Paris & The Riviera
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.
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
Your airline ticket includes one checked bag (typically 27" x 21" x 14") but note that years of customer feedback tells us that the lighter you pack, the better. Double check the luggage size requirements on your airline’s website, but we recommend traveling with one small backpack or purse, and a smaller carry-on suitcase (22” x 14” x 9”) or bag. 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 that will help you become an international, carry-on-suitcase, jetsetter:
- 1 lightweight or rain jacket
- Comfortable walking shoes for sightseeing days
- 1 pair of dress shoes for nights out (some bars and clubs don’t allow sneakers)
- 1-2 pairs jeans / trousers / shorts
- 2-3 shirts / t-shirts / sweaters
- 1 nicer outfit for Farewell Dinner or a night out
- Underwear and socks
- Toiletries, medicine
- 1 reusable water bottle
- Phone or camera
- Debit / Credit cards and cash
- A power adapter type “C” or “E”. A staff favorite is also the “Targus World Power Travel Adapter” ($20, Amazon.com)
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 Paris
Your Tour Director will communicate on Facebook or email about where to meet them at the Paris airport. This is another reason you should join your Facebook group.
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: You’ll need a power adapter in France - either type “C” or “E”. A staff favorite is also the “Targus World Power Travel Adapter” ($20, Amazon.com)A staff favorite adapter is the “Targus World Power Travel Adapter” ($20, Amazon.com)
On The Ground
Manage Your Money
Cash and most well-known credit/debit cards are widely accepted in Europe, and ATMs are everywhere. Budget $80- $100 per day for meals, shopping, and free time activities. Tipping is not customary in Europe, but many locals leave 1-2 Euro or pounds for exceptional service. For your Tour Director, we recommend tipping $40-$60 at the end of the trip if you feel inclined.
- France: 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
Transfers between cities are via train and they take between 2-4 hours. You’ll also receive a public transportation pass in most major cities where necessary. Transportation in cities that offer no pass may require more walking. In any case, we’ve packed a lot into your tour, so prepare to walk between 4-8 miles per day, especially when sightseeing.
Note: It’s a good idea to bring a great book with you for transfer days. Try bringing a novel that’s based in somewhere you’re visiting! We recommend The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast, or Julia Child’s My Life in France, for you foodies out there
Air Conditioning and Accommodations
The strength of the air conditioning in European hotels is often not as strong or as cool as what you might be used to in the U.S. or Canada. When air conditioning is available, it is usually regulated seasonally and controlled centrally by the hotel.
Accommodations in France, especially Paris may be smaller than what you’re used to in the U.S. or Canada. Beds, bathrooms, and elevators are typically built smaller in European hotels, and some amenities like towels or hair-driers may be limited. Remember you can always talk to the front desk or your Tour Director for help!
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. Optionals on this tour include (prices increase on tour):
- French Food Tour: $80
- Versailles (PRE-BOOK ONLY): $95
Live Like a Local
As you prepare to spend time in a new culture, here are some expert tips to help you live like the French:
- Public transportation is very popular in Paris. Taking the Metro is a great way to get to know the city!
- 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
- Practice the local language when greeting people or ordering food - It goes a long way with the locals
- Water is an added cost at restaurants, and you have to choose between still or sparkling
- Avoid making special requests at restaurants, it’s not as common in Europe
- People in France tend to speak at a low volume. Out of respect for the culture, be aware of your volume when in public.
- Feel free to seat yourself in restaurants and don’t be afraid to flag your waiter or waitress over for help
- French people are more reserved, so don’t be offended if someone doesn’t strike up conversation right away
- Paris is known for its fashion. Now is the time to break out your new duds!
- Be wary of pick-pocketing especially in crowded areas. Keep your bags closed / zipped and be mindful of your belongings.
- Smoking is still very popular, especially in Paris. Don’t be surprised to see large amounts of locals with lit cigarettes!
Wine and Dine
You’ll sample a variety of local dishes on your trip, but read on for tips, tricks, and delicacies you just must try.
- Baguettes: Now is your chance to walk around the streets of Paris with a baguette in hand. YOLO.
- Fromageries and boulangeries: Specialized cheese stores, and bakeries! The combination of delicacies from these two types of stores can only be improved with French wine
- Chocolate for breakfast: Pain au chocolat, or chocolate croissant, is the perfect breakfast staple in Paris
- Cheese: In Paris, cheese is cheap, plentiful, and delicious.
- Steak Frites: Grilled steak with various sauces and fries will hit the spot. Guaranteed!
- Crepes, Macarons, Chocolat, oh my!: Try a street stand crepe as an afternoon snack, a fun-flavored macaron, or any form of chocolate you can find. It’s all delicious!
- Champagne: It’s originated in France, after all…
- Croque-monsieur: Kind of like an extreme grilled cheese, this is a crisp grilled ham and cheese sandwich usually with bechamel sauce.
- Escargot: A.k.a., snails doused in butter and garlic. When in Paris, right?
Health and Safety
- With a global presence of more than 46,000 people in 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. 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.