Seas
By: Roger Crowley
“The rise and fall of Venice’s empire is an irresistible story and [Roger] Crowley, with his rousing descriptive gifts and scholarly attention to detail, is its perfect chronicler.”—The Financial Times   The New York Times bestselling author of Empires of the Sea charts Venice’s astounding five-hundred-year voyage to the pinnacle of power in an epic story that stands unrivaled for drama, intrigue, and sheer opulent majesty. City of Fortune traces the full arc of the Venetian imperial saga, from the ill-fated Fourth Crusade, which culminates in the sacking of Constantinople in 1204, to the Ottoman-Venetian War of 1499–1503, which sees the Ottoman Turks supplant the Venetians as the preeminent naval power in the Mediterranean. In between are three centuries of Venetian maritime dominance, during which a tiny city of “lagoon dwellers” grow into the richest place on earth. Drawing on firsthand accounts of pitched sea battles, skillful negotiations, and diplomatic maneuvers, Crowley paints a vivid picture of this avaricious, enterprising people and the bountiful lands that came under their dominion. From the opening of the spice routes to the clash between Christianity and Islam, Venice played a leading role in the defining conflicts of its time—the reverberations of which are still being felt today.   “[Crowley] writes with a racy briskness that lifts sea battles and sieges off the page.”—The New York Times   “Crowley chronicles the peak of Venice’s past glory with Wordsworthian sympathy, supplemented by impressive learning and infectious enthusiasm.”—The Wall Street Journal
Piazza San Marco (Wonders of the World)
By: Iain Fenlon
The Piazza San Marco, one of the most famous and instantly recognizable townscapes in the West, if not the world, has been described as a stage set, as Europe’s drawing room, as a painter’s canvas. This book traces the changing shape and function of the piazza, from its beginnings in the ninth century to its present day ubiquity in the Venetian, European, as well as global imagination.Through its long history, the Piazza San Marco has functioned as civic space that was used for such varied activities as public meetings; animal-baiting; executions; state processions; meat and produce markets; a performance venue for rock concerts; as well as, more recently, a cafe to enjoy a leisurely Campari. Constantly alert to the question of function, this book recreates not only rituals of the past but also activities of the present, from the coronation of the doge to the legendary Pink Floyd concert of 1989, with much fanfare in between. Iain Fenlon recreates the dynamic, colorful, and noisy history of the piazza―a history that is also the history of Venice and, indeed, of Europe.
The City of Florence
By: R.W.B. Lewis
A New York Times Notable BookIn this deeply personal and learned labor of love, R.W.B. Lewis provides a new look at the glories of Florence, the smallish Tuscan city which has been a prime source for modern Western culture and which has also been his second home for fifty years. With a scholar's eye and a lover's passion, he invites us to share his vision of a city and the way of life it has engendered and inspired.
The Medici: Power, Money, and Ambition in the Italian Renaissance
By: Paul Strathern
A vivid, dramatic, and authoritative account of perhaps the most influential family in Italian history: the Medici. A dazzling history of the modest family that rose to become one of the most powerful in Europe, The Medici is a remarkably modern story of power, money, and ambition. Against the background of an age that saw the rebirth of ancient and classical learning Paul Strathern explores the intensely dramatic rise and fall of the Medici family in Florence, as well as the Italian Renaissance which they did so much to sponsor and encourage. Strathern also follows the lives of many of the great Renaissance artists with whom the Medici had dealings, including Leonardo, Michelangelo and Donatello; as well as scientists like Galileo and Pico della Mirandola; and the fortunes of those members of the Medici family who achieved success away from Florence, including the two Medici popes and Catherine de' Médicis, who became Queen of France and played a major role in that country through three turbulent reigns.
The Italians
By: John Hooper
Washington Post bestsellerLos Angeles Times bestsellerA vivid and surprising portrait of the Italian people from an admired foreign correspondent How did a nation that spawned the Renaissance also produce the Mafia? And why does Italian have twelve words for coat hanger but none for hangover?   John Hooper’s entertaining and perceptive new book is the ideal companion for anyone seeking to understand contemporary Italy and the unique character of the Italians. Fifteen years as a foreign correspondent based in Rome have sharpened Hooper’s observations, and he looks at the facts that lie behind the stereotypes, shedding new light on everything from the Italians’ bewildering politics to their love of life and beauty. Hooper persuasively demonstrates the impact of geography, history, and tradition on many aspects of Italian life, including football and Freemasonry, sex, food, and opera. Brimming with the kind of fascinating—and often hilarious—insights unavailable in guidebooks, The Italians will surprise even the most die-hard Italophile.
Every Day in Tuscany: Seasons of an Italian Life
By: Frances Mayes
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER AND A TIMELESS CLASSIC FROM THE AUTHOR OF UNDER MAGNOLIA Frances Mayes—widely published poet, gourmet cook, and travel writer—opnes the door to a wondrous new world when she buys and restores an abandoned villa in the spectacular Tuscan countryside. In evocative language, she brings the reader along as she discovers the beauty and simplicity of life in Italy. Mayes also creates dozens of delicious seasonal recipes from her traditional kitchen and simple garden, all of which she includes in the book. Doing for Tuscany what M.F.K. Fisher and Peter Mayle did for Provence, Mayes writes about the tastes and pleasures of a foreign country with gusto and passion.
Smithsonian Journeys Quarterly (Winter 2015 - Venice)
By: Victoria Pope
Seeing The World In A New Light!
24x36 World Wall Map by Smithsonian Journeys - Tan Oceans Special Edition (24x36 Paper Folded)
By: Smithsonian Journeys
Swiftmaps is proud to partner with Smithsonian Journeys to bring a new and exciting World Map series to the American marketplace. Featuring eye-catching bold and vivid colors complemented with rich vintage tan ocean tones that will make this the perfect reference piece --- sure to stand-out and highlight any home or business wall. The precise detail and digital accuracy shows color-matching visual shaded 3D relief and other physical features without sacrificing the maps readability. Now printed on high-quality 80 lb. paper and professionally FOLDED in a compact 8x10 inch size. FEATURES: 1) Africa centered allowing viewers to see continents complete and intact 2) Clearly labeled country and city names for easy location 3) Latitude and longitude indications 4) Shaded relief of ocean and land topography 4) Desirable Miller Projection. The Smithsonian Journeys wall map series serve not only as a handy reference piece, but as an eye-catching accent for any room or office. NOTE: each map is professionally folded to 8x10 inches and when unfolded the map is 24 inches high and 36 inches wide.
Travel Insurance

For the convenience of our travelers, Travel Guard provides an on-tour Insurance Plan. On-tour emergency evacuation insurance (up to $100,000), medical expense coverage (up to $25,000), dental expense coverage (up to $500), travel medical assistance and worldwide travel assistance (U.S. Residents only). It also includes up to $25,000 medical and up to $500 dental expense coverage, and 24-hour worldwide travel and medical assistance. Please click here to view complete coverage details.

Please visit www.TravelGuard.com/SmithsonianJourneys or call Travel Guard at 1-800-208-6142 to learn about additional (optional) coverage.

Terms and conditions

Our Mission

Smithsonian Journeys engages travelers in the wide-ranging mission of the Smithsonian. Like the Institution, our tours enrich our guests’ lives and satisfy their curiosity about the world around them. 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 Provided With Your Tour

  • Expertise of a Smithsonian Journeys Expert
  • An experienced Travel Director throughout the program
  • All accommodations (based on double occupancy). 
  • Meals and beverages as noted in the itinerary (B-breakfast; L-lunch; R-reception; D-dinner). 
  • All excursions, sightseeing, and visits as noted in the itinerary.
  • Pre-tour information, including a reading list.
  • All on-tour transportation, unless otherwise noted.
  • Personal listening devices
  • Wi-Fi in hotels and/or aboard ship. *Availability and speed subject to local conditions at time of use 
  • Gratuities for all on tour staff, local guides and drivers. 
     

What Is Not Provided With Your Tour

  • Round-trip international airfare and air and departure taxes.
  • Transfers to and from your home to the program site and transfers to and from the airports, unless specifically noted
  • Passport fees, visas, and visa photos as required.
  • Personal items such as wines, liquors, a-la-carte orders, meals other than specified.
  • Room service and valet/laundry service.
  • Expenses incurred by our tour operators in making individual travel arrangements in conjunction with the tour.
  • Other items not specifically mentioned as included.  
  • Optional Travel Insurance 

Registration

Space is reserved in the order of receipt of phone or web reservations.

To submit a request for a reservation, please order using our secure online process, or call 855-330-1542 to speak with a Cultural Travel Specialist, 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 of your status when 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 request, the following is necessary:

Required Information
For all international departures, passport information including the following, in accordance with the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) Secure Flight program as well as by our international travel partners: your full name as it appears on your passport, date of birth, and gender (for further information, please visit www.tsa.gov). In the event, an airline ticket is issued with incorrect information you have provided, or if you use a different passport than originally cited, you will be responsible for charges associated with the ticket’s reissue.

Payments
Deposit of $500 per person, per tour, payable by check to the tour operator or by major credit card, is required to reserve a space on a tour program. Deposits are applied to payment of the program price.

Balance due upon invoicing at least 95 days prior to the program. If payment is not received by the final payment due date, your place cannot be guaranteed on the tour.

Late Registration
Any registration received within 95 days of departure is considered a “late registration” and must be subject to special confirmation. Payment in full must be made immediately by credit card or by check and 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 program within the designated late registration period for that program.

For additional information, please call 855-330-1542 to speak with a Cultural Travel Specialist, Mon-Fri 9 am - 7 pm; Sat 9 am – 4 pm (Eastern Time). or visit www.SmithsonianJourneys.org/Contact.

A Note About Costs

Tour costs are based upon current airfares, tariffs, currency values, and on the basis of a minimum number of participants. While we will do everything possible to maintain the listed prices, they are subject to change. Should actual enrollments fall significantly below minimum numbers, a surcharge may be added. 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

Per person cancellation fees are based on date of notice to Smithsonian Journeys.

  • Cancellations within 7 days of booking (if not within final payment date): full refund.
  • Cancellations after 7 days of booking: entire deposit retained.
  • Final payment due: 95 days prior to departure.
  • Cancellations made less than 95 days prior to departure: no refund.
  • Cancellation by the Smithsonian: full refund.
  • No refund for unused portions of the tour, including but not limited to, missed meals, hotel nights, and sightseeing.

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

Air Service

For tour packages 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.

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

Neither Smithsonian Journeys nor the tour operator has any liability for any loss resulting from tour cancellations or changes in international gateways, travel dates, or airline schedule changes. If an air schedule requires an overnight stay in a gateway city, the cost of the overnight will be at your expense. For tour packages that include round-trip international airfare, we will be happy to help with arrangements. Please note that seat assignment on your international flight 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.

Individual Arrivals and Group Transfers
A designated group flight is not included on most tours. However, transportation from the arrival airport to the ship/hotel is included in your tour cost if you arrive in time to meet the scheduled group transfer. Your first tour bulletin will thoroughly explain the details of the options available for your individual flights.

Air Tickets Purchased Independently of the Tour
We urge you to check airline cancellation penalties before purchasing airline tickets since international departure times and flights can change. Tours also can be canceled due to low enrollments. Neither 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

For the convenience of our travelers, Travel Guard provides an on-tour Insurance Plan. On-tour emergency evacuation insurance (up to $100,000), medical expense coverage (up to $25,000), dental expense coverage (up to $500), travel medical assistance and worldwide travel assistance (U.S. Residents only). It also includes up to $25,000 medical and up to $500 dental expense coverage, and 24-hour worldwide travel and medical assistance. Please click here to view complete coverage details. 

Please visit www.TravelGuard.com/SmithsonianJourneys or call Travel Guard at 1-800-208-6142 to learn about additional (optional) coverage.

Travel Documents

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 in this catalog. If your tour requires a visa or other entry documents, we will send you the appropriate information after you make a reservation. You are responsible for obtaining these documents. If you are not a U.S. citizen, please contact your embassy or consulate to ensure you obtain the proper documentation.

Physical and Medical Considerations

Please note that these tours require that participants be in good physical condition. You must be capable, without assistance, of walking a minimum of two miles over uneven terrain and of climbing stairs that may not have handrails. Participants should have sufficient stamina to keep pace with an active group of travelers 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. Some tours have additional notes regarding physical and medical considerations, which are noted on the Tour Information link

Itinerary or Program Modifications

Smithsonian strives to improve tour itineraries and their features. If improvements can be made, or unforeseen circumstances beyond our control make changes necessary, we reserve the right to vary itineraries and to substitute hotels. Every effort will be made to carry out the program as planned but alterations may still occur after the final itinerary is sent. Please note that weather conditions may force changes to the advertised sailing schedule on cruise programs. The ship’s captain has the authority to change the ship’s schedule.

Accommodations

Smithsonian chooses hotels based on a combination of their location, service, atmosphere, and price. On adventure tours and programs in out-of-the-way places, best-available hotels are used. In most cases, hotels have elevators and meeting rooms for Smithsonian lectures. Program prices are based on two persons sharing a room with a bath.

Singles and Roommates
Hotel rooms are always reserved for single travelers; 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 apply for a single room. If you are traveling alone and wish to share a room, 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. When a roommate cannot be found, the single supplement will be charged. 

Children

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

Special Travel Arrangements
Participants may wish to extend their stay in the group hotel. Please note that the tour operator can assist you in making post-tour arrangements only. We regret that we are unable to help with pre-tour arrangements.

Photography
Participants on tour may be photographed for the educational and promotional purposes of the Smithsonian Institution. Photographs may be printed in publications and posted on websites to promote Smithsonian Journeys. Travelers who prefer that their image not be used must advise the tour manager at 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.

Preparing for Your Journey

Prior to departure, you will receive Tour Bulletins containing both general and tour specific information to help you prepare for your travel experience. These bulletins will include:

  • Passport and visa instructions
  • Flight information
  • Weather, clothing, and packing suggestions
  • A suggested reading list
  • General information about the countries you will visit, e.g. the food, customs, medical precautions, and currency.
  • Information about your Smithsonian Journeys Expert and tour staff
  • Baggage tag(s) and name badge(s)
  • Final itinerary
  • Participant list  

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 including, but not limited to, weather, flooding, and high/low water levels, acts or omissions of foreign governments, terrorism, war or insurrection, theft, illness, bites from or attacks by animals, insects, or pests, 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.

By Registering For A Smithsonian Journey, The Participant Agrees To The Responsibility Statement And Liability Disclaimer And The Terms And Conditions Herein. Updated April, 2019. ©2019, Smithsonian Institution