|1||USA - Shannon, Ireland||Board your overnight flight to Shannon Airport.||In flight
|2||Shannon - Limerick||Your Program Leader will meet you at the airport and escort you to your private motor coach. We'll depart for the Cliffs of Moher; the iconic 668-foot cliffs on the western coast of the Republic of Ireland. Tonight, we'll spend the night in Limerick.||Hotel in Limerick
|3||Limerick - Dublin||Early this morning, we'll depart Limerick and head for the Ring of Kerry to enjoy part of this amazing stretch of Irish countryside. We'll next head to Blarney Castle, where they say that if you kiss the Blarney Stone at the top of the castle, you'll be granted the gift of eloquence. (Just try not to think about all of the other people who have kissed the stone that day!) After lunch, we'll head into Dublin and explore the city before dinner.||Hotel in Dublin
|4||Dublin||We’ll have a hearty breakfast this morning because we'll be on a walking tour of Dublin today . First, we'll visit Trinity College and St. Patrick's Cathedral wehre we will hear from an expert guide who will speak to the significance of this church. We'll also visit the famous O'Connell Street. We'll end the day with a traditional public house dinner.||Hotel in Dublin
|5||Dublin - Belfast||We'll depart Ireland for a new country just over an hour away: Northern Ireland. We'll arrive in the late morning at Giants Causeway, a UNESCO World Heritage Site composed of massive basalt columns unlike anything else on Earth. After lunch, we'll continue to Belfast where our guide will discuss "the troubles" that have existed between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland for so many years while we visit the giant political murals of Catholic Falls Road and Protestant Shankill Road . We'll also visit the Peace Wall and have a chance to add our own message to the people of the world. ||Hotel in Belfast
|6||Belfast - Edinburgh||Early today, we will depart to catch our ferry from Belfast to Cairnryan, and then travel on to Edinburgh. We'll enjoy a guided tour of Edinburgh, including Edinburgh Castle . And tonight we'll experience an authentic Scottish Ceilidh, with a dance workshop and a delicious authentic Scottish meal .||Hotel in Edinburgh
|7||Edinburgh - Fort William||This morning, we depart for the Scottish Highlands and the home of “Nessie”; Loch Ness! You'll also have a chance to head to a working sheep ranch where you'll see a demonstration on sheep shearing and bottle-feed newborn lambs. We then head to Fort William.||Hotel in Fort William
|8||Fort William||Today we’ll ride the Hogwarts Express from Fort William to Mallaig along the same infamous bridge as Harry Potter! Once in Mallaig, we will spend our leisurely day exploring the fishing village and experiencing life in the Highlands before returning back to Fort William in the evening.||Hotel in Fort William
|9||Stirling - Edinburgh||This morning we'll begin with a visit to historic Stirling Castle and then continue on to the home of golf; St. Andrews. We'll cross the famous 4th bridge and travel through the beautiful East Neuk coastal region of Fife. We'll visit "the Old Course" of St. Andrews for a walking tour and spend time in beautiful St. Andrews Cathedral. ||Hotel in Edinburgh
|10||Edinburgh - Stratford||This morning, we will travel to York, England and explore the Rievaulx Abbey . The well-preserved ruins of this once wealthy and powerful Cistercian abbey are a truly remarkable sight. Then, on to Castle Howard before departing for Stratford-Upon-Avon.||Hotel in Stratford
|11||Stratford - London||Today, we will viisit Shakespeare’s Birthplace and the gardens at Anne Hathaway’s Cottage as we tour the quaint town of Stratford-upon-Avon. After lunch, we continue into majestic London. This evening, we’ll board the London Eye, one of the largest ferris wheels in the world, and enjoy a stunning view overlooking the Houses of Parliament and the River Thames. Finally, we'll eat an authentic Indian meal for dinner - did you know that chicken tikka masala is the national dish of England?||Hotel in London
|12||London||This morning we will start our day with a tour inside the Houses of Parliament (when Parliament is not in session). We'll continue to Buckingham Palace, home of the Queen, where we will witness the Changing of the Guard . From there, we'll have a quick lunch, and continue through St. James's Park, to 10 Downing Street, Trafalgar Square, Benjamin Franklin's House, Piccadilly Circus, Leicester Square, and then spend the afternoon with time to shop and explore Covent Garden. Tonight we'll enjoy a show in London's West End!||Hotel in London
|13||London||Today, we'll continue our tour of London at the Tower of London. Home to many prisoners over two millennia; this massive fortification is still home to the stunning Crown Jewels. Next, we'll cross the Tower Bridge and walk along the Thames past City Hall, the HMS Belfast, and the Globe Theatre. We'll also cross the Millennium Bridge to marvel at St. Paul's Cathedral. After a lunch of fish and chips, we'll head to Windsor Castle, the second home of the Royal Family and the oldest and largest occupied castle in the world.||Hotel in London
|14||London||This morning we will start our day at the British Museum, one of the most important museums in the world. Among 8 million artifacts, the original Rosetta Stone calls this museum home. We'll continue to Borough Market for lunch and have time to explore this local market. In the afternoon, we’ll explore the Churchill War Rooms, a magnificent series of bunkers beneath central London, where the British government continued operations during the Battle of Britain during World War II.||Hotel in London
|15||London - USA||Today we will say goodbye to Europe as you board your flight home from London.||Home
Philosophy Of Travel
Our mission is to inspire the next generation to become global leaders by taking an active interest in the world around them. With a dedication to learning, along with an enduring passion for exploring the world, Smithsonian Student Adventures designs transformative and meaningful travel programs that uncover the authentic culture of each destination and inspire students to take action in their local and global community.
Smithsonian Student Adventures stands for a more open, curious, and compassionate approach to travel. We partner with select schools around the world to provide memorable small-group experiences, and invest in cultivating and maintaining longterm relationships with our partner communities. If you are interested in our organization and philosophy of travel, click here to learn more about us.
In order to provide a safe and memorable experience for our participants, teachers, and staff ; Program Leaders and Country Directors follow strict guidelines when deciding on lodging, working with partner vendors, making reservations, and assigning program participants to rooms.
Student participants will always be grouped in rooms and/or sleeping areas by gender, and will never share rooms with people who are not associated with SmithsonianSA. Group Organizers and Program Leaders will be roomed separately from each other and from student participants. SSA partners with locally-operated, three star or equivalent hotels that are centrally located, clean, safe and wifi-enabled.
Below are a few examples of our partner hotels. Although these are our preferred providers, they are subject to change based on availability. Your final itinerary will provide complete information on your accommodations in the cities you will be visiting.
Kilarney / Sneem: www.sneemhotel.com/
Fort William: http://fortwilliambackpackers.com/
Standards of Behavior
SSA provides fun, safe, and meaningful programs for our travelers. In order to achieve this goal, it is important that we create an environment of trust, security and respect. All individuals participating in our programs are required to take responsibility for their actions and adhere to a high standard of behavioral conduct. Any of the following are grounds for early dismissal or in-country consequences at our discretion.
- Possessing, consuming or distributing alcohol or illegal drugs
- Associating with participants while they are in possession of or are consuming or distributing alcohol or illegal drugs
- Behaving in a way that consistently damages the group dynamic or jeopardizes personal or group safety. This includes consistently displaying a negative attitude, intimidating or excluding other participants, sneaking out, disobeying group leaders, and any other behavior that is not conducive to an atmosphere of trust and mutual respect.
GROUNDS FOR DISMISSAL OR IN-COUNTRY CONSEQUENCE
- Getting a piercing or tattoo
- Stealing, or deliberately damaging or defacing any personal property, buildings or materials
- Threatening with or using weapons such as firearms, knives, explosives, etc.
- Riding mopeds, motorcycles, or any other type of unauthorized vehicle
- Being out of designated area or accommodations after curfew
- Breaking group rules
These standards of behavior are essential for the successful completion of a travel program. Please take the time to review these rules as a family and make sure everyone understands and agrees to them before choosing to travel with SSA.
Tuition & Fundraising
When you travel with Smithsonian Student Adventures, your participation benefits the work of Smithsonian’s nineteen museums, national zoo, and nine research centers, helping to shape the future through science, research, and exhibitions. Tuition details are below:
Baggage fees, airline minor fees, personal shopping, passport or visa fees, and activities not listed on the itinerary.
Tuition is an estimate until dates and itinerary are finalized.
We believe that cost should not prevent enthusiastic students from having the opportunity to join an SSA program. We are pleased to offer opportunities for fundraising and payment plans to help make this goal a reality. Please visit our Tuition and Funding page to find out more about tuition, fundraising, payment options, referral discounts, and more.
Visit Tuition & Funding
Passport & Visa Check
Passport must be valid for six months after the final day of your travel program, including one open visa page.
No Visa Requirements for US Citizens traveling to the UK/Ireland.
NON US CITIZENS OR THOSE TRAVELING FROM A COUNTRY OTHER THAN THE USA
Non US citizens should check with their country’s embassy abroad to verify vaccination and visa requirements.
US citizens traveling from a country other than the United States should check the State Department website (www.travel.state.gov) for more information regarding additional visa or vaccine requirements.
Please contact us for further information regarding vaccination and visa requirements.
Health and Safety
We strongly recommend visiting the CDC Ireland website to get the most updated information on health and vaccination considerations in your destination country. In addition, we encourage you to consult with your personal family physician so you can be as informed as possible when making important decisions about vaccinations and other necessary health-related preparations before travel.
Our in-country staff prepare meticulously for all programs. SSA will register our programs and travelers with the U.S. Department of State Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) in case of emergency. In country staff also verify the safety records of our partner organizations, vendors, and transportation providers, thoroughly vet homestay families via in depth interviews and home visits, and keep up on important current events in the region.
Program Leaders are seasoned travelers who are CPR and First Aid certified, undergo thorough training in crisis management, and participate in a multi-day leadership training retreat. We do our best to prepare for any eventuality and have detailed emergency protocols for our leaders, in-country staff and U.S.-based staff.
We receive medical disclosures from all participants to ensure we are able to meet every students’ needs during the program. Please inform us immediately of any additional health issues that you did not list during your initial registration process. Program Leaders will also hold an online information session before your departure, as well as an arrival orientation in-country, in order to give participants important instructions on food safety, hygiene and preventing injury and illness. Leaders and in-country staff always respond immediately to any mental, physical or emotional health issues and follow comprehensive emergency protocols.
Our experience has taught us that international travel can sometimes be unpredictable. As such, SSA will purchase basic secondary travel and medical insurance for all SSA travelers via Travel Insured International. This service provides the following coverage at no additional cost to our participants:
$500 Return Airfare for Trip Interruption
$750 ($150 per day) Trip Delay of six hours or more
$500 (Three or more hours) Missed Connection
$1500 ($250 per article) Baggage/Personal Effects
$300 Baggage Delay – 24 hours
$25,000 Accident & Sickness Medical Expense
$100,000 Emergency Evacuation and Repatriation
Emergency Assistance Non-insurance Worldwide Emergency Assistance Services Included
Once you have been accepted onto your program, SSA will be in touch regarding this insurance and other additional options (see below).
ADDITIONAL OPTIONAL COVERAGES
The following additional optional coverage upgrades are available upon request for an additional premium charge to the traveler. For further information on the premiums associated with these optional coverage enhancements, please email your inquiry to our travel insurance program administrator, Hayashi Insurance Solutions: firstname.lastname@example.org
– Trip Cancellation Coverage – Reimburses the traveler up to the trip cost insured up to a maximum of $10,000 per person if the trip must be cancelled for unforeseeable life events including but not limited to; medical/health reasons, bereavement, etc.
– Cancel for Any Reason (CFAR) – Reimburses the traveler for 75% of the non-refundable trip cost. Cancellation must be made 48 hours or more prior to scheduled departure. Must be purchased at the same time as initial plan purchase and prior to final trip payment. *This benefit is not available to residents of New York State.
The Plan is administered by Hayashi Insurance Solutions (CA DOI 0F61680) a licensed Insurance Agency authorized to transact this insurance under the express authority of Travel Insured International, Inc. and its representatives, and on behalf of Walking Tree Travel, Inc. The Plan contains insurance benefits underwritten by the United States Fire Insurance Company. Fairmont Specialty and Crum & Forster are registered trademarks of United States Fire Insurance Company. The Crum & Forster group of companies is rated A (Excellent) by AM Best Company 2015. The Plan also contains non insurance Travel Assistance Services that are provided by an independent organization, OnCall International, and not by United States Fire Insurance Company or Travel Insured International. Review the Plan Document for complete terms, including benefits, conditions, limitations and exclusions that apply. Coverages may vary and not all coverage is available in all jurisdictions.
Global Leadership Curriculum
Walking Tree Travel has developed a curriculum that helps SSA travelers mature as global leaders before, during, and after their travel program. These simple, engaging tools are meant to spark discussion, frame the experience, and prepare participants to travel ethically and effectively both on our programs and in the future.
For more information about student learning objectives and format of the curriculum, click on the ‘learn more’ button below.
Learn More About the GLC
To view and complete the Pre-Program Activities, visit Walking Tree’s online portal at the button below.
Pre-Program Activity Portal
Want to learn a new language and be better prepared for your travel program? Duolingo is the easiest, most entertaining way to start learning and using a new language right away! The more you practice, the more you’ll be able to communicate with locals in your host country and help your fellow travelers navigate a foreign environment.
Tap the Duolingo owl to get started, or download the app to your mobile phone.
Group Flight Information
Program participants will meet the group organizer at the below airline check-in counter three hours before the departure flight. If you have trouble locating the group, please notify your group organizer or contact SSA.
DEPARTURE FROM USA
RETURN TO USA
A NOTE ON FLIGHTS
Air travel is unpredictable. Although we can ensure that our groups arrive to the airport with ample time and follow all airline instructions, there may still be instances when a flight is delayed or cancelled due to weather, mechanical problems, labor strikes, etc. Please note that in such an event SSA is not financially responsible for unexpected costs incurred by travelers. Our programs officially begin and end in our host countries. That being said, our travelers’ well-being and safety is our number one priority, so please know that should flight delays/cancellations occur we will do everything we can to get travelers home in a timely manner and will do our best to keep family members updated on developments.
SSA is not responsible for fees associated with checked baggage. Please also make sure your passport is valid for at least six months beyond the final day in country.
Please confirm with your air travel provider as some airlines may require that travelers under a certain age have completed an unaccompanied minor parental consent form. Please consult the airline website to confirm if this is required on your flight.
SSA will send a minimum of one experienced Program Leader on every program. In addition to this Program Leader, we also have a support staff in our host countries and 24/7 support from our headquarters in Denver, Colorado that are available to the group for additional help when necessary. Below you’ll find a list of the Smithsonian Student Adventures staff involved in the planning, organizing, and leadership of your program.
UK and Ireland Country Director
University of Exeter – BSc Zoology
Born and raised in the South of England Craig’s early passion for animals and the natural world has grown and developed to this day. He has travelled to over 35 countries in search of natural, educational and cultural experiences and believes travelling with a purpose makes for a much more wholesome experience. During his studies, he volunteered on a turtle project in North Cyprus and has since gone on to work with sea turtles in The Cayman Islands and Oman. Upon graduating Craig spent a year living and working in Bali, Indonesia, planning and booking bespoke live-aboard dive trips. He has spent the last two years living and working on Masirah Island, Oman, managing the turtle monitoring program and pioneering a community fisheries program. After witnessing the impacts of fisheries first hand in The Middle East, his focus has shifted to sustainable fisheries and their alternatives. His hobbies include surfing and kite surfing which often help guide his choice of travel destinations. Craig speaks conversational Arabic and basic Bahasa Indonesia.
University of Wisconsin – B.S. Political Science, History, and European Studies
London School of Economics – M.S. Public Policy & Administration
University of Wisconsin – B.S. Political Science, History, and European Studies
London School of Economics – M.S. Public Policy & Administration
Brandon was born and raised in Buffalo Grove, Illinois. As a 12 year old, he had the opportunity to travel on a student program to England, Scotland, and Wales, and ever since, he has been hooked on learning through travel. He was graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Political Science, History, and European Studies, with honors, from the University of Wisconsin – Madison, also earned a Master of Science in Public Policy and Administration, with merit, from the London School of Economics. Since then, he has toured the Greater Midwest as a public speaker on topics related to student travel and CQ – Cultural Intelligence. He has visited all 7 continents, 35 countries, and all 50 states – all before he turned 25. He is an avid marathon runner and pilot, and most recently he summited Mt. Kilimanjaro!
Please have all travelers check below to ensure their name is spelled exactly how it appears on your passport. For edits, email lacey@SmithsonianSA.com.
Community & Project Details
This is where your host community information will appear, along with your community project, if applicable to your program.
Communication & Blog
The easiest way for students to keep in touch with family and friends at home while traveling will be using Wifi (available at most hotels and some restaurants) via Viber, Whatsapp, Skype, and Wechat for free.
SSA tries to keep families and friends updated as frequently as possible with text and photo blogs. If parents would like updates regarding the group beyond these blog posts and email updates, they should direct all general inquiries to info@SmithsonianSA.com. We are always checking this email inbox and will respond promptly to inquiries. You can also reach us by dialing 303-242-8541 from the U.S.
Here is the link to your blog: -Coming Soon-
What follows is a sample packing list, which will be updated for each program. We recommend you bring a larger piece of luggage like a roller, duffel bag, or backpack, as well as a smaller backpack that you can bring on hikes, weekend excursions and shorter activities.
Most importantly, be sure to remember your PASSPORT and STUDENT ID.
Guatemala Packing List
6 pairs of underwear
6 pairs of socks (a mixture of good hiking socks and casual socks)
4 t-shirts (some quick dry)
2 long sleeve shirts
1 warmer jacket
1 rain jacket
2-3 pairs of travel/athletic shorts that are breathable and light
2 pairs of comfortable/hiking/everyday pants (NOT all jeans)
1 nice shirt/top to be worn to more formal dinners (girls might want a skirt or something a little nicer for such occasions)
1 pair of durable athletic/hiking shoes
1 pair of sandals (optional)
1 pair of work gloves
TOILETRIES: BRING THE BASIC TOILETRIES YOU NEED PLUS:
Sunscreen (you will use a lot)
Band Aids and Neosporin
Medication in properly marked original container
Journal and pen
Camera (digital, disposable, waterproof)
Alarm Clock and watch
Debit card/US Dollars (we recommend about $50-$150, depending on amount of desired souvenirs, extra items etc.)
Durable water bottle
1 quick-dry towel
Deck of cards or other portable games
Host family gift
Travelers often contact us regarding what an appropriate gift might be for their student’s host family. Host families are often curious about where our students come from and their families in the U.S. As such, we recommend a simple gift that describes, represents or depicts your home. Well-received gifts in the past have included calendars or picture/coffee table books from your city or state, a framed picture of your family, paraphernalia from a local sports team, toys, soccer balls, school supplies, or something produced or grown in your hometown, like chocolate, local candy, t-shirts, etc. The most important thing to keep in mind is not to worry about this… Anything, no matter its value, will be well received!