For many people the countdown clock to their EF tour is almost into single digits. One of the hardest things to deal with, no matter how many times you have toured, is what tour directors (TDs) know as Day 2, arrivals day.
For many, your flight will land before 9 a.m. This could be the start of more airport waiting and subsequent flights or it could be time to get on the bus. So, here are a few pointers that might make life a little easier. I am speaking here about Europe, but some of the principles will ring true wherever you are headed.
Group leaders—talk to your tour director about Day 2 before you travel. At least 10 days prior to the tour, your TD will have received the final itinerary and can provide you with a detailed outline of the day. Understand what is likely and advise your group. Your lead is vital. If the group sees you dealing with each step in a calm way, they will feel reassured. If they see you getting flustered that there is no check in until after dinner, then that spreads. If your tour director has not yet emailed you, then request via your tour consultant that he or she gets in touch.
Be prepared for no lying down until you have walked a few miles! Hotel check in is, generally, after 3 p.m. so it is likely that you will go to the hotel, store your bag somewhere, and then head out to see some sites before having dinner (possibly not close to the hotel) and then go back to check in around 8 p.m. It might be smoother than this, but prepare for the longer wait. Whatever happens, no sleep until after dinner is how it always unfolds.
Relax! Tours need time to breathe and develop. It is often not until Day 4 or 5 that people have settled into the pattern of hotels, fixed times and parading through the streets in the body of a 45-person-strong human snake. Let things settle down. Keep things measured. Chances are that someone’s ATM card or phone card won’t work; these things are always rectified.
I once led a 10-day tour with 45 people from San Diego. They arrived in Austria in November, 24 hours late and with no luggage. Many of them still dressed for the late Californian fall weather. Once they, very quickly, got over the initial shock everything was great. They soon realised that a tour is such a complex series of events that focusing on one element, be it luggage, tiredness, insurance or Tyrolian hats, means that the rest gets confused. Tour directors are trained to help deal with the bumps and to keep them in perspective.
I could say so much more, but we all know that the pleasure is in the discovery. If everyone’s trip was perfect, travel wouldn’t exist; we would have tired long ago of all having the same experiences. Have fun and prepare to be amazed how less foggy the world is on Day 3!