What To Know Before You Go To
Italy


  • About Italy

  • How to prepare for your Pilgrimage

    Thank you for your desire and readiness to visit these places of grace and prayer. 206 Tours would like your Spiritual Journey to be as pleasant and helpful as possible. It is important to note that 206 Tours pilgrimages are packed full of spiritual activities and sightseeing.

    DO I NEED TO KNOW THE LOCAL LANGUAGE?
    Your Guide/Escort, who is with you throughout, is multilingual. Whether you have questions at the Hotel or Shop, need help reading a sign, something interpreted etc – feel free to reach out to them. They will be happy to help in every way they can!

    WHAT STEPS CAN I TAKE TO PREPARE FOR MY PILGRIMAGE

    • If you are not accustomed to physical activity, begin walking 1-2 times a day – build up to 2-3 miles with no discomfort
    • If possible, attend daily Mass or spend some quiet time in Church
    • Begin the pray daily
    • Begin, or continue, to pray the Rosary daily.

    “PROBLEMS” AND “COMPLAINTS”?
    If you have any any problems, concerns, or complaints during your trip, please communicate directly and IMMEDIATELY with your tour escort. Your tour escort is at your disposal to assist you with all your needs, such as issues with your hotel room, meals, etc. There is very little that can be done to rectify a concern once you have returned home. Most of the time your tour escort can address any concerns you may have swiftly. If the tour escort does not resolve your concern to your satisfaction please contact our office.

  • General Info About Your Documents, Flights, Arrival & Travel

    Please visit www.tsa.gov for the most up to date travel restrictions

    Passports and Visas

    Passports and Visas: If you have not yet obtained your passport, or just noticed that it will not be valid months after your return, URGENTLY contact your local passport office and apply for an expedited passport/-or passport renewal.


    For those who hold a passport from a foreign country, please be advised that it is the passenger’s responsibility to reconfirm if any visas are required. Below please find embassy information on the country you will be visiting.

    Emergency Telephone Numbers in Italy:                                       
    To Contact the Police: Dial “113”
    To Contact the Ambulance/Medical: Dial “118”
    To Contact for an Emergency Fire: Dial “115”

    European General Emergency Number: Deal “112”

    WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT AT AIRPORT CHECK-IN?
    First, we recommend downloading the App, or visiting the Website, of the Airline you are flying on. This will allow you to “digitally” check-in 24-Hours before departure. On the day of departure, we recommend you arrive at the Airport:

    • Two (2) hours prior to Domestic flight
    • Three (3) hours prior to International flight

    First, you must obtain your Ticket (If you utilized the App, it will be provided to you as a QR-Code. If you did not utilize the App, you can obtain by walking up to the Kiosk in the Airport. You will enter in your E-Ticket number located on your Flight Itinerary and answer a few short questions. Following, a Ticket Stub will print out.) You must personally check in your own luggage at the airline counter. Advise the check-in agent of your final destination to ensure that your luggage will be checked all the way through. This will eliminate you having to claim your luggage and have to recheck in once again during a possible flight connection (s).

    WHERE ARE MY AIRLINE TICKETS?
    Within your “Confirmation Email”, you will receive an E-Ticket. This Ticket will inform you of your Flight Time, Airline, and Flight Information (Departure and Arrival Times.) Feel free to print out copies and bring with you, or take a picture and save in your Phone for reference.

    HOW ARE MY FLIGHTS ARRANGED?
    Your airline reservations are booked in accordance with TSA Rules, Regulations and Routing’s. We did our utmost to provide you with the most convenient flight schedule available to us at the time you made your reservation. All participants will be traveling independently on all flights. 

    WHY DOES MY PLANE RESERVATION SAY ONE AIRLINE, BUT THE PLANE READS ANOTHER?
    Many Airlines are in special agreements, to share aircrafts to ensure the best routings for their passengers. While your ticket may show that you are flying with one carrier (i.e. United), you may find that you are actually seated in a plane belonging to another carrier (i.e. Lufthansa). Carefully review your airline itinerary to determine which airline is operating your departure flight to ensure check in for your flight at the correct carrier.  When your flight is operated by another carrier your itinerary will state “Flight Operated by (name Airline)”.

    WHO DECIDES THE CONNECTION TIME AT AIRPORTS?
    The Airlines determine the minimum connection time required to transfer from one gate to another. We are subject to the availability of the airline’s carrier we work with, and must ensure that all participants have reservations to Arrive / Depart at similar times for the group transfers to/from the airport.

    WHAT IF MY FLIGHT IS DELAYED OR CANCELLED?
    Work DIRECTLY with the airlines at the airport to arrange for alternate flights or protection.  Once your tickets have been issued or you have checked-in for your flights, 206 Tours can no longer make any changes to your flight itinerary. This can ONLY be done by the airlines. In such case be persistent with the agent, however, keep in mind that the situation is not the airline agents fault. Try your best to remain courteous to them, as you may find that you receive more assistance this way. The airlines are not required to offer reimbursement for personal expense or overnights when delays/cancellations occur due to weather. If you find that you have no luck with the airline personnel, please contact your emergency number and we shall do all in our power to assist you.

    TIP:
    Once the Airlines have rebooked you, Text/Call your Guide (via the number provided to you in your Final Instructions) so that they can be made aware of your NEW arrival time. If it is much later, they can make arrangements for a Transfer for you from the Airport to Hotel.  

    WHAT IF I MISS THE GROUP TRANSFER UPON ARRIVAL?
    If your plane arrives later, or you are re-routed, you will most likely miss your Group transfer which is included in your package. Please note:
    • You may take a Taxi at your own expense to your Hotel
    • You may contact your Guide, or the Emergency Number, in your Final Instructions to advise of the flight delay and 206 Tours may arrange a private transfer at additional cost to you.
    *Make sure to obtain a receipt for the Taxi or the Private Transfer provided. Upon return home, you may submit a claim to the Insurance Company or Airlines to seek reimbursement. 

    WHAT IF I WANT TO MAKE A LAST-MINUTE CHANGE TO MY TICKET?
    If you would like to change your Airline Ticket for any reason, once the Ticket has been issued and/or you have departed, you MUST work DIRECTLY with the Airlines. You will incur additional costs (minimum of $400 per person) for such changes.

     

    WHAT IS THE PROCEDURE WHEN I ARRIVE AT MY FINAL DESTINATION?
    When you get off the plane, you will go through Customs and then proceed to Baggage Claim. Located the conveyor your luggage will come out on via the Screen and located your Flight #. From there, you will look for the “Exit Sign” or “Arrival’s Hall”. Once you make your way into the Arrival’s Hall, you will be greeted by a 206 Tours Representative holding a sign which reads “206 Tours”. From there, you will be transferred to your hotel where you will check-in and have time to refresh before meeting the rest of your group later in the day. Look for the “206 Tours” Sign!

    TIP:
    Make sure you wear your 206 Tours Lanyard and Nametag – as well as your 206 Tours Bag. Your Guide has a copy of your flight times, so they will be looking for you as well. Wearing these will make it easier for them to spot you as well. 

     

    WHAT IF I LOSE MY LUGGAGE?
    If your luggage is missing, proceed to the Baggage Office in the Airport Terminal to complete a “Missing Luggage Form”, which will include a description of your luggage. Please make sure to save all paperwork and tracking information given to you by the Airlines. Upon locating your baggage, the airlines will bring your luggage to your Hotel. It is important that you provide them with the correct address and dates that you will be at your hotels (noted in your Final Instruction Booklet.) You may also provide the phone number of your Guide, also noted in the Final Instruction Booklet. If your baggage is delayed for over 24 hours, and you purchased insurance, you may submit a claim upon your return to the US (only applicable to passengers that purchased Travel insurance through 206 Tours).

     

    Traveling through a time-zone may take its toll on your physical and mental well-being. “Jet-Lag” is a phrase used to describe it. It varies, depending on who you are, but here are some suggestions

    • Begin Fresh: Pack two (2) days before departure, and get to bed on time.
    • Hydrate: Drink more water than normal to avoid dehydration on the flight.
    • Sleep on the Plane: It is hard sleeping while sitting up, but try to.
    • Think in Local Time: Reset watch/phone when you get on a plane, think of that time zone.
    • Stay Busy: Once you arrive, keep active and get sleep that night. Pacing is key!
    • Eat Fresh: Veggies, Fruits, and Coffee will keep you awake. Heavy, greasy, high carb filled meal make you tired – better to have that at night for dinner.
    • Exercise: Take a twenty (20) minute walk in the morning, stretch before the plane, and walk around on the plane. Moving gets your blood flowing – tells your body “Wake up!”
    *While every person is different, these are just suggestions. What works for you may vary. 

    WHAT SHOULD I DO ON THE DAY OF DEPARTURE?
    • Get out of bed earlier than usual.
    • Drink lots of water to compensate for the dehydration that comes with being on a plane
    • Try to rest and sleep as soon as you board the plane (to adjust to time difference)

    BRINGING LIQUIDS IN YOUR CARRY-ON BAGS
    For additional information or clarification, please visit: www.faa.gov

    3 – 1 – 1 Liquids Rule for your Carry-on Bags

      Liquids, gels, aerosols, creams, and pastes must be:

    • 3.4 OZ bottle or less
    • 1 Quart-sized, clear, plastic, zip-top bag
    • 1 Bag per passenger screened on its own

    Be prepared; each time the TSA must search a carry-on to locate liquids it slows down the line. Practicing 3 – 1 – 1 will ensure a sufficient checkpoint experience.

    Remember, you can put liquids of any size in your checked baggage.
    Important to note about the 3-1-1 Rule…
    Larger containers that are partially-full are not allowed, Gallon size bags or bags that are not zip-top, such as fold-over sandwich bags are not allowed.

    Larger fluids permitted, reasonable quantities exceeding 3 OZ are allowed of the following:

    • Baby formula, breast milk, and juice for infants and toddlers
    • All prescription and over-the-counter medications (liquids, gels, and aerosols) including eye drops and saline solution for medical purposes
    • Liquids including water, juice, or liquid nutrition or gels for passengers with a disability or medical condition (a doctor’s note is required)
    • Items used to augment the body for medical/cosmetic reasons such as mastectomy products, prosthetic breasts, bras containing gels, or other liquids
    • Gels or frozen liquids needed to cool medically related items, such as medicines, used by persons with disabilities or medical conditions

    Declare the above items for inspection at the checkpoint. TSA officers may need to open them for additional screening. Any liquid, gel or aerosol, such as coffee or soda, purchased in the secure area beyond the security checkpoint is allowed aboard your plane. If you have a layover and are re-screened at your connecting airport, the above rules will be applied

    Baggage Regulations
    For additional information or clarification please visit: www.faa.gov

    Personal Items Carry-on Checked
    All Make-up – You are allowed to carry any liquid/gel/cream makeup item provided that the container is up to 3 oz., as per the 3-1-1 rule. *mascara, chapstick, lip gloss, etc are all considered liquids. Yes Yes
    Safety Razors – includes disposable razors Yes Yes
    Saline Solution – You are allowed to carry up to 3 oz., as per the 3-1-1 rule. Volumes greater must be declared to the Security Officer. Yes Yes
    Tweezers, Scissors, Nail Clippers – plastic or metal with blunt tips or metal with pointed tips and blades shorter than four inches in length. Yes Yes
    Shampoos & Conditioners – must be in 3 oz. or smaller container inside your 1 qt Ziploc bag Yes Yes
    Toothpaste – 3 oz. or smaller container inside your 1 qt Ziploc bag Yes Yes
    Umbrellas– allowed in Carry-On baggage once they have been inspected to ensure that prohibited items are not concealed. Yes Yes
    Walking Canes – allowed in Carry-On baggage once they have been inspected to ensure that prohibited items are not concealed. Yes Yes
    Electronics Carry-on Checked
    Camera Equipment – the Checked Baggage Screening Equipment will damage undeveloped film in camera equipment. We recommend that you pack undeveloped film in your Carry-On baggage. Yes Yes
    Laptops, Smartphones & I-Pads Yes Yes
    Food & Drinks Carry-on Checked
    Beverages – from Home or purchased before reaching the Security Checkpoint in containers LARGER than 3 oz. No Yes
    Beverages – from Home or purchased before reaching the Security Checkpoint in a 3 oz. or smaller container and in your quart-size bag Yes Yes
    Beverages – purchased after Security Screening Yes Yes
    Medication, Baby Formula/Food, Breast Milk, & Juice – allowed in reasonable quantities exceeding 3 oz and are not required to be in the zip-top bag. Declare these items for inspection at the checkpoint Yes Yes
    Canned or Jarred Goods – such as soup, sauces, peanut butter, fruits, vegetables and jellies (3 oz. or smaller container) Yes Yes
    Cheese – in pressurized containers (3 oz. or smaller container) Yes Yes
    Duty-Free Alcohol and other items (some restrictions apply) Yes Yes
  • Currency & Money

    Currency

    The Euro is the currency of Italy., though the US dollar is widely accepted. For most current exchange rates please visit www.xe.com.

    FreeCurrencyRates.com

    WHERE CAN I FIND CURRENCY INFO AND CURRENT EXCHANGE RATES?
    Visit www.xe.com for the most current exchange rates. This is the “Pure” exchange rate, meaning bank exchange fees are not included.

    TIP:
    Check the up-to-date exchange rate before you depart for your Pilgrimage and before you exchange currency.

    WHERE CAN I EXCHANGE MY MONEY FOR FOREIGN CURRENCY?
     A Currency Exchange – located at most Airports, and along most major boulevards in Europe. There will be a small fee for the exchange
     Your Bank – for the best rate, exchange US dollars at your local bank before you leave.
     ATM Machine – while abroad, it is the more practical, and cost-effective, option. Utilizing your ATM card or Debit Card, you can also get cash advances on your credit card at an ATM, but there will be high fees.

    TIP:
    Utilize your Credit Card, as the exchange rate and fees are comparative to taking out currency. Almost all Shops and Stores accept major Credit Cards. Otherwise, your Guide can advise you where the best ATM Machines, with the lowest fees, are located.

    HOW DO I AVOID HAVING MY CREDIT CARD FROM BEING SUSPENDED?
    Before you leave, let your local bank and credit card companies know you’ll be traveling abroad. Otherwise, they may block your account due to international transactions.

    HOW MUCH MONEY SHOULD I BRING?
    This is hard to say, as it varies person to person. Keep in mind of the “Inclusions” on your Pilgrimage – which leaves Snacks and Gift Shopping. We recommend you bring E100 per person, and keep E50 on you with the other E50 in your Checked Bag (if you need it.) You may want to bring more if you plan to purchase souvenirs – again, you can always use your Credit Card. Remember, you can always spend less, or bring money home!

    WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF USING A CREDIT CARD?
    We highly recommend using your Credit Card as it offers convenience, security (you can cancel them if they are lost!), and reasonable exchange rates. Visa and Mastercard are the best options, as they are accepted in most stores or restaurants. American Express and Discover are not widely accepted in Europe. 

    credit cards

    HOW DOES TIPPING WORK?
    Tips are an important part of earnings for your Guides and Bus Drivers. While tips are included throughout (Restaurants, Local Guides, Porters etc.) – Tips to your Guide and Driver are at your discretion, via the Tip Envelopes with your Travel Documents.

    WHEN DO I GIVE THE GUIDE/DRIVER THEIR TIP ENVELOPES?
    It is suggested to provide the Tour Escort and the Bus Driver their tip money the day prior to your return. When, is completely up to you – in the morning, after breakfast, before dinner etc.

    HOW MUCH SHOULD I GIVE?
    Although you should tip according to your discretion and satisfaction, we offer a recommend amount Per Person / Per Day that is noted in your Final Instruction Booklet.

    HOW MUCH SHOULD I GIVE?
    If you can plan ahead by visiting your local Bank, tipping in Euros is the better option. However, they will gladly accept US/Canadian Dollars as well.

    WHAT DO TIP ENVELOPES LOOK LIKE?
    Located within your Travel Wallet (with your Travel Documents) will be the Tip Envelopes. They are color-coded, and note on the front – to whom they are for.

    DO I TIP THE SPIRITUAL DIRECTOR?
    A small Gift or Donation is at your own discretion – but a Tip to the Spiritual Director is not required.

    WHAT IS DUTY-FREE SHOPPING?                                       
    US citizens who have been in a foreign country may return to the United States with up to $800 worth of Duty-Free (Tax Free) merchandise. For those who wish to bring home more, a flat rate of 3% Duty is levied on the next $1,000 worth of purchases.

    Please keep your receipts:                                       
    It is a good idea to retain the receipts from your purchases should they be requested by a Customs Inspector upon your return to the United States. For further details, please visit the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website: http://www.cbp.gov/travel

    WHAT IS “VAT TAX”:                                       
    You will have to pay Value-Added Tax (VAT) when you purchase goods and services abroad. This is an indirect tax, similar to US Sales Tax that is applied to the value added at each stage of production (primary, manufacturing, wholesale, and retail). At retail stores, VAT is included in the cost on the price tag rather than being added when you check out.

    If you pay with local currency, you won’t be eligible for a VAT refund. If you pay with US dollars, you may receive a refund if you . . .

    Purchase items in Europe worth 400 euros or more (you are entitled to a discount of at least 5% off the purchase price, plus a VAT refund; see “How do I get a VAT refund?”).

    Purchase items in Europe worth 175 Euros or more at a gift store that has an agreement with VAT authorities (you will be eligible for a 20% refund; see “How do I get a VAT refund?”).

    WHAT IS A “VAT REFUND”?                                       
    Getting a VAT refund is easy when you follow these simple steps:

    When you’re shopping, look for the “tax refund” sticker on the item or the door of the shop.

    Ask for a VAT refund invoice from the sales clerk when you check out.

    At the end of your pilgrimage, pack your gifts and souvenirs in your carry-on instead of your luggage.

    At the airport VAT desk, present the original receipt, the VAT form, and the goods you have purchased.

    On each purchase exceeding $200 (including VAT), the VAT will be refunded when you present the invoice at the Airport when you leave. At the end of the procedure, you will receive a check drawn in your favor.

    VAT Refunds may sometimes take up to three months to process.

    Tourist Services, such as hotel accommodations and meals at hotels, are exempt from VAT when you pay for them with foreign currency. You won’t receive a refund on these purchases.

    Tips

    Tips are an important part of earnings for your guides and bus drivers. Although you should tip according to your discretion and satisfaction, we recommend that you bring the money and place in tip envelopes (included in your final documents package) as follows:

    guide tips

    bus-driver tips

    Spiritual Director/ Your Priest - Gift or donation to the Spiritual Director is at your own discretion.

  • Luggage & What to Pack

    HOW MUCH LUGGAGE CAN I BRING?
    Your Pilgrimage includes one (1) piece of Checked Luggage, and one (1) Carry-On Luggage.

    WHAT IS CHECKED LUGGAGE?
    This is the luggage that you pack all of your clothes and belongings in. When you arrive at the airport, this is what you check-in and it is stored underneath the plane. If you need to purchase a NEW bag, most are designed with these measurements in mind. Your focus should be on the weight limit – 50 lbs.

    TIP:
    If you cannot pick it up, it is too heavy!

    WHAT IS CARRY-ON LUGGAGE?
    The Carry-On Luggage is the bag you bring on the plane with you. It must be able to fit in an overhead bin. Airlines are strict about the size of a “Carry-On”, and if too large or overweight, will be subject to unpleasant fees.

    TIP:
    We recommend you utilize your 206 Tours Bag, which meets the measurements. It will also make it easier for the Guide/Driver to spot in the Arrival’s Hall

    carry on luggage

    SHOULD I HAVE LUGGAGE LOCKS?
    The more secure your personal items are, the better! TSA suggests you lock your luggage before you embark, and when you are flying home. TSA screens all checked, and carry-on, baggage, before it is permitted to be brought onboard. You can purchase regular locks for your bags, however, if they are “screened”, those locks can be cut. There are TSA Recognized Locks – which allow TSA Officials to use tools for opening and re-locking your baggage.

    LUGGAGE SIZE ALLOWANCES:

    Checked Bags:
    • Length + Width + Height = 158 cm / 62 inches
    • Economy Class: One (1) Checked Bags at 23kg / 50 lbs
    • Business Class: Two (2) Checked Bags at 32kg / 75 lbs

    Carry-On Bags:
    • Length + Width + Height: 106 cm / 42 inches
    • Weight: One (1) Piece at 8 kg / 17 lbs

    luggage

    WHAT IS A “PERSONAL ITEM”?
    In addition to your Carry-On Bag, you are permitted one (1) Personal Item. This can come in the form of a Laptop, I-Pad, a Book etc. For Women, your Pocket Book qualifies as a “Personal item”.

    Medical Equipment:

    WHEELCHAIR ASSISTANCE AT THE AIRPORT?
    During the Registration Process, there is a section noted for “Wheelchair Request” at the Airport. There are options ranging from the Check-In Desk to the Terminal or to the Seat. If you selected to have one of these arranged, they have been requested, and there will be a person to meet you at the Check-In desk after you have checked in your Luggage.

    CPAP MACHINES ON THE PLANE?
    Travelers requiring CPAP machines should get in touch with the Airlines ahead of time (noted on your E-Ticket/Flight Itinerary enclosed with your Travel Documents.) While they are considered to be carry-on items, there are rules about using the machine during the flight.

    OXYGEN TANKS ON THE PLANE?
    It is important to note that if you plan on traveling with oxygen, you will need to visit your doctor ahead of time to get the necessary paperwork. Your own Oxygen tanks are not allowed as check-in luggage, however empty FAA approved tanks can be checked. If you need something on board, talk to your doctor about Department of Transportation Approved battery-powered oxygen concentrators which are permitted on flights.

    CAR SEATS AND STROLLERS?
    Car Seats and Strollers are common items for families traveling with young children, and airlines are pretty good with accepting them at no additional fee. However, this is not always the case and some airlines do have restrictions so call ahead and ask. Once at the airport strollers can be either checked in when you check in, or checked in at the gate. Given the size, they are rarely allowed as carry-on luggage. Car Seats can often be carried on board, but they do need to be FAA approved. If you don’t want to carry on the Car Seat, it’s recommended to store it in a duffel bag so it doesn’t get dirty.

    TIP:
    For both options, Car Seat and Strollers, smaller is always better. 

    Recommended Clothing:

    Packing can be one of the most challenging parts of preparing for your trip. Deciding what’s a must-bring and what can stay at home, fretting over baggage allowances, remembering security rules about nail clippers, and just plain trying to make it all fit are enough to stress you out. While we can’t tell you how many pairs of socks to pack, we can give you some helpful tips and the low-down of what to expect.

    WHAT ITEMS CAN I LEAVE AT HOME?
    At no time will you need Formal Attire – so refrain from packing any Fancy Clothes, Suits, Dresses, Dress Shoes, High Heels etc. To avoid loss or theft, aside from the jewelry that you wear every day – we recommend you leave your nice Watches, Necklaces, Money Clips, Cuff Links etc at home.

    WHAT TYPE OF CLOTHING SHOULD I PACK?
    The first step to packing smartly for a trip of any length is to determine what is being done. Take an honest look at the itinerary and season you are traveling to decide what will be needed to be prepared. The days are packed with sightseeing and walking throughout, so comfortable clothing and sneakers are the best. Best intentions aside, you will not have enough time to go to utilize the Hotel Gym or Pool, so you refrain from packing that and utilize that space better.

    SUGGESTED CLOTHING:
    • Pants/Shorts made of lightweight but tough materials for walking.
    • Long Sleeve Shirts / Sweaters OR Short Sleeve Shirts / Polo Shirts
    • Undershirts for layering as you can expect mornings and evenings to be cold
    • It’s important to have a good jacket/coat as it will lock out the rain, allow your sweat to escape
    • Socks – this is important as you may need to change several pairs per day
    • Light Undergarments
    • Belts / Wallets / Purse / Portable Umbrella / Hat – Scarf – Gloves etc
    *If you forgot something at home, you can always buy it on the Trip. Ask your Guide.

    TIP:
    Count the number of days you are traveling, divide in half. You can always wear Pants/Shirts twice. 

    BASIC TOILETRIES:
    • Travel Size Deodorant, Toothpaste, Lotion, Gel/Hair Spray, Shaving Cream, Mouth Wash etc.
    • Toothbrush, Comb, Nail Clippers, Razors etc.
    • Shampoo or Conditioner (if you prefer a particular brand)
    • Travel Size Kleenex
    • Pen – to complete Custom Forms on Plane
    • Light Undergarments
    • Belts / Wallets / Purse / Portable Umbrella / Hat – Scarf – Gloves etc
    *206 Tours uses First Class Four Star Hotels which include all of the necessities you are used to at Home. From the Pillows and Blankets, to Shampoo, Conditioner, Soap, Towels, WiFi, Dry Cleaning and more.

    WHAT ELECTRONICS SHOULDI  BRING?
    • Cellphone and Charger (consider a portable Power Bank too.)
    • Camera and Charger (unless using Camera on Phone)
    • Small Flashlight

    SHOULD I BRING OVER-THE-COUNTER MEDICINE? (if applicable to you)
    • Dramamine (for motion sickness)
    • Aspirin/Advil, etc.
    • Antibiotic Cream
    • Laxative and Imodium
    • Band-Aids
    • Pepto Bismol (tablets)
    • Sominex
    • Allergy/Cold Medicine
    • Chapstick
    • Sun Tan Lotion or Sunscreen

    *All of the above can be purchased on your Pilgrimage. Inquire with your Guide or Hotel Front Desk, and they will supply you with what you need, or point you in the right direction to buy it.

    SHOULD I PACK CLOTHES IN MY CARRY-ON BAG?
    Pack at least one change of clothes, socks, and undergarments in your carry-on bag in case your baggage is delayed or lost.

    WHAT SHOULD I WEAR ON THE PLANE?
    During your flight, you should wear loose-fitting clothes. Your feet may swell due to altitude, so wear flexible shoes and bring a pair of slippers or socks.

    WILL THERE BE TIME TO SHOP?
    Yes, time has been set aside during your pilgrimage for shopping! The reason it has been pre-planned is because with so much sightseeing, a pace must be kept in order to see all sites.

    Ask your Tour Escort what the regional specialty products which the countries/cities in your itinerary are known for. Small, light items that you can easily carry home make splendid and festive gifts. Don’t forget to buy something nice for yourself too.

    WHAT IF I AM LOOKING FOR SOMETHING SPECIFIC?
    To save yourself time, do not hesitate to inquire with your Guide/Escort. They are aware of all of the shops, and what you may be looking for. If by chance they are not aware of what you are looking for, they will be able to find out for you.

    HOW MUCH SHOULD I BRING FOR SHOPPING?
    It depends on what you are looking to buy, how much, and how big. As you know, there is a big price difference between purchasing a few Postcards and a Rosary OR if you want to purchase an Icon. All shops accept major Credit Cards – and the prices are comparative to how much these items are in the US (except many of them can only be purchased at the sites or will hold sentimental value.)

    *NOTE – Shopping at Shrine/Basilica/Churches: Some of these sites have small Gift Shops within them, and are run by the Clergy there. All proceeds are donated to the upkeep of the Shrine/Church – but Credit Cards are not accepted. For these reasons, be sure to have cash handy.

    WHAT IF I PURCHASE SOMETHING THAT IS BIG/HEAVY/FRAGILE?
    If you happen to find something that you really want, or wanted, and it turns out that it is too big – too heavy – costly – or fragile: Arrangements can be made at the Shop or at your Hotel to have them shipped home. Speak with your Guide/Escort, and they will be happy to help!

    WHAT SHOULD I AVOID WHEN SHOPPING ABROAD?
    Whenever traveling abroad, be aware of your personal belongings when shopping in crowded areas. Try not to take out your money/credit cards in public areas, unless at the time of making a purchase.

    Shops in the Louvre Museum (Paris): Accepts all major Credit Cards / Debit Cards / Cash

    Shops at a Shrine/Church/Basilica: Operated by members of Clergy – Cash Only.

    TRANSPORTATION IS BY PRIVATE MOTOR COACH:
    You will be on the same Bus from the time you arrive at the Airport, until your transfer back to the Airport for your return flights home. The duration of driving time between cities/countries can range extensively depending on your itinerary. Some days may include only short transfers on the bus from your hotel to the Shrines, Churches, Museums, Restaurants or similar. Other days, you may drive a couple of hours to travel from one city to another. Depending on the itinerary and location of sites, your day may require 8 hours of driving – broken up by visits, Mass etc. Regardless of the itinerary for the day, rest assured that the coach will stop for bathroom/stretch breaks (approximately every 2-3 hours), as well as a lunch stop. 

    IS THE MOTORCOACH “MODERN”:
    Yes! All of our Coach Buses are either Brand New, or a few years old. They have New upholstery, Emergency and Safety settings, Seatbelts, USB Chargers for your Cellphones, and a Cooler up front for Water Bottles. 

    DOES THE MOTORCOACH HAVE A RESTROOM?
    No, due to local laws and concerns with chemicals etc.

    BUT, multiple stops have been planned out during each day, for the group, to use the restrooms. If it is an Emergency, just let your guide know, and they will be happy to advise you of the nearest place. If you are on the bus, they will plan for a stop. Also, keep in mind that many of the Churches, Museums, and Restaurants along the way also have Restrooms.

  • Average Temperatures

    City Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
    Rome Low 37 37 43 46 55 63 66 64 61 54 46 39
    High 55 57 69 68 75 84 90 86 81 73 64 59
  • About Europe & Travel Abroad

    Language

    Hotels Accommodations

    WILL I NEED AN ADAPTER?
    When traveling abroad, you will need to bring an Adapter in order to plug into the outlets. The voltage used is 220 volts AC, single phase 50 cycles (the U.S. uses 110/120 volts). The best option is bringing a Universal Travel Adapter with Dual USB Ports (that way, you can utilize a number of outlets at one time. Example – being able to charge your cellphone while using your laptop etc.)

    Adapters are sold as Combos – 3-in-1

    Amazon.com: Complete European Travel Adapter Set by Ceptics - 2 In 1 Usa to Europe, Germany, England, Spain, Italy, Iceland, France, (Type G, E/F, Type C) - 3 Pack, Safe Grounded Perfect

    CONVERTERS?
    Converters are rarely needed as most electronics are built to convert the voltage. All of our Hotels have Hair Dryers, so you would only need if you were bringing a Curling Iron/Hair Straightener (which are not necessary on a pilgrimage). If you have a Laptop – check with the Manufacturer. Almost all laptops and I-Pads over the last ten (10) years already have a converter built-in. Converter Kits that include the entire range of plugs can be purchased online or in stores.

    HOW ARE THINGS WEIGHED / MEASURED IN EUROPE?
    When The Metric System is used exclusively throughout Europe. A Kilometer is a bit over 1/2 a mile (or 0.62 Miles). A Kilogram is equal to 2.2 pounds. 

    WHAT TYPE OF HOTELS ARE WE STAYING IN?
    206 Tours uses First Class Four-Star Hotels throughout – with all the local amenities you come to expect at home. Hotel rooms may be smaller than you are used to, based on American standards. All rooms are comfortably appointed with a private bathroom.  Mini-bar items and access to paid TV channels are at your own expense. King size beds are rare in Europe, therefore, couples should anticipate Queen size beds in most hotels.

    Travelers sharing a room will have two (2) twin beds in their hotel rooms. Many hotels use key cards to operate the room’s lighting system and/or the elevator. Rooms will have large towels and hand towels. It is not customary for hotels to provide washcloths.

    TIP:
    Feel free to look at the Websites of the Hotels listed on the Pilgrimage Website, Flyer, or in your Final Instructions. There you can view Pictures, Videos, and specific notes about the properties.

    HOW WILL PORTERAGE WORK AT THE HOTELS?
    Do not  worry about having to carry your luggage to your Rooms, down from your Rooms, or loading them on the Buses! Included in your Pilgrimage is porterage of One (1) piece of luggage handling. The Porters will do their best to bring your luggage to you in a timely fashion upon checking into the hotel. At times there may be a short delay due to the size of the group arriving. To make it easier for porters to identify your luggage make sure your 206 Tours Luggage Tag is clearly visible. If you prefer to bring your own luggage to the Hotel, please wait near the bus as the driver and porters unload the luggage for you to identify your baggage and bring it with you to your room.

    HOW CAN I USE MY SMARTPHONE ON THE PILGRIMAGE?
    When you bring your Smartphone, make sure to contact your wireless phone provider and inform them that you will be traveling overseas. Most providers offer an “International Plan” that you may sign up for. This will allow you to make calls to the United States” while you are out of the country. “Passport Plan” – AT&T and other Providers offer a plan known as a “Passport” where you pay a flat fee – Per Day – and allows you to then to use your phone the same as at home. Meaning: No Roaming Fees, No Shutting Off Data etc. You will be able to make/answer calls, and the use will be align with your local plan you have at home. You can also utilize Facetime, WhatsAPP, Viber and other Apps that allow you to call home for Free while utilizing WiFi.

    *Refrain from using Hotel Phones. While there for convenience, they cost substantially more than using a cellphone.

    HOW DO I CALL HOME FROM EUROPE?
    First: Dial “00” – then dial the country code (example: “1” is for the US and Canada etc) – then the local area code and then the telephone number.

    HOW DOES SOMEONE CALL ME FROM HOME?
    First dial “011” – then the country code of the country you are dialing to – then the local area code and telephone number.

    CAN WE BRING LAPTOPS / MACBOOKS / I-PADS?
    Feel free to bring them with you – as all of the Hotels have complimentary WiFi available. 

    ipad

    Calling from Italy to the USA

    To make a direct international call, first dial “00” and then dial the country code (1 for the US and Canada, just like at home), then the local area code and telephone number.

    Calling from the USA to Italy

    If your family wishes to call you during the pilgrimage from within the US, you must first dial 011, then then the country code which is then followed by the local area code and telephone number.

    HOW MUCH WALKING CAN WE EXPECT?                                       
    We are proud to say that all of our Pilgrimages are feasible and attainable for all ages. Not only the Pilgrimage itself, but additional requests that we can add (at the Hotel, Airport etc) to make your trip that much more comforting.

    This is a common question, that often brings up many additional questions. For that reason, we have create a separate Page with Pictures and detailed descriptions of what to expect, as well as answers to those who may utilize a Walker, Cane, Wheelchair etc.

    Please visitwww.206tours.com/accessibility/europe/ 

    WILL I NEED A TAXI?                                       
    All transportation and transfers are included with your Pilgrimage, as noted in the itinerary. If you would like to revisit a particular site on your free time, of if you wish to return to the Hotel at some point during the pilgrimage – speak with your Guide and they will be happy to make arrangements for you.

    *While Uber and Lyft are common practice, if you do not know the area nor speak the language, we strongly suggest to refrain from using these Apps and speak with your Guide to book your own transfers.

     

    LOCAL CUSTOMS / SOCIAL CONVENTIONS:
    A different way of life in some countries may take you by surprise, but if you travel with an open mind and respect local customs, you should find it easy to adapt to and enjoy your new surroundings. Standards of living may not be quite what you are used to, but there are compensations – a closer sense of reality and an authentic feeling of locale. Due to cultural differences, you may not be greeted quite as cheerfully as back home; smiling is generally reserved for intimate friends. Be especially wary of people presenting themselves as “instant friends” and never accept food or drink from strangers.  

     

    WHEN IS BREAKFAST?                                       
    Breakfast is served in your Hotels’ Main Dining Room. The opening time will be noted by your Guide the night before, as well as being displayed throughout the Hotel, in your Room, and the Daily Schedule Poster in the Lobby. The average opening time is 7:00 A.M. It is Buffet-Style, and there is Staff on hand should you have any requests or any allergies.  (Note: In Europe, it is frowned upon to take food out of the Dining Room)

    WHEN IS DINNER?                                       
    Unlike Breakfast, Dinner can take place in the Hotel or at a nearby Restaurant. Dinner takes place at the end of the day. Your Guide will announce to you the time of Dinner. Dinner is often Buffet Style in the Hotel, and “Plated” in the Restaurant – depending on where you are eating. Keep in mind that Dinner takes place a little later than you are accustomed to at Home. *Should you have any concerns regarding the Menu for that evening, please speak with your Guide and they will discuss with the Chef to find a solution.

    WHAT ABOUT LUNCH?                                       
    Unless noted in the Inclusions/Itinerary, Lunches are often not included with Pilgrimages to Europe. This is done in order to keep to the time constraints of the reservations in the Itinerary. However, there are plenty of opportunities to stop and grab a snack (i.e. Rest Stops, Stores near the sites etc.) Consult with your Guide and they can make suggestions at any point.

    ALLERGIES / DIETS?                                       
    While some Restaurants/Hotels may be able to provide for a special diet, such as Vegetarian, Gluten Free, or sodium-free, 206 Tours cannot guarantee a special meal request. Generally, in Europe, Vegetarian and Vegan meal options tend to lack variety and imagination.

    CAN I DRINK THE LOCAL TAP WATER?
    Generally, most local tap water will not hurt you, however, due to differences in mineral and micro-biotic levels. We recommend that you avoid consuming local tap water, as it may upset your stomach.

    TIP:
    Bottled Water is available on your Tour Bus throughout. Also, Mineral Water is included with most  Meals (as noted under “Your Trip Includes” on the website) 

  • "What If" & Commonly Asked Questions

    WHAT IF MY FLIGHT IS DELAYED OR CANCELLED?

    Work DIRECTLY with the airlines at the airport to arrange for alternate flights or protection. Once your tickets have been issued or you have checked-in for your flights, 206 Tours can no longer make any changes to your flight itinerary. This can ONLY be done by the airlines. In such case be persistent with the agent, however, keep in mind that the situation is not the airline agents fault. Try your best to remain courteous to them, as you may find that you receive more assistance this way. The airlines are not required to offer reimbursement for personal expense or overnights when delays/cancellations occur due to weather. If you find that you have no luck with the airline personnel, please contact your emergency number and we shall do all in our power to assist you.

    TIP:
    Once the Airlines have rebooked you Text/Call your Guide so that they can be made aware of your NEW arrival time. If it is much later, they can make arrangements for a Transfer for you.

    WHAT IF I MISS THE GROUP TRANSFER UPON ARRIVAL?
    If your plane arrives late, or you are re-routed, you will most likely miss your group transfer which is included in your package. Please note:
    o You may take a taxi at your own expense to your Hotel
    o You may contact the Emergency Number in this booklet to advise of the flight delay and 206 Tours may arrange a private transfer at additional cost to you.
    *Make sure to obtain a receipt for the taxi or the private transfer provided. Upon return to the U.S.A., you may submit a claim to the insurance company or airlines to seek reimbursement.

    WHAT IF I WANT TO MAKE A LAST-MINUTE CHANGE TO MY TICKET?
    If you would like to change your airline ticket for any reason once the ticket has been issued and/or you have departed, you MUST work DIRECTLY with the airlines. You will incur additional costs (minimum of $300 per person) for such changes.

  • Useful Links

    USEFUL TRAVEL LINKS:
    Airline Tracker: www.flightarrivals.com
    Calling Codes: www.countrycallingcodes.com
    Currency Converter: www.xe.com
    Department of Homeland Security: www.dhs.gov
    Embassies: www.usembassy.gov
    Emergency/Disaster Information: www.redcross.org
    Flight Delay Information: www.flightaware.com
    Flight Tracker: www.flightview.com
    Foreign Language Basics: www.fodors.com/language
    Frequent Flyer Programs: www.webflyer.com
    International Health Information: www.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/list
    Internet Access/Hotspots: www.skyroam.com
    Language Translation: translate.google.com
    Last-Minute Travel Preparation: www.paperplanesblog.com/getting-ready-for-a-trip-last-minute-travel-prep
    Passports & Visas: www.projectvisa.com
    Physical Disabilities Travel Information: www.travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/before-you-go/travelers-with-special-considerations/traveling-with-disabilties.html
    Smart Traveler Enrollment Program: step.state.gov/step
    Time Around the World: www.time.gov
    Transportation Security Administration: www.tsa.gov
    Travel Planning: www.worldtravelguide.net
    Travel Planning (Religious Sites): www.sacred-destinations.com
    Trusted Traveler www.cbp.gov/travel/trusted-traveler-programs
    US Customs: cbp.gov
    US State Department Travel Warnings: www.travel.state.gov
    Weather Around the World: www.weather.com


Travel Insurance

Providing you coverage for both pre-existing conditions and those that may arise during your trip, including medical and dental emergencies, loss of luggage, trip delay, and so much more.

Extended Constellation Protection Plan

A Cancellation Waiver - allowing you to cancel your trip and receive a refund anytime - up until 24 hours prior to departure. The "Waiver" expires once you are within 24 hours of departure.

What to Know Before You Go

Information about your upcoming Pilgrimage!

Client Letters

The Proof is in the Print - see what your fellow pilgrims have to say!