Know Before You Go: New Year's in Paris: Barcelona, Paris & London | EF Ultimate Break
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New Year's in Paris: Barcelona, Paris & London

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.

COVID-19

For the most up to date entry requirements for this tour, please visit here: https://www.efultimatebreak.com/entry-requirements?tour-code=BLNB

Travel Documents & Tour Preparation

Travel Documents:

  • 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.

Tour Preparation:

  • Talk with your doctor: Although there are no health entry requirements for US citizens visiting 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.

  • 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.

  • 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 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.

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

Manage Your Money
Cash and most well-known credit/debit cards are widely accepted in Europe, and ATMs are everywhere. Budget $80- $100 per day for meals, shopping, and free time activities. Tipping is not customary in Europe, but many locals leave 1-2 Euro or pounds for exceptional service. For your Tour Director, we recommend tipping $48-$72 at the end of the trip if you feel inclined.

Currencies used:

  • England: Pound Sterling (£)
  • France: Euro (€)
  • Italy: Euro (€)

Packing

Your airline ticket includes one checked bag but note that years of customer feedback tells us that the lighter you pack, the better. In different cities 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:

  • 1 lightweight or rain jacket – especially for London
  • Comfortable walking shoes for sightseeing days
  • 1 pair of dress shoes for nights out (some bars and clubs don’t allow sneakers)
  • 1-2 pairs jeans / trousers / shorts
  • 3-4 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
  • Passport
  • Debit / Credit cards and cash
  • A power adapter – a staff favorite is the “Targus World Power Travel Adapter” ($20, Amazon.com)

Arrival Information & Transportation

Flight Preparation
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 Barcelona
Your Tour Director will communicate through the EF Ultimate Break app, WhatsApp, or email about where to meet them at the airport. This is an important reason to make sure you have the EF Ultimate Break app!

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 Europe, 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 or train 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.

Accommodations

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 617-619-1411, 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 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.
  • Paris is known for their 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.
  • Spaniards are night owls – nighttime is when the cities come to life with people walking, talking, dancing, eating, everything!
  • Barcelona is capital of Catalunya region, one of the two strong identities in Spain (other is Basque)
  • Siestas are a midday break (1-4pm) when people gather with friends/family for a meal or nap
  • Close personal bubbles, eye contact, and two kisses on the cheeks to greet are all the norm in Spain

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.

London

  • 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

Paris

  • 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?

Barcelona

  • First and foremost, the Spanish eat a late lunch (siesta), snack in-between, and dinner at 10pm.
  • Lunch is the biggest meal of the day, around 2pm – only the touristy spots serve a 12pm lunch!
  • Tapas etiquette: Avoid ordering at the bar then bringing the food to your table. Instead, try standing at the bar for a real authentic experience! If you choose to sit, you’ll just see a service charge on your bill
  • Jamon: Pronounced, hah-mohn, is dry-cured ham. It’s everywhere, and it’s delicious.
    Paella: A well-known Spanish cuisine, it’s rice with veggies, paprika, saffron, and seafood
  • Wine, Cava, Sangria: Wine, sparkling wine, and wine with fun stuff.
    Pan con tomate: Bread with tomato, olive oil, and salt. Simple, yet satisfying.
  • Croquettas: Similar to a mozzarella stick, but usually filled with cheese, meat, or veggies!
  • Calamari: Squid or octopus – when in Spain, right?
  • Patatas Bravas: A fan favorite for tapas, simply crispy potato wedges with spicy sauce and aioli

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.

Bon voyage!

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