Starting in 2024 Americans wanting to travel to Europe will need to apply for clearance to enter the EU via the European Travel Information Information and Authorization System (ETIAS). ETIAS is a new electronic travel authorization that is for travelers who currently can travel to Europe without a visa. Technically, it is not a visa but a background check and pass issued by ETIAS. For updates register here: https://etias.com/etias-application
No, the travel ban has been lifted and no documentation is needed other than a passport and travel pass.
No. I do my own research on flights, lodging and ground transportation.
For airfare try Google Flights at https://www.google.com/travel/flights or Skyscanner at www.skyscanner.net You can track airfares for your itinerary.
For ground transportation (i.e. train, metro, ferries, car, etc.) try: Rome2rio, Google Maps
- Google Maps
- Netherlands shttps://www.ns.nl/en
- Italy https://italiatren.com/en
- Italy https://www.italiarail.com/
- France https://www.sncf.com/en
- France https://www.sncf-connect.com/en-en/
If you use your phone as is, you'll likely incur the added expense of international calling rates.
In the Netherlands, you can get a Dutch SIM card at the airport or at a local phone store in Amsterdam to use the local network there.
In Italy, SIM cards are not sold at the Genoa airport. They can be purchased at cell phone stores (i.e. TIM) in the bigger towns (i.e. Genoa, Acqui Terme, Alba, etc.).
Free messaging apps include: WhatsApp and FB Messenger. As a group we typically use WhatsApp to communicate amongst the group and guide.
Check w/ your carrier regarding adding international calling during your vacation. Verizon for example has a plan for $10/day. (i.e. if you make 1 call or 5 calls on a Monday, it’s $10 for that day). https://www.verizon.com/solutions-and-services/international-travel/
Yes, however, you will want to inform your bank and/or credit card company that you will be traveling abroad during our dates and making purchases. If you don’t, there’s the possibility that your bank or credit card company may lock down your account thinking that there are fraudulent charges on your account. (This happened to one of our group members on a previous trip; a temporary hold was placed on their account until their bank was notified). It is possible to make cash advances at Bank ATM’s for a small fee. Avoid private ATM’s as they charge a higher fee.
No, but if you’d like to have some euros in your pocket when you arrive you can exchange money here via your bank or do it upon arrival at the airport or via a local bank or ATM. If you exchange dollars for euros through your bank, there may be a day or two turnaround time. It is always helpful to have some cash / euros on you for tips, small vendors and street markets.
Yes! While it's not essential it comes in handy for short connections. The Global Entry is an optional US Customs express lane when returning to the US. If you know that you are going to be traveling more than once outside the country this is probably worth looking at. As a bonus, when approved for Global Entry, you are automatically qualified for TSA PreCheck (fast pass for domestic flights).
Yes. Consider: Travelex, Seven Corners, Travel Guard, or Arch Roam Right
After reservation until 42 days before day of departure: 15% of travel sum including bike rental
41 to 29 days before the day of departure: 35% of travel sum including bike rental
28 to 22 days before day of departure: 40% including bike rental
21 to 15 days before day of departure: 50% including bike rental
14 to 6 days before day of departure: 75% including bike rental
5 days to 1 day before day of departure: 90% including bike rental
On day of departure and no show: 100% including bike rental
Quick Facts regarding passport validity -
- A passport must be valid for at least three months beyond the planned date of departure from the Schengen area.
- Blank passport pages: Two pages required for entry stamp
- Tourist visa required? No, not for stays under 90 days
Yes. If you're planning on renting one in the Netherlands or going to ride with us in Italy, it is highly recommended to try one out here prior to the trip. You don't need to run out and buy one. You can go to your local bike shop and take one for a test ride or go on one of the local tour company rides (i.e. Biltmore Estate Bike Barn). They are "the equalizer" and enable our group to stay together (in Italy). While the Netherlands is flat, half of our guests on our last trip rented one. E-bikes are heavier than non-E-bikes and the gearing is a little different given that you can regulate how much assist you want (i.e. Eco, Tour, Sport, Turbo).
We can accept a check made out to Windmill Bike Tours LLC. Multiple payments are fine. We can also accept funds via:
Zelle 828-280-1260 or [email protected]
We hope to be able to accept major credit cards by November.