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Useful information and FAQ's

There are more included highlights, excursions and meals on first class tours and the hotels are generally better quality and in the best locations for sightseeing. Budget and CostSaver tours often use hotels away from the centres of towns. You will be located close to public transport links
We will calculate the best discount available for you where you are eligible for one. e.g. child, triple share, group or early payment
Most tours travel during the daytime only. Departures can be early and are often very early on the first day when leaving from London. Comfort stops will be made every 2-3 hours or by request. There is rarely any travel longer than 3 hours without a stop for sightseeing or a break. Tours are all planned and well paced to maximise sightseeing.
All tour buses are late model executive coaches with reclining seats, air conditioning (some lower priced tours in the UK and Ireland may just have forced air). The windows are large and panoramic. Seatbelts are fitted. All first class and premium touring coaches have on board washrooms. Many UK and European buses have both an entrance at the front and another one in the middle, so everyone can board quicker. Cosmos, Trafalgar and Insight Vacations have wifi on board.
Optional tours are reserved through the tour director whilst on board and cannot be pre-booked before you leave unless this is specifically stated. However, sightseeing in London before and after your tour can be pre-booked via our partners. (Click to learn more)
London Departutures: For Trafalgar and Insight tours leaving London they all depart between 5.30am and 7.30am. You must phone the London reception centre a couple of days before to confirm the time and central London meeting point. Expat Explore Tours leave from Greenwich. Cosmos tours leaving from London and heading for a Dover to Calais ferry crossing, depart from the Novotel London West in Hammersmith for which check in is at 7.30am and return around 5pm to the same location unless returning by Eurostar when they arrive at St Pancras International Station at lunchtime. For all other operators and tours leaving from locations other than London, please ask. We offer some tours with and without flights.
The 19 countries of the eurozone are Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuiania, Luxembourg, Malta, The Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain. They have switched to using euro notes and coins, ending the use of their national currencies in shops and banks. The currency consists of seven notes from five to five hundred euros (careful if you get that one!) and eight coins from 1 cent to 2 euros. A euro is divided into 100 cents. The euro is also being used in Andorra, Monaco, San Marino, the Vatican, and French overseas territories including Martinique and Guadalupe in the Caribbean and Reunion in the Indian Ocean.

Denmark, Sweden and the UK and some recent members of the EU in the east of Europe have not yet adopted the euro - however, they have not ruled out joining in future. The euro may be accepted by major retailers in the UK and Switzerland. So on your tour of Europe it's now much easier to shop and you won't have to keep changing money as your travel. 

Breakfast is an essential start to the day and a buffet style breakfast is always included on all European tours. A stop for lunch will be made in a suitable location with a few choices that suit everyone. Between a third and half the dinners are included. Vegetarian options are available. Food will be international or typical of the region you are visiting. 

 

 

 



Common terminology used by tour operators

 

Visit: This means the tour bus will stop and the groups will visit a specific site.

View: A photo opportunity or brief stop.

See: The tour bus will drive by the site so that you can see it.

Sightseeing tour: A local city guide will accompany passengers on a tour of a city or site.

Orientation tour: Places of interest are pointed out, allowing passengers to then explore on their own.

'Why not see' or 'perhaps enjoy': These phrases usually refer to optional excursions not included in the tour package, but available for an additional fee.

Time to explore and discover: Free time to do as you please.

A day to relax: No planned activities. Time for optional excursions or other independent activities.

Transfers: Motorcoach or train transportation from the airport to your hotel or city centre.

Local Guides: Professional guides with specialised expertise in a specific city or region that guide you on a sightseeing tour.

Tour Director: Tour escort, responsible to see that your tour runs smoothly. He or she travels with you, helping with everything from co-ordinating hotel check-in, language translation, to advice on best restaurants and sights to see.



European Travel Tips

 

European Hotels

Europe's hospitality industry is centuries old, and its hotels often reflect the varied traditions and standards of their respective countries. While comfortable, do not expect European hotels to be the same as at home. Single rooms in European Hotels are often smaller than in USA hotels. Also, when booking a triple room, the third bed may be a 'rollaway' cot. The room may be the same size as a standard twin room.

Hotel Meals

Dinners that are included in your tour package are generally table d'hote, or "fixed" menus; on occasion, there may be a choice. Tea, coffee or other beverages are not included except on first class tours and at breakfast. Nor is it custom to serve butter with bread, except at breakfast.

In some European countries, continental breakfast is the norm, consisting of tea/coffee, rolls and butter, jam/marmalade. Hotels may charge extra for a hot or buffet breakfast and fruit juices.

Check out your tour itinerary (under 'what's included') to see the type of breakfasts offered on that particular tour.

Luggage

Many operators, including Trafalgar, limit passenger baggage to one suitcase and one carry-on per person. The size of luggage is shown in the brochure conditions.

Gratuities

Tour companies often include gratuities and service charges as part of the tour package. On a Trafalgar, Insight or Cosmos Tour, some gratuities are included: Baggage handling, meal service for all meals included, and hotel service for all normal service, but not room service or tips to local guides, the Tour Director and Driver.

Tipping the scale

Recommended Tipping:

  • Taxi-fare on meter 10-15% Restaurant - total bill 10-15%
  • Tour Director US$4.00 per person per day.
  • Motorcoach Driver US$2.50 per person per day.
  • Local Sightseeing Guide US$1.00
  • When Service Charge is included, for service above average a small extra tip is suggested.

Currency

Currency can be changed at airports, your hotel, a local bank and at "Bureau de Change" locations throughout Europe. On most Trafalgar Tours departing from London "Currency Paks" with appropriate foreign denominations are available.

Credit Cards

The majority of larger restaurants, shops, hotels, theatres, etc. in Western Europe, and in many Eastern Europe countries, accept most major credit cards. The bill you sign will be in local currency. This will be converted into your home currency by the credit card company and invoiced in the usual way. You can use American Express, Diner's Club, Visa, and Mastercard to obtain cash abroad from ATMs and banks. Don't forget your PIN number for the ATMs.

Passports

Carry your passport with you at all times to ensure against loss or theft in hotels. For added protection, keep a photocopy of your passport in your suitcase. Hotels are sometimes required to hold your passport overnight to comply with local regulations.

It is the law in some European countries to have some form of identification on you.

Phone calls

Almost all hotels will add a service charge to the cost of any phone calls you make from your room. This charge can be high, especially for international calls. It is always cheaper to use public telephones (pay phones) or an international calling service such as AT &T 'USA Direct'. Your tour director will advise you how to use the telephone if you are unsure. Ring late UK/Europe time, it's cheaper. Some countries use prepaid phonecards for a set amount of phone time - no change required and no big bills. Available from tobacconists, phone exchanges and Post Offices.

Tired and travel weary

London hotels have high occupancy rates and check out time is usually by noon. Consequently rooms are rarely available before 1-2pm. Be assured that the hotel staff are well aware that their guests arriving from North America are tired and travel weary, and they will have you settled in your room as soon as possible.

Valuable voltage

Electrical currents vary in Britain and on the continent of Europe. Some appliances have dual voltage, but if not, we suggest you carry a converter for your electric shaver, travelling iron and other small appliances. Also, pins, holes and plugs differ everywhere, so buy a universal electrical travel adaptor before you go to prevent accidents and damage to your appliance.

Sharing and caring

Anyone travelling alone, not wishing to pay a single supplement and willing to share, can do so. Trafalgar, Insight and Cosmos will find someone of the same sex to share your room. Should this not be possible you will be alone in the room without having to pay the single room supplement. For your well-being, we operate a strict 'No Smoking' policy for room sharing. Sharing is not possible on certain Eastern Mediterranean tours. See the tour page for details.

Half wet

Many couples share their umbrella. It means they only keep half dry. Travel with your own fold up umbrella (it's better than a raincoat) and you will never be half wet, you'll be totally dry.

Always brand new

When you begin your tour your fellow passengers have never seen you or your clothes before. Both you and your clothes are totally new to them. Wear clothes that you feel comfortable in and you will not only be more comfortable you'll be more relaxed.

Faux your own good

Junk jewellery or fabulous fakes travel beautifully. Leave items of great monetary or sentimental value at home where you know they are safe. It means you will be a little more carefree.

Strange brew

We all like our favourite brew in the morning but in Europe you won't always find tea and coffee making facilities in the hotel room. Be prepared. Buy an immersion heater either here or on the Channel Ferry, take a supply of tea bags etc. and your morning can start just as it does at home.

Blow it up

Plastic hangers that inflate are a great boon to travellers. They keep the back separate from the front of your skirt or blouse and it will drip and dry far faster than a conventional wooden/wire coat hanger. The blow up hanger leaves the item wrinkle and snag free.

Toothless wonders

Some of us wear dentures. If you happen to have a second set, take them along. Should your regular ones break, or you throw them away (as many people have) you can keep smiling, and enjoying your tour.

The buzz word

Wake up calls are always given to passengers when on tour. Should the call not go through, or heavy sleepers not hear it, your own back up alarm clock is a good insurance. One that is lightweight and simple to operate. It's nothing to be alarmed about but Tour Directors adore passengers who are on time.

Keep the corn on the cob

When your shoes look lovely but your feet are killing you, you've made a big mistake. Have on a pair of 'broken in' shoes for daytime walking. This is truly one travel tip that's not corny.

Detectives take tour

Detectives do something you should do every time you check out of your hotel. Open every drawer, look under every bed and behind every door including the bathroom. Returning items forgotten or left behind is virtually impossible and good detectives avoid the problem. Please be a detective.

2 is good for U

For couples, never pack one suitcase for one person and one suitcase for the other person. Split belongings between the two cases. If one case goes astray neither person is left without a change of clothes and necessities. Also, have a credit card or ATM card per person, so if one person loses their wallet or purse, you still have spending power.

One More Question?

If there is anything else you would like to know about our tours, our service, or about your booking then don't hesitate to ask.


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