Smithsonian Journeys vs Signature Collection by Gate 1 - Tour Companies Compared

Compare details and see what other travelers are saying.

Rating Breakdown
Overall — 3
Value — 3.0
Guide — 3.0
Activities — 5.0
Lodging — 5.0
Transportation — 3.0
Meals — 4.0
Overall — 0
Value — 0.0
Guide — 0.0
Activities — 0.0
Lodging — 0.0
Transportation — 0.0
Meals — 0.0
Recent Reviews

The trip was awful due to flight cancellations and failure of the contractor to adequately compensate for missed activities and days.

1.0 May 2018
SoAaNZ
Does Not Recommend
  • Value 1.0
  • Guide 1.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 1.0
  • Meals 4.0
My wife and I were on the Smithsonian Journeys Splendors of Australia and New Zealand between April 13 and May 2, 2018. Smithsonian is rated by this site as Luxury travel. However, Smithsonian "farms out" the logistics for their trip to Odysseys Unlimited. Odysseys booked within country air travel with the lowest cost air carriers. Flights were cancelled from Ayers Rock to Sydney and from Queenstown New Zealand to Rotorua. Another flight was significantly delayed so that we did not arrive at our Christchurch destination until 2:00 am, making for a really tired next day. Odysseys Unlimited compensated us $400 per person for missing a day in Sydney and paid for an excursion in Auckland for missing Rotorua. This was wholly inadequate, given that these were highlights of the trip. In addition, our tour guide was rude to several people on the trip. If Smithsonian Journeys is truly a luxury travel outfit, as we had believed, then they would not be farming out travel logistics to such a chinch company as Odysseys Unlimited. We will think twice about traveling with Smithsonian again, and so should others.
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Tour Smithsonian Journeys Company Reviews

Get to Cuba before it changes because it has to.

5.0 January 2017
C-Sdir
Recommends
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 4.0
Cuba has been open to limited group travel for four years and is being opened to individual travel (still with restrictions) now. With thousands of Americans descending on our nearest island neighbor, Cuba has to increase its tourist infrastructure - and lose some of its charm.

Smithsonian Journeys is a great way to see Cuba before it changes. Yes, Smithsonian tours are more expensive than some other tour companies but the phrase, "you get what you pay for", certainly holds true. Everything about the tour was top notch - the American tour coordinator, the local Cuban guide, the itinerary - the best. And everything is included - everything - tipping, all activities, tours. Cuba is a fascinating destination and deserves a quality tour company.
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Tours 12 Trips 1 Trip
Average Trip Price Per Day $ 593 $ 0
Operator Type Mixed Land & Cruise Group Tour Operator
Size Global Operator Global Operator
Trip Types
  • Group Tours
  • Private Guided Trips
  • Small Ship & Expedition Cruises
  • River Cruises
  • Custom Itineraries
  • Group Tours
Service Level Luxury Standard
Regions
  • North America
  • Central America & Caribbean
  • South America
  • Rivers & Seas
  • Australia & Pacific
  • Asia
  • Africa
  • Middle East & North Africa
  • Europe
  • Antarctica & the Arctic
  • North America
  • Central America & Caribbean
  • South America
  • Australia & Pacific
  • Asia
  • Africa
  • Middle East & North Africa
  • Europe
Known For
  • 50+
  • 18 - 35
  • Safari
  • Luxury
  • Train & Rail
  • 50+
  • Budget
Headquarters Washington, DC, USA Fort Washington, Pennsylvania
Year Established 1970 N/A
Solo Friendly N/A N/A
Tour Languages English N/A
Top Trips
    Similar Companies
      Countries
      About Smithsonian Journeys
      Similar Companies 

      Abercrombie KentButterfield & Robinson, Myths & Mountains, Road Scholar

      Known For

      50-Plus Travel Tours, North Amercian Tours, Central America & Caribbean Tours

      Established in 1970, Smithsonian Journeys offers small group tours to 150 destinations around the globe. Smithsonian Journeys’ variability in style and destinations allows individuals to choose the perfect trip for them personally. Trips focus on “bringing a destination to life” through stories, facts, and tours led by experts in a variety of fields. 

      What Makes Them Stand Out?

      Unique to Smithsonian Journeys are the Smithsonian Journey Experts who accompany the programs. These scholars and experts range from art historians, anthropologists, geologists and more. Charismatic and knowledgable, they are a defining element of all Smithsonian trips. Their commitment and backgrounds bring insight meaningfulness to all travelers who join them on trips.  

      Who Travels With Them?

      The typical age range on Smithsonian trips is between 55-65, with younger travelers on outdoor, active adventures and older individuals often on special interest tours. Family tours, however, cater to a wide variety of ages including children. Trips are ideally suited to those looking to meet fellow travelers and lifelong learners. 

      Where Do They Operate?

      Smithsonian Journeys has trips to all 7 continents. Travelers can pick from a wide variety of travel styles including: exploring by land, ship, train, private jet, immersion programs, family trips, tailer-made journeys, and special-interest travel! 

      Why Travel With Them?

      The common denominator in all of it is the “diffusion of knowledge,” as Smithsonian Journeys puts it. Trips are sure to be educational, exciting and memorable for all who participate.

      Commonly Searched Together:

      Compare Smithsonian Journeys with these other tour companies

      Smithsonian Journeys vs Butterfield & Robinson

      About Signature Collection by Gate 1

      A unique collection of luxury trips designed by Gate 1 travel.

      What Makes Gate 1 Signature Collection Stand Out?

      These are luxury minded trips with a local focus. Guides are all local experts, from and living in the destination you’re visiting. Each itinerary features exclusive experiences. Groups are small and each day is full of activity but well balanced.

      They focus on offering only a select group of trips in this special collection - allowing them the freedom to create truly spectacular itineraries - which include more inclusions in the price than their other collections.

      The tagline is “More Luxury for Less”. These tours may not be in same luxury travel class if you’re used to Abercrombie & Kent, however where comfort and extravagance meets fun and busy travel days of sightseeing and tours, you’ll find Gate 1 Signature Collection.

      Who Will Enjoy Traveling with Gate 1 Signature Collection?

      Those travelers who are willing to spend a little bit more for a 4-5 star experience, will probably find a sweet spot with Gate 1 Signature tours. These trips tend to be attended by older travelers, in the 50+ range.  

      Don’t expect too much strenuous activity. You can expect easy paced walks, guided tours and lectures, and stops to explore interesting cultural sites and historical attractions.

      While some of these cultural experiences, included in their “Signature Experiences”, are truly unique, be wary that many of these inclusions are fairly standard offerings - such as a hot air balloon ride over the African savannah. So the luxury experience of exclusivity you may be expecting is to be taken with a grain of salt. These tours offer wonderful experiences - but the destinations or activities are not always particularly uncommon or rare.  

      Top Destinations

      They currently don’t offer an overly extensive list of countries, but tours do go all over the world. This includes Central Europe, Spain, and the UK, Israel, Jordan and Morocco, Peru, Southeast Asia, Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe.

      Gate 1 Signature Collection Travel Style

      Signature Collection tours with Gate 1 aim for comfort, ease, and unique cultural experiences. Like their other brands, Gate 1’s Signature Collection is about making sure your sightseeing is maximized, and the price is right for the experience.

      Most sightseeing, meals, wifi, tips, and their “Signature Experiences” are included in the itinerary price - unlike Gate 1’s main brand which offers less inclusions. This type of itinerary more helpful to budget travelers wishing to pick and choose which activities they would like to pay for. Gate 1 Signature Tours, however, are best suited to those who want more inclusions and less hassle to have to decide on how to spend their travel time.

      Why Choose a Tour with Gate 1 Signature Collection?

      If you’re an older traveler looking for a boutique, comfortable, and well paced tour, the Signature tours may suit you very well. Travelers love the customer service, attention to detail, and depth of knowledge the guides bring to each day on the tour. There is also a good balance of free time and optional additional sightseeing opportunities.

      All tours feature included “Signature Experiences” which are the main highlights that make the Signature Collection tours stand out from the other Gate 1 brands. These are unique excursions, usually with a strong cultural focus - such as an evening of Irish music in Galway, or a traditional dinner in the deserts of Morocco. They also often include lectures that explore a destinations history or a specific facet of the culture.

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