Highlights of Eastern Europe
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 this trip ULTIMATE.
To view the most up to date entry requirements for this tour, please visit here: https://www.efultimatebreak.com/entry-requirements?tour-code=EEHB
Travel Documents & Tour Preparation
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Complete you pre-tour checklist: this can be found in your account.
Health & Safety
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 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
Money & Tipping
The local currencies on this trip vary. Berlin and Vienna use the Euro, in Warsaw it’s the Polish Zloty, in Krakow it’s the groszy, Prague uses Czech Crowns, and in Budapest you’ll use the Hungarian Forint. Read on for more must-knows about money and tipping on your trip:
- 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 Cirrus and Plus, but be wary of fees
- Budget around $80-$100 per day for meals, drinks, souvenirs, and tips or extra activities
- Tipping etiquette varies in Europe from country to country, but for the cities you are visiting, it is common to leave a 5-10% tip if you received good service
- We recommend tipping your Tour Director $68 - $102 at the end of the trip. For local guides, you should tip $1-$2 at the end of each experience.
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:
- A light jacket or rain-wear, or a warmer jacket for October-March
- Comfortable walking shoes for sightseeing days
- Waterproof shoes (such as rain boots)
- 1-2 pairs pants, shorts, or skirt
- 2-3 shirts / t-shirts
- 1 dressier outfit for Farewell Dinner or a night out
- Underwear and socks
- 1 bathing suit for the thermal baths in Budapest
- Toiletries, medicine
- Sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat
- Reusable water bottle
- Phone or camera
- Debit / Credit cards and cash
- Type “C”, “E”, and “F”, power adapters. Or, a staff favorite is the “Targus World Power Travel Adapter” ($20, Amazon.com)
Note: Eastern Europe has multiple seasons; Summers are hot, Winters are cold, and there’s rain in-between. Pack lightweight, loose-fitting clothing that can be easily layered to accommodate varying temperatures, as well as a light jacket or rain-wear.
Arrival Information & Transportation
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 Berlin
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 communicate on Facebook, WhatsApp, or email about where to meet them at the airport. This is another reason you should join your Facebook group.
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.
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. For your cell phone and any other electronics you bring abroad, you will also 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 need types “F”, “C,” and “E” adapters/converters on this tour. A staff favorite is also the “Targus World Power Travel Adapter” ($20, Amazon.com), which is compatible with all countries.
Getting from A to B
Transfers between cities are via bus, can take anywhere between 2-8 hours. You’ll also receive a public transportation pass in cities where its needed. In any sense, we’ve packed a lot into your tour, so prepare for long bus transfers and lengthy walking (between 4-8 miles per day), especially when sightseeing.
Note: Try bringing a novel that’s based in somewhere you’re visiting for long transfer days. We recommend The Book Thief, Galicia, or Fatelessness.
Living like a Local
Eastern Europe is dripping with contentious history, innovative art, beautiful scenery, grunge, and more. Prepare to experience an equal mix of medieval and modern culture while in Eastern Europe, and leave with a greater appreciation for all that this region of the world has to offer! Read below for more tips to help you live like a local:
- Take advantage of the museums, guided visits, and more on your trip; Eastern Europe’s history doesn’t speak for its present modern culture, but it’s important to understand the past events that transpired.
- Cycling is a popular mode of transportation in Europe, especially Germany. Do not walk in the bike lane if you want to avoid being scolded by locals or bike bells!
- Avoid jaywalking. Similar to the bike lane, if you jaywalk you can expect to be scolded. Instead, abide by the walk signals and cross-walks.
- Sundays are a day of rest. Expect shops to be closed on Sundays, but you will find cafes, restaurants, and galleries are still open on Sundays
- In Poland, the old school locals will greet women with a kiss on the hand. Otherwise, expect a handshake when meeting someone new, a kiss on the cheek for acquaintances, and 3 kisses for family.
- Polish locals don’t ask questions or give answers they don’t mean. When you ask or are asked “how are you”, expect an honest answer!
- Unlike in Germany and Austria, it’s illegal to drink in the streets of Poland. Stay cognizant of this regulation.
- Smoking is still popular among locals, especially in Austria. Some places have designated smoking areas, but many do not.
- Many public restrooms require a small fee for use - hold on to your coins!
- When dining out, you may have to ask for the bill since waitstaff doesn’t proactively bring this - they don’t want to interrupt your meal!
Food, Drink & Free Time
The cuisine in Eastern Europe is no joke. Savory, sweet, and hearty, your stomach and your wallet will thank you (yes, it’s cheap too)! Read on for all the tips, tricks, and delicacies you must try:
- Apfelstrudel: This classic sweet treat is a drool-worthy combo of pastry, breadcrumbs, tart apples, and thick cream.
- Palačinky: Similar to pancakes or crepes, try a palačinky savory or sweet. It’s a win-win either way!
- Wiener Schnitzel: If you try one thing before you leave Austria, it has to be schnitzel. This national dish of breaded and pan-fried veal cutlet will not disappoint.
- Goulash: Goulash, a stew of meat and vegetables mixed with spices plus bread on the side, is especially popular in the Czech Republic - give it a try!
- Gołąbki: Otherwise known as a cabbage rolls, gołąbki is a Polish treat of cabbage leaves stuffed with savory minced meet and served over tomato sauce.
- Somlói Galuska: Try this trifle in Hungary - it’s a pile of sponge cake, pastry cream, whipped cream, and chocolate sauce. What more could you want?!
- Trdelník: Trdelník is best described as a grilled dough with sugar and walnut mix, but you have to see it to believe how beautiful and delicious it is. When in Prague, right?
- Pierogi: The Polish know how to do a pierogi. Pierogi is a dumpling that’s filled with either savory mashed potatoes, meat and cheese, or berries and cream.
- Beer: Weihenstephan Hefe Weissbier in Germany, Ciechan Pszeniczne in Poland, Pilsner Urquell in Prague, Dreher in Budapest, and Kellerbrauerei Ried Naturtrüb in Austria… and that is literally just to name a few.
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.
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.