Answers to 20 of your Travel Questions!
When travelling the world one tends to have some questions and queries. Where to go? What to do? What do I need for my trip? Last week we asked our Facebook audience what travel-related questions they are pondering about and we received a bunch of great questions. Thanks for all the interesting questions and everyone who participated (and even helped us answer some of the questions)! The Expat Explore experts teamed up to give you the answers and here they are as promised.
Reinhardt: “I’ve been on the 12 Day Europe Escape tour (which was really awesome) but what’s next? I want to go on tour again and want to see different places. Is Eastern Europe just as exciting?”
Thanks for the compliment! Europe Escape is our most popular tour and definitely the best tour if its your first time travelling to Europe. Eastern Europe is absolutely fantastic. Imagine exploring Budapest, Prague and Croatia -where Game of Thrones was filmed! We can recommend the Croatian and Eastern Delights Adventure tour . You might also find some of our regional tours Italy, France, Great Britain and Ireland interesting.
David: “Can We bring one suitcase and one carry-on bag? Just wondering what the luggage restrictions are?”
That is correct. There is only a certain amount of space in the hold, so we do have to restrict the amount of luggage you are permitted to bring to one piece of main luggage up to a maximum weight of 20kg. If you arrive with more luggage than this you may be asked to leave it behind.
In addition to your main bag, you will need a small daypack for your everyday things (e.g. camera, water bottle, sun cream, hat etc.) while travelling, sightseeing and taking part in walking tours and day excursions.
Our pre-departure information includes heaps of useful tips on what to pack. It will depend on what time of the year you are travelling in, but as the weather can be unpredictable it is always useful to pack so that you cover all possibilities. Summer (June-September) can be very hot and you will need to wear lighter clothing like short sleeves and shorts. Outside of the summer months it can get cold, particularly in the evening/night, and can rain frequently, so pack accordingly.
All of our optional excursions are booked and paid for once you are on the tour, usually a day or two before they take place. This gives you the chance to research and discuss them with your tour leader – there is no need to commit far in advance. Your tour leader will organise everything for you, you just need to make sure you have enough of the local currency in cash to pay for the excursion.
Margie: “In the 22 day Europe tour we are at Switzerland days 3 & 4. I’m wondering will there be time to do more than one of the optional extra experiences. I would like to go on the train ride up Jungfraujoch, but I am wondering if there would be time to do either the skydiving or paragliding as well as the train ride?”
The Jungfrau Top of Europe is a full day excursion, however depending on the time of year you are visiting you will be able to do other excursions afterwards. In the summer, you can do either the paragliding, canyon jumping or jet boating, and in the winter there is a night sledding optional, so there is plenty of time to enjoy your time in the Alps! Your tour leader will explain all the options on tour and our recommendation is to not make a decision about this weeks in advance – you might feel up for something totally different once you’ve started your tour. The optional excursions are city-dependent and sometimes it is possible to do more than one excursion per day (like in Rome on the Europe Escape tour for instance).
We can cater for vegetarians no problem – all of the meals included in your tour will have a vegetarian option. For your other meals you will always be able to find a vegetarian option. Ask your tour leader to recommend restaurants in the destination on your tour.
The 2016 dates for some of our tours have not been officially released. You can however give our customer service representatives a ring and they can help you find the right date.
Jennifer: “Dress – is it casual or is there going to be times that you need to dress up? I’m taking the Classic Europe Tour? And are there some type of GPS device given to travellers so they can find their way back to the bus in free times?”
The only time you will need to consider more formal clothing is if you want to visit a place of worship, for example, the Vatican City. In this case, you should bring clothes that cover your shoulders and legs (ie long sleeved top and full-length trousers/pants).
If you have a smartphone we would recommend using a mapping application that allows you to download maps for offline use – this will mean you can use the app without incurring data charges.
We don’t recommend carrying too much cash around with you, so it is best to obtain some Euros before you leave your home country, and then use your debit card to withdraw from ATMs throughout the tour. Alternatively, travellers cheques are still a safe and secure method of carrying money.
Towels are provided in all hotels, however, you may wish to bring your own for use at the beach or swimming pool if applicable to your tour.
Yep, our coaches all have an on-board toilet and hand-basin. They are fully equipped with safety belts, air-con, reclining seats, reading lights, TV, stereo sound system etc. For the duration of the tour the coach is like your second home. Say hi to the driver if you ever get to travel in one!
We use mostly 2 & 3-star hotels. During this tour you will stay in twin share rooms -all with a private bathroom. You can find details of the various hotels we stay at on your tour here. A full list of accommodation names and addresses will be given to you on the first day of your tour.
Towels are provided in all hotels, however, you may wish to bring your own for use at the beach or swimming pool if applicable to your tour. All our Europe hotels offer Wi-Fi, which is available free of charge as part of your Expat Explore tour. In certain hotels, this will be available in the hotel lobby only while in others you will be able to get access in your room.
If you are arriving in London you can book airport transfers from Heathrow and Gatwick airports to any hotel in central London. Please click here for more information. If you are arriving in Rome please contact our Customer Services team to arrange a transfer.
Liesel: “What should I budget for spending?”
This will vary depending on various factors, including your particular tour and how many of the optional excursions you wish to take part in. Please refer to the tour itinerary on the website for full details of what meals and activities are included.
We would recommend budgeting for about €25-€40 per day (excluding optional excursions). You will use this on meals (most lunches and some dinners not provided in your itinerary), drinks, snacks, entrance fees, souvenirs and local transport for free days. The amount you will actually spend obviously depends on personal taste and budget.
Many museums and tourist sites in Europe offer free or discounted entrance to those in possession of a valid International Student Card, so if you have one of these make sure to bring it along with you.
We do not charge any booking or credit card fees. Any exchange rate fees will depend on your bank – if you book in the same currency as your bank account is held in, you should not be charged any extra fees. Therefore the price you see on our website at the time of booking is the price you will pay.
Croatia uses the Kuna (kn), Bosnia & Herzegovina the convertible mark (KM), Serbia the dinar (RSD), Hungary the Forint (Ft) and Czech Republic the Koruna (Kč). You will often find that you can use the Euro in these countries, but it will always be at an unfavourable exchange rate so it is recommended that you rather use the local currency.
Yes, the Vatican tour includes St Peter’s Basilica, Sistine Chapel and Vatican Museum – all the way accompanied by a professional expert local guide who will talk you through the history and stories etc.
Thank you to all the participants! Due to the great response from you guys we have already started planning our next Q&A blog. In the meanwhile feel free to hop over to our FAQ Page and if you wish to ask about something specific please do contact us .