Last week one of our team traveled to Ireland for a week, and we thought it would be helpful to share our experiences.
The current rules for travel to Ireland from the USA stipulate passengers who present valid proof of vaccination or have valid proof of recovery from COVID in the past 180 days will not face travel-related testing or quarantine. Every passenger must fill in a COVID-19 Passenger Locator Form within 72 hours before you arrive to Ireland from overseas. This form and all kinds of other useful travel related advice for those coming to Ireland can be found here. https://www.gov.ie/en/campaigns/75d92-covid-19-travel-advice/.
It’s worth noting that Delta airlines does not facilitate online check in from the originating gateway in the USA because the airlines must verify the passenger’s vaccination card, or negative PCR test for those not vaccinated, as well as the passenger locator form prior to departure from the USA. Arrival to Dublin airport and immigration check was a breeze, possibly because there were fewer than usual flights arriving from the USA. Documents were verified but the line moved swiftly. There were even a few tour guides at the meet and greet area in the arrivals hall, ready to welcome small groups! Exciting to see a glimpse of normality!
Masks are required in all indoor public areas in Ireland, such as at the airport, in taxi’s and on public transportation. They are also required inside stores, and in restaurants (when walking to and from your table and to/from the bathroom). Restaurants require proof of vaccination for admission. Europeans who are vaccinated have a QR code that they show on their phones, but the restaurants do accept the physical vaccination card from the US, along with valid ID. Strict distancing between tables was evident and all hospitality staff were masked. Most restaurants, shops and attractions are starting to return to business in Ireland, although crowds are scarce. It’s a good time to travel if you want to experience the country without all the tourist traffic!
Prior to returning to the US, all travelers must present either a negative PCR test (within 3 days prior to travel), or a negative antigen test (within 48 hours of travel) or documentation proving recovery from Covid-19. Requirement for Proof of Negative COVID-19 Test or Recovery from COVID-19 for All Air Passengers Arriving in the United States CDC Tests must be done at pre-approved places, and you need to pay attention the rules and requirements if you are transiting within Europe on your flight home since different countries have varying rules. All returning citizens are also required to complete an attestation form which is handed out at check in and checked, and collected by airline staff prior to boarding. Delta airlines sent several text and email reminders of the testing requirements for returning to the USA. Upon check in we saw one family turned away because they (mis) understood that their vaccination card was clearance enough to re-enter the US. Fortunately, two private companies, Roc Doc Health Check and Randox offer RT-PCR and rapid Antigen COVID-19 testing at Dublin Airport.
Our take-away from this trip was that if you are well prepared, and have all your documents in order, travel during Covid-19, while a little more involved and costly, certainly wasn’t that difficult. Plus, we got to enjoy the Emerald Isle and blissfully cool summer weather without the usual crowds!
COVID-19 policies and procedures listed below are current as of August 25. However, we encourage travelers to refer to the governmental tourism website prior to travel to confirm the information regarding entry protocols as rules are evolving.
- Vendors are required to disinfect any equipment before and after its use during an event.
- Musicians must be spaced at least 6 ft. from each other.
- Rehearsals will be closed to the public.
- Hand sanitizer stations made available at all entries and exits.
- Audience sizes may be restricted.
- All passengers required to wear a face mask.
- Travelers seated with social distancing rules in place. Seats behind driver may be left empty.
- Fixed seating arrangements for duration of tour or transfer in the same vehicle.
- Hand sanitizer available in all vehicles.
- Removal of printed materials from seat-back pockets.
- Vehicles regularly disinfected.
- Staging areas must adhere to social distancing. Staggered times for departures may be required depending on group size.
- Hotels might screen travelers’ temperatures upon arrival and check out, where possible in line with local regulations and guidelines.
- Hotels will limit physical contact as much as possible while still delivering the best service possible.
- Buffet meals may be replaced by a la carte service or fixed menus.
- Where possible, room service will be made available for guests, subject to hotel category and group size.
- Spa facilities may operate under strict social distancing rules. Pre-booking may be required.
- Hotels must have HandS protocols in place that comply with local regulations.
- All staff to wear face masks where possible in line with local regulations.
- Tables spaced within the restaurant to maintain social distancing.
- Hand sanitizer readily available to guests.
- Restaurants ensure that guests do not handle food at buffets.
- Paperless menus to be provided where possible. If paper menus are in use, they should be discarded after use.
- Minimize the number of guests waiting/congregating in common areas.
- Restaurants must have HandS protocols in place that comply with local regulations.
- Temperature checks of local guide(s) prior to the start of duty.
- Updated itineraries to avoid large crowds and maintain social distancing.
- Guides and drivers to wear facemasks at all times.
- Guides will no longer shake hands.
- Briefing travelers on HandS protocols when they enter a new country.
- Groups may be limited in size or divided into smaller groups.
- Advance bookings where possible to avoid queues.
Before You Go
Every PI participant must be in possession of the appropriate documentation prior to departure. If an PI participant is unable to obtain a passport or any applicable visas, PI’s standard cancellation policy will apply. Visa costs are not included in your programmed fees except if explicitly stated in your Tour Brochure. In most cases, your passport must be valid 6 MONTHS past the time of our return.
Obtain an application at your nearest passport office, courthouse, or post office. You will need a certified birth certificate (with raised seal and file number), and 2 duplicate non-glossy photographs measuring 2” x 2”, taken within six months of application. For more info regarding passports, you can go online to: www.travel.state.gov.
Your project manager will communicate to you whether or not U.S. citizens will require a VISA for entry into any country on your itinerary. Tour participants with non-U.S. passports will need to contact the embassy or consulate of all the countries visited to determine if they require a visa to enter.
Please contact your local doctor or the Center for Disease Control and Prevention http://www.cdc.gov for information on any recommended or required vaccinations for your destination countries well in advance of your trip.
Each airline has specific weight limits for checked-in luggage. PI will alert you to the specifications and limitations. If you are flying on more than one airline, please be sure to adhere to whichever weight limit is lower to avoid having to pay extra. Please do remember that each individual is responsible for carrying his/her own luggage.
Due to limited space available on buses for luggage, only ONE suitcase (limited to 50 lbs) and one small carry-on bag such as a backpack or briefcase per person is allowed. Your final itinerary package will include two Perform International luggage tags to be placed on your checked luggage and carry-on. We strongly recommend you also add your own luggage tag on both your checked and carry-on luggage. Note: Carry-on luggage must fit under seat or in overhead compartments of the plane and under the seat or in your lap while on the bus. Most airlines will accept 54 maximum linear inches (length + width + depth) for checked luggage. Suggestions for packing: If you are traveling as a couple, you may want to pack clothes for both in each suitcase. This way, if one suitcase is lost, each person will have clothing to wear.
This will depend on what type of handset you have and who your mobile contract is with. Most phone companies offer international voice and data plans. Please contact your mobile phone provider for further details. Please make people aware that it can be quite expensive for you to use your mobile abroad.
While PI will try to match you with a roommate, we cannot guarantee one will be available. Therefore, you should try to find a roommate and notify us of your selection no later than 120 days prior to departure. If no roommate can be found, you will receive an invoice for the single room supplement charge(s) as listed in the Terms and Conditions under Accommodations. This notification may come as late as 30 days prior to your departure.
Every effort will be made to ensure you see the sites listed in your program; however, we reserve the right to alter the sightseeing itinerary to accommodate changes in local conditions and/or circumstances. If possible, you will be notified of any changes that are made to this itinerary prior to departing the U.S.
Yes, you will need to bring adaptors when traveling outside the US for most countries. Your final tour documents will contain Travel Tips that provide specific information.
Which meals are included depends on your destination. On most tours breakfasts and some evening meals are included – please see your specific tour itinerary for more details.
Your tour price is split into multiple payments throughout the year; please check the Deposit Schedule in your Tour Brochure for more details.
On the Way
We use many airlines depending on the global destination, time of year and budget. Generally, PI will determine which airline will be used between 6-9 months prior to departure.
If you elect to purchase a land-only package you can book your air ticket directly with your preferred airline. Please note, transfers from and to the airport in your destination are based on the arrival and departure times of the group air booking. Coaches will not be able to wait for passengers who arrive later on flights booked directly with another carrier. For groups of 10 or more booking a group reservation, you cannot select the airline for your travel.
If you are traveling with a group of 10 or more, international flight information will be available approximately 60 days prior to departure; domestic flight information will be available approximately 45 days prior to departure.
Yes, but in order for Perform International to arrange your ground transportation to and from the overseas airport, you must book your air on the same schedule and airline as the group. If you choose to book your own air that does not coincide with the group air booking you are responsible for your own ground transportation from the overseas airport to the hotel. You are responsible for making your own travel arrangements to/from your domestic airport. NOTE: Due to increased security at the airports, we recommend arriving at least two to three hours prior to departure for domestic flights. Arrive at the departure airport at least three hours prior to departure for international flights (whenever possible).
All flight times are subject to change by the airlines without advance notice. PI is not responsible for changes and/or delays in airline schedules, nor the expense associated with such changes.
Contact our office immediately so we can inform all necessary parties. The airline’s responsibility is to get you to your destination as quickly as possible. Be sure to call the emergency contact phone number listed in your travel documents as soon as possible.
In general, group purchased seating arrangements cannot be organized before departure. Airlines will assign seating for group bookings based on their internal rules and regulations. If you have a special meal request it should be submitted in writing no later than 90 days prior to departure. We cannot, however, guarantee your request will be honored by the airline.
Every effort will be made to keep groups together if they are traveling from the same departure city; however, depending upon the size of the group and the availability of seats on the same flights, some groups may be on several different domestic and/or international flights. NOTE: If part of the group is participating in an extension, they may not be on the same international flights as passengers doing the basic program only.
We do request that our groups are seated together. However, depending on your group’s size, you may or may not sit together. You will receive seating assignments when you check in.
In the event of travel delays during your tour, PI will assist in making such alternative travel arrangements as it considers appropriate to the circumstances. PI will not accept the additional costs incurred for delays beyond its control and for which it is not liable.
These regulations and restrictions change frequently. Please see www.tsa.gov for the most up-to-date information.
This depends on the length of your flight and what airline you will be flying with. On trans-Atlantic and trans-Pacific flights you will be given meals on the plane free of charge. For flights within the US and Europe food will generally be offered, but it is not always free of charge.
It is the responsibility of the airlines to recover any lost luggage. Please be sure to file a report with the airline at the airport where you arrive. Although PI will do everything we can in helping with the process, we cannot help to recover lost luggage. It is an issue between the luggage owner and the airlines.
Yes, when en route to certain countries individuals will need to fill out landing cards and/or other immigration forms. The forms which need to be completed will vary depending on whether or not individuals needed visas to enter the country to which they are traveling. Generally, airline staff will distribute all necessary forms either prior to boarding or during the flight.
When We Arrive
There will be some free time on every tour – for shopping, sightseeing on your own, extra activities, etc. PI Tour Directors are happy to provide ideas for free time and evening activities. The cost of these activities is not included in the package price so you will need to budget for this before you depart.
This will depend on which hotel you are staying in. Each hotel room will be ensuite and linens will be provided. Each hotel will vary in terms of supplying hairdryers, safes, etc. For some student groups PI may book multi-bedded university dorm accommodation but only if specifically requested.
File a claim at the airport before you leave the baggage claim area. It will be the airline’s responsibility to get lost luggage to you or to compensate you for damaged luggage. We will do our best to follow-up with the airlines but the responsibility ultimately rests with the airline. We strongly suggest that you pack at least one change of clothes in your carry-on bag. If you purchased Travel Insurance you will also need to file a claim with the respective insurance company.
After going through passport control, you will need to collect your luggage (luggage carts may be free or available for an extra charge) and pass through customs. You will be met by an airport representative outside the baggage claim area. Please follow instructions from our representative.
Time zones vary by location in the world. A great resource for determining the time difference for a particular place is: http://www.timeanddate.com.
The transfer time can vary greatly from city to city.
At the Hotel
Your luggage will be loaded on and off the motor coach by the driver. You are responsible to transfer your luggage from the curb to your room and back to the motor coach upon departure. On some trips, porters may be available to assist you with your luggage.
Each room will have a private bath, TV and phone. Most hotels do not provide small washcloths, so you may want to bring your own but do not leave them in the bathroom as the staff will whisk them away into the laundry and you will probably never see them again.
Most hotels provide hair dryers in the rooms. If you bring your own, be sure it is one that has dual voltage so you can switch between 125v and 250v. You will need an adapter for your hair dryer. We do not suggest bringing curling irons or flat irons as the voltage is usually too high. If you choose to bring a curling/flat iron, be sure that it has dual voltage capabilities.
Generally, breakfast and some dinners are included. Lunches are only included when specified in the itinerary. Please consult your Tour Brochure for a detailed list of inclusions. Coffee and tea are served at breakfast but beverages at dinner, except for tap water, will be at a supplemental charge. All other meals are at your expense. Bottled water is recommended at all times outside the US.
The deluxe touring motor coaches are modern and air-conditioned.
In most countries coaches have an emergency restroom. On-board restrooms are only for emergency situations as the disposal sites are not readily available in many cities. Your Tour Manager and driver will plan sufficient stops along the way for the comfort of our passengers.
Most everything has been included in your tour cost with the exception of meals not listed on your itinerary, shopping and optional tours (where applicable). Suggested amount of tips is $5 per day for guides, $3 per day for drivers.
ATMs are available at local banks and airports. The money you receive will be in the local currency.
We do not recommend the use of travelers checks as you may experience difficulty using and/or cashing them. In addition, banks usually charge a significant handling fee when cashing travelers checks. Credit cards are recommended for larger purchases. VISA and MasterCard are much more prevalent than Discover and American Express.
Time will be allotted for shopping. While some will feel that too much time is spent for shopping, others will think it is not enough. Remember that ours is not a shopping tour. Also, any purchases made are at your own risk. We are not responsible for your dissatisfaction with any items purchased. Guides are not authorized by PI to recommend any store or shop.
VAT (Value Added Tax) is a sales tax that is charged for most goods. This amount is part of the price – not added on at the cash register. It is possible for you to claim back most of this tax. The best way to do this is to see if the retailer you are buying from is affiliated with “Tax Free” shopping. If so, they will give you the instructions for your refund. Generally, all you have to do is collect a completed form from the store which lists your purchases. You MUST have the form stamped by customs when you leave the country. Look for the TAX FREE SHOPPING symbol. Note: Specific procedures may vary by country, so look for forms and instructions at stores or the airport. PI is not responsible for refunding you any VAT. In addition, VAT cannot be recovered once you have returned home.
Our suggested amount for tip is $5 per person/per day for your guide and $3 per person/per day for your driver. Perform International will coordinate with your group leader if tips should be pre-collected prior to departure as part of your tour package price.
Prepaid gratuities have been collected for the following staff persons: hotel and local restaurant dining room staff and hotel housekeeping. For restaurant meals not included in your tour package, taxi rides, etc. you will be responsible to tip the local service provider.
Weather can vary greatly from country to country. PI’s Travel Tips, which will be distributed with your tour documents, contain average temperature information for the destination that you are going to visit. For more up-to-date information, visit www.weather.com.
Some of the days involve long bus rides and/or considerable walking, so comfort is essential. Comfortable shoes are a must! Also, bring a rain coat and/or umbrella as the weather can be unpredictable. For performance groups, you will be informed as to performance wear in the final packet of information.
Bring your medicine in the original bottle. Also, bring a copy of the generic names for each. If you have medications which need to be refrigerated, you will need to make the appropriate arrangements with the airlines, hotels and cruise line. An ID bracelet or a note from your doctor regarding any special treatments you are receiving will prove invaluable in the event of an emergency. Always carry medication that is needed on a daily basis in your carry-on and on the motor coach where it is easily accessible.
In today’s changing travel environment, it’s important to protect your travel investment so you can relax and enjoy your trip. Unforeseen events such as flight delays, baggage loss or even a sudden sickness or injury could impact your travel plans. For your convenience, we offer a Travelex Insurance Services protection plan to help protect you and your travel investment against the unexpected.
For more information on the available plans click here or contact Travelex Insurance 800-228-9792 and reference location number 100364.
The product descriptions provided here are only brief summaries and may be changed without notice. The full coverage terms and details, including limitations and exclusions, are contained in the insurance policy. Travelex Insurance Services, Inc CA Agency License #0D10209. Travel Insurance is underwritten by Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance Company, NAIC #22276. V94
Leave valuables, including items of sentimental value, at home! Put your name, address and departure date on all belongings so that any recovered items will be returned as quickly as possible. Shipping costs will be your responsibility. We suggest you make a list of all items you take along with their perceived value. Double check before you leave the hotel, bus, airplane, etc. PI will not assume responsibility for lost items.
If you decide to purchase cards here or overseas, you will need a card or access for each country. (Make sure your prepaid card is for international use.) If you have a cell phone you can check with your local provider for International Service.
Sunglasses, a sun hat, sunscreen, wipes and wash cloths, camera (incl. a battery charger) and sundry toiletry items are musts. You may wish to bring a calculator for exchange rates while shopping. Passengers bringing video cameras are advised that museums and archeological sites frequently charge a fee for their use. In the event of inclement weather, bring a light waterproof jacket or an umbrella.
Yes… Be on time for the bus each day. Settle personal charges the night before checking out of the hotel. Notify your Tour Leader or Guide if you will not be on the bus for sightseeing. Remember you are a guest in another country… Be gracious… expect that customs and food will be different than at home.
Cancellations and Refunds
Call our office immediately, and then submit your cancellation in writing. Cancellation and refund schedule can be found in the terms & conditions which are included in your Tour Brochure. NO REFUND for cancellations within forty-five (45) days of departure. All cancellation requests must be addressed to Perform International in writing.