Experience of a Lifetime
Welcome to Europe and the “Silent Night Music Festival” in Austria and Germany. This event and travel experience is certain to be one of the most exhilarating experiences of your lifetime. It represents a unique blend of performance opportunities and travel to some of the world’s most historic and important areas. Yours is the opportunity to experience new people, new places and to share your incredible talent with appreciative audiences.
These “Travel Notes” are designed to enrich your travel experience and help you prepare for your journey. We hope you will carry home not only the souvenirs and photographs of Europe, but a real wealth of memories that will last a lifetime!
Obtaining a Passport
In order to travel overseas you will be required to obtain a passport. If you already have one, you will need to make sure that it is current. To obtain a passport you may download the appropriate forms by accessing travel.state.gov and going to “Passport” link. Current fees for obtaining a passport will be found on-line.
Be sure your passport does not expire within 6 months of your return date
What to Bring
Pack clothes that will be comfortable. Plan on drip-dry and wrinkle free fabrics (tissue dividers help prevent wrinkling). Tuck in lots of accessories that can transform a basic outfit to suit the occasion. Short shorts or flashy sport shirts and “skater” attire are not appropriate. We strongly recommend that you do not bring along any valuable jewelry. In packing toiletry, use unbreakable plastic bottles. If you are on medication, take a supply for the length of your stay and carry it in your handbag. Spare supplies or a copy of the prescription are also desirable.
You may also wish to pack certain first-aid remedies such as “Second Skin” for blisters. Take along duplicates keys for your suitcase and keep your bags locked at all times. Better safe than sorry. The best place for your toothbrush and toothpaste is in your handbag or flight bag.
A tried and true packing method is to set out the items and clothes you think you will need for your trip, then cut the amount down by half and pack the bare minimum. Remember that on most tour schedules you have to carry your own luggage. Also, you may want to buy gifts in Europe, so please leave ample space.
What you bring depends on personal preference and tour schedule, but observe these simple guidelines and local customs, and use common sense as your best guide!
Accommodations in Europe are generally in 2-star or 3-star hotels. Room standards in Europe are different than what you may be used to. Rooms are much smaller. In fact, if you are in a quad room, there will be room for four beds, but you probably won’t want to open four suitcases at once unless the suitcases are on the bed. Yes, the rooms are small, but at least there will be a shower or bath and a toilet in each room. It was not too many years ago that you would be walking down the hall to use these facilities - and sharing them with every other room on the floor as well.
If you plan on bringing a cell phone, make sure you take care of the international coverage with your carrier BEFORE you leave the United States. Sim cards and other necessities should be taken care of before you leave. Making special trips to cell phone stores or other suppliers will only cut into your limited time in Europe.
Be sure you have any necessary adapters for your phone to charge it. Keep in mind the voltage and the plugs in Europe are different from the US.
Money / Exchange
Be sure to check the current exchange rates before you travel. Currency exchange rates can be easily be found by going to www.google.com and searching "exchange rate".
We are frequently asked to give recommendations about the amount of spending money someone should take with them. Your tour features two meals per day. We recommend that $30-$40 per day will cover such items as:
One meal per day
Post cards & postage
Local transportation (metro/tube/bus)
Drinks with meals (a soft drink or other beverage with dinner is usually extra)
Souvenir purchases (if they’re modest)
If you plan to purchase expensive clothing, jewelry, or art, you need to increase your per diem to more than $30.
Try not to carry large amounts of cash. Major credit cards are also widely accepted throughout Europe. It is very easy to spend money in Europe because it seems almost like play money. Paper currency is larger and much more colorful. Stop and think about how much it really costs before making any purchases.
It is wise to have a backup source of cash in the event your money is stolen, lost or an emergency occurs. Take along one or several internationally recognized credit cards that will allow you to draw cash advances up to your credit limit. Visa, MasterCard and American Express are widely accepted. Check with your bank about the possibility of obtaining a card with the “smart chip” technology. You can also use the cards to pay for purchases at thousands of locations across Europe. You may want to keep your credit cards separate from your cash and other forms of currency.