Monday, October 6, 2014

Travel Tip: Electricity and Cell Phones in Europe

Dear LAHS travelers, family and friends,

To charge your digital cameras, laptops, etc. in Europe during your 2014 Europe Performance Tour, you will need an adapter.
The U.S. plug (2 or 3 prong here in the U.S.) will not fit in an European socket. In most cases the European socket takes a plug with 2 round prongs. The adapters allow an U.S. plug to plug in to the back of the adapter and the front of the adapter plugs into the European socket. You'll find adapters at stores like Radio Shack, Walmart or even online at amazon.com etc.

Please click here for a detailed overview of all sockets types, here for a global map showing the spread of the different plug types used around the world and finally here for a detailed list of the countries of the world with their respective plug and outlet types, voltage and frequency.


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Incantato Tours discourages their travelers to bring their cell phones to Europe because of the high costs for calls ($1/minute or more), text messages (50 cents and up) and data charges for online services.
Therefore Incantato Tours enables Mr. Rutledge to use the tour manager's cell phone if needed.
If you would like to have more information on this subject, please check the "international section" of the website of your cell phone provider:


Your Incantato Tours Team

Travel Tips - FAQ

What is the size limit and number of items for a carry-on?
You may have 1 backpack-style carry-on bag - it must be able to fit either under the seat in front of you or in the overhead bin. 


What are the airline carry-on container regulations?
No containers holding more that 3ozs of liquid are allowed in the carry-on luggage. They also must be in a plastic zip-lock or another transparent bag. Please also have a close look at the 311 rules by TSA (Transportation Security Administration).

Do I need to carry my passport with me all the time?
Ideally, your passport should be with you at all times because you are generally required to have some form of identity with you at all times. Please be “street-smart” and take care of pickpockets. Photocopies of the passport should be packed in your suitcase, available in your e-mail and Incantato Tours should also have a copy.

Do you have recommendations or suggestions on the type of power adapter needed and what voltage?
Electricity in Europe comes out of the wall socket at 220 volts alternating at a 50 cycles per second. In the US, electricity comes out of the wall socket at 110 volts, alternating at 60 cycles per second. Not only the voltages and frequencies, but the sockets themselves are different. Adapters and converters may be found at Target, Walmart and radio shack etc. Please also have a look at our blog entry regarding this matter.

Is tap water safe to drink in Europe?

Most European Union countries have implemented the EU Drinking Water Directive which makes it among the safest drinking water in the world. If you are unsure and want to be real safe, we would recommend to buy bottled water.

What is the average meal cost? How much money should you bring? 
As long as you are wise about your choices, meals can easily be 15 EUR or less. You don’t have to go to sit down at restaurants to find good food. But when you do want to sit down, you should check the menu outside to see if they have a "menu special" - you can get an entrĂ©e, dessert and a drink for a set price. 

What has the best exchange rate, using a debit card to pull money out or exchanging US currency?
By far, the best way to deal with money abroad is to use your debit or credit card. Most banks only charge around $2 per withdraw and they also take care of the exchange rate for you. Keep in mind that you need a 4 digit pin and also let your bank know in advance that you are traveling abroad. 
We do not recommend to bring Traveler's Checks with you. Please also have a look at our blog entry regarding money matters. 

Do you know what the transaction fee is for withdrawing euros on my debit card at the ATM's?

This varies by debit card and cash machine used. Therefore we recommend to talk to your bank in advance.

What is the approximate exchange rate right now? 

It’s about $1.35 to 1 EUR (October 2014) 

What happens if someone gets injured while in tour? Medical care and cost wise?Do they need a medical consent form for treatment?
It is mandatory to purchase travel insurance as indicated on your registration form. You can select any insurance provider you may like. However, due to good experiences in the past we recommend Travel Guard. Please find our blog entry regarding travel insurance. 

Dear Topper Choir travelers, family and friends,

We all know money is a delicate subject. The best way to use your money during your upcoming  Europe Tour 2014 with Incantato Tours is to have a debit or credit card.
Paying with these cards allows you to minimize cash needs and especially the debit card allows you to withdraw money from any ATM machine with only being charged a small withdrawal fee. The fee differs between banks. Be sure to call your bank before your departure to tell them where you are going and for how long so they won't freeze your account.
The debit cards given by the bank may have the compatibility of Visa, MasterCard. However, Visa is the most widely accepted card worldwide. American Express is not accepted a lot.

If you bring cash, you can exchange it but be aware that you will lose more money as they charge for their services. Please also keep in mind that most places in Europe will not accept traveler's checks anymore.
Also, be prepared to pay for water in restaurants and/or bars and sometimes a little fee for restroom use (usually 0,50 EUR).
We suggest you have some spending money available and our recommendation is around 20 US-Dollar (15 EUR) per day for meals not included, snacks, drinks, postcards, some souvenirs etc. It is not imperative that you have this amount of money, it is just a recommendation from our end and depends how much you plan on spending.

There are many ways to lower your expenses such as:
  • Most restaurants abroad have menus outside, so you can check their price range before you enter it.
  • Venture off the main roads to find a restaurant. These usually have more character, better food, and also better prices.
  • Bring your own water bottle because most places have safe tap water to fill it up with.
  • Buy food from the "convenient" stores (supermarkets). You don't have to sit down in the restaurant for every meal. It can also be very interesting to see the different products offered in a foreign convenient store.
  • Hop around for souvenirs if you plan on purchasing some because many stores have the same things on sale for very different prices. You just need to compare the prices. 
Please also keep in mind that there are no free refills on soft drinks in Europe which is why most Europeans ask for little to no ice in their drinks.

Last but not least, remember that your Incantato Tour Managers are with you pretty much 24/7. They are there to help you make the right choices abroad and answer all the questions you may have.

We hope you are looking forward to your upcoming performance tour with us.

Your Incantato Tours Team