Become immersed in the landscapes of Provence during leisurely walks that showcase the historic sites, culinary highlights, and vineyards of the Rhône River and Luberon Valley.

Starting at: $5,795 Register Interest or Call 833-254-6678
 Senanque Abbey and lavender fields  Palais des Papes, Avignon  Traditional Provencal cheese market  Summertime lavender fields, Provence  Typical Provencal street, Gigondas  Typical flower market in Provence. Credit: Sundrenched Gardens/Alamy  Cheese tasting in Provence. Credit: Atout France / Michel Angot  Preparing truffles. Credit: Atout France / Michel Angot  Provencal hill town of Gordes, Luberon Valley  Landscape of sunflowers in Provence  Avignon, France

Walks and Cuisine of Provence

9 days from $5,795

Become immersed in the landscapes of Provence during leisurely walks that showcase the historic sites, culinary highlights, and vineyards of the Rhône River and Luberon Valley.

or Call 833-254-6678

Accommodations

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

Cloitre Saint-Louis

Avignon, France

The Cloitre Saint-Louis hotel is well located in the center of Avignon, close to restaurants, shopping, and the city’s most famous sites.  The 16th-century building, originally a Jesuit seminary, is built around a courtyard, complete with plane trees and a fountain.  The hotel has a restaurant and bar/lounge, rooftop swimming pool, and garden.  Each of the 80 air-conditioned guestrooms offers private bath with hair dryer, in-room safe, mini-bar, complimentary Wi-Fi, and TV.

Number of nights: 2

Chateau de Mazan

Mazan , France

This family-run chateau is located in the historic center of Mazan at the foot of the Mount Ventoux. The property features an outdoor swimming pool and rooms offer views of the landscaped grounds and floral terrace.

Number of nights: 3

Le Mas de Guilles

Lourmarin, France

This lovely 17th-century Provencal-style farmhouse is a short distance from the charming town of Lourmarin. The contemporary rooms offer views of the spacious garden and include bathrobes and slippers. Guests can enjoy local market produce at the gastronomic restaurant either in the beautiful dining room or on the large shaded terrace.  

Number of nights: 2

Activity Level

Level 3: Moderate / Active

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

On this trip, daily hikes of 2 to 3 miles (from two to three hours a day) cover varied terrain ranging from Provencal cities and towns with uneven surfaces to established trails on hilly landscapes. These short hikes generally do not offer support vehicles, but it is feasible to skip a day's activities and relax at the hotel, if desired. Sturdy shoes or light hiking boots and daypacks to carry daily necessities are a must; some travelers may wish to bring hiking poles for hilly walks.

Appropriate for: Travelers who are physically fit, expect a slightly vigorous pace, are comfortable participating in up to three hours of walking/hiking per day, and enjoy challenging themselves physically.

Reading List
The Road from the Past: Traveling through History in France
By: Ina Caro
Caro takes us on an unforgettable driving tour of France, from Provence to the Loire Valley to Paris. With Caro as an epicurean, knowledgeable, and delightfully opinionated guide, we can always be sure to find the most breathtaking vistas, the most extraordinary châteaux, the most inspiring cathedrals, and the very best meals.
Pig In Provence Pa
By: Georgeanne Brennan
Georgeanne Brennan moved to Provence in 1970, seeking a simpler life. She set off on her many adventures in Provençale cuisine by tracking down a herd of goats, a cool workshop, some rennet, and the lost art of making fresh goat cheese. From this first effort throughout her time in Provence, Brennan transformed from novice fromagère to renowned, James Beard Foundation Award–winning cookbook author and food writer. A Pig in Provence is the story of how Georgeanne Brennan fell in love with Provence. But it’s also the story of making a life beyond the well-trodden path and the story of how food can unite a community. In loving detail, Brennan tells of the herders who maintain a centuries-old grazing route, of the community feast that brings a town to one table, and of the daily rhythms and joys of living by the cycles of food and nature. Sprinkled with recipes that offer samples of Brennan’s Provençale cooking, A Pig in Provence is a food memoir that urges you to savor every morsel.
DK Eyewitness Travel Guide Provence and the Côte d'Azur
By: DK Travel
This easy-to-use guide will lead you straight to the best things to do in Provence and the Côte d'Azur, one of France's most alluring destinations.Whether you're looking to relax in one of St. Tropez's finest hotels, experience the glamour of Monte Carlo and Cannes, or explore the historic Palais des Papes in Avignon, DK Eyewitness: Provence & the Côte d'Azur can help you plan the perfect holiday. Follow carefully plotted itineraries to discover some of the best French Riviera beaches, while insider tips and hotel recommendations will ensure that you make the most of all this breathtaking region has to offer. With hundreds of full-color photographs, hand-drawn illustrations, and custom maps that illuminate every page, DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Provence & the Cote d'Azur truly shows you this city as no one else can.
Lonely Planet French Phrasebook & Dictionary
By: Lonely Planet, Michael Janes, Jean-Bernard Carillet, Jean-Pierre Masclef
Lonely Planet: The world's #1 phrasebook publisher* Lonely Planet French Phrasebook & Dictionary is your handy passport to culturally enriching travels with the most relevant and useful French phrases and vocabulary for all your travel needs. Ask about tucked-away vineyards, bargain with local famers at the market or order wine like a professional; all with your trusted travel companion. With language tools in your back pocket, you can truly get to the heart of wherever you go, so begin your journey now! Get More From Your Trip with Easy-to-Find Phrases for Every Travel Situation! Feel at ease with essential tips on culture, manners, idioms and multiple meanings Order with confidence, explain food allergies, and try new foods with the menu decoder Save time and hassles with vital phrases at your fingertips Never get stuck for words with the 3500-word two-way, quick-reference dictionary Be prepared for both common and emergency travel situations with practical phrases and terminology Meet friends with conversation starter phrases Get your message across with easy-to-use pronunciation guides Inside Lonely Planet French Phrasebook & Dictionary: Full-colour throughout User-friendly layout organised by travel scenario categories Survival phrases inside front cover for at-a-glance on-the-fly cues Convenient features 5 Phrases to Learn Before You Go 10 Ways to Start a Sentence 10 Phrases to Sound like a Local Listen For - phrases you may hear Look For - phrases you may see on signs Shortcuts - easy-to-remember alternatives to the full phrases Q&A - suggested answers to questions asked Covers Basics - time, dates, numbers, amounts, pronunciation, reading tips, grammar rules Practical - travel with kids, disabled travellers, sightseeing, business, banking, post office, internet, phones, repairs, bargaining, accommodation, directions, border crossing, transport Social - meeting people, interests, feelings, opinions, going out, romance, culture, activities, weather Safe Travel - emergencies, police, doctor, chemist, dentist, symptoms, conditions Food - ordering, at the market, at the bar, dishes, ingredients The Perfect Choice:Lonely Planet French Phrasebook & Dictionary , a pocket-sized comprehensive language guide, provides on-the-go language assistance; great for language students and travellers looking to interact with locals and immerse themselves in local culture. Looking for just the basics? Check out Lonely Planet's Fast Talk French, a pocket-sized, essential language guide designed to get you talking quickly; perfect for a quick trip experience. Looking for an auditory guide to pronunciations? Check out Lonely Planet's French Phrasebook & Audio CD. Authors: Written and researched by Lonely Planet, Michael Janes, Jean-Pierre Masclef, Jean-Bernard Carillet. About Lonely Planet: Started in 1973, Lonely Planet is the world's leading travel guide publisher with guidebooks to every destination on the planet, and has been connecting travellers and locals for over 25 years with phrasebooks for 120 languages, more than any other publisher! With an award-winning website, a suite of mobile and digital travel products, and a dedicated traveller community, Lonely Planet enables curious travellers to experience the world and to truly get to the heart of the places they find themselves. The world awaits! *#1 phrasebook publisher. Source: Nielsen Bookscan UK, US & AUS
A Traveller's History Of France
By: Robert Cole
Millions of travellers visit France each year. The glories of the French countryside, the essential harmony of French architecture, the wealth of historical relics, the myriad of cultural opportunities - all make the country a perennial and irresistible attraction. A Traveller's History of France takes the reader from the first conquests of ancient Gaul through the Renaissance, the turmoil and triumph of the French Revolution, and on through the 20th century of French history all the way to the present.
The Roman Provence Guide
By: Edwin Mullins
Provence owes its name to Julius Caesar who described the region as the Province of Rome. Edwin Mullins seeks out hidden traces of that ancient world along with the many spectacular monuments that today adorn the cities of Nimes, Arles, Vienne, and Orange. He tells the story of how the Romans came to invade Provence, how they stayed to colonize it, and how they transformed Provencal cities into imitations of Rome. His narrative also tells how the Emperor Constantine brought about the conversion of the Roman Empire to Christianity from his favorite city of Arles and how the Romans were eventually driven out by the Visigoths. Roman Provence is also a guide to the principal sites in the region as well as those rarely visited, with separate chapters on various Roman achievements: triumphal arches, aqueducts, farming, city life, bridges and road-building, temples and shrines, theaters and amphitheaters.
Four Queens: The Provencal Sisters Who Ruled Europe
By: Nancy Goldstone
For fans of Alison Weir and Antonia Fraser, acclaimed author Nancy Goldstone’s thrilling history of the royal daughters who succeeded in ruling—and shaping—thirteenth-century Europe Set against the backdrop of the thirteenth century, a time of chivalry and crusades, troubadors, knights and monarchs, Four Queens is the story of four provocative sisters—Marguerite, Eleanor, Sanchia, and Beatrice of Provence—who rose from near obscurity to become the most coveted and powerful women in Europe.  Each sister in this extraordinary family was beautiful, cultured, and accomplished but what made these women so remarkable was that each became queen of a principal European power—France, England, Germany and Sicily. During their reigns, they exercised considerable political authority, raised armies, intervened diplomatically and helped redraw the map of Europe.  Theirs is a drama of courage, sagacity and ambition that re-examines the concept of leadership in the Middle Ages.
M.F.K. Fisher's Provence
By: M. F. K. Fisher, Aileen Ah-Tye
The book highlights her strong sense of place - Fisher’s Celtic eye for detail - with a comparison of Aix-en-Provence, a university town, the site of an international music festival and the former capital of Provence, and Marseille, the port town. Fisher’s description of the sights and smells belonging to an Aix bakery shop window is her Platonic ideal of a bakery shop to be found anywhere in France, for example, with its “delicately layered” scents of “fresh eggs, fresh sweet butter, grated butter, vanilla beans, old kirsch and newly ground almonds.” Then, there is her portrayal of the sounds of Aix’s fountains mixed with the music of Mozart during the town’s festival, leaving her bedazzled. She would return again and again to stroll the narrow streets of Aix with two young daughters who “seemed to grow like water-flowers under the greening buds of the plane trees.” It is the quality of Fisher’s writing that inspired photographer Aileen Ah-Tye to look for her Provence. In a letter to Fisher, Aileen would report back from Marseille: “The eels and the prickly rascasse were exotique to my San Francisco eyes, the smells as pungent as you can get, and . . . miracle of all miracles . . . the men and women on the docks were exactly as you described them.” Thus, began a collaboration that illustrates Fisher’s passion for life and all its sensual pleasures that nourish the soul.
Shadows in the Vineyard: The True Story of the Plot to Poison the World's Greatest Wine
By: Maximillian Potter
Amazon Best Book of the Month, July 2014Journalist Maximillian Potter uncovers a fascinating plot to destroy the vines of La Romanée-Conti, Burgundy's finest and most expensive wine. In January 2010, Aubert de Villaine, the famed proprietor of the Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, the tiny, storied vineyard that produces the most expensive, exquisite wines in the world, received an anonymous note threatening the destruction of his priceless vines by poison-a crime that in the world of high-end wine is akin to murder-unless he paid a one million euro ransom. Villaine believed it to be a sick joke, but that proved a fatal miscalculation and the crime shocked this fabled region of France. The sinister story that Vanity Fair journalist Maximillian Potter uncovered would lead to a sting operation by some of France's top detectives, the primary suspect's suicide, and a dramatic investigation. This botanical crime threatened to destroy the fiercely traditional culture surrounding the world's greatest wine. SHADOWS IN THE VINEYARD takes us deep into a captivating world full of fascinating characters, small-town French politics, an unforgettable narrative, and a local culture defined by the twinned veins of excess and vitality and the deep reverent attention to the land that runs through it.
The Food of France
By: Waverley Root
A celebration of French cuisine and culture, from a culinary adventurer who made his mark decades before Anthony Bourdain arrived on the scene. Traveling through the provinces, cities, and remote country towns that make up France, Waverley Root discovers not only the Calvados and Camembert cheese of Normandy, the haute cuisine of Paris, and the hearty bouillabaisse of Marseilles, but also the local histories, customs, and geographies that shape the French national character.  Here are the origins of the Plantagenet kings and Rabelais’s favorite truffle-flavored sausages, and the tale of how the kitchens of Versailles cooked for one thousand aristocrats and four thousand servants in a single day. Here, too, are notes on the proper time of year to harvest snails; the Moorish influences on the confections of the Pyrenees, where the plumpest geese are raised; and the age of the oldest olive tree in Provence. In short, here is France for the chef, the traveler, and the connoisseur of fine prose, with maps and line drawings throughout.
Provence and the Cote d'Azur: Discover the Spirit of the South of France
By: Janelle McCulloch
Take a journey through the dreamiest regions of France: the enchanting villages of Provence and the magnificent coastline of the Côte d'Azur. From the author of Paris, this gorgeous lifestyle guide steers readers away from crowded tourist destinations to reveal hidden gems at every turn: overflowing markets, chic ateliers, quaint cafés, cobblestone streets, sweeping vistas, and exceptional galleries. The accessible writing provides history and context for each stop on the adventure, and the vibrant, color-soaked photographs capture the spirit of this popular place. Packaged as a flexi-bound paperback with a ribbon page marker, Provence and the Côte d'Azur is a must-have for lovers of style, food, travel, design, and, bien sûr, France!
Provence A-Z: A Francophile's Essential Handbook (Vintage Departures)
By: Peter Mayle
The ultimate “dictionary” for lovers of Provence: Peter Mayle's personal selection of the foods, customs and words he finds most fascinating, curious, delicious, or just plain fun.Though organized from A to Z, this is hardly a conventional work of reference. In more than 170 entries, Peter Mayle—bestselling author of A Year in Provence—writes about subjects as wide-ranging as architecture and zingue-zingue-zoun (in the local patois, a word meant to describe the sound of a violin). And, of course, he writes about food and drink: vin rosé, truffles, olives, melons, bouillabaisse, the cheese that killed a Roman emperor, even a cure for indigestion. Provence A-Z is a delight for Peter Mayle's ever-growing audience and the perfect complement to any guidebook on Provence, or, for that matter, France.
The Most Beautiful Villages of Provence (The Most Beautiful Villages)
By: Michael Jacobs
True Provencal spirit comes alive here through photographs and evocative accounts of the best-loved of all French provinces.Provence is a land apart, a territory of outstanding beauty and distinction that has fascinated outsiders since earliest times. The Greeks, the Romans, the barbarians of the North, and the Moors have all left their traces in its villages, from the Luberon to the Alpes-Maritimes.It is in such smaller communities that the true Provencal spirit can be found: in brilliant sunlight falling across the tightly grouped terra-cotta roofs, or in the shade beneath great plane trees in an ancient square. Such scenes come alive here in Hugh Palmer’s photographs and Michael Jacobs’ evocative accounts of the most beautiful villages of this, the best-loved of all French provinces.The book opens with the villages of the Vaucluse and the Bouches-du-Rhone, the region of such architectural gems as Bonnieux and Gordes. Moving east to the Var and eventually the mountains of the Alpine departments, we visit tranquil villages of the center like Les Arcs, set amid some of the finest vineyards of southern France. In stark contrast are the fortified hill villages of the east, perched on crests or terraced along some mountainside. 299 color illustrations
The Popes of Avignon: A Century in Exile
By: Edwin Mullins
Like the finest medieval tapestry, this narrative history masterfully weaves together the sweeping events surrounding what has become known as the "Babylonian captivity" of the popes into the broader story of 14th-century Europe—one of the most turbulent times in the continent's history. It was a time of fear, ferocity, and religious agony, which saw the suppression of the Knights Templar and the Cathars. This century also marked the first onslaught of the plague, the beginning of the Hundred Years' War and produced great writers and artists in the western tradition, including Giotto, Boccaccio, Petrarch, and Chaucer. Central to this period was the movement of the papal seat from Rome to Avignon in the south of France, where seven successive popes held power from 1309 to 1377. The drama, intrigue, and tumult associated with the papacy in exile forms the perfect lens through which to clearly see a Europe making the transition from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance.
My Father's Glory & My Mother's Castle: Marcel Pagnol's Memories of Childhood
By: Marcel Pagnol
Bathed in the warm clarity of the summer sun in Provence, Marcel Pagnol's childhood memories celebrate a time of rare beauty and delight.Called by Jean Renoir "the leading film artist of his age," Pagnol is best known for such films as The Baker's Wife, Harvest, Fanny, and Topaze, as well as the screen adaptations of his novels Jean de Florette and Manon of the Springs (North Point, 1988). But he never forgot the magic of his Provencal childhood, and when he set his memories to paper late in life the result was a great new success. My Father's Glory and My Mother's Castle appeared on the scene like a fresh breeze, captivating readers with its sweet enchantments. Pagnol recalls his days hunting and fishing in the hill country, his jaunts about Marseilles, his schoolboy diversions, and above all his family: his anticlerical father and sanctimonious uncle, his mild and beautiful mother, and many others. This bright and lively book sparkles with the charm and magic that were Marcel Pagnol's own.
Provence, 1970: M.F.K. Fisher, Julia Child, James Beard, and the Reinvention of American Taste
By: Luke Barr
Provence, 1970 is about a singular historic moment. In the winter of that year, more or less coincidentally, the iconic culinary figures James Beard, M.F.K. Fisher, Julia Child, Richard Olney, Simone Beck, and Judith Jones found themselves together in the South of France. They cooked and ate, talked and argued, about the future of food in America, the meaning of taste, and the limits of snobbery. Without quite realizing it, they were shaping today’s tastes and culture, the way we eat now. The conversations among this group were chronicled by M.F.K. Fisher in journals and letters—some of which were later discovered by Luke Barr, her great-nephew. In Provence, 1970, he captures this seminal season, set against a stunning backdrop in cinematic scope—complete with gossip, drama, and contemporary relevance.
Provence
By: Lawrence Durrell
Lawrence Durrell, who was called “one of the [twentieth] century’s great literary pyrotechnicians” (Kenneth McLeish, London Times), was also one of its most accomplished travel writers. Durrell lived in Provence for thirty years and was its leading literary expatriate long before others discovered that magical wedge of land. In this, his final book, he has left a dazzling testament that distills its essence and conveys its savors as no other work in the English language.Durrell’s Provence is saturated with the spirits of civilizations past. In the countryside, the marketplace, and among the people, he listens to — and conveys for us — echos of the battles of Roman generals like Caesar and Agrippa, the love of Petrarch for Laura, the debates of the medieval Courts of Love, and the lyrics of the troubadours. He relates the significance of ruins strewn across Provence, which for him is nothing less than the crucible where the European sensibility was forged, and he discusses such topics as bull worship, black magic, alchemy, the Provençal language, Buffalo Bill’s friendship with the poet Mistral, who was Provence’s Nobel laureate, the beauty of Arlesian women, and the game of boules. Provence is a monument to the author and to the region, and is essential reading for any traveler seeking to understand the spirit of the place.
On Provence (On Series)
By: Henry James
Meander through Provence in the company of Henry James with this vivid collection of travel writing taken from his little-known book A Little Tour in FranceIn 1882, a year after the publication of his wildly successful The Portrait of a Lady, which dealt with the difficulties faced by American expatriate Daisy Miller in Europe, Henry James set out a six-week tour of southeastern France, taking in Tours, Bourges, Nantes, Toulouse, and Arles. Although a sometime resident of Paris, James was convinced that the soul of France resided not in the capital but in the provinces, and he set out to find it. Beginning in Touraine, James followed the course of the Rhône north to Burgundy, writing articles on architecture, literature, and personal observation that were serialized in the Atlantic Monthly. The resulting work is a fascinating patchwork, switching seamlessly between the broad strokes of classic travel writing and the smallest details of human behavior for which James is best known. This is at once an excellent example of James' prose writing and an outstanding work of travel writing in its own right.
24x36 World Wall Map by Smithsonian Journeys - Tan Oceans Special Edition (24x36 Paper Folded)
By: Smithsonian Journeys
Swiftmaps is proud to partner with Smithsonian Journeys to bring a new and exciting World Map series to the American marketplace. Featuring eye-catching bold and vivid colors complemented with rich vintage tan ocean tones that will make this the perfect reference piece --- sure to stand-out and highlight any home or business wall. The precise detail and digital accuracy shows color-matching visual shaded 3D relief and other physical features without sacrificing the maps readability. Now printed on high-quality 80 lb. paper and professionally FOLDED in a compact 8x10 inch size. FEATURES: 1) Africa centered allowing viewers to see continents complete and intact 2) Clearly labeled country and city names for easy location 3) Latitude and longitude indications 4) Shaded relief of ocean and land topography 4) Desirable Miller Projection. The Smithsonian Journeys wall map series serve not only as a handy reference piece, but as an eye-catching accent for any room or office. NOTE: each map is professionally folded to 8x10 inches and when unfolded the map is 24 inches high and 36 inches wide.
Travel Insurance

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

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

Terms and conditions

Our Mission

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

What Is Included in the Tour Cost

  • Expertise of select speakers, Adventure Guide, and local guides throughout the tour as described in each itinerary
  • All gratuities for all tour staff
  • On-tour medical evacuation insurance (up to $100,000), emergency medical expense coverage (up to $25,000), dental expense coverage (up to $500), travel medical assistance and worldwide travel assistance (U.S. Residents Only)
  • Pre-tour information, including a reading list
  • All on-tour transportation, unless otherwise noted
  • All accommodations for the duration of the tour
  • Meals, as noted in the itinerary (B-breakfast; L-lunch; D-dinner; R-reception)
  • All sightseeing and visits as noted in each itinerary

What Is Not Included in the Tour Cost

  • International and in-country airfare and departure taxes
  • Passport and all visa fees and photos; immunization(s) and medication(s); and any other travel documentation fees as required
  • Optional travel insurance, including cancellation/delay/lost baggage insurance
  • Personal items, unless otherwise stated, such as wine, liquors, a-la-carte orders
  • Expenses incurred by our tour operator in making any individual travel arrangements in conjunction with the tour
  • Communication charges (e.g. phone, internet, etc.)
  • Other items noted as optional or not specifically mentioned as included

Payments

A deposit of $500 per person for a land tour reservation, unless otherwise noted, is required to reserve a space on a tour.  All payments must be made by credit card (Visa, MasterCard, American Express) to the tour operator.  Deposits are applied to final payment of the tour price. Final payment is due 95 days prior to departure, unless otherwise noted.  Balance is due upon invoicing.  If full payment is not received by the final payment due date, your place cannot be guaranteed on the tour.

Late Registration

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

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

A Note About Costs

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

Wait List

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

Cancellation and Refund Policy

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

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

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

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

Smithsonian Journeys recommends that all participants purchase travel insurance.

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

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

Air Service/Tickets Purchased Independently of the Tour

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

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

Travel Insurance

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

Travel Documents

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

For all international departures, a passport valid for at least six months after the completion of your tour, and with at least six blank visa pages, is required for U.S. citizens on all tours. For more information on how or where to apply, please visit Travel.State.Gov/ApplyEarly or call the National Passport Information Center toll-free at 1-877-487-2778/1-888-874-7793 (TTY/TTD).

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

Physical and Medical Considerations

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

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

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

Itinerary or Program Modifications

Smithsonian Journeys strives to improve tour itineraries and their features. If improvements can be made, or unforeseen circumstances beyond our control make changes necessary, at our sole discretion, we reserve the right to vary itineraries and to substitute elements of the tour.  These elements include, but are not limited to:  hotels, staff, speakers, and services for any stated in the itinerary. We will not be responsible for providing any reimbursement for delays in the Tour due to bad weather, trail conditions, river levels, road conditions, transportation delays, or government intervention.

Every effort will be made to carry out the tour as planned but alterations may still occur after the final itinerary has been sent to you. Please note that weather and other conditions may force changes to the advertised sailing schedule on cruise tours. The ship’s captain has the authority to change the ship’s schedule. Smithsonian Journeys and the tour operator reserve the right to substitute motorcoach transportation using hotels, inns or lodges for cruise accommodations if necessary due to weather, water conditions or levels, other events of force majeure, mechanical, or other conditions beyond their control.

Hotel Accommodations

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

Singles and Roommates

Accommodations (hotels, lodges, tents, etc.) are always reserved for single participants, however, the number available on a tour may be limited. Therefore, we recommend that you register early. Please note that a single supplement will most likely apply for a single room.  If you are traveling alone and wish to share a room/cabin, we will do our best to find someone of the same gender to share with you. If a roommate cannot be found, a single supplement will be charged. Please note that the single rooms in many foreign hotels may be smaller than those to which you are accustomed.

Children

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

Special Travel Arrangements

Participants may wish to extend their stay in the group hotel either before or after the tour. Our tour operator will work with you on these arrangements, dependent upon space availability. Your pre-tour bulletins will further explain all options.

Dispute Resolution

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

Photography and Video

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

Smoking Policy 

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

Responsibility Statement

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

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

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

Responsibilities of Participants

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