January Goodwill Gazette Adult age Tour Italy
to Europe and Brazil
Tours for Junior age (U12 - U20) and Adult (21+) Volleyball Players
December / January Newsletter for the June Adult age Tour to Italy
About the Newsletters
The Goodwill Ambassadors Tour News Updates will be sent the first of each month starting December. The purpose of this publication is to inform, you enlighten you, and hopefully to put some humor into the preparation of your trip. There will be time when WE will request additional information from you, please respond in a timely manner, i.e. the airline MAY want your middle name, or your Birth-date, in order to process your tickets. Any delay may jeopardize your / our enjoyment of the tour. The stories about previous tours and experiences, are meant to inform and entertain. The stories that are told here are in fact TRUE... “only the names have been changed to protect the innocent” (or guilty). The stories are also one of the ways that I use to help explain my point Example -- Rather than saying “please limit your luggage to only one piece (excluding your athletic bag, and a carry-on). I will give you SEVERAL examples of WHY you need to limit your luggage, AND what has happened to former travelers who felt the rules were meant for someone else.
Things that need to be done ASAP
On the left side of the page you will find the EMERGENCY FORM. This form is a REQUIRED document, and each traveler (regardless of age) must fill out and return as soon as possible. If you do not have all of the information available (ie passport #’s etc.) at the present time, you may “forward”the additional information at a later date. Please send the information you currently have available today. You will also find the TRAVEL INSURANCE FORM. All international travelers are required to have travel insurance to protect them in the event one of the travelers becomes injured or ill before or during the tour. PHOTO, all travelers need to send to our office a front facing photo. This can be any front facing photo (we can crop it to make it work). Please do not send MEGA files... any simple photo will do.
First Practice in Rome
We have looked at all the different “home towns” for this year’s tour members and have decided that it would be impossible to practice in any one location (Seattle) prior to our departure. (If you are a part of the Regional Select Tour Team; your local coach will inform you of your practice schedule). Having our first practice “over there” is not a problem, as a mater of fact it is NORMAL (it happens almost every year). The first practice for the 2016 Goodwill Ambassadors Volleyball tour will be held in Rome. By the time we get out of the gym you will be doubly fatigued - 1. from the long flight, and 2. from the long practice sessions. We have a second option to practice the next day from 3:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. prior to our Evening match at 7:00 pm depending upon how quickly we come together or how out of shape we are we may opt for some sightseeing.
Is this happening to anyone you know? If so they may be suffering from EUROTRAVELANTICIPATIONEXCITEDNESS. (all medical terms are long). The only known cure is an extended trip to Europe.— You flip the calendar to a new month (January) finally! You begin to count on your fingers the number of months left until your trip. (April, May June —- then the trip!!! You’re so excited, your heart starts to pound a little faster, your mind begins to race and you try to remember if May has 30 or 31 days in it. Unsure of your answer, Your mind continues to race, you begin to think of all of the Historical European sights to be seen — the Eiffel Tower, The Mona Lisa the Sistine Chapel and of course the WORLD FAMOUS Hard Rock Cafe it’s no wonder you’re unable to remember that catchy little idiom “30 days hath September, April June and November ...”. But who cares your going to EUROPE!! .....Just then you remember what you were trying to figure out — how many days until you’re on your way to Europe? You re-focus; your eyes quickly turn to your calendar, “OK there’s 31 days in March, 31 days in May; 30 days in June; and you leave on June 17th”, so that’s —- 151 days “not bad only 151 days; you can handle 151 days —BUT— just then you remember you forgot to include the month of April — OK! OK! April; so that means 30 more days in April, added to the 151 days, that's 181; 181 days; only 181 days, you can deal with that, after all —- how long have you waited up to this point in your life? — your mind begins to calculate the number of years you are old, by 365 —- but then there’s leap year and how many leap-years have there been? Somehow you manage to escape from that astronomical calculation and zap you’re back to 181 days; not too bad days. With all that FINALLY figured out your pulse slowly begins to subside below the 180 beats per minute mark, your mind starts to relax you begin to “hear” the music on the radio again and every thing is right with the world! Who says you're excited about the trip? Its just that medical malady EUROTRAVEL-ANTICIPATIONEXCITEDNESS and symptoms disappear in 181 days. Have you noticed lately that everyone has some friendly “suggestions” for you. Your auntie has reminded you to take an extra pair of underwear, your best friend asked you to buy “a really cool Hard Rock tee shirt”, and your teacher asked you to be sure and see the Spanish Steps (wherever and what- ever they are), and your Mom reminded you to brush your teeth after every meal. Not to be left out, I thought I would add a few suggestions to your list as well. Actually, these may not be any more IMPORTANT than the suggestions from your friends but may be more helpful to you.
How much Money to take
Each player will be bringing varying amounts of money. How much money depends upon you, and your shopping appetite. We have had some players spend several thousands of dollars on souvenirs for their family and friends. Most players however shop much more modestly. In Europe it is possible to spend lots of money very quickly. A good rule of thumb is to plan on spending about $25.00 per day while on the tour. It is not necessary/required to spend that much, but there will be lots of gift shops and even world renowned department stores within your grasp. We will be traveling approximately 13 days $25 X 13 = $325.00 dollars. Plan out what you want to buy and whom you need to buy presents for and approximately what you wish to spend on them. There will be plenty of "duty free" shops on the tour, so don't buy everything at the first stop.
What about Travelers Checks vs ATM Cards
Both are a very good idea. We suggest to bring an ATM card. We will find ATM machines everywhere... They are the BEST option to get the local currency. There will be a small fee from the bank, but it is the best choice. The next best is to bring Travelers Checks. Be sure to get a name brand travelers check. You will be able to cash them most anywhere, some banks charge a small percentage for cashing travelers checks. Be sure to keep a small amount of American money with you for use at the U.S. airports.
What will the Weather be like
Who knows what mother nature will bring. Best guess is -- plan on the same weather we would have in Seattle in the summer time. (no - not rain everyday) Rome, Florence and Venice (usually) will be hot. Last year it was in the 90 - 95 temperature, I would expect at least 90+ temperatures.
What about Toiletries
Bring EVERYTHING you may need for a 13 day stay. Store / pharmacies are accessible, and personal shopping time and free time will be available to you, but it may prove more difficult than you think. Imagine trying to play charades or pictionary with an Italian or Frenchman at the counter for some "personal" items — not a pretty picture!! On one of my trips to Paris I ran out of laundry soap, no problem, I thought, I simply walked to the corner store, found the "laundry" section and proceeded to try and decide exactly which of the dozens of soap was for the laundry. Not being able to speak nor read a word of French, I decided on a small tube of what I hoped was laundry detergent. Upon my arrival at the neighborhood Laundromat I looked around at the other people and checked out what they were using for soap. Sure enough what I had purchased was laundry detergent. "Great! No problem", I thought, as I loaded the machine with clothes that were way overdue for washing. Not knowing how much of this detergent to use, and knowing how dirty my clothes were, I decided to use the whole tube. About 15 minutes later people started gathering around “my” machines and were laughing. Not sure what was going on, I reluctantly peered over their shoulders, just as my machine erupted like Mt. St. Helens. There was soap suds everywhere. .....................While I was re-washing my clothes for the 3rd time trying to get all the "extra" soap out of them, one of the women in the Laundromat who thought the whole episode was especially funny broke the tension and attempted (in English) to explain to me that the soap I was using was very, very concentrated. I had apparently used enough soap to wash a month's worth of clothes. Red faced and out of change not to mention 3 hours later I was off to my hotel with very very clean clothes. The moral of this story: Don't forget to bring some laundry detergent, or learn to read French.
Other Items not to forget
Shaving gear, hand soap, shampoo, toothbrush & paste, dental floss, DEODORANT (please), glasses/contacts & stuff, hair products, personal items, aspirin, antacid tablets, a small rope/chord for drying clothes in the hotel room, small sewing kit, gum for the flight (it helps the ears adjust to the pressure), and a limited amount of makeup (please keep this to a minimum, you are on a volleyball tour not a contestant in the Miss Universe pageant.
Electrical ... Stuff
I must first preface this by saying that I am not much on understanding AC from DC nor volts from Volkswagens, all I know is we have had several travelers give their "last rights" to their hair dryers, curling irons, and radios, etc. while on tours. The gadgets just don't work on their electricity (220 in Europe vs. 110 in the U.S.). Save yourself (and your electrical devices) from a shocking experience (sorry about that I don't know WATT came over me): don't bring them.
If you are still looking for luggage, I would suggest a good backpack.... (No you don't have to look like a Sherpa guide on the way up K2.) A good backpack about the size of a suitcase allows you to keep your hands free for other activities (like eating or taking pictures etc.). It centers your weight so you don't end up doing the "luggage lean" while trying to walk. You will be allowed ONE suitcase / backpack, and one carry-on athletic or shoulder bag (NO!, don't go out and get the largest one you can find, REMEMBER who will be carrying it though the entire trip!!!!!
Passports are they needed?
Yes; a passport is REQUIRED for our tour this summer. If you have not yet applied you SHOULD (read that HAD BETTER) get the process started. In larger cities (no; Moses Lake, WA, or Melba, Id. do not qualify as a larger city, please don't tell the Mayor I said that) — In larger cities; the MAIN POST OFFICE will have the information needed for your Passport. Some really larger cities, have a Passport Department that will be able to help you with the process. You will need a — “Live” Birth Certificate (it would seem to me that it would be obvious to them that you were alive — but hey it’s the government, what can I say). It is sometimes difficult to get a “Copy” of your birth certificate from the “archives” so please start your passport process soon. You will also need 4 - 6 photos “full face” “no expression”, (that’s why everyone's passport is so glamorous). This process should take about 4 - 5 weeks IF they are not busy (remember the Government they no doubt have a back up of applications - - don’t delay.
Commemorative Hooded Sweatshirt
(All players will get uniforms and SWEATS this is a separate option) Each year we make up a SPECIAL commemorative HOODED SWEATSHIRT, for our team members. The price is $35.00, and are available in either large or X large. We are quickly approaching the deadline for the orders. Each year we have many disappointed players whom after seeing the other players wearing their sweatshirts wish they would have ordered them. The heavy-duty sweatshirts have a full back multi color design featuring all of the flags from each of the countries we will visit. Incorporated into the design is of course the Goodwill Ambassadors logo and a volleyball. (it’s a really nice sweatshirt) .
Friends and Parents?
Do you have a friend that you feel would make a GOOD tour candidate? We have about 10 spaces left for this years tour. If you have a friend/teammate you would like to travel with this summer, have them contact the Goodwill Ambassadors tour office. 425-255-8102. Parents are always welcome to accompany us on the tour. They don’t get to play volleyball, but they do everything else with us on the tour.
Payment Schedule for the tour
Several of you have asked if you could pay as you collect the monies from (fundraising), or if it all has to be paid a once. ANSWER: Most travelers do pay in “installments” of about $500.00 - $700.00 each Month, then paying the final balance 60 days prior to departure. The total amount paid is the same (it just seems easier to pay a little at a time)
A Total of $2000.00 in your account January 15th 2018
A Total of $2500.00 in your account February 15th 2018
The FINAL payment is due 60 days prior to departure.