Have a look through our most frequently asked questions where you’ll find answers to our guests’ most common questions and concerns. Can’t find what you’re looking for? Don’t hesitate to ask. Audrey will be happy to help!
With the ease of access to so many travel options, nowadays what the difference I offer, is the ability to design an itinerary by focusing on quality, slow pace (less is more!), authenticity and opportunities of interaction with locals.
Each itinerary, for our small group tours, cultural vacations and private tours, is personally hand-crafted to offer the best the region or the country has to offer. As I personally lead and host each tour, I am able to provide an unsurpassed level of attention and care. Each itinerary, offers visits to famous sites in the places you visit, but I also help you think outside of the guidebook to get off the map and to connect you with every day life, where friends, family and artisans are waiting to share their way of life with you. I have carefully selected as my specialty destinations where I have local expertise and knowledge, places that offer everything I love, places I call home, where I speak the local language, offering you the best possible experience.
With my selection of small group tours, cultural vacations or a private tour with a customized itinerary, I help you experience Italy, France and Spain, not only the famous sites, but the hidden gems. I help you capture the essence of real local life and culture by meeting the locals, enjoying regional food and wine, learning the history through expert local guides.
When you travel with me, you are treated as a friend. Keeping inline with my key values of immersion in local traditions and way of life, I always offer the best of what is available in season. Whether it is attending a world famous truffle festivals in the fall, or eating at one of the many summer Sagras, every tour is tailored to give you a true taste of what the country has to offer during your stay.
If you enjoy the comfort and convenience of an escorted tour, or crave a customized itinerary designed just for you, with insider access to local cultures and off the beaten path locations larger groups cannot provide, then you will love traveling with me, Audrey.
I believe that most people would rather be travelers than tourists, but many simply don't know how. Most travel agents only know about places that are marketed for tourists and large tour companies go where there is demand. Travel guides or online blogs may write about a lesser known place, but the moment they do, it quickly becomes popular with tourists. Even suggestions from friends are most often based on their own experiences as a tourist, despite what they may think. Unless you actually know a local that will give you good advice, 99% of the time you will find yourself visiting places that have been shaped for tourism, and have lost their local charm.
That is where I come in. Travels with Audrey's cultural vacations are very different than what you are accustomed to. My goal with each vacation is to make you feel a part of the place you are visiting, so you do not feel like a tourist....but an invited guest. With each itinerary my goal is for guests to experience the true culture of the region they are visiting, without sacrificing comfort and security. I always plan for rich authentic cultural experiences striving for true farm-to-table meals while sipping local vintages. I source comfortable yet locally owned accommodations with character and charm.
I carefully balance excursions to major sightseeing destinations, some of Italy's most wonderful hidden treasures, travel time and rest time to assure the best possible experience, and never sacrifice quality of experience for cost. On nearly every vacation, everything is included in our base price, so guests are never pressured into optional tours or activities. I also make sure you always have plenty of options for activities, even when you are at your leisure, just in case you get the urge to venture out on your own.
Each of the locations I offer the cultural vacation packages in, is only a few hours or a train ride away from cities like Venice, Florence, Milan or Rome. So you can certainly let me know that you wish to do this and add a few days before or after your time with me to visit these places and I would be more than happy to make all the arrangements for you. While you’re with me, forget worrying about the language, logistics, or having a bad meal – you’ll travel stress-free knowing I've taken the guesswork out of planning your trip.
The definition for a private tour is an itinerary designed exclusively for you and your family or friends. On a private trip, everybody you travel with will be somebody you know and your pick the dates. Private tours are more flexible when it comes to your group size, travel dates and what your trip includes. You will have the added bonus of making tweaks to the already fabulous ready-to-book itineraries, and taking every day at your own pace.
Want to stay longer to soak up the scenery? Or an impromptu stop to quench your cappuccino craving? Looking to go all out for that special someone? – Then private travel is for you!
The average size of our groups is from 4 to 12 guests. This means maximum attention and flexibility to go where you want to go, at your pace, according to your unique and personal interests. We use our lifetime of experience of European travel to work with you on the details.
More than half of the trips we design and lead each season (March through October) are with repeat guests who have been completely spoiled by our style of travel. They may have been cruisers or bus tour fans in the past, but no more. Now they’re completely addicted to the Travels with Audrey method of authentic travel and adventure, the comfortable road, and not the experience of some of the people we see being led around by a non-stop talking guide at a racetrack pace through Europe.
Are private tours expensive?
Cost is a legitimate concern for any major purchase. Guests are often pleasantly surprised that we can offer a private departure for less than you would pay for another company's standard tours. Every private tour is priced differently because it’s completely unique.
Think of the difference between a frozen TV dinner and one that has been prepared for you by a chef using the finest ingredients. Therefore, the cost is higher than the large bus tours. However, when you think about how much time those on bus tours spend just waiting for other people, plus all of the other cons associated with mass produced travel, I am the right choice for a select group of travelers who want more out of their travel experience. I work with fewer than 65 people per year, so those who choose to travel with me are members of a very exclusive family.
A mid range custom Itinerary for two people in one room with some package "frills" ie. four star hotels with view rooms, private drivers, some tour guides, you should plan to spend $10,000 for 7-8 nights. Keep in mind that certain areas such as the Costiera Amalfitana , and Capri or the Grand canal in Venice tend to have have some of the highest priced rooms in Italy during high season. Other Variables to affect cost include: transportation ( public or private), historic guides, quality of hotels and room categories selected, meet and greet, escorted private licensed historic guides, and many other factors.
Below, we've put together a general breakdown of our custom trips to help you budget accordingly. Keep in mind this is a guideline and is dependent on where you travel and the time of year you are traveling pricing may vary.
Price per person, per day: €300-500
Includes: 3-4 Star Lodging, airport transfers, mix of small group & private tours, breakfast daily, exclusive experiences, taxes. Excludes: International air, tips, meals & personal expenses
Price per person, per day: €500-700
Includes: 4-5 Star Lodging, private airport transfers, private guided tours, breakfast daily, some meals (if included in tour), exclusive experiences, taxes. Excludes: International air, tips & personal expenses.
My guests look for quality over quantity and they place knowledge and service ahead of price. A vacation is a very special, important part of my clients' lives—a time to discover and relax, creating memories with loved ones!
All of our tours and cultural vacations are truly all-inclusive in nature. From the moment we meet, all specified meals, transportation and tours are included. The only thing you will pay for is airfare, personal expenses and any gifts you may wish to bring home. There are no surprises, and no hidden costs.
Please note we do not offer a breakdown of prices included in the packages we create. We will work within your budget and offer you the best options available. You will make the final choice of your accommodations and activities.
When to start planning depends a lot on what time of year you want to travel, and how long you plan to travel. For example, if you want to travel to Europe in the high season (May to September) contacting us 6 months to a year ahead of time will give you the best chance to reserve your first choice of hotels, restaurants, and activities. So if you are traveling in the fall of any given year, contacting us around February/March is ideal. If you are traveling in the spring of any given year, then contacting us in September/October is recommended.
France, Italy and Spain, receive millions of visitors each year and even though we can plan in less time, we run the risk of missing out on the availability of our favorite hotels, guides and other providers. We often work with small boutique hotels and family run businesses so it is often difficult to hold a non-paid request, so availability may change. We always want the best for our clients and the more time we have the more we can guarantee just that.
No, they do not. All of our vacations are “Land Only”. We do provide transportation to and from the airport (and often local train stations) and once we are together, we include all transportation, meals, classes, excursions, etc. However, all transportation costs to get to our initial meeting point at the beginning, and back from one of our drop-off points at the end are not included. When crafting your personalized itinerary, I will always recommend which airports to fly in and out of.
Travel insurance can put your mind at ease when the unexpected happens! Travel is an investment, so trip cancellation and interruption insurance is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for all Guests. Insurance protects you against unforeseen circumstances that could otherwise spoil your travels and protect your travel investment. Coverage should include medical expenses and repatriation in the event of accident or illness. In addition, we also strongly recommend that you have coverage for personal belongings, delay at your outward or homeward point of departure, personal liability, overseas legal expenses and cancellation.
While trip cancellation and interruption insurance is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for all Guests, Travels with Audrey does not sell travel insurance directly, nor are we experts in this field.
North America's travel insurance providers are:
You can also check out a great article by Rick Steves on travel insurance.
NOTE: Please ensure that details of your insurance are carried with you at all times. You may be asked to provide details of your medical insurance or a payment guarantee in some counties before medical assistance will be provided.
If you choose to book a small group tour or a cultural vacation, we strongly recommend that you arrive at least one day earlier than the start of your tour in order to get used to any time difference. Please make sure we have a valid email address and phone contact at time of booking, as we will be sending you a pre-tour information packet with all the details of your vacation as well as instruction on how to meet us and it is your responsibility to be there at the designated time.
The cost and service of a transfer on arrival is not included in the cultural vacation package price, but can certainly be arranged at an extra charge. The reason it is optional, is that some guests prefer to find their own way, or will be spending a few days on location before the start of the tour or at the end of the tour. We always meet as a group though on the first official day of the tour which would be Day 1. Your travel date would be the day before if you are departing from the United States or Canada.
TIP: When guests purchase one of our cultural vacations or small group tours, and are arriving by air at the first meeting point, they are responsible for allowing sufficient time to deplane, gather luggage and travel to the designated meeting location to join the tour on Day 1 (start of tour day).
Travels with Audrey is not responsible for airline delays or cancellations and will not delay the departure of the tour for any delayed guest. Any guest delayed must contact Travels with Audrey and attempt to communicate their anticipated arrival time. If guests arrives at a different date, time and place than the specified one, it is their responsibility to meet up with the rest of the group (at their own expense)
Some of the most memorable sightseeing can only be accomplished on foot. Cities like Venice and Florence, to name a few, are made for walking. You must be able to sustain extended periods of time walking and standing (anywhere from 3 to 4 hours).
Many historic cities and towns prohibit motorized transport, meaning that your driver will need to park some distance out of the center and you will be walking into the town or city center with your driver-guide or tour manager.
Traveling in North America most sites are handicapped-accessible and within easy reach with a car. That is not the case in Europe. European countries do not have stringent disability laws as in the United States/Canada.
All Travels with Audrey’s small group tours, cultural vacations and private tours, have planned time on your own, time to enjoy your local guide, a photo op or a gelato, but it has been our experience that most guests would like to see and experience as much as possible while on vacation with us. We're adaptable to any speed, but if you're not used to walking on your own power for three or four blocks at a time without stopping to catch your breath, you may have problems enjoying Europe.
TIP: Also keep in mind, that most European villages, including historical city centers, have cobblestones and uneven surfaces, dating back to antiquity. It is essential that you have good walking shoes with a thick rubber sole, especially in the summer due to the heat coming up through the bottom of your feet. To enjoy your private customized tour or cultural vacation with us, you should be able to walk reasonable distances, often over unpaved and uneven surfaces.
NOTE: If you have a mobility concern, you may not find our private tours suitable. Please contact us if you have any doubts. Please also check our Terms and Conditions for more detail.
Character and Quality: Tasting the local cuisine is an important part of any holiday and Travels with Audrey ensures that an emphasis is placed on local specialties. Our included culinary experiences, enable you to enjoy truly authentic, locally sourced and produced cuisine. Take cooking classes using regional ingredients, visit local farms, enjoy food and wine tastings at local producers. Furthermore, you’ll dine in small, authentic restaurants, frequented by the locals and guaranteed to give a true reflection of the tastes of the region.
Some of our meals will be in towns we visit along the way, while others are in countryside locations with breathtaking surroundings. The locations we select for your included exclusive culinary experiences are authentic locations, most often family run, farm-to-table establishments, 'agriturismi', Michelin star fine cuisine, allowing you to truly experience slow-food & zero-km dining from where it all started.
Most often, you will be able to order from an open menu where you can freely choose 'à la carte', but a number of the restaurants we work with prefer to have a set menu. In this case, we send you the choices and you will let us know what your preferences are. The 'set menu' will always reflect the cuisine and beverages of the region and not the typical "beef, chicken, veggie or fish" options on mainstream tours. We want you to truly taste the lands you are traveling through. We also feature a handful of unique culinary and chef-prepared dinners that feature specific menus exclusively prepared for our guests. Bottled water, tea or coffee is included with all meals. Wine is included with some meals. Beer, soft drinks and cocktails are not included.
For the optional dinners, you are free to make your own gastronomic explorations or join your tour manager, driver-guide.
On private tours: We feel that it is in your best interest not to have all meals included in your itinerary as this gives you more control on your budget. We also find that most clients want to have their dinner alone for much-needed private time to talk about the day and about personal matters. Your guide needs those few hours in the evening to have needed down time and for planning the next day. The number of included lunches or dinners of course differ based on client's personal wishes.
NOTE: One thing to remember is dinner times in Europe are later than you might be used to, 7:30 PM at the earliest and often later in some locations in France and Italy (Spain).
NOTE: Vegetarian? Gluten intolerant? For those clients who require a special dining experience, our chefs and cooks can accommodate nearly every need.
Breakfast is included daily. Each itinerary will have a list of inclusions. Meals are noted by B (Breakfast) L (lunch) and D (dinner). Each itinerary differs on the number of included lunches or dinners. They are group events included in the price of the tour package.
During stays at country homes and agriturismi: clients enjoy dinners prepared by local cooks like us and our family, and local chefs – each with a specialty that focuses on local, fresh, and incredibly flavorful meals.
Letting you in on a little secret:
There is a little known secret in the tour business. Some restaurants in the more popular locations in Italy usually do not open until 8PM for the locals, but before 8PM, they are open for tour bus groups, and they have special deals in which they charge 1/4 the price for substandard food that the locals would never eat. We want to share the best of the best with you. So we focus on family-run, local farm-to-table restaurants.
Even in the cities, we find that best place in the neighborhood that all the locals are raving about. You know, the one that is so hard to get into, because their Carbonara is the best in Rome. Food is the number one highest cost in this business, so it is the first place companies try to shave off the bottom line. Simply put, to us, it is our name on the line, so we are not going to try and save a few bucks there. You are in Italy and we are going to make sure you have meals you will never forget.
On our cultural vacations and small group tours, we try to keep our time on the road to a maximum of a few hours in one stretch. The hand-crafted itineraries are designed so there is as little time on the van as possible and plenty to see while aboard or along the way from one place to another. Inevitably there are some day when traveling between locations may involve some mileage. Generally we try to do at least two to three attraction stops, comfort and meal stops. It would be as if you had rented a car, without having to drive or concern yourself with directions, maps and the possibility of getting lost or not speaking the language. On some itineraries the train is used and even the ferry.
We choose comfortable vans or mini-buses depending on the size of the group. Their size allows us to travel along local roads, across breath-taking mountain passes to find charming villages and picturesque vistas which lie most time beyond the well-worn tourist trails where large motor coaches cannot go. For added convenience, we usually drive into the center of small villages and old towns to park beside charming accommodations and intimate local restaurants.
For customized private tours, how much driving depends on your personally chosen activities and locations on your customized itinerary package. Generally, we design our tours so that there is as little time as possible in the vehicle and plenty to see. We travel along the scenic route wherever possible, meaning you’ll see more of the countryside and local village life.
For those clients who select an itinerary that highlights a region so that they can experience a more authentic vacation, driving would only be done as day trips to explore the area. Clients in this case would only unpack once, or stay several days in each location instead of being in a different location each night.
Our private tours, small group tours and cultural vacations can include different forms of travel all dependent on location, chosen sites and activities. Forms of transportation can vary from trains and ferries to private vehicles with professional drivers. Travels with Audrey hires licensed professional drivers. Depending on your group size:
- For 2 to 3 people it would be your own driver with a sedan vehicle or SUV
- For 6 to 7 guests a comfortable minivan (i.e. Peugeot Expert Tepee, Renault Espace, Mercedes Viano, Ford Tourneo)
- In some cases a separated dedicated luggage vehicle is chartered for increased comfort (this is included in the quoted tour price)
- With more than 8 guests we operate either 2 vans, a 10-15 seater or mini-bus (19 or 24-seater)
Any vehicles larger than a 9-seater van will not be able to enter small towns or historical centers. So we always choose vehicles as indicated above that allow us to access areas of towns and cities where larger vehicles would be restricted. Choosing smaller vehicles also allows us to travel along local roads and across breathtaking mountain passes to find charming villages and picturesque vistas which lie beyond the well-worn tourist trails. For added convenience, we usually drive into the center of small villages and old towns to park beside charming accommodations and intimate local restaurants.
Private transfers to and from the airport can be arranged as part of your all-inclusive land arrangement and is included on all of our small group tours.
No smoking is allowed on all vehicles.
We pride ourselves in seeking and selecting unique accommodations, locally owned boutique properties mostly small family-owned establishments instead of chain hotels.
Our accommodations (whether a villa situated in a stunning location in wine country, a boutique hotel, a castle hotel in the Loire Valley, a property in the historical heart of cities, 'Paradors', charming inns, B&B's, 'agriturismi' or traditional farmhouses) are carefully selected to always reflect the authentic local character and charm of the destination without sacrificing comfort and service. Rather than going by the official grading (based solely on facilities rather than the standard of the accommodation), we base our choices on location, quality and warm hospitality.
In cities, we will select hotels in historical centers and within walking distance of major sights, shopping and museums. Most are historical buildings dating from the 13th to the 19th centuries. On most of our tour itineraries we have also opted to stay in country villas/inns or castles to better appreciate the region and savor the countryside. All of the rooms have private bath and air-conditioning. In some of the country estates, villas or castles, there are spas and swimming pools for you to relax and enjoy.
- At time of booking, please let us know whether you would like a twin room (two single sized beds in a room) or a double room (one standard sized bed for 2 people) or single room. Room sizes in older buildings may vary and each room could have its own unique style and character.
- We do not include porterage as most properties do not offer that service and quite honestly it is actually faster in most cases to bring up your own, even if they have a hotel porter on duty to help you with your luggage.
Additional notes on accommodations:
- In historic buildings that have been converted to hotels, the strongest intent during renovations was to respect and preserve the original structure as much as possible. So we ask for your patience and flexibility as most rooms will be a different size, layout, and view (which is not guaranteed until time of booking) and may be smaller than you might be used to in newer chain hotels. Also, if you are staying in a hotel located within a city center, please know that there may be a certain degree of noise that is higher compared to other accommodations in more remote areas (Cars, pedestrians, mopeds).
- Lifts, if any, are usually very small, due to space constraints in older historical buildings, and your shower may not be as big as the one at home. In many cases this is due to regulations concerning protected buildings, but this will be more than offset by the charm, unique character and history which can be uncovered in these locations.
- Please do not communicate directly with the hotels prior to your vacation, as it could cause misunderstandings. If you have particular requests or concerns, please let me know and I'll make sure to notify the hotels. Thank you for your understanding.
- Most accommodations will have air conditioning, but it will not run as cool as in North America, and may not run all day. Generally, Europe does not adhere to the same spacious rooms that one might be used to in Canada or the United States. They are also, along with some other European countries, some of the most environmentally conscious.
- In regards to bathrooms: sometimes you will have a large bathroom with shower and bathtub, sometimes just a small shower stall that you can barely turn around in. This is just helpful to know in advance, knowing what to expect when traveling to European countries, but that will certainly not take away from your enjoyment.
Note on accommodation tax:
Various European countries or cities have what's known as a Tourist Tax Europe. This fee is paid at the hotel reception desk at checkout. Because this tax is charged and collected by your hotel and is payable in cash only when you check out, we are unable to collect this tax in advance or include it in your price when you are traveling independently. This tax is included in the tour price for clients traveling on an escorted tour accompanied by a Tour Manager who is able to pay directly to the hotel on your behalf.
Letting you in on a little secret:
As an example, Rome has thousands of hotels. The budget companies stay in "corporate" hotels outside of the city where you have to be with them to find your way into the city. The mid-line companies stay closer to the city, but in "Tier 2" hotels that survive on mass tourism and make their money on overpriced, banquet hall food. Even the super high end luxury companies are little different, as they simply put you in a 5 star Americanized hotel, completely robbing you of the local flavor. This does not make our job easy! We painstakingly check a lot of hotels until we find that perfect one... the small, family run, boutique hotel... that happens to be in that amazing location, and carries the flair of local living.
To avoid jet lag and possible flight delays, we highly recommend you arrive a day before tour start. As a service we will book additional nights for you on a space-available basis. Hotel room charges will be added to the total tour cost.
Whether flying in a few days before the tour or extending your stay afterwards in the same location or others of your choice, we will be more than happy to assist you in making those arrangements for you. To ensure availability please let us know at the time of booking with the number of nights, dates and locations so we can provide you with a quote and take care of the reservations for you. Airport transfers can be added at an extra charge.
As most of our tours start and end in major European cities, it is often nice to book a few nights’ accommodation before and after your tour so you can explore the city at your own pace. Some of our itineraries finish in locations that would be ideal for additional time spent in country. Please check with us for more information.
A valid passport for US or Canadian citizens which does not expire for at least 6 months after the trip return date (a requirement to enter many countries). You are not required to obtain a visa for the short duration of your private tour.
If you are a citizen of another country traveling internationally, you should contact an embassy or consulate to determine what travel documentation is required.
We recommend that you make at least two photocopies of all the travel documents that you bring with you. Keep a copy of your scanned passport (photograph page) on your email while traveling as well as copies of the photo page of your passport that contains the date of issuance, the date of expiration and your citizenship. Secure one set of copies in the safe of your room while sightseeing and leave one set behind with someone at home who will assist you in the event your documents are misplaced, lost or stolen.
- Any minors traveling without both legal parents or guardians need to travel with a notarized letter of consent.
- The name on your airline tickets must be identical to the name that appears on your passport.
Each of our guests may bring one piece of main luggage of a standard size of no more than 158 cm (when the length, width and height is added together) and weighing no more than 20 kg. You may also bring one small carry-on bag per person.
Although oversize bags and wheeled carry-on luggage are acceptable on mainstream airlines, they are often not convenient or appropriate for mini-bus/van travel or for many on-tour flights and train travel. Most of our transportation vehicles offer limited space. Space under seats or in the overhead rack is typically small, and designed to accommodate items like coats, hats, purses and small camera bags.
Space is limited even on our mini-buses and vans so for the comfort and ease for all members of the group, we ask that you please limit your checked luggage to one suitcase per person weighing no more than 50 lbs (23 kg) and with overall dimensions (length + width + height) not exceeding 62 inches (158 cm). When our transportation is a van, luggage allowance is one roller bag (this can be no larger than 26 x 17 x 11 including rollers).
For your day to day travel while on tour, we recommend that you limit your hand luggage to a small, soft-sided carry-on piece, and that you bring only those items you need handy during the day such as make-up, medications, cameras, etc. We must stress that available space in our vans is very limited! On some itineraries, you will be responsible in handling your own luggage, such as traveling by train, loading and unloading the van (if we have a mini-bus this would not apply). In some cases you may have to pull your bags a short distance to your hotel and a possibility of stairs.
If you exceed this limit, there may not be space in the van or mini-bus to transport your excess luggage, and it will need to be stored at your own expense.
Besides complying with the Travels with Audrey restriction noted above, you should also be sure to research and comply with all airline baggage restrictions relating to your flights to and from your destination. Airlines have become much stricter in enforcing size and weight limits in recent years, and luggage exceeding airline standards for size or weight may result in expensive fees.
Airlines are free to revise luggage policies without notice, and certain airlines have different baggage allowances for different classes of service. Researching and complying with airline luggage restrictions is the responsibility of the guest, and Travels with Audrey cannot be held responsible for any costs or disruptions to travel caused by the failure to research and comply with airline policies.
Although every effort is made to handle your luggage carefully, we cannot be responsible, assume liability or accept claims for loss or damage to luggage and personal effects due to breakage, theft, or fair wear and tear through hotel, airline and private transportation handling. It is important for your own self-interest and protection that you make certain you have adequate insurance to cover for these eventualities. Lost luggage is an unfortunate possibility in today's world of airline travel.
We suggest the following:
- You can purchase an inexpensive bag in your final city for all your new purchases or ship them home.
- Pack at least one change of clothing in your carry-on bag.
- Split your items between your suitcase and a traveling companion's suitcase.
- Do not pack any vital medications or valuables in your checked luggage.
- Confirm that your luggage is checked and tagged to your final destination at airport check-in.
- Place your luggage claim tags in a secure place for your flight.
- File a claim for any missing luggage immediately before leaving the baggage claim area at the arrival airport.
- Secure a case number and contact information for follow-up communications. Make certain that the airline has your onward itinerary.
- Your tour manager may assist you with airline and other carrier communications, if there is a language barrier, but he or she has no inside contacts to guarantee or expedite recovery of lost luggage.
- All recovery costs, including communication costs, are your responsibility. Check your travel protection details for covered expenses.
Bringing the right clothing for your vacation is important. A suggested packing list will be provided in your pre-departure information. A private tour with your loved ones is a relaxed friendly and casual atmosphere.
Dress for comfort and convenience with a wardrobe that is adaptable, allows for layering in case you get chilly or hot and protects you from a rain shower. Generally during the day, casual, comfortable, cotton clothing is recommended. In Europe, especially in finer restaurants, where I occasionally like to take my clients for a fine dining experience, it is generally customary to dress somewhat formally. Slacks or a dress for women and a jacket for men are acceptable dining attire. It is advisable to avoid wearing old Jeans, sneakers or shorts for dinner. You may also wish to dress up for the welcome dinner and farewell dinner, but by all means be comfortable. A sports jacket is not required.
Many day trips start after breakfast and end before dinner, sometimes after, so you do not always have a chance to change into evening cloths. You can also bring extra cloths and shoes to leave in the van/mini-bus/car if you so wish.
The times that you might want to wear something a little more elegant would be in cities like Paris, Malaga, Florence, Venice, Turin, Rome to name a few (larger cities) where people are more fashion-oriented.
It is best to arrive with clothing that will allow layering and provide protection from changing weather conditions. Most of your clothing should be comfortable, with some options for elegant evening wear.
- Please note that you will not be able to enter any of the churches if you wear pants or skirts above the knee, and/or sleeveless shirts. The same goes for men! So, if you are wearing a tank top, you may want to bring a light sweater or scarf that you can put over your shoulders so you can get inside the church. What matters is that you have a good time and that you are comfortable, so the strongest memories of your trip are those of beautiful places you visited and not the pain that the cobblestone streets gave you while wearing the wrong shoes. Think lightweight, comfortable, quick drying, soft and nothing that will feel tight or not let your skin breathe. Many people ask us what to wear so they can fit in and not stick out like a tourist. Just wear what is "you" and what makes you comfortable. As a general rule, French and Italians do not typically wear bright colors or patterns, but stick to neutrals like blacks, grays, whites, navy.
- Most accommodations provide hair dryers. If you bring any electrical appliances (hair dryer, flat iron, electric razor, etc.) please ensure they are dual voltage. The electricity supply is 220 volts, which means your appliance should have a switch that you can turn to the correct voltage. If it does not, you will need a converter because an adapter alone will not be sufficient. Laptop computers, camera chargers, cell phone chargers, i Pods, and other electronics only need an adapter.
- We recommend that you pack an adequate supply of your prescription medication in its original container to last through the entire vacation, together with a copy of your doctor's prescription or a letter from your health-care provider on office stationery explaining that that the medication has been prescribed for you, a list of the generic names of your medication, your travel documents and a change of clothing in your carry-on bag to avoid any inconvenience in the event that your flight or luggage is delayed.
It is best to arrive with clothing that will allow layering and provide protection from changing weather conditions. Most of your clothing should be comfortable, with some options for elegant evening wear.
Following is a list of recommended items to pack for your trip:
- Casual daytime wear: shorts, slacks, skirts, long and short-sleeved shirts, sun dresses
- An optional jacket and tie for men
- Casually elegant evening wear for ladies
- Sunglasses, sunscreen, hat
- Gym wear
- A light sweater or jacket for higher elevations or a breezy night
- Insect repellent (depending on time of year)
- Camera, lenses, batteries, memory cards
- Lightweight, comfortable, sturdy walking shoes that have already been broken-in
- Battery-operated travel alarm clock
- Rain poncho and collapsible umbrella
- Day-pack for camera equipment
- Sundries and toiletries that may be difficult to find en route
- Copies of your travel documents that should be secured in the safe in your hotel room while traveling
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