Lodging can sometimes be the most challenging part of a tour.  Since every place runs differently, and none of them are in the United States, it's important that you're armed with the knowledge provided here.

Room Check is actually one of the most important parts of our day.  Itineraries and times are sometimes adjusted.  The staff will meet together before room check, and when your room is checked, the staff member will have a small list of things to cover with you.  Sometimes, the only time we communicate a change for the next day is at room check.  We'll certainly have announcements and reminders for you.   Be prepared for an actual discussion when they come to your room.  They're ready to go to bed, too, so they'll be as brief as possible.  You be sure to clarify anything that sounds confusing before they leave.

When it's TIME for room check, you're in your rooms and don't leave again until breakfast unless there is an emergency.  It's impossible to check every room right at 11.  Be in your room anyway.

We will also "check" rooms of adult travelers.  This is to ensure we keep you in the loop about any changes, announcements, or reminders.  If you're not back to your room yet, make sure you have a way to get that information - perhaps an adult friend you can call on?   One of the most frustrating situations for adult travelers arises if they miss out on information they need.  We want you to be informed, so we bother you briefly at room check time.   There have been a couple of instances on past tours in which adults went to be early or were annoyed that we woke them up.  We of course want to avoid that, but the priority is making sure we communicate with all of the travelers.  Thank you for your understanding.

And here is what's going to confuse you more than once.  Ready?  The floor up a level from the lobby?  That's the first floor.  In Europe, the bottom level is specifically called the ground floor.  After that, you start with the first floor.  It's not a huge deal, but can be frustrating if you're on the 12th floor, and got off one level too soon and have to wait on another elevator or take the stairs from there.


We don't know the exact layout of the smaller places until a couple of days before we arrive there.  Student rooms aren't always going to be a standard 4-person room.  They might big larger, they might be smaller, you may have an apartment with a main area and some number of bedrooms coming off of that.

Also, you may very well want to change roommates throughout the tour.  Your roommates may very well want you to have new roommates.  These two reasons are why we sign up for rooms the way we do.

We will sign up for London hotel rooms during lunch on the second day of camp in West Memphis.  We will sign up for Paris roommates during supper on the second day of camp.  Even though you're still getting to know each other, the hotels need to prepare several items before we arrive so that we can check-in easily.  Pay attention at camp - as soon as we know the configuration, we'll share it with you so you have time to make plans with friends or friends-to-be, or wait and find out what fate has in store for you.  Some of our alumni made their most lasting friendships by rooming with someone they didn't know.  Yet.

Adult & family travelers:  If you registered for a specific rooming arrangement (family double, for example), your rooms have already been reserved in the names you provided.  You will not need to worry about signing up each time.

Checking in in London

London is so far North in the hemisphere that the sun doesn't set fully until around 10p in the summer.  Your body clock is already out of whack because of the six-hour time difference, and now the sun won't behave the way you expect it to.  But it will rise much earlier than you would expect.  The opposite occurs in the winter.  It's dark by 4 or 4:30 in the afternoon then.   Is that important? Nah.  But maybe you'll be on "Jeopardy" one day and need that tidbit.

 In PARIS, the hotel - while still different than you're used to - handles arrivals better.  It's larger and has more elevators, but it will still take a little while.  But it will take a little while - in PARIS!  One weird Paris thing - if the power doesn't work in your room, someone will need to insert the key card into a slot near the door to activate the electricity.


Each individual hotel or inn has its own way of doing things.  You'll get instructions when it's time.  The upside is that there are WAY less people trying to check in with you!


A couple quick things about showers.  There are some unusual setups.  Let's just agree that if a shower curtain or shower door doesn't go all the way around the shower/tub, make sure the water stays in the tub.  And remember - unlike US hotels, you won't usually find soap, shampoo, washcloths or fancy lotions.  You might luck in to a place that provides those things, but be prepared just in case.

Finally, here's fair warning about some potential confusion.  European toilets (I'm referring to the hotels at the moment) are sometimes a mystery unto themselves.  It's not the least bit unusual to have to learn to work the toilet in every new stop.  Might have a regular flush, might have a button or BUTTONS, might have a pull-chain, as well as other creative contraptions.  While the toilets themselves will make for great story telling back home, let's save at least a little bit of time and confusion.  If your potty has two buttons, each is meant for different things.  If one button is larger than the other - that's for flushing... um... larger jobs.  The smaller one is to get rid of liquid.  The point is to conserve water, but...   If the buttons are the same size, it's likely the buttons will have either one or two dots on them.  One dot is for going #1...  Two dots uses more water.  Lastly, it's not uncommon for there to be a second "potty" that's noticeably different from the normal one.  Use the normal looking one.  The other isn't really a potty.  Or a drinking fountain!  (That last sentence was added after an unfortunate misunderstanding a few tours ago.)