Know Before You Go: Tuscany & The Italian Countryside
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Tuscany & The Italian Countryside

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.

Getting There

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 800-766-2645. We’re available 24/7 to make sure you have the Best. Trip. Ever.

  • Verify your passport: In order to enter Italy, U.S. and Canadian citizens need a valid passport with an expiration date of at least six months after the date of re-entry. There is no visa required for U.S. or Canadian citizens
  • Join the Facebook group: Join your private Facebook group as soon as it opens! It’s how you can meet other travelers and see announcements from your Tour Director. Call us at 800-766-2645 if you’re having trouble joining.
  • 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.
  • Personalize your trip: Travel Insurance is not available for purchase on tour, and the price of Optional Excursions increases after departure. We suggest logging in to your Online Account now to add these items.
  • Call your bank: Let your bank and credit card company know of your travel plans so you can withdraw cash and use your debit/credit cards abroad. Otherwise, you risk your account being blocked.

Pack Like a Pro

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:

  • A light jacket or rain-wear
  • A shawl or layer to use when visiting religious sites where bare shoulders/legs are not permitted
  • A sturdy pair of walking shoes or sneakers for long days of sightseeing
  • 1-2 pairs pants, shorts, or skirt
  • 2-3 shirts / t-shirts
  • 1-2 nicer outfits for Welcome & Farewell dinners
  • Underwear and socks
  • Toiletries, medicine
  • Sunscreen, sunglasses, and hat
  • Reusable water bottle
  • Phone or camera
  • Passport
  • Debit / Credit cards and cash
  • A power adapter – type “C” or “E”, or a staff favorite is the “Targus World Power Travel Adapter” ($20, Amazon.com)

Note: When visiting religious sites, you must have appropriate clothing that covers your shoulders and falls below the knees. Entrance may be denied if you do not abide by these requirements.

Flight Preparation

Check your online account 30 days prior to departure for your flight itinerary and confirmation number. You can check in to your flight 24 hours prior to departure. If you prefer to check in at the airport, plan to arrive 2.5 – 3 hours before departure.

  • 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 re-booked on the next available flight, then let your Tour Director know your new arrival time
  • If you slept in and missed 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.

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.

Arriving in Milan

Benvenuto in Italia! Your Tour Director will communicate on Facebook or email about where to meet them at the Milan airport. This is another reason you should join your Facebook group.

Note: If you have difficulty finding your group or representative to bring you to the hotel, just give our team a call at 800-766-2645.

Meet Your Tour Director and Fellow Travelers

Your Tour Director will tell you best way to communicate with them during the trip; they will be with your group from start to finish so if there is anything you need, connect with them. Concerned about international cellular data and staying in touch with your group? Check out “Phones and Electronics” further down in this guide.

Phone, Internet, and Electronics

We recommend you get an international data plan from your cell phone provider. The most common options are the Travel Pass with Verizon, or purchasing a personal hot spot with your carrier. Read on for additional connectivity must-knows:

  • Wi-Fi will be in some 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
  • For your cell phone and any other electronics you bring abroad, you will also need a converter/adapter.
  • In Italy you’ll need a type “C” or “E” power adapter. Or, a staff favorite adapter is the “Targus World Power Travel Adapter” ($20, Amazon.com)

On The Ground

Money & Tipping

The currency of Italy is the Euro €. Read on for more must-knows about money and tipping on your trip:

  • When exchanging money for the 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
  • Budget around $80-$100 per day for meals, drinks, souvenirs, and tips or extra activities
  • Tipping at restaurants or for taxis is not customary in Italy, but if you feel inclined it’s ok to leave 10% or a few euros for exceptional service.
  • We recommend tipping your Tour Director $48 - $72 at the end of the trip. For local guides, you should tip 1-2 Euros at the end of each experience

Note: Let your bank and credit card companies know your travel plans ahead of time to avoid potential complications while abroad.

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 800-766-2645, or connect with your Tour Director.

Getting from A to B

On this trip, you’ll take a private bus between cities which can take anywhere between 2-6 hours depending on distance, local traffic, and bathroom or photo-stop breaks. The beauty of travel is that you get to explore a new place, but note that it takes time and energy to see everything worth seeing! Read on for more must-knows:

  • Prepare to walk between 4-8 miles per day, especially when sightseeing
  • It may be hot and humid in Italy, so keep your water, hat, and sunscreen close!

Note: It’s a good idea to bring a great book with you for transfer days, or download your favorite Spotify playlist or podcast to help pass the time!

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.

  • Please coordinate with your Tour Director or Trip Consultant if you have questions about reserving tickets for specific attractions
  • Prices for these optional excursions will increase on tour, so please check your online account for available add-ons

Local Culture

Get ready to kick back with a block of pecorino, some prosciutto di Parma, and a bottle of chianti in Tuscany! Italians take pride in fresh seasonal ingredients, passionate cooking, and sharing dishes with family and friends. You’ll sample a number 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, or a Chianti Classico?
  • 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
  • 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?

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 words and phrases to get started:

  • Hello = Ciao
  • Goodbye = Ciao
  • Thank You = Grazie
  • Yes = Sì
  • No = No
  • Where is _? = Dove si trova?
  • I need ____ = Ho bisogno _____
  • Cheers! = Saluti!

Stay Safe Abroad

With a global presence of more than 46,000 people in over 115 countries and regions, we’re fully committed to your safety. But, it’s equally important for you to maintain your health and safety while abroad. From your first flight all the way through to your farewell dinner, drink plenty of water, get sleep when you can, and 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!
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Save our 24/7 number in your phone: +1–617–619–1411

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!