Experience the mystical fjords, mountains, lakes, and other landscapes of New Zealand's South Island up close during wilderness hikes, sea kayak and white water rafting trips, and an overnight fjord cruise. 

Starting at: $8,195 Register Interest or Call 833-254-6678
 Rain forest walk in New Zealand  Kea in flight  Landscape of lupines and mountains on the South Island  Hiking trails along Marlborough Sound  Queen Charlotte Sound  Dolphins in the waters of Abel Tasman National Park   Fur seal lounging along the coast  Sea kayaking in Abel Tasman National Park  Kayaking in Abel Tasman National Park  Kayaking amid dolphins  White-water rafting on the Buller River  A rafting salute  Landscape of Mount Cook National Park. Credit: David Swanson/Tourism New Zealand  The evocative Mt. Cook  Typical New Zealand landscape with sheep farm  Sheep farmer with visitors. Credit: Tourism New Zealand  Franz Josef Glacier and rain forest   View of Lake Wanaka and Mt. Aspiring  Waterfalls in Fiordland National Park  View of Doubtful Sound   Serene setting of Doubtful Sound

Hiking New Zealand’s South Island

15 days from $8,195

Experience the mystical fjords, mountains, lakes, and other landscapes of New Zealand's South Island up close during wilderness hikes, sea kayak and white water rafting trips, and an overnight fjord cruise. 

or Call 833-254-6678

Accommodations

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

Marlborough Vitners Hotel

Blenheim, New Zealand

This luxury hotel is ideally situated amongst vineyards. Plush suites with garden or vineyard views offer separate lounges and an upscale restaurant serves British-influenced New Zealand Cuisine.

Number of nights: 1

Furneaux Lodge

Queen Charlotte Sound, New Zealand

Set amongst stunning scenery in the magnificent waterways of New Zealand’s Malborough Sounds, Furneaux Lodge is surrounded by 2,000 acres of native forest. The onsite bar and restaurant feature regional specialties and local Malborough wines. 

Number of nights: 1

Rutherford Hotel

Nelson, New Zealand

Located in the heart of Nelson, this modern hotel offers an outdoor pool and a sauna. Rooms include complimentary Wi-Fi and tea and coffee making facilities. 

Number of nights: 2

Punakaiki Resort

Punakaiki, New Zealand

Situated on New Zealand’s wild West Coast, this resort is surrounded by the Paparoa National Park and looks out over the Tasman Sea. The guest rooms are designed in harmony with the local environment and have either ocean or rainforest views. 

Number of nights: 1

Arthur’s Pass Wilderness Lodge

Arthur’s Pass, New Zealand

This refined lodge on a working sheep farm is surrounded by the mountains of Arthur’s Pass National Park. Warmly decorated, elegant rooms include garden views and tea and coffee making facilities. 

Number of nights: 2

Te Waonui Forest Retreat

Franz Joseph Glacier, New Zealand

This serene resort occupies a rustic-chic timber property and is surrounded by rainforest. A refined restaurant with forest views serves local cuisine. There is also a cozy lounge and bar with a fireplace and an outdoor pizza oven.

Number of nights: 1

Oakridge Resort

Wanaka, New Zealand

Overlooking a picturesque mountain landscape, this contemporary hotel is near Lake Wanaka. Property amenities include a spa, and outdoor heated pool complex with 7 hot tubs, a lap pool and 2 pools with rock waterfalls.

Number of nights: 2

Fiordland Navigator

Doubtful Sound, New Zealand

The Fjordland Navigator is a purpose built vessel designed to replicate a traditional trading scow and is perfectly suited to cruising the fiords. Amenities include spacious viewing decks, a dining saloon, and observation lounge. 

Number of nights: 1

Distinction Te Anau Hotel & Villas

Te Anau, New Zealand

Overlooking Lake Te Anau, this upscale hotel is a short walk from the town center. Comfortable rooms include sittings areas. Property amenities include a restaurant and terrace bar, heated outdoor pool, and hot tub.

Number of nights: 1

Activity Level

Activity Level 4:  Active 

Expectations: This trip is part of the Smithsonian Active Journeys collection. These trips feature a daily schedule of physical activities—such as walking, hiking, kayaking, rafting, or bicycling—in addition to activities designed to offer cultural or historical context. Each trip entails a different level of physical expectations. As some trips are more difficult than others, please review the following activity level description—and feel free to contact an Active Journeys Specialist to discuss the trip at more length—to ensure this Active Journey is right for you.

 This is a multisport trip. No activity requires previous experience. Walks and hikes range from 2 to 9 miles (from two to five hours) at a leisurely to active pace, covering varied terrain that ranges from city streets to established trails. Shorter options may be available depending on weather and the group’s interest. Sturdy shoes or light hiking boots and day packs for daily necessities are a must. Rafting on the Buller River lasts approximately 2 hours, depending on water levels, with Class III-IV rapids. All necessary gear is provided. Kayaking in Abel Tasman will be in stable, two-person kayaks equipped with an optional sail and lasts approximately 4 hours.  

Each day features a natural history or cultural site or activity associated with the walk, such as a seal colony, culinary highlight, or meeting with local naturalists or farmers. It is often feasible to skip a day’s activities and relax at the hotel, if desired. During vehicle transfers, transport is by 15-passenger van. Accommodations feature city hotels, comfortable lodges, and a working sheep farm.

Appropriate for: Travelers who are physically fit, expect an active pace, are comfortable participating in up to seven hours of physical activity per day, and enjoy a physical challenge.

Reading List

Highly Recommended

Come On Shore and We Will Kill and Eat You All: A New Zealand Story
By: Christina Thompson
In this involving, compassionate memoir, Christina Thompson tells the story of her romance and eventual marriage to a Maori man, interspersing it with a narrative history of the cultural collision between Westerners and the Maoris of New Zealand. Despite their significant differences, Thompson and her husband, Seven, share a similar sense of adventure and a willingness to depart from the customs of their families and forge a life together on their own. Thompson explores cultural displacement through the ages and the fascinating history of Europeans in the South Pacific, beginning with Abel Tasman's discovery of New Zealand in 1642. Yet at its core, this is the story of two people who meet, fall in love, and are forever changed.
The Luminaries
By: Eleanor Catton
The bestselling, Man Booker Prize-winning novel hailed as "a true achievement. Catton has built a lively parody of a 19th-century novel, and in so doing created a novel for the 21st, something utterly new. The pages fly."--New York Times Book ReviewIt is 1866, and Walter Moody has come to stake his claim in New Zealand's booming gold rush. On the stormy night of his arrival, he stumbles across a tense gathering of 12 local men who have met in secret to discuss a series of unexplained events: a wealthy man has vanished, a prostitute has tried to end her life, and an enormous cache of gold has been discovered in the home of a luckless drunk. Moody is soon drawn into a network of fates and fortunes that is as complex and exquisitely ornate as the night sky.Richly evoking a mid-nineteenth-century world of shipping, banking, and gold rush boom and bust, THE LUMINARIES is at once a fiendishly clever ghost story, a gripping page-turner, and a thrilling novelistic achievement. It richly confirms that Eleanor Catton is one of the brightest stars in the international literary firmament.
New Zealand Wildlife: A Folding Pocket Guide to Familiar Animals (A Pocket Naturalist Guide)
By: James Kavanagh, Waterford Press
The unique, dinosaur-like, tuatara is one of thousands of species of animals inhabiting the diverse ecosystems found throughout New Zealand, many endemic to the islands. This beautifully illustrated guide highlights over 140 familiar and unique species of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fishes and butterflies/insects and includes a map featuring prominent wildlife-viewing areas. Laminated for durability, this lightweight, pocket-sized folding guide is an excellent source of portable information and ideal for field use by visitors and residents alike. Made in the USA.

Maps & Guidebooks

Personal Kiwi-Yankee Dictionary, A
By: Louis Leland Jr.
How would you respond if a New Zealander invited you to a "leg-in"? Would you know what to do if someone told you to pull up a "browser"? Without some assistance, most foreigners would indeed be baffled by the intricacies of the Kiwi tongue. Now, however, help is available as Louis S. Leland Jr., a professor of psychology at the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand, unravels the mysteries of this colorful language. Composed in equal parts of fact and hilarity, this specialized dictionary will aid the traveler, amuse the linguist, and delight even the casual observer. This book is a perfect companion volume to Pelican's comprehensive Maverick Guide to New Zealand, widely acclaimed as the best guidebook on the subject.
New Zealand - Culture Smart!: The Essential Guide to Customs & Culture
By: Ljiljana Ortolja-Baird
Culture Smart! New Zealand offers insights into a country that is reflecting on its identity, having shed its colonial past and now moving from a bicultural society (Maori and European) toward a new multiculturalism. Despite the challenges ahead, New Zealand society is resilient, underpinned by the values of anti-materialism, tolerance, patience, and commonsense, and driven by a shared passion about being a Kiwi. Not by chance was New Zealand chosen to represent Tolkien’s ancient Middle-Earth in the film trilogy The Lord of the Rings. New Zealand is remote, and even sometimes inadvertently left off world maps. This remoteness might be one of its greatest assets. It is off the beaten track, with a wilderness of World Heritage national parks to explore—embracing ice-carved fiords, lakes, valleys, and towering mountains; lush lowland forests and limestone canyons. Set against this stunning background are the New Zealanders, who, not surprisingly, are passionate about their country and the quality of life it offers. Kiwis, as they are affectionately known, are friendly, helpful, and fiercely equalitarian.  All great companions for enjoying the prowess of the All Blacks rugby team in action!

History, Culture & Exploration

Fairness and Freedom: A History of Two Open Societies: New Zealand and the United States
By: David Hackett Fischer
Fairness and Freedom compares the history of two open societies--New Zealand and the United States--with much in common. Both have democratic polities, mixed-enterprise economies, individuated societies, pluralist cultures, and a deep concern for human rights and the rule of law. But all of these elements take different forms, because constellations of value are far apart. The dream of living free is America's Polaris; fairness and natural justice are New Zealand's Southern Cross. Fischer asks why these similar countries went different ways. Both were founded by English-speaking colonists, but at different times and with disparate purposes. They lived in the first and second British Empires, which operated in very different ways. Indians and Maori were important agents of change, but to different ends. On the American frontier and in New Zealand's Bush, material possibilities and moral choices were not the same. Fischer takes the same comparative approach to parallel processes of nation-building and immigration, women's rights and racial wrongs, reform causes and conservative responses, war-fighting and peace-making, and global engagement in our own time--with similar results. On another level, this book expands Fischer's past work on liberty and freedom. It is the first book to be published on the history of fairness. And it also poses new questions in the old tradition of history and moral philosophy. Is it possible to be both fair and free? In a vast array of evidence, Fischer finds that the strengths of these great values are needed to correct their weaknesses. As many societies seek to become more open--never twice in the same way, an understanding of our differences is the only path to peace.

Travel, Biography & Memoir

Sea of Dangers: Captain Cook and His Rivals in the South Pacific
By: Geoffrey Blainey
In 1769 two ships set out independently in search of a missing continent: a French merchant ship, the St. Jean-Baptiste, commanded by Jean de Surville, and a small British naval vessel, the Endeavour, commanded by Captain James Cook. That Christmas, in New Zealand waters, the two captains were almost within sight of each other, though neither knew of the other's existence. This is the stirring tale of these rival ships and the men who sailed in them. Cook's first long voyage was one of the most remarkable in recorded history. He not only sailed around the world, following the most difficult route any navigator had ever attempted; he also changed the maps of the world. In heavy seas he made a more thorough search for the missing continent-believed to lie somewhere between New Zealand and South America-than had ever been made. He was the first to explore most of the New Zealand coast and a vast stretch of the east coast of Australia, and the first to explore the longest reef in the world, the Great Barrier Reef. In Jakarta and Cape Town, and in the seas between them, Cook lost a third of his crew to tropical illnesses, after earlier saving them from scurvy. The ship in which he circled the world was not much larger in area than a tennis court. Along with the de Surville vessel, the sea was an arena of international rivalry, for during his voyage Cook encountered Dutch, Spanish, French, and Portuguese competitors and suspicions. Geoffrey Blainey brings his marvelous storytelling powers to bear on this fascinating and important adventure, drawing us brilliantly into the lives of the major figures.
The Happy Isles of Oceania: Paddling the Pacific
By: Paul Theroux
In one of his most exotic and breathtaking journeys, the intrepid traveler Paul Theroux ventures to the South Pacific, exploring fifty-one islands by collapsible kayak. Beginning in New Zealand's rain forests and ultimately coming to shore thousands of miles away in Hawaii, Theroux paddles alone over isolated atolls, through dirty harbors and shark-filled waters, and along treacherous coastlines. This exhilarating tropical epic is full of disarming observations and high adventure.
Captain Cook: Master of the Seas
By: Frank McLynn
The age of discovery was at its peak in the eighteenth century, with heroic adventurers charting the furthest reaches of the globe. Foremost among these explorers was navigator and cartographer Captain James Cook of the British Royal Navy.Recent writers have viewed Cook largely through the lens of colonial exploitation, regarding him as a villain and overlooking an important aspect of his identity: his nautical skills. In this authentic, engrossing biography, Frank McLynn reveals Cook's place in history as a brave and brilliant seaman. He shows how the Captain's life was one of struggle--with himself, with institutions, with the environment, with the desire to be remembered--and also one of great success.In Captain Cook, McLynn re-creates the voyages that took the famous navigator from his native England to the outer reaches of the Pacific Ocean. Ultimately, Cook, who began his career as a deckhand, transcended his humble beginnings and triumphed through good fortune, courage, and talent. Although Cook died in a senseless, avoidable conflict with the people of Hawaii, McLynn illustrates that to the men with whom he served, Cook was master of the seas and nothing less than a titan.
Slipping into Paradise: Why I Live in New Zealand
By: Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson
In the tradition of Under the Tuscan Sun and A Year in Provence, here is Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson’s ode to his personal paradise–his adopted home, New Zealand. After living in California, why did Masson settle– out of all the places on earth–in such a faraway land? It turns out that while visiting a beautiful sandy beach just fifteen minutes from bustling Auckland, Masson and his family were utterly seduced by the exotic locale. There was little deliberation. This place, surrounded by lush forest on a bay dotted with volcanic islands, would be their new home.Masson takes readers on a remarkable journey to another world, as he and his family “slip into” the paradise that is New Zealand. For anyone who has ever dreamed of finding utopia, Masson reveals a country where neighbors talk to one another and provide a sense of real community–rarely, outside of the big cities, locking their doors–and where politics are as mellow as the weather. New Zealand is also a land of spectacular scenery, made even more famous for being the shooting location for the Lord of the Rings films. The flora is plentiful. Mangroves, banana plants, papaya trees, and more than ten thousand species of ferns grow wild and freely. The fauna is benign. There are no snakes, tarantulas, or scorpions. Children can walk to school barefoot without a care– there is nothing to sting them, bite them, or give them a rash. In the blue waters near the lush coastline, dolphins and orcas abound. While describing his love affair with the country and his affinity for its citizens, Masson reflects on the meaning of home, the importance of acting on intuition, and what happens when we lose our connection to the place we live in. Responding to an impulse, Masson reveals, he realized a dream.Featuring a its glossary of phrases used by New Zealanders and important Maori words, as well as the author’s recommended travel itinerary, Slipping into Paradise is ideal for anyone planning a visit to this exquisite land. Full of photographs, delightful anecdotes, and little-known facts (jogging, for example, was invented in New Zealand), Slipping into Paradise is also a book for those who fantasize about dramatically changing their lives–and who imagine something better for themselves. Jeffrey Masson’s message: New Zealand awaits.From the Hardcover edition.
The Life of Captain James Cook
By: J. C. Beaglehole
Captain Cook is the greatest explorer-seaman of all time, yet the world has had to wait almost two centuries for the first full-scale biography to do justice to the man and his achievements. Professor J.C. Beaglehole, the leading authority on Pacific exploration, devoted himself for many years to the editing of Cook's copious Journals, a monument of scholarship in four massive volumes, and the Journal of Josepph Banks who accompanied Cook in the Endeavor. The Journals completed, Beaglehole turn to writing as the crown of his life's work this biography of Cook, which was completed but for a final checking when he died. This is not merely a chronological account of events in Cook's life but a deeply revealing study of the growth of a complex character, stubborn and passionate yet patient and judicious, seen in his actions as an unrivalled navigator and explorer and as a commander of men. Those who influenced Cook from childhood up, and those who sailed with him on his voyages, are as clearly and surely drawn as the man himself. The author's first-hand knowledge of the Pacific Islands and the coasts of New Zealand and Australia give a warmth and actuality to the narrative, while his impeccable scholarship and skill in handling the mass of documentary material, his wit, and his elegant literary style, confirm the expectration that this is one of the great historical biographies.

Literature

Erewhon (Penguin Classics)
By: Samuel Butler
Setting out to make his fortune in a far-off country, a young traveller discovers the remote and beautiful land of Erewhon and is given a home among its extraordinarily handsome citizens. But their visitor soon discovers that this seemingly ideal community has its faults—here crime is treated indulgently as a malady to be cured, while illness, poverty and misfortune are cruelly punished, and all machines have been superstitiously destroyed after a bizarre prophecy. Can he survive in a world where morality is turned upside down? Inspired by Samuel Butler's years in colonial New Zealand and by his reading of Darwin's Origin of Species, Erewhon is a highly original, irreverent and humorous satire on conventional virtues, religious hypocrisy and the unthinking acceptance of beliefs.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.
In the Land of the Long White Cloud (In the Land of the Long White Cloud saga)
By: Sarah Lark
Helen Davenport, governess for a wealthy London household, longs for a family of her own—but nearing her late twenties, she knows her prospects are dim. Then she spots an advertisement seeking young women to marry New Zealand’s honorable bachelors and begins an affectionate correspondence with a gentleman farmer. When her church offers to pay her travels under an unusual arrangement, she jumps at the opportunity. Meanwhile, not far away in Wales, beautiful and daring Gwyneira Silkham, daughter of a wealthy sheep breeder, is bored with high society. But when a mysterious New Zealand baron deals her father an unlucky blackjack hand, Gwyn’s hand in marriage is suddenly on the table. Her family is outraged, but Gwyn is thrilled to escape the life laid out for her. The two women meet on the ship to Christchurch—Helen traveling in steerage, Gwyn first class—and become unlikely friends. When their new husbands turn out to be very different than expected, the women must help one another find the life—and love— they’d hoped for. Set against the backdrop of colonial nineteenth-century New Zealand, In the Land of the Long White Cloud is a soaring saga of friendship, romance, and unforgettable adventure.
Stories (Vintage Classics)
By: Katherine Mansfield
Although Katherine Mansfield was closely associated with D.H. Lawrence and something of a rival of Virginia Woolf, her stories suggest someone writing in a different era and in a vastly different English. Her language is as transparent as clean glass, yet hovers on the edge of poetry. Her characters are passionate men and women swaddled in English reserve -- and sometimes briefly breaking through. And her genius is to pinpoint those unacknowledged and almost imperceptible moments in which those people's relationships -- with one another and themselves -- change forever. This collection includes such masterpieces as "Prelude," "At the Bay" "Bliss," "The Man Without a Temperament" and "The Garden Party" and has a new introduction by Jeffrey Meyers.From the Trade Paperback edition.
The Bone People: A Novel
By: Keri Hulme
In a tower on the New Zealand sea lives Kerewin Holmes, part Maori, part European, an artist estranged from her art, a woman in exile from her family. One night her solitude is disrupted by a visitor—a speechless, mercurial boy named Simon, who tries to steal from her and then repays her with his most precious possession. As Kerewin succumbs to Simon's feral charm, she also falls under the spell of his Maori foster father Joe, who rescued the boy from a shipwreck and now treats him with an unsettling mixture of tenderness and brutality. Out of this unorthodox trinity Keri Hulme has created what is at once a mystery, a love story, and an ambitious exploration of the zone where Maori and European New Zealand meet, clash, and sometimes merge.Winner of both a Booker Prize and Pegasus Prize for Literature, The Bone People is a work of unfettered wordplay and mesmerizing emotional complexity.

Natural History & Field Guides

Tutira the Story of a New Zealand Sheep Station (Classic Reprint)
By: H. Guthrie-Smith
Excerpt from Tutira the Story of a New Zealand Sheep StationSo vast and so rapid have been the alterations which have occurred in New Zealand during the past forty years, that even those who, like myself, have noted them day by day, find it difficult to connect past and present - the pleasant past so completely obliterated, the changeful present so full of possibility. These alterations are not traceable merely in the fauna, avifauna, and flora of the Dominion, nor are they only to be noted on the physical surface of the countryside: more profound, they permeate the whole outlook in regard to agriculture, stock-raising, and land tenure.The story of Tutira is the record of such change noted on one sheep-station in one province. Should its pages be found to contain matter of any permanent interest, it will be owing to the fact that the life portrayed has for ever vanished, the conditions sketched passed away beyond recall. A virgin countryside cannot be restocked; the vicissitudes of its pioneers cannot be re-enacted; its invasion by alien plants, animals, and birds cannot be repeated; its ancient vegetation cannot be resuscitated, - the words terra incognita have been expunged from the map of little New Zealand.About the PublisherForgotten Books publishes hundreds of thousands of rare and classic books. Find more at www.forgottenbooks.comThis book is a reproduction of an important historical work. Forgotten Books uses state-of-the-art technology to digitally reconstruct the work, preserving the original format whilst repairing imperfections present in the aged copy. In rare cases, an imperfection in the original, such as a blemish or missing page, may be replicated in our edition. We do, however, repair the vast majority of imperfections successfully; any imperfections that remain are intentionally left to preserve the state of such historical works.
A Field Guide to the Birds of New Zealand (Princeton Pocket Guides)
By: Julian Fitter, Don Merton
New Zealand is commonly described as "the land of birds." Now, there is an easy-to-use guide for all those interested in this country's remarkable bird population. A Field Guide to the Birds of New Zealand contains over 600 stunning photographs of the more than 350 bird species likely to be seen in this area of the world. Comprehensive and compact, the book includes full descriptions of all native species and regular visitors, distribution maps and measurements, key information on national parks, and useful information on ongoing conservation efforts in the country. Filled with handy tips for nature enthusiasts wanting to make the most of their trip, this is the only bird guide that anyone exploring this region will need.600+ color photographs feature more than 350 bird species with full descriptions Distribution maps and measurements Key information on national parks helps readers find the best spots for bird sightings Useful information on conservation efforts Guidelines on sensible behavior for encountering nature at its best
Birds of Hawaii, New Zealand, and the Central and West Pacific (Princeton Illustrated Checklists)
By: Ber van Perlo
This is the only comprehensive and handy pocket guide that illustrates and describes the bird species of Hawaii, New Zealand, and the Central and West Pacific. Featuring more than 750 species illustrated in vivid and stunning detail on 95 color plates, this authoritative guide provides information on key identification features, habitat, songs, and calls. Birds of Hawaii, New Zealand, and the Central and West Pacific is a must-have for birders of all levels interested in this region of the world.The only guide to illustrate the birds of Hawaii, New Zealand, and the Central and West Pacific More than 750 species illustrated on 95 color plates Depictions of all plumages for males, females, and juveniles Detailed distribution maps show where each species is commonly found Information on key identification features, habitat, songs, and calls In-depth look at flight signatures, vagrant populations, and much more Concise and highly portable
New Zealand Birds: A Folding Pocket Guide to Familiar Species (A Pocket Naturalist Guide)
By: James Kavanagh, Waterford Press
New Zealand is the home of 197 native bird species including their famous national bird, the kiwi. This beautifully illustrated guide highlights over 140 familiar and unique species and includes a map featuring prominent bird-viewing areas. Laminated for durability, this lightweight, pocket-sized folding guide is an excellent source of portable information and ideal for field use by visitors and residents alike. Made in the USA.
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 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 select speakers, Adventure Guide, and local guides throughout the tour as described in each itinerary
  • All gratuities for all tour staff
  • 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
  • All on-tour transportation, unless otherwise noted
  • All accommodations for the duration of the tour
  • Meals, as noted in the itinerary (B-breakfast; L-lunch; D-dinner; R-reception)
  • All sightseeing and visits as noted in each itinerary

What Is Not Included in the Tour Cost

  • International and in-country airfare and departure taxes
  • Passport and all visa fees and photos; immunization(s) and medication(s); and any other travel documentation fees as required
  • Optional travel insurance, including cancellation/delay/lost baggage insurance
  • 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
  • Communication charges (e.g. phone, internet, etc.)
  • Other items noted as optional or not specifically mentioned as included

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 must be made by credit card (Visa, MasterCard, American Express) 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 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 by the tour operator. 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.

A Note About Costs

All prices are based on two persons sharing accommodations. 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 at the time of final invoicing.

Wait List

If the tour of your choice is fully subscribed, you may choose to be placed on a waitlist by contacting a Reservation Specialist at 1-855-330-1542 Mon-Fri 9 am - 7 pm; Sat 9 am – 4 pm (Eastern Time), or SJReservations@si.edu. Individuals on the wait list will be contacted if space becomes available and can inquire about tour status by contacting a Reservation Specialist. If you choose to withdraw from a wait list, please notify us.

Cancellation and Refund Policy

Following enrollment, a participant’s withdrawal from the tour for any reason, including, but not limited to, illness, injury, family engagements, work-related issues, or geopolitical concerns, etc., will be deemed a cancellation. Please understand that there will be no exceptions to our cancellation policy.

Per person cancellation fees are based on the date of written notice. 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

This policy also applies to pre and post tour extensions. If we cancel a Tour, we will not be responsible for any additional expenses incurred by participant in his/her preparation for the Tour (e.g. nonrefundable airline tickets, visa fees, if applicable, clothing, equipment and medical expenses, etc.).

Smithsonian Journeys recommends that all participants purchase travel insurance.

If you have scheduled your own airfare and it is 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/Tickets Purchased Independently of the Tour

International and domestic air schedules are subject to change at any time. 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

Basic medical and evacuation travel protection is purchased on your behalf (Tour cancellation is not included in this plan). Optional Tour-cancellation protection is available at an additional cost and is strongly recommended. For more information about and to enroll in the option available through Travel Guard, visit the “Travel Insurance” section of our website at www.TravelGuard.com/SmithsonianJourneys.

Travel Documents

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, the tour operator 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. 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

Smithsonian Journeys strives to offer programs that optimize our travelers' time and enjoyment, and we want participants to be aware of the physical requirements involved. By registering for a Smithsonian Journeys tour, the participant certifies that he/she is physically fit and does not have a condition that would limit mobility or trip participation. Participant further certifies that he/she does not have any mental, physical, or other condition or disability that would create a hazard for him/herself or other participants. For Tours that take place at higher elevations (above 5,000 feet), participant certifies that he/she does not suffer from a respiratory, cardiac or circulatory disorder. Participant must notify tour operator of any medical issues well before departure. We reserve the right in our sole discretion to accept, decline to accept, or remove any participant on a Tour at any time during the Tour. In the event of removal from a Tour, refunds are not given. Hospital facilities or appropriate medical facilities or doctors are often unavailable and evacuation can be prolonged, difficult, and expensive. We assume no liability regarding provision of medical care. Participants will receive appropriate health information and provide the tour operator with his/her medical history and any dietary restrictions as requested on the Personal Information Form. On certain designated Tours, a Physician Certificate must be signed by the participant’s physician and returned to us within 30 days after the participant receives it.

Each tour carries an activity rating from Level 1- Level 5. For the most satisfying experience (and in fairness to your fellow travelers), please carefully review the itinerary and physical requirements for your specific trip. If you have questions about the physical demands of your itinerary, call us at 833-254-6678.

Please be aware that healthcare standards, facilities, and services abroad may be different or even inadequate for treating certain health conditions.  It is essential that you inform tour operator in writing 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 Program 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, and services for any stated in the itinerary. We will not be responsible for providing any reimbursement for delays in the Tour due to bad weather, trail conditions, river levels, road conditions, transportation delays, or government intervention.

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. Smithsonian Journeys and the tour operator reserve the right to substitute motorcoach transportation using hotels, inns or lodges for cruise accommodations if necessary due to weather, water conditions or levels, other events of force majeure, mechanical, or other conditions beyond their control.

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

Accommodations (hotels, lodges, tents, etc.) are always reserved for single participants, however, the number 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 to share with you. If 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 either before or after the tour. Our tour operator will work with you on these arrangements, dependent upon space availability. Your pre-tour bulletins will further explain all options.

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.

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.

Responsibility Statement

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 travelers 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, and safety of our travelers.

The Smithsonian Institution and its designated tour operator also reserve the right, without penalty, to withdraw the tour, 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.

Responsibilities of Participants

Participant is responsible for understanding the conditions as described in the Tour Itinerary and selecting a Tour in consultation with us that is appropriate to his/her interests and abilities. In addition, the participant should prepare for the Tour by reading the Tour Itinerary and supplemental Tour information in the pre-Tour materials and bringing the appropriate clothing and equipment as advised in those materials. The participant should also consult his or her physician to determine his/her suitability for the Tour and to discuss any over the counter or prescription medicines he/she should consider taking in the case of Tours which travel to higher altitudes. Screening for fitness (for Tours rated “Level 4 or Level 5”) is made during the confirmation of booking. In addition, we strongly urge all participants to review any State Department warnings, alerts, advisories, and destination specific information at www.travel.state.gov as well as specific health information for their destination at www.cdc.gov.