Active Gourmet Holidays
Active Gourmet Holidays

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Travel Tips

Travel Tips



Bring your passport - and make sure it has at least 6 months validity before the expiration date. Also, make a copy or two of your passport and airline tickets and keep in a separate place.


*When at all possible, FLY DIRECT and take a carry on only so there is no chance of your luggage getting lost.


*To avoid having your luggage getting lost check out this helpful link:


*If checking bags, ALWAYS bring a spare change of clothes (or two) in your carry-on in case your luggage gets lost. 


*Bring all valuables (jewelry, MEDICINE, important paperwork, etc.) in your carry on - if your luggage gets lost you will be in trouble if you don't have your prescription!


*Make a list of everything you have packed so in case your luggage does get lost and you need to provide a value to the airline, you will have an accurate idea of what you are owed


*Pack lightly!!!! To avoid over packing, check to see if the accommodation has a hairdryer, iron, shampoo, soap, etc. Ladies, do you really need 8 pairs of shoes???


*Speaking of shoes, always bring comfortable, "already-broken in" footwear. Don't make the mistake of bringing brand new shoes! Ladies - never bring high heels - they will certainly get stuck in the cobblestones in the small villages. Remember, many of these European villages are very hilly with rocky textures


*Laundry services are very expensive overseas so if you want to pack lightly, bring some Woolite to rinse out clothes in the sink.


*If you have allergies/sinus problems, don't forget medicine/spray for the plane since the air pressure when descending can be very painful.


*Check the weather forecast of the country to which you are traveling on prior to leaving. Also, bring a light jacket and a small umbrella.


*Bring sunscreen, a sunhat and an insect repellent to protect yourself against insect-borne diseases (i.e. Zika Virus, Tickborne Encephalitis).


*Avoid wearing open toed shoes on the plane, but if you do make sure to bring a pair of socks. 


*Make sure you bring an extra pair of sunglasses.


*Bring more film/memory cards than you think you will need since both are usually more expensive overseas. Always check the expiration of any film bought overseas.


*Don't forget your laptop hardware, chargers (for cell phone, digital camera, etc.) and a CONVERTOR set (hairdryer, electric shaver, etc.).


*If you want to check your email while away and don't have a laptop or smartphone, remember to bring your email access website information (i.e. - you will need your username and password). Check to see if your your phone service provider offers international access.


*Always pack a swimsuit - even if it's winter, you'll never know if there might be a heated pool or Jacuzzi!


*For those die hard shoppers, always bring an extra, collapsible suitcase for those precious purchases!


*Expanding on the previous note, if you wish to purchase art/home decor while away, always bring the measurements of that area of your home (i.e. table measurements for tablecloths, bed measurements for linens, etc.)


*Bring your address book - you may want to send postcards!


**Make sure to bring complete addresses and phone numbers of the place(s) you are staying so in case your luggage gets lost you can provide the driver who is delivering your luggage to you with the correct information.





Always bring your ATM card with you. You will be charged a transaction fee by your bank each time you withdraw cash from an ATM machine, but this is your best bet. Just remember to withdraw a few larger amounts as opposed to daily, smaller amounts to avoid numerous bank charges. Most banks charge $1.50 - $5.00 per transaction. Also, depending on the kind of ATM card you have, you may be able to use it in restaurants/stores if that place of business accepts Visa/MC. It will automatically come out of your checking account. In this case, you won't be charged the bank's normal transaction fee... Warning - many small villages do not have ATM machines, so plan accordingly. Never go to the exchange store fronts on the street - you will be charged a hefty fee.
*Very Important: Call your bank to tell them you are going abroad so you will be able to use your ATM card and also bring the name and phone number (the direct line) of your banker just in case you need funds made available while abroad. Also, for security reasons, your bank might ask what the amount of your last transaction was so make sure to bring this as well. 


Credit cards are another good option since you will get that current day's exchange rate when you receive your bill upon your return home. Credit cards are widely accepted at hotels, restaurants and shops. It is a good idea to bring two different types (Visa or MasterCard and American Express) in case one is not accepted. Most credit card companies charge an additional international transaction fee for using credit cards abroad, usually between 2-3%! Check with your credit card company prior to your departure.
*Very Important: Remember to call your credit card companies before you travel abroad (usually the fraud department) to make them aware that there will be charges from a different country so they won't put a hold on your card. Also, bring their international phone number with you so if you need to call them you will have it ready. (800 numbers don't work!).


It is not advised to bring traveler's checks. Most restaurants and stores do not accept them because of currency fluctuation but you can exchange them at hotel front desks and banks.


In some countries like Italy, you can also change money in the Post Office. They often have better exchange rates and are open Saturday mornings.



*Make sure to confirm rental car reservation prior to your departure. There is nothing worse than getting to the counter after a long journey and finding they don't have a car for you!


*Don't forget your driver's license - check with your insurance company to see if you are covered for collision while traveling abroad. In most cases you will be and the extra, very expensive coverage that the car rental companies try to talk you into are unnecessary.


*Most foreign countries have a lower tolerance for driving under the influence so do not drink and drive.


*Rent diesel/manual when possible since diesel fuel is more economical as is renting a manual transmission.


*Spending the extra money on a GPS is worth it. Getting lost is never any fun, especially in a foreign country.


*Bring both a regional and country map of where you will be visiting (i.e. Tuscany and Italy, Languedoc-Roussillon and France).


*When driving in the villages, use the village names as landmarks as opposed to route numbers. 




Here are some useful links when planning your trip


Travel Insurance


Active Gourmet Holidays recommends that you purchase a travel protection plan to help protect you and your travel investment against the unexpected. Travel protection plans can include coverage for Trip Cancellation, Trip Interruption, Emergency Medical and Emergency Evacuation/Repatriation, Trip Delay, Baggage Delay and more.


For more information on the available plans or to enroll, click on the link below or contact Travelex Insurance Services at 800-228-9792 and reference location number 07-0064. 



The product descriptions provided here are only brief summaries and may be changed without notice. The full coverage terms and details, including limitations and exclusions, are contained in the insurance policy. Travelex CA Agency License #0D10209. All products listed are underwritten by, Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance Company (formerly known as Stonewall Insurance Company), 1314 Douglas Street, Suite 1400, Omaha, NE 68102. 11.17 E7N

If you click on the banner, a new window will follow. You can then click on Get a Quote and fill out the Get a Quote section on the left to see options.


Car Rental - Auto Europe


Planning to tour France, Italy, or at any of our other locations worldwide? Auto Europe makes renting a car quick, easy and affordable.


Click here for more information.




Weather - The Weather Channel - can show you local weather for thousands of cities around the world. You can even find local weather for every US ZIP code by State. Simply type the name of a city (Paris), or city and country (Paris, France). For all cities in a country, simply type the name of the country (France).


Click here for more information.



Maps/Directions - ViaMichelin


Maps and driving directions for your local or international travel.


Click here for more information.




Rail Europe


For 75 years, RailEurope has helped North American travelers see more of Europe. Book train tickets if you plan to travel between 2-3 cities. Check our selection of rail passes for more flexibility and savings.


Click here for more information.






Trenitalia is the primary operator of trains within Italy.


Click here for more information.




Voyages SNCF


Train travel in France.


Click here for more information.




Paris by Train


A guide to the Paris RER, Metro, train and TGV / Eurostar services in France.


Click here for more information.




Traveler’s Checklist


The Traveler's Guide to Preparing, Maintaining and Securing Your Home


Travel and Health: General Precautions


Your Survival Guide to Safe and Healthy Travel


Find Free Wireless While Traveling



Always helpful and sometimes funny insights into how to pack and what to bring on your gourmet adventures.

Quirky thoughts about flight for both the seasoned flyer and those that are flying for the first time. This includes the smallish details and the large.


Hi Jo-Ann - We wanted to let you know that we had an AMAZING time at the cooking school. My mother and I could not have had a better time. Paola and Simonetta were such wonderful hosts and teachers. We were treated like family. The house and property were beautiful. The hands-on cooking classes were so much fun...we learned so many great recipes that I cannot wait to test on my friends back home. I will definitely be recommending this experience to all of my friends and colleagues. Thank you so much for all of your help in setting up this once-in-a-lifetime dream vacation. It is something neither one of us will ever forget!


Best, Erin S. and Flor V.,
New York, New York

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