Know Before You Go: European Summer | EF Ultimate Break
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European Summer

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 35 days ULTIMATE.

COVID-19

For the most up to date entry requirements for this tour, please visit here: https://www.efultimatebreak.com/entry-requirements?tour-code=ESUB

Travel Documents & Tour Preparation

Travel Documents:

  • Passport: Your passport must be valid for 6 months after the tour return date.
  • Visa: No visa is required for this trip if you are a U.S. Citizen. For citizens of other counties please check with the consulate in your area to verify the Visa entry requirements.
  • Travel Insurance: While Travel Insurance is not required to enter Europe, we strongly encourage all travelers to obtain coverage before departure. Check out cost-effective Travel Protection, designed to meet the needs of EF travelers here.

Tour Preparation:

  • Talk with your doctor: Although there are no health entry requirements for US citizens visiting Europe, it is highly recommended that you talk with your doctor about your travel plans. If you are taking any medications, be certain to bring enough to last throughout your trip.
  • Travelling with allergies? Let your Trip Consultant and Tour Director know of any dietary restrictions/allergies and we will do what we can to accommodate for any included meals.
  • Get an international data plan: We recommend getting an international data plan so you can stay connected while on the road. While free Wi-Fi may be available, it won’t be everywhere nor as strong as we are used to. Please talk with your phone provider for your best options.
  • Join the Facebook group: Your trip’s private Facebook group will open roughly 60 days prior to departure and is something you won’t want to miss. It’s how you can meet other travelers and see announcements from your Tour Director. You’ll receive an email inviting you to join. If you’re having trouble joining, give us a call at 800-766-2645.
  • Complete you pre-tour checklist: this can be found in your account.

Health & Safety

Staying Healthy while Traveling

There’s a difference between maximizing your time and spreading yourself too thin. Here are some tips to stay healthy and happy on tour:

  • Sleep: Flying across the globe, changing time zones, and being constantly on the move can take a toll on your body. Make sure you get the rest your body needs. If that means missing a night out for some well-earned rest, or having a little afternoon siesta, so be it. This is a marathon, not a sprint.
  • Stay hydrated: It’s important to drink plenty of water throughout the day, we recommend bringing a refillable water bottle!
  • Be Prepared: The most prepared travelers will bring a small first aid kit, including antacids, anti-diarrhea medication, motion sickness medication, and any prescription medications in your carry-on bag.
  • Take time for yourself: Group travel is an amazing experience, and there’s nothing quite like exploring a foreign country with a group of like-minded people. That said, it’s okay to take time for yourself to relax and reflect on your experience. Here are a few mindfulness apps you can take with you on the road:
    • Insight Timer: Meditation apps are very in right now. This one is especially amazing because there are 80,000 free daily meditations to help with sleep, anxiety, and stress.
    • What’s Up: If you’re feeling anxious, depressed, or stressed, What’s Up can help you manage these feelings with interactive games, forums, and a thought tracking diary.
    • Talkspace: No need to make appointments or commute to a therapist’s office. Talkspace gives you 24/7 access to real, licensed therapists. You can talk, text, or video chat with them right from your phone.

Safety while Abroad
With a global presence of more than 46,000 people in over 115 countries and regions, we’re fully committed to your safety. From your first flight all the way through to your farewell dinner, 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!
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Save our 24/7 number in your phone: +1–617–619–1411.

Money & Tipping

  • Cash and most well-known credit/debit cards are accepted in Europe, but if you want to avoid international surcharges on your credit card, try to use cash
  • ATMs are widely available, and you should budget $80- $100 per day for meals, shopping, and free time activities
  • When it comes to tipping, many locals leave 1-2 Euro for exceptional service, or round up the bill to the nearest Euro
  • For your Tour Director, we recommend tipping $140 - $210 at the end of the trip if you feel inclined.

Currencies used:

  • Portugal: Euro (€)
  • Spain: Euro (€)
  • France: Euro (€)
  • Italy: Euro (€)
  • Greece: Euro (€)

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

Packing

Consult your airline’s website for baggage size and weight restrictions for your flight, but note that your airline ticket includes one checked bag. At EF Ultimate Break, we recommend limiting your luggage to one backpack or purse, and one checked bag or larger carry on; In different cities you may need to carry your suitcase where buses and elevators cannot, and remember that you’ll have the opportunity to do laundry throughout the trip. See more packing tips below:

  • 1 lightweight jacket
  • Comfortable walking shoes for sightseeing days
  • Comfortable sandals for beach days
  • 1-2 pairs jeans / trousers / shorts
  • 3-4 shirts / t-shirts / sweaters
  • 1 nicer outfit for Farewell Dinner or a night out
  • Bathing suit
  • Sunglasses and sunscreen. Pro Tip: Bring two travel-size sunscreens in your carry-on
  • Beach towel – we love the Microfiber travel towels ($10-$20, Amazon.com)
  • Underwear and socks
  • Toiletries, medicine
  • 1 reusable water bottle
  • Phone or camera
  • Passport
  • Debit / Credit cards and cash
  • A power adapter – a staff favorite is the “Targus World Power Travel Adapter” ($20, Amazon.com)

Note: You’re required to cover your knees and shoulders in sacred places like the Seville Cathedral, Mezquita de Cordoba, and St. Peter’s Basilica

Also note: June through August are peak temperatures in Southern Europe, ranging from 85-90 degrees during the day and dropping at night. Layers and staying hydrated are key!

Arrival Information & Transportation

Flight Preparation
Check your online account 30 days prior to departure for your flight itinerary and confirmation number. Using your 6-digit reservation code, you can reserve your seat (this is typically available 30 days to 24 hours before departure) and check in to your flight 24 hours prior to departure. If you prefer to check in at the airport, that’s okay, too. Regardless, plan to arrive 2.5 – 3 hours before departure.

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.

  • 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 rebooked on the next available flight, then let your Tour Director know your new arrival time.
  • If you sleep in and miss 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.

Arriving in Lisbon
Your Tour Director will communicate on Facebook or email about where to meet them at the Lisbon airport - This is another reason you should join your Facebook group! If you’re flying from the U.S., prepare for an overnight flight, and a morning – midday arrival in Portugal.

If you have booked your own flight arrangements or have extended your travels before the tour dates, you will need to make your own way to the first hotel. Accommodation details will be available in your online account 30 days prior to departure.

Meet Your Tour Director and Fellow Travelers
Your Tour Director will also 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.

Getting from A to B
All transfers between cities, countries, and islands are via private bus, internal flight, or ferry; Transfers can take anywhere between 2-6 hours. You’ll receive a public transportation pass in major cities like Athens, Barcelona, Lisbon, and Rome, but prepare to walk between 4-8 miles per day, especially when sightseeing.

Note: Bring a great book with you to pass the time on transfer days. Try a novel that’s based in somewhere you’re visiting! We recommend Night Train to Lisbon, anything by Dan Brown (The Da Vinci Code, Angels & Demons, Origin), or a light read like Homer’s The Iliad.

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. For your cell phone and any other electronics you bring abroad, you will need a converter/adapter. Read more tips below about using your phone and electronics abroad:

  • Wi-Fi is available in most hotels, though some charges may apply.
  • There is no Wi-Fi on any of the motor coaches.
  • Please contact your mobile service provider for information on roaming charges.

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

Accommodations

You’ll stay at hostels hand-picked by our team of local experts, in rooms only for EF Ultimate Break travelers. This backpacker-style of accommodation means you may be sharing a room with up to 10 fellow travelers from your group; and we recommend bringing your own towel, soap, and shampoo. Traveling like this ensures maximum convenience and affordability, without sacrificing any safety. You’ll receive your exact accommodations 30 days before your trip departs.

Live Like a Local

As you prepare to spend time on the Iberian peninsula, French riviera, Greek islands, and more, here are some expert tips to help you live like a true European.

  • Siestas. Many Europeans take a long midday break and close shops from 12-2pm to spend time with friends and family
  • Pickpocketing. It’s unfortunately an issue in major European cities; Keep an eye on your things at all times
  • Europeans are night owls. Nighttime is when cities come to life – embrace it!
  • Dress the part. Europeans dress to impress. We recommend comfortable clothes and walking shoes, but now's the time to try your new sunhat, fancy shades, and the latest trends.
  • Embrace the culture. Unlike the U.S., water isn’t free, customer service is more hands-off, and everything (hotels, meals, appliances) is smaller. Instead of comparing, dive all in!
  • Speak the language. Attempting the local language when greeting people, ordering food, or navigating a new city shows respect and goes a long way with locals!

The Inside Scoop: Ibiza
You’ve seen the pictures, danced to the songs, and heard the rumors, but what really happens on this mystical island? You may be surprised to know there’s more to Ibiza than the all-night clubs, or maybe the only shock-factor is that the clubs open at 12am… Either way, read on for more information so you can make your few days in Ibiza the best.:

  • Most clubs open at 12am and close at 6am, or opt for a day party that ends at 12am
  • Public Buses! Regular buses operate every half-hour (2€ one way) between the top clubs, Ibiza Old Town, and beaches of the island. After 11:30pm, the "Disco Bus" takes over (around 3€ one way). You HAVE to try it.
  • Ibiza's top clubs include Ibiza Rocks, Ushuaia, and Underground (to name a few). Just remember that tickets can vary from $15 - $150 EUR if there's an event!
  • Sunsets in Ibiza are a big deal. Check out Sunset Strip, Benirras Beach, or Es Vedra for the best
  • The sun and drinks are strong. Wear sunscreen and drink water
  • Remember Ibiza is an island and can be expensive, so pay attention to how you spend your money

All About Athens
While Athens doesn’t have the same flair as Venice, Paris, Florence, or even Prague, it’s a city filled with Mediterranean ease, spirit, and style. This city is the heart of Ancient Greece, a powerful civilization that still shines with major landmarks like the Acropolis, the Parthenon, and more. Make sure to take in every ruin, labyrinthine street, and ages-old-Orthodox Church you can find. Opa!

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.

Food, Drink & Free Time

You’ll sample a variety of local dishes on your trip, but read on for tips when dining out in Europe, and delicacies you must try in every city.

  • Lisbon: Bacalhau à bras (salted cod with potatoes and eggs), and Pastéis de nata (custard tarts). YUM!
  • The Algarve: All the seafood. The Algarve is known for its super-fresh seafood!
  • Seville: Try serranito, Seville’s signature sandwich of pork loin, ham, and grilled green pepper
  • Granada: Jamón de Trevélez. More ham, but this time cured, salted, and praised by Spanish royalty
  • Ibiza: Might sound obvious, but sip on a local drink like fresh sangria, tinto de Verano, or zumo fresco. All fruity and refreshing.
  • Barcelona: Paella, patatas bravas, and pa amb tomaquet
  • Provence: Ratataouille! A summer dish of stewed vegetables in fruity, garlic-tinged olive oil.
  • French Riviera: You can’t go wrong with a fresh pastry or warm bread in the morning here.
  • Italian Riviera: Cinque Terre is home to acres of lemon groves – try a limoncino liquer!
  • Florence: Chianti Classico for wine, gelato, and if you’re feelin’ fancy, a Florentine Steak
  • Rome: Cacio e pepe, artichokes, and all the pizza
  • Greece: Horiatiki Salata (Greek Salad), saganaki (fried cheese), and Ouzo

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!

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