About Northern Lakes of Italy

Join STI’s concierge, Vicki, as she guides us through the stunning Northern Lakes of Italy! Discover Lake Maggiore, Lake Como and Lake Garda, as well as their adjacent picturesque, resort towns that make up this stunning region.

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Singles Travel International would like you to join our concierge Vicki as we tour the beautiful lakes of Northern Italy. We will travel through Stresa, a resort town on Lake Maggiore, where we will visit the Borromean Islands of Isola Bella and Isola Madre. These islands are renowned for their beautiful gardens with rare vegetation coming from varied climates and always flowering. We will see palazzos and villas that tower over the stunning lakefront. Enjoy the scenic ride on the “Centovalli”, as we cut through the 100 valleys of picturesque villages, meadows, streams and mountain slopes, on our way to Santa Maria Maggiore and Locarno, Switzerland. Lake Como is next as we discover, together, the small towns that surround the gorgeous lake as well as the rolling landscapes, gardens and medieval villages that bring in the tourists. Shop around for the elegant silk, made famous in Como, before we venture on to the largest lake in Italy: Lake Garda. Here, we will visit the beautiful resort town of Sirmione, known for its thermal baths and medieval castle, and Bardolino, the pretty resort town known for its delicious wine. Enjoy a wine tasting, as well as a tour of an olive oil museum. The best way to experience the Northern Italian culture is through the food and wine with locals, new friends, and STI’s Local Expert Guide to narrate us along the way!

What else do you get with an STI Vacation?

UNIQUE STI BENEFITS:

  • Custom and Carefully Designed Vacation Elements so You Don’t Have to Plan, Just Show Up!
  • Special Attention from Experienced, Professional Singles Travel Concierge, Trained and Dedicated to Making Your Vacation a Special and Life-Changing Experience
  • Complimentary Roommate Matching Via our State-of-the-Art Member Profile Feature
  • View Member Profiles and Meet Fellow Travelers Online Before You Go.
  • Private and Secure Chat Reserved Exclusively for Members on Your Vacation – Topics Include Optional Tours, What to Pack, Who’s Coming Early etc., to Assist Members in Coordinating Activities in Advance. Create your own Topic and have fun!
  • Exclusively Singles Only Events and the Company of Other Like Minded Members with a Passion for Travel

INCLUSIVE FEATURES OF OUR TOUR:

  • 7 Nights Accommodations: 3 Nights at HOTEL ZACCHERA (or similar), 2 Nights at HOTEL TERMINUS (or similar), and 2 Nights at HOTEL LA SPIAGGIA D’ORO (or similar).
  • 7 Breakfasts (B); 2 Lunches (L), 4 Dinners (D) including Welcome Dinner in Stresa, Dinner at our Beautiful Hotel in Como, Dinner at a traditional Osteria in Como, and a Farewell Dinner in Lake Garda. This will provide ample opportunity to join friends, try new cuisine and meet some locals.
  • A Scenic Train ride through “Centovalli”, meaning 100 Valleys, with Spectacular views and stops at Santa Maria Maggiore and Locarno, Switzerland!
  • Stunning Ferry ride to Bellagio, known as “the pearl of Lake Como”
  • Private Wine Tasting at Berdolino Vineyard
  • Services of a Professional, Bilingual Italian/English Speaking Concierge throughout our Tour
  • Additional Services of EXPERT LOCAL GUIDES
  • All On Tour Transportation via Deluxe Motor Coach or Minibus with Air-Conditioning
  • One-Way Transfer from Milan Airport to our Hotel in Stresa
  • Hotel Taxes & Service Charges (Except City Tourist Tax, please see note below)
  • Optional Cooking Lesson, with Dinner, in a Private house overlooking Beautiful Lake Garda

Inclusive features are subject to revision at the discretion of STI. Ages listed are not meant as a restriction, but are simply used as a guideline. Singles Travel International does not guarantee the number of guests, ages or ratios.

*City Tourist tax MUST be paid in CASH directly to each hotel by every member and will range from 2-4 Euros per person/per night.

Itinerary

Thu, Sep 19:  Milan, Italy: Arrival at Airport and Group Transfer to Stresa Welcome Dinner
Fri, Sep 20:  Stresa, Italy: Full Day on Lake Maggiore!
Sat, Sep 21:  Stresa, Italy: Scenic Train through “Centovalli” w/stops at Santa Maria Maggiore and Locarno, Switzerland
Sun, Sep 22:  Transfer Stresa to Como and Private Guided Walking Tour of Como
Mon, Sep 23:  Como, Italy: Ferry Ride to Bellagio and Private guided Tour of Villa Carlotta
Tue, Sep 24:  Transfer Como to Lake Garda, Group Luncheon upon Arrival and  Ferry Ride to Sirmione Optional Cooking Lesson With Dinner
Wed, Sep 25:  Lake Garda, Italy: Day trip to Wine Region of Bardolina with Wine Tasting Farewell Dinner
Thu, Sep 26:  Lake Garda, Italy: Optional Group Transfer to Milan Airport Continue with Concierge to Venice, Italy for Optional 2-Night Package and Croatia Cruise
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Day 1- Thursday, September 19, 2019 (D) 

Benvenuto to Italy! Please schedule your flight to arrive at Milan Airport (MXP), by 12:00 P.M, in order to transfer with the group. We will travel, by private minivan, to our lakefront hotel in Stresa, which will be our home for the next three nights. Get settled and enjoy the afternoon getting familiar with the resort town of Stresa.

This stunning town is situated on Lake Maggiore, Italy’s second largest lake. Visit Villa Pallavicino, known for it’s gardens and zoo. You can also check out the Grand Hôtel des Îles Barromées, where Hemingway once stayed! Our STI Concierge Vicki will be on hand to make your day a success. In the late afternoon, we’ll have a meet & greet with other members of our group. Explore Stresa some more before we meet up again for our Welcome Dinner! The rest of the evening is at your leisure.

Day 2- Friday, September 20, 2019 (B, L)

Today, enjoy breakfast at the hotel, before we embark, with our private local guide, for a full-day excursion on Lake Maggiore! Our boat will take us from Stresa to visit 2 of the 3 Borromean Islands, located right in the middle of the lake. The 3 islands have been owned by the Borromeos, a family of wealthy merchants and bankers, since the 1600’s and, when they are in town, their family flag flies from the top of the Isola Bella garden.

Our first stop is Isola Bella and its 17th-century Baroque palace, containing priceless works of art, and its gorgeous garden. Afterward, we’ll enjoy lunch at a traditional fish restaurant on Isola dei Pescatori, before continuing to the largest of the Borromean islands: Isola Madre. This island is known for its enchanted atmosphere, where peacocks, parrots and pheasants roam freely and rare plants and exotic flowers flourish. The adjacent palazzo is particularly interesting because of the reconstruction of period rooms and the collection of liveries and porcelain housed there.

After our tours on these stunning islands, we will boat back to Stresa for an evening of free time to explore and check out a local restaurant for an optional dinner with new friends.

Day 3- Saturday, September 21, 2019 (B)

This morning, enjoy breakfast at the hotel and then we’re in for a treat as we board the scenic train known, locally, as the “Centovalli” (100 valleys). We will enjoy a pleasant, and comfortable 1.5-hour journey meandering through valleys, meadows, streams, vineyards and chestnut forests, offering spectacular views through large panoramic windows. We will travel across viaducts and towering bridges, admiring pretty villages in the sides of mountain slopes.

Our first stop is the small hamlet of Santa Maria Maggiore for a short, guided tour and possible visit to the very peculiar museum of the Chimney sweepers, “Spazzacamino.” The museum tells the story of the traditional occupation of the people of this valley, in the 16th century, when they were hit with emigration from France, Holland and Germany. There were also several children that were employed as chimney sweepers, as they were commonly leased from their families for periods of time. You may also want to check out Via Gian Maria Farina, the most picturesque street in Santa Maria Maggiore. With its cobblestoned streets, lined with shady trees, ancient houses, villas and charming old country homes, on either side. The stunning homes, with their beautiful architecture, have been here for centuries.

This afternoon, enjoy free time for lunch, before we board the train again for the rest of our scenic journey to Beautiful Locarno, Switzerland. Here, we will have free time to explore the resort city, located at the base of the Alps. The small town enjoys the sunniest climate in Switzerland, where Palm Trees and Lemon Trees flourish. You can visit Piazza Grande, in the heart of the city, and home to the 12th Century Castle; Castello Visconteo.  In the late afternoon, we catch a ferry boat back to Stresa for another evening at your leisure for dinner and meandering through the town.

Day 4- Sunday, September 22, 2019 (B, D)
After a leisurely breakfast at our hotel, we’ll check out and head to our next destination: beautiful Como. Once we check in to our hotel, the afternoon is yours for lunch and to find out why George Clooney loves this town so much that he purchased a home here! Aside from the stunning landscapes, gardens and medieval villages, silk manufacturing is also what made Como famous around the world. The quality and elegance of their silk made it one of the most exported products of the latest century.

We’ll reconvene in the early afternoon for a private guided walking tour of this gorgeous town, a magical combination of lush Mediterranean foliage and snowy alpine peaks. We’ll meander through the town center and tour the Romanesque cathedral, adorned with precious frescoes. Afterward, we’ll visit the evocative church of San Fedele, dating back to the 12th century. In the square, opposite, we will see two Renaissance palaces that are beautifully kept to this day. We’ll end the tour with a funicular ride, to a vantage point, offering breathtaking views, from Brunate, all over the lake. This evening we will enjoy dinner, as a group, at the hotel.

Day 5- Monday, September 23, 2019 (B, D)

Today, after breakfast at our hotel, we’ll enjoy a trip on the ferry. In less than an hour, we will arrive in Bellagio, renowned as “the pearl of Lake Como” due to its ideal setting. It rises on a promontory of the two branches of the lake, that of Como and that of Lecco. During the sailing, we’ll admire some of the most beautiful villas built along the coast and owned by noble families and international movie stars. Bellagio is known for its cobbled lanes, elegant buildings and spectacular villas with stunning gardens.

After our arrival, we’ll break for lunch on our own and then reconvene for a private guided visit to Villa Carlotta, known for its gardens, in Tremezzo. This villa was built at the end of the 17th century by a Milanese marquis, but it was in the early 1800s that it became a temple of 19th-century art. With works of Canova, Thorvaldsen and Hayez: PalamedesEros and PsycheTerpsychore and The Last Kiss of Romeo and Juliet; are only some of the masterpieces that enrich the extraordinary collection.

We’ll return, via private transfer, to our hotel in Como, where we will venture out to enjoy dinner, as a group, at a traditional Osteria in town. 

Day 6: Tuesday, September 24, 2019 (B, L)

This morning, we will enjoy breakfast, at our hotel, before we check out and make our way to our final hotel on the shores of Lake Garda, the largest lake in Italy. The lake is sporty and lively with sailors, windsurfers and boaters all around.

After checking in and having a group luncheon in town, we’ll board the local ferry for the resort town of Sirmione, known for its thermal baths and medieval castle overlooking the lake. Set at the tip of a peninsula, Sirmione also houses the archaeological site of Grotte di Catullo, a Roman villa built at the end of the 1st century BC. If you would like to tour the villa, your concierge, Vicki, can help you with the purchase of tickets. 

After some time to explore the unique town, we will take the ferry back to our hotel and the evening is yours to explore and find a local restaurant to enjoy authentic, northern Italian fare with friends.

OPTIONAL COOKING LESSON / DINNER:  Afternoon private transfer to a cooking school located in a beautiful, private house, on a hill, overlooking the lake. There we will have a hands-on cooking class followed by dinner of our own creation. Transfer back to our hotel for a free evening. 

Day 7- Wednesday, September 25, 2019 (B,D)

Today, enjoy a leisurely breakfast at our hotel before we depart for the wine region of Bardolino, the pretty resort town with rolling hills of olive groves, grape vines, flowering plants and tall Cypress trees and known for it’s delicious wine. After free time for shopping and lunch on our own in town, we’ll visit an olive oil museum to learn about how olive oil is made and will be able to buy the frantoio’s own DOP extra-virgin oil. Our next stop is a Bardolino vineyard, where we’ll have a private wine tasting before we return to our hotel for a free afternoon.

We will come together, this evening, as a group for our farewell dinner, in town.

Day 8- Thursday, September 26, 2019 (B)

After breakfast, join our pre-arranged transfer to the Milan Airport or continue on with our Tour Concierge Vicki to join another group in Venice, before our Croatia Cruise!

*Please keep in mind that Italy is hilly and sidewalks and roads are often cobbled and uneven.

*Note: Itinerary and activities are subject to change at the discretion of our local operators without compensation. Singles Travel International is not responsible for the consequences of any changes.

FAQs

Once you make your online reservation, an STI reservation specialist will contact you to review and recommend additional services. Depend on them for assistance with airfare, proper protection, pre and post tour services. Once that step is complete, you will receive a final invoice from us confirming your reservation details.

Congratulations on making a reservation with Singles Travel International for your next vacation!

WHAT NEXT?
Complete your profile and post a message on the chat to say hello to your fellow travelers.

REVIEW the important information on the FAQ tab for this trip .

What’s Next?
Your “Final Vacation Details & Meetup Information” including transportation and how to meet up with the group will be available on the YOUR TRAVEL DOCUMENTS button on the left navigation bar on the trip site, 21 days prior to trip start date.

SOCIALIZE
Say hello to your fellow travelers on the chat!

DON’T MISS OUT 
Get the best deals on optional “Add-ons”. Review the Trip Options and make all reservations so you don’t miss out on any limited or time-sensitive offers.

PASSPORT MANDATORY
A passport is required for US citizens and be sure to confirm that your passport is current and will be valid at least six months after your departure. If you do not have one or need a new one, contact the State Department Passport Office in your area immediately or visit their website.

Non US Citizens are responsible for verifying their own required documentation for this tour.

UPLOAD a COLOR copy of your passport to us within 7 days of your reservation (within 24 hours if reserved after May 22, 2019). Note that a passport is mandatory and must be valid for 6 months form your return date.

Click here to upload to our secure folder.

INSURANCE:
Travel Insurance is available through Travel Guard and we sent you a quote regarding travel insurance after reserving your vacation.  If you have any questions, Travel Guard’s professional, expert agents are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Call us today if you have not received your Travel Guard quote or CLICK HERE to go directly to Travel Guard and request a policy quote. It only takes a few minutes.

Questions and comments after you have reserved your vacation are addressed promptly when you send a message to us at service@singlestravelintl.com.

Of course not. You will be pleased to find out that nearly 90% of our guests on every trip sign up and have never met anyone before joining the group. In 24 years, we have perfected the singles vacation experience. It is paramount that our guests meet each other right away and have opportunities to mingle every day. From the moment you join our tour, our STI Concierge is waiting to meet you. Our first day begins with an orientation and the camaraderie builds as we go along. The nature of the trip is trying something new, challenging yourself and motivating those around you. The bonds that develop on our tours are by far the strongest and longest lasting.

Absolutely. Our site is so popular that we guarantee to find a roommate for you or the single room is on us! In order to take advantage of our offer, you must be paid in full by May 22, 2019. Book today as we are limited to only a few single reservations, based on a first come, first serve basis.

Roommate matches are based on the same sex, general age range and smoking preference whenever possible, but not guaranteed. STI reserves the right to make any match up until day of departure, including roommate changes once on tour for members who select the Share & Save option.

We highly recommend that our guests contact their roommates in advance. Booked members have access to our private online chat. Meet your roommate as well as the other members on your vacation. Singles Travel International makes every effort to accommodate requests, but does not guarantee the satisfaction or success of a roommate match. It’s the responsibility of the guest to contact his/her roommate and ask the appropriate questions.

Optional pre and post cruise/tour stays are not eligible for the guarantee. Chances are excellent that we’ll find you a match, but if no match found by 30 days prior to departure, member pays the single supplement.

Read more about Roommate Matching on our Frequently Asked Questions found at the Help Center.

The tour begins in Milan on September 19, 2019, and ends on the morning of September 26, 2019. Therefore the tour is 7 nights/8 days. Note: Flights from North America must depart on September 18, 2019 in order to arrive in Milan on September 19. Your return flight from Milan Airport (MXP) arrives in North America on the same day, so the actual length of the trip is 8 nights/9 days (first night on airplane).

September is one of the best months for visiting Italy, when temperatures are still warm and the crowds are fewer. While there may be some rain, it is usually not long-lasting.

It is important to remember that the main tourism season stretches from mid-April to the end of September with July and August being peak months. The best time to visit Italy is in the quieter part of the season, from April to June and from September to October when weather is usually good, prices lower and there are fewer tourists.

A deposit is due at time of reservation. Refer to the Price and Options tab for the amount. Final payment is due in our office by May 22, 2019. A reminder will be emailed to you 14 days prior to due date and you may choose to pay your remaining balance, via PayPal, or call our office, with your payment details, to secure your reservation. If you make a reservation after May 22, full payment will be automatically charged at time of reservation and penalties will apply.

 

Yes. All cancellations must be made in writing to Singles Travel International and are subject to per person penalties as follows:

After deposit and at anytime of cancellation, a minimum charge of $200.00 plus credit card charges will apply in addition to other penalties listed below.

April 1 and May 22, 2019 – $600 penalty applies.

After May 22, 2019 – 100% penalty applies.

Note that if you elect to take a roommate and he/she cancels after our cut off date, we will do everything to find a new match. However, if no match is found, the difference in cost for a single cabin/room is the responsibility of the guest who cancels. No refund will be given to the guest who cancels, regardless of cruise or tour company policy as stated above. Singles Travel International is not responsible for costs related to cancellations after our cut off date.

 

Make sure your flight arrives at the Milan Airport (MXP) by 12:00 PM, on September 19, 2019 in order to transfer with the group. Our STI Concierge will be  waiting to meet and greet all of our members and transfer, together, to the hotel.

Singles Travel International is a vacation event company that plans singles events and markets our events at our expense to create a “singles only” experience. We do not allow guests to join the group unless the reservation has been made by STI. Our policy is firm for tours and cruises, as well as pre and post trip hotel stays. Members and friends that “show up” will not be allowed to participate without paying an equivalent fee to the rest of the group that made the reservation with STI. Your credit card on file will automatically be charged.

All guests are required to travel with a valid Passport that does not expire prior to 6 months after your departure. No visas are required for US or Canadian citizens. Non US citizens are responsible for adhering to Italian regulations. Contact the nearest Italian Consulate for details.

In order to accommodate singles from all over the world, our tours and cruises are priced as land/cruise only. Therefore, airfare is additional. Singles Travel International is a licensed ticketing agency and oftentimes has low negotiated fares.

In order to be ready to begin the tour in Milan (MXP) on Thursday, September 19, we recommend that you arrive before 12 p.m. If traveling from the US, you will need to depart on September 18. We offer only one group transfer to the hotel. In the event that you must transfer on your own, the rate is 300 Euros.

Schedule your return flight from Milan (MXP) to depart after 11 a.m. on Thursday, September 26. There will only be one scheduled group transfer, for additional cost, departing at 6:30 AM. In order to take advantage of the group rate, you must schedule your flight to depart after 11:00 AM. In the event that you must transfer on your own, the rate is 300 Euros.

Looking for the ultimate experience?  Add our  2 night package,in Venice, September 26-28 followed by the Singles Sailing Adventure Croatia. Add on the group transfer option ($149) when you purchase this tour in order to transfer with the group from Lake Garda to Venice. Transfer on your own will be 325 Euros.

Please contact your preferred carrier directly to make your reservation. If Singles Travel International issues a promotional economy fare, granting of frequent flyer credit is entirely at the airline’s discretion. If the flights are eligible, to ensure you earn frequent flyer credit from the airline, give your frequent flyer account number when you check in for your flights. In addition, save your boarding passes and the passenger receipt from your airline ticket. You may need to submit these to the airline (not to Singles Travel International) to claim any credit allowed.

Our tour does not include airfare, 3 dinners, 4 lunches, transfer to airport on September 26 or optional excursions. You are responsible for alcoholic beverages (except when included in STI events), incidentals such as laundry and phone calls, plus gratuities to STI staff ($15 per day) and local guides.

It has been our experience, over 24 years, that the best possible quality of service is achieved when our Concierge Team is compensated by tips from our delighted members. This is their best incentive to make your vacation an exceptional experience. You will have an opportunity to reward your STI Concierge at the end of your tour. It is customary to tip, but of course, gratuities are at your discretion and are greatly appreciated for a job well done!

Most places in Italy, breakfast is an assortment of sweets (cakes, breads, croissants), cereals, yogurts, juices and coffee; at some locations, we will have a much broader selection for breakfast, including meats, cheeses and eggs. In every location, we select restaurants that offer the very best local cuisine—fresh seafood, pastas, produce, meats and cheeses; we know that food plays a large role in the traveler discovering the heart and soul of an area, and we try to help you discover that for yourself. For most included lunches and dinners, we will have carefully selected fixed-price menus (some of which will include a limited amount of local wine and water). If you wish to have more water or wine than the inclusion, you can order more at your own expense. Some lunches will simply be a pre-set menu of local specialties served to the entire group.

 

As a travel club, matchmaking is not our focus. We offer an opportunity for single travelers to see the world in the company of other singles and do not guarantee ratios or ages. Our vacations are specifically designed for Baby Boomers and active travelers with an average age range of 50-70. We generally have a ratio of 60/40, women to men. Ages listed on our page are not restricted. They are simply used as a guideline.

We recommend that you meet the members of the STI Community online where you may view and interact with members via “Who’s Going” on every trip page. This is the best way to find out exactly who will be on your vacation.

We encourage our members to complete their personal profiles including a photo. Knowing who’s on the trip in advance makes socializing before and during your vacation easier and more fun.

Currently, most airlines will allow you to check two bags, weighing 50 pounds each, for a fee. In addition you may carry-on one bag plus a personal item such as a purse or briefcase. Please check with your air carrier for up-to-the minute regulations and fees for checked baggage. IMPORTANT: Porterage is included for 1 bag only.

Europe is still an elegant place when it comes to attire. Mixing in with the locals is much easier to do when dressed smartly and respectfully. For touring during the day, wear comfortable shoes and layers will be key for a time of year with fluctuating and unpredictable weather. Scarves are always fashionable and are a lightweight way to completely change your look!

 

The tours may last anywhere in length from 1 to 3 hours of intermittent walking and standing. Although these tours aren’t strenuous, a certain amount of stamina and health are required in order to be able to walk slowly and stand for extended periods of time. At any time, you can opt out of an excursion! After all, this is your vacation. Keep in mind that part of the charm of Italy and Europe, in general, is the terrain—towns are literally perched upon the sides of hills—therefore, in most locations, there will be uneven surfaces and hills to ascend and descend.

Packing Tips: Take only what you need; don’t over pack. Save room for souvenirs and purchases. Pack flat and full to avoid wrinkling. Bring wardrobe basics; mix and match 1-3 colors. Don’t pack anything valuable, fragile or perishable. Label your luggage with an outside tag, and place an identification card inside each suitcase. Comfortable walking shoes are a must. Our tour is moderately active with a lot of walking.

Essential Items: We highly recommend that you bring the following items.

– A smile and an open minded attitude
– Notepad, reading material and a travel journal to write all about your Italy experience.
– Bathing suit, we have our own indoor pool!
– Sunglasses, sun block, sun hat or visor
– A good, comfortable pair of broken-in walking shoes
– A pair of shoes for restaurants (loafers, sandals, etc.)
– Ladies will want to bring a nicer warm wrap and gentlemen a nicer jacket, for evening wear.
– Water Resistant Jacket with light lining and/or collapsible umbrella, just in case
– Toiletries: all your daily essentials
– Prescription medications: sufficient supply for the entire trip plus legible written prescription in case of loss. Keep medications in their original, labeled container. Always pack your medications in your carry-on bag!
– Eyeglasses, contacts, contact lens solution. You may want to bring along a written prescription for your eyewear in case of loss.
– Over the counter medications: cold remedy, aspirin/pain reliever, antacid/stomach upset remedy, Band-Aids, money or other anti-bacterial medication.
– Travel alarm clock with illuminated face
– Small, Swiss Army type utility knife. Remember to pack this in your checked luggage!
– Home address book (smart phone with contacts) for sending postcards to all your friends who said they’d go but didn’t! A useful tip is to pre-write or print names and addresses of people to whom you want to send postcards on sheets of self-adhesive labels. It saves time and space in your luggage.
– Photography Equipment: Bring a sufficient supply of film, cards, extra batteries and/or chargers.
– A European adapter and converter for your electrical gadgets.

The currency used in Italy is the Euro.

Exchange Rates: The exchange rate for the Euro fluctuates often. You may find the current exchange rates in the financial sections of newspapers and on the Internet. You may also find a number of websites by typing “foreign exchange rates” in your search engine. Two specific websites are: xe.com and money.cnn.com/markets/currencies.

Currency Exchange: Many locations will accept major credit cards, but for incidentals and small vendors you will need some local currency. ATM machines will dispense local currency for internationally accepted ATM cards and/or credit cards. They are usually conveniently located in large cities, but are limited in smaller towns and rural areas.

You may exchange cash and traveler’s checks for local currencies at hotels, banks and exchange bureaus. Banks offer the best rates, but beware, hours are limited in Italy. They are generally open from 9 a.m.-12 noon and 2-5 p.m.

You may purchase Euros from your local bank in advance or get a small amount on arrival at the airport. There is always an exchange at airports.

We recommend that you bring a combination of $3-500 USD depending on your spending habits for meals and shopping, as well as a debit card for withdrawals and a major credit card, preferably VI or MC.

Credit Cards: Your credit card will be accepted to settle your incidentals bill at all hotels and in major shops and restaurants.

No inoculations are required for travel to Europe. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control) recommends updating all routine booster shots for travel almost anywhere. In addition, we suggest that you have a physical check-up before your trip, and discuss the type of trip in which you are participating with your physician.

You and your physician may access much more, very detailed health information for travelers (including tips on staying healthy while traveling) on the CDC website, cdc.gov. Click their “Traveler’s Health” link or call toll-free 24-hours at 1-800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636).

Travel Insurance is available through Travel Guard and in addition to direct access immediately upon completing your purchase, you will receive a quote from Travel Guard regarding travel insurance after reserving your vacation. If you have any questions, Travel Guard professional, expert agents are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Call us, if you have not received your quote within 3 days.

Your “Final Vacation Details & Meetup Information” including transportation and how to meet up with the group will be available on the YOUR TRAVEL DOCUMENTS button on the left navigation bar on the trip site, 14 days prior to trip start date.

For easy, less expensive communication in Europe, you may be able to use your own phone plan, generally .99-1.99 per minute (check before departure).

Internet access is available almost everywhere, including our hotels, but access is not always free. We recommend that you contact your provider before you depart to add an international roaming, text and data package. Most may be disabled once you return home.

Our office is open Monday-Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. In an emergency after hours, please contact Tammy Weiler at 815-715-6998.

All countries you will visit have laws against the purchase and export of certain items, including antiquities, national cultural property and certain animal products, especially endangered species (ivory, rhino horn, tortoise shell, coral, feathers, etc.). Additionally, the United States has laws prohibiting the import of certain items, which include many of the same things. You face having your purchase confiscated and/or heavy fines for exporting or importing prohibited items.

On return to the U.S., your baggage is subject to search by U.S. Customs. Currently, you are permitted to bring back $800 of goods duty free. Persons aged 21 or over may also bring in one liter of liquor and one carton of cigarettes. If you plan to purchase a lot of souvenirs or expensive items, it is important to retain all purchase receipts. However, please note that U.S. Customs may not accept a receipt as true cost if it seems unusually low for the estimated value of the item. You may access the regulations and restrictions governing US Customs on their official website, click here to learn more.

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Meet Your STI Concierge

Vicki

Hi! My name is Vicki, and I am so happy to have joined the STI family as a Concierge! After having a career as a health-and-fitness writer and then having children, I decided to make a career change in order to pursue my love for travel. For 9 years now, I have designed small-group tours all over Europe and have led tours in Italy, Malta and Croatia. From the moment I began leading tours, being able to share wonderful experiences and make people smile through discovering a new location - or perhaps through discovering something about themselves - I felt as if I had found exactly what I was meant to do! I look forward to making your vacation dreams come true.

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What Our Members Are Saying

WOW!! Where do I start? I would have to say this is the best vacation I have ever had!! I don't think I ever laughed, ate, drank, and danced so much. I am so glad to have found this site and met so many wonderful people and made great memories that will last forever. I would recommend using STI for a singles cruise or any trip. Thank you and everyone from the trip!

Fotolia_58389435_Subscription_Monthly_M_04    Eric W, Hamilton, NJ
    

I guess you already know that I had an awesome time! The one thing I want to really stress is that you gals really had a knack for making me feels as if I were a part of something, something really special. I feel like a whole new world has been opened up for me.

Fotolia_58389435_Subscription_Monthly_M_04    Dubi D.
    Savannah, GA