Discover the essence of France as you travel from Carcassonne to the châteaux of the Loire Valley, Mont St. Michel, the D-Day beaches of Normandy, and Paris.

Starting at: $5,295 * Includes airfare, taxes & all fees Make a Reservation Ask Us A Question or Call 855-330-1542
 The historic Mont St. Michel off the coast of Normandy  Chenonceau, one of the most romantic chateaux in the Loire Valley  Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris  The medieval city and castle of Carcassonne  Medieval town square of Sarlat  River boats or <i>gabare</i> on the Dordogne River. Credit: France Tourism Bureau  The medieval village of Rocamadour, a World Heritage site  Mont St. Michel  The castle and town of Saumur in the Loire Valley  Chateau de Chenonceau, Loire Valley  World War II cemetery near Omaha Beach, Normandy  Normandy's Pointe du Hoc. Credit: Hemis/Alamy  Memorial sculpture, Omaha Beach  Section of the famous Bayeux Tapestry  Monet's gardens at Giverny  The Louvre's entrance, designed by I.M. Pei  Panorama of Paris

France Through the Ages

15 days from $5,295 | includes airfare, taxes and all fees

Discover the essence of France as you travel from Carcassonne to the châteaux of the Loire Valley, Mont St. Michel, the D-Day beaches of Normandy, and Paris.

or Call 855-330-1542

Tour Details

TOUR BROCHURE

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WHAT OUR TRAVELERS SAY

"France through the Ages" was a feast for the body, mind, and soul!

- David B.

Even though each of us has traveled to France on several occasions, taking "the road less traveled" on Smithsonian's "France through the Ages" tour was thoroughly enjoyable and enlightening. This was our first Smithsonian tour but assuredly will not be our last. 

- Marie L.

This tour offered me a glorious buffet of France. Each day we got to sample new things and they were all wonderful. With my appetite fully whetted, I want to return and see more. 

- Sharon S.

I loved this tour of France. The trip lived up to all my expectations. My tour guide was exceptional. 

- Steven M.

This trip was very well planned. It would have been difficult to get to all of these places on my own because we covered a lot of territory in a short time. You'd have to be an expert already to do this alone.

- Previous Journeys Traveler

JOURNEYS DISPATCHES

See All Journeys Dispatches ››

Accommodations

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

Crowne Plaza Toulouse

Toulouse, France

Well located in the heart of Toulouse's 'Ville Rose' on Capitole Square, and one of Europe's prettiest, the 162-room Crowne Plaza offers a restaurant, cocktail lounge, a health club with an indoor swimming pool, gym, sauna, and hair salon. Your room is equipped with private bath with hair dryer, air conditioning, in-room safe, mini-bar, Internet access, TV, and phone.

Number of nights: 2

Au Grand Hotel de Sarlat

Sarlat-en-Périgord, France

Au Grand Hotel de Sarlat sits just north of Sarlat’s medieval city center, only five minutes’ walking distance from this well-preserved 14th-century town. Boasting lovely manicured gardens and an outdoor heated swimming pool, the hotel also features a bar (with a public piano), fitness center, spa, sauna, laundry and dry cleaning services (for a fee), and complimentary Wi-Fi Internet access. Air-conditioned guest rooms are split among two separate buildings: our rooms in the Pavillon de Selves have private bath with hair dryer, TV, and phone.

Number of nights: 3

Hotel Anne d'Anjou

Saumur, France

Overlooking the Loire River, the 18th-century Hotel Anne d'Anjou stands with its original wood, glass, and freestone moldings that date to the Louis XVI, Restoration, and Empire periods. Minutes from the town's center, the 45-room hotel has a restaurant and bar, Internet access, lounge, and garden. Guest rooms have private bath with hair dryer, mini-bar, TV, and phone.

Number of nights: 3

Ferme de la Rançonniere

Crépon, France

Dating to the 13th and 15th centuries, this rustic restored farmhouse is in a rural setting outside the village of Crépon. The hotel features one bar, and meals are served in a medieval dining room with vaulted ceilings. The fine food served here is typical of the region. Each of the 35 Normandy-style bedrooms, decorated in period furniture, has a private bath with hair dryer, Internet access, TV, and phone. There is no elevator.

Number of nights: 3

Hotel Chateau Frontenac

Paris, France

Ideally located between the Champs-Élysées and Avenue Georges-V, close to entertainment, restaurants, and shops, the 104-room Hotel Chateau Frontenac offers a bar and breakfast room and Internet access. Air-conditioned guest rooms have private bath with hair dryer, mini-bar, in-room safe, TV, and phone.

Number of nights: 2

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 six afternoons at leisure. 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 (e.g. cobblestones, city hills, stairs without handrails, absence of elevators); some longer walks to get to city centers where coaches are prohibited. In Mont St. Michel, travelers choosing to visit the abbey will climb more than 200 stairs. There are a few longer coach rides, which vary in length between three and four and a half hours, but stops are made along the way. This tour also features a leisurely boat ride on the Dordogne River.

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

Tour Extension

Paris Post-Program Option — 3 Days, 2 Nights

Visit the vibrant cosmopolitan center of Paris, with its exquisite art, fine dining, and fascinating history. Your tour cost includes:

  • Accommodations at Hotel Chateau Frontenac (Superior First Class, 2 nights)
  • 2 meals: 2 breakfasts
  • Transfer to airport
Testimonials

WHAT OUR TRAVELERS SAY

"France through the Ages" was a feast for the body, mind, and soul!

- David B.

Even though each of us has traveled to France on several occasions, taking "the road less traveled" on Smithsonian's "France through the Ages" tour was thoroughly enjoyable and enlightening. This was our first Smithsonian tour but assuredly will not be our last. 

- Marie L.

This tour offered me a glorious buffet of France. Each day we got to sample new things and they were all wonderful. With my appetite fully whetted, I want to return and see more. 

- Sharon S.

I loved this tour of France. The trip lived up to all my expectations. My tour guide was exceptional. 

- Steven M.

This trip was very well planned. It would have been difficult to get to all of these places on my own because we covered a lot of territory in a short time. You'd have to be an expert already to do this alone.

- Previous Journeys Traveler
Reading List
The Road from the Past: Traveling through History in France
By: Ina Caro
Caro takes us on an unforgettable driving tour of France, from Provence to the Loire Valley to Paris. With Caro as an epicurean, knowledgeable, and delightfully opinionated guide, we can always be sure to find the most breathtaking vistas, the most extraordinary châteaux, the most inspiring cathedrals, and the very best meals.
DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: France
By: DK Travel
DK Eyewitness Travel Guide France will lead you straight to the best attractions the country has to offer Discover France region by region from Champagne in the north to the sun blessed corner of Provence and the Cte d Azur Stand in awe of the ch teaux of the Loire lie on the beautiful beaches of Corsica and climb to the top of the Eiffel Tower Discover DK Eyewitness Travel Guide France Detailed itineraries and don t miss destination highlights at a glance Illustrated cutaway 3 D drawings of important sights Floor plans and guided visitor information for major museums Guided walking tours local drink and dining specialties to try things to do and places to eat drink and shop by area Area maps marked with sights Detailed city map of Paris includes a street finder index for easy navigation Insights into history and culture to help you understand the stories behind the sights Hotel and restaurant listings highlight DK Choice special recommendations With hundreds of full color photographs hand drawn illustrations and custom maps that illuminate every page DK Eyewitness Travel Guide France truly shows you this country as no one else can Recommended For a pocket guidebook to Paris check out DK Eyewitness Travel Guide Top 10 Paris which is packed with dozens of top 10 lists ensuring you make the most of your time in the city 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
Michelin France Map 721 (Maps/Country (Michelin))
By: Michelin
Renowned for over 100 years for their clear, accurate and easy-to-read mapping, Michelin country maps give travelers an overall picture of their route, with practical road and travel information; and city maps containing extensive street indexes orient them quickly so they can find their way to their destination.
Fodor's Paris 25 Best (Full-color Travel Guide)
By: Fodor's Travel Guides
This book identifies and explores in depth the top 25 sights in Paris in a compact, pocket-sized guidebook that also covers other popular spots and major neighborhoods all over the city, including shops, entertainment options, restaurants, hotels, and useful details like helpful web sites and travel information to make your short trip to Paris a great trip. This guide is updated annually.  This travel guide includes: · A useful, weather-resistant pullout city map and a metro map for easy navigation · Full-color photos and full-size street maps of major neighborhoods. · Neighborhood walks that show off the best of the city with self-guided tour ideas · Essential info – hours of operation, phone numbers, websites, and more · Popular day-trip destinations · A two-day itinerary to explore the top attractions and what’s off the beaten path. · Many hotel, restaurant, and entertainment recommendations · Major sights covered include the Arc de Triomphe, Jardin du Luxembourg, Musée du Louvre, Musée d'Orsay, Musée Picasso, Notre-Dame, Place des Vosges, Sacré-Coeur, Seine cruises, Tour Eiffel, and Versailles. With its full-color photography and top 25 to do lists, Fodor’s 25 Best books are the perfect companion for any traveler. A pull out map with major sights marked, is included.   About Fodor’s: Written by locals, Fodor’s travel guides have been offering expert advice for all tastes and budgets for over 80 years.
A Traveler's Guide to D-Day and the Battle for Normandy (The Travellerªs Guides to the Battles & Battlefields of WWII)
By: Carl Shilleto, Mike Tolhurst
This text provides information about museums, sites, memorials, statues and cemetries in relation to D-Day and the battle for Normandy. It gives details of how to get to them and what to see, and with the aid of maps and photographs it gives the reader a comprehensive account of the major battles. It also helps the reader to understand what it was like to have endured the ordeal of combat through contemporary eyewitness accounts. The book covers the period from June to August 1944 when the allies stormed the shore, fought their way through the brocage country of Normandy, and eventually broke through the Avranches gap.
Mont-Saint-Michel and Chartres (Penguin Classics)
By: Henry Adams
Mont Saint Michel and Chartres is a record not of a literal jouney but of a meditative journey across time and space into the medieval imagination. Using the architecture, sculpture, and stained glass of the two locales as a starting point, Adams breathes life into what others might see merely as monuments of a past civilization. With daring and inventive conceits, Adams looks at the ordinary people, places, and events in the context of the social conventions and systems of thought and belief of the thirteenth century turning the study of history into a kind of theater.As Raymond Carney discusses in his introduction, Adams' freeedom from the European traditions of study lends an exuberance—and puckish wit—to his writings.For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators. 
D Day: June 6, 1944: The Climactic Battle of World War II
By: Stephen E. Ambrose
Stephen E. Ambrose’s D-Day is the definitive history of World War II’s most pivotal battle, a day that changed the course of history.D-Day is the epic story of men at the most demanding moment of their lives, when the horrors, complexities, and triumphs of life are laid bare. Distinguished historian Stephen E. Ambrose portrays the faces of courage and heroism, fear and determination—what Eisenhower called “the fury of an aroused democracy”—that shaped the victory of the citizen soldiers whom Hitler had disparaged.Drawing on more than 1,400 interviews with American, British, Canadian, French, and German veterans, Ambrose reveals how the original plans for the invasion had to be abandoned, and how enlisted men and junior officers acted on their own initiative when they realized that nothing was as they were told it would be. The action begins at midnight, June 5/6, when the first British and American airborne troops jumped into France. It ends at midnight June 6/7. Focusing on those pivotal twenty-four hours, it moves from the level of Supreme Commander to that of a French child, from General Omar Bradley to an American paratrooper, from Field Marshal Montgomery to a German sergeant. Ambrose’s D-Day is the finest account of one of our history’s most important days.
The Most Beautiful Villages of the Loire
By: Hugh Palmer, James Bentley
Usually associated with splendid Renaissance cha teaux and historical monuments, the Loire valley is in fact a place of even greater interest than the image of popular perception. The Loire River itself is the longest in France and passes through a succession of landscapes, many of them of a richness that proves this is truly "the garden of France." And there is variety too, reflected in the buildings and settings of the beautiful villages so stunningly illustrated in this book. Traveling west, James Bentley and Hugh Palmer take us first to the communities around Orleans, the villages of the Loiret and Cher departements. We then progress to the lands around Blois and Tours, where, it is said, the purest French is spoken. Here begin the villages with the great chatea ux, such as Chambord, Cheverny, and Azay-le-Rideau, reached by long roads lined with poplars or lying beside the banks of one of the many tributaries of the Loire. The slopes here are frequently vine-clad, producing the delicious white wines that make such a fine accompaniment to the traditional fish cuisine of the region. And finally we arrive at the villages around Angers and Nantes where willow-lined rivers divide a landscape of quiet opulence, and green fields alternate with market gardens growing vegetables, flowers, and fruit. Over thirty villages of the Loire valley are described and beautifully photographed in this book, which is completed by special sections on wine and food and abbeys and churches. As with all the volumes in The Most Beautiful Villages series, there are appendices listing the most important sites, markets, hotels, and restaurants. 275 color illustrations.
A Traveller's History Of France
By: Robert Cole
Millions of travellers visit France each year. The glories of the French countryside, the essential harmony of French architecture, the wealth of historical relics, the myriad of cultural opportunities - all make the country a perennial and irresistible attraction. A Traveller's History of France takes the reader from the first conquests of ancient Gaul through the Renaissance, the turmoil and triumph of the French Revolution, and on through the 20th century of French history all the way to the present.
1066: The Year of the Conquest
By: David Howarth
The year 1066 is one of the most important dates in the history of the Western world: the year William the Conqueror defeated the English at the Battle of Hastings and changed England and the English forever. The events leading to-and following-this turning point in history are shrouded in mystery. Distorted by the biased accounts written by a subjugated people, many believe it was the English who ultimately won the battle, since the Normans became assimilated into the English way of life. Drawing on a wealth of contemporary sources, David Howarth gives us memorable portraits of the kings: Edward the Confessor, Harold of England, William of Normandy, as well as the leading political figures of the time. Howarth describes the English commoners: how they worked, fought, died, and how they perceived the overthrow of their world from their isolated shires.
The Food of France.
By: Waverly Root.
Art of the Middle Ages (World of Art)
By: Janetta Rebold Benton
A general introduction to the art, and architecture, of medieval Europe from the Early Christian to Late Gothic period. Arranged chronologically and regionally, the text is full of illustrated examples, with particular emphasis on France.
The Cave Painters: Probing the Mysteries of the World's First Artists
By: Gregory Curtis
The Cave Painters is a vivid introduction to the spectacular cave paintings of France and Spain—the individuals who rediscovered them, theories about their origins, their splendor and mystery. Gregory Curtis makes us see the astonishing sophistication and power of the paintings and tells us what is known about their creators, the Cro-Magnon people of some 40,000 years ago. He takes us through various theories—that the art was part of fertility or hunting rituals, or used for religious purposes, or was clan mythology—examining the ways interpretations have changed over time. Rich in detail, personalities, and history, The Cave Painters is above all permeated with awe for those distant humans who developed—perhaps for the first time—both the ability for abstract thought and a profound and beautiful way to express it.
My Life in France (09) by Child, Julia - Prud'Homme, Alex [Paperback (2009)]
By: Child
My Life in France (09) by Child, Julia - Prud'Homme, Alex [Paperback (2009)]
Paris to the Moon
By: Adam Gopnik
Non-Fiction, Parenting, Travel
A Moveable Feast: The Restored Edition
By: Ernest Hemingway
Ernest Hemingway’s classic memoir of Paris in the 1920s, now available in a restored edition, includes the original manuscript along with insightful recollections and unfinished sketches.Published posthumously in 1964, A Moveable Feast remains one of Ernest Hemingway’s most enduring works. Since Hemingway’s personal papers were released in 1979, scholars have examined the changes made to the text before publication. Now, this special restored edition presents the original manuscript as the author prepared it to be published. Featuring a personal Foreword by Patrick Hemingway, Ernest’s sole surviving son, and an Introduction by grandson of the author, Seán Hemingway, editor of this edition, the book also includes a number of unfinished, never-before-published Paris sketches revealing experiences that Hemingway had with his son, Jack, and his first wife Hadley. Also included are irreverent portraits of literary luminaries, such as F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ford Maddox Ford, and insightful recollections of Hemingway’s own early experiments with his craft. Widely celebrated and debated by critics and readers everywhere, the restored edition of A Moveable Feast brilliantly evokes the exuberant mood of Paris after World War I and the unbridled creativity and unquenchable enthusiasm that Hemingway himself epitomized.
Between Meals: An Appetite for Paris
By: A. J. Liebling
New Yorker staff writer A.J. Liebling recalls his Parisian apprenticeship in the fine art of eating in this charming memoir, Between Meals: An Appetite for Paris.
Adventures on the Wine Route: A Wine Buyer’s Tour of France
By: Kermit Lynch
Kermit Lynch's recounting of his experiences on the wine route and in the wine cellars of France takes the reader through the Loire, Bordeaux, the Languedoc, Provence, Northern and Southern Rhone, and the Cote d'Or.
France: A Traveler's Literary Companion (Traveler's Literary Companions)
By: William Rodarmor, Anna Livia
This guide for literature enthusiasts and travelers alike reveals what Francophiles have long known: France is so much more than the Eiffel Tower and the Champs-Elysées. Including contributions from such celebrated French writers as Colette, Gabriel Chevallier, and Emmanuelle Laborit, this lively anthology takes readers through France in literary style. In Paris, walk down twisty Rue Ferrière, take a spin on a Franco-Arab carousel, and eavesdrop on a Jewish funeral party. In the suburbs, meet a pint-sized book thief and a gritty ghetto gang. Then visit Provence, Brittany, Normandy, and Alsace-Lorraine, and even witness the Tour de France. Organized by region, these charming stories are often funny, occasionally surreal, and always compelling.
Deadly Slipper
By: Michelle Wan
Nearly twenty years have passed since Mara Dunn’s sister Bedie, an orchid enthusiast, disappeared while on a hiking holiday in southwestern France. Mara remains determined to find out what happened—but her only real clue is a sequence of wild orchids, including a mysterious, previously unknown Lady’s Slipper, captured on a roll of film found in Bedie’s long-lost camera. With the help of Julian Wood, a reclusive English botanist, Mara begins her search . . . stumbling into decades’ worth of local secrets and putting herself in danger. Rich in lush descriptions of the Dordogne, and laden with savory details of French cooking, Deadly Slipper is rife with surprising twists and turns.
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 wait list by contacting a Reservation Specialist at 1-855-330-1542 Monday - Friday 9 a.m. - 6 p.m. (Eastern Time), at SJReservations@si.edu or at www.SmithsonianJourneys.org/Contact. 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 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.