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 these 35 days ULTIMATE.
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: Your passport must be valid for 6 months after the tour return date. No visa is required for this trip if you are a U.S. Citizen
- Join the Facebook group: Join your private Facebook group now! 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
Consult your airline’s website for baggage size and weight restrictions for your flight, but note that your airline ticket does include one checked bag. At EF Ultimate Break, we recommend limiting your luggage to one backpack or purse, and one checked bag or larger carry on; 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:
- 1 lightweight jacket
- Comfortable walking shoes for sightseeing days
- Comfortable sandals for beach days
- 1-2 pairs jeans / trousers / shorts
- 3-4 shirts / t-shirts / sweaters
- 1 nicer outfit for Farewell Dinner or a night out
- Bathing suit
- Sunglasses and sunscreen. Pro Tip: Bring two travel-size sunscreens in your carry-on
- Beach towel – we love the Microfiber travel towels ($10-$20, Amazon.com)
- Underwear and socks
- Toiletries, medicine
- 1 reusable water bottle
- Phone or camera
- Debit / Credit cards and cash
- A power adapter – a staff favorite is the “Targus World Power Travel Adapter” ($20, Amazon.com)
Note: You’re required to cover your knees and shoulders in sacred places like the Seville Cathedral, Mezquita de Cordoba, and St. Peter’s Basilica
Also note: June through August are peak temperatures in Southern Europe, ranging from 85-90 degrees during the day and dropping at night. Layers and staying hydrated are key!
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 rebooked 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 Lisbon
Your Tour Director will communicate on Facebook or email about where to meet them at the Lisbon airport - This is another reason you should join your Facebook group! If you’re flying from the U.S., prepare for an overnight flight, and a morning – midday arrival in Portugal.
Meet Your Tour Director and Fellow Travelers
Your Tour Director will also 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.
Use Your 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. Wi-Fi will be in some hotels, restaurants, and bars; but it isn’t always as strong as Wi-Fi in the US. For your cell phone and any other electronics you bring abroad, you will also need a converter/adapter.
Note: We recommend a universal adapter / converter for this trip. Try the “Targus World Power Travel Adapter” ($20, Amazon.com)
On The Ground
Money and Tipping
Cash and most well-known credit/debit cards are accepted in Europe, but if you want to avoid international surcharges on your credit card, try to use cash. ATMs are widely available, and you should budget $80- $100 per day for meals, shopping, and free time activities. When it comes to tipping, many locals leave 1-2 Euro for exceptional service, or round up the bill to the nearest Euro. For your Tour Director, we recommend tipping $140 - $210 at the end of the trip if you feel inclined.
- Portugal: Euro (€)
- Spain: Euro (€)
- France: Euro (€)
- Italy: Euro (€)
- Greece: Euro (€)
Note: Let your bank and credit card companies know your travel plans ahead of time to avoid potential complications while abroad.
Getting from A to B
All transfers between cities, countries, and islands are via private bus, internal flight, or ferry; Transfers can take anywhere between 2-6 hours. You’ll receive a public transportation pass in major cities like Athens, Barcelona, Lisbon, and Rome, but prepare to walk between 4-8 miles per day, especially when sightseeing.
Note: Bring a great book with you to pass the time on transfer days. Try a novel that’s based in somewhere you’re visiting! We recommend Night Train to Lisbon, anything by Dan Brown (The Da Vinci Code, Angels & Demons, Origin), or a light read like Homer’s The Iliad.
Optimize Your Free Time
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. Optionals on this tour include (prices increase on tour):
- The Italian Riviera & Cinque Terre: $89
- Snorkeling in the French Riviera: $110
- Taste of Italy Pasta-Making Class: $70
- Cliffside Wine Tasting & Village Tour: $60
The Inside Scoop: Ibiza
You’ve seen the pictures, danced to the songs, and heard the rumors, but what really happens on this mystical island? You may be surprised to know there’s more to Ibiza than the all-night clubs, or maybe the only shock-factor is that the clubs open at 12am… Either way, read on for more information so you can make your few days in Ibiza the best.:
- Most clubs open at 12am and close at 6am, or opt for a day party that ends at 12am
- Public Buses! Regular buses operate every half-hour (2€ one way) between the top clubs, Ibiza Old Town, and beaches of the island. After 11:30pm, the "Disco Bus" takes over (around 3€ one way). You HAVE to try it.
- Ibiza's top clubs include Ibiza Rocks, Ushuaia, and Underground (to name a few). Just remember that tickets can vary from $15 - $150 EUR if there's an event!
- Sunsets in Ibiza are a big deal. Check out Sunset Strip, Benirras Beach, or Es Vedra for the best
- The sun and drinks are strong. Wear sunscreen and drink water
- Remember Ibiza is an island and can be expensive, so pay attention to how you spend your money
All About Athens
While Athens doesn’t have the same flair as Venice, Paris, Florence, or even Prague, it’s a city filled with Mediterranean ease, spirit, and style. This city is the heart of Ancient Greece, a powerful civilization that still shines with major landmarks like the Acropolis, the Parthenon, and more. Make sure to take in every ruin, labyrinthine street, and ages-old-Orthodox Church you can find. Opa!
Note: Public buses do not allow glass bottles, and you need to have a cover up over your bathing suit (no shoes, no shirt, no service). Remember this when using public transportation!
Make the Most of Your Month
A month in Europe is exciting and life-changing, but to make the most of these 35 days without burning out, we have a couple reminders:
- Stay Healthy: The pace of travel is fast and we include a lot of activities in your tour; Take advantage of down time to catch up on sleep, drink plenty of water, and take time for you whenever you need it.
- Talk to your Tour Director: Your Tour Director is with you every step of the way from Lisbon to Athens for a reason. If you need anything during tour, you can reach our team 24/7 at 800-766-2645, but remember you can also talk to your Tour Director at any point.
- Rooming: Maybe you’re a night owl and your roommates are early risers. Maybe you find your new BFF on tour. Maybe your roomie is a snorer and you’re a light sleeper. Whatever it is, let your Tour Director know and they can try to rearrange room assignments at the next accommodation.
- Carpe Diem: You’re in EUROPE! Make the most of every day and remember why you chose to travel in the first place. This is an epic experience, so make it yours.
Live Like a Local
As you prepare to spend time on the Iberian peninsula, French riviera, Greek islands, and more, here are some expert tips to help you live like a true European.
- Siestas. Many Europeans take a long midday break and close shops from 12-2pm to spend time with friends and family
- Pickpocketing. It’s unfortunately an issue in major European cities; Keep an eye on your things at all times
- Europeans are night owls. Nighttime is when cities come to life – embrace it!
- Dress the part. Europeans dress to impress. We recommend comfortable clothes and walking shoes, but now's the time to try your new sunhat, fancy shades, and the latest trends.
- Embrace the culture. Unlike the U.S., water isn’t free, customer service is more hands-off, and everything (hotels, meals, appliances) is smaller. Instead of comparing, dive all in!
- Speak the language. Attempting the local language when greeting people, ordering food, or navigating a new city shows respect and goes a long way with locals!
Wine and Dine
You’ll sample a variety of local dishes on your trip, but read on for tips when dining out in Europe, and delicacies you must try in every city.
- Lisbon: Bacalhau à bras (salted cod with potatoes and eggs), and Pastéis de nata (custard tarts). YUM
- The Algarve: All the seafood. The Algarve is known for its super-fresh seafood!
- Seville: Try serranito, Seville’s signature sandwich of pork loin, ham, and grilled green pepper
- Granada: Jamón de Trevélez. More ham, but this time cured, salted, and praised by Spanish royalty.
- Ibiza: Might sound obvious, but sip on a local drink like fresh sangria, tinto de Verano, or zumo fresco. All fruity and refreshing.
- Barcelona: Paella, patatas bravas, and pa amb tomaquet
- Provence: Ratataouille! A summer dish of stewed vegetables in fruity, garlic-tinged olive oil.
- French Riviera: You can’t go wrong with a fresh pastry or warm bread in the morning here.
- Italian Riviera: Cinque Terre is home to acres of lemon groves – try a limoncino liquer!
- Florence: Chianti Classico for wine, gelato, and if you’re feelin’ fancy, a Florentine Steak
- Rome: Cacio e pepe, artichokes, and all the pizza
- Greece: Horiatiki Salata (Greek Salad), saganaki (fried cheese), and Ouzo
Health and Safety
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 or Uber, 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.