What kind of pace can I expect on a National Geographic Expedition?

Our itineraries are designed to include full, active days with plenty of opportunities to experience each place we visit from an insider's perspective—, whether that means encountering wildlife, learning about different cultures and environments or sharing in local traditions. Pace and physical activity level vary by trip and by travel style. On all of our National Geographic Expeditions, as well as on National Geographic Journeys, we offer alternate activities when possible. For more information about the pace of a specific trip, see the trip itinerary. Where applicable, we've added additional notes about the activity level or physical requirements in a "What to Expect" section on the trip itinerary page. If you are uncertain about the level of activity of a particular itinerary, please call us at (888) 966-8687.

How do the National Geographic Signature Land Expeditions and The National Geographic Journeys trip styles differ from one another?

National Geographic Expeditions are our flagship trips and are designed to reflect our travelers' broad spectrum of interests. Expeditions are led by National Geographic Experts or expedition teams and feature world-class accommodations and experiences, including special access to sites and field researchers. They range in activity level from itineraries with light physical activity to active hiking or kayaking expeditions. Most activities and meals are included in the expedition cost, which ranges from $4,500 to $12,500 per person.

National Geographic Journeys are led by knowledgeable local guides and blend fun, hands-on exploration with meaningful encounters between people and cultures. Limited to 16 travelers in most cases, these trips are lower-priced and offer more free time and choices. Accommodations are often mid-range hotels and inns. Some activities and meals are included in the trip cost, which ranges from $1,500 to $10,000 per person.

How much flexibility is there in the itinerary?

Throughout all of our travel styles, we have built-in options and free time where possible, so that you can experience a place and its people in a way that's meaningful to you. By their nature, some trip types offer more flexibility and free time. For instance, National Geographic Journeys have more free time and options built into most days, so you can choose what kind of restaurant you’d like or what local sites are most interesting to you. On our expedition cruises, we keep our itineraries flexible so we can take advantage of unexpected opportunities or adapt to weather conditions or other circumstances. If you are interested in exploring further, many of our expeditions offer pre- or post-trip extensions. We can also assist you if you'd like to extend your stay at the beginning or end of a trip.

What does the trip cost generally include?

For National Geographic Expeditions, the cost includes meals, accommodations and excursions as indicated in the itinerary; services of the National Geographic Expert or expedition leader and local guides; ground transportation; most transfers; baggage handling; pre-trip materials; and gratuities (except for those for the ship or train crew, where applicable, unless otherwise noted in the trip information). Included meals are noted at the end of each day on our itineraries with a B for breakfast, L for lunch and D for dinner.

For National Geographic Journeys, the cost includes some meals, accommodations and excursions as indicated in the itinerary; services of local guides; ground transportation; some transfers; and electronic pre-trip materials.

Do I need to purchase trip insurance?

For travelers on National Geographic Expeditions, trip insurance is optional and comes at an additional cost. We strongly recommend that you purchase this insurance to protect your travel investment. Travel insurance can offer financial protection for trip cancellation and interruption, as well as assistance should you require medical treatment while traveling or encounter travel delays or baggage loss.

A custom-designed travel insurance option is available through Travel Insurance Services (TIS). Information about this option will be provided once you are confirmed on a departure. Please note that TIS will waive the pre-existing condition exclusion and provide other added benefits, including a "Cancel/Interruption for Any Reason" upgrade option, if you apply for travel insurance within 21 calendar days of our receipt of your initial deposit. View the details concerning all benefits and/or the brochure sent with confirmation materials, as certain restrictions may apply. If you have questions regarding this travel insurance plan, contact TIS at (855) 874-0252 from 9:00 AM to 7:00 PM ET, Monday through Friday, or email natgeo@travelinsure.com.

For National Geographic Journeys, each guest is required to have a minimum level of travel insurance coverage for medical emergency evacuation and repatriation of $200,000 (USD, or equivalent in other currency). You may already have coverage through your work, credit card or annual travel policy. If your existing coverage does not meet these needs, you will be required to purchase travel medical insurance. Additional travel insurance—including cancellation coverage—is optional but strongly recommended. For more details about medical and travel insurance options available for our Journeys guests, please call us at (800) 281-2354 or locally at (303) 872-6579.

What do I need to bring on my expedition?

On National Geographic Expeditions and Journeys, the dress is typically casual. We recommend that you pack clothes that are comfortable and that will be well suited to the activities and climate specific to your expedition. Prior to your trip, we will provide you with packing tips and suggestions, as well as information regarding any baggage weight restrictions.

Once I book my trip, what information and materials will I receive?

After you sign up for a National Geographic Expedition, you will receive several pre-trip mailings with specific information about your destination, packing suggestions and other relevant information to help you prepare for your trip. Any additional materials you receive will depend on the trip you have booked.

When you book a National Geographic Journey, you’ll receive all pre-trip mailings electronically, including information about your trip and your destination.

Am I allowed to bring a service animal on my trip?

National Geographic Expeditions welcomes trained service animals on our trips, subject to our applicable laws and policies. The definition of “service animal” may vary by country. The requirements related to service animals may vary by tour, activity and/or country.

We strongly encourage guests traveling with a service animal to call (888) 966-8687 as soon as possible to discuss the full policy; the type of service animal they are traveling with; any documentation that may be required for international trips; and the availability of hotels, restaurants, modes of transportation, excursions and activities.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Guests who are traveling with a service animal internationally must obtain the import permits per each country’s regulations. Specific information may be obtained by contacting the United States Department of Agriculture or the applicable United States consulate or embassy of each country to determine such country’s policies and to obtain the permits needed. For more information on how to bring a service animal from the United States to a foreign country, please review guidance from the United States Department of Agriculture. Please be aware that obtaining import permits can take weeks or months.