New Year's in Amsterdam: London, Paris & Amsterdam
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=EQNB
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 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.
- 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
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, we recommend bringing a refillable water bottle!
- 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
We recommend budgeting $80-$100 per day for meals, gratuities, shopping, and free time activities. For this trip, that means roughly $1000 but you know your spending habits best.
- England: Pound Sterling (£)
- France: Euro (€)
- Netherlands: 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: If you have a credit card that offers zero international transaction fees, bring that to save some money for purchases abroad.
Tipping is not customary in Europe, but many locals leave 1-2 Euro for exceptional service.
For your Tour Director, we recommend tipping $40-60 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: We recommend a universal adapter; the “Targus World Power Travel Adapter” ($20, Amazon.com) for this trip.
- 1 light jacket or rain jacket (layers are key!)
- Comfortable walking shoes
- 2-3 pairs jeans / shorts (one longer pair of pants, dress, or skirt for temple and cathedral entrances)
- 3-4 shirts / t-shirts
- Shawl or sweater to cover your shoulders for entrance to sacred temples or cathedrals
- 1-2 nicer outfits for the Welcome Dinner & Farewell Dinner, or a night out
- 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: If you’ve purchased the Vatican optional excursion, you are required to cover your shoulders and knees when entering the basilica.
Also Note: June through August are peak temperatures in Europe ranging from 70-90 degrees during the day and dropping at night. Layers and staying hydrated are key!
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 Amsterdam: Welcome to the Netherlands! 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
Transfers between cities are via train and they take between 2-4 hours. You’ll also receive a public transportation pass in most major cities where necessary. In London, this pass is called an “Oyster Card”. Hold onto this for every journey as you need to scan the card before and after you ride the “Tube”. While you’re at it, don’t forget to mind the gap!
Transportation in cities that offer no pass may require more walking. In Amsterdam you may even replace driving and walking with biking! Just make sure you don’t mistake the bike lane for the pedestrian lane in Amsterdam; locals take biking seriously and it’s considered the main mode of transportation. In any case, we’ve packed a lot into your tour, so prepare to walk between 4-8 miles per day, especially when sightseeing.
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.
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.
Language & Local Life
As you prepare to spend time in new cities, countries, and cultures, here are some expert tips to help you live like a true European.
- Public transportation is very popular in Europe. In London, you’ll have an Oyster Card (their metro pass) for the “Tube”, in Paris and Amsterdam you’ll take the Metro! Taking public transportation is a great way to get to know a city
- 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!
- Practice the local language when greeting people or ordering food - It goes a long way with the locals
- Water is an added cost at restaurants, and you have to choose between still or sparkling
- Avoid making special requests at restaurants, it’s not as common in Europe
- 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
- When in London do not stand on the left of an escalator in the London Underground – the left is for walking, the right is for standing
- Visit one of London’s many free museums or galleries like the National Gallery, the Natural History Museum, or the Sky Garden
- British and French people are more reserved, so don’t be offended if someone doesn’t strike up conversation right away. Though, you might find more friendly faces in the pubs!
- Paris is known for its fashion. Now is the time to break out your new duds!
- Smoking is still very popular, especially in Paris. Don’t be surprised to see large amounts of locals with lit cigarettes!
- Biking is the main mode of transportation in Amsterdam. We encourage you to try it out if you feel comfortable, but remember to respect the road rules and local customs
- Debit and credit cards are surprisingly common in Amsterdam, where cash is not
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.
- English Breakfast: This traditional morning meal includes eggs, bacon, sausages, tomatoes, mushrooms, and most importantly, TEA.
- Afternoon Tea: The average Brit drinks 3 cups of tea per day. Try an afternoon tea with light sandwiches or pastries at Covent Garden or Soho
- Fish and Chips: Chips are actually french fries in this traditional dish with lightly battered fish. It’s common as a takeaway treat, too!
- Pie and Mash: A classic comfort food of pie served with a pile of mashed potatoes
- Eton Mess: This is a classic British treat of crushed merengue, cream, and strawberries
- Beef Wellington: A filet steak wrapped in puff pastry and cooked.
- Sticky Toffee Pudding: Moist sponge cake stuffed with raisins or dates, covered in toffee sauce served with ice cream or custard. YUM.
- Pubs: Try out Covent Garden and Soho, a locally-brewed beer at a traditional English pub, or a glass of champagne at The Ritz or The Savoy
- Baguettes: Now is your chance to walk around the streets of Paris with a baguette in hand. YOLO.
- Fromageries and boulangeries: Specialized cheese stores, and bakeries! The combination of delicacies from these two types of stores can only be improved with French wine
- Chocolate for breakfast: Pain au chocolat, or chocolate croissant, is the perfect breakfast staple in Paris
- Cheese: In Paris, cheese is cheap, plentiful, and delicious.
- Steak Frites: Grilled steak with various sauces and fries will hit the spot. Guaranteed!
- Crepes, Macarons, Chocolat, oh my!: Try a street stand crepe as an afternoon snack, a fun-flavored macaron, or any form of chocolate you can find. It’s all delicious!
- Champagne: It’s originated in France, after all…
- Croque-monsieur: Kind of like an extreme grilled cheese, this is a crisp grilled ham and cheese sandwich usually with bechamel sauce.
- Escargot: A.k.a., snails doused in butter and garlic. When in Paris, right?
- Herring: Yes. Herring. Try it from a herringhandel (herring cart), or have it served in a small sandwich with pickles and onions
- Food markets: Multiple street markets are open around the city during the week; check out the Albert Cuyp Markt, or the Dappermarkt for some fresh stroopwafls, herring, and more.
- Stroopwafel: A sweet treat of two waffles stuck together with a layer of sweet syrup. Try one from a street market or bakery!
-Beer: In the Netherlands, beer is traditionally served in small glasses called vases or fluutjes – unlike the German-style steins or pints!
- Bitterballen: Delicious, deep-fried meatballs with mustard. A fantastic pub or late-night snack!
- Poffertjes: Fluffy, battery, pancakes sprinkled with powdered sugar. What more could you want?
- More cheese: Visit a ‘kaas’ shop – a top spot to find cheese like Gouda, Geitenkaas, or Maasdammer.
Optimize Your Free Time
Not sure how to fill your free time? Lucky for you, we offer “optional excursions” for just that! 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. However, to avoid increased prices for these activities on tour, you should purchase these optionals before your trip begins. Prices for these optional excursions will increase on tour, so please check your online account for available add ons.
Note: If you want to visit sites like the Anne Frank House during your free time, make sure to book your ticket in advance. check with your Tour Director before the tour for the best time and date to do so.
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.