As you travel abroad, you are representing your family, your school, your community and your country. A key to a successful trip is your open-mindedness and willingness to accept new cultures and the occasional inconveniences of international travel. If you keep your eyes and your mind open, you'll bring home something of lasting value that you won't have to declare at customs.
In some countries, it is customary to have beer or wine with meals. Students under 21 must obtain their parents' or legal guardians' written permission to sample beer or wine at mealtime. Sampling is limited to one glass of beer or wine at dinner, and a group leader must be present.
Some group leaders and schools may not permit drinking of wine or beer for students under 21; in all cases, you will be subject to the wishes of your group leader, parents and school. Students may not drink liquor or spirits under any circumstances.
Visiting Friends or Relatives
If such visits involve temporarily leaving the program, you will need a letter of permission from a parent or legal guardian. The letter must be given to your group leader before departure. Guests or friends may not, under any circumstances, ride on the Encore Tours bus with you or spend the night in your hotel room.
Attendance at Meals
You are expected to be with your group at breakfast and dinner, unless special permission has been obtained from your group leader.
Weapons such as knives, firearms or firecrackers may not be carried or bought by students.
Drug Possession & Use
The possession or use of illegal substances is absolutely forbidden, and will result in dismissal from the group and a return home at the parents' or guardians' expense.
Motor Vehicles of any kind may not be rented or driven by students.
A general midnight curfew applies to all youth Encore tours. Unless there is a teacher-supervised activity running past midnight, you must be in your hotel room from midnight until the next morning. Respect other hotel guests by keeping noise to a minimum after 10 p.m. Different curfew restrictions may apply on homestay programs. You are expected to respect the wishes of your homestay family.
You may be sent home at a parents' or guardians' expense for inappropriate sexual conduct.
Culture shock is a reaction to losing all our familiar signs and symbols. Even the most intrepid travelers experience what is known as culture shock.
Hotel rooms half the size of what we know here in the U.S., no ketchup on the table, and daily tasks like buying a candy bar can suddenly seem daunting.
These and other experiences are all normal responses to a new culture and environment. Remember, you will adjust and these events will become an integral part of your memories. Go ahead, dive in!
Hotel/Bus Behavior Guidelines
Be especially careful with your room and your bus. You will be held personally responsible for any damage you cause, and you will not be allowed to leave the hotel until the damage is paid for. When a hotel reports damage to a room, Encore Tours will investigate, but will ultimately consider the hotel's report to be definitive.
You will be responsible for phone calls made from your room and any extra hotel expenses (for example, items from a room mini-fridge). Under no circumstances may you consume alcoholic beverages from the mini-fridge.
Stealing towels, ash trays, etc. as souvenirs is forbidden, since waiters and maids are required to pay for any missing items.
Show consideration to others. You cannot expect English to be spoken by hotel staff. Learn a few courtesy phrases of the local language; it will go a long way. Absolutely no running in the hallways or shouting down the hallways is allowed at any time, day or night.
Do not wash clothing in the rooms. You will be charged for any water stains. Self-service laundromats are very common in Europe. Your hotel concierge will tell you where to find the nearest one.
You may not go barefoot or shirtless anywhere in the hotel outside your room.
Show respect to your tour manager and local guides. Do not use headphones or electronic games during commentary.
Included Group Activities require your participation. These include sightseeing and local excursions, which are among the very reasons for your taking an Encore trip!
Even when no organized group activities are scheduled and you are on your own, your group leader must know where you are, whom you are with, and when you will return. You must be in groups of three or four when you are not with your group leader. Students are never to go off on their own. Be sure to carry the name, address and phone number of your hotel or homestay family with you at all times. Disco visits must be arranged by your group leader, and you are not allowed to enter any disco without him or her. You are expected to be mindful of your own safety and well-being at all times. Take caution in whatever you do or wherever you go, especially in unfamiliar areas.
Respect for Local Culture
The local people you meet are not "tourist attractions." This is their city, their home; remember to act like a guest. Monuments are made for admiring; please do not climb on them. Toss gum wrappers in public wastebaskets (or put them in your pocket). Behave in cathedrals or royal residences the way you would want visitors to behave at the White House or the Vietnam Memorial.
Your attire is an important way of showing respect for your host culture. Particularly in Italy and Spain, you will not be allowed into cathedrals wearing shorts or skirts above the knee, sleeveless blouses or T-shirts, no matter how hot it is. Keep your attire neat. Europeans interpret a neat appearance as a sign of respect.
You should be courteous and congenial at all times, even when encountering things you don't like. Since the time of Marco Polo, travel has involved certain inconveniences. Places may get crowded, traffic may be busy, buses may be delayed. Pack tolerance and a sense of humor in your suitcase!
First violation: A meeting with your group leader and the tour manager. If necessary, a collect phone call will be made to your parent(s) or guardian(s). A restriction will be imposed.
Continued violation: A collect phone call to your parent(s)or guardian(s) will be made at this time.
Serious violation (such as drinking hard liquor, drinking wine or beer without a group leader present, sexual misconduct, absence after curfew, etc.): The nearest ACIS/Encore Tours office will be contacted, and a collect phone call to your parent(s) or guardian(s) will be made. At this time the group leader and ACIS/Encore Tours staff will decide whether to send you home at your expense. Only ACIS/Encore Tours can make the final decision to send a participant home.
Continued serious violation (such as drunkenness, use of drugs, overnight absence, sexual misconduct, etc.): The group leader and ACIS/Encore Tours office will make a decision about sending you home at your parents' or guardians' expense. If this is decided, every effort will be made to contact your parent(s) or guardian(s), or a near relative, if your parent(s) or guardian(s) are away.