Notes on Specific Destinations
England, Scotland & Wales (United Kingdom)
Currency: £ (GBP or British pound)
Be prepared for changeable weather, especially rain. Good waterproof gear is essential. Seasonal temperatures vary greatly from the north of Scotland (cooler and windier) to the south of England (warmer). Yes, English is the language of the land. However, you'll encounter a wide variety of accents. Don't be surprised if you have trouble understanding what is said. Simply ask for a repeat – and a slower one at that!
Public transportation in the UK is generally stellar. You can get around the cities via bus, taxi, Uber/Lyft and often by subway or above-ground trolley or tram. We recommend walking whenever possible. Travel between cities is easy via rail or bus. If you are adding time to your trip on either side of the tour, consider using public transportation rather than renting a car. Driving on the opposite side of the road adds a level of stress to getting around -- and it's really not necessary!
Tipping is customary at 5-10 % at bars, restaurants and for transportation.
The UK has its own adapter (three prongs), different from the European version. Be sure you get the correct one.
Currency: kr (ISK or Icelandic króna)
Despite its name, Iceland is not much colder (or icier) than the Pacific Northwest of the US. However, you do want to be prepared for bracing temperatures and lots of wind, especially if the itinerary includes a visit out onto the glaciers or time at beaches and coastline. A bathing suit is essential for soaking in Iceland's fantastic geothermal pools! Icelander's take the cleanliness of their pools very seriously and they do not treat the water with chemicals. Visitors are expected to shower thoroughly prior to soaking at the changing rooms available on site. The high mineral content of the water can wreak havoc with your hair. If you are at all concerned, bring a bathing cap or keep your hair up and away from the water while soaking.
Most everyone in Iceland speak English very well. Town, food, and street names can be difficult for travelers to pronounce as Icelandic words are often quite long. When in doubt, have a printed copy of whatever you are hoping to locate and simply point. It's also good idea to keep a currency conversion app on your phone or a written reminder of equivalencies in your wallet. Prices for everything – food, lodging, gifts, alcohol, transportation – are higher than in the US.
Tipping is not customary in Iceland. Everyone, including restaurant servers, is paid a living wage.
You will need the European adapter (two round prongs) for use in Iceland.
Copenhagen & the Faroe Islands
Currency: In Copenhagen it is kr (Danish krone or DKK), in the Faroe Islands is kr (Faroes króna or FOK)
As in Iceland, you'll find most Danes speak English. The native language on the Faroe Islands is Faroese. Residents learn Danish from an early age and most also learn English. Our trip to this part of the world is usually in the autumn, when temperatures are quite cool. Thermal layers, gloves, hats and scarves are recommended. A waterproof outer layer is essential. Be aware that we travel via ferry (between islands) and into tunnels (under/through mountains).
DKK are accepted in the Faroe Islands and credit cards are almost universally accepted when traveling in both locations. You definitely do not need to get Faroese krone prior to the trip.
European waitstaff are not as dependent upon tips as those in the US. They receive a standard (and decent) living wage. If you would like to express appreciation for a very nice meal and good service, 8-10% is generous. For large parties, gratuity at that rate is often included in the bill.
You will need the European adapter (two round prongs) for use in Denmark and the Faroe Islands.
Currency: € (Euro or EUR)
Ireland is an easy place to feel at home. Locals are very friendly, even if you can't quite understand their enchanting Irish brogue. The weather is mild but wet. Be sure to bring a waterproof outer layer and good shoes for walking on wet, slippery or muddy surfaces.
We strongly encourage our travelers venture out to the local pubs whenever possible. Gathering in the evenings to check out the craic, have a pint and enjoy a traditional music session are time-honored activities in Ireland. It's a beautiful way to round out the day. Venture up to the bar and strike up a conversation with anyone! Music generally starts around 9 pm. Even those who profess themselves "not a night owl" should make an effort to spend at least one evening out. NOT to be missed.
European waitstaff are not as dependent upon tips as those in the US. They receive a standard (and decent) living wage. If you would like to express appreciation for a very nice meal and good service, 8-10% is generous.
Even though Ireland is part of the European Union, you'll need to bring the UK adapter (three prongs) with you for the trip. It's a holdover... just like driving on the opposite side of the road.
The Greek Isles
Currency: € (Euro or EUR)
We typically visit Greece in late spring and early summer. It is a warm, arid climate. Temperatures on the Greek mainland can get very hot. It is generally cooler on our boat, the Ageotissa, and out among the islands We recommend you have Dramamine and/or ginger chews (a type of candy) with you. We will be on or in the water most days. Your bathing suit is essential gear on this trip! Sunscreen, a hat and water bottle are a MUST. We recommend long pants, closed shoes and walking sticks for wanders on the islands. Paths can be rocky, often overgrown. A small cotton kerchief or larger, rayon scarf is also a good idea. Soaked with water and placed around your neck or shoulders, it will keep you cool and protected from the sun.
Please note: When entering churches or monasteries, it is courteous to wear modest clothing. Shorts and tank tops are considered too revealing. Most locations will have long black skirts available to put on over your shorts as a temporary measure. Be prepared by tucking a modest shirt, skirt, sarong and/or wrap into your backpack each day.
Standard tipping in Greece is 5-10% in restaurants, a single Euro (€) for porters, and €3-5 for a special guide during day trips. They are not customary for bartenders or taxi drivers. It’s easy enough to say “Keep the change” and won’t be taken as an insult. Please prepare to tip $100 per person for our week’s care, cooking and service by the five crew members of the Ageotissa.
If you’re shopping for souvenirs or local, handmade goods, be aware that a great deal of what you see is made in China. Ask questions, beware of products offered at a cheap price, and look for labeling that states “Made in Greece”.