Italy & 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 this trip ULTIMATE.
All travelers wishing to participate on this tour must be fully vaccinated by the time of their departure and carry physical proof of vaccination with them. Fully vaccinated is defined as two weeks after receiving the last recommended vaccine dose. 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.
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 . 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.
- 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 Italy.
Entering Italy: All travelers entering Italy are required to fill out a Passenger Locator Form 48 hours before departure and should be prepared to show their physical vaccination card upon arrival and or when asked by officials.
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 Greece, 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: Although there are no health entry requirements for US citizens visiting Italy and Greece, 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
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
Currency used: Euro (€)
We recommend budgeting $80-$100 per day for meals, gratuities, shopping, and free time activities. For this trip, that means roughly $1200-$1500 but you know your spending habits best. If you’re looking to #treatyourself to the max, you may want to budget a little more.
While traveling through Italy and Greece, you’ll use the Euro. 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 so, bring that to save some money for purchases abroad.
When it comes to 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: $60-$90 given at the end of the trip
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/converter for your electronics
- 1 light jacket or rain jacket
- Comfortable walking shoes
- Comfortable sandals for the beach
- 2-3 pairs jeans / shorts
- 3-4 shirts / t-shirts
- A shawl or long skirt / pants to cover your knees and shoulders in cathedrals or basilicas
- 1-2 nicer outfits for Welcome Dinner & Farewell Dinner or a night out
- 1-2 bathing suits
- Beach towel
- Underwear and socks
- Toiletries, medicine – motion-sickness medicine if you’re prone to getting seasick
- Sunscreen and sunglasses
- Reusable water bottle
- Phone or camera
- Passport. We also recommend that you make two color photocopies of your passport. Leave one copy at home with a friend or relative, and bring one copy with you, keeping it separate from the original documents.
- Debit / Credit cards and cash
Note: You’re required to cover your knees and shoulders in sacred places like St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome
Also Note: June through August are peak temperatures in Greece and Italy ranging from 85-90 degrees during the day and dropping at night.
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.
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 Florence
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. Accommodation details will be available in your online account 30 days prior to departure.
Getting from A to B
You’re traveling through Italy and Greece, 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, flights, or ferries 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.
While you are in Italy and Greece, you’ll be staying in hotels and boutique hostels that are often 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. A few other things you can expect:
- One private bathroom per room that you’ll share with your roommates
- Limited Wi-Fi connection
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 Italian and Greek words and phrases to get started:
- Hello = I: Ciao G: YAH-soo
- Goodbye = I: Ciao G: YAH-soo
- Thank You = I: Grazie G: eff-kha-ri-STOE
- Yes = I: Sì G: neh
- No = I: No G: OH-hee
- Where is _? = I: Dove si trova? G: pou einai
- Cheers! = I: Saluti! G: STIN-eh YAH-mas
- General exclamation or excitement (Greece-Only): OPA!
Note: Download Duolingo to practice your language skills, and use Google Translate to help you while on the road!
Live like a Local
Italy has more UNESCO World Heritage sites than any other country, Greece is home to ancient ruins and sun-kissed coastlines, and both are equally full of endless culture. Everything you’ve dreamed about, read in history books, and watched in movies comes to life on this trip. Michelangelo’s David, The Acropolis, the Sistine Chapel, Athena, Zeus, DaVinci, it’s all here! As you prepare to spend time in these world-renowned destinations, here are some expert tips to help you live like the Italians and Greeks.
- Italians and Greeks greet friends and family with two kisses—one on each cheek!
- When you cheers or toast, make eye contact—it brings good luck!
- Expect to see queues and crowds at major sightseeing attractions – you’re visiting some world-famous spots after all.
- Public restrooms in Europe sometimes require a small fee – hold on to your coins!
- Unlike the U.S., everything (hotels, meals, appliances) is smaller. After all, less is more!
- Water is an added cost at restaurants, and you have to choose between still or sparkling
- Feel free to seat yourself in restaurants instead of waiting to be seated, and don’t be afraid to flag your waiter or waitress over for help
- Italy is known for its fashion. Now is the time to break out your new leather jacket, shades, and kicks.
- Smoking is still very popular in Italy and Greece. Don’t be surprised to see large amounts of locals with lit cigarettes!
- Greeks are known for their hospitality and laid-back attitude; expect more personal questions and a smaller personal space bubble when interacting with locals
- 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.
- Nightclubs in Greece typically 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!
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.
- For breakfast, Italians usually have a sweet pastry and cappuccino instead of the savory eggs and bacon you’re used to. When in Rome!
- Iced coffee begone, espresso is your new friend and you’ll never find a bad espresso in Italy. Make sure to order and pay for your espresso at the bar to avoid paying more than the usual 1-2€!
- Indulge in long lunches and try the local pasta, meat, fish, cheese, fruits, wine, and more wine. May we suggest a bold Tuscan red, a Chianti Classico, or a glass of Prosecco in Venice?
- Try aperitivo - A light meal between lunch and dinner with snacks and wine, or a refreshing spritz like aperol or campari
- Dinner in Italy 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
- For pasta we recommend cacio e pepe in Rome; a pasta dish with black pepper, pecorino Romano cheese, and pasta. They say all Italian meals only require 3 ingredients!
- Florentine steak is a specific cut of the meat from Tuscan cattle, and it is an excellent choice if you’re feeling #fancy in #Florence
- Roman artichokes, one of the most famous dishes of Roman cuisine, are braised in water, white wine, garlic, salt, pepper, and oil.
- Pizza. Need we say more?
- 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!
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.