It is natural for questions to arise during preparation for your trip. Below are some common questions that arise during the months and weeks before departure. If you have any questions that are not addressed below, feel free to contact us and we will be happy to help.
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Do I need a passport? If so, how do I go about getting one?
Except for the Civil War trip, all tours require a passport. Without it you will not be able to travel to the destination country. Normally the process takes 6-8 weeks, but do not wait. Start the process as soon as possible, and once you get your passport, please make sure to put it in a safe place before departure. Here is the link to the United States’ State Department that will help you get your passport: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/passports/apply-renew-passport.html
What should I pack?
FFC Historical Tours will send you a detailed suggested packing list specifically geared for your tour about ninety days out before departure. It is always best to check online the average weather conditions for any given destination and pack accordingly and as the departure date approaches see the extended weather forecasts to adjust accordingly.
Do I need to exchange currency? What kind of currency will I need? How much should I bring?
For our Civil War trip, there is no exchange of currency, but for the France and Ireland trip you will need to get Euros. You can order currency through your bank or with online exchange company (Travelex tends to be the one that most travelers use). You can exchange money at the airport, but they do tend to have the worst exchange rates. Exchanging physical dollars for Euros will be more difficult while on the trip, so do not plan to exchange while on the tour.
Travelers checks. Although these are still in use, I would highly recommend against getting them. Over the last ten years, fewer and fewer places are taking them.
While travelling we will have ample access to ATMs (Europeans call them cashpoints). These will work just like in the states and all of them have an English option, so language will not be a barrier. You will need to alert your bank of your travels prior to departure of your travel plans. Make sure to ask about fees and if your bank has a sister bank in the country we will be travelling to, these banks will normally wave any transaction fee.
Can I use my cell phone overseas?
Wireless technology has come a long way over the past few years. Your phones should work just fine when we travel to our destinations, but international fees may apply. Please check with your carrier to find out about international calling/data packages.
Is where we are travelling safe?
Safety is the most paramount concern for FFC Historical Tours, and we do a number of things to ensure a tour is safe. We constantly monitor the news for changing political conditions, strikes, crime etc. in the places we will travel. We are signed up for the State Department’s alert system and make sure the conditions are right for travel. In doing so, we as a company make sure to take you to places where you are safe and secure. We also know the locations of all police departments, hospitals and embassies in the areas in case an emergency occurs. Also, all guides are first aid trained and certified by the Red Cross. This being said, no one can control all aspects of a trip. The most common issue that arises for travelers everywhere is pick pocketing. Make sure to put valuables in a secure place on your body. Internal zipped pockets are best. Having a cell phone or wallet in back pocket is just asking for trouble. Common sense will help make sure no issues arise, and our guides and assistants will alert you if they see anything you should be aware of while travelling.
Is every second of the trip laid out or will be have free time?
After years of organizing tours, our tour leader has come to understand the concept of balance. We want to fill your trip with wonderful experiences, but understand that this is not a forced march through the locations. We will have planned excursions every day, and each is a bit different, but within each day you will have free time to wander the locations on your own. In the museums, your guide will give you a general overview of layout and show you a couple of critical components in the location, but you will be able to wander and discover at leisure. The guides are there however to answer more questions if you wish. Also, normally late afternoons and evening are yours. We will be more than happy leading up to departure to help you get to other desired sights you might want to see on your free time.
Do I need to make hotel or site location reservations, or purchase tickets while on the trip?
No. Once you walk through customs in the airport, or board the bus for the Civil War trip, everything will be handled by FFC Historical Tours. So do not worry about that. If you plan to do something additional however, like see a show or go to a swanky restaurant in the evening during your free time, you will need to make those arrangements yourself. We however will be happy to help you make those arrangements and give you instructions on how to get to your location.
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