Know Before You Go: Paris & The Riviera | EF Ultimate Break

Paris & The Riviera

Know Before You Go

It's almost time to go abroad! Take a couple minutes to read up on the ins and outs of your trip before you leave. When it comes travel tricks of the trade, we're quite the experts. And with this guide, so are you.

Getting There

Flights/Checking In

Your flight information will slide into your DMs (AKA online account) 30 days before departure. This is usually when you get to choose your seat and have the age-old internal debate: window or aisle? Some airlines will make the selections for you, so be sure to talk with the gate agent at the airport if you have a preference. Like being ahead of the game? You can check in for your flight 24 hours prior to your trip using the confirmation number found in your online account. If you’re more of a “wait ‘til the last minute” kind of person, no worries. You can always check in at the airport upon arrival. In either case, we recommend arriving to the airport 2.5 – 3 hours before departure.

Note: All your ticket information is online (e-ticket), so you will not receive a physical paper ticket before you depart. You’re welcome, trees.

Checking a Bag

One checked bag is included in your ticket price. It should be under 29” tall and less than 50 pounds. We recommend aiming for 40-45 pounds in case you bring back souvenirs.

Arrival Day

5After getting off the plane—and probably hitting up the airport bathroom—you’ll need to meet up with your Tour Director or EF Ultimate Break representative in the Arrival Hall. (They’ll be the one with the sign that says EF Ultimate Break.) They’ll bring you to your accommodations where you’ll have free time until everyone else arrives.

Travel Documents

For U.S. citizens, no visa is necessary (except of the credit card variety). All you need to bring is your passport. And not to sound like your grandma, but make sure you double check that it’s valid for six months after your expected return date.

For non U.S. citizens, you should contact your embassy to find out what specific documentation is needed.

Adapters/Converters

Outlets on your trip are different than in the States. You’ll need an adapter that can fit European outlets. We recommend bringing a universal adapter/converter to ensure it works in each city.

Most electronics, like phones and cameras, have built-in converters which change the voltage to match your device, but consider bringing one just in case.

Packing

Pack in layers, bring the essentials, and you’re golden. Like an onion, it’s all about the layers. You will also have the chance to do your own laundry throughout the trip. Keep in mind that you’ll have to carry your luggage from city to city, so the lighter the better

You should bring the following:

  • Light jacket or windbreaker
  • Comfortable and closed-toed walking shoes
  • Beach stuff: swimsuit, sunglasses, hat, towel
  • Water bottle to stay hydrated
  • Rain jacket/umbrella

Note: We recommend bringing a cross-body bag that zips close instead of a backpack. This will help you keep track of your belongings better and will help dissuade pickpockets.

On The Ground

Money

You’re going to be in France, so you’ll be on the Euro. We suggest budgeting $80-$100 per day for your meals, shopping, free time activities, tipping, and any Tour Director-suggested excursions. Change over a little bit of money before you leave and then get the rest from ATMs. The rates at ATMs are usually the best, and you can find machines everywhere. Just be sure to let your bank know ahead of time of your plan to travel overseas and that your credit or debit card has a chip in it.

Currencies used: Euro

Phones & Internet

We recommend you get an international data package from your cell phone provider. This way you can use your phone to share Instaworthy moments, pull up Google maps to navigate a new city, and stay in touch with your Tour Director and fellow travelers during free time. WiFi will be in some hotels, restaurants, and bars, but trust us—you’ll want the international data plan to stay connected.

Tour Director/Local Guides

Your full-time Tour Director, aka local rock star, will be with your group from start to finish. They’re an expert when it comes to these cities, and your go-to person during the trip. From time to time, you might also have a local guide to show you around specific attractions. For both your Tour Director and local guides, it is customary to tip for a job well done. Recommended tipping amounts in EUR are:


  • €35 – €54 for the Tour Director (given at the end of the trip)
  • €1 – €2 EUR for local guides (given after tour)

Transportation

You’re traveling through Europe, and since teleportation hasn’t been invented yet, it takes time to get to each destination. The majority of travel will be done via plane and private motor coach. Use this time to catch up on sleep, organize and find the perfect filter for your photos, read, chat it up with friends, or invent a new bus game.

Note: If you suffer from motion sickness, consider bringing medication.

Tour Tempo

Since there’s so much to see and do, we’ve packed together our favorite spots for you, as well as setting aside free time. Your days will be jam-packed with awesome, unforgettable adventures. And if the pace feels fast, take advantage of downtimes during free time and bus rides (AKA prime nap time).

Local Food

Baguettes with cheese, fresh seafood, all the sweet desserts you dream about. During this trip you’ll have the chance to sample a variety of local dishes. Vegetarians shouldn’t have any problem finding something to eat. As for the water situation, tap water is safe to drink. But if you’re about that bottled water life, you can find it everywhere.

Foods to try: Nutella crepes, fresh croissant, macaron, falafel, Bordier butter

Note: You're on Euro time, which means that dinner in France isn't typically served until around 8pm.

Accommodations

When in Europe, you’ll live like the Europeans do. That means you’ll be staying in hotels and boutique hostels that are smaller than American rooms, and they won’t typically have air conditioning. In standard rooming, you’ll have up to five other travelers of the same gender. Roommates are assigned by your Tour Director and announced at the first accommodation. If there’s an issue, talk to your Tour Director—that’s what they’re there for!

Keep In Mind

Weather

Weather will be warm and comfortable, with more heat and sea breeze once you get to the coast. To get the most recent weather information, you should add the cities you’ll be visiting to your weather app.

Culture

Paris and the French Riviera will feel somewhat like the states, but still have noticeable cultural differences. Try to remain punctual, don’t cut in line, follow the rules of the road, and be as polite as possible. The locals appreciate the attempt to speak French first before switching to your native language. Another tip to blend in: lower your voice. The French customarily speak very quietly and frown upon noisy tourists, especially on the metro.

Safety

Here are some important “Rules of the Road” to think about while you’re traveling. We want you to have fun during your vacation, and most of all we want you to be safe—so here are some helpful tips to #playsafe while you’re abroad & especially when you’re out at night.


  • Take care of your personal belongings. 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, and refrain from carrying large sums of money or wearing valuable jewelry.
  • Don’t be a party of one. 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 each hotel so that you always have the address handy for getting back later.
  • At the end of a night out, use transportation options you trust like a licensed taxi or rideshare app such as Uber (where available.) Have cash on hand—splitting a taxi with your fellow travelers is a good way to save money too.
  • Be smart about alcohol consumption. You know the drill: 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. Pace yourself and know your limits. Take care of each other out there!
  • You’re going to have a blast—day & night—on this trip, and we’re here for you around the clock if you ever need anything. Save our 24/7 number in your phone now: +1–617–619–1411.

Miscellaneous

If you’re bringing a waterproof camera or GoPro, make sure to bring proper straps and accessories. When it comes to free time, think about what your interests are and research what you want to do before your trip. That way you can maximize the time in each city you visit and check a lot of things off your list. Before leaving, speak to your primary physician about any recommended vaccinations/medications you may need.

You’re traveling Paris and the French Riviera! (You know, in case you forgot.) Now is the time to be brave—try new foods, make new friends, and go outside your comfort zone.


Bon voyage!

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