Experience Hawaii's natural history on a geologist-led exploration in Volcanoes National Park and search the sky for celestial objects as you gain unparalleled access to observatories and research facilities from the Big Island to Maui. 

Starting at: $6,395 Make a Reservation Ask Us A Question or Call 855-330-1542
 Mauna Kea Observatory. Credit: Joseph DeMatteo  The night sky from Mauna Kea  Sunset at Mauna Kea Obsevatory  Landscape of Haleakala  Viewing center and observatory at Haleakala   Haleakala observatory  Volcanoes National Park, island of Hawaii

Astronomy and Natural Wonders of Hawaii

Enjoy special access to a variety of Hawaii’s observatories

9 days from $6,395

Experience Hawaii's natural history on a geologist-led exploration in Volcanoes National Park and search the sky for celestial objects as you gain unparalleled access to observatories and research facilities from the Big Island to Maui. 

or Call 855-330-1542

Accommodations

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

Hotel Wailea

Maui, United States

Located on the southwestern coast of Maui, the Hotel Wailea, has a stunning location with beautiful views of the Pacific Ocean, on 15 acres of Zen-inspired landscaped grounds which include a cascading waterfall and Koi pond.  It is the first and only Relais & Châteaux property in Hawaii offering European inspired elegance with relaxed island luxury.  The hotel has just 72 suites, each has a private lanai (balcony or a patio), air-conditioning, direct-dial telephones with voicemail, two LCD TVs, in-room coffee and tea, a safe, a work desk and an alarm clock. Complimentary high-speed Internet access is available in each guest suite, the lobby, and public areas. 

Number of nights: 3

Kilauea Lodge

Volcano Village, United States

The Kilauea Lodge is located in Volcano Village, just a mile from Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. The park, with its active volcano, offers miles of trails and scenic overlooks. There is a relaxing hot tub for guests to enjoy and a large common room with a fireplace, games, and library. The restaurant’s unique Fireplace of Friendship was built with stones from 32 different countries, providing an exceptional backdrop for meals in the award-winning restaurant. The 12 guestrooms and two separate cottages are beautifully decorated with volcano art, flowers, and stained glass windows. Complimentary Internet access is available in common areas.

Number of nights: 2

Fairmont Orchid

Hawaii, United States

Located on the sunny South Kohala Coast, the Fairmont Orchid is a modern, upscale oceanfront resort with 540 guest rooms set on a 32-acre site with lush native gardens, waterfalls, and picturesque nature trails overlooking Pauoa Bay. The airy rooms have balconies with ocean or garden views and feature mini-fridges, coffeemakers, direct- dial telephones, an LCD flat screen TV, in-room safe and bathrobes. Property amenities include access to two 18-hole golf courses, 10 tennis courts, and 6 restaurants. There is also an award-winning outdoor spa, a white sand lagoon, a 10,000 square foot ocean side pool, a beach club and a fitness center.

Number of nights: 3

Activity Level

Activity Level 3:  Moderate / Active


Expectations: Most trips will feature long touring days, many full-day excursions, and a full and active itinerary with a faster pace and longer distances. Some tours may have activities with higher intensity and more active choices/options. Excursions require standing and walking for extended periods of time over more difficult terrain (cobblestones, city hills, stairs without handrails, limited or no access to elevators, muddy/slippery walking/hiking trails), and walking to city centers where coaches are prohibited. Specific itineraries may feature hiking, use of local transportation, extended overnight train travel, extensive use of Zodiac crafts or other smaller ship conveyances, or multiple internal plane rides. Some itineraries may require early morning departures and later evening returns. Travelers may be in remote and/or rugged regions, and may be touring at higher altitudes with steep ascents/descents. Leisure time may be limited (sometimes only in the later evenings). Certain tours feature more active excursions (such as moderate hiking, swimming, snorkeling, canoeing, bicycling, rafting, or kayaking), though another choice may be offered for an alternate skill level. Walking/hiking tours may feature up to six-mile walks/hikes.  

Appropriate for: Travelers who are physically fit, lead active lives, are comfortable participating in long days of activities, and expect some physical exertion. 

Reading List
DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Hawaii
By: DK Travel
Packed with culture and activities for travelers to enjoy including beautiful beaches, volcanoes, and insider tips for everywhere from Honolulu to Waikiki. Try local delicacies with our guide to great restaurants and cafes featuring island cuisine, or check out the best restaurants, clubs, and bars. We have the best hotels for every budget, plus fun activities for solitary travel or for families and children to make the very best of any visit to Hawaii.Discover DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Hawaii.   • Hotel and restaurant listings and recommendations.    • 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.    • Insights into history and culture to help you understand the stories behind the sights. With hundreds of full-color photographs, hand-drawn illustrations, and custom maps that illuminate every page, DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Hawaii truly shows you Hawaii as no one else can.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.
Astrophysics for People in a Hurry
By: Neil deGrasse Tyson
Over a year on the New York Times bestseller list and more than a million copies sold. The essential universe, from our most celebrated and beloved astrophysicist.What is the nature of space and time? How do we fit within the universe? How does the universe fit within us? There’s no better guide through these mind-expanding questions than acclaimed astrophysicist and best-selling author Neil deGrasse Tyson.But today, few of us have time to contemplate the cosmos. So Tyson brings the universe down to Earth succinctly and clearly, with sparkling wit, in tasty chapters consumable anytime and anywhere in your busy day.While you wait for your morning coffee to brew, for the bus, the train, or a plane to arrive, Astrophysics for People in a Hurry will reveal just what you need to be fluent and ready for the next cosmic headlines: from the Big Bang to black holes, from quarks to quantum mechanics, and from the search for planets to the search for life in the universe.
NightWatch: A Practical Guide to Viewing the Universe
By: Terence Dickinson
Revised Fourth Edition: updated for use through 2025. The first three editions of NightWatch sold more than 600,000 copies, making it the top-selling stargazing guide in the world for the last 20 years. The key feature of this classic title is the section of star charts that are cherished by backyard astronomers everywhere. Each new edition has outsold the previous one because of thorough revisions and additional new material. NightWatch has been acclaimed as the best general interest introduction to astronomy. The fourth edition has improvements over the 3rd edition in every chapter, including: The famous charts, ideal for stargazers using a small telescope or binoculars A complete update of the equipment section, including computerized telescopes An enlarged photography section, including how-to instructions for using the new generation of digital cameras for astronomical photography, both with and without a telescope The tables of future solar and lunar eclipses, planetary conjunctions and planet locations, updated through 2025. This edition includes star charts for use in the southern hemisphere. There are also dozens of new photographs throughout the book that show the latest thrilling discoveries made by current space observatories and probes.
100 Things to See in the Night Sky: From Planets and Satellites to Meteors and Constellations, Your Guide to Stargazing
By: Dean Regas
A handy field guide for the best stargazing experience whether in your own back yard, camping, or travelling—including information showing you which planets, constellations, stars, and manmade objects you can see with a telescope, or just your naked eye!The night sky is full of amazing things to see—from shooting stars and constellations to planets and satellites—but it can be hard to tell what you’re seeing, or where to look for the best view. 100 Things to See in the Night Sky gives you a clear picture of what you can see on any given night, either using a small telescope, or just your naked eye. Each object is presented as a separate entry, with background information on the makeup, appearance, and history of the object, along with easy-to-follow instructions on how to find it. For astronomy and space fans of all ages, this guide helps you explore the galaxy and see the stars—while keeping your feet on the ground.
Universe
By: Robert Dinwiddie, Philip Eales, David Hughes, Iain Nicolson, Ian Ridpath, Robin Scagell, Giles Sparrow, Pam Spence, Carole Stott, Kevin Tildsley
From the fiery mass of the Sun's core to the black hole at the center of the Milky Way, Universe takes you on the ultimate guided tour of the cosmos. Full of stunning out-of-this world images reflecting recent advances in space imagery, you'll go on a journey from our solar system all the way to the farthest limits of space. With information on the nature of the universe, the study of cosmology, Earth's motion, modern telescopes, astrophotography, and even a comprehensive star atlas, this groundbreaking encyclopedia takes a dazzling and expansive look at the Universe and is a must-have for both students and astronomy enthusiasts. Includes a comprehensive star atlas that covers all the constellations and planetary charts showing their positions right up to 2019, with entries on each of the 88 constellations and notable celestial objects that lie within them, and a monthly sky guide showing the night sky as it appears throughout the year.
Solar System: A Visual Exploration of All the Planets, Moons and Other Heavenly Bodies that Orbit Our Sun
By: Marcus Chown
Journey through time and space with Solar System, a new and mesmerizing way to experience the magnitude of the universe through fascinating text, original graphics, and stunning photographs captured by space probes, some rarely- or never-before-seen. Never before have the wonders of our solar system been so immediately accessible to readers of all ages. Award-winning writer and broadcaster Marcus Chown combines science and history to visually and narratively explore our neighboring planets, dwarf planets, moons and asteroids, as well as all of the historical figures who aided in their discoveries. From the explosive surface of the sun to the frosty blue dunes on Mars; from the gargantuan rings of Saturn to the volcanoes of Io; from geological maps of bedrock on the Moon, to a simulation of what the Oort Cloud might look like, Solar System offers a window seat from which to view the beauty and magnificence of space.
Volcano: Creation in Motion
By: G. Brad Lewis
Enter the realm of Pele, goddess of fire: mountainsides ablaze; fountains of incandescence; molten lakes that glow in the twilight; bubbles of lava exploding and showers of volcanic glass. Where the flow meets the ocean, pillars of acid-laden steam rise from the boiling sea. From the smooth slopes of Mauna Loa to the deep, rain-sculpted valleys of Kauai; from the atolls of Northwest Hawaii to the island Loihi: this is the story of the Hawaiian Islands, inscribed in earth, water, and fire.
In the Land of Pele, In the Land of the Extraordinary!
By: Kahu Robert Kalama Frutos
Pele is well-known as both the Hawaiian Goddess of Volcano and Fire.  Her long-standing reputation of being of a wrathful and destructive force - is the one most recognized and always emphasized from the western standpoint… the Hawaiian perspective holds yet, an entirely different relationship to the Goddess Pele, including - not only an ancestral kinship and common lineage, but a remarkable endearment, and an extraordinary spiritual inner connectedness. One of deepest respect, alliance, and admiration. From this approach, Pele is not merely a wrathful and destructive force, but rather a benevolent benefactor… a Living Goddess that is Present in now time, a protector, a friend who is loving, generous, encouraging, inspiring and supportive. Pele plays many roles: Pele is the Goddess of the Volcano Pele is the Goddess of the Fire Pele is the Flame of Passion Pele is the Fire of Purpose Pele is the Goddess/Divine Mother. She is ultimately an expression of unconditional love, and the embodiment of the Divine Feminine. While this is not a factual rendering of the Goddess Pele, nor even a historical account of her feats and achievements, it is rather a lyrical, expressive account centered on Her True Spiritual Gifts, from a Mu – Hawaiian perspective… drawn from the Mu – Hawaiian ancient oral tradition of song and chant. This is also a wholehearted invitation to explore and discover Pele’s deeper significance and magnificence, and the vital role she plays in the transformation of world today!
Flowers and Plants of Hawaii: Pocket Guide Series
By: Paul Wood
"Flowers and Plants of Hawaii" is a beautifully photographed, informative guide, designed to provide ready answers to basic questions about Hawaii's plants. The book is divided into nine sections and categorizes plants into various groups. A picture index is also included for easy reference.
Hawaii (Travellers' Wildlife Guides)
By: Les Beletsky
One volume color guide to finding and identifying the most frequently encountered birds, mammals, amphibians, reptiles, fish, and insects.
Volcanoes
By: Richard V. Fisher, Grant Heiken, Jeffrey Hulen
Whenever a volcano threatens to erupt, scientists and adventurers from around the world flock to the site in response to the irresistible allure of one of nature's most dangerous and unpredictable phenomena. In a unique book probing the science and mystery of these fiery features, the authors chronicle not only their geologic behavior but also their profound effect on human life. From Mount Vesuvius to Mount St. Helens, the book covers the surprisingly large variety of volcanoes, the subtle to conspicuous signs preceding their eruptions, and their far-reaching atmospheric consequences. Here scientific facts take on a very human dimension, as the authors draw upon actual encounters with volcanoes, often through firsthand accounts of those who have witnessed eruptions and miraculously survived the aftermath. The book begins with a description of the lethal May 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens--complete with an explanation of how safety officials and scientists tried to predict events, and how unsuspecting campers and loggers miles away struggled against terrifying blasts of ash, stone, and heat. The story moves quickly to the ways volcanoes have enhanced our lives, creating mineral-rich land, clean thermal energy, and haunting landscapes that in turn benefit agriculture, recreation, mining, and commerce. Religion and psychology embroider the account, as the authors explore the impact of volcanoes on the human psyche through tales of the capricious volcano gods and attempts to appease them, ranging from simple homage to horrific ritual sacrifice. Volcanoes concludes by assisting readers in experiencing these geological phenomena for themselves. An unprecedented "tourist guide to volcanoes" outlines over forty sites throughout the world. Not only will travelers find information on where to go and how to get there, they will also learn what precautions to take at each volcano. Tourists, amateur naturalists, and armchair travelers alike will find their scientific curiosity whetted by this informative and entertaining book.
Smithsonian Handbooks: Stars and Planets (Smithsonian Handbooks)
By: Ian Ridpath
Authoritative text, charts and diagrams, photographs, and a systematic approach make DK's Smithsonian Handbooks: Stars and Planets the most comprehensive and concise pocket guide to observing the night sky.Each planet is illustrated and described in detail, with location charts and diagrams and a month-by-month guide to interesting features of the night sky. All 88 constellations are examined, along with objects they contain, such as notable stars, star clusters, nebulae, and galaxies. For those new to astronomy, a highly visual introduction explains many basic concepts and offers expert advice on the best methods and equipment for observation.This book is one of a series covering plants, animals, and other natural phenomena from around the world and is published in association with the Smithsonian Institution.
Hawaii
By: James A. Michener
Pulitzer Prize–winning author James A. Michener brings Hawaii’s epic history vividly to life in a classic saga that has captivated readers since its initial publication in 1959. As the volcanic Hawaiian Islands sprout from the ocean floor, the land remains untouched for centuries—until, little more than a thousand years ago, Polynesian seafarers make the perilous journey across the Pacific, flourishing in this tropical paradise according to their ancient traditions. Then, in the early nineteenth century, American missionaries arrive, bringing with them a new creed and a new way of life. Based on exhaustive research and told in Michener’s immersive prose, Hawaii is the story of disparate peoples struggling to keep their identity, live in harmony, and, ultimately, join together.   Praise for Hawaii   “Wonderful . . . [a] mammoth epic of the islands.”—The Baltimore Sun   “One novel you must not miss! A tremendous work from every point of view—thrilling, exciting, lusty, vivid, stupendous.”—Chicago Tribune   “From Michener’s devotion to the islands, he has written a monumental chronicle of Hawaii, an extraordinary and fascinating novel.”—Saturday Review   “Memorable . . . a superb biography of a people.”—Houston Chronicle
Smithsonian Space 2019 Wall Calendar
By: Smithsonian Institution
On July 23, 1999, NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory was launched aboard the space shuttle Columbia and deployed into orbit. With Chandra, the most powerful x-ray telescope ever built, scientists can explore the exotic realm of super-hot, high-energy x-ray sources, including exploding stars and black holes. In 20 years of operation, the Chandra X-ray Observatory has had a widespread, transformative impact on 21st century astrophysics. Headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) is a joint collaboration between the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory and the Harvard College Observatory. CfA scientists study the origin, evolution and ultimate fate of the universe. Space 2019 features extraordinary images from Chandra, along with informative text. This twelve month wall calendar has spacious grids, international holidays and moon phases. There are sections at the back of the calendar for emergency contact information and birthdays/anniversaries and a full-page 3-year at-a-glance. Earth friendly, printed with soya-based inks on FSC certified paper. 12 x 12 inches (opens to 12 x 24 inches).
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, 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

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 Included in the Tour Cost

  • Expertise of a Smithsonian Journeys Expert, Tour Director, and local guides throughout the tour.
  • All accommodations (based on double occupancy).
  • All meals as indicated (B-breakfast; L-lunch; R-reception; D-dinner).
  • Enrichment program of lectures and special events.
  • All sightseeing and visits as noted in the itinerary.
  • Pre-tour information, including a reading list.
  • All on-tour transportation, unless otherwise noted.
  • Gratuities for all on-tour staff.
  • 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).

What Is Not Included in the Tour Cost

  • Program airfare.
  • 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.
  • Airport transfers for those not arriving or departing group travel days.
  • Baggage in excess of one suitcase.
  • Other items not specifically mentioned as included. 
  • On tour flight from Maui/Hilo priced additionally at $120.
  • Optional Travelers’ Protection Plan: Unexpected events before or during a trip may leave you with canceled plans, lost luggage, or unforeseen medical expenses. This optional plan offers an affordable package of benefits and services that can provide coverage and assistance for the unexpected. Visit TravelGuard.com/SmithsonianJourneys to learn more.

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 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).

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 full payment is not received by the final payment due date, your place on the tour cannot be guaranteed.

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 more 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.

  • Cancellation within 7 days of booking (if not within final payment date): full refund.
  • Cancellation 7 days after booking: $500 retained.
  • Final payment due: 95 days before departure.
  • Cancellation 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 policies.

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 includes an on-tour Provided Insurance Plan, through Travel Guard, with the price of your tour. 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

Read Carefully: Responsibility Statement and Liability Disclaimer
Smithsonian Journeys are managed by professional tour operators hired as independent contractors. The use of tour operators allows the Smithsonian to offer its members 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 the 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, 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, subject only to the requirement that the recoverable portion of the total amount paid that corresponds to the cost of unused services and accommodations be refunded, if any. If your tour does not include airfare, your Tour Bulletins will provide information about when participants are recommended to purchase airline tickets. The Smithsonian Institution and the tour operator accept no liability for the purchase of non-refundable airline tickets to/from the tour departure city if a tour is canceled or otherwise modified subsequent to the participant’s purchase of those tickets. Baggage and personal effects are at all times the sole responsibility of the participant.

Dates, schedules, program details, and costs, although provided in good faith based on information available at the time of publication of 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 brochure(s), and recognizes and accepts any risk associated with the tour and the conditions, including the refund policy, set forth in the tour brochure(s). 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.