The Greek Islands
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 11 days ULTIMATE.
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
Consult your airline’s website for baggage size and weight restrictions for your flight, but note that your airline ticket does include 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 light jacket or rain jacket
- Comfortable walking shoes
- Comfortable sandals for the beach
- 1-2 pairs jeans / shorts
- 3-4 shirts / t-shirts
- 1 nicer outfit for Farewell Dinner or a night out
- 1-2 bathing suits
- Beach – we love the Microfiber travel towel ($5-$20, Amazon.com)
- Underwear and socks
- Toiletries, medicine – motion-sickness medicine if you’re prone to getting seasick
- Sunscreen and sunglasses
- Reusable water bottle
- Phone or camera
- Debit / Credit cards and cash
- Adapter / Converter – type “C”, “F”, or universal
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!
Check your online account 30 days prior to departure for your flight itinerary and confirmation number. 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 rebooked 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
Your Tour Director will communicate on Facebook or email about where to meet them at the airport. This is another reason you should join your Facebook group.
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.
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. Wi-Fi will be in some hotels, restaurants, and bars; but it isn’t always as strong as Wi-Fi in the US. For your cell phone and any other electronics you bring abroad, you will also need a converter/adapter.
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
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!
Money and Tipping
Cash and most well-known credit/debit cards are widely accepted in Greece, but in Greece especially, cash is preferred. 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 $45 - $65 at the end of the trip if you feel inclined.
- Greece: Euro (€)
Note: Let your bank and credit card companies know your travel plans ahead of time to avoid potential complications while abroad.
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:
- 4-5 fellow EF Ultimate Break roommates of the same gender
- Small, boutique hotels and hostels
- One private bathroom per room that you’ll share with your roommates
- Limited WiFi connection
- Limited air conditioning – AC is popular in the U.S., but not in Europe!
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.
Getting from A to B
All transfers between cities and islands are via private motor coach or ferries and can take anywhere between 2-6 hours. You’ll receive a public transportation pass in Athens, but prepare to walk between 4-8 miles per day, especially when sightseeing.
Note: It’s a good idea to bring a great book with you for transfer days. Try bringing a novel that’s based in somewhere you’re visiting! Catch up on Homer’s Iliad, The Odyssey, or keep it light with Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants… a classic.
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!
Health and Safety
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 to Athens 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 or Uber, 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.