EF Traveler Support Specialist Sadiya gives expert travel tips

EF staff

6 expert travel tips from an EF Traveler Support Specialist

Get ready to hit the ground running on your next EF tour with travel tips from a certified expert.

Expert travel tips from EF Traveler Support Specialist Sadiya

I’m Sadiya, and I’m so excited to share some insider info I’ve gathered during my experience as an EF Traveler Support Specialist. I work full-time to help Group Leaders, students, and families prepare to travel (and have even gone on a few EF tours myself), so I’ve seen it all and am here to give you what I believe to be six of the most important tips travelers should know before they go! From helping families budget for their trip to making sure Group Leaders have everything they need (think pre- and on-tour necessities like proper documentation and flight tickets), Traveler Support Specialists are here to help everyone feel prepared and excited for their next tour with expert travel tips!

Expert travel tip 1: Secure passport

Secure a passport

What’s tour planning without a passport? Making sure travelers have their passports in-hand ahead of time will prevent any last-minute issues and get the excitement brewing. We recommend that families start their passport applications (if they don’t already have one) as soon as they decide to enroll on a tour. Standard passports can take up to 11 weeks to process and deliver.

Expert travel tip 2: Pack light

Pack light

Our tours are specially designed to make the most out of your time abroad while also accommodating energetic travelers. This means tours are fast-paced, and groups will probably switch hotels every few nights. Making sure students pack light can make the trip to the airport and transferring from buses on travel days much easier. We recommend traveling with a carry-on and personal item to avoid checking a bag. Unfortunately, luggage can get lost, and the last thing our travelers should deal with while out on the road is a lost bag. Also, keep in mind that traveling with a group is much different than traveling individually. Taking a carry-on bag is one way to avoid waiting in unnecessary lines and to save time, both at check-in and upon arrival at the destination.

Now, for some pro packing tips:

  • A pair of comfortable walking shoes are a must
  • Wear bulky shoes and clothing on the flight to save room in bags
  • Note that each airline has different baggage policies—check those here once flights are confirmed (around 21 days prior to departure)
Expert travel tip 3: Enroll in Travel Protection

Enroll in Global Travel Protection

At EF, we want to make sure our travelers have a smooth experience while out on the road, but we know that unexpected events can come up. Making sure that the group is covered can help Group Leaders lead a better tour and feel secure every step of the way. Global Travel Protection will cover medical expenses while abroad, emergency pre-tour cancellation, lost baggage, flight delays or cancellations, and emergency evacuation.

Expert travel tip 4: Research your destination

Research destinations

Traveling teachers should familiarize themselves and their chaperones with the destinations they’ll visit ahead of time. Being aware of the weather, culture, and excursions they’ll be going on can help everyone pack smarter.

Also, understanding the cuisine can be helpful if any travelers have allergies or dietary restrictions. Group Leaders should contact EF as soon as possible to let us know about any dietary restrictions, so we can notify our Tour Operations team, who will ensure that they have options at every group meal. Families should contact the airlines directly to notify them of any dietary restrictions for in-flight meals. Another expert travel tip we recommend is for travelers with these restrictions to pack some snacks that they know are safe to eat. These can come in handy when traveling between destinations and options may be limited.

Travelers should also be aware of the local currency exchange rate of the destinations they’re traveling to, so families can plan how much to budget for personal spending and lunches. It’s also wise to exchange money before tour—most local banks will exchange currency. Travelers should also let their banks know that they’ll be traveling to avoid a fraud block on their debit card while away. (Pro tip: Visa credit cards are the most widely accepted credit cards internationally.) Going on an EF Explore America trip? Group Leaders can talk with their Tour Consultant about getting students free Till debit cards to make their money management even easier.

Expert travel tip 5: Download the EF Traveler App

Download the EF Traveler App

The EF Traveler app (available on the App Store and Google Play) is designed to give Group Leaders and travelers easy access to detailed itinerary information from the Tour Director leading their group. Tour Directors can update the itinerary in real-time, so everyone can feel prepared for the day ahead. Some Tour Directors will post free time suggestions there as well. Travelers can also use the app to process secure payments for excursions while on tour and share feedback directly with EF.

Expert travel tip 6: Keep an open mind

Keep an open mind

Our goal at EF is to open the world through education. We want groups to feel confident, inspired, and excited to get out and learn more about the world. We hope our educational tours will also allow students to learn more about themselves and the impact they can make in the world.

Our EF Help Center is available at all times to check out more before-you-go and what-to-expect travel tips.


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Sadiya Croshaw

Sadiya is a Traveler Support Specialist at EF. When she’s not helping you with your next trip, she loves trying new food, staying active, and listening to international music. Her next trip goal is the south of France! Fun fact: She is also in Yoga Teacher Training!

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