*Special thanks Mrs. H., one of our group leaders, for these great tips for first-time travelers
Getting to/from airport
Each traveler is responsible for getting themselves to and from the airport.
Recommendation: come to the airport with a travel buddy, so you know you will have someone to go through each step with.
The group will meet at the departure gate (or area designated by group leaders)
Heading east, to Europe from the U.S., is more difficult because you will lose sleep.
Avoid napping once in Europe. Stay up until Europe-time bedtime, and you'll get a regular night's sleep.
The group will go outdoors and do a lot of walking. That helps jet lag by providing sunshine, air and movement/exercise.
Do not keep comparing European time to U.S./home time. "You will lose at that psychological game!" says Mrs. H.
Returning to the U.S. is easier because you will not lose sleep. However, it is usually a VERY long day. Most spring groups build in a weekend return so there are a couple days to recover.
You need to aim for a good 7-8 hours of sleep each night on the trip.
The group will likely stay out until near bedtime/curfew. Why? a) so you can maximize every minute in Europe! and b) so you will be tired and not tempted to stay up half the night with your roommates
Most group leaders will ask you to commit to getting enough sleep. The days are usually packed full on our trips, and leaders will have no pity on grumpy passengers if you're tired from staying up late.
Be mindful of the possibility that some group members may have allergies. Try to avoid bringing nut or nut butter snacks with you.
Do bring other kinds of snacks. Your tummy may not get the message that you are on European time, and you may get hungry at weird times.
There are usually shops near hotels where you can buy bottled water and snacks, so you do not have to pack all that stuff in your suitcase!
What size bag should you carry?
That depends on how much you need/want to carry around all day long.
Big enough to hold phone, wallet, small umbrella, water bottle, small purchases.
Jackets with secure inside pockets can hold some stuff (phone, wallet) to help minimize bag size
Backpacks are ok, but may need to be checked (left in a secure spot) at places like museums and other heavily-visited tourist attractions
All bags/purses need to zip securely closed. Backpack zippers should be locked to protect from theft.
Make sure there's room in your suitcase for items you purchase
Find a size chart online so you know how to compare U.S. sizing to European sizing for clothing and shoes
Above all... have a good trip!
(Photos courtesy of Passports wonderful tour directors!)
passports Educational Group Travel partners with teachers across the United States to provide high-quality educational travel experiences to their students. Educational tours visit destinations around the world - primarily France, Italy, England, Spain and Costa Rica - at low, guaranteed prices.