Essential information for alums – Prague-Berlin 2014

TRAVELING WITH EF COLLEGE STUDY TOURS: THE ESSENTIALS FOR ALUMNI

The MFA Program has a dedicated customer-service representative at EF College Study Tours. Contact Stephanie.Lane@EF.com and include “Spalding” in the subject line, and you’ll receive an email response within one business day. But first, read on for essential information.

What’s the deadline to sign up for travel?

Alums and their guests can sign up for travel until February 1. Alums who sign up by January 10 receive a $250 early-bird discount!

What’s due upon sign-up?

At sign-up, you’ll pay EF College Study Tours a $95 enrollment fee and a required $145 comprehensive travel insurance policy. (Your discount will be applied later, so you’ll provide a credit/debit card to cover these initial costs.) After that, you can pay in automated monthly installments. On the monthly payment plan, your final payment is due about 30 days before the trip (about June 10). For those not on the monthly payment plan, final payment is due 95 days before departure (April 6). See the Booking Conditions in the EF College Study Tours Enrollment Booklet.

Are flights included in the trip price?

It depends on whether you choose the full package or the Land-Only package.

The full package includes air transportation. The price is based on air travel from Louisville. If EF arranges your flight from a different airport, total cost will be adjusted to reflect the price difference. A perk: Through a special arrangement with Spalding, EF is waiving the usual $150 “special travel” fee for those flying from airports other than Louisville!

To see what else is included in the full package, see the Prague_Berlin_Itinerary.

The Land-Only package includes everything included in the full package except air travel and ground transportation to/from the airports. However, EF Tours will arrange ground transportation for Land-Only travelers who arrive and depart on the residency arrival and departure dates. EF is providing this service to Land-Only travelers at no extra charge.

Note that we fly into Prague Václav Havel Airport but return from Berlin Tegel Airport.

Should I book my air travel through EF College Study Tours?

It’s your choice. Read the Booking Conditions in the Enrollment Booklet for details. Below is a summary based on past experiences:

Advantages of booking air travel through EF:

EF’s rates are often better than those you can find online.

EF makes your flight arrangements for you.

You pay your air travel costs in monthly installments.

Your airline ticket cost is covered by EF’s travel insurance.

Disadvantages of booking air travel through EF:

You might not like your assigned route, layovers, or flight times.

Your ticket won’t be associated with your frequent flier number or be eligible for an upgrade. (That said, it never hurts to ask when you check in for your flight at the airport.)

In case of serious flight delay or cancellation, you must call EF’s emergency travel hotline to rebook tickets rather than dealing directly with the airline.

Advantages of booking air travel on your own by choosing the Land-Only option:

You call the shots. You choose your airline, route, layover length, and arrival and departure times when booking your ticket.

You can use frequent flier miles to pay for your ticket.

In case of travel cancellations or delays, the airline must deal with you directly rather than requiring you to call EF’s travel hotline.

Disadvantages of choosing the Land-Only option:

It’s up to you to shop for your ticket.

You have to pay for your ticket when you purchase it.

You’ll need to purchase separate travel insurance for the cost of the airline ticket.

If your arrival and departure dates don’t coincide with the groups’, you must arrange your own ground transportation to and from the airport.

Note: Those traveling from outside the United States must choose the Land-Only package.

When do we travel?

We leave the U.S. on July 10 on overnight flights and arrive at Prague Václav Havel Airport on July 11. We depart from Berlin Tegel Airport on July 22, returning to the U.S. the same day.

Is there any advantage to arriving in Prague a day or two early?

Some MFAers travel early so they can recover from jet lag and adjust to the new city before residency begins. Traveling early builds in a cushion of time in case of travel delays.

If you travel early, you’ll make your own housing arrangements for the nights before July 11. You must also arrange your own ground transportation from the airport into the city.

The same goes if you stay beyond the departure date—you’ll arrange your own housing for the extra days and your own airport transfer.

Can EF book my air travel if I want to go early, stay late, or return from a different airport?

Yes. The Special Travel Requests on page 5 of the Enrollment Booklet covers the details. The $150 Special Travel Fee is waived for Spalding travelers!

Is there a discount for guests and alumni?

Yes! Several, in fact!

Alums and their guests receive a $290 credit to their EF Tours account in April.

Alums only are eligible for an early-bird discount of $250 when they sign up by January 10.

Repeat travelers with EF College Study Tours receive a $100 credit after signing up with EF.

What about optional events?

Several events are offered as options to give travelers maximum flexibility in deciding how to spend their time and travel budget. Optional events are not included in the trip cost. Planned optional events include a “Prague by Night” boat tour, a cabaret performance, and a walking tour of Berlin’s modern architecture. You can sign up and pay for these events on EF’s website or by calling EF by May 21. Once we arrive, our tour directors may offer other optional outings.

 How is the housing priced?

The program price is for a twin room with double occupancy. You can reserve a room to yourself by paying the single supplement price of $495.

Can I book my own lodging instead of staying with the group?

No, everyone on the trip is required to stay in the arranged housing.

Can I bring a guest?

Yes, alums can bring family or friends. A few things to remember:

Guests are welcome to participate in off-campus activities such as walking tours, theatre performances, and group meals. Certain classroom sessions that are open to alums are also open to interested guests.

Depending on enrollment, guest slots may be limited. If that’s the case, guest slots will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. Generally, alums may bring a maximum of two guests.

Guests must enroll through EF College Study Tours for either the total program or a Land-Only version of the program. Events included cannot be broken out into individual components.

The minimum age for guests is 12. Any guest under age 18 must be accompanied full-time by an adult who is not an MFA student.

My family members are joining me at the end of the trip. Can they participate in activities?

Activities and lodging arranged by EF are open only to EF participants. It may be possible to arrange for a non-EF guest to attend certain activities, such as the closing dinner—check with the Tour Director during the trip. That said, for liability reasons, EF never, ever allows a non-EF participant to ride on an EF-arranged bus.

Family members are welcome to attend graduation as well as other classroom events that are open to guests.

What are the physical considerations for the trip?

Residency-abroad locations sometimes pose challenging situations for those with limited mobility or special needs. Standards of accessibility customary in the United States are often not found abroad. Wheelchair accessibility is not the standard. Walking paths and streets may be unpaved or rough and irregular. Stairs are a virtual inevitability. Some events involve extensive walking. Classroom space may be at a distance from lodging and may not be air conditioned. In addition, classroom and tour days are sometimes up to 10 hours long, with breaks for meals.

If you have special needs (e.g., limited mobility, heart condition, diabetes, asthma), the University requires you to describe them fully on the travel questionnaire you will complete after enrolling for the trip, and to let us know what accommodations you think you might need. We will investigate to the best of our ability what accommodations can be made, but it is not possible for us to foresee every eventuality or guarantee that special accommodations will be available.

Special arrangements such as taxis are made by the traveler at the traveler’s expense.

Do I need a passport or visa?

You’ll need a passport valid for at least three months beyond the date of travel. We recommend you check the status of your passport now and, if needed, apply for a new or renewed passport promptly. For more information, visit http://travel.state.gov. You do not need a visa.

For more about travel to the Czech Republic, see this site. For information about travel to Germany, visit this site. For tips on traveling abroad, visit this site.

How do I sign up?

Step 1: Read the EF College Study Tours Enrollment Booklet (including the Booking Conditions section) to be sure you understand payment plans, cancellation policies, etc.

Step 2: Sign up online or by calling EF College Study Tours at 877-485-4184. (Use the 877 number only; the 800 number listed online connects to a different EF department.) Or, complete the Enrollment Form in the Enrollment Booklet and fax it to EF.

For specific questions, contact Stephanie.Lane@EF.com and include “Spalding” in the subject line, and you’ll receive an email response within one business day.

See you in Prague and Berlin!

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