April Newsletter Jr age Tour London
Junior Volleyball Tour London April Issue 2020
Required Forms & Photos
In this month’s issue of the Volleyball Tours Gazette you are reminded of the REQUIRED FORMS for travel.
These travel forms are REQUIRED documents, each traveler and must fill out and return (Minors also need the Permission to Travel form with them when they travel, Code of Conduct, Hold Harmless, Bookings and terms).
All travelers must fill out ( the Emergency Contact information, Hold Harmless Agreement, and Bookings and Terms).
Don’t worry if you do not have all of the information available (i.e. passport #’s etc.) “forward” the additional information at a later date. Please send the information you currently have available today, this will help us with the processing of your paperwork.
These forms are easy to fill out and most of them can be sent electronically (or if you wish) you may print them off and send them in the mail)
We do need a photo of each traveler... these can be a passport size or small school photo ... you may send them electronically or by mail.
Final Payment Due Date May 2nd 2020
Many of our travelers have been making small monthly or weekly installments..
The final payment is due in a few days . If final payment is not made the reservation will be cancelled. Please plan ahead to help us avoid any problems.
All travelers .. regardless of age, need to provide an identification photo.
Traveling in Style
This year the Volleyball Tours travelers will be traveling around Europe “in style”. We will be enjoying the luxury of European train travel between each of our destination cities.
We will enjoy the exciting train ride between London and Paris as we travel under the English Channel via the new Channel / tunnel .....Chunnel. Paris to London in about 3 hours (it normally would take us all day. For each leg of our trip we will be arriving in about 1/3 of the normal travel time. This will not only be much - more enjoyable but it will allow us more sightseeing time while in each city. We will be traveling along at over 160 MPH... yes that's correct 160 MPH... It makes me a little nervous too... but the trains do this hundreds of times per day. From Paris to Barcelona we will be traveling on the fast day train. Which will allow us to see the beautiful French and Spanish countryside while en-route.
Unaccompanied Minors (under the age of 21) are not allowed to drink alcohol while on the Volleyball tours.
The coaches and staff are NOT policemen nor Baby-sitters, we don’t expect you to behave like a criminal nor like a BABY. Please discuss this issue with your parents.
We will have a daily schedule planned for each city. Some days we are very busy from morning until night, while on other days we will have free time scheduled… The format for the tour will allow ample time for players to do individual (i.e. groups of 4 or more) sight seeing or shopping. Some players will have permission from their parents to explore during our Free time. The tour GROUP RULE for players using free time is ... travel in GROUPS OF 4 or MORE people at all times, let your group leader know where you are going and ASK when you should be back. For those who have your parents permission and feel adventurous, you will have the freedom to go “out and about” on your own, provided you follow the GROUP RULE. Failing to do so will result in restriction, and loss of privileges.
For those that do not feel comfortable going out on your own, or do not have permission from your parents to travel in GROUPS . The group leader will escort you where you want to go.
What to Bring .....
The following may assist you with your final planning, and what to take on the tour.
1. YOU carry what you bring!
2. One check in backpack, OR Suitcase (LET ME EMPHASIZE.... a SMALL Suitcase!!!!!) Should not weigh more than 35 pounds
3. One carry on / athletic bag that is provided.
Please DO NOT BRING 5-6 smaller bags, YOU will STRUGGLE the entire trip.
Passport & a Photo Copy of it
Photo copy of your birth certificate
Photo copy of your drivers license
Misc. Insurance paperwork
Toothbrush / paste / floss ... etc.
Hair care products shampoo etc.
Make up (minimal)
All PERSONAL toiletry items
Sun Tan Lotion / Block
Eye Ware / Sun Glasses /contacts
Anti Acid Tablets
Prescription Drugs in their original container
Small amount of US currency
Suggested Amount $25 - $30 per day
Money belt or Neck safe SUGGESTED
Charge cards Visa / MasterCard or Debit Card
Phone; Make sure you are aware of your "out of area" fees for your phone... some players are SHOCKED to find they have a $800.00 phone bill when they return home
Camera and Film
Camera Bag (optional)
Books, cards, games, puzzles
Phone is optional - make sure you are aware of the international charges for just having your phone.... "on" in Europe. Some players are shocked to see an $800 fee for using their phone in Europe.Journal to write your daily log
Underwear 5 - 7 days
Sweatshirt / light jacket
Tee Shirts 7 - 10
Jeans or other long pants
Several pair of Walking shorts
1 casual / nicer “outfit” optional
Swim suit Sandals
Remember.... to be allowed into the Churches... LONG pants for men (yes you can wear your sweat pants) and LONG pants or Dresses for the women are required, additionally “halter tops, tank tops, tube tops, swim suit tops etc...” will not be admitted in the Churches!!! Dress appropriately.
1 small plastic garbage/laundry bag
Sewing kit (optional)
1 suitcase or Backpack
1 athletic type bag (provided)
Laundry Soap (clothes washing)
1 light cord for hanging laundry
Snacks for the long flights and Train rides
Gum for the flight (ear pressure)
What NOT to Bring.....
Valuables:Excessive Flashy Jewelry Large Sums of CASH
Absurd:Guns / Drugs Alcohol / Tobacco
Miscellaneous:Large Radios Non compliant electrical devices (hairdryers - curling irons ect)
Attitude: Bad Attitude Prejudice
It is customary to exchange gifts with our opponents. These items need not be expensive. But rather something representing your area of the US. A pin, postcard, tee shirt etc... have been very popular with previous tours. If you are like me and your creative juices just are not flowing contact your local chamber of commerce, or visitors bureau. The will have lots of FREE stuff for you to give out. If you get real lucky and get lots of FREE stuff bring it along, others may not have been as luck as you were. (each player will need about 10 SMALL items to give away .. more if you feel like it)
Email While in Europe
Most of our hotels have free WiFi. If no the fees vary from city to city … but it will cost you about $5.00 for an hour of online communications, In most places you will buy a card that will be good for several days. If you use Hotmail or GMAIL it will be very easy to connect. If you have a private Internet provider, you may need to set up you account prior to your departure in order to have access to it.
What if I get Lost
Let me say first that you will get lost, not lost as in (you will starve to death in the woods lost) but you will MANY times not know for sure if you should go left or right, take the metro up town or down town, or where you are EXACTLY at any point in time. But that is part of the fun of Traveling. Yes it may take you a bit longer to find your way in Paris that it does in you home town, but that is because you are in PARIS. When you get to Europe take a look at how many tourists have their MAPS out, turning it one direction and then the next, pointing one direction and then the other as they talk to their traveling companion trying to figure out WHERE THE HECK THEY ARE. My guess is that there are 10,000 “lost tourists” in Paris every minute of everyday, and yes you get to be one of them…. But it is fun. Just in case you are tired of having “fun” and just before “panic” sets in… You will be mailed a plastic laminated address card prior to our departure. This card will have the address and telephone number of each accommodation in each of the cities we will be visiting. I will also include these address’s in a future newsletter, for your parents, or friends to have in case they want to write you a letter (remember it takes almost 10 days sometimes to get the International mail).
Occasionally these “lost and found” cards come in very handy... in the event you become “seriously starving in the woods lost”. Simply catch a taxi cab, show them the address you are trying to get to, and let them take you home. This does not happen very often, but... if it happens one time you will be very happy to have your accommodation card.
London: St Giles Hotels - 3 Star – Bedford Avenue, Central London
Paris: Hotel Holiday Inn Express - 3 Star - 5 Rue du 8 Mai 1945 - 75010 PARIS
Barcelona: Holiday Inn Express - 3 Star - C/ Pallars 203, 08005 - Barcelona
Viva La Difference
Experiencing Europe..... Each person will bring away from this trip a different experience. We will meet many people that are different from us, visit new and old museums, and get “lost” in different parts of different cities. But all of that is the beautiful part of the European experience. Each of us brings a different background, different vision, and in some cases some predetermined ideas of what the trip will be like.
To fully experience Europe one needs to forget the PREDETERMINED comparisons and just experience …... YES Europe IS different than the US.. and that is one of the reasons you are going ..... to experience that difference, to embrace that difference, not to constantly weigh and evaluate those differences, but to enjoy them have fun with them.
You would very much be disappointed to travel all the way to Paris, and find everything is exactly the same as it is in your home town....wouldn't you?
The UGLY AMERICAN .....
Loud, obnoxious, feels superior to everyone, expects everyone to get out of their way, is rude, and impatient. The ugly American makes fun of the “different” ways of life, always comparing the different way... with the “right way (their way) the “weird foods”, no ice in the water glass. If we choose to look at Europe through these Ugly American eyes.... we will come away disappointed, unfulfilled, and make a negative impact with our new friends and confirm for them that ... yes it is true ALL AMERICANS ARE ALIKE.... UGLY.....
The ENLIGHTENED AMERICAN....
Travels almost unnoticed among the crowds, acts like a sponge soaking up every bit of the undisturbed European experience. Smiles, laughs, communicates through gestures and even “pictionary” drawings when needed.... and remembering that we are the ones who don't speak THEIR language. An Enlightened American tries new and different foods and drink.... while it may be true that you don't like it ..... just think of the stories you can tell your friends about the experience of trying it...... Don't be content to eat at Mc Donald's.... try the local store on the corner.... experience the taste of a Jambon sandwich.....
Think of Europe as your fountain of knowledge, fill your cup each day with new experiences, not with a milk shake from Burger King.
The “Exact” words are of little importance, what is important (and fun) is the process of communications. I remember one year attempting to communicate to a group of cab drivers that I wanted the 4 taxis to take my 12 girls back to our hotel..... It was 12:00 midnight we missed the last train to our hotel area, and I attempted to talk to the taxi drivers in my best French (of which I don't speak)... I thought I asked the Taxi drivers to take my 12 players back to the Hotel..... The translation of what I said was hilarious....... as they laughed and laughed at what I had just said......I guess I would have laughed too if I had know what it was that I had said..... After the taxi drivers took us back to our hotel...... I got out my English French dictionary I discovered that I had said something like..... “I would like 4 peeping toms to take my “Madams’ back to the hotel”.... in French peeping tom and car are very similar in sound...... and so ... I goofed with the Mademoiselle and the “Madam”...... but we got home... the Taxi drivers had a great laugh.... and years later I have a funny story to tell ......
Random Thoughts & Helpful Hints
The following are some random thoughts.. for you to ponder... and if you are wise will heed the underlying message.....Each year 95 % of the tour members OVER PACK!!! They bring too much stuff......
Remember you will be carrying your suitcase/ backpack for 3 weeks...... do you really need that extra pair of shoes?
We will be walking / carrying our luggage to and from each of the train stations to the hotel. The accommodations in London is in the center of a busy city, we may be taking the TUBE from the train station to the accommodations in downtown London. The Tube is several hundred feet under the city (yes that means stairs). Once we get out of the Tube it is only a 5 to 10 minute walk to the accommodations. Paris the hotel is about a 15 – 20 minute walk from the train station.... not really very far.... but ..... do your really need that hair dryer?.......
Just in case the subtle message here has escaped you...... we will be doing some walking to our hotels.... we will be taking the local transportation services....... you will be MISERABLE if you OVER-PACK...... Lay everything out on the floor, and think long and hard about what you REALLY need on the trip. We have had “girls” bring a whole extra bag ..... just for their makeup..... and they were sorry they did!!! In Europe the “natural look” is more in fashion any way.
Getting into shape.....
That has been my motto for several years......... BUT that's not what I am talking about here....... I am talking about Walking shape... we will be on our feet, from 8 am - 11 p.m or later for 3 weeks. Walking mile after mile sightseeing, shopping, playing.... and just goofing around. Walking the streets of Paris is not the same as walking around home or at school.... the streets are HARD, HOT, DIRTY, and unforgiving. I would guess that we will walk 10 miles in any given day. I suggest you start doing a little “walking” around your town prior to the trip. Start to get your feet and legs into walking shape.... you will enjoy the trip much more. (If you really want to see what it will be like carrying your luggage..... pack your bag, and then carry it around town for about 30 minutes.... if you have no problem with it then you have about the right amount stuff packed.
The wise traveler.... will Pack light... wash often..... and enjoy their trip.....
The unwise traveler ... will Pack heavy, carry lots of dirty, smelly clothes, be miserable, and grumpy.....
Choose wisely, And, chuckle when you see the tourist with 4 extra bags struggling down the street.... and remember ...
"you have chosen wisely grasshopper"
Next Newsletter Mid—May. Specific details of when and where to meet, a final check list of what to bring (and what not)