Know Before You Go: Germany, Italy & Switzerland | EF Ultimate Break
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Germany, Italy & Switzerland

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 10 days ULTIMATE.

Covid-19

All travelers wishing to participate on this tour must be fully vaccinated by the time of their departure.  Fully vaccinated is defined as 2 weeks after receiving the last recommended vaccine dose for 2-dose vaccines and 4 four weeks after receiving the single-dose vaccine (J&J).

If you will not meet this requirement, please call us at 1-800-766-2645 to reschedule your tour. If you will be fully vaccinated, please confirm vaccination status via your checklist in your online account. Please note that checklist item will appear at 45 days prior to departure and can log into your account here:

Pre- tour
In addition to the safety precautions arranged for your tour, we want to stress your role in both your own and other travelers’ safety. As such we are requiring all travelers certify to comply with the requirements laid out in our COVID Safe Traveler Agreement . Requirements such as, but not limited to:

  • Being fully vaccinated by the time of my departure. A person is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving the last recommended dose of vaccine (4 weeks for J&J).
  • Agreeing to take all reasonable efforts to minimize their exposure to COVID-19 within the two weeks prior to the tour’s departure. If made aware that they have been in close contact (as defined as within 6 feet for a total of 15 minutes over a 24-hour period) with a person diagnosed within COVID-19 within 14 days of the tour’s departure date, they will notify EF Ultimate Break immediately.
  • Following all local regulations, restrictions and advisories related to COVID-19 for the tour. Travelers also agree to follow all rules, requests and requirements from their Tour Director or EF Ultimate Break staff for the health and well-being of themselves, their fellow travelers, and any suppliers.

Your COVID Safe Traveler Agreement will be released in your online account 14 days prior to departure and must be completed 72 hours prior to your tour’s departure to Europe.

Entering Venice: All travelers are responsible for completing the Health Declaration Form 48 hours before arriving in Italy, and carrying it with you.

On-tour
While on the road, you will be required to follow all local COVID safety regulations and requirements in Europe which currently include:

  • Face masks must be worn while in public in all indoor and outdoor settings except when eating, performing a water activity, while alone or in a private home; the use of masks is mandatory on all forms of transportation, including your tour bus.
  • Restaurant capacity may be limited, and many restaurants will require that groups are seated at separate tables, even in a private space.

In addition, we ask that while on tour you limit interactions to those within the group and refrain from meeting up with anyone outside the group.

Should any traveler be diagnosed with COVID-19 while on the Tour, the person diagnosed with COVID-19 will be required to isolate and the remainder of the tour group will be required to quarantine on-tour AND test for COVID-19, in accordance with local guidelines.

2021 Quarantine Coverage
If a traveler is either diagnosed with COVID-19 or required to quarantine on account of COVID-19 while on tour in 2021, EF will provide or arrange for the following, consistent with local requirements, at no additional expense to the traveler throughout the duration of any on-tour quarantine period:

  • Lodging and meals
  • EF representatives available to support the traveler and coordinate with local authorities on their behalf where necessary
  • Assistance connecting with local health care providers*
  • Translation services
  • Communication between the traveler and the traveler’s family back home
  • EF-arranged flights home, based on existing itinerary, once the traveler is cleared to return

*Travelers are responsible for their own medical costs; we highly encourage travelers to confirm their current health insurance includes coverage while traveling domestically or internationally or purchase trip protection that includes medical coverage through EF or another provider.

Returning from tour
In accordance with U.S. Centers for Disease Control requirements to re-enter the United States, all travelers, must take a mandatory COVID-19 test (either PCR or antigen viral test) OR have documented proof of recovery from a medical professional, within 72 hours prior to their return flight to the US.

While EF Ultimate Break will assist travelers in scheduling with local testing facilities, you will be responsible for covering the cost of the COVID-19 test. We recommend budgeting $100.

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

Fact: Travel is exhilarating. And FOMO is real. So, we understand why you don’t want to miss a second of the action. But 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, especially after spending all day in the sun!
  • 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

Budgeting:
We recommend budgeting $80-$100 per day for meals, gratuities, shopping, and free time activities. For this trip, that means roughly $800-$1000 but you know your spending habits best. If you’re looking to #treatyourself to the max, you may want to budget a little more.

Managing Money:

Currencies used:

  • Italy: Euro (€)
  • Germany: Euro (€)
  • Austria: Euro (€)
  • Switzerland: Swiss Franc (CHf)

The rates at ATMs are usually the best, and you can find machines everywhere - especially with the help of your Tour Director.

Please make sure to talk with your bank and credit card companies to let them know where and when you are traveling, and to go over any international transaction fees.

It’s always smart to bring more than one form of payment while traveling, and credit cards are widely accepted throughout the country.

Pro Tip: Do you have a credit card that offers zero international transaction fees? If yes, bring that to save money for purchases abroad.

Tipping:
There is no tip required for taxis and nearly all restaurant bills that you receive already include gratuity, so additional tipping is not necessary. As it is customary to tip for services provided, we recommend the following for this tour:

Local Guides: $1-$2

Tour Director: $40-$60 given at the end of the trip

Packing

Your airline ticket includes one checked bag (typically 27" x 21" x 14") but note that years of customer feedback tells us that the lighter you pack, the better. Double check the luggage size requirements on your airline’s website, but we recommend traveling with one small backpack or purse, and a smaller carry-on suitcase (22” x 14” x 9”) or bag;

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 that will help you become an international, carry-on-suitcase, jetsetter:

Electronics: Type “C”, “F”, or universal adapter and converter for electronics

Packing Suggestions:

  • 1 jacket (light/rain jacket if June – August, thicker/waterproof jacket for all other months)
  • Comfortable walking shoes
  • 2-3 pairs jeans / shorts
  • 3-4 shirts / t-shirts
  • 1-2 nicer outfits for Welcome Dinner, Farewell Dinner or a night out
  • Underwear and socks
  • Toiletries, medicine
  • Reusable water bottle
  • Small daypack for long days sightseeing
  • Phone or camera
  • Passport (we recommend making multiple copies of your passport and bringing one with you and leaving one with a trusted friend or family member in the States)
  • Debit / Credit cards and cash
  • Camera
  • Sunglasses and/or hat
  • Electronics and chargers plus adapter/converters

Note: You’re required to cover your knees and shoulders in sacred places like St. Mark’s Basilica in Venice.

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.

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.

  • 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 Venice
Welcome to Italy! Once you land, grab your luggage and pass through customs and immigration.

Your Tour Director will communicate on Facebook, WhatsApp, or email about where to meet them at the airport. This is another reason you should join your Facebook group.

Note: 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.

Getting from A to B
You’re traveling through Europe, and since teleportation hasn’t been invented yet, it takes time to get to each destination. All transfers between cities are via private motor coach and can take anywhere between 2-6 hours. When sightseeing, be prepare to walk between 4-8 miles per day!

Note: It’s a good idea to download a few movies or shows to watch sans Wi-Fi/ Cellular Data, bring a great book with you to read, or listen to music to pass the time.

Accommodations

While you are in Europe, you’ll be staying in hotels and boutique hostels that are a bit smaller than American rooms. Accommodation details will be posted in your online account 30 days prior to departure.

  • Unless you purchased a private room upgrade, standard rooming is 2-5 EF Ultimate Break travelers of the same gender per room.
  • One private bathroom per room that you’ll share with your roommates
  • Limited Wi-Fi connection in accommodations

If you have any questions about your rooming status or want to request a specific roommate you can do so in your online account up to 60 days prior to departure, by chatting in, or by giving us a call at 800-766-2645.

Language & Local Life

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 Italian, German, and Swiss German to get started:

  • Hello = Ciao / Hallo
  • Goodbye = Ciao / Auf Wiedersehen
  • Thank You = Grazie / Danke
  • Yes = Sì / Ja
  • No = No / Nein
  • Where is ___? = Dove si trova _? / Wo ist _?
  • Cheers! = Saluti! / Prost!

Note: Download Duolingo to practice your language skills, and use Google Translate to help you while on the road!

Live like a Local

Here are some expert tips to help you feel like a German guru, Italian stallion, and Swiss… miss?

  • Italians greet everyone with two kisses—one on each cheek; Germans shake hands
  • Italians, Germans, and the Swiss take fashion seriously; now is the time to break out your new shades and leather jacket
  • When you cheers or toast, make eye contact—it brings good luck!
  • Unlike Germans and the Swiss, Italians tend to be fashionably late
  • Germans and Swiss are more reserved; the less small talk, the better
  • Public intoxication is frowned upon
  • No jaywalking allowed, especially in Switzerland and Germany
  • As majestic as they are, avoid approaching the swans in Switzerland
  • Switzerland has an early bedtime, so make the most of your day

Food, Drink & Free Time

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

Italy

  • For breakfast, try a sweet pastry and cappuccino instead of the savory continental breakfast you’re used to!
  • Iced coffee begone, espresso is your new friend. You’ll never find a bad espresso in Italy, but order and pay for your espresso at the bar to avoid paying more than the usual 1-2€.
  • Indulge in a long lunch and try the local pasta, meat, fish, cheese, fruits, wine, and more wine. May we suggest a bold Tuscan red?
  • Before dinner, try aperitivo—a light meal between lunch and dinner with snacks and wine, or a refreshing spritz like aperol or campari
  • In Italy, dinner doesn’t often begin until after 8 or 9pm. More reason to enjoy aperitivo!
  • Try an after-dinner digestive liquor like limoncello, sambuca, amari, or apertivi.

Germany

  • With over 3,200 recognized types of bread in the country, German bread is the best thing since sliced bread
  • Unlike Italy, breakfast in Germany is a savory spread of bread rolls, sausage, and cheese with coffee or tea
  • Lunch, or mittagessen, is the main meal of the day, featuring potato salad, sausage, schnitzel, vegetables, fries, cabbage, and potatoes!
  • End your day with abendbrot, or “evening bread.” Yes. MORE BREAD. This meal consists of bread, cheese, pickles, sausage, and beer
  • For beer, try a refreshing Hefeweizen from Weihenstephan, or Stiegl, the official beer of Salzburg. Prost!

Switzerland

  • Save your Swiss Francs for a block of frischschokolade—fresh chocolate, a praline, or a truffle for a chocolate foodie experience
  • The Swiss recommend Gruyere, Appenzeller, Emmentaler; world-renowned cheese from all different regions of Switzerland
  • Like Italy, the Swiss start their day with light pastries or cereal, followed by a mid-morning snack of bread or fruit
  • Zmittag—lunch—is when locals enjoy hot international dishes
  • Dinner, or Znacht, starts around 6-7pm and can consist of colder foods like cheese, meats, honey and jam

Dining in Europe

  • Ordering food and drinks is a great time to practice the local language; it goes a long way with locals, and shows respect for their culture.
  • Restaurants ask you to choose between still or sparkling water, but remember sparkling water is an added cost
  • The less special requests you make at a restaurant, the more accurate your dish will be
  • It’s normal to seat yourself in a restaurant instead of waiting to be seated
  • Wait-staff in Europe are not as attentive as in the US; don’t be afraid to flag someone over for help!

Optimize Your Free Time

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.

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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