Owner, Chief Tour Director
Eat and Drink Like a European
7722 Alpine Place, Mission, BC, Canada, V2V 4T2
604 287 LIFE (5433)
1 844 689 LIFE (5433)
FAQ – Europe Tours
Everything you wanted to know about Europe Tours! Well, probably not everything, but these are some of our most frequently asked questions. Contact me (at the bottom of the page) if a question you have is not answered here.
Q: What does the tour director do?
A: A tour director wears many hats. Craig Bresett, our head tour director, explains, using his best attempt at alliteration: “As a OneLife Tours tour director, I am intimately involved in all of the intricacies of your travel itinerary. I develop the travel schedule (with our coach partners in Europe), book rooms in hotels, arrange meals, and reserve admission times to attractions. My goal is to give my clients the best possible travel experience in Europe. When I am with a group of travelers in Europe, I am the go-to guy for pretty much everything except driving the bus. I am your tour guide for most of the attractions we visit (for some I hire a local guide and get to enjoy it with the rest of the group!). I am your advocate at hotels and restaurants. I am your consultant for the inevitable questions about what to do with the free time that is built into the itinerary. Above all I am a tireless promoter for the life-enhancing value of good travel. I love traveling in Europe – it is my passion. I want other people to love it too.”
Q: I only speak English. Is this going to be a problem anywhere in Europe?
A: Not on an Eat and Drink Like a European tour! With your tour director and coach driver taking care of the details, you don’t have to worry about any language barriers. Besides, English is widely understood and used in the hospitality industry throughout Europe.
Q: Do I need to get any travel vaccinations to go to Europe?
Q: Do I need a travel visa?
A: Canadians and Americans only need a passport. There are no special visa requirements to enter Europe. Please note that your passport’s expiration date should be at least 6 months after the date you are scheduled to fly to Europe.
Q: What kind of luggage do you recommend and what should I pack in it?
A: Bring what you can handle – you will need to move your own luggage, sometimes up stairs. I recommend a wheeled suitcase and a small day pack. Packing light is an art that people usually get better at the more they travel. I’ve never heard one of my travelers say “I wish I had packed more stuff with me!” In fact, it is the opposite, “Why did I bring so much stuff?” Traveling by private coach does make the transport of your luggage much easier – big luggage goes under the bus, day packs go in the seating area, and you get dropped off and picked up right in front of the hotel (most places!). When you’re travelling on your own, you are often “lugging” your luggage from train station to hotel and back (or shelling out big bucks for cabs everywhere).
Q: Why are your groups so small?
A: Compared to most of the large tour companies whose aim is to fill a 50 seat bus, our groups are quite small. Our average group size is 12. Our travelers love the small group size because:
- Small groups feel less like a herd and more like a big family.
- The tour director has the opportunity to connect with the travelers as a whole and individually.
- Having a smaller group allows us more flexibility in planning unique travel experiences and booking quality accommodations.
Q: Though your price seems reasonable, I’ve seen other tours advertised for less money. Why shouldn’t I go with the cheapest option?
A: We offer a high quality, high value experience. Travel is the epitome of a life well-lived, and selling yourself short is not an option. That being said, the “budget” tour is not always as “budget” as it seems. When looking at different tours, the first thing you should do is read the fine print. OneLife Tours believes in straightforward honest marketing, and as all our brochures proudly proclaim in the “fine print” section – we don’t have a lot of fine print. Here are some questions to ask while you are comparing:
- Are the listed attractions a simple drive by photo opportunity or are you actually going to go in and spend some time there?
For example, many tour companies will list the Eiffel Tower in Paris as one of the attractions you will be visiting. But when you get there, all you do is stop at the base of the tower for a few minutes to take some pictures. Eat and Drink Like a European will take you up the Eiffel Tower – to the top level of course (and we will bypass the famously long lines)! Any attractions we list on our itinerary are the same – a real experience, not just a photo op.
- Are all attractions listed included in the price?
Eat and Drink Like a European tours – YES. Most other tour companies – NO. So-called “optional” excursions can add up very quickly. For example, when you visit Paris, a tour through the Palace of Versailles should not be an “option”, it should be included. Many tour companies sell this option for $75 or more – payable to the tour director (who makes a commission) while you are there. That’s just not right. All attractions listed on our itinerary are included in the price.
- Are meals included?
We includes all breakfasts, many lunches, and many of your dinners – featuring high quality, local food and drink experiences. It is what we are all about!
- Is there a “mandatory” or “suggested” tip at the end of the tour?
Most tour companies will ask you to pay a substantial tip to the driver and to the tour director at the end of the trip. At Eat and Drink Like a European this is neither requested nor required – we pay our drivers and tour directors a proper salary.
- Is the tour focused on culture and history or shopping for souvenirs?
While any good tour needs to allow for some free time where shopping is an option, many of the “budget” tours are very focused on taking you souvenir shopping. Why? Because their tour directors get kickbacks from the “special” stores they take you to. We do not engage in this practice. Incidentally, for those not interested in shopping, our tour director will always provide suggestions for other activities when there is free time.
Q: Can I use my credit card or bank card in Europe?
A: We recommend that you purchase some local currency before leaving home. However, credit cards are widely accepted in Europe, and ATMs work with most North American bank cards. This is a convenient way to top up your cash when you are in Europe – the ATM will dispense local currency and your bank will take care of currency conversion, usually charging a small fee for the transaction. In general, you cannot use your bank card as a debit card in stores in Europe the way you do at home. We highly recommend against bringing travelers’ cheques – they are almost universally not accepted at any businesses anymore, and you will waste a lot of time hunting down someplace to cash them, usually paying a very large fee to do so.
Q: What about air travel?
A: Though we do arrange air travel for pre-arranged groups (e.g. schools, universities, heritage societies), we don’t directly arrange air travel for individuals. We have clients from all over the English speaking world! Many of our travelers wish to start their European adventure before the tour begins and/or stay after the tour is over. We actually really enjoy hearing their plans and giving them advice! That being said, most of our travelers have booked with our own air travel agent, Shenaz Merchant, at HB Travel in Vancouver, Canada. Of course, she is able to book flights from anywhere to anywhere, and we find her assistance in booking our own complex travel plans invaluable!
Shenaz Merchant, Senior Consultant
HB Travel Corporation
908 – 1112 West Pender Street, Vancouver, B.C., V6E 2S1
Tel: 604 630-5459 / Fax: 604 683 4555 / Toll Free: 1 800 668 4112
Got A Question?
Have you got another question about travelling in Europe? Our chief tour director Craig loves talking about Europe – send him a question!
“Craig is super knowledgeable and just really friendly. I’m glad we contacted him before signing up – he really helped us with advice on our post-trip plans too! The guy really knows Europe – he’s like the Canadian Rick Steves!”
– Tim W., Ultimate Beer Tour 2014 and 2016 (liked it so much he went twice!)