New Year's in Edinburgh: England, Scotland & Ireland
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.
For the most up to date entry requirements for this tour, please visit this page.
Travel Documents & Tour Preparation
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 617-619-1411. We’re available 24/7 to make sure you have the Best. Trip. Ever.
- Passport: Your passport must be valid for 6 months after the tour return date.
- Visa: U.S. citizens do not need a visa for a tourist or business stay of 90 days or less.
- Travel Insurance: While travel insurance is not required, 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.
- Traveling 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.
- 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.
- 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. Please talk with your phone provider for your best options.
- Wi-Fi will be in hotels, restaurants, and bars, though charges may apply and it may be slower than in the U.S.
- Wi-Fi is not available on the bus.
- Get the EF Ultimate Break app: Your trip's group will be able to connect on the app before you meet IRL. Don't miss out! Meet other travelers, get updates from your Tour Director, see flights and accommodations, and more. If you're having trouble, give us a call at 617-619-1411.
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 canceled 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 London
Once you land in London, you will be met by your chauffer driver (fancy, right?) who will take you to your first accommodation. Here are steps on how to find your driver depending on the terminal you arrive in.
- Terminal 1: Your meeting point will be the Café Nero located in the terminal, your driver will be holding an EF Ultimate Break sign
- Terminal 2: Your meeting point will be the Café Nero located in the terminal, your driver will be holding an EF Ultimate Break sign
- Terminal 3: Your meeting point will be the Café Nero located in the terminal, your driver will be holding an EF Ultimate Break sign
- Terminal 4: Your meeting point will be at the WH Smith located in the terminal, your driver will be holding an EF Ultimate Break sign
- Terminal 5: Your meeting point will be at the WH Smith located in the terminal, your driver will be holding an EF Ultimate Break sign
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.
Please note: It's common to wait about 45 minutes – 1 hour for your driver as they may be stuck in traffic. They have all of your flight itineraries and will group 1-6 travelers together if people are arriving together. If you aren’t able to find your driver and have been waiting for more than 45 minutes please call at +44 203 813 3957 (Heathrow has free WiFi), let them know your name and you are an EF Ultimate Break traveler.
Getting from A to B
Transfers between cities are via bus and ferry, and you’ll also receive public transportation passes for within cities. However, we’ve packed a lot into your tour, so prepare to walk between 4-8 miles per day anyway, especially when sightseeing.
For transfer days, bring a novel based where you’re visiting! We recommend Trainspotting, or an adrenaline-pumper like The Bourne Series!
Fact: Travel is exhilarating. And FOMO is real. So, we understand why you don’t want to miss a second of the action. But 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, 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.
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.
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:
- 1 warm, water-resistant jacket
- Comfortable walking shoes for sightseeing days
- Waterproof shoes (such as rainboots)
- 6-7 pairs jeans / trousers / shorts
- 7-8 shirts / t-shirts / sweaters
- 1 nicer outfit for Farewell Dinner or a night out
- Underwear and socks
- Toiletries, medicine
- 1 reusable water bottle
- Phone or camera
- Debit / Credit cards and cash
- Type “G” power adapter. A staff favorite is also the “Targus World Power Travel Adapter” ($20, Amazon.com)
Note: The UK and Ireland both have oceanic climates, which means they get ample rainfall, but it can change in a matter of seconds. Bring plenty of layers and a good rain jacket.
Money & Tipping
We at EF will help facilitate any testing requirements while on tour, however it is the travelers responsibility to pay for these tests and it is our recommendation that you budget roughly 150 USD total. Please note that non-boosted travelers may be required to do additional testing to enter places such as restaurants, and/or major attractions.
The local currency in Ireland is the Euro (€), and in the United Kingdom (England, Scotland) it’s the Pound Sterling (£). 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.
- Let your bank and credit card companies know your travel plans ahead of time to avoid potential complications while abroad.
- Budget around $80-$100 per day for meals, drinks, souvenirs, and tips or extra activities.
- Remember that you know your spending habits best and not everyone’s spending habits are the same. These recommendations are based on a traveler who says yes to any and all activities while on tour.
- Tipping is not customary in Europe, but if you feel inclined it’s ok to leave 10% or a few euros for exceptional service.
- We recommend tipping your Tour Director $60 - $90 at the end of the trip. For local guides, you should tip $1-$2 at the end of each experience.
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, often 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 617-619-1411, or connect with your Tour Director.
As you prepare to spend time in new cities, countries, and cultures, here are some expert tips to help you live like a true local.
- Pack a raincoat. We’ve said it once and we’ll say it again. Expect rain, wind, and more rain in London and Edinburgh.
- Public restrooms in Europe sometimes require a small fee – hold on to your coins!
- Water is sometimes an added cost at restaurants and you may have to choose between still or sparkling.
- 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. In Scotland, however, they abide by a “keep to the left” etiquette. Stick to this while walking and exploring the city!
- The Scottish and Irish in particular are known for being friendly. Spark up conversation in the pubs and you may even find a new friend.
- It’s tempting to take pictures at every corner or of every pint you purchase, but remember that life in the UK and 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!
- Visit one of London’s many free museums or galleries like the National Gallery, the Natural History Museum, or the Sky Garden.
- We said it before and we’ll say it again: The weather changes in an instant. Expect the unexpected.
Food & Drink
Beef, beer, whiskey, fish. These are some of the delicacies in the UK, and you’re more than guaranteed to try all of these staples in multiple forms while on your trip. You’ll sample a variety of other local dishes on your trip, but read on for all the tips, tricks, and delicacies you must try.
- The Full Irish: Or, Irish breakfast; Soda bread, bacon, eggs, fried sausages, mushrooms or tomatoes. Locals get their fuel for the day with this massive feast
- English Breakfast: This traditional morning meal includes eggs, bacon, sausages, tomatoes, mushrooms, and most importantly, tea,
- Scottish Breakfast: Just like English Breakfast, but with black pudding, lorne sausage, tattie scones, and haggis if you’re lucky!
- Afternoon Tea: The average Brit drinks 3 cups of tea per day. Try an afternoon tea with light sandwiches or pastries!
- Fish and Chips: Chips are actually french fries in this traditional dish with lightly battered fish. It’s common as a takeaway treat, too!
- 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.
- Bangers and Mash: Mashed potatoes and sausages… what more do you need?
- Sticky Toffee Pudding: Moist sponge cake stuffed with raisins or dates, covered in toffee sauce served with ice cream or custard
- Haggis: A traditional dish from the highlands of Scotland. It’s a mash of sheep’s heart, liver, and lungs mixed with oats, spices, onion, salt, and stock. Sounds interesting, tastes delicious.
- Neeps and Tatties: Or, tunips and potatoes. A famous combination in Scotland!
- Scottish Salmon: Scottish salmon is claimed to be the best, primarily because it comes from extremely fresh water. There’s only one way to find out, right?
- Battered Mars Bar: You’ve heard of a Mars Bar, right? Instead, try it deep fried and out comes a melted, chocolatey, gooey dessert.
- Irish Stew: Ireland’s most famous dish of meat, potatoes, onions, and more
- 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.
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.