Passports & Visas
For US, UK and Canadian citizens, at the time of writing you don’t require a visa to join us on this tour. Passport holders from other countries please check the entry requirements for the United Kingdom and France before travelling.
We recommend having a copy of the photo page of your passport & airline tickets with you, 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 as well.
Travel and medical insurance should be arranged before departure. Please make sure to write down important information such as the insurance company’s telephone number and your policy number.
We may be biased, but we think Britain is a fantastic place to visit in all seasons! However British weather can be unpredictable. Come prepared and you’ll find that each time of year has its own appeal. In England and France we are likely to have warm sunny days but may also have some rain showers. The average maximum temperature during your holiday in July is a pleasant 20°C /68°F, with a minimum of 11°C/51°F, which means visitors can expect to be cool during the early morning and at night with moderate temperatures during the day (depending on where you are travelling from – 68°F may be cold for you!).
What to Wear
Pack wrinkle-resistant, easy-care clothing and bring enough underwear and socks so that frequent laundry is not necessary, although most of the hotels do offer a laundry service. You may wish to bring a few smart casual outfits for the evening. Bring practical, comfortable walking shoes for excursions and one pair of dressier shoes. Layering is advisable and remember to bring a raincoat and warm sweater for chilly or wet days.
What to Pack
Some suggestions for what else to pack:
• Sunscreen and sunglasses
• Warm hat
• Toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, hair brush, razor, feminine products and cosmetics
• Tissues and antibacterial wipes
• Basic first aid kit: medication for an upset stomach, prescriptions, antiseptic cream, cold medicine, vitamins, bandages, personal prescriptions
• Prescription eyeglasses or contact lenses
• Mini flashlight
• Converters, adapters, chargers and power cords
• Camera and extra memory cards
International air carriers are often very strict about the size and weight of baggage and carry-on luggage. Please contact your air carrier or visit its website for specific requirements prior to your departure, as size and weight limitations 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 domestic flights.
Currency and Money
The currency in the United Kingdom is the British Pound or GBP (£). The United Kingdom does not use the Euro (€) as used in other European Union countries. The currency in France is the Euro (€).
The most straightforward way to obtain cash is to withdraw it from ATM machines. These are easily accessible throughout Britain and France (if there is anywhere in your itinerary that does not have easy access to an ATM, we will let you know). Banks generally don’t charge for the use of ATMs but your bank at home may charge a fee for withdrawing currency abroad. Bank withdrawals tend to have a better rate of exchange than using currency exchange houses. We recommend informing your bank and credit card company that you will be travelling abroad so they can expect overseas charges on your account.
Almost all shops and restaurants in Britain and Europe accept payment by either debit or credit card. In some small shops or cafes there may be a minimum spend to pay by card. Visa and Mastercard are the most widely accepted credit cards and some places may not accept certain cards, like Diners Club or American Express, so it’s best to bring more than one card.
Important Note - 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.
As a guide, tips for drivers, local guides and boat crews will be around £8/€10 per day per person.
Tipping is entirely discretionary but it is normal to tip at around 10% in restaurants (more if you feel that the service has been particularly good). Some restaurants have started to add a 10% or 12.5% service charge automatically to the bill. This is always discretionary so if you have been particularly unhappy with the service it is open to you to choose not to pay the service charge. Where a service charge has been added, you are not expected to leave an additional tip.
Pubs and Bars - It is not expected that you will tip in a bar or pub if you are only buying drinks from the bar. You may want to leave a small tip if there is table service.
Cafes - Tipping in cafes is discretionary and it is very unusual for it to be added to the bill. If you have received table service you may want to leave up to a 10% tip. It is not usual to tip staff when you have collected your own food or drinks from the counter.
Hotels - If a porter takes your bag to your room in a hotel it is normal practice for you to give them a small tip. A pound or a Euro would be fine.
Taxis Tipping in taxis is not necessary but drivers appreciate it if you round the charge up to the nearest pound or Euro.
Special Dietary Requirements
Please inform the Big Journey Company of you have any specific dietary requirements so that we can be as prepared as possible for your visit. Thank You.
Please let The Big Journey Company know prior to travelling if you have any medical needs or take any medication that we need to be made aware of to ensure that you have a safe and pleasant tour.
Important: Pack a sufficient supply of any medications you are taking, copies of the prescriptions and the telephone/fax numbers of your doctor. Some countries require that prescription drugs be carried in their original container with the label clearly visible. In case of lost medication, it is also a good idea to keep a list of your medications to show to a doctor should you need to obtain a repeat prescription.
The telephone number for all emergency services in the UK (Police, Ambulance, Fire Brigade and Coastguard) is 999 from a landline telephone and 112 from a mobile/cell (although 999 will also work). In France, it is 112.
You will be able to use your mobile phone in the UK and France from abroad but it may be extremely expensive, particularly for data roaming. Do check with your own mobile phone provider before travel.
We recommend Skype/Facetime as a cheaper alternative to using your mobile or cell phone if you want to call home, providing that you have internet access. The vast majority of our hotels and other accommodation provide free Wi-Fi access for its guests. Free Wi-Fi is also available in many cafes, restaurants and pubs.
Britain has a unique three-pin plug that is not used elsewhere in the world. You will therefore need an adaptor to use any electronic items brought from abroad. Adaptors should be readily available at both your departure airport and the airport you arrive into in the UK. You may also need power converters – please check the device power supply requirements before plugging it in. In Europe they use the Europlug.
English is spoken throughout Britain and many people in France can speak English as well as French.
There is a general ban on smoking in enclosed public places in England and France. This includes all hotels, cafes, restaurants, bars and pubs as well as other attractions such as museums and public transport (which also includes hire cars). Most places will have a designated outside space that people can use should they wish to smoke. Smoking in outdoor public spaces (including the street) is permitted.
Safety and Security
Use common sense and take basic safety precautions. 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.
If you have any questions not covered here please let us know by emailing; email@example.com