Explore Central and Eastern Europe on this comprehensive journey to five distinctly different and fascinating nations: Austria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia.

Starting at: $5,297 * Includes airfare, taxes & all fees Make a Reservation Ask Us A Question or Call 855-330-1542
 Kraków's St. Mary's Basilica  Krakow's Main Square  Interior of St. Mary's Basilica, Kraków  Wawel Castle, Kraków  Poland's Wieliczka Salt Mines, a World Heritage site  Old Town Warsaw, a World Heritage Site  Budapest and the Danube  The Matthias Church, located on the Pest side of Budapest  Fishermen's Bastion, Budapest  Interior of Dohany Street Synagogue, Budapest  St. Stephen's Cathedral, Vienna  Vienna's State Opera House  Vienna's Schönbrunn Palace, a World Heritage site and the Habsburgs’ summer residence  Schönbrunn Palace outside Vienna  Prague and the Vltava River and historic Charles Bridge   The legendary Charles Bridge, Prague  Hradcany Hill with St. Vitus Cathedral, Prague  Gothic mosaic facade, St. Vitus Cathedral, Prague  Prague's Old Town Square  Jewish Ceremonial Hall, now part of the Jewish Museum, Prague

Old World Europe

Poland, Hungary, Austria, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic

16-17 days from $5,297 | includes airfare, taxes and all fees

Explore Central and Eastern Europe on this comprehensive journey to five distinctly different and fascinating nations: Austria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia.

or Call 855-330-1542

Tour Details

TOUR BROCHURE

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WHAT OUR TRAVELERS SAY

The capitals of Old World Europe tour was the most thought-provoking and emotionally intense tour I've ever experienced. It will live on in my memory after the others have faded.

- Sylvia L.

Our trip was an outstanding learning experience that came without the stress of planning and executing a 15-day tour through five countries. Smithsonian did everything for us!

- Tom M.

The Old World Europe tour gave us an intimate view of the history and culture of eastern Europe. We learned a lot and enjoyed every minute. 

- Kate H.

The total Smithsonian experience was excellent from the tour director to the hotels, itinerary, and logistics. We wouldn't hesitate to use Smithsonian again.

- Ken & Karen O.

JOURNEYS DISPATCHES

See All Journeys Dispatches ››

Accommodations

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

The Hilton Vienna

Vienna, Austria

The Hilton Vienna hotel is situated next to the famous Stadtpark in the heart of Austria’s capital, this luxury hotel in Vienna enjoys easy access to visit nearby Vienna attractions such as the world famous Opera House and the shopping hot spot of Kaertnerstrasse, both within close walking distance of this Vienna hotel. The bright and airy rooms have large, opening windows. Bathrooms all have hairdryers, 110 volt shaver plugs and separate shower and bath. 

Number of nights: 1

Polonia Palace

Warsaw, Poland

Opened more than 90 years ago, the French-style Polonia Palace Hotel preserves the unique characteristics of early 20th-century architecture while incorporating many contemporary features. The conveniently located hotel stands near the Palace of Culture and Science and numerous shopping areas. Hotel amenities include a restaurant, bar, Fitness Center, and sauna. Each of the 206 air-conditioned rooms come fully equipped with a private bath with hair dryer, in-room safe, mini-bar, TV, and phone.

Number of nights: 2

Hotel Pod Roza

Krakow, Poland

Located in the center of Old Town on beloved Florianska Street, this is Krakow's oldest hotel. In-deed, the neo-classical building's origins date to the 14th century as a private home and it became a hotel in the 17th century. The hotel offers a restaurant, café, bar, currency exchange, and shops. Your room features contemporary amenities, including private bath with hair dryer, mini-bar, Internet access, TV, and phone.

Number of nights: 3

Hilton Budapest

Budapest, Hungary

A Gothic building incorporating part of a 16th-century Jesuit college and a 13th-century monastery, the Budapest Hilton is located in the Castle District of Buda, near Fisherman's Bastion and Matthias Church. Hotel amenities include two restaurants and a lounge, Fitness Center, casino, and elevator service. Your climate-controlled room has a private bath with hair dryer, in-room safe, mini-bar, Internet access, TV, and phone.

Number of nights: 3

Hilton Vienna Plaza

Vienna, Austria

The Vienna Plaza is located on the famous Ringstrasse, opposite the Vienna Stock Exchange and within walking distance of the city center. Among its facilities are a restaurant, bar, health club, sauna, massage treatments, whirlpool, solarium, and elevator and laundry service. Your air-conditioned room has a private bathroom with hair dryer, mini-bar, in-room safe, Internet access, TV, and phone.

Number of nights: 3

Hotel Devín

Bratislava, Slovakia (Slovak Republic)

Set overlooking the Danube in the heart of Bratislava, the elegant Hotel Devín offers modern comforts in a historic, traditional setting.  The hotel’s amenities include an upscale French restaurant, lobby bar, fitness center with heated indoor pool, full spa, traditional Thai massage service, squash court, laundry and dry cleaning service, and complimentary WiFi internet access.  Air-conditioned guest rooms include private bath, in-room safe, coffee- and tea-making facilities, minibar, TV, and phone. 

Number of nights: 1

Grand Hotel Bohemia

Prague, Czech Republic

Ideally located in the center of Prague next to Powder Tower and within walking distance of Old Town Square and Old Town Hall, the 78-room Grand Hotel Bohemia is just steps from Wenceslas Square. The hotel offers a restaurant, bar, and coffee shop. Air-conditioned guest rooms have private bath with hair dryer, in-room safe, mini-bar, Internet access, TV, and phone.

Number of nights: 3

Activity Level

Activity Level 2: Moderate


Expectations: One of our Classic Land Journeys, this tour features five countries in Central and Eastern Europe with visits to many cities, iconic sites, hidden gems. Although comprehensive, it's not rushed, but well paced and finely tuned. Expectations include longer touring days with many full-day motor coach excursions and six different hotels. Mostly full-day excursions from four to six hours, with seven afternoons at leisure and one free day in Budapest. Standing and walking for long periods of time during city tours, museum visits, and outdoor activities. Daily walks of up to three miles; walking over sometimes difficult terrain that includes cobblestones and city hills (especially in hilltowns), uneven pavement, stairs without handrails, and absence of elevators; longer walks to get to city centers where coaches are prohibited. There are three longer coach rides of approximately three to six and a half hours duration. 

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

Tour Extension

Berlin Post-Tour Extension 4 Days, 3 Nights 

Explore the cosmopolitan German capital – a city of art, culture, and history – as you wish. Your tour extension cost includes:

  • Rail transportation Prague/Berlin
  • Three (3) nights' accommodations at Hotel am Steinplatz (Superior First Class)
  • Meal inclusions: three (3) breakfasts
  • Berlin city orientation tour with local guide
  • Transfer from rail station and to airport

Testimonials

WHAT OUR TRAVELERS SAY

The capitals of Old World Europe tour was the most thought-provoking and emotionally intense tour I've ever experienced. It will live on in my memory after the others have faded.

- Sylvia L.

Our trip was an outstanding learning experience that came without the stress of planning and executing a 15-day tour through five countries. Smithsonian did everything for us!

- Tom M.

The Old World Europe tour gave us an intimate view of the history and culture of eastern Europe. We learned a lot and enjoyed every minute. 

- Kate H.

The total Smithsonian experience was excellent from the tour director to the hotels, itinerary, and logistics. We wouldn't hesitate to use Smithsonian again.

- Ken & Karen O.
Reading List
Budapest 1900: A Historical Portrait of a City and Its Culture
By: John Lukacs
"Lukacs's book is a lyrical, sometimes dazzling, never merely nostalgic evocation of a glorious period in the city's history. . . . {His} true sympathy lies . . . not with the famous expatriates, but with the writers and intellectuals who lived and died at home: the poets Endre Ady and Mihaly Babits; the novelists Ferenc Herczeg, Sandor Hunyady, Frigyes Karinthy, Dezso Kosztolanyi, Gyula Krudy, Kalman Mikszath, and Zsigmond Moricz; the political essayist DezsoSzabo; the playwright Erno Szep; the literary historian Antal Szerb; and others. . . . {John Lukacs} sets out to explain Hungarian literature to English-speaking readers. Though I have no idea whether or not he will succeed, few interpreters of Hungarian literature have made a more touching and eloquent attempt." -- The New York Review of Books
The Magic Lantern: The Revolution of '89 Witnessed in Warsaw, Budapest, Berlin, and Prague
By: Timothy Garton Ash
The Magic Lantern is one of those rare books that define a historic moment, written by a brilliant witness who was also a participant in epochal events. Whether covering Poland’s first free parliamentary elections—in which Solidarity found itself in the position of trying to limit the scope of its victory—or sitting in at the meetings of an unlikely coalition of bohemian intellectuals and Catholic clerics orchestrating the liberation of Czechoslovakia, Garton Ash writes with enormous sympathy and power.
A Nervous Splendor: Vienna 1888-1889
By: Frederic Morton
On January 30, 1889, at the champagne-splashed hight of the Viennese Carnival, the handsome and charming Crown Prince Rudolf fired a revolver at his teenaged mistress and then himself. The two shots that rang out at Mayerling in the Vienna Woods echo still.Frederic Morton, author of the bestselling Rothschilds, deftly tells the haunting story of the Prince and his city, where, in the span of only ten months, "the Western dream started to go wrong." In Rudolf's Vienna moved other young men with striking intellectual and artistic talents—and all as frustrated as the Prince. Among them were: young Sigmund Freud, Gustav Mahler, Theodor Herzl, Gustav Klimt, and the playwright Arthur Schnitzler, whose La Ronde was the great erotic drama of the fin de siecle. Morton studies these and other gifted young men, interweaving their fates with that of the doomed Prince and the entire city through to the eve of Easter, just after Rudolf's body is lowered into its permanent sarcophagus and a son named Adolf Hitler is born to Frau Klara Hitler.
Prague: A Traveler's Literary Companion (Traveler's Literary Companions) by Paul Wilson (1995) Paperback
By: Whereabouts Press
Will be shipped from US. Used books may not include companion materials, may have some shelf wear, may contain highlighting/notes, may not include CDs or access codes. 100% money back guarantee.
The Palgrave Concise Historical Atlas of Eastern Europe: Revised and Updated by Dennis P. Hupchick (2001-09-22)
By: Dennis P. Hupchick; Harold E. Cox;
The Habsburgs: Dynasty, Culture and Politics
By: Paula Sutter Fichtner
The death of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo in 1914 not only sparked the beginning of World War I―it also initiated the beginning of the end of the six-hundred-year-old Habsburg dynasty, which fell apart when the war ended, changing Europe forever. But how did the Habsburgs come to play such a decisive role in the fate of the continent? Paula Sutter Fichtner seeks to answer this question in this comprehensive account of the longest-lived European empire.   Tracing the origins of the house of Habsburg to the tenth century, Fichtner identifies the principal characters in the story and explores how they were able to hold together such a culturally diverse and multiethnic state for so many centuries. She takes account of the intertwining of culture, politics, and society, revealing the strategies that enabled the dynasty’s extraordinarily long life: its dazzling mix of cultural propaganda, public performances, and cunning political maneuvering. She points out the irony that one of the crowd-pleasing performances that had enabled the Habsburg success―visiting beds of the injured―led to Ferdinand’s death and the empire’s downfall. Breathing fresh life into the history of the Habsburg reign, this accessible and authoritative history charts one of the pivotal foundation stories of modern Europe.
The Kingdom of Auschwitz: 1940-1945
By: Otto Friedrich
A short and thoroughly accurate history of the Auschwitz concentration camp, this compelling book is authoritative in its factual details, devastating in its emotional impact.
Eastern Europe!: Everything You Need to Know About the History (and More) of a Region that Shaped Our World and Still Does
By: Tomek E. Jankowski
Eastern Europe! is a brief and concise (but informative) introduction to Eastern Europe and its myriad customs and history. When the legendary Romulus killed his brother Remus and founded the city of Rome in 753 BCE, Plovdiv -- today the second-largest city in Bulgaria -- was already thousands of years old. Indeed, London, Paris, Berlin, Vienna, Madrid, Brussels, Amsterdam are all are mere infants compared to Plovdiv. This is just one of the paradoxes that haunts and defines the New Europe, that part of Europe that was freed from Soviet bondage in 1989 which is at once both much older than the modern Atlantic-facing power centers of Western Europe while also being in some ways much younger than them. Even those knowledgeable about Western Europe often see Eastern Europe as terra incognita, with a sign on the border declaring "Here be monsters." This book is a gateway to understanding both what unites and separates Eastern Europeans from their Western brethren, and how this vital region has been shaped by, but has also left its mark on, Western Europe, Central Asia, the Middle East and North Africa. Ideal for students, businesspeople, and those who simply want to know more about where Grandma or Grandpa came from, Eastern Europe! is a user-friendly guide to a region that is all too often mischaracterized as remote, insular, and superstitious.Illustrations throughout include: 40 photos, 40 maps and 40 figures (tables, charts, etc.)
The Romani Gypsies
By: Yaron Matras
“Gypsies” have lived among Europeans since the Middle Ages. Yet Roms still seem exotic to Westerners, who often rely on fictional depictions for what they know, or think they know, about this much-misunderstood people. The Romani Gypsies challenges stereotypes that have long been the unwelcome travel companions of this community in Europe and the New World. Yaron Matras offers a perspective-changing account of who the Roms are, how they live today, and how they have survived over centuries.Descendants of Indian migrants, Roms began moving into western Europe in the 1300s, refugees of a collapsing Byzantine Empire. By the 1500s they had spread throughout Europe, working as itinerant smiths and toolmakers, healers and entertainers, and would soon reach the Americas. Often described as Egyptian―hence the name Gypsies―they were ostracized as beggars, vilified as criminals, respected as artisans, and idealized as free spirits. They have been both enslaved and protected, forced to settle down and forcibly expelled, in a pattern of manipulation and persecution that persists in our own time.Matras draws on decades of first-hand research into Romani life to explain the organization of Romani society, its shared language, history, and traditions, as well as differences among widely dispersed Romani groups. He also details the present-day dilemmas surrounding the struggle of Roms for political recognition in European countries which are, by turns, either ambivalent or openly hostile.
The Coasts of Bohemia: A Czech History
By: Derek Sayer
In The Winter's Tale, Shakespeare gave the landlocked country of Bohemia a coastline--a famous and, to Czechs, typical example of foreigners' ignorance of the Czech homeland. Although the lands that were once the Kingdom of Bohemia lie at the heart of Europe, Czechs are usually encountered only in the margins of other people's stories. In The Coasts of Bohemia, Derek Sayer reverses this perspective. He presents a comprehensive and long-needed history of the Czech people that is also a remarkably original history of modern Europe, told from its uneasy center. Sayer shows that Bohemia has long been a theater of European conflict. It has been a cradle of Protestantism and a bulwark of the Counter-Reformation; an Austrian imperial province and a proudly Slavic national state; the most easterly democracy in Europe; and a westerly outlier of the Soviet bloc. The complexities of its location have given rise to profound (and often profoundly comic) reflections on the modern condition. Franz Kafka, Jaroslav Hasek, Karel Capek and Milan Kundera are all products of its spirit of place. Sayer describes how Bohemia's ambiguities and contradictions are those of Europe itself, and he considers the ironies of viewing Europe, the West, and modernity from the vantage point of a country that has been too often ignored. The Coasts of Bohemia draws on an enormous array of literary, musical, visual, and documentary sources ranging from banknotes to statues, museum displays to school textbooks, funeral orations to operatic stage-sets, murals in subway stations to censors' indexes of banned books. It brings us into intimate contact with the ever changing details of daily life--the street names and facades of buildings, the heroes figured on postage stamps--that have created and recreated a sense of what it is to be Czech. Sayer's sustained concern with questions of identity, memory, and power place the book at the heart of contemporary intellectual debate. It is an extraordinary story, beautifully told.
The Essential Guide to Being Polish: 50 Facts & Facets of Nationhood
By: Anna Spysz, Marta Turek
Being Polish is no joke. For ten million people of Polish ancestry in the United States, as well as many who have settled in the UK since the fall of communism, it is a heartfelt matter -- and amid all the travel guides and guides to Polish language, folklore, and customs, there is no single, comprehensive, reader-friendly and yet ever-informative reference on what it means to be Polish. Enter The Essential Guide to Being Polish -- the go-to concise resource for anyone looking to reconnect with their culture or, indeed, hoping that their friends, children, or colleagues learn something about their heritage. Divided into three sections to make for an easy-to-follow format -- Poland in Context, Poles in Poland, and Poles Abroad -- this guide covers just about everything and does so in a style that is at once entertaining and informative: the country's history and geography, wars, Jews in Poland, the communist past, the post-communist past and present, language, kings and queens, religion/Catholicism (with special focus on Pope John Paul II), holidays, food, and drink. What is a real Polish wedding all about? That, too, is addressed succinctly and with flair in this guide. Other chapters cover literature, music, art, famous scientists, Polish men and Polish women, Poles in America, Poles in the UK, Poles and the EU, and last but not least, Polish pride.
The Habsburgs: Embodying Empire
By: Andrew Wheatcroft
The Habsburgs have been described at one extreme as demons – responsible for a ‘long history of atrocities’; and, at the other, as dodos – living fossils unable to adapt to the modern world. In reality, the flamboyant royal family appear, in many ways, to have behaved much like most other monarchies. Their story, however, is none the less enthralling for that. It is populated by such unforgettable figures as mad Queen Juana, progressing through Spain with her husband’s decaying body; the ‘heroically fertile’ Maria Theresa, and the quixotic Maximilian, ‘Emperor’ of Mexico.
Danubia: A Personal History of Habsburg Europe
By: Simon Winder
LONGLISTED FOR THE SAMUEL JOHNSON PRIZE, A CHARMINGLY PERSONAL HISTORY OF HABSBURG EUROPE BY THE AUTHOR OF GERMANIAFrom the end of the Middle Ages to the First World War, Europe was dominated by one family: the Habsburgs. Their unprecedented rule is the focus of Simon Winder's vivid third book, Danubia.Winder's approach is friendly, witty, personal; this is a narrative that, while erudite and well researched, prefers to be discursive and anecdotal. In his survey of the centuries of often incompetent Habsburg rule which have continued to shape the fate of Central Europe, Winder does not shy away from the horrors, railing against the effects of nationalism, recounting the violence that was often part of life. But this is a history dominated above all by Winder's energy and curiosity. Eminently readable and thrillingly informative, Danubia is a treat that readers will be eager to dip into.
A Time of Gifts: On Foot to Constantinople: From the Hook of Holland to the Middle Danube (New York Review Books Classics)
By: Patrick Leigh Fermor, Jan Morris
At the age of eighteen, Patrick Leigh Fermor set off from the heart of London on an epic journey—to walk to Constantinople. A Time of Gifts is the rich account of his adventures as far as Hungary, after which Between the Woods and the Water continues the story to the Iron Gates that divide the Carpathian and Balkan mountains. Acclaimed for its sweep and intelligence, Leigh Fermor’s book explores a remarkable moment in time. Hitler has just come to power but war is still ahead, as he walks through a Europe soon to be forever changed—through the Lowlands to Mitteleuropa, to Teutonic and Slav heartlands, through the baroque remains of the Holy Roman Empire; up the Rhine, and down to the Danube. At once a memoir of coming-of-age, an account of a journey, and a dazzling exposition of the English language, A Time of Gifts is also a portrait of a continent already showing ominous signs of the holocaust to come.
Mozart: A Life by Johnson, Paul (2013) Hardcover
By: Paul Johnson
The Spies of Warsaw: A Novel
By: Alan Furst
NOW A MINISERIES ON BBC AMERICA STARRING DAVID TENNANTWar is coming to Europe. French and German intelligence operatives are locked in a life-and-death struggle on the espionage battlefield. At the French embassy, in Warsaw, the new military attaché, Colonel Jean-François Mercier, a decorated hero of the 1914 war, is drawn into a world of abduction, betrayal, and intrigue in the diplomatic salons and back alleys of the city. At the same time, the handsome aristocrat finds himself in a passionate love affair with a Parisian woman of Polish heritage, a lawyer for the League of Nations. Risking his life, Colonel Mercier must work in the shadows, amid an extraordinary cast of venal characters, some known to Mercier as spies, some never to be revealed.
The Third Man and The Fallen Idol (Classic, 20th-Century, Penguin)
By: Graham Greene
The Third Man is Greene's brilliant recreation of post-war Vienna, a city of desolate poverty occupied by four powers. Rollo Martins, a second-rate novelist, arrives penniless in Vienna to visit his old friend and hero Harry Lime. Harry is dead, but the circumstances surrounding his death are highly suspicious, and his reputation, at the very least, dubious.Graham Greene said of The Third Man that he "wanted to entertain [people], to frighten them a little, to make them laugh" and the result is both a compelling narrative and a haunting thriller. The Fallen Idol is the chilling story of a small boy caught up in the games that adults play. Left in the care of the butler, Baines, and his wife, Philip realizes too late the danger of lies and deceit. But the truth is even deadlier.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.
The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera (1985-04-29)
By: Faber and Faber
The Radetzky March (Works of Joseph Roth)
By: Joseph Roth
The Radetzky March, Joseph Roth's classic saga of the privileged von Trotta family, encompasses the entire social fabric of the Austro-Hungarian Empire just before World War I. The author's greatest achievement, The Radetzky March is an unparalleled portrait of a civilization in decline, and as such, a universal story for our times.
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 emergency evacuation insurance (up to $100,000), medical expense coverage (up to $25,000), dental expense coverage (up to $500), travel medical assistance and worldwide travel assistance. You will receive details on this included insurance with your Tour Confirmation and Tour Bulletins after you book a tour (U.S. Residents only).

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, 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.