Know Before You Go...

Bus check in procedure

Departure for all tours is on Ramstein Air Base at the North Side Chapel parking lot, at the opposite end of it. Before boarding check-in with the guide. The guide will need to see your ID, your passport and your booking confirmation. Your guide will provide an overnight parking permit that is to be displayed on the dashboard of your car. Seat assignments are made by HORIZON TOURS for tours that are (or are nearly) fully booked, assuring that families or friends that booked together will also sit together. Please let us know in advance (at time of booking or min. 3 days prior to departure) if you have special seating requests or requirements. We gladly take those into consideration when assigning the bus seats.

Luggage

Luggage recommendations We allow each passenger to bring one suitcase and one carry-on bag, due to limited capacity for luggage storage on buses. We request you keep your suitcase to a maximum weight of 50 lbs.

Appropriate clothing Traveling light is recommended. Besides comfortable clothes and shoes we suggest to also bring one set of smart casual outfit for dinner events or shows. For many religious sights, e.g. the Vatican or churches, men and women are required to cover their shoulders and legs.

Hand Luggage Carry-on bags should be small enough to fit in the overhead compartment or under your seat. Documents, medications, umbrellas, sunglasses, anything needed until arrival at hotel should be in your carry-on. You may bring dry snacks and consume them on board.

Backpacks Only small bags and backpacks are allowed inside museums and archeological sites. As bags and backpacks are always subject to screening when entering a museum please don’t carry pocket knifes or anything that could be conceived as a weapon.

Buses

Our buses have panoramic windows, AC, WC, DVD, individual reading lights, sound system, and reclining seats. Smoking is strictly prohibited on board. Distances between cities and destinations will vary, based on your itinerary. For longer days, we make your ride comfortable by stopping every 2-3 hours for bathroom breaks, stretching, and/or lunch stops. Commentary is provided along the way, with your tour guide pointing out sites of interest along the way.

Our buses are equipped with an emergency restroom. “Emergency restroom,” because this facility is not meant to be used near restrooms at our frequent stops. The emergency restrooms are small and tight. They are not easy to get in and out of. For that reason, and because dumping places are very limited throughout Europe, we recommend to use them only in cases of emergency. On our buses we provide cold drinks at reasonable prices. Generally we offer water (carbonated or non-carbonated) for € 1 soft drinks for € 2 beer for € 2 and wine for € 3

Everyone wants to make the most of the available time and to see as much as possible while traveling. Here are some guidelines to ensure your and our other guests comfort.

  • Always be on time. Your tour guide will let you know at each stop how much time you have and when the group will be leaving. As at many sights buses are only allowed to stop for the time required to get on or off the bus we are unable to wait for late-comers. People showing up late for departures may be left behind and have to use a taxi or public transportation to meet back with the group later at the next stop or at the hotel.
  • Avoid conversation while the guide is making announcements or comments on the microphone. This ensures that everyone can hear what is being said.
  • When reclining your seat, please be conscious of the person behind you and recline slowly.
  • When bringing items on board, please place them in the overhead compartment or under your seats. Items can never be left in the aisles or block the legroom space.
  • Please only bring dry foods on board. Ice cream, fried food, smelly food and hot drinks should be consumed outside the bus.
  • In Europe, it is not permitted to operate the air-conditioning when the bus is parked. Therefore, air-conditioning can only be turned on when the bus is ready to move on. Ac cools down to maximum 10°C lower than outside temperature.

Safety hints

HORIZON TOURS is well aware of the present higher alert situation. Here are our rules and some hints on safety issues.

Your tour guide will hand out „emergency sheets with information on hotel name, address and telephone number, guide’s cell phone number, the HORIZON emergency number and the number of the US embassy of the country you are traveling in. Please have these with you at all times during the tour.

  • For boarding our buses only the front door is available under surveillance of your tour guide to avoid any unauthorized person entering.
  • Our luggage compartment remains locked and is only opened at the hotel for unloading and loading luggage under the surveillance of your tour guide.
  • Carry money, documents, passport, cash, and credit cards with you, but not all in the same place to limit the damage in case of loss.
  • Never keep money or valuables in your suitcase or overnight on the bus.
  • Use hotel safes where available and do not leave anything behind.
  • Divide your cash between yourself and your travel companion.
  • Never leave your carry-on bags unattended or out of sight in public spaces.
  • Always be observant, especially in crowded areas.
  • Hide some cash on your person as emergency tour money.
  • Be aware of strangers addressing you in the street.
  • Be aware of tricksters and scams.

Children

Children of any age are welcome on our tours but we recommend a minimum age of 5 years. For small children, child seats are required and have to be provided by the parents. We do not allow children to travel with us by themselves without a parent. For safety reasons, children are not allowed on the front row seats of our buses. The tour price for children of age 12 or under is 15% less than the adult price. For children under the age 3 we offer special infant rates, if the child does not require any special rooming arrangement and stays in a double or twin room together with the parents. The children price for optional excursions is generally half price and for optional dinners we offer a special children’s menu at reduced prices.

Optional excursions

Our tours include comprehensive sightseeing with all the must-see sights and activities. However, we also understand that people are interested in different activities. We accommodate these wishes by allowing you to hand pick from our selection of optional excursions that appeal to you. Whether it’s a special dinner or additional sightseeing, optional excursions are a great way to enrich your vacation even more. Your tour guide will inform you about all details and will take your reservations while on tour. You then can choose to participate or to follow your individual plans. Payment is accepted in cash (Euro) only. Please see specific information about the included and optional features on our flyers, brochure or web site.

Walking

Be prepared for daily walking involving stairs, cobblestones, and uneven pavements. Historic city centers are often not accessible to drop you off right at restaurants, hotels and sights. Comfortable and sturdy walking shoes are highly recommended for your daily sightseeing.

Terms used in our itineraries

Visit - Your bus will stop and you’ll get to visit a specific sight.

View - A short stop and an opportunity to take pictures.

See - Your bus will drive by the sight so that you can see it.

Sightseeing tour - Your guide will accompany you on a tour of a city or sight.

Orientation tour - Places are pointed out, allowing you to explore them on your own.

‘Why not see’ or ‘join’ - Optional excursions not included in the tour package

‘Time to explore’ and ‘discover’ - Free time on your own.

Money matters

On tour you will need spending money for optional excursions, meals, beverages, entrance fees, tips, shopping, and personal expenses. We suggest that you take more money than you think you’ll need. It is time consuming and sometimes difficult to obtain additional money while on tour. ATMs are available in most cities. Be sure to activate your ATM and/or credit card before traveling, and don’t forget to bring your PIN code. There are usually fees for money withdrawals. Notify your bank or credit card company prior to your departure with information on your travel destinations. Major credit cards are generally accepted in Europe but many stores or restaurants require a minimum charge or may not accept credit cards at all. Therefore, it is wise to always carry some cash. Visa and Master Card are usually your best options, as these are most widely accepted.

Hotels

All hotels are included with private facilities. Buffet breakfast is included with each overnight at hotel. Prices per person are based on 2 people sharing one room. There is an extra cost for a single room occupancy of € 50 per night. Singles who wish to share with another tour member should request this at the time of booking and will be booked on a share basis. If at departure no share is available, the single room supplement will be charged.

HORIZON uses hotel chains such as Mercure, Novotel, Golden Tulip, Holiday Inn or independent hotels of similar standard. In case you need the specific hotel information, e.g. for your leave request please contact HORIZON TOURS approx. 1 week prior to departure. Most hotels have amenities such as satellite TV, minibar, hairdryer, air-conditioning, a cocktail lounge. Some also have a swimming pool.

Upon arrival at the hotel, your tour guide will handle the check in for the entire group and distribute the key cards. In many hotels, key cards operate room lighting and air-conditioning/heat. The card is to be inserted into a special slot or box located by the bedroom door. When leaving the room, remove the card for energy conservation. In Europe, voltage is 220, whereas the common voltage in the US is 110V. Therefore, you may want to bring an adapter or a converter, if your device won’t work with 220V.

Hotel rooms may be slightly smaller than in the US, and minibar items are not complementary and often rather expensive. Hairdryers and safe are mostly provided. Connecting rooms are not common in Europe. Adjoining rooms are side by side, but not connected. Connecting rooms or adjoining rooms can be requested, but cannot be guaranteed. Triple rooms are usually no larger than twin or double rooms. The additional bed is often a roll-away bed put in the room.

Meals

Breakfast: To start each day off right, breakfast is included after every hotel overnight. Each hotel provides a buffet of breakfast items. Breakfast items may include whole-grain or white bread, croissants, cereals, eggs, bacon, fruit, yogurt, sweet rolls, cheese, and cold cuts. In Europe, it is not permitted to take away food from the restaurant. You will be asked to pay for any food removed from the restaurant.

Lunches: Lunches are generally not included. Some people prefer to grab a snack and continue to explore the area, while others may want to try a local restaurant. Your tour guide will be able to provide you information on local restaurants or snack places.

Dinners: Most European countries have later dining hours than in the US. Dinner time is generally around 19:00. Optional dinners offered by your tour guide consist of three courses (mostly local dishes), water, soft drink, beer or wine. Some hotels and restaurants may be able to provide for a special diet, such as vegetarian or gluteen-free, but this cannot be guaranteed. Please advise your tour guide at the beginning of the tour of any food allergies or special diets. Tap water is generally safe to drink throughout Europe. We recommend you purchase bottled water for sightseeing and excursions. Bottled water is also common in restaurants.

Medications

We recommend you pack a sufficient supply of medications you may need while on tour. It should be kept in your hand luggage for easy access. If your medication requires constant cooling such as insuline you may use the on board refrigerator but please also bring a small cooler as the bus refrigerator only operates while the engine is running.

Tips

Tipping is a personal way to show your satisfaction for good service and is a general practice throughout Europe. It is recommended that tips are given in cash. For restaurant waiters, gratuities are not included and we recommend to leave 10%. Your Tour Director can advise with local customs on tipping. As for gratuities to your tour guides and drivers, we suggest €3.oo per person per day.

Tour guides

Our tour guides take care of all the details so you can enjoy a worry-free vacation. He / she will advise you about daily itineraries and will gladly give you suggestions for your free time. Their experience on the job, their knowledge and their friendliness are some reasons our guests return to travel with us time and again.

Bus drivers

Our drivers take pride in driving and in their vehicles, keeping them in working order and clean. Each driver is a certified, licensed, experienced and professional. They are skilled in maneuvering through the tight alleys and busy highways, getting you to your destination on time and safely.

Disabilities

Any disability requiring special attention should be reported to HORIZON upon booking. We will make reasonable attempts to accommodate the special needs of disabled travelers, but may not always be able to do so. Access to some places, even hotels, may be limited or not accessible for wheelchairs. Our buses are not equipped with wheelchair ramps or lifts. A qualified and physically able travel companion should always accompany travelers who need assistance.

When you travel with us, you will have a premium experience at an excellent price. When you trust us with your travel experience, be assured, you won’t be disappointed. Learn more