Life on the Road
Your Tour Manager
Your Tour Manager will be at hand throughout the entire duration of your tour. He or she will run your tour with high professionalism and according to the itinerary as promised in the brochure.
Your Travelling Companions
Over the duration of your tour, you will be living closely together as part of a group of people. Everybody is unique and It is often this very uniqueness of each and every traveller that will add to and enhance your tour. Occasionally a degree of tolerance and understanding of your fellow travellers will go a long way. We thank you for your understanding of the above request.
All the coaches we use are first class. On board we have a few specific rules:
1. No smoking on board
2. Seat belts must always be worn
3. As a courtesy to fellow travellers please dispose of rubbish thoughtfully
4. Please choose a different seat every day you board the coach so that everyone can enjoy the different vantage points from the coach
5. Hand luggage is limited to one 'sensible' bag per person
Generally our full sized coaches have on board toilet facilities. We always pre-plan adequate and regular comfort stops en route so please note they should considered only be for ‘urgent’ use. Should you be a part of a smaller group we will probably be contracting a smaller coach which may not have toilets on board.
Throughout Europe the style, size and comfort of bedrooms can vary enormously from room to room and from hotel to hotel depending on their region, country and age. Therefore it is safe to assume that your rooms will often be completely different to those of your fellow travellers. Variety can be half the fun of travel. Please note: Your hotel will allocate rooms randomly against passenger lists and your Tour Manager will have no input as to which room you are given. Your understanding on this matter is greatly appreciated.
Hotel porterage for one suitcase per person is included for your group whilst on tour. When arriving and departing independently on the first or last day of the tour hotel porterage has not been pre-paid.
Please do everything possible to limit your bags to one per person as luggage space on the coach is limited. If you require porterage assistance with any additional bags you will need to tip the porters directly for this extra service. This is usually the equivalent of between $2 - $3 per bag in and the same amount when leaving the hotel.
Hair Dryers, Irons and Ironing Boards are not automatically found in your hotel rooms. If this could be an issue we suggest you bring your own. Irons and ironing boards are also not always available. If not, there is usually a communal ironing room or an iron may be borrowed from hotel reception.
Tea and coffee facilities are not customarily available throughout Continental Europe. You can of course therefore consider taking your own portable travellers tea or coffee maker.
Some hotels throughout Europe don’t offer toiletries – i.e. soap, shampoo, tissues etc and therefore we recommend you bring your own to use throughout the tour.
Consumption of externally purchased drinks in hotel public areas is not allowed. Just as with in Australia and New Zealand this practice is absolutely not allowed. You are of course welcome to consume externally purchased drinks in your bedrooms.
Checking out of your hotel
When departing a hotel for the next, you will need to check out of the hotel and hand your rooms keys in. Please remember that checking out can take a little time and if everyone in your group leaves it until 10 minute before departure the hotels will be overwhelmed and the day’s touring will be delayed and affected. Often you will find that payment of any outstanding charges to your room can actually be done on the evening before departure.
Departure times for touring and excursions
Your Tour Manager or Tour Guide will keep you briefed on a day to day basis regarding departure and pick up times. As a courtesy to your fellow passengers please aim to assemble in the hotel reception area or pick up point approx. 5-10 minutes before any specified time. Sometimes you may choose to sightsee independently and not join the excursions. It’s a great help if you advise your Tour Manager if you are going to do this so the group doesn’t needlessly wait for you.
Traffic & Road Usage
Please remember in Continental Europe cars drive on the other side of the road (on the right hand side). Take extra care when crossing the road to always look left as this is the first lane traffic will be coming towards you.
Please take good care of your passport and personal belongings. Ideally and where possible, we recommend you leave the majority of valuables and essential documents in the hotel safe. We also recommend that you buy a money belt or security pouch to carry vital documents and larger amounts of money making sure they remain hidden beneath clothing at all times. A good idea is to only ever carry a limited amount of cash with you in your purse, wallet or handbag. That way you cannot accidentally display too much wealth and attract the attention of thieves or pickpockets. Please take the necessary precautions with your belongings, especially in crowded places such markets.
Throughout most of Europe tap water is safe to drink however it can be very heavily chlorinated or not taste particularly fresh. That’s why the locals choose to drink bottled water.
In Britain and Continental Europe the electricity supply is 220 -230 volts. Plug connections vary greatly - you should take a multi-purpose adaptor.
The tipping system is an integral part of the service industry in Europe. Tipping isn’t required everywhere. For instance not in shops, think service related. How much should you tip? There is no rule of thumb, perhaps 10% of the bill, but only if the person has earned it. For example: If your bill is 46.30 Euros - leave the full 50 Euro note. If your bill is 42.00 Euros - perhaps leave 3 Euros and collect the 5 from the plate. Alternatively leave the 5 and take the 3! It depends on the service. To leave all 8 Euros would be excessive.
Happily we can remind you that your package price also includes end of tour tips to both your Tour Manager and Driver. You are of course welcome to add a little extra tip or ‘drink’ if you feel they have enhanced your enjoyment. Importantly, this is certainly not to be expected or obligatory. We are also pleased to remind you that we have also included tips to your local guides and hotel restaurant and local restaurant staff.
Spending money on tour
On a day to day basis you’ll need to cover expenditure for personal items. For morning and afternoon beverages, lunches, a few sundry items, perhaps budget for an average of $30 p.p. per day. If you are buying dinner out one evening a decent meal may cost an extra $30 – 40. On top of that there are the souvenirs and other items (a personal choice).
A little tip - do as the locals do. Eat and drink their local fare and avoid imported products.
Throughout Continental Europe currency is the Euro. Exceptions are:
- Britain - the Pound Sterling (GBP)
- Switzerland - Swiss Franc (CHF) (in Switzerland you’ll find Euros are readily
- accepted in most Swiss restaurants and shops)
- Czech Republic – Czech Koruna / Czech crown (CZK)
Note: The Czech republic recently joined the Common Market and are swapping over to using the Euro sometime ‘soon’.
You should pre-purchase a limited amount of foreign currency before you depart on your trip and also ensure that you have it on hand upon arrival. Maybe exchange $200 per person into local cash to cover your needs for the first few days.
Banks in Europe are generally open on Monday to Friday until around 3.30pm – 4.30pm however please remember teller service in some countries can be extremely slow taking up much of your valuable sightseeing time. Avoid using hotels for money exchanges as their rates are usually extortionate.
Credit cards - If you have a P.I.N. number you will find quick and easy cash. Access through most bank money vending machines.
Money Cards - You can ‘purchase’ money cards from Banks and Travelex. You can then withdraw cash in local currencies at any Visa ATM machine around Europe day or night.
Note: we do not recommend using Travellers’ Cheques. Cashing them is always time consuming, often difficult and exchange rates commission applied can be extortionate.
Public Toilets - 'Spending a Penny'
You will usually be required to pay a small fee when using British or European public toilets. Please ensure you always have some small change at hand to give to the toilet ‘caretaker’ or ‘feed the machine’ where necessary.
You will see that public toilets are signed as ‘WC’ commonly throughout much of Europe Public. They are universally known as Toilettes or Toiletten. Different nationalities and languages naturally also have their own names for Ladies and Gentlemen.
Ladies: 'Damen’ or ‘Frauen’
Gentlemen: Herren’ (sometimes ‘Manner’)
Gentlemen: ‘Messieurs’ or ‘Hommes’
Ladies: ‘Signore’ or ‘Donne’
Gentlemen: ‘Signori’ or ‘Uomini’
Laundry whilst on tour
During your tour you may want to wash some clothes. It is very easy to wash small garments by hand in your room and they should dry overnight. Where you are staying three or more nights at one hotel they may offer a laundry services (never self service).
Note: It is IMPERATIVE that you check prior to dropping any laundry off that it will be returned BEFORE you are due to check out of the hotel. The prices for washing are often per garment. Hotel laundry rates throughout the world are generally VERY expensive, so check first with reception for prices.