Know Before You Go: Spain, France, & Italy | EF Ultimate Break

Italy, France & Spain

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.

Getting There

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 years of customer feedback tells us 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. See more packing tips below:


  • 1 lightweight jacket
  • Comfortable walking shoes for sightseeing days
  • 1 pair of dress shoes for nights out (some bars and clubs don’t allow sneakers)
  • 1 pair of water-resistant shoes for water activities or the beach
  • 1-2 pairs pants / shorts
  • 3-4 shirts / t-shirts
  • 1 nicer outfit for Farewell Dinner or a night out
  • Underwear and socks
  • 1-2 bathing suits
  • Sunscreen/sunglasses. Pro Tip: pack 2 travel-size bottles of sunscreen in your carry-on
  • Toiletries, medicine
  • 1 reusable water bottle
  • Phone or camera
  • Passport
  • Debit / Credit cards and cash
  • Type “C'“, “E”, or “F” power adapters for Spain and France, and type “L” for Italy. A staff favorite is also the “Targus World Power Travel Adapter” ($20, Amazon.com)

Note: If you’ve purchased the Vatican & Sistine Chapel excursion, or the Sagrada Familia excursion, you’re required to cover your knees and shoulders before entering the Cathedral.

Flight Preparation

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 Rome

Your Tour Director will communicate on Facebook or email about where to meet them at the 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 purchasing an international data plan from your cell phone provider for this trip. The most common options are the Travel Pass with Verizon, or use a personal hot spot with your carrier. See more details about connectivity while abroad:


  • Wi-Fi is available in most hotels, though some charges may apply. There is no Wi-Fi on any of the motor coaches.
  • For your cell phone and any other electronics you bring abroad, you will also need a converter/adapter.
  • Your hotels may provide hairdryers, irons, and other small appliances. However, these amenities cannot be guaranteed.

Note: In France, and Spain you need type “C'“, “E”, or “F” power adapters, and type “L” for Italy. A staff favorite is also the “Targus World Power Travel Adapter” ($20, Amazon.com)

On The Ground

Manage Your Money

The local currency in Spain, France and Italy is the Euro (€). Read on for more must-knows about money and tipping on your trip!


  • When exchanging money for the trip, better rates are usually found overseas, but it’s worth ordering some currency from your local bank beforehand to use when you first arrive.
  • You should take debit and credit cards with you to withdraw cash at local banks as needed. You can use most debit/credit cards at ATMs on the international networks but be wary of fees
  • Budget around $80-$100 per day for meals, drinks, souvenirs, and tips or extra activities
  • Tipping is not common at restaurants or for taxis in Europe, but you can leave 1-2 EUR for exceptional service.
  • We recommend tipping your Tour Director $64 - $96 at the end of the trip. For local guides, you should tip $1-$2 at the end of each experience.

Note: Let your bank and credit card companies know your specific travel plans (including every country you’ll visit and for how long) ahead of time to avoid potential complications or suspicion of fraud while abroad.

Getting from A to B

Transfers between cities are via bus and they take between 2-6 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: Try bringing a novel that’s based in somewhere you’re visiting for some reading during transfer days! We recommend Tender is the Night, Imperium, or an adrenaline-pumper like The Bourne Series!

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):


  • A Visit to the Vatican: $80
  • Taste of Italy Pasta-Making: $75
  • Tuscan Wine Tasting: $80
  • Snorkeling in the French Riviera: $110
  • Italian Riviera & Cinque Terre: $90
  • Sagrada Familia & Lunch: $80

Live Like a Local

As you prepare to spend time in new cities, countries, and cultures, here are some expert tips to help you live like a true European.


  • 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
  • Feel free to seat yourself in restaurants instead of waiting to be seated, and 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.
  • Spain, France, and Italy are known for their fashion. Now is the time to break out your new duds!
  • Smoking is still very popular, especially in France and Italy. Don’t be surprised to see large amounts of locals with lit cigarettes.
  • Spaniards are night owls – nighttime is when the cities come to life with people walking, talking, dancing, eating, everything!
  • Barcelona is capital of Catalunya region, one of the two strong identities in Spain (other is Basque)
  • Siestas are a midday break (1-4pm) when people gather with friends/family for a meal or nap
  • Close personal bubbles, eye contact, and two kisses on the cheeks to greet are all the norm in Spain and Italy

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.


  • Breakfast in these countries typically consists of light pastries and coffee (cappuccino). Try a pain au chocolat (chocolate croissant)!
  • Lunch is usually served later in the afternoon (in Spain it’s a siesta) and the biggest meal of the day
  • Dinner in Italy and Spain doesn’t usually start until 8-10pm. Prep with a light in-between meal of snacks and drinks!
  • Coffee: Substitute your usual iced coffee for espresso abroad. But make sure to order and pay for your espresso at the bar to avoid paying more than the usual 1-2€!
  • 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!
  • Croque-monsieur: Kind of like an extreme grilled cheese, this is a crisp grilled ham and cheese sandwich with bechamel sauce.
  • Escargot: A.k.a., snails doused in butter and garlic. When in Paris, right?
  • Tapas etiquette: Try standing at the bar for an authentic experience! If you choose to sit, you’ll see a service charge on your bill
  • Jamon: Pronounced, hah-mohn, is dry-cured ham. It’s everywhere, and it’s delicious.
  • Paella: A well-known Spanish cuisine, it’s rice with veggies, paprika, saffron, and seafood
  • Wine, Cava, Sangria, Champagne, Digestifs: Wine, sparkling wine, wine with fun stuff, digestive liquors (limoncello, sambuca, amari, or apertivi), try them all!
  • Calamari: Squid or octopus – when in Spain, right?
  • Patatas Bravas: A fan favorite for tapas, simply crispy potato wedges with spicy sauce and aioli
  • 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.

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 to 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.


Bon voyage!

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