Wedged between the Caspian and Black Seas, the less visited countries of Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan showcase a wealth of cultural and historical treasures. Discover these special gems on this unique journey.

Starting at: $7,995 * Price includes special offer Make a Reservation Ask Us A Question or Call 855-330-1542
 The city of Tbilisi, Georgia   Old town architecture, Tbilisi, Georgia  Geghard Monastery, Armenia  Geghard Monastery, Armenia   Merkado Market, Tbilisi, Georgia  Modern architecture, Tbilisi, Georgia   Old and modern architecture, Baku, Azerbaijan  Main gate of Baku, Azerbaijan

Exploring Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Armenia

17 days from $7,995

Wedged between the Caspian and Black Seas, the less visited countries of Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan showcase a wealth of cultural and historical treasures. Discover these special gems on this unique journey.

or Call 855-330-1542

Accommodations

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

Hilton Baku

Baku, Azerbaijan

The luxurious modern Baku Hilton features five restaurants, a revolving roof bar on the 25th floor, spa services, fitness center, indoor pool and hammom, as well as free WiFi in public areas. The spacious rooms include air conditioning, minibar, LCD TV, WiFi and cable Internet access, in-room safe, ironing board and hair dryer.

Number of nights: 3

Hotel Sheki Palace

Sheki, Azerbaijan

Opened in 2014 and located in the center of Sheki, the Sheki Palace Hotel is set into the side of a hill and features a restaurant with outdoor terrace, a fitness center and complimentary WiFi. Rooms include air conditioning, flat screen TV, minibar, in-room safe and hair dryer.

Number of nights: 1

Hotel Kabadoni

Signagi, Georgia

The four-star boutique Kabadoni Hotel opened in 2012 and features a restaurant and bar serving Georgian and European cuisine and creative wine selections, a pool, health club, sauna and spa services. Rooms include minibar, free wifi, in-room safe and bathrobes.

Number of nights: 2

Hotel Borjomi Likani

Borjomi, Georgia

Located in the spa city of Borjomi, the five-star Hotel Borjomi Likani opened in January 2015 and features several restaurants serving international and Georgian cuisine, deluxe spa services, indoor pool, Jacuzzi, sports and fitness center. Rooms include air conditioning, satellite TV, minibar, coffee service, complimentary WiFi, in-room safe and hairdryer.

Number of nights: 1

Vardzia Resort Hotel

Vardzia, Georgia

Built on a hillside across from the cave town of Vardzia, the Vardzia Resort is beautifully landscaped with rock terraces, waterfalls, pools and flowering plants. The timbered restaurant serves regional cuisine, and an outdoor swimming pool with a sweeping view is available for guests.

Number of nights: 1

Marriott Tbilisi

Tbilisi, Georgia

This beautiful five-star hotel is located in the heart of Tbilisi on Rustaveli Avenue, within walking distance of the Parliament, museums, the Opera House and the Rustaveli Theater. A lobby lounge and a cafe serve snacks and quick meals, and the Majestic restaurant serves Mediterranean food inside and on the patio. Amenities include a spa and fitness center, in-room newspaper, air conditioning, cable TV and minibar.

Number of nights: 3

Tufenkian Historic Hotel

Yerevan, Armenia

Opened in 2013, the Tufenkian Hotel is located in the Yerevan city center just off Republic Square, and features a restaurant serving international and Armenian cuisine, coffee shop and bar/lounge. The individually designed rooms include air conditioning, satellite TV, minibar, complimentary WiFi and bathrobes.

Number of nights: 4

Activity Level

Level 3: Moderate / Active

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.

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

Reading List
The Ghost of Freedom: A History of the Caucasus
By: Charles King
The Caucasus mountains rise at the intersection of Europe, Russia, and the Middle East. A land of astonishing natural beauty and a dizzying array of ancient cultures, the Caucasus for most of the twentieth century lay inside the Soviet Union, before movements of national liberation created newly independent countries and sparked the devastating war in Chechnya.Combining riveting storytelling with insightful analysis, The Ghost of Freedom is the first general history of the modern Caucasus, stretching from the beginning of Russian imperial expansion up to the rise of new countries after the Soviet Union's collapse. In evocative and accessible prose, Charles King reveals how tsars, highlanders, revolutionaries, and adventurers have contributed to the fascinating history of this borderland, providing an indispensable guide to the complicated histories, politics, and cultures of this intriguing frontier. Based on new research in multiple languages, the book shows how the struggle for freedom in the mountains, hills, and plains of the Caucasus has been a perennial theme over the last two hundred years--a struggle which has led to liberation as well as to new forms of captivity. The book sheds valuable light on the origins of modern disputes, including the ongoing war in Chechnya, conflicts in Georgia and Azerbaijan, and debates over oil from the Caspian Sea and its impact on world markets.Ranging from the salons of Russian writers to the circus sideshows of America, from the offices of European diplomats to the villages of Muslim mountaineers, The Ghost of Freedom paints a rich portrait of one of the world's most turbulent and least understood regions.
Lonely Planet Georgia, Armenia & Azerbaijan (Travel Guide)
By: Lonely Planet, Alex Jones, Tom Masters, Virginia Maxwell, John Noble
Lonely Planet: The world's leading travel guide publisher Lonely Planet Georgia, Armenia & Azerbaijan is your passport to the most relevant, up-to-date advice on what to see and skip, and what hidden discoveries await you. Wander the historic winding lanes of Old Town, Georgia, slow down in Azerbaijan at an outdoor cafe, and take in the views at Armenia's mountaintop monasteries; all with your trusted travel companion. Get to the heart of Georgia, Armenia & Azerbaijan and begin your journey now! Inside the Lonely Planet Georgia, Armenia & Azerbaijan Travel Guide: Colour maps and images throughout Highlights and itineraries help you tailor your trip to your personal needs and interests Insider tips to save time and money and get around like a local, avoiding crowds and trouble spots Essential info at your fingertips - hours of operation, phone numbers, websites, transit tips, prices Honest reviews for all budgets - eating, sleeping, sight-seeing, going out, shopping, hidden gems that most guidebooks miss Cultural insights give you a richer, more rewarding travel experience - history, people, landscape, architecture, greetings, etiquette Over 52 colour maps Covers Georgia, Tbilisi, Abkhazia, Adjara, Great Cauasus, Kakheti, Samtskhe-Javakheti, Armenia, Terevan, Azerbaijan, Baku, Naxcivan, Nagorno-Karabakh and more.Authors: Written and researched by Lonely Planet. About Lonely Planet: Since 1973, Lonely Planet has become the world's leading travel media company with guidebooks to every destination, an award-winning website, mobile and digital travel products, and a dedicated traveller community. Lonely Planet covers must-see spots but also enables curious travellers to get off beaten paths to understand more of the culture of the places in which they find themselves. TripAdvisor Travelers' Choice Awards winner in Favorite Travel Guide category for 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015.
The Caucasus: An Introduction
By: Thomas de Waal
This new edition of The Caucasus is a thorough update of an essential guide that has introduced thousands of readers to a complex region. Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia and the break-away territories that have tried to split away from them constitute one of the most diverse and challenging regions on earth, impressing the visitor with their multi-layered history and ethnic complexity. Over the last few years, the South Caucasus region has captured international attention again because of disputes between the West and Russia, its unresolved conflicts, and its role as an energy transport corridor to Europe. The Caucasus gives the reader a historical overview and an authoritative guide to the three conflicts that have blighted the region. Thomas de Waal tells the story of the "Five-Day War" between Georgia and Russia and recent political upheavals in all three countries. He also finds time to tell the reader about Georgian wine, Baku jazz and how the coast of Abkhazia was known as "Soviet Florida." Short, stimulating and rich in detail, The Caucasus is the perfect guide to this fascinating and little-understood region.
Black Garden: Armenia and Azerbaijan through Peace and War
By: Thomas de Waal
Choice Outstanding Academic Title 2003Black Garden is the definitive study of how Armenia and Azerbaijan, two southern Soviet republics, got sucked into a conflict that helped bring them to independence, bringing to an end the Soviet Union, and plaguing a region of great strategic importance. It cuts between a careful reconstruction of the history of Nagorny Karabakh conflict since 1988 and on-the-spot reporting on its convoluted aftermath. Part contemporary history, part travel book, part political analysis, the book is based on six months traveling through the south Caucasus, more than 120 original interviews in the region, Moscow, and Washington, and unique primary sources, such as Politburo archives. The historical chapters trace how the conflict lay unresolved in the Soviet era; how Armenian and Azerbaijani leaders exacerbated it; how the Politiburo failed to cope with the crisis; how the war began and ended; how the international community failed to sort out the conflict. What emerges is a complex and subtle portrait of a beautiful and fascinating region, blighted by historical prejudice and conflict.
Georgia: In the Mountains of Poetry
By: Peter Nasmyth
Georgia has been called the world’s most beautiful country, yet only little is known about it beyond its borders. This topical and vital book by the “ideal chronicler” (Literary Review) Peter Nasmyth is the perfect and much-celebrated introduction to its remarkable people, landscape, and culture.Over its 3,000-year-old history, Georgia has been ruled by everyone from the Greeks to the Ottomans, became a coveted part of the Russian Empire for a hundred years, and was incorporated into the Soviet Union in 1921. In twenty-five years, Georgia has undergone a dramatic socioeconomical and political transformation, and although its political situation remains precarious, Georgia’s strong sense of nationhood has reinvigorated the country.Vivid and comprehensive, Nasmyth’s Georgia: In the Mountains of Poetry is a unique eyewitness account of Georgia’s rebirth and creates an unforgettable portrait of its remarkable landscape, history, people and culture. Based on personal experience and offering fascinating insights into the life of ordinary and high profile Georgians, it is essential reading for anyone who does not yet know, or wants to know more, of this astonishing place.
Armenia: Art, Religion, and Trade in the Middle Ages
By: Helen C. Evans
A fascinating exploration of art created by the varied Armenian kingdoms that connected the East and West during the Middle Ages As the first people to officially convert to Christianity, Armenians commissioned and produced astonishing religious objects. This sumptuous volume depicts and contextualizes the compelling works of art that defined the rich and complicated culture of medieval Armenians, including carvings, liturgical furnishings, beautifully illustrated manuscripts, gilded reliquaries, exquisite textiles, printed books, and more. Situated at the center of trade routes that connected the East and West during the Middle Ages, Armenia became a leading international trade partner for Seljuk, Mongol, Ottoman, and Persian overlords, while also serving as a powerful ally to Byzantium and European Crusader states. Written by a team of international scholars, with contributions from Armenian religious leaders, this book will stand as the definitive text on the art and culture of medieval Armenia.
Classic Poetry of Azerbaijan: An Anthology
By: Paul Smith
~CLASSIC POETRY OF AZERBAIJAN~ ~An Anthology~ Translation & Introduction Paul Smith Here is one of the few anthologies in English of the greatest poets of Azerbaijan in the classic period, from the 11th to the 17th century. All the poems translated here in the forms of the ghazal, masnavi, ruba’i, qit’a and qasida have been kept to the correct rhyme and meaning. The poets are… Qatran, Mahsati, Mujir, Khaqani, Nizami, Shabistari, Humam, Kadi Buran-ud-din, Nasim Anwar, Nesimi, Khata’i, Fuzuli and Sa’ib. There is an Introduction on Various Forms in the Classical Poetry of Azerbaijan and biographies and further reading options on all of these always engrossing and powerful, beautiful, mysterious, often romantic and spiritual and often Sufi poets. Included is the female poet Mahsati, one of the greatest poets of the east and Nizami, one of the greatest poets of all time. 231 pages. COMMENTS ON PAUL SMITH’S TRANSLATION OF HAFIZ’S ‘DIVAN’. “It is not a joke... the English version of ALL the ghazals of Hafiz is a great feat and of paramount importance. I am astonished. ” Dr. Mir Mohammad Taghavi (Dr. of Literature) Tehran. “Superb translations. 99% Hafiz 1% Paul Smith.” Ali Akbar Shapurzman, translator from English into Persian, knower of Hafiz’s Divan off by heart. “Smith has probably put together the greatest collection of literary facts and history concerning Hafiz.” Daniel Ladinsky (Penguin Books author). Paul Smith is a poet, author and translator of many books of Sufi poets of the Persian, Arabic, Urdu, Turkish, Pashtu and other languages… including Hafiz, Sadi, Nizami, Rumi, ‘Attar, Sana’i, Jahan Khatun, Obeyd Zakani, Mu’in, Amir Khusrau, Nesimi, Kabir, Anvari, Ansari, Jami, Omar Khayyam, Rudaki, Yunus Emre, Mahsati, Lalla Ded, Bulleh Shah, Shah Latif, Makhfi, Mansur Hallaj, Majnun, Khaqani, Iqbal, Nazir Akbarabadi, Shabastari, Baba Farid and many others, as well as his own poetry, fiction, plays, biographies, children’s books and more than a dozen screenplays. www.newhumanitybooksbookheaven.com
Tasting Georgia: A Food and Wine Journey in the Caucasus
By: Carla Capalbo
Winner of the prestigious André Simon Award explores Georgia's culinary traditions.Nestled between the Caucasus Mountains and the Black Sea, and with a climate similar to the Mediterranean's, Georgia has colorful, delicious food. Vegetables blended with walnuts and vibrant herbs, subtly spiced meat stews and home-baked pies like the irresistible cheese-filled khachapuri are served at generous tables all over the country. Georgia is also one of the world s oldest winemaking areas, with wines traditionally made in qvevri: large clay jars buried in the ground.Award-winning food writer and photographer Capalbo has traveled around Georgia collecting recipes and gathering stories from food and winemakers in this stunning but little-known country. The beautifully illustrated book is both a cookbook and a cultural guide to the personal, artisan-made foods and wines that make Georgia such a special place on the world's gastronomic map.
Bread and Ashes: A Walk Through the Mountains of Georgia
By: Tony Anderson
Tony Anderson set out in the summer of 1998 to walk through Georgia. He wanted particularly to visit the Georgian mountain tribes - Tush, Khevsurs, Ratchuelians and Svans - to discover if they shared a common mountain culture, and to test the old idea of the Caucasus as an impenetrable barrier from sea to sea. From Azerbaijan to Svaneti, Anderson found communities where the old customs and beliefs still triumphantly survive, despite years of Communist oppression and the terrible uncertainties since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Throughout his journey Anderson refers back to many other visits to Georgia, to the politics of independence, to the war in Abkhazia and Ossetia, to the civil war and Shevardnadze's accession to power, to the history of these people at one of the great crossroads of the world. It remains an abiding mystery that Georgia has managed to survive at all, devastated time and again by the vagabond hordes from the steppes and torn between the mighty empires that struggled over it. But survive it has with a vibrant culture still intact and, in the mountains, still deeply connected to its ancient ways.
Azerbaijan - Culture Smart!: The Essential Guide to Customs & Culture
By: Nikki Kazimova, Culture Smart!
For Westerners, the modern state of Azerbaijan may be hard to pinpoint. This small, oil-rich country in the southern Caucasus, on the southwestern shore of the Caspian Sea, only made its way on to the contemporary world map after the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. As the world shrinks and competition for precious resources intensifies, the direction this strategically and economically important country takes will affect us all.   The historically tolerant and pluralist Azeri people have an ancient history and a rich culture. Azerbaijan lay on the route of the Great Silk Road, the trade network that connected China with Europe, and its people have lived through centuries of conquests by different imperial powers. It was also situated in the heart of the Great Game, the struggle for control of Central Asia played out between Russia and the West at the turn on the nineteenth century, which seems to be going through a modern remake. Azerbaijan has been called “the quintessential borderland, many times over: between Europe and Asia, Islam and Christianity, Russia and the Middle East, Turks and Iranians, Shi’a and Sunni Islam.”   Azerbaijan was briefly independent after the First World War, when it was the first Muslim state to adopt progressive Western values. A democratic republic with full women’s suffrage, it boasted the first women’s high school, the first opera, and the first female opera composer, as well as the first ballet in the Muslim world.   There followed seventy years of Soviet rule. After a bitter war in 1991–94, areas of Azerbaijan were occupied by neighboring Armenia, and the country has absorbed a huge number of refugees. At the same time, it is experiencing a new oil boom and the economy is growing. Among the people, there is a growing sense of national identity. Culture Smart! Azerbaijan looks at the many facets of this identity and explains the complex workings of Azerbaijani society. It will equip you with vital information and advice about the customs, practices, and sensibilities of a society poised on the brink of change.
Georgia - Culture Smart!: The Essential Guide to Customs & Culture
By: Natia Abramia, Culture Smart!
Georgia lies between Eastern Europe, Central Asia, and the Middle East, on the southeastern shore of the Black Sea. This small Caucasian country is used to playing a significant role in global geopolitics, and its strategic location at the crossroads of different civilizations has been a curse as well as a blessing. Once a battlefield of the Christian and Muslim worlds, today it is caught between its NATO aspirations and its location in Russia’s backyard. The Silk Road brought the best of the world to Georgia. Its ancient Christian culture shows the influence of Arab, Persian, and Ottoman conquerors. Combined with this is a southern, “Mediterranean” feel, traces of the Soviet legacy, and a strong Western influence. What awaits the visitor is a unique culture that goes back thousands of years. Georgia has a rich historical heritage, wonderful food and wines, unforgettable scenery, authentic folk music and dances, an attractive business climate, and an educated and hospitable people for whom indulging a guest is more a religion than a duty. Culture Smart! Georgia offers invaluable insights and practical tips for tourists and business people alike. The author, Natia Abramia, guides you through the past and present-day realities of her motherland, explaining what makes people tick, how they live and feel, and how to get on with them. You will discover that the Georgians will not let you down. Learn how to reach their hearts, and they will charm you back.
Armenia - Culture Smart!: The Essential Guide to Customs & Culture
By: Susan Solomon
Culture Smart! provides essential information on attitudes, beliefs and behavior in different countries, ensuring that you arrive at your destination aware of basic manners, common courtesies, and sensitive issues. These concise guides tell you what to expect, how to behave, and how to establish a rapport with your hosts. This inside knowledge will enable you to steer clear of embarrassing gaffes and mistakes, feel confident in unfamiliar situations, and develop trust, friendships, and successful business relationships. Culture Smart! offers illuminating insights into the culture and society of a particular country. It will help you to turn your visit-whether on business or for pleasure-into a memorable and enriching experience. Contents include: * customs, values, and traditions * historical, religious, and political background * life at home * leisure, social, and cultural life * eating and drinking * do's, don'ts, and taboos * business practices * communication, spoken and unspoken
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.
Terms and conditions

Our Mission

Smithsonian Journeys engage travelers in the mission of the Smithsonian – “the increase and diffusion of knowledge.” Like the Institution, our tours enrich our guests’ lives and satisfy their curiosity about the world. Your participation benefits the work of Smithsonian’s 19 museums, National Zoo, and nine research centers, helping to preserve our national treasures and shape the future through science, research, and exhibitions.

What Is Provided With Your Tour

  • The 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

  • Passport fees, visas, and visa photos as required.
  • International and in-country airfare and departure taxes.
  • Transfers to and from airports for individuals not using or meeting group flights. – transfers are not included for participants who arrive and depart not on scheduled trip start and end dates.
  • Personal items such as wines, liquors, à-la-carte orders, meals other than specified.
  • Expenses incurred by our tour operators in making individual travel arrangements in conjunction with the tour.
  • Other items not specifically mentioned as included.
  • Optional Traveler Insurance

Registration

To submit a reservation request, please use our secure online system at SmithsonianJourneys.org or call 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.  
 

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).

Payments

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

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

Late Registration

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

Once confirmed, cancellation penalties apply as set forth below. If confirmation is not possible, all payments made will be refunded in full. Late registration confirmation procedures apply to any traveler 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), at SJReservations@si.edu or SmithsonianJourneys.org.

A Note about Costs

All prices are based on two persons sharing a room/cabin. All prices are quoted in U.S. dollars. Tour costs are based upon current airfares, tariffs, currency values, and on the basis of a presumptive minimum number of travelers. 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 traveler’s withdrawal from the tour for any reason, including, but not limited to, illness, injury, family engagements, work-related issues, or geopolitical concerns, etc., will be deemed a cancellation. Please understand that there will be no exceptions to our cancellation policy.

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

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

Air Service

For 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, Smithsonian Journeys provides an on-tour insurance plan from Travel Guard. 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 may be discussed with the Cultural Travel Specialist at 855-330-1542.

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  

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 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