Now that you’ve booked your wonderful cooking vacation with TIK, it’s time to think about the trip itself! What should you pack? How much money should you bring on one of our culinary vacations? Will your cell phone work abroad?
There is a lot to think about before heading abroad on a cooking vacation, so here are a few FAQs that might help you plan.
Q: How much money should I bring?
A: We usually recommend having around 100-200 Euros (or the local equivalent) in your wallet when you leave, and to then use ATMs to get money out if you need more. Most of our trips will not require you to have much cash. There might be a couple meals on your own, and for these you might be able to use your credit card. You’ll want cash for tipping, certainly. For purchases it is best to use your credit card, although some places will offer a discount if you use cash. If you do not have a chip-enabled card, you might have trouble with some of the machines in Europe. Also, if your card is not chip-enabled, you should call your bank to make sure they know you are going abroad and where.
Q: How much should I tip?
A: Tipping is always at your discretion, but we generally recommend you plan to tip about 10 Euros per person per day (or the equivalent in another local currency). That can be spread around between guides, instructors, drivers, house maids, and the like. Often with our itineraries there is one dedicated person you can give the tip money to and ask them to distribute it appropriately.
Q: Do I need a visa?
A: That depends on your nationality and the country you are visiting. If you are a U.S. citizen you do not need a visa to visit European countries. You can check the government website of whatever country or countries you plan to visit to see what you need legally for your travels. Please note: your passport must be valid for at least 6 months (and sometimes longer!) following your return or you can be denied entry.
Q: Do I need travel insurance?
A: In a word: yes. We think it’s silly not to travel without it, although it is not required. Hopefully it is money “wasted” – meaning that you never have a problem and never need to file a claim. But the protections it offers in terms of cancelation, emergency medical services, lost luggage, and the like makes it well worth the cost of the premium.
Q: What should I pack?
A: You can check local weather reports for the types of clothing you’ll need, but keep in mind that you’ll want comfortable clothing for the cooking lessons. If you plan to visit any churches or other places of worship, be prepared to have knees and shoulders covered. Often people like to dress up a bit for dinner, especially if you are in the city. In the countryside things are more casual. Remember that in other countries even an air-conditioned building will be hotter than most Americans expect, and the heat is not turned on until well into the fall – so you may want extra layers.
Q: What about electronics?
A: Many electronic chargers include a current converter (such as a laptop computer charger) – you need only have the plug that will fit into the outlets of your host country. Other electronics might require an actual current converter. We recommend bringing as few electronics as possible, to be safe. Most hotels and even B&Bs will have hair dryers for you to use. Electric shavers frequently have a switch that will allow you to use it with a different current.
Q: Will my phone work?
A: It should work – but you should call your phone service provider to be sure, and to ask about purchasing an international plan if necessary to save you from exorbitant international call and data charges.
These of course are just a few of the many questions that might come to mind when you are planning your trip. Feel free to contact us with any additional questions!
By Peg Kern
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