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 this page.

Travel Documents & Tour Preparation

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 617-619-1411. We’re available 24/7 to make sure you have the Best. Trip. Ever.

Travel Documents

  • Passport: In order to enter Europe, U.S. and Canadian citizens need a valid passport with an expiration date of at least six months after the date of re-entry. If you are not a U.S. or Canadian citizen, you must contact each country’s consulate for your specific entry requirements.
  • Visa: A visa is not required for U.S. or Canadian citizens on this tour.
  • 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: 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.
  • Traveling 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.
  • 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.
  • Get an international data plan: We recommend getting an international data plan for your mobile device so you can stay connected while on the road. Please talk with your phone provider for your best options.
  • Get the EF Ultimate Break app: Your trip's group will be able to connect on the app before you meet IRL. Don't miss out! Meet other travelers, get updates from your Tour Director, see flights and accommodations, and more. If you're having trouble, give us a call at 617-619-1411.

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 canceled or delayed: Don’t worry! We design the first day of tour as an arrival day in case of flight delays or cancelations. 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 through the EF Ultimate Break app, WhatsApp, or email about where to meet them at the airport. This is an important reason to make sure you have the EF Ultimate Break app!

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.

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, but prepare to walk between 4-8 miles per day, especially when sightseeing.

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.

Health

Over a month spent in Europe is exciting and life-changing, but to make the most of this trip without burning out, we have a couple tips and reminders:

  • 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 nap, so be it. This is a marathon, not a sprint.
  • Be Prepared: We recommend bringing 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.
  • Rooming: Maybe you’re a night owl and your roommates are early risers. Maybe you find your new BFF on tour. Maybe your roomie is a snorer and you’re a light sleeper. Whatever it is, let your Tour Director know and they can try to rearrange room assignments at the next accommodation.
  • Carpe Diem: You’re in EUROPE! Make the most of every day and remember why you chose to travel in the first place. This is an epic experience, so make it yours.

Safety

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.
  • Pick-pocketing is fairly common in major European cities. Always watch your belongings and keep an eye out for one another.
  • 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

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.

Packing Suggestions

  • 1 lightweight jacket
  • Comfortable walking shoes for sightseeing days
  • Comfortable sandals for beach days
  • 6-7 pairs jeans / trousers / shorts
  • 7-8 shirts / t-shirts / sweaters
  • 1 nicer outfit for Farewell Dinner or a night out
  • Bathing suits
  • 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!

Money & Tipping

We at EF will help facilitate any testing requirements while on tour, however it is the travelers responsibility to pay for these tests and it is our recommendation that you budget roughly 150 USD total. Please note that non-boosted travelers may be required to do additional testing to enter places such as restaurants, and/or major attractions.

Budgeting

Throughout Europe you’ll use the Euro, and we recommend budgeting 80-100 Euro per day for meals, gratuities, shopping, and free time activities.

Remember that you know your spending habits best and not everyone’s spending habits are the same. These recommendations are based on a traveler who says yes to any and all activities while on tour.

Managing Money

  • When exchanging money for this trip, better rates are usually found overseas, but it’s worth ordering some currency from your local bank to use when you first arrive.
  • You can use most debit/credit cards at ATMs on the international networks, but be wary of fees.
  • Let your bank and credit card companies know your travel plans ahead of time to avoid potential complications while abroad.

Tipping

  • For your Tour Director, we recommend tipping $140-$210 at the end of the trip
  • For local guides, we recommend tipping $1-$2 at the end of each experience
  • Otherwise, tipping is not customary in Europe, but many locals leave 1-2 Euro for exceptional service

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 of the same gender from your group.

  • Complimentary towels may not be available for use, but can typically be rented for a small fee. We recommend packing your own, along with shampoo and conditioner. Microfiber towels are a great option; they pack small and dry fast!
  • Bed-making services may not be provided. You may find sheets placed on your bed for you to apply to the mattress, and the beds won’t be remade daily by hostel staff.
  • Hostels tend to offer simple breakfast options that are easier to take on the go. You’re more likely to find items like breads, cereal, fruit, or yogurt than hot items like cooked eggs and proteins. Options may be limited.
  • Limited air conditioning – AC is popular in the U.S., but not in Europe

Traveling like this ensures maximum convenience and affordability, without sacrificing any safety. You’ll receive your exact accommodations 30 days before your trip departs.

Local Life

As you prepare to spend time in numerous new cities, countries, and cultures, here are some expert tips to help you live like a true European.

  • Attempting the local language when greeting people, ordering food, or navigating a new city shows respect and goes a long way with locals! On this trip you'll encounter a number of languages. Download Duolingo or some language-learning podcasts to practice your skills, and use Google Translate to help you while on the road!
  • Siestas. Many Europeans take a long midday break and close shops from 12-2pm to spend time with friends and family
  • 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!

Food & Drink

You’ll sample a variety of local dishes on your trip, but read on for some delicacies you must try in every country.

  • Portugal: Bacalhau à bras, cataplana de marisco, bifanas, and pastéis de nata
  • Spain: Paella, patatas bravas, jamón ibérico, pa amb tomaquet, and tinto de verano
  • France: Ratataouille, steak frites, crepes, and a café au lait
  • Italy: Limoncello, chianti classico, Florentine steak, cacio e pepe, and all the pizza
  • Greece: Gyros, horiatiki salata, saganaki, baklava, and ouzo

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.

Optional Information

Regarding the Vatican Optional: Following the guided tour of the Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel, St Peter’s Basilica is typically entered via queue from the square, it could take up to 1-2 hours for entrance. Depending on timing and guide availability, the guide may not accompany you inside the Basilica.

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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