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EF Tours travelers on a tour

Before your trip

Group travel »
Tour and departure date flexibility »
Passports »
Visas »
Parental authorization forms »
Special travel »
Money abroad »
Spending money »
Shopping at marketplaces »
Tipping »
Packing »

Group travel

Group travel is a great opportunity for you to make friends from other states and cities. Unless your group leader has chosen to be a private group, you will be traveling with other troops from the United States and Canada. It’s important to keep in mind that traveling with others requires thoughtfulness, a good attitude and flexibility with tour and departure dates.
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Tour and departure date flexibility

Exact tour itinerary and travel dates are not confirmed until 70 days prior to departure. Although we make our best effort to comply with the group leader’s first choice of tour, we occasionally have to offer the second or third choice, based on availability. Also, based on the group leader’s requested tour date, we ask for a date range. This range is within two days of the originally requested date for tours departing October through April, and within four days for tours departing May through September. Talk to your group leader about the tour and departure date choices that she requested.
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Passports

We recommend applying for a passport as soon as you are enrolled on tour, as it can sometimes take 14 weeks to process. (Check with the State Department for current processing time.) U.S. citizens traveling abroad must bring a passport that is valid for at least six months after the tour’s return and has at least three blank pages. You can find out all you need to know about passports at the U.S. government passport website.

Airlines will not permit you to travel if the name on your ticket does not match your passport exactly. Ensure that the name on your EF account matches the passport (including your middle name) or you may be subject to a fee.
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Visas

You may need a visa for your tour. Consult the destination countries' and layover countries' consulates for more information and specific requirements. For contact information, visit embassy.org.

Because the visa application must be completed by the applicant, we depend on the traveler to take care of this step. For your convenience, American citizens can call Zierer Visa Service toll-free at 1-866-788-1100 or visit zvs.com for assistance in obtaining the necessary tourist visas, which may require a fee. On the phone, mention the account number "73032" to receive a discount. Online, enter the account number "73032".
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Parental authorization forms

For tours going to Belize or Brazil, children under the age of 18 require a parental authorization form to be signed and notarized within 30 days of the tour departure date. EF will send you the form a few months prior to your departure date. Please ensure that you bring the form on tour because it is required to get through customs in these countries.
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Special travel

Do you have friends or family you’d like to visit before or after your tour? Would you like to get some extra sightseeing in on your own? Or do you want to fly in or out of a different airport than the tour group? Just complete an individual Special Travel Request by 110 days prior to departure and we’ll do our best to make your wish come true.
Special travel requests are booked separately from the group itinerary and therefore travelers may fly on an alternate round trip itinerary. To submit a Special Travel Request, log in to My account and select "Special Travel".

Please note: Your request must be received no later than 110 days prior to your group’s requested departure date. Tour and departure dates are confirmed around 70 days prior to departure. Do not make any personal arrangements until then.
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Money abroad

Money always brings up a lot of questions--how much to bring, how to bring it, how to exchange it... here you'll get all kinds of info on using money abroad.

We recommend bringing the equivalent of $50 in the currency of the initial destination for expenses upon arrival. You should also be familiar with the exchange rates for US dollars to the local currency of the destinations of the tour. Don’t bring traveler’s checks since they can be difficult to cash. ATMs are the most convenient for cash withdrawals since they accept a wide number of bank and credit cards. Check with your bank to make sure your card will work abroad.
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Spending money

We recommend planning on $40-60 per day for spending money. Here’s a helpful guide for you to estimate approximate spending based on different regions. The lower amount covers enough for lunches, soft drinks, postcards and stamps, while the higher amount covers some museum entrances during free time and souvenirs. These recommendations do not cover optional excursions or gratuities. back to top

Europe

    Australia, New Zealand, Africa   

Costa Rica

$45-65

$50-75

$20-30

Japan 

China and rest of Asia

Egypt

$50-75

$30-40

$30-40

Mexico and rest of Central/South America 

$30-40


Shopping at marketplaces

Most stores have fixed prices, but you'll probably find yourself in at least one marketplace where bargaining for the best price is the name of the game. Here are some tips:
  • Try to see what the locals are paying; market vendors tend to charge more for tourists.
  • Pretend you don't care--the minute the vendor thinks you can't live without it, you'll be hard-pressed to get the price down.
  • Work the price all the way down, then walk away. The last price he yells at you to get you back is the one to take.
  • Act the expert; show you know about the merchandise and you know what it's worth.

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Tipping

Your tour director and coach driver work hard to give you a great tour experience. While all non-discretionary gratuities are included in the EF Program Fee, we highly recommend tipping your tour director and coach driver as a token of appreciation at the end of the tour. We suggest that each traveler tip the tour director $6 per day on tour and $3 per day for the bus driver. If your tour includes a cruise, we recommend $10 per person per day for the cruise staff. Many groups also tip local guides for sightseeing tours.
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Packing

You'll be carrying your own luggage, so pack light. All you’ll need is one suitcase and a carry-on. A good idea is to pack what you think you need, then take half out. You’ll be the one taking your luggage on and off buses and through busy terminals and into hotels, so make sure you can easily carry your luggage up stairs. If it’s too heavy, start unpacking. See our Packing List for specific suggestions.
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