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GROUP TRAVEL TIPS

[ Group Touring | Tips | Baggage | Prohibited Items | Film | Passport | Things to Carry With You |
  Dress | Money | Shopping | Meals  | Water | Laundry Service | Frequent Flyer Miles | Weather ]

Group Touring:

One of the advantages of your study abroad program is that on a group tour you will not have to worry about transportation, parking, entrance fees, getting a guide at each place, etc. One of the best reasons to study abroad with El Camino is that you will have people with whom you can make friends and share the experience while learning about yourself and the countries you will be visiting.

Here are some travel tips that will make your trip more successful:

  • It is strongly recommend that you purchase or rent a cell phone once you are abroad.
  • While on the road or traveling with the group: As a part of the group a major responsibility we share is to be on time at our gatherings. If the bus is scheduled to leave at 8 a.m. we will want everyone on the bus before that time so we can leave promptly at 8. Leaving on time assures us of ample time that has been planned at the locations we are visiting. Things can happen that will detain us occasionally but we ask everyone to be on time.
  • You are free to deviate from the group itinerary: stay in a day or rent a car and go on your own, etc. If you decide to deviate from the group's itinerary in any way, you must let your on sight director know of your plans.
  • While traveling, you will have a list of all the cities and hotels in which your group will be staying. Should you get separated from the group, immediately call your program director and if necessary use public transportation in order to meet the group at the next destination.
  • While on an aircraft or while traveling on the group bus: Please do not use PERFUME, SHAVING LOTION, ETC. no matter how wonderful they smell. They bother some people's allergies so we ask you to forgo using them when with the group. There is no smoking on our bus.

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Tips:

The recommended amount is $1.50-2.00 per day for the driver and $3.00-4.00 per day for the tour director and $.50 to $1.00 for local guides at various sites. In some ECC programs gratuities are included in the tour price. Check with your program director for more information.
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Baggage:

The General Information on the back of our brochure tells us that owing to the limited baggage capacity in motor coaches, they can handle only one suitcase per person. Of course this is in addition to a carry-on that each keeps with him or herself. According to the Lufthansa web site, your bag must not exceed 70 pounds. The overall dimensions of your checked bag must not exceed 62.2 inches: that is length plus width plus depth. This is common among most international carrier. Check with the carrier to see if luggage dimensions are different from what is listed above.

Your carry-on max is 20 pounds and dimensions must not exceed 22x16x8 inches. In addition, On all international flights, the following objects may be taken free of charge as additional hand baggage: 1 coat or wrap, 1 handbag, 1 umbrella or walking stick, 1 small camera, 1 pair of binoculars, a reasonable amount of reading material...(from the web site. The rest of the sentence dealt with baby food, and baby accessories.)

Take your medications and anything essential in your carry-on. An extra set of clothes, if there is any baggage delay. Be sure you have a photocopy of your medications and eyeglass prescriptions.
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Prohibited Items:

Anything that could be seen as or used as weapon. For a complete list, go to Transportation Security Administration web site. Click on the Travelers option and then air travel; and then prohibited items. A question was raised about umbrellas. They are allowed as a carry-on item but must be thoroughly hand-inspected first.
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Film:

From the Washington Post: Undeveloped film should never be placed in checked luggage because new high-intensity scanners will fog and expose film, ruining it. It is better to put it through airport security X-ray machines using lead-lined bags available at any photo shop will weaken the effects of X-rays, One solution is to buy film and develop it there. X-ray and scanners do not affect digital pictures.
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Passport:

Double check the expiration date. It must be after we return. Bring a photocopy of your passport with you in a separate place. Suggestion was made that having two extra passport photos can be of great benefit if you lose your passport. You will need photos for the new one.

If you are not an American citizen, be sure to contact your home country's embassy to see if you need a visa to enter the countrie(s) you will be visiting.
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Other Things to Carry With You:

Lufthansa's web site has this suggestion: Carry an emergency ID card with you that lists all your current medications. Your doctor will provide you with one. Also wise to have a copy of your credit cards, front and back which includes phone numbers, one copy for you and one left at home in case you need some assistance in replacing a credit card etc.
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Dress:

There is nothing on our itinerary that calls for anything other than informal attire. However, it is recommended that you bring at least one dressy outfit in case you'd like to attend a concert, ballet, opera or another event where more formal attire is appropriate.
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Money:

Presently it takes about $1.35 to buy one Euro dollar. Best rate of exchange is usually to use ATM machines for cash in Euros and credit card for purchases. Using 5-digit pin codes works in many counties but in some counties they will only accept 4-digit codes. We advise that you get an ATM card that has a 4-digit code. It is no longer necessary or advised to carry traveler's checks or large sums of cash.
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Shopping:

Shopping: Enjoy purchasing items while abroad but keep in mind you will have to carry your new found treasures or items can be shipped home but shipping may be costly.
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Meals:

Each program has some meals included. See your brochure to check on meals that are included in your program. Be sure and check the tab to see if gratuity is included. It often is. If not, then it is customary to tip 10-15%.
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Water:

It is recommended that you drink bottled water throughout the trip. Our Tour Director will tell us of exceptions.
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Laundry Service:

While on the road, for a fee, is provided at hotels where we stay more than one night. Laundromats are hard to come by; the tour director will be astute at finding them if there are any to be found. If staying in apartments, there may be one in your apartment but certainly will be a laundry mate in your neighborhood.

If you are in a home stay, the host mother will do your laundry for you, sometimes at a nominal fee. Check with the program director for more information.
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Frequent Flyer Miles:

Check with the carrier used on your program to recieve mileage credit.
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Weather:

Go to www.weatherbase.com and find out the most accurate forecast of weather.
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 Last Published 1/10/11