What is included for the trip price?
Almost everything! All hotel beds and train couchettes will be reserved for you. All breakfasts are provided by the hotel, the train will provide juice and croissants. Dinners will be provided the first evening in each city. Four hour bike tours of each city, and a main attraction will be presented in each city. A 24/7 tour director. A video of your trip will be edited just for you. You will also receive an I.D. necklace to wear during the trip which will allow you access to many restaurants and sites. A water bottle that will allow you to save a lot of money for other souvenirs. A watch, to make sure you meet the group on time, an Itinerary pass book which includes all sites, hotel addresses, maps and areas of interest in each city, and place to write a journal entry for each day. A rolling duffel bag is also included, as most travelers don’t know that less is best, and wheels can make a trip a thousand times better. Two chaperones will be at your disposal to help you with any language issues, or booking any optional tours. A daily blog entry for your loved ones back home can read, and last but not least, frequent gelato stops.
Why is airfare not included in the price?
The airfare is purchased separately only because a travel agent can work with individual families on cheaper deals by using frequent flyer miles, and for the hop on-hop off option, travelers may have different itineraries. Group tickets must be purchased by a IATA travel agent, for the best deals.
How much free time will I get?
There will be a generous amount of free time daily. There is flexibility in the itinerary, yet the schedule has been carefully planned and created with the interests of teenagers in mind. This LOL tour is geared to make travelers feel comfortable and to give them the tour of a lifetime.
What type of food is given to us in the group dinner?
You will be fed the most authentic meals from the city. Elaborate menus filled with mouth-watering choices will be presented to you. LOL will present you a restaurant menu, and give you choices to choose from, all of which are the customer favorites.
Explain how group departure works.
Everyone will be given a record locator number, which consists of eight letters and numbers. You will need your passport and this number. You will go to the assigned airline terminal and either hand your passport to agent, or swipe your passport in machine (kind of like a credit card swipe). Then your ticket info will pop up. You will verify the flight, and then print your boarding pass. 1, 2, 3 easy as can be. A tour chaperone will be at the terminal directing all travelers to go up to gate once they’ve received pass, and once all travelers have checked in, the chaperone will join everyone at the gate. If there is a traveler who is more than an hour late, the chaperone will go up to the gate and wait with the group.
How can I contact my loved ones at home when I am in Europe?
Most travelers put a SIM card in their phones, which is available once you purchase the international phone plan, which can be prorated for the days that you are in Europe. Other travelers will use skype or other services. There are wifi computers in all hotels and hostels that can be used, sometimes free, and sometimes with hourly rates. Your chaperone will have a SIM card, and a computer, so you will always be able to borrow theirs, but you will be billed for the minutes used, once returning to the States.
Where do we stay?
LOL uses hostels, one star and two star hotels . Travelers will NEVER have to share a room with strangers when staying at hostels. Apartment flats are a new asset to LOL trips, which four beds in each room with kitchens and living areas. Sometimes travelers have access to a whole floor of an apartment building, other times a two bedroom apartment can sleep eight. One and two star hotels are the other option, which usually sleep two in a room. LOL allows all travelers to have their own room keys and they can come and go to their rooms as they please.
How is the rooming assignment decided?
LOL does not assign rooms. If you are traveling with friends, a month or so before we leave, roommates can be chosen by travelers. They will choose who their roommate is in a double room, in triples, in quads, and sometimes in a room of six. They will keep this assignment throughout the whole trip. If they want to make any changes, it is up to them to have the other traveler concerned agree with this change.
Can I make room requests?
Yes! All travelers will be able to request who their roommates are. If a traveler would like a single room, a written request needs to be made prior to departing the US, and a separate fee will be added to travelers cost, but this option is available.
Do I need Travel Insurance?
Play it safe! Yes! For 175.00 you can be covered for any part of the tour. Cancellations for train, hotels, tours, and most importantly, lost luggage, medical treatment and stolen cameras. The travel agency is offering an insurance package, but all insurance companies offer plans. Use your AAA or private company and get yourself covered!
How much spending money will I need?
Spending money all depends upon your needs. One year I spent 300 euro (about 450 dollars) and one year I spent $3000 euro (4500 dollars). Are you someone that wants to buy cute artsy bracelets from vendors on the St. Charles bridge, (like Venice Beach artists) or do you want to buy gold from the famous stores on the Florence bridge? T-shirts from each city will cost around 20 euro each, where as stickers will be 3 euro. I like to save restaurant napkins as souvenirs, but some people need to have a Vatican blessed necklace charms (30 euro). Really come up with a budget, but allow yourself some wiggle room. I encourage all gifts to be bought in the last city, so you aren’t lugging around items throughout the trip, and worrying if they will get stolen.
Can I plan to do laundry on the trip?
Yes. In Amsterdam the hotel is a block away from a Laundromat. Also, some hostels provide a washing service. Laundromats are also frequently found all around major cities, so you will just have to decide what you will give up by doing laundry. The Amsterdam location is safe, so if you put a load in, you can go back to your room and rest, play on computer or eat lunch, then go back and put it in the dryer. It is really a simple process and you will be reminded to do this, as washing your clothes is mandatory, to keep your packing list down to bare minimum. You could also pay a fellow traveler to do your dirty work, everyone wants more cash to buy souvenirs with!
Will I be able to visit foreign friends and family while on the trip?
Yes! To have friends and family even join our excursions is also encouraged, as they can be great tour guides for us! Many of past travelers have gone to their aunts and cousins houses, we’ve met past travelers as they have been on their junior year of semester abroad. We’ve even shown locals a new flavor of their own city!
What are the train trips like?
Cramped, but fun. The long 10 hour trips are a memorable part of the trip. We sit in a group, taking over a train car. The views out the windows are so beautiful. On the night trains we can roll down the windows and stick our heads out. The couchettes (sleepers with 6 beds) are so small, that we literally stand on each other to get to our seats and beds. There are train cars which have food, but it is a little more expensive, so on the way to our train, we will stop as a group to purchase munchies for the trip. We’ve had two travelers miss the train in the past, so please, stay with the group.
If I don’t speak a foreign language can I still go?
Of course! Your tour director did not travel to Europe until she was 33, because of the fear of not speaking a foreign language. You will assimilate easily into each culture. You will naturally pick up the basics of each language. Yes, no, thank you, excuse me and please are really the only phrases you will need to use. Your Itinerary Passbook will provide you with those for each country. DO NOT let the language barrier keep you from traveling the world, ever!
Do I have to use the duffel bag that’s included in the trip?
YES. After eight years of traveling, we know the best way to experience a Eurotrip. The 31 inch rolling duffel bag has proven to be the “way to go.” Not only does it stay light (after 20 days of pulling it around), it doesn’t break as easily as a suitcase, and it has so many compartments, in which to stay organized. It fits on all the racks in the train, subways, buses and trams. Most importantly, do not over pack and save space for souvenir purchases. Remember, luggage over 50 lbs will be charged a hundred dollars on the airline home.
Can I bring my iPod, and laptop computer?
Yes! Although LOL is not responsible for any lost or stolen equipment.
LOL does provide scholarships! The non-profit was developed specifically to allow everyone the chance to travel Europe. Please contact us about the scholarship application. It is an easy process, and you are the reason we exist!
There are monthly fundraisers. Travelers can volunteer to help out at an event.
By when must I enroll?
You are welcome to join the trip up to the day we leave! There is a late fee of $200 to add after March 15th.
May I fly separate than the group?
Yes, all you have to do is contact the travel agency, and always let the tour director know your itinerary.
May I stay in Europe after trip is over?
YES, this is encouraged. Many past travelers stay on with family, or go off to other European cities using the Eurorail pass. You do, however, need to know you want to do this, before your airfare is purchased.
May I join the group after it has already started?
YES! The hop-on-hop-off option allows you to decide what cities and dates work best for you. A personal itinerary is available.
What does a typical travel day look like?
Sleep in! Wake up by 9:00am, meet everyone in lobby at 10. Walk to nearest café, order a shot of espresso, grab a croissant and a fruit for the road. Visit historical sites and eat lunch. Walk tired legs back to subway, to hotel room. Lay down while waiting for your turn in the shower. Or shower then lay down until you all meet in lobby at 19:00 for dinner. Walk to dinner restaurant. Walk to nighttime attraction. Taxi home.
Now, there will be many variations to this day. The tour director will encourage morning runs around city, or yoga in the park at sunrise, and on travel days after check out at hotel 10 am, we will immediately go to train and rest, and arrive in new city, shower in hotel and take a bike tour of city before dinner!
Although, as a group, we will decide what “times” we want to view all sites, the only mandatory deadline is when we purchase tickets ahead of time. It will be rare, but when we do, it is better to meet the commitment, than waste money. Life happens, and we can try to work out every change to work best for the group.
Is that a foreign word? I don’t know it… Oh wait, the thing your parents give you on school nights. Well, your parents aren’t going and it isn’t a school night. Some wonderfully caring parents will encourage the chaperones to watch certain kids extra close, and that is why the chaperones are on the trip. If kids are being “crazier than appropriately crazy” they will be talked to and on rare occasions a call home to mommy and daddy is made, but all in all, your safety is our number one goal, and your mature choice making skills will be required on this trip. If found guilty of immaturity, you will have pictures posted on Facebook immediately, and natural consequences will find you, when you least expect it.