Volleyball Tours Gazette
June Issue 2022 Italy Tour
New News.... As of June 12th, 2022 the CDC is no longer requiring travelers entering the USA to have a COVID test prior to entering. This means we will NOT NEED to schedule a COVID test the day before our return from Italy.
Individual players not traveling with a parent or other adult, will be traveling with one of our staff or another family taking part in our tour. For many of our travelers (who are traveling with parents) you will have your own flight schedules.... and may not be traveling with the larger group you will meet John in Rome. Tour members traveling through Dallas will meet Coach Gene and travel to Rome with him. All tour members will meet John at the Rome airport just outside the luggage area in TERMINAL 3 (Rome has 2 main Terminals). Not to worry as we will be exiting through Terminal 3 after we pick up our luggage. Some flights may deplane at the Satellite Terminal. You may take a short train/shuttle ride to the Main terminal area. From there you will head towards Immigration. Here you need to show your passport and COVID vaccination record, there will be several lines of people… just get in the shortest one that say “NON-EU PASSPORTS”. The next stop is Baggage Claim. Look at the TV monitors to see what carousel your flight’s luggage will arrive normally it is carousel #7 or 10. The final task is to clear customs which is a non-issue. There will be two doors to exit one says nothing to declare the other says declare goods. You have NOTHING to DECLARE. As you exit the luggage area turn LEFT, there is a little café at the end of the hall. We will meet at the little café. Everyone will arrive into Rome between 7:00am and 9:00am. (one family will arrive at 12:15pm our staff will return to the airport to meet them) Those who arrive early can relax at the little café and have a coffee and breakfast pastry. PLEASE... WEAR YOUR TOUR TEE SHIRT to help us identify you as :one of us:.
LUGGAGE….. If there is ONE important item to consider … it is YOUR LUGGAGE…. DO NOT OVER PACK!!!!! YOU WILL BE MISERABLE… and I and those around you .... will be UNSYMPATHETIC!!!! In every newsletter I have emphasized the point of packing light. If you did not get the point of all of the subtle hints ...... DO NOT OVER PACK!! EVERY tour …. Too many players over pack… they bring too much STUFF… (I have to plead guilty too …on my last trip I had 2 tee shirts, 1 pair of walking shorts, and a pair of Volleyball shorts that I DID NOT EVEN WEAR….) yet I did carry them all over Europe…
You will be allowed 1 suitcase or back pack (suitcase MUST have wheels) or a back pack
You will be allowed 1 carry on (your issued backpack for example)
You will be allowed a personal item (purse etc)
I am happy to report that last several years we have not have any successful pickpockets, nor any money exchange problems…. That does not mean we can let our guard down…. WE are AMERICANS… we have money… and most of us are CLUELESS to the BIG CITY WORLD…. These are three reasons that Americans are GREAT targets for the pickpockets… I will talk more on this subject when we have our group meeting … I will say we can “relax – but not be careless” Money belts or Money pouches under your shirt are REQUIRED!! IF .. YOU DO NOT HAVE A MONEY BELT OR MONEY POUCH ...... YOU WILL HAVE A GREATER CHANCE TO BE PICK POCKETED!!!
AIR TICKETS.. You SHOULD periodically go to your airline website... type in your name and confirmation number and double check all of your flight information BEFORE your departure date. About 80% of the airline tickets have had minor changes made by the airline since first issued. It is your responsibility to check for any changes to your tickets. Our staff will be in Europe the day of your departure... it will be very difficult to help you at that time.... PLEASE check your flight information in advance.
You have a confirmation number and will be able to access your ticket through the various airline websites. You will be able to add your frequent flyer numbers, request specific seats and even specific meals. Airlines have gone to E-tickets, all you need to do is to go to the airline ticket counter and present your passport. They will issue your tickets and boarding pass at the check in desk. Be sure to ask if your luggage is being check THROUGH to Italy . You will not see your luggage again…….. (just a little travel humor….) Let me re-phrase that… You will reclaim your luggage in Italy. Make sure you do NOT pack anything that you MAY need before Italy (i.e. medications passports etc…)
I use the ATM machines.. It works WONDERFUL. No standing in lines, no walking around “looking for the BEST RATE”, no translation problems with the person working, no hidden extra charges, (my bank charged me about $1.50 for each of my transactions) and received a GREAT exchange rate by my bank. I would HIGHLY recommend using an ATM card while on tour (it will need to say Cirrus or Plus or Interlink on the back of the card). These cards have a 4 number pin. Check with your bank to see if your ATM card is compatible in Europe.
Yes .. "don't leave home without it.... but be sure that the credit card company knows that you will be using it in Europe. Call the number on the back of your card and tell them that you will be using your card in Europe. They will ask when you will be leaving and when you will return. (do this before you leave..... it is very awkward to do this after you have made a purchase ... and your card was refused ....)
Electrical ... Stuff
I must first preface this by saying that I am not much on understanding AC from DC nor volts from Volkswagen's, 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 DO bring them.... you will need 2 items.... 1. a PLUG adapter the wall plugs in Italy are different than in the USA... some have 3 prongs and some have 2 round prongs... you will need this to plug your appliance into the wall. 2nd you will need an electrical converter to "step down" the 220 electricity to our 110 electrical appliances. These are not expensive... and are NEEDED if you plan to use your USA appliances in Europe.
WHAT TO BRING..
The following may assist you with your final planning, and what to take on the tour.
Remember... 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.
Documents: Passport & a Photo Copy of it; Photo copy of your birth certificate (if available); Photo copy of your drivers license; Misc. Insurance paperwork
Personal: Toothbrush / paste / floss ... etc; Hair care products shampoo etc.; Make up (minimal); DEODORANT; All PERSONAL toiletry items; Sun Tan Lotion / Block
Medications: Eye Ware / Sun Glasses /contacts; Prescription Drugs in their original container; Aspirin / Advil; Band-Aids
Money: Small amount of US currency; Charge cards Visa / MasterCard or Debit Card ATM card; Suggested Amount $20 - $25 per day; Money belt or Neck safe HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
Photo: Phone; Camera;
Entertainment: Phone; 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; Books, cards, games, puzzles; Journal to write your daily log
Clothing: Underwear 5 - 7 days; Several pair of Walking shorts; Sweatshirt / light jacket; Tee Shits 7 - 10; Jeans or other long pants; 1 casual / nicer “outfit” optional; Beach Towel; Volleyball Shoes; Black Spandex; Knee Pads; Swim Suit; Sandals; Walking shoes
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 of Rome!!! Dress appropriately.
Miscellaneous: 1 small plastic garbage/laundry bag; 1 suitcase or Backpack; Tour Backpack (provided); Sewing kit (optional); 1 light cord for hanging laundry; Laundry Soap (hand clothes washing)
Each player should bring with them a small inexpensive EXCHANGE gift, to be given to ONE of the opponents before the match. Sometimes you will receive a gift in return (sometimes this does not happen … not all teams nor players that we will be playing are as affluent as we AMERICANS are, Don’t take this as an insult .. it is simply and economic issue)
Bringing 6-8 small items will not take up much space in your luggage ....
See you in Rome