A Big Journey Company Tour Director and/or our local tour guide(s) will be accompanying you on your journey to ensure that you have the most amazing time whilst visiting London, Paris and Normandy. In the meantime; we have put together some useful information that will hopefully answer those pre-travel questions and you may have.
Passports & Visas
All visitors to the United Kingdom and France must be in possession of a passport that is valid for a minimum of six months at the time of entry and has been issued within the last ten years. As of November 2018, citizens from the U.S.A and Canada do not require a visa for entry to the United Kingdom or France. All other nationalities must check the visa entry requirements before your departure. We recommend having a copy of the photo page of your passport when you travel, to expedite the process of replacing any documents lost while travelling. Keep the originals separate from the copies. Please be sure to fill out the "Emergency Next of Kin" section in your passport.
Health, Medication & Travel Insurance
Please let The Big Journey Company know prior to your departure if you have any specific medical conditions or dietary requirements to ensure that you have a safe and pleasant tour with us. If you take any prescription medication on a regular basis, please ensure to bring ample supply with you on your trip and keep it in your hand luggage at all times. We do recommend that you bring with you a small first aid kit of supplies for any minor ailments such as headaches, stomach problems etc. Whilst away from home in a different country, it is important and essential that you have taken out travel insurance policy that will cover for any form of medical emergencies and any other unforeseen emergency circumstances. Your insurance policy MUST include, but not limited be to, health insurance and cancellation insurance. Please ensure to have a copy of your travel insurance policy with you that states the travel insurance policy number and 24-hour emergency telephone number.
The United Kingdom and France are both great destinations to visit any time of year. Weather forecasts for spring/summer are usually quite mild with longer and lighter days. Be prepared for the sunshine and of course, the possibility of RAIN! Please ensure to check the weather forecast for London, Paris and Normandy before you depart as this will give you a better idea of what clothing to pack and what weather to expect whilst you are there. A good website to check the weather for your destination is www.accuweather.com
What to Pack
Our suggestions would be…. Take wrinkle-resistant, easy-care/comfortable clothing and bring enough underwear and socks for the duration of the trip. Spare batteries for cameras, phone chargers, very comfortable walking shoes (VERY IMPORTANT!!), a light rain jacket (just in case), a few smart casual outfits for the evening, sunscreen, personal toiletries, basic first aid kit, sunglasses and a sunhat or cap. Don’t forget to bring a fleece/hoodie for cooler mornings and evenings. Depending on the hotels you are staying at; laundry services may be available at an additional cost.
Electricity in the U.K and France is 220-240V. It is recommended that you purchase both a U.K and European travel plug adapter(s) (The U.K plug adapter are usually three square pins and the European plug adapter is two round pins) before you arrive so that you can continue to use any electrical appliances you bring with you such as Cameras/Phone chargers. You may want to look for the adapters online on shopping websites such as Amazon for example.
International airlines are often strict about the size and weight of checked in baggage and carry-on luggage. Please contact your airline or visit its website for specific luggage requirements prior to your departure, as size and weight limitations may vary according to the airline and destination. Please bring only one large suitcase per person plus hand luggage. We have no weight restrictions as we are not taking any other flights throughout the itinerary.
Currency and Money
The currency in the United Kingdom is the British Pound (£) and the currency in France is the Euro (€). It is your own personal choice how much currency you take with you on this trip however we do recommend that you do not carry or display large sums of cash. ATM machines are easily accessible in the U.K and France for any additional cash you may require along the way. Major credit cards are widely accepted in large hotels, restaurants and shops. Visa and Mastercard are the most widely accepted credit cards however some places may not accept cards such as Diners Club or American Express, therefore it is suggested it’s best to bring more than one card. If you intend to use any of your debit or credit cards; please make sure that you contact your bank before you leave to inform them that you will be travelling to the United Kingdom and also to France in order not to cause any problems using your cards or whilst on the trip.
Important Note – Most European countries use chip-and-pin credit cards, so cards with magnetic strips on the back (commonly used in North America) may not work with certain automated machines. You might want to carry some extra cash in your wallet to use in these situations just in case.
Based on the feedback and experience of our previous groups, tipping as one entire group is easier, stress free and potentially offers us better service throughout our itinerary and this will be one more thing you do not need to worry about! Examples of who we will offer a gratuity to are the local English and French tour guides, any bus & transfer drivers and any hotel & restaurant staff when we eat together. Prior to your departure we will inform you what your suggested gratuities package is for the entire trip and at the start of your journey, we ask for you to place your gratuities into an envelope and clearly mark with your name(s) and hand over to your tour director so that they can pay out all gratuities on your behalf to everyone who plays a part in the smooth running of the tour and provides any form of service to our group at each location throughout the trip.
Mobile/Cell Phone Charges
Making phone calls or sending message from your cell/mobile phone can become very expensive should you decide to use it whilst in Europe. If you do intend to use your mobile/cell phone, it may be worth contacting your provider to see if any deals/offers are available for usage in Europe. The vast majority of our hotels and other accommodation provide free Wi-Fi access for its guests making it a cheaper alternative for contacting friends and family at home via skype or facetime for example.
The United Kingdom is on Greenwich Mean Time and is +5 hours ahead of EST and +8 hours ahead of PST. France is on Central Europe Standard Time and is +1 hour GMT, +6 hours EST and +9 hours PST.
Safety and Security
Use common sense and take basic safety precautions especially in crowded tourist areas. Keep valuables locked away and don’t wear expensive watches or jewellery, flash expensive cameras, or walk in deserted areas. Go exploring in pairs wherever possible, rather than on your own. If in doubt, please ask your Tour Director or at your accommodation for safety guidelines.
Your arrival day in the United Kingdom
Upon your arrival; once you have cleared passport control and collected your baggage at London Heathrow; please make your way to the arrival hall. The airport may be busy so please ensure to take the time to stop and look around for your transfer representative who will be waiting to collect you; they will be holding a sign with ‘The Big Journey Company’ on it. As long as we have your flight arrival details in advance, we will ensure that we meet you at the airport and transfer you to the hotel. Please note: your included airport transfers for this tour are only applicable if your flight is arriving at London Heathrow airport.
Please note that standard check in at the hotel is around 3pm so your room may not be available upon your arrival should you arrive earlier than this time. For those arriving early in the morning, we will do everything we can to work with the hotel to get you an earlier check in.
If you have any other questions that we have not covered here; then please send us an e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org