Explore this land of dramatic contrasts, from vast deserts and snowcapped mountains to ancient ruins and colorful souks.

Starting at: $5,679 * Includes airfare, taxes & all fees Make a Reservation Ask Us A Question or Call 855-330-1542
 A colorful Moroccan <i>souk</i>  Hassan II Mosque, Casablanca  Ait ben Haddou  Traditional spices in a Moroccan bazaar  Traditional tile decoration in Morocco  Decorative Moroccan archway  Djemaa el-Fna, Marrakech  Smithsonian travelers relax on the sand dunes. Credit: Amy Kotkin  Courtyard of a madrassah in Fez  The distinctive minaret of Koutoubia Mosque, Marrakech

Splendors of Morocco

From Imperial Cities to the Sahara

14 days from $5,679 | includes airfare, taxes and all fees

Explore this land of dramatic contrasts, from vast deserts and snowcapped mountains to ancient ruins and colorful souks.

or Call 855-330-1542

Tour Details

TOUR BROCHURE

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WHAT OUR TRAVELERS SAY

This was an amazing trip to an exotic land. The Sahara alone is worth the trip, but to see Fez and the mountains on the same trip, in the same country is amazing. Truly a sublime experience that I will always treasure. 

- Melanie P.

Our trip wasn't a "trip" rather, it was an experience! Every logistical detail was attended to with complete professionalism. The quality of our accommodation, travel, and restaurants as well as entertainment and education was unrivaled. I have told all my friends how impressed I was with this experience! 

- Kristina P.

JOURNEYS DISPATCHES

See All Journeys Dispatches ››

Accommodations

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

La Tour Hassan

Rabat, Morocco

Dating to 1914, the 140-room La Tour Hassan represents Rabat's last surviving hotel to be constructed using traditional Moorish-Andalusian design. The citadel-style hotel stands inside a fortress wall at the center of the city and features three restaurants, three bars, fitness center with Jacuzzi, sauna, solarium, and outdoor pool. Air-conditioned rooms have private bath with hair dryer, in-room safe, mini-bar, Internet access, TV, and phone.

Number of nights: 2

Hotel Sahrai

Fez, Morocco

Opened in 2014, Hotel Sahrai is a contemporary hotel located on the southern hills overlooking the Fez medina, and a short drive from this UNESCO World Heritage Site.  Designed to resemble the architectural layout of the medina, the 50-room boutique hotel features a restaurant and bar, fitness center, Jacuzzi, spa with massage treatments, sauna, steam room, outdoor pool, tennis court, terrace, and laundry and dry cleaning services.  Air-conditioned guest rooms offer private bath with hair dryer, complimentary Wi-Fi Internet access, mini-bar, in-room safe, TV, and phone. 

Number of nights: 3

Le Palais du Désert Hotel

Erfoud, Morocco

Set on the outskirts of the city of Erfoud, this new 44-room kasbah-style hotel offers a traditional Moroccan desert setting surrounding a courtyard.  The hotel features two restaurants and bar, Internet access, laundry/dry cleaning services, full spa, health center, and an outdoor swimming pool.  Air-conditioned guest rooms have private bath with hair dryer, mini-bar, tea- and coffee-making facilities, TV, and phone.

Number of nights: 2

Le Berbere Palace

Ouarzazate, Morocco

A traditional Moroccan-style hotel, the Berbere Palace offers guests a host of contemporary amenities including three restaurants, two bars, Fitness Center, swimming pool, sauna, Turkish bath, tennis courts, terraced garden, and library. Air-conditioned guest rooms have private bath with hair dryer, mini-bar, Internet access, TV, and phone.

Number of nights: 1

Sofitel Marrakech Palais Imperial Hotel

Marrakech, Morocco

Sitting on the edge of the city at the foot of the High Atlas Mountains and within easy reach of the Medina and Djemaa el Fna Square, the Sofitel boasts three restaurants and a bar; Internet access; laundry and dry cleaning services; ATM; fitness center with gym, Jacuzzi, sauna, and solarium; Turkish bath; and two outdoor pools. Air-conditioned guestrooms have private bath with hairdryer, terrace or balcony, in-room safe, mini-bar, TV, and phone.

Number of nights: 3

Hyatt Regency Casablanca

Casablanca, Morocco

This 255 guest room hotel is conveniently situated in the center of Casablanca in United Nations Square, close to the Old Medina, Habous Quarter, and the central market. The hotel has multiple restaurants and lounges, spa, and fitness center. Air-conditioned guest rooms have private bath with hair dryer, in-room safe, mini-bar, TV, phone, and internet access.

Number of nights: 1

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. 

Testimonials

WHAT OUR TRAVELERS SAY

This was an amazing trip to an exotic land. The Sahara alone is worth the trip, but to see Fez and the mountains on the same trip, in the same country is amazing. Truly a sublime experience that I will always treasure. 

- Melanie P.

Our trip wasn't a "trip" rather, it was an experience! Every logistical detail was attended to with complete professionalism. The quality of our accommodation, travel, and restaurants as well as entertainment and education was unrivaled. I have told all my friends how impressed I was with this experience! 

- Kristina P.
Reading List
A Year in Marrakesh
By: Peter Mayne
Peter Mayne (1908-1979) is to Morocco what Peter Mayle is to Provence or Lawrence Durrell to Greece. This 1953 classic in a new edition captures the very essence of the people and place. Having already learned to appreciate Muslim life when he was in Pakistan, Mayne bought a house in the labyrinthine back streets of Marrakesh. He wanted to settle there, not as a privileged visitor in a hotel or grand villa, but as one of the inhabitants. He learned their language, made friends, took part in their festivals, and wrote their letters. This is not a travel book in the accepted sense of the word-it is a record of personal experience in a region of foreign life well beyond the tourist's eye. Mayne contrives in a deceptively simple prose to disseminate in the air of an English November the spicy odors of North Africa; he has turned, for an hour, smog to shimmering sunlight, woven a texture of extraordinary charm.
Dreams of Trespass: Tales of a Harem Girlhood
By: Fatima Mernissi
”I was born in a harem in 1940 in Fez, Morocco...” So begins Fatima Mernissi in this exotic and rich narrative of a childhood behind the iron gates of a domestic harem. In Dreams of Trespass, Mernissi weaves her own memories with the dreams and memories of the women who surrounded her in the courtyard of her youth—women who, deprived of access to the world outside, recreated it from sheer imagination. Dreams of Trespass is the provocative story of a girl confronting the mysteries of time and place, gender and sex in the recent Muslim world.
Morocco - Culture Smart!: The Essential Guide to Customs & Culture (Simple Guides)
By: Jillian York
Morocco is a land of spectacular scenery, with a rich history, and heady with tantalizing scents and colorful sights. The call of the muezzin seems to draw people from every corner of the globe. In 1956 Morocco gained independence from French colonial rule and was jolted into the 20th century. Today it is a country in transition—a unique blend of Arab, African, and European ways of life. The teeming cities have an air of sophistication and joie de vivre, but life in rural areas has stayed much the same. And while the cities are highly westernized, tradition and religion still play a vital role in the everyday life of most people. With rapid change came problems. Lack of opportunity and high unemployment resulted in a “brain drain” as educated Moroccans made their way abroad, and a fundamentalist interpretation of Islam started gaining ground among the urban poor. Even so, as technology becomes widespread and the world shrinks further, Morocco today is coming into its own. Culture Smart! Morocco describes the way the country’s past has shaped its present, advising tourists and business travelers on what to expect and how to behave in different situations.
DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Morocco
By: DK Travel
Explore Morocco's busy city streets, historic mosques, and delicious food. Discover the different regions of Morocco, and see the beautiful culture firsthand through events, festivals, and local markets.Discover DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Morocco.   • Detailed itineraries and "don't-miss" destination highlights at a glance.    • Illustrated cutaway 3-D drawings of important sights.    • Floor plans and guided visitor information for major museums.    • Guided walking tours, local drink and dining specialties to try, things to do, and places to eat, drink, and shop by area.    • Area maps marked with sights.    • Detailed city maps include street finder indexes for easy navigation.    • Insights into history and culture to help you understand the stories behind the sights.    • Hotel and restaurant listings highlight DK Choice special recommendations. With hundreds of full-color photographs, hand-drawn illustrations, and custom maps that illuminate every page, DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Morocco truly shows you this country 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.DK Eyewitness Travel Guides: the most maps, photographs, and illustrations of any guide.
Michelin Morocco Map No. 959 (Michelin Maps & Atlases)
By: Michelin Travel Publications
An annually updated road map of Morocco, covering the major road networks across the country. Scale: 1/1,000,000 - 1cm=10km Legend/Key in five languages
Lonely Planet Moroccan Arabic Phrasebook & Dictionary
By: Lonely Planet, Dan Bacon, Bichr Andjar, Abdennabi Benchehda
Lonely Planet: The world's leading travel guide publisher With Lonely Planet's Moroccan Arabic Phrasebook, let no barriers - language or culture - get in your way. Our phrasebooks give you a comprehensive mix of practical and social words and phrases in more than 120 languages. Chat with the locals and discover their culture - a guaranteed way to enrich your travel experience. Order the right meal with our menu decoder Never get stuck for words with our 3500-word two-way dictionary We make language easy with shortcuts, key phrases & common Q&As Feel at ease, with essential tips on culture & manners Coverage includes: Moroccan Arabic, Berber, French Authors: Written and researched by Lonely Planet, Dan Bacon, Bichr Andjar, and Abdennabi Benchehda. About Lonely Planet: Started in 1973, Lonely Planet has become the world's leading travel guide publisher with guidebooks to every destination on the planet, as well as an award-winning website, a suite of mobile and digital travel products, and a dedicated traveller community. Lonely Planet's mission is to enable curious travellers to experience the world and to truly get to the heart of the places they find themselves in. TripAdvisor Travelers' Choice Awards 2012 and 2013 winner in Favorite Travel Guide category 'Lonely Planet guides are, quite simply, like no other.' -The New York Times 'Lonely Planet. It's on everyone's bookshelves; it's in every traveller's hands. It's on mobile phones. It's on the Internet. It's everywhere, and it's telling entire generations of people how to travel the world.' -Fairfax Media (Australia)
Tangier: City of the Dream (Tauris Parke Paperbacks)
By: Iain Finlayson
Postcards From Marrakesh: Recipes from the Heart of Morocco
By: Andy Harris
Postcards From Marrakesh is a celebration of the subtle aromas and colorful allure of Morocco. Andy Harris gathers over 140 authentic recipes from the spice stores of the medina to the hustle and bustle of the Djemaa El-Fna food stalls, covering all aspects of Moroccan cuisine, from breakfasts and snacks to tagines, roasts, and desserts.Be inspired by the array of flavors, from luscious slow-cooked Méchoui lamb to delicate pomegranate sorbet and mint tea jelly. Complemented by stunning photographs, Andy also includes useful hints on discovering this city and its food, along with personal, handwritten vignettes. Postcards From Marrakesh is a sumptuous book that captures the soul of this remarkable and unique city.
Morocco: The Islamist Awakening and Other Challenges
By: Marvine Howe
In Morocco, Marvine Howe, a former correspondent for The New York Times, presents an incisive and comprehensive review of the Moroccan kingdom and its people, past and present. She provides a vivid and frank portrait of late King Hassan, whom she knew personally and credits with laying the foundations of a modern, pro-Western state and analyzes the pressures his successor, King Mohammed VI has come under to transform the autocratic monarchy into a full-fledged democracy. Howe addresses emerging issues and problems--equal rights for women, elimination of corruption and correction of glaring economic and social disparities--and asks the fundamental question: can this ancient Muslim kingdom embrace western democracy in an era of deepening divisions between the Islamic world and the West?
Living in Style: Morocco
By: Andreas von Einsiedel, Julia Leeb
In the 1960s Morocco was a hot destination for hippies who tripped out on the magic of North Africa. Today, the international jet set meets in Marrakech. The old-world charms of Morocco and a modern lifestyle are perfectly compatible as this stunning volume proves. Featured interiors showcase living areas that seamlessly flow, lush green courtyards, and richly ornamented decor. Despite the eclectic details, the rooms never seem too busy; they exude a peace and warmth that accommodate contemporary design elements as well. Photographers Andreas von Einsiedel and Julia Leeb have captured this unforgettable atmosphere in Living in Style Morocco.
A History of Modern Morocco
By: Susan Gilson Miller
Morocco is notable for its stable and durable monarchy, its close ties with the West, its vibrant cultural life, and its centrality to regional politics. This book, by distinguished historian, Susan Gilson Miller, offers a richly documented survey of modern Moroccan history. The author's original and astute interpretations of the events, ideas, and personalities that inform contemporary political life are testimony to her scholarship and long association with the country. Arguing that pragmatism rather than ideology has shaped the monarchy's response to crisis, the book begins with the French invasion of Algeria in 1830 and Morocco's abortive efforts at reform, the duel with colonial powers and the loss of independence in 1912, the burdens and benefits of France's forty-four year dominion, and the stunning success of the nationalist movement leading to independence in 1956. In the post-independence era, the book traces the monarchy's gradual monopolization of power and the resulting political paralysis, ending with the last years of Hassan II's reign, when Moroccan society experienced a sudden and radical opening. A postscript brings events up to 2012, covering topics such as Morocco's "war on terror," the détente between the monarchy and the Islamists, and the impact of the Arab Spring. This concise, readable book will inform and enthrall students coming to the history of North Africa for the first time, and also those in other disciplines searching for the background to present-day events in the region.
A Traveller's History of North Africa
By: Barnaby Rogerson
Provides a history of Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria, and Libya, from their earliest beginnings through the twentieth century.
The Food of Morocco
By: Paula Wolfert
Winner of the James Beard Foundation's Lifetime Achievement Award“A cookbook by Paula Wolfert is cause for celebration. Ms. Wolfert may be America’s most knowledgeable food person and her books are full of insight, passion and brilliance.”—Anthony Dias Blue, CBS Radio, NY“I think she’s one of the finest and most influential food writers in this country…one of the leading lights in contemporary gastronomy.”—Craig ClaibornePaula Wolfert, the undisputed queen of Mediterranean cooking, provides food lovers with the definitive guide to The Food of Morocco. Lavishly photographed and packed with tantalizing recipes to please the modern palate, The Food of Morocco provides helpful preparation techniques for chefs, home cooks, and any serious student of the culinary arts and culture. This is the perfect companion to Wolfert’s classic, Couscous and Other Good Food from Morocco—a 2008 inductee into the James Beard Cookbook Hall of Fame—and fans of Claudia Roden, Elizabeth David, Martha Rose Schulman, and Poopa Dweck will be delighted by this extraordinary culinary journey across this colorful and exhilarating land.
How to Read Islamic Carpets (The Metropolitan Museum of Art - How to Read)
By: Walter Denny
Carpets made in the “Rug Belt”―an area that includes Morocco, North Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia, and northern India―have been a source of fascination and collecting since the 13th century. This engaging and accessible book explores the history, design techniques, materials, craftsmanship, and socioeconomic contexts of these works, promoting a better understanding and appreciation of these frequently misunderstood pieces. Fifty-five examples of Islamic carpets are illustrated with new photographs and revealing details. The lively texts guide readers, teaching them “how to read” clues present in the carpets. Walter B. Denny situates these carpets within the cultural and social realm of their production, be it a nomadic encampment, a rural village, or an urban workshop. This is an essential guide for students, collectors, and professionals who want to understand the art of the Islamic carpet. 
A House in Fez: Building a Life in the Ancient Heart of Morocco
By: Suzanna Clarke
The Medina -- the Old City -- of Fez is the best-preserved, medieval walled city in the world. Inside this vibrant Moroccan community, internet cafes and mobile phones coexist with a maze of donkey-trod alleyways, thousand-year-old sewer systems, and Arab-style houses, gorgeous with intricate, if often shabby, mosaic work. While vacationing in Morocco, Suzanna Clarke and her husband, Sandy, are inspired to buy a dilapidated, centuries-old riad in Fez with the aim of restoring it to its original splendor, using only traditional craftsmen and handmade materials. So begins a remarkable adventure that is bewildering, at times hilarious, and ultimately immensely rewarding. A House in Fez chronicles their meticulous restoration, but it is also a journey into Moroccan customs and lore and a window into the lives of its people as friendships blossom. When the riad is finally returned to its former glory, Suzanna finds she has not just restored an old house, but also her soul.
Sahara Unveiled: A Journey Across the Desert (Vintage Departures)
By: William Langewiesche
It is as vast as the United States and so arid that most bacteria cannot survive there. Its loneliness is so extreme it is said that migratory birds will land beside travelers, just for the company. William Langewiesche came to the Sahara to see it as its inhabitants do, riding its public transport, braving its natural and human dangers, depending on its sparse sustenance and suspect hospitality. From his journey, which took him across the desert’s hyperarid core from Algiers to Dakar, he has crafted a contemporary classic of travel writing.   In a narrative studded with gemlike discourses on subjects that range from the physics of sand dunes to the history of the Tuareg nomads, Langewiesche introduces us to the Sahara’s merchants, smugglers, fixers, and expatriates. Eloquent and precise, Sahara Unveiled blends history and reportage, anthropology and anecdote, into an unforgettable portrait of the world’s most romanticized yet most forbidding desert.
In Arabian Nights: A Caravan of Moroccan Dreams
By: Tahir Shah
Named one of Time magazine’s Ten Best Books of the Year, Tahir Shah’s The Caliph’s House was hailed by critics and compared to such travel classics as A Year in Provence and Under the Tuscan Sun. Now Shah takes us deeper into the real Casablanca to uncover mysteries hidden for centuries from Western eyes. In this entertaining jewel of a book, Tahir Shah sets off across Morocco on a bold new adventure worthy of the mythical Arabian Nights. As he wends his way through the labyrinthine medinas of Fez and Marrakech, traverses the Sahara sands, and samples the hospitality of ordinary Moroccans, Tahir collects a dazzling treasury of traditional wisdom stories, gleaned from the heritage of A Thousand and One Nights, which open the doors to layers of culture most visitors hardly realize exist. From master masons who labor only at night to Sufi wise men who write for soap operas, In Arabian Nights takes us on an unforgettable, offbeat, and utterly enchanted journey.
In Morocco (Stanfords Travel Classics)
By: Edith Wharton
Edith Wharton journeyed to Morocco in the final days of the First World War, at a time when there was no guidebook to the country.[i]In Morocco[/i] is the classic account of her expedition. A seemingly unlikely chronicler, Wharton, more usually associated with American high society, explored the country for a month by military vehicle. Travelling from Rabat and Fez to Moulay Idriss and Marrakech, she recorded her encounters with Morocco's people, traditions and ceremonies, capturing a country at a moment of transition from an almost unknown, road less empire to a popular tourist destination. Her descriptions of the places she visited - mosques, palaces, ruins, markets and harems - are typically observant and brim with color and spirit, whilst her sketches of the country's history and art are rigorous but accessible.This is a wonderful account by one of the most celebrated novelists and travel writers of the 20th century and is a fascinating portrayal of an extraordinary country. Stanfords Travel Classics feature some of the finest historical travel writing in the English language, with authors hailing from both sides of the Atlantic. Every title has been rest in a contemporary typeface and has been printed to a high quality production specification, to create a series that every lover of fine travel literature will want to collect and keep.
Spider's House: A Novel
By: Paul Bowles
Set in Fez, Morocco, during that country's 1954 nationalist uprising, The Spider's House is perhaps Paul Bowles's most beautifully subtle novel, richly descriptive of its setting and uncompromising in its characterizations. Exploring once again the dilemma of the outsider in an alien society, and the gap in understanding between cultures—recurrent themes of Paul Bowles's writings—The Spider's House is dramatic, brutally honest, and shockingly relevant to today's political situation in the Middle East and elsewhere.
Sheltering Sky
By: Paul Bowles
A beautiful 65th anniversary paperback edition of the landmark literary work by acclaimed author Paul Bowles.In this classic work of psychological terror, Paul Bowles examines the ways in which Americans apprehend an alien culture—and the ways in which their incomprehension destroys them. The story of three American travelers adrift in the cities and deserts of North Africa after World War II, The Sheltering Sky is at once merciless and heartbreaking in its compassion. It etches the limits of human reason and intelligence—perhaps even the limits of human life—when they touch the unfathomable emptiness and impassive cruelty of the desert.
Travel Insurance

For the convenience of our travelers, Smithsonian Journeys includes an on-tour Provided Insurance Plan through Travel Guard with the price of your tour. This travel insurance plan includes On-tour medical evacuation insurance (up to $100,000), emergency medical expense coverage (up to $25,000), dental expense coverage (up to $500), travel medical assistance and worldwide travel assistance (U.S. Residents only, not including U.S. Territories). Travel must be more than 100 miles from the Insured’s primary residence.

In addition, you may want to consider purchasing travel insurance to protect your investment from unforeseen events, such as missed flight connections, lost luggage, and cancelled plans. There are many plans you can consider. For your convenience, you may visit www.TravelGuard.com/SmithsonianJourneys or call Travel Guard at 1.800.208.6142 to learn more.

Terms and conditions

Mission

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

What Is Included in the Tour Cost

  • Expertise of a Smithsonian Journeys expert, tour director and local guides throughout the tour
  • All gratuities for the expert, tour director, on-tour guides and drivers
  • On-tour medical evacuation insurance (up to $100,000), emergency medical expense coverage (up to $25,000), dental expense coverage (up to $500), travel medical assistance and worldwide travel assistance (U.S. residents only)
  • Pre-tour information, including a reading list
  • Transfers and luggage handling abroad (for air inclusive guests)
  • All on-tour transportation including flights within the itinerary, unless otherwise noted
  • All accommodations for the duration of the tour
  • Meals, as noted in the itinerary (B-breakfast; L-lunch; D-dinner)
  • All sightseeing and visits as noted in each itinerary
  • Airfare to/from your departure city, airline taxes, surcharges, and fees, which are subject to change until final payment is made (for air inclusive guests only)

What Is Not Included in the Tour Cost

  • Passport and all visa fees and photos; immunization(s); and any other travel documentation fees as required
  • Optional travel insurance, including cancellation/delay/lost baggage insurance (learn more at TravelGuard.com/SmithsonianJourneys)
  • Personal items, unless otherwise stated, such as wine, liquors, a-la-carte orders
  • Expenses incurred by our tour operator in making any individual travel arrangements in conjunction with the tour
  • Airline baggage and other airline fees and associated taxes, unless noted in Tour description
  • Transfers and baggage handling abroad when purchasing “land only” package
  • Communication Charges (e.g.: phone, internet, etc.)
  • Other items noted as optional or not specifically mentioned as included
  • Airfare from your hometown to your departure city (for air inclusive guests only).

Registration

To submit a reservation request, please use our secure online system at SmithsonianJourneys.org or contact a Cultural Travel Specialist, at 1-855-330-1542 Mon-Fri 9 am - 7 pm; Sat 9 am – 4 pm (Eastern Time). Submitting an online request does not guarantee space on a tour.  You will be notified by a Reservation Specialist of your status once your request has been received and processed.  Please note: No new registrations can be accepted within 30 days of most tours. Some tours are more restrictive; please see individual tour pages for these exceptions.

To complete your reservation, the following information is required.
In accordance with the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) Secure Flight program, for all international tours, passport information is required, including the following:   Full name as it appears on your passport, Date of birth, and Gender (for further information, please visit www.tsa.gov).

For tours that include round-trip international airfare: If you provide incorrect information to the ticketing agent, or if you use a different passport than originally cited, you will be responsible for charges associated with the ticket’s reissue.

Payments

A deposit of $500 per person for a land tour reservation, unless otherwise noted, is required to reserve a space on a tour.  All payments may be made by credit card or check to the tour operator.  Deposits are applied to final payment of the tour price.

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

Late Registration

Any registration received within 95 days (180 for Alaska) of departure is considered “on-request” and is subject to specific confirmation. Some tours are more restrictive. Payment in full must be made immediately by credit card, or by check sent by overnight mail to the tour operator, before confirmation is possible.

Once confirmed, cancellation penalties apply as set forth below. If confirmation is not possible, all payments made will be refunded in full. Late registration confirmation procedures apply to any participant who is transferred from the wait list to the tour within the designated late registration period for that tour.

For additional information, please contact a Cultural Travel Specialist, at 1-855-330-1542 Mon-Fri 9 am - 7 pm; Sat 9 am – 4 pm (Eastern Time), or SJReservations@si.edu and SmithsonianJourneys.org.

A Note about Costs

All prices are based on two persons sharing a room/cabin. All prices are quoted in U.S. dollars. Tour costs are based upon current airfares, tariffs, currency values, and on the basis of a presumptive minimum number of participants. While we will do everything possible to maintain the listed prices, they are subject to change.   Due to fluctuations in oil prices, a fuel surcharge may be added to your tour fee (e.g. internal flights, cruises, etc.).  Details and costs will be advised prior to departure.

Wait List

If the tour of your choice is fully subscribed, you may choose to be placed on a wait list by contacting a Reservation Specialist at 1-855-330-1542 Monday - Friday 9 a.m. - 6 p.m. (Eastern Time), at SJReservations@si.edu or at www.SmithsonianJourneys.org/Contact. Individuals on the wait list will be contacted if space becomes available and can inquire about tour status by contacting a Reservation Specialist. If you choose to withdraw from a wait list, please notify us.  

Cancellation and Refund Policy

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

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

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

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

Smithsonian Journeys recommends that all participants purchase travel insurance.

If your flights are delayed or if for any reason you are prevented from joining the tour on the scheduled departure date and time, or if you choose to leave the tour early, we cannot provide a full or partial refund or credit toward a future tour.

Smithsonian Journeys reserves the right to cancel any tour due to low enrollment and when a U.S. Department of State Travel Warning is issued for the destination.

Air Service

For tours that include round-trip international airfare, rates are based on economy class from designated departure cities as shown.  Airfares from other cities are available upon request.  Airline upgrades at additional cost may be available on request for the international portion of your flight.  If an air schedule requires an overnight stay in a gateway city, the cost of the overnight will be at your expense.  For tours that include round-trip international airfare, the tour operator  will be happy to help with arrangements. Please note that seat assignments for your international flights is usually done at airport check-in. The tour operator is unable to guarantee any seat assignments.

When planning our tours that include international round-trip airfare, the tour operator contracts with those airlines that they feel provide the level of service, routings, and value necessary for your entire trip. While another airline may offer a more direct connection, it may be at a price unavailable at the lower group rates that enable us to offer you the best possible travel value. Please note that frequent flyer mileage credits are issued at the discretion of the airline(s) and may not be available for the flights on your tour. If you prefer to make your own airline reservations, “land only” pricing is available on most of our tours.

Air Service/Tickets Purchased Independently of the Tour

International and domestic air schedules are subject to change at any time. Tours can also be canceled due to low enrollments. If you make your own airline reservations, we recommend that you do not purchase nonrefundable tickets or tickets with high penalties for changes. 

We urge you to check airline cancellation penalties before purchasing airline tickets since international departure times and flights can change. Neither the Smithsonian Institution nor the tour operator accepts liability for cancellation penalties related to domestic or international airline tickets purchased independently in conjunction with a tour.

Travel Insurance- Cancellation/Delay/Lost Baggage

Smithsonian Journeys recommends that all participants purchase travel insurance.  Learn more at TravelGuard.com/SmithsonianJourneys.

Travel Documents and Information

Participants are responsible for obtaining any documents required for their participation in the tour such as a valid passport, all visas, vaccination certificates, and any other documents. If your tour requires a visa or other entry documents, we will send you the appropriate information after you make a reservation.  Failure to obtain documents does not negate the terms and conditions, and any extra costs incurred for rerouting or delay due to travel without the necessary documents will be the participant’s responsibility. If you are not a U.S. citizen, please contact your embassy or consulate to ensure you obtain the proper documentation.

For all international departures, a passport valid for at least six months after the completion of your tour, and with at least six blank visa pages, is required for U.S. citizens on all tours. The U.S. Department of State will no longer add visa pages into U.S. passports beginning January 1, 2016. The decision to discontinue this service was made to enhance the security of the passport and to abide by international passport standards. Beginning January 1, 2016, applicants in need of additional pages in their valid passports must obtain a new passport. For more information on how or where to apply, please visit Travel.State.Gov/ApplyEarly or call the National Passport Information Center toll-free at 1-877-487-2778/1-888-874-7793 (TTY/TTD).

For more information about traveling to destinations abroad, we recommend the “Learn about your destination” section on the U.S. Department of State travel website www.travel.state.gov.  For medical information, we recommend contacting the Centers for Disease Control at (877) FYI-TRIP or www.cdc.gov/travel

Physical and Medical Considerations

To enjoy the travel experience, participants should be in good physical and mental health. All tours require an element of walking (up to two miles per day over uneven terrain) and of climbing stairs, often without handrails. Participants should have sufficient stamina to keep pace with an active group of participants on long days of touring. If you have any questions about your ability to participate in a tour, please call us at 855-330-1542. Any physical condition, diet, or special request for accommodation must be identified in writing on the Personal Information Form when the reservation is made. Some tours have additional information regarding physical and medical considerations, which may be discussed with the Reservation Specialist at 855-330-1542.

Please be aware that health care standards, facilities, and services abroad may be different or even inadequate for treating certain health conditions.  It is essential that you inform us in writing (on the provided Personal Information Form) of any existing condition for which you may require medical attention or accommodation during the tour. We will make reasonable efforts to accommodate the needs of our participants; however, services of a personal nature cannot be expected or guaranteed. By forwarding the deposit for pre-registration or registration in full, you affirm that you do not have any physical or other limitations that would create a hazard for yourself or other participants or would require adjustments to the tour for other participants.

Itinerary or Tour Modifications

Smithsonian Journeys strives to improve tour itineraries and their features. If improvements can be made, or unforeseen circumstances beyond our control make changes necessary, at our sole discretion, we reserve the right to vary itineraries and to substitute elements of the tour.  These elements include, but are not limited to:  hotels, staff, speakers, experts, and services for any stated in the itinerary.

Every effort will be made to carry out the tour as planned but alterations may still occur after the final itinerary has been sent to you. Please note that weather and other conditions may force changes to the advertised sailing schedule on cruise tours. The ship’s captain has the authority to change the ship’s schedule.

Hotel Accommodations

Smithsonian Journeys chooses hotels based on a combination of location, service, atmosphere, and price. On adventure tours and tours in out-of-the-way places, best-available hotels are used.  Tour prices are based on two persons sharing a room with a bath.

Singles and Roommates

Hotel rooms are always reserved for single participants, however, the number of single rooms available on a tour may be limited. Therefore we recommend that you register early. Please note that a single supplement will most likely apply for a single room.  If you are traveling alone and wish to share a room/cabin, we will do our best to find someone of the same gender and smoking preference to share with you. If you are matched with a non-smoking roommate, it is mutually agreed that you cannot smoke in your hotel room/cabin. When a roommate cannot be found, a single supplement will be charged. Please note that the single rooms in many foreign hotels may be smaller than those to which you are accustomed.

Children

All tours except family journeys, are designed for adults. Some may be suitable for children 16 and older. Regardless of age, children must pay full price unless otherwise noted, moreover, a parent or guardian must accompany those under 18.

Special Travel Arrangements

Participants may wish to extend their stay in the group hotel after the tour. Our tour operators will work with you on these arrangements, dependent upon space availability.  . For participants using air, only post tour extensions are offered. Tour operator may be able to assist land only participants with pre-tour arrangements.

Should you decide not to participate in certain parts of the tour or use certain goods included in the tour, no refunds will be made for those unused parts of the tour or goods.

Dispute Resolution

If a complaint arises, the participant should first inform a member of the on-tour staff, so that the staff can attempt to rectify the matter. If the issue remains unresolved, the individual should submit the complaint in writing to Smithsonian Journeys within 30 days of the completion of the tour.

The Smithsonian Journeys staff will make a good faith effort to resolve any dispute.  In the event that the parties are unable to resolve the dispute, the parties may agree to use a method of non-binding Alternative Dispute Resolution to resolve the dispute.  In the event that the parties are unable to agree on the method of Alternative Dispute Resolution to use, or in the event that either party is dissatisfied with the outcome of that alternative dispute resolution method, such efforts shall not constitute a waiver by either party of the right to file suit.

Photography and Video

Participants on tour may be photographed or recorded (audio and video) for the educational and promotional purposes of the Smithsonian Institution and Smithsonian authorized third parties.  This content may be used in marketing publications and posted on websites to promote Smithsonian Journeys without compensation to the participant. Participants who prefer that their name, voice and/or image not be used must notify us in writing prior to the beginning of the tour.

Smoking Policy

 For the comfort of all participants, we ask that there be no smoking during all group activities, including excursions and meals. On certain cruises, there is no smoking aboard the ship. Your pre-tour bulletins will provide further information.

READ CAREFULLY: RESPONSIBILITY STATEMENT AND LIABILITY DISCLAIMER

Smithsonian Journeys tours are organized and administered by professional tour operators hired as independent contractors. The use of designated tour operators allows the Smithsonian to offer participants a wide array of educational travel opportunities. The tour operator acts only as an agent for the respective suppliers by making arrangements for transportation, accommodations, and other services. Neither the Smithsonian Institution nor the tour operator shall be held liable for personal injury, death, property damage or accident, delay or irregularity arising out of any act or omission of these suppliers. The Smithsonian Institution and the tour operator reserve the right, without penalty, to make changes in the published itinerary whenever, in their judgment, conditions warrant, or if they deem it necessary for the comfort, convenience, or safety of tour participants.

The Smithsonian Institution and its designated tour operator also reserve the right, without penalty, to withdraw the tour announced, to decline to accept any person as a participant in a tour, or to require any participant to withdraw from the tour at any time (including, but not limited for inappropriate, or offensive behavior) when such action is determined by tour staff to be in the best interests of the health, safety or general welfare of the tour group or the individual participant.

Dates, schedules, tour details, and costs, although provided in good faith based on information available at the time of publication on the website, in the brochure or catalog, are subject to change and revision.

AS A CONDITION OF ACCEPTANCE OF ANY APPLICATION, EACH APPLICANT MUST AGREE TO THE STATEMENT SET FORTH BELOW:

The undersigned has read carefully the Responsibility Statement and Liability Disclaimer set forth above, the schedule of activities for this tour, as well as the terms and conditions of application and participation as set forth in the tour materials, and recognizes and accepts any risk associated with the tour and the conditions, including the refund policy, set forth in the tour materials. The undersigned further acknowledges that there are many risks and uncertainties inherent in any travel tour, including but not limited to the hazards of various modes of transportation, forces of nature, acts or omissions of foreign governments, terrorism, war or insurrection, theft, illness, and damage to person or property due to the negligent acts or omissions of tour staff or others. In consideration of, and as part payment for, the right to participate in the tour, the undersigned, on behalf of himself, his dependents, heirs, executors, administrators and assigns, agrees to release the Smithsonian Institution, its Regents, officers, employees, representatives or agents, the United States, and the tour operator and its officers, employees and agents, from liability for personal injury, death, property damage or loss suffered by any person in connection with this tour, even if caused by the negligence (but not the reckless, willful, or fraudulent conduct) of tour staff or other related persons or entities. In addition, by registering for this tour, the applicant certifies that he or she is mentally and physically capable of full participation in this tour. By registering for a Smithsonian Journey, the participant agrees to the Responsibility Statement and Liability Disclaimer and the Terms and Conditions herein.