Luggage

Due to airline policy and coach size restrictions, and to ease transfers, you should bring only one checked suitcase (no more than 50 lbs. and 62 linear inches = L + W + H) and one carry-on bag. Airlines are strict about luggage dimensions and weight for both checked and carry-on bags. Contact your airline’s website or toll-free number for more information.

Packing

Pack the minimum amount you think you’ll need—then reduce by half. You‘re responsible for carrying your belongings throughout the trip. Clothes can be layered and laundry done if necessary. Airport security rules keep changing, but we recommend packing any item that airport security might consider a potential weapon (i.e. Swiss army knife, razor, scissors) in your checked bag. Liquid/gel containers larger than 3 oz. must be packed in your checked bag. All small containers (3 oz. or less) of liquids/gels for carry-on must fit in one single quart-size clear plastic bag and placed in a screening bin at the security checkpoint. Go to the TSA website for up-to-date info: https://www.tsa.gov/. Do not pack valuables (passport, laptop, money, etc.) in your checked bag. Keep them in your carry-on.

Some packing hints:

  • Squeeze air out of shampoo and other containers, then store in sealed plastic bags in your suitcase. These often pop open in flight.
  • Pack tightly; roll or fold your clothes. Bring layers of clothing which can be easily added or removed. Check the weather for your destination and pack accordingly. Leave room for souvenirs.
  • Bring a collapsible bag or backpack to carry during day trips and sightseeing.
  • Bring comfortable, broken-in walking shoes.

Consider packing: an outfit suitable for a nice evening out, compact umbrella, sun block, sunglasses, hat, tissues and wipes, a digital or disposable camera, battery and cell phone chargers, alarm clock, extra plastic bags, high fiber snacks.

Other Tips

Err on the side of conservative dress. Shorts, skimpy tops, bare feet or flip-flops are only suitable for the beach or poolside, not city tours or sightseeing venues. Dress respectfully for visits to religious and historic sites (long pants, knee length or longer skirts, no bare arms, etc.). When visiting places of worship, please be quiet and respectful at all times.

Rules of the Road

Under EU law, drivers and passengers must wear a seat belt in any seat fitted with one. If in doubt, buckle up.

Travel Documents

You are responsible for carrying your passport and other essential documents. Keep all originals with you in your carry-on bag; do not pack in your checked bag. Make photocopies of your passport, credit card numbers, etc. Keep one copy with you (separate from the originals); leave an extra copy with someone at home in case any of your belongings are lost or stolen.

Health

Bring enough prescription drugs (in original vials) to last at least the length of your tour. Keep a note from your doctor with the drug’s generic name, reason for taking and recommended daily dose with your travel documents. Bring aspirin, allergy treatments, remedies for colds, motion sickness, and digestive problems. Pack all medicines in your carry-on bag. Consider bringing an extra pair of prescription glasses or extra contact lenses. For those with food allergies or special diets: we give our partners the information that you give us, but we cannot guarantee strict compliance with your dietary needs. You have final responsibility for what you eat.

Electricity

Bring a plug adapter for your electronic items. The standard electrical current in Europe is 220 or 230 voltage. Purchase a universal adapter anywhere small electronics are sold.

Money

You’ll need to exchange U.S. dollars into local currency for most purchases. This is automatic when paying with credit or debit cards, or withdrawing money at an ATM. Most major credit cards are accepted in larger hotels, restaurants, and stores, but they’re not used as extensively as in the U.S., particularly in smaller towns. Banks, airports, or ATM machines tend to offer better exchange rates than hotels or private exchange offices. Check with your bank about ATM/debit card use in the country(ies) of your destination. Alert your bank and credit card provider to your international travel plans. The Euro is the standard unit of currency for many countries including: Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain. The British pound is the standard unit of currency in the United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland). Other countries have their own currency. Remember to budget for meals, beverages and incidentals not included in your tour cost, as well as tips (see below).

Tipping

As a group: It’s customary to tip your tour escort and bus driver(s) during your tour. Tour escorts usually receive €2.50-3 (euros) per person, per day, and drivers about half that amount. Tips for local city guides vary by country but €1 pp per half-day tour is typical. In the UK, £2-£3 (British pounds) per person per day for escorts and half that for drivers/local guides is typical.

Individually: It’s customary to leave an extra 5% to 10% for your waiter, but often it’s acceptable to simply “round up” the amount of the bill. In hotels, €1-2 (£1-£2) per room per night for the housekeeping staff is typical. Porterage is typically €1 (£1) per bag. Keep small amounts of local currency for coat-check and restroom attendants.

Security

It’s essential to use common sense and a reasonable amount of precaution when traveling, especially in larger cities. Always travel in pairs or groups; not alone. Don’t bring valuables (jewelry, etc.) on tour. Be particularly alert in crowded public areas and when using public transportation. We recommend you keep your passport, credit cards and most of your cash in a neck or waist pouch that can be worn underneath your shirt or blouse. It’s safer to carry your wallet in your front pocket. If you carry a purse or backpack, make sure it’s securely closed at all times and keep it tucked under your arm, not dangling behind you.

Gifts

During your tour you will meet local people. If you have exchanges (especially if you visit or stay in homes), you may want to give a small gift in appreciation. The most meaningful gifts are those which say something about who you are and the area of the world you come from. Postcards from home or small souvenirs from your state (or school/university, if you are a student) would be appropriate and thoughtful.

Phone Calls

Contact your cell phone provider about service abroad. Hotel room calls are expensive. Pay phones, phone cards or U.S. calling cards may offer better rates.

Country Information

The internet offers unlimited resources to get information about your destination(s): currency, weather, events, local customs, etc.. Your local library also offers great resources. Explore your destination before you go.

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