Hi Everyone!

Sorry in advance for the long post… I think I’ve got everything in one place, but please let me know if you have any questions.

General Reminders:

  • Contact your bank to let them know about international travel.
  • If you plan to use your phone abroad, contact your service provider. Details for the major carriers are on our website.
  • If you want to earn credit, be sure to login to weShare. If you don’t see the email, let us know ASAP.
  • If you want the college credit, call EF immediately to see if it is still an option.
  • Both Rome and Athens use a Type C plug and run on 230v. Details are on our website.
  • We will make color copies of passports for your luggage. (By the way- many students haven’t signed their passports yet. We’ll take care of that at the airport.)
  • We will store passports and/or cash for students while on tour if requested.


  • EF’s Official Packing List
  • Other important items: sunscreen, journal & pen/pencil, snacks, a reusable water bottle, collapsible duffel similar to this one, a good pair of supportive walking shoes
  • Roll your clothing to make it fit! Army Roll Packing Tutorial
  • We will have a first-aid kit and the following OTC medications: Tylenol (acetaminophen), Advil/Motrin (ibuprofen), Midol, Benadryl, Dramamine, Melatonin, Tums, Imodium AD, and Claritin. (If you get motion sickness, pack your own Dramamine too!)
  • Carry-on only on the way there. (I’m talking to you, Matt!😝) You may check a bag on the way home.
  • Make sure you have appropriate clothes for our visit to the Vatican.


Use this link to sign up to carpool. Carpool Sign Ups

Airport Info:

  • Reagan National Airport

  • It is your responsibility to contact airlines with any food restrictions.

  • Departure:

    • Arrival time- 1:00 pm

    • Exact location- Terminal ‘B’ Information Desk

    • Parents are expected to park and meet with a chaperone before leaving. If they wish, parents may stay until the entire group is there and ready to go through security.

    • Park in the ‘Terminal B’ lot (NOT the cell phone lot). Parking is free for the 1st hour.

  • Arrival Home:

    • Meet in the baggage claim for the flight. They will be posted by flight number at the airport.

    • Parents must meet with a chaperone before leaving with your child. If your child is going home with a different family, please let us know beforehand.

  • Plan to sleep on the flights! Bring your neck pillow and sleep masks 🙂

Social Media:

Tour Director: Iris Andre

  • Highlights from Iris’ “Pre Tour” email:

About myself, I am a foreign import to Italy and Greece since I was born in Germany. I have studied at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia where I received my BA in Literature and History, before I started many years ago working as a Tour Director for EF tours based out of our Athens office. I have studied modern Greek at the University of Athens, and besides English and German I also speak Italian and Spanish and I am learning French now. I attach a picture of me as well, so you know what I look like.

We are going to be traveling in a group of 42 travelers (including me) made out of 2 different groups.

I am very happy that you and your group have chosen to tour in Greece, Italy as a travel destination. You will see that they are very beautiful countries, with wonderful people and of course lots and lots of history.

On EF tours we have breakfast and dinners included.  Since the hotels and restaurants that we are using are used to a lot of student groups, the food is usually supposed to please a great variety of people, and are not always very exciting to the adventurous traveler. Our lunches though are not included, and then we have the opportunity to choose what makes us happy. Greece is a very rural country, and outside of Athens we have not many choices to find lunch for a bus full of people. Therefore students need to budget about 10 to 15 Euros each day for lunch. This should include tax, tip and cover charges.

One of my biggest concerns is always the luggage. You might have had this experience with group travel before. Elevators here – if they are there – are not as efficient as what you might think. Sometimes we have to walk distances with our luggage, because the streets are so small that a bus can not get to the front of the hotel. Also space below the bus is very limited. ☺ Please inform the group to pack light. What they cannot carry, they should leave behind. Just one regular sized suitcase and one backpack for a carry on should be brought along. Things which do not fit below the bus we have to put in the overhead compartments or hold on our laps. Also, while we are traveling, on escalators and long walks to the ferry from the terminal, travelers should have at least one hand free to hold on to the bannister, or while falling over, they have one hand free to stop themselves from hitting the ground to hard. Sounds silly, I know, but I have seen this too many times.  There are however certain things that they should not come without:

  • A money belt We are traveling in very safe countries, but we have problems with pickpockets in large cities, even more so since the economic crisis

  • A travel alarm clock would be a good idea. Usually I set wake up-calls, but I have the experience that they are not always a 100% sure

  • One nice outfit. With this I mean a pair of pants of one single color (could be jeans, no problem) without any holes, for the church visits, especially the Vatican.

  • A wristwatch. Students have become so used to using their mobile phones, but they might not all work over here, but I still expect them to keep track of time.

  • A lock for the suitcase. I know that in North America you are not allowed to lock your luggage during the flight, but it is good to have for locking it inside the hotel.

  • Weatherproof jacket: water and windproof, you just never know

  • A book to read or a deck of cards: we sometimes have many hours on the bus.

  • A copy of their passport

Air conditioning is a luxury in Europe, and we cannot take it for granted. We have it on the bus as well as in most hotel rooms, but not always. Also, many museums and restaurants are not air-conditioned. Therefore I suggest that you bring a Spanish fan or even one of those battery operated fans with you, if you are not used to a hot climate.  It might be a good idea to inform your travelers to have lightweight sleepwear as well.

Touring with large tour groups is getting close to becoming higher science. Bus circulation is restricted, parking is prohibited for buses, and only at certain ‘pick up points’ we are allowed to embark and disembark. Therefore, good walking shoes will be needed, since we have to walk quite some distance. You will experience about 15,000 steps a day or more on tour.

Student Behavior Expectations:

  • Students are expected to be on their best behavior at all times.

  • Students must be in groups of at least 3 at all times. You are only alone in the bathroom.

  • No students may consume alcohol at all while we are on tour, even if a parent is present.

  • Students must stay in their rooms after room checks each night.

  • Do not have your phone out while tour guides are talking. They will make sure that you have time to take photos.

  • Any behavior violations will result in a phone call home. Depending on the violation, students may be sent home early at the parents’ expense.

Adult Behavior Expectations:

  • All adults on the trip are chaperones first and foremost. This is not a vacation.

  • Adults will be assigned students to keep a close eye, but will always be doing head counts. (Our group is 36 travelers including all adults.)

  • All activities are mandatory. Adults may not opt out of participating.

  • Adults may consume alcohol in moderation at meal times or after lights out.

  • Like students, if behavior gets out of hand, you can be sent home early at your own expense.


  • Stay aware of your surroundings.

  • Stay in at least groups of 3.

  • Pay attention to your intuition- if something feels off, get a trusted adult, and/or draw attention to yourself

  • If you want an under clothing wallet, here’s a link to one on Amazon, but they are also available at Target in the travel section. There are also “pickpocket proof” purses. They are not required by any means- just showing options.