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.
Your health and safety will continue to be our top priority. Travel involves certain inherent risks related to the chance of being exposed to and/or contracting COVID-19.We want you to travel confidently, which is why we’re taking steps to make EF Ultimate Break the safest way to see the world. You can see all the steps we’re taking here:
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 . Under this agreement, travelers must:
- Be fully vaccinated by the time of departure. A person is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving the last recommended dose of vaccine.
- 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.
- Follow all local regulations, restrictions and advisories related to COVID-19 for the tour.
- 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 Ireland.
**Entering Ireland: all travelers are also responsible for completing the Health Declaration Form before departure and carrying it with you.
While on the road, you will be required to follow all local COVID safety regulations and requirements in Ireland 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
- 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 Ireland, 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.
- 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.
- 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 for your mobile device so you can stay connected while on the road. Free Wi-Fi may be available, but 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; This is 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.
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: 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 (not just Guinness) throughout the day, especially on days with physically demanding hikes!
- 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.
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
In Ireland you’ll use the Euro, and we recommend budgeting 80-100 Euro per day for meals, gratuities, shopping, and free time activities. For this trip, that means about $900-$1100 total, but you know your spending habits best. Read on for more must-knows about money and tipping on your trip:
- Currencies used: Euro (€)
- 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.
- In Ireland, it is common to leave a 10-15% tip if you receive good service
- Let your bank and credit card companies know your travel plans ahead of time to avoid potential complications while abroad.
- Tour Director: $48 - $72 at the end of the trip
- Local guides: $1-$2 at the end of each experience
- Taxis: Round up to the nearest dollar
- Restaurants: 10-15% (check your bill that gratuity isn't already included)
Your airline ticket includes one checked bag but note that years of customer feedback tells us that the lighter you pack, the better. We recommend bringing one hiking backpack (approximately 20 liters is a great size), and one smaller suitcase or duffel bag approximately 22” x 14” x 9”. See more packing tips below.
Electronics: Ireland uses a large “G” electrical outlet with three square “prongs.” If your device is compatible with 220 volts, you simply need an adapter.
- 1 jacket (light/rain jacket if June – August, thicker/waterproof jacket for all other months)
- Comfortable walking shoes
- Waterproof shoes
- 1-2 pairs jeans / shorts
- 3-4 shirts / t-shirts
- 1 nicer outfit for Farewell Dinner or a night out
- Underwear and socks
- Toiletries, medicine
- Phone or camera
- Debit / Credit cards and cash
- Adapter / Converter – type “G” (three square prongs), or universal
Hiking Packing Suggestions:
- One hiking backpack, approximately 20 liters is best
- Hiking boots with non-slip sole and ankle support. You should try to break in your boots for 2-3 weeks before the tour to avoid blisters or any discomfort
- Active-wear clothes; quick-drying, non-cotton material
- Long pants; quick-drying, non-denim or cotton material
- Hat & gloves (wool is ideal for hiking)
- Sunscreen and sunglasses
- Hat/Bandana (sweat resistant)
- Water bottle with 2-liter capacity
- Moleskin and bandaids for blisters
- Soft lunch box to keep lunch cold (optional)
- Telescoping hiking poles (optional)
- Personal medicine
- Towel for swimming and whitewater rafting (we recommend the Microfiber Towel found on Amazon - $20)
Note: Ireland is an oceanic climate which means the country gets ample rainfall, but it can change in a matter of seconds. We recommend packing lightweight, loose-fitting clothing that can be easily layered to accommodate varying temperatures, as well as a light jacket or rainwear.
Physical Prep & Hikes
This is a physically demanding tour; there are hikes or extended walks almost every day and most hikes will start in the morning and end in the evening. On some days, you should be prepared to hike upwards of 9 hours, taking into consideration different terrains and altitude adjustments. You should feel comfortable walking or hiking uphill continuously for at least 3 hours, otherwise you risk missing out on hikes or not enjoying the tour as much as you’d like. You can opt out of any hiking day, but we recommend making the most of each hiking opportunity!
Depending on local weather conditions, seasons and trail closures, the activities and sequence of your included walks may change.
- Killarney National Park – 4 miles / 3 hours. A flat path circles Muckross Lake in view of Torc Waterfall.
- Carrauntoohill Climb – 7.5 miles / 9 hours hours. One of the more challenging days, you’ll move along popular paths that could include the Devil’s Ladder, or Brother O Sheas Gully. Either way, expect great views and some exposed scrambling!
- Cliffs of Moher Coastal Walk - 3.5 miles / 2 hours. Exposed clifftop path, some narrow & steep ascents, and flagstone steps offer you unmatched views of the famous Cliffs of Moher
- Connemara National Park – 4 miles / 3 hours. Loose gravel paths and boardwalks give way to sweeping mountain views. You may opt for an easier route of 2 miles / 1.5 hours.
- Slieve League Hike - 5 miles / 9 hours (4.5 hours hiking). Narrow and steep in some places with a rocky underfoot, your bus will take you to Teelin village to make your way up Pilgrim’s Path and finally summit Slieve League
- Cuilcagh Boardwalk Trail - 7.5 miles / 3 hours. A gravel track and boardwalk trek along Cuilcagh, the highest mountain point in this part of Ireland. Nicknamed the “stairway to heaven”!
You’ll typically stop for lunch during your hikes. Hiking protocol is that everyone in the group waits until the last person arrives at the lunch stop before eating. Think of it like waiting for your family members to all sit down at the dinner table before starting to eat!
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 Ireland
Welcome to Ireland! 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.
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
You’re traveling through Ireland, and since teleportation hasn’t been invented yet, it takes time to get to each destination. All transfers between cities and islands are via private motor coach can take anywhere between 2-6 hours.
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.
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 five 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, typically without elevators
- 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.
Language & Local Life
Irish folk are known for their slang, so if you want to stay hip, try out some of these popular words and phrases:
- Bang on: Meaning you’re right, accurate; “You are bang on.”
- Black stuff: Guinness; “A pint of the black stuff please!.”
- Brutal: Meaning awful or dreadful; “That was a brutal tackle.”
- Craic: Pronounce like crack; meaning fun, going on’s like “What’s the craic?” “Where’s the craic?”
- Deadly or Savage: Fantastic or great; “That was a deadly joke.”
- Grand: A reply to most questions like how are you, how are you feeling, in response to a statement; “How are you? Grand.” “Meet me here. Grand.”
- Knackered or Shattered: Exhausted
- Langers: Drunk
Live Like a Local
- The locals in Ireland are known for being friendly. Spark up conversation in the pubs and you may even find a new friend.
- We said it before and we’ll say it again: The weather changes in an instant. Expect the unexpected.
- It’s tempting to take pictures at every corner or of every pint you purchase, but remember that life in Ireland is all about living in the moment. Enjoy it!
- When at the pubs with a group, it’s common for each person to take turns “buying a round” for the rest of the group. Try it out with your new friends!
- Try new foods, we promise you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
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.
- Irish Stew: Ireland’s most famous dish of meat, potatoes, onions, and more
- The Full Irish: Or, Irish breakfast, usually consists of soda bread, bacon, eggs, fried sausages, mushrooms or tomatoes. Locals get their fuel for the day with this massive feast
- Salmon: Smoked or Irish, Salmon is a treat in Ireland and always fresh! Especially from April – June
- Galway Oysters: The best oysters are found in the West of Ireland, harvested in Clarinbridge.
- Soda Bread: Every Irish family has their own soda bread recipe, but it’s always good with butter, alongside Irish stew, or on its own
- Coddle: A slow cooked combination of sausage, bacon, onions, and potatoes
- Guinness & Guinness Cake: Why not pair a fresh pint o’ Guinness with a cake made from the dark stout? You’re on vacation, after all.
- Boxty: Essentially a mashed and grated potato in dumpling-form. Try it at Dublin’s Temple Bar!
- Black and white pudding: No, not like a Snack Pack. It’s pudding made from blood and fat mixed with barley, pork meat, oatmeal, and suet in one sausage. Trust us, try it.
As you prepare to spend time in a new culture, star to think about how you can make the most of your time, and live like a true Irish lad or lass! If you did not purchase an EF Ultimate Break optional excursion and 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.
- If you did not purchase one of the optional excursions before the trip, log into your Online Account and you can purchase there, or, talk to your Tour Director on tour and they can enroll you.
- Note that prices for these optional excursions will increase on tour.
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.