- What is the best way to exchange my US Dollars for Euros?
The best exchange rate will always be offered when simply using your credit card. Some credit card companies do not charge a foreign exchange fee. To be noted is that some shops and restaurants do not accept AMEX as their bank charge is higher than Visa or MC. Another option is to get euros in cash at one of the many ATM machines found throughout all cities and towns. There will likely be fees charged as when in the US when the ATM machine is not part of your bank circuit. Be sure to contact your individual credit card companies to let them know you will be using your credit card in Europe. If you don’t do so, due to increased security measures, they might put a fraud stop and block charges on your credit card.
- Can I use my cell phone in Italy?
Contact your cell phone carrier and ask about their international plan that permits texting, phone calls and data use for a daily fee.
- Is there a dress code I should know about?
There is a dress code for churches and basilicas. Shoulders and knees must be covered; shorts, miniskirts, and sleeveless shirts are not permitted. It is also recommended that you not take large bags or backpacks on tours that include churches as you may not be permitted to enter and storage accommodations are not usually available.
- Is your site secure?
Our Internet site uses the SSL encryption protocol to guarantee secure transactions and complete confidentiality. We use a security certificate issued by the company Control Scan.
Your bank details and all the information you enter on the various forms are automatically encrypted when your data is transferred over the network. The SSL (Secure Socket Layer) encryption system automatically encrypts your data before it is transmitted over the network, and it can only be decrypted using a unique key once it has arrived on our server.
- Will I need electrical converters and adaptors?
Electricity in Italy is supplied at 220 volts AC at a frequency of 50 Hz. You will need to purchase an adapter which can be easily found on Amazon or your local phone service store.
- What is the VAT Tax?
VAT is a value added tax that is included in the sale price of most goods. As a tourist, you are entitled to reimbursement of this tax. If you see a “Euro Tax Free” sign on a store window or door this means that the store participates in the “Tax Free Italy” program. When making a purchase at a tax-free store, present your passport at the cash register and ask the store clerk to issue you a “Tax Free Shopping Cheque” along with a receipt. The store will charge you tax at the time of sale. The Tax Free Shopping form will indicate the amount of VAT (IVA) refund that you are eligible to receive at the Global Refund desk at the airport when you depart. Keep the merchandise that you purchased with you at the airport (if possible) when submitting your refund form as Customs sometimes inspects the merchandise before approving the Tax Refund Forms. Remember not to wrap gifts to be carried on board the aircraft. Allow plenty of time at the airport to process your claim! Please note that the refund can only be given at an airport in Italy. Once you have returned to the United States, it is no longer possible to obtain a refund. For further information, please visit the following website: http://www.globalrefund.com/
- Is tipping customary in Italy?
Tipping is indeed customary in Italy ! It is considered a kind gesture and proper etiquette to leave “a little something extra” depending on the level of service you receive.
Here are some tipping guidelines for various services:
- Private drivers: 10 euros for an airport transfer. 30 – 50 euros for a full day excursion depending on the length of the service.
- Private guide: 15 – 25 euros for a typical 3-hour tour.
- Restaurants: Tipping varies throughout different parts of Italy. In smaller towns or villages, tips may generally be smaller or in some cases non-existent. For eating establishments in larger cities, tipping is more customary, but again not always expected as service staff are generally paid higher wages than in America. If there is no service charge included in your bill, a standard gratuity of 5% is sufficient
- Coffee Shops: A small tip is a nice gesture and will surely gain you favor with your bartender. A standard tip would be about 1-2 euros for a round of drinks.
- Hotels: In most hotels, service charges are already included in your bill but for bell staff, a standard tip of 2 euros per bag carried to your room is sufficient. For chambermaids, a standard tip 2-3 euros per day for a deluxe hotel. For room service staff, 2-3 euros is customary.
- Taxi drivers: 1-2 euros, depending on length of journey.
- Gondoliers in Venice: Gondola rides in Venice are indeed pricey. A tip, above and beyond the cost of your ride, is entirely at your discretion, depending on the quality of the journey. The knowledge the gondolier exhibits and if he educates you on certain points of interest and/or provides entertainment (singing) during your ride should factor into your decision making. An additional 5-10 euros is more than sufficient.
- What if there is bad weather?
Our tours operate rain or shine!