FAQ When Travelling to Europe
In order to enjoy travel to and within Europe, all travellers, including infants, require a valid passport. If your passport expires 6 months after your return home date, you will need to renew before your departure; some countries may not accept a passport so close to expiration. It is suggested to make two copies as well of other travel documentation and leave one copy at home where someone you trust can access, and carry the other copy with you as well as the originals.
Insurance: AMA full coverage insurance has been purchased for all 2017 participants
Money & Currencies:
-Teams travelling to Scandinavia will need Swedish Kronor (Sweden) and Euros (Finland & Estonia). You will need to consider the entrance fees for Skansen Park, Gruna Lund Amusement Park or for the Abba Museum while in Stockholm, as well as any souvenirs or lattes you may wish to purchase. The Silja Cuise Line (overnight boat trip to Helsinki) accepts Kronor as well as Euro's so any left over Kronor can be spent on board at any of their amenities (Karaoke bar, pub, casino, cafe, duty free, and shops). Once you arrive in Helsinki the currency is Euros. I would recommend you familiarize yourself with the exchange rates so you know the Canadian value of the goods your purchasing. Otherwise you may return home very surprised when you receive your visa statement.
-Teams travelling to Central Europe will need Czech Koruna (Czech Republic) and Euro's (Germany, Austria, Italy). Shopping is fabulous in Prague, Czech Republic and the value of goods is relatively inexpensive. However, it depends on where you decide to shop, there are luxury shops such as Louis Vuitton, Prada, Dolce & Gabana and Tiffany & Co. where you will find higher valued goods. You will definitely want to be carrying a few dollar coins while we are out touring as they have gelato carts set up everywhere and you won't want to miss out. As mentioned above I would recommend that you familiarize yourself with the exchange rates so you know the Canadian value of the goods your purchasing. Otherwise you may return home very surprised when you receive your visa statement.
Also keep coins in your pocket as some locations require water closet(WC) payment (washrooms) for usage.
- There is always free time in the evenings so keep this in mind when ordering your money as you may visit the local pubs or decide to go on a Rickshaw tour that you will be responsible for payment, such things are not included in the tour cost.
Any electrical device you wish to bring on tour can be used with the aid of an adaptor and converter set. This is because the voltage is different in Europe than at home and a high risk of damage to the devices (including hair dryers, curling irons and straighteners) if a converter is not used with the adaptor. Be aware of the requirements, Europe is usually 220V at 50Hz. Most electrical equipment is labelled with its range of voltage and sometimes can operate within either power range, but you will still need an adaptor plug for the wall sockets for sure.
More or less the same attire as in Canada but definitely be prepared for some rain. Overall, it is humid and the days are hot but the evenings cool off in temperature. Be prepared to walk, bring comfortable sandals and running shoes. Always have a pair in your backpack just in case you need to switch and were not due back at the bus for hours. Travelling to Scandinavia, I would be prepared for slightly cooler weather. Last year, I wore blue jeans and Tee Shirts, sometimes a sweater, everyday. I would suggest to check the average temperatures of your destination to help guide you in your packing conquest.
Emergency Number: 112
We are all familiar with our country's emergency number 911. While in Europe the European Union all share the same emergency number 112. When dialling 112, the operator will speak in both the language of the country you are calling from as well as in English.
Shopping and Taxes:
International shoppers may be entitled to tax refunds on the purchases they have made, so keep your receipts, ask what forms you need to fill out when you make your purchases, and be prepared to show the goods to custom officials at the airport of departure from the Europe Union. Check out www.premiertaxfree.com
for more information and procedures.
Leaving Hotel to Sight See on your own:
Remember to take a business card of the hotel that you are currently staying at, this will help the Taxi driver return you safely home from an evening of adventure.
For your safety:
Travelling in Europe is generally very safe; however, all travellers should take certain common sense precautions to protect themselves from petty crimes. Petty crimes such as pick pocketing are very common in well-frequented tourist areas everywhere. Stay alert and walk with confidence. This can be especially challenging following a long flight when you're jet-lagged, so take extra care upon arrival when you may not be quite awake and at your most alert. In hotels you can use the in-room safes or those at the front desk to ensure your valuables are truly secure, BUT DONT FORGET THEM as we are on a tight schedule and the possibility to turn the bus around is very slim. In this situation (because it has happened before) your guide will contact the hotel and arrange currier service to our next hotel. Keep your possesions close to you and consider using a money belt to carry documents inside your clothing for maximum security. Also it is a good idea to split your money and keep it in more than one place. Avoid wearing flashy, expensive jewellery or clothing that might attract attention.
- When loading and unloading the bus with your suitcases be VERY mindful that you watch your bag be loaded and never leave it unattended. We have had bags stolen and left behind, it is not the responsibility of the bus driver for passenger bag security as he is busy assisting in packing the suitcases into the bus. This is especially important for hockey equipment!!
Tipping in Europe is not the same as in Canada. The prices are all final with tips included. The wages of Restaurant Services are included in the price but if you do wish to leave a tip, then not for very much. For example the bill is $24.60 EURO, most would give $25 EURO and a good tip would be $26 EURO, but not necessary. Be aware that some restaurants have a sitting fee, in addition to what you order, it is usually posted or you may want to ask if they have an outdoor seating area. Also be aware that their water is with gas, so if you wish to have natural (spring or no gas water) you need to specify, say "natural" or "no gas".