We hope the following information will be useful to you in preparing for and during your trip.
Climate and wearing apparel. Great Britain and Ireland enjoys marine climate, generally featuring cool summers and mild winters. In spring and fall, temperatures range from the low 40’s to high 50’s during the day. In winter, temperatures range from the mid 30’s to high 40’s during the day. From fall to spring, we suggest heavier weight apparel, with warm sweaters and coats. In summer, temperatures range from the low 50’s to high 60’s during the day. We suggest medium weight apparel, with warm sweaters and jackets for early morning and evening. In all seasons, it would be wise to pack an umbrella and a raincoat.
Cuisine. Generally, a three-course meal without drinks will cost the traveler anywhere from $25 to $50 per person. Traditional British dishes include full breakfast, roast dinner, fish and chips, and shepherd’s pie. Traditional British deserts include trifle, scones, apple pie and Victoria sponge cake. British cuisine has distinctive national varieties in the form of English, Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish cuisines. Representative Irish dishes include Irish stew, bacon and cabbage, boxty, soda bread (predominantly in Ulster), coddle, and colcannon. Modern British and Irish cuisines have also been strongly influenced by other cuisines from around the world, and has in turn strongly influenced the cuisines of many other cultures around the world too. The pub is an important aspect of British and Irish culture and cuisine, and is often the focal point of local communities.
Currency. In Ireland, the local currency is the Euro (€). You will find coins of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20,50 cents, €1, €2, and paper bills of €5, €10, €20, €50, €100, €200, €500. The currency throughout Scotland and England is the pound (£), divided into 100 pence (p). Coins appear in 1p, 2p, 5p, 10p, 20p, 50p, £1 and £2 denominations, while notes come in £5, £10, £20 and £50. For the current exchange rate, please visit Bloomberg.com. Credit cards are accepted at the hotels, stores and restaurants. Keep in mind that American Express is not widely accepted. If you intend using your bank card, consult your bank before departure to ensure that your ATM card is internationally compatible. We advise to always have some cash with you, which can be easily withdrawn at ATMs.
Dress code: Casual and comfortable are key words especially in footwear as there will be a lot of walking to do.
Hotels. You will find names/address/phone numbers of your hotels, with your tour itinerary. Caravelle Tours Inc has selected all of our hotels to be appropriate for your tour and for the destination. All hotels we offer are 4 star, 4 star superior, and 3 star properties. It’s worth remembering that room sizes in Europe tend to be smaller than in many areas of the world, and the same type of room may be available in different sizes within the same hotel, particularly in older, character hotels. Single rooms are often significantly smaller than double rooms, and may be located in more remote areas within the hotel. Triple rooms may sometimes feature a roll-away bed as the third bed. All hotels have hairdryers and most have safe and refrigerator/bar facilities. What you consume from the bar will have a higher cost. Irons/ironing boards are not provided anywhere. General bed and bath lines are obviously provided in your hotels. However, you will not find washcloths, as it is not customary. Shampoo etc. are in most hotels. While hotels make every effort to have rooms ready when you arrive at the hotel, there is the possibility that your room will not be available until the normal check-in time which is usually 2:00PM. Check-out time is usually at 12:00PM, but you may request a late check-out (fee may apply).
Insurance. People from outside the Great Britain and Ireland will, in many cases, be required to pay for any medical treatment. It would be wise to check your personal insurance coverage to see if you are eligible for reimbursement of services while traveling abroad.
Itinerary. In your tour itinerary, you have found a description of your daily schedule. Exact departure times can be found on the bulletin board that your tour escort will post each day, at your hotels.
Luggage. For convenience and faster handling during your trip, your baggage allowance is limited to one checked in and one carry on.
Medical. No special vaccinations are required for travel to Europe. Anyone taking prescription medicine should be careful to bring an adequate supply for the entire trip and remember not to pack it in the checked in luggage.
Passport and Visa. All U.S. citizens are required to have a valid passport valid 6 months after the return date. A visa is not required to enter England, Ireland, or Scotland for U.S. citizens. Non-U.S. citizens must check requirements with their respective consulate.
Phones and Wi-Fi. Please be aware that your carrier is likely to charge for roaming charges when you use your phone service outside of the US. We advise purchasing a travel plan, if available. It is possible to make calls from all of your hotels. You will find it a bit more expensive as the hotels charge for this service, as in most parts of the world. Remember when you call the United States to dial 001, followed by the area code and phone number you are trying to reach. Wi-Fi is available in most hotels and many cafes.
Shopping. Taxes in Great Britain and Ireland are included in all prices, so they are not added on at checkout. If the price tag says a dress costs 20 pounds, you will pay 20 pounds.
Time difference. England, Ireland, and Scotland are 5 hours ahead of Eastern Time and 6 hours ahead of Central Time.
Tips. General tips to porters at the hotel and waiters at the restaurants are included. What is not included is the tip for the tour escort and driver. The suggested tip is $3.00 – $4.00 per person per day for the driver and $3.00 – $5.00 per person per day for the tour escort.
Transportation. Whenever taking public transportation, please be sure to put anything valuable in a safe position, at a difficult reach of pick pockets that thrive in any large, tourist filled city. You may wish to make a copy of your passport to have with you and leave the original, at the hotel. If taking a taxi, take only the official ones bearing the sign “taxi” on top. They all have meters that should be turned on, as you enter the cab.
Voltage. The voltage varies between Europe, the UK and the United States. In Great Britain and Ireland the voltage is 230 volts (in comparison to the USA which is 110 volts). Please make sure that your electronic devices can be used with the higher voltage without being damaged, or please buy a voltage converter before you go on your trip. Furthermore, the sockets in Europe are different than in the United States. In Great Britain and Ireland, you will need one with three rectangular pins in a triangular pattern. Please make sure you buy an adapter which will fit the foreign sockets to be able to use your electronic devices.