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.
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 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 most hotels, restaurants, and bars, though 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.
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 Venice
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 Italy, and since teleportation hasn’t been invented yet, it takes time to get to each destination. All transfers between cities (except for your overnight ferry to Sicily) are via private motor coach and can take anywhere between 2-6 hours. When sightseeing, be prepare to walk between 4-8 miles per day!
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.
Staying Healthy While Traveling
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.
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.
For weight and size restrictions please refer to your airline’s website. Flight information will be available 30 days prior to departure in your online account. Below you'll find some critical packing information and suggestions.
- The most important piece of advice we can give you: Pack light! Your international airline ticket does include a checked bag, but years of customer feedback tells us a carry-on is the way to go. You may need to carry your suitcase where buses and elevators cannot, so make sure you are comfortable carrying everything you bring yourself.
- You've probably heard the hacks about rolling clothes and using packing cubes a million times, but there's a reason for that! It really does help.
- If you choose to pack all of your toiletries, don't bring your regular-sized bottles from home. Offload some of that into travel-sized containers.
- Choose your luggage wisely. We recommend a roller carry-on bag and a backpack as your personal item.
- Choose shoes carefully as well. They're some of the bulkiest items you can pack, so we recommend a good pair of walking shoes and a pair of climate-appropriate shoes (boots or sandals depending on the destination and time of year). We also recommend a pair of closed-toe water shoes if your itinerary has any water activities.
- Make a packing list of must-haves and stick to it. If you have a little extra space in your bags once all your must-haves are packed, then consider adding in a few nice extras.
- Unfortunately, luggage can get lost. It’s a painful situation no matter what, but here are tips to ease some of the hassle:
- DO NOT put important medications in a checked bag. If your luggage is lost, this could become a dangerous issue.
- Even if you put most of your clothes in a checked bag, put a couple outfits in your carry-on along with your toiletries.
- If you are forced to check you carry-on at the gate, be sure to remove essentials and valuables before handing it over.
- Carefully review TSA restrictions when packing. There are a number of items not allowed in your carry-on and liquids have certain restrictions.
- Complimentary towels will not be available for use in hostels. We recommend packing your own, along with shampoo and conditioner. Microfiber towels are a great option; they pack small and dry fast!
- Check out the local weather; we haven't figured out how to control the weather yet so best to be prepared and plan accordingly.
- Don't forget: Outlets overseas can differ from the US, so be sure to pack the right power adapters/converters!
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.
We recommend budgeting $80-$100 per day for meals, gratuities, shopping, and free time 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.
While traveling through Italy, 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.
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: $68-$102 given at the end of the trip
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!
Italians are warm, inviting people that are very proud of their culture that is world-renowned for its arts and cuisine. And learning some these little quirks, as well as some general European ones, can help you embrace it to the fullest.
- Fare bella figura: This phrase meaning “to make a good impression” is a way of life adopted by many Italians. It’s not only about dressing well, but also about graceful interactions and good manners.
- Italians tend to be very expressive when they speak, both in tone and hand gestures.
- Meals are not hurried, as people like to take their time appreciating the food and sharing conversation. This also means that you’ll have to request your bill in most restaurants.
- 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.
- Smoking is still rather popular in Italy. Don’t be surprised to see large amounts of locals with lit cigarettes!
You’ll sample a variety of local dishes on your trip, but read on for tips, tricks, and delicacies you just must try.
- Breakfast: Italians usually have a sweet pastry and cappuccino instead of the savory continental breakfast you’re used to. Try a chocolate croissant!
- Coffee: 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€!
- Aperitivo: This is a light meal between lunch and dinner with snacks and wine, or a refreshing spritz like aperol or campari
- Late dinners: Dinner doesn’t often begin until after 8 or 9pm. More reason to enjoy aperitivo!
- Digestif: Try an after-dinner digestive liquor like limoncello, sambuca, amari, or apertivi
- Cacio e pepe: A simple yet delicious pasta dish with black pepper, pecorino Romano cheese, and pasta. They say all Italian meals only require 3 ingredients!
- Roman artichokes: One of the most famous dishes of Roman cuisine, the artichokes are braised in water, white wine, garlic, salt, pepper, and oil.
- Florentine steak: A specific cut of the meat from Tuscan cattle, and it is an excellent choice if you’re feeling #fancy in #Florence
- Pizza: Need we say more?
- Arancini: These Sicilian fried rice balls are traditionally filled with meat and peas, but you'll likely find a number of different variations to sample.
- Cannoli: You may have had some cannolis in your life, but here's your chance to have these fried pastry shells filled with ricotta in the land of their birth: Sicily.
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. See more tips below:
- 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
- If you want to visit sites like the Duomo Florence Tower, or other major art museums, note that these may require advance reservations.
Please coordinate with your Tour Director or Trip Consultant if you have questions about reserving tickets for other attractions.
Regarding the Vatican Optional: Following the guided tour of the Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel, St Peter’s Basilica is typically entered via queue from the square. This queue could take up to 1-2 hours for entrance. Depending on timing and guide availability, the guide may not accompany you inside the Basilica.
Also, the Vatican is closed on Sundays. In the event that the itinerary day containing this optional lands on a Sunday for your departure, the optional will take place the day before.
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.