Know Before You Go: Athens & Ancient Greece | EF Ultimate Break
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Athens & Ancient Greece

Know Before You Go

For an epic trip with zero stress and infinite holy s#!t moments, get familiar with the information below. Seeing the world should be fun, not stressful, which is why we’ve written this guide for you and are available 24/7 so all you have to do is travel. Now, it’s time to do a happy dance and make these 9 days ULTIMATE.

Getting There

Complete Your Checklist

Before heading to the airport, complete the tasks below and check them off in your Online Account Checklist. If you have any questions, give us a call at 800-766-2645. We’re available 24/7 to make sure you have the Best. Trip. Ever.

  • Verify your passport: Your passport must be valid for 6 months after the tour return date. No visa is required for this trip if you are a U.S. Citizen
  • Join the Facebook group: Join your private Facebook group as soon as it opens! It’s how you can meet other travelers and see announcements from your Tour Director. Call us at 800-766-2645 if you’re having trouble joining.
  • Request a roommate:: Double check with us and your Tour Director that they have your rooming status on file. We will assign a roommate for you if you do not submit a specific request.
  • Personalize your trip: Travel Insurance is not available for purchase on tour, and the price of Optional Excursions increases after departure. We suggest logging in to your Online Account now to add these items.
  • Call your bank: Let your bank and credit card company know of your travel plans so you can withdraw cash and use your debit/credit cards abroad. Otherwise, you risk your account being blocked.

Pack Like a Pro

Your airline ticket includes one checked bag (typically 27" x 21" x 14") but double check the luggage size requirements on your airline’s website. We recommend traveling with one small backpack or purse, and a smaller carry-on suitcase (22” x 14” x 9”) or bag. See more packing tips below:

  • 1 lightweight jacket and/or sweater
  • Comfortable walking shoes or sandals to keep cool during city sightseeing
  • Comfortable sandals for the beach
  • 1-2 pairs pants, skirts or dresses
  • 3-4 shirts / t-shirts
  • 1-2 nice outfits for the Welcome Dinner, Farewell Dinner
  • Bathing suit
  • Sunglasses, hat, and sunscreen
  • Underwear and socks
  • Toiletries, medicine
  • Hand sanitizer
  • 1 reusable water bottle
  • Phone or camera
  • Passport
  • Debit / Credit cards and cash
  • Power adapter - type “C” or “F”. Plug type C is the plug with two round pins and type F has two round pins with two earth clips on the side. A staff favorite is also the “Targus World Power Travel Adapter” ($20, Amazon.com)

Note: June through August are peak temperatures in Greece ranging from 85-90 degrees during the day and dropping at night. Layers, sunscreen, and water are key!

Flight Preparation

When preparing for your international flight to Athens, check your online account 30 days prior to departure for your flight itinerary and confirmation number. With this information, you can check in to your flight 24 hours prior to departure. If you prefer to check in at the airport, plan to arrive 2.5 – 3 hours before departure.

  • If your flight is cancelled or delayed: Don’t worry! We design the first day of tour as an arrival day in case of flight delays or cancellations. Work with the airline to get re-booked on the next available flight, then let your Tour Director know your new arrival time
  • If you slept in and missed your flight: You should still talk to the airline and see if they can get you on the next available option. Tears may help in this case…

Note: All flight information is online (e-ticket) via your account and the airline’s website. You will not receive a physical paper ticket from us.

Arriving in Athens

If you booked flights with EF Ultimate Break, your transfers to and from the hotel when you arrive in and depart from Greece are included. Your Tour Director will communicate on Facebook or email about where to meet them at the airport. If you’re flying from the U.S., prepare for an overnight flight, and a morning – midday arrival in Athens.

Note: June through August are peak temperatures in Greece ranging from 85-90 degrees during the day and dropping at night. Layers, sunscreen, and water are key!

Meet Your Tour Director and Fellow Travelers

Your Tour Director will tell you best way to communicate with them during the trip; they will be with your group from start to finish so if there is anything you need, connect with them. Concerned about international cellular data and staying in touch with your group? Check out “Phones and Electronics” further down in this guide.

Use Your Phone, Internet, and Electronics

We recommend you get an international data plan from your cell phone provider. The most common options are the Travel Pass with Verizon, or purchasing a personal hot spot with your carrier. Read on for additional connectivity must-knows:

  • Wi-Fi will be in some hotels, restaurants, and bars, though charges may apply
  • Wi-Fi is slower in Greece that it is in the U.S.
  • Wi-Fi is not available on the bus
  • For your cell phone and any other electronics you bring abroad, you will need a converter/adapter
  • Greece uses types C and F plugs. Plug type C is the plug with two round pins and type F has two round pins with two earth clips on the side. A staff favorite adapter is the “Targus World Power Travel Adapter” ($20, Amazon.com)

Note: You should use a “C” or ”F” adapter / converter on this tour. A staff favorite is also the “Targus World Power Travel Adapter” ($20, Amazon.com)

On The Ground

Money and Tipping

The currency of Greece is the Euro. Read on for more must-knows about money and tipping on your trip!

  • When exchanging money for the trip better rates are usually found overseas, but it’s worth ordering some currency from your local bank to use when you first arrive.
  • Cash is preferred in Greece, and you can use most debit/credit cards at ATMs on the international networks Cirrus and Plus, but be wary of fees!
  • Budget around $80-$100 per day for meals, drinks, souvenirs, and tips or extra activities
  • Tipping at restaurants or for taxis is not customary in Greece, but if you feel inclined it’s ok to leave 10% or a few euros for exceptional service.
  • We recommend tipping your Tour Director $36 - $54 at the end of the trip. For local guides, you should tip 1-2 Euros at the end of each experience

Note: Let your bank and credit card companies know your travel plans ahead of time to avoid potential complications while abroad.

Accommodations in Greece

On this trip you’ll experience standard rooming unless you purchased a private room upgrade. Standard rooming is in European hotels or boutique hostels and you’ll room with up to six fellow EF Ultimate Break travelers of the same gender per room. What to expect for standard rooming in Greece:

  • 4-5 fellow EF Ultimate Break roommates of the same gender
  • One private bathroom per room that you’ll share with your roommates
  • Limited WiFi connection
  • Limited air conditioning

If you have any questions about your rooming status or want to request a specific roommate, call us at 800-766-2645, or connect with your Tour Director.

Transfers Between Cities & Sightseeing

On this trip, you’ll take a private bus between cities which can take anywhere between 2-8 hours depending on distance, local traffic, and bathroom or photo-stop breaks. The beauty of travel is that you get to explore a new place, but note that it takes time and energy to see everything worth seeing! Read on for more must-knows:

  • Prepare to walk between 4-8 miles per day, especially when sightseeing
  • It may be hot and humid in Greece, so keep your water, hat, and sunscreen close!

Note: It’s a good idea to bring a great book with you for transfer days, or download your favorite Spotify playlist!

Optimize Your Free Time

If you did not purchase EF Ultimate Break Optional Excursions before the trip began, you can log into your Online Account and do so on tour. You can also talk to your Tour Director on tour and they can help you get enrolled. If you’d like to plan something else during your free time, connect with your Tour Director before doing so; they sometimes arrange extra activities for the group during free time.

Prices for these optional excursions will increase on tour, so please check your online account for available add-ons.

Live Like a Local

As you prepare to spend time in a new culture, here are some expert tips to help you understand the ins and outs of Greece and feel like a Greek God or Goddess:

  • Greeks are known for their hospitality and laid-back attitude; expect more personal questions and a smaller personal space bubble when interacting with locals
  • Locals in Greece are friendly, but you should approach them first if you need help or want to talk
  • Drivers typically ignore pedestrian signs; do not expect them to slow down when you cross the street
  • The Orthodox Church holds a lot of presence in Greece, especially in the older generation. Prepare to cover your knees and shoulders if you want to enter a church or monastery.
  • Smoking is prevalent among about 50% of the population in Greece, though it has been banned indoors
  • Nightclubs open at midnight and close when the sun rises, and your entrance ticket usually includes the first drink
  • Although it’s acceptable to drink in Greece, locals expect you to be decent when you’re drinking
  • There’s a Mediterranean belief that nothing needs to be hurried, so service in a restaurant or transportation is often slowed
  • If you’re in a venue where they invite you to dance, it’s polite to get up and join. Opa!

Wine and Dine

You’ll sample a variety of local dishes on your trip, but read on for tips, tricks, and delicacies you just must try.

  • It’s polite to eat everything on your plate!
  • Locals usually have lunch around 3pm, and dinner around 9pm-midnight
  • Greek taverns and cafes are very festive, and don’t close until the guests leave
  • Pair an ellinikos (Greek coffee) with an amygdaloto – a warm, sweet, gluten-free almond cookie
  • Beer and wine are the most common drinks, even at lunch. Try a retsina wine, or Mythos beer
  • Baklava: Only try this if you want the most popular Greek food experience
  • Dolmadakia: Stuffed grape leaves
  • Gyro: A wrapped pita bread with shredded pork or chicken, tzatziki, fries, tomato, & onions – YUM
  • If you’re feeling adventurous, try Ouzo, a traditional aperitif
  • Greek Fava dip: Made of yellow split peas, this is super popular on Santorini!
  • Feta me meli: Baked feta cheese with honey… enough said.
  • Saganaki: More fried cheese
  • Moussaka: A traditional dish of minced beef, tomato sauce, eggplants, and more
  • Souvlaki: Meat on a stick with tzatziki sauce – widely refers to any type of pita-wrapped meat
  • Still not satisfied? Try any of the classics: Spanikopita, Tzatziki, Tiropita, Revani, Pasteli, and MORE!

Speak the Language

While it may feel awkward at first, attempting the local language goes a long way when navigating a city and interacting with people. Practice these basic phrases in Greek to get started:

  • Hello / Goodbye: YAH-soo
  • How are you?: Tee-KAH-nis
  • Good morning: Kah-lee-MER-ah
  • Goodnight: Kah-lee-NEEKH-tah
  • Thank You: Eff-kha-ri-STOE
  • Yes: Neh
  • No: OH-hee
  • Where is ___?: Pou einai
  • General exclamation or excitement: OPA!

Stay Safe Abroad

With a global presence of more than 46,000 people in over 115 countries and regions, we’re fully committed to your safety. But, it’s equally important for you to maintain your health and safety while abroad. From your first flight all the way through to your farewell dinner, drink plenty of water, get sleep when you can, and don’t hesitate to reach out to your Tour Director or your Trip Consultant if you need a helping hand. Keep these extra tips in mind so you can #travelsmart:

  • Keep your bag/purse in front of you and your phone zipped inside when you’re not using it. Leave your laptop at home, store valuables at the hotel in locked luggage or the safe deposit box. Refrain from carrying large sums of money or wearing valuable jewelry.
  • Use the buddy system. Stay in groups and watch out for each other, especially at night—no one gets left behind!
  • Before you go out, grab a business card at your hotel so that you always have the address handy for getting back later.
  • At the end of a night out, use trusted transportation like a licensed taxi, and always have cash on hand.
  • Be smart about alcohol consumption. Watch your drinks and don’t accept drinks from people you don’t know. Don’t leave the bar alone with someone you just met.
  • Save our 24/7 number in your phone: +1–617–619–1411

We’re so glad you chose to travel with us and are now part of the EF Ultimate Break family! We'll look for your post-card in the mail, and your #thisisultimate tags on Instagram. Cheers to the Best. Trip. Ever.

Bon voyage!