Journey to the Homeland Tours
North Dakota State University Libraries
Germans from Russia Heritage Collection
North Dakota State University Libraries, Fargo
2015 TOUR GUIDELINES AND COSTS
Preparing for the Tour
Tour Land Price: $3,350 (double occupancy) or $3,650 (single occupancy)
Register and pay your $600 registration fee by January 15th and you’ll receive $150 OFF your total tour price!
Deadline to sign up has been extended to February 1st!
Tour payments according to the following schedule:
December 1, 2014
|$600 non-refundable deposit||No|
December 1, 2014
|1st Tour Payment||Until March 1, 2015|
February 1, 2015
|2nd Tour Payment||Until March 1, 2015|
February 1, 2015
|Tip Fund (Required)||Until March 1, 2015|
February 1, 2015
|Optional Alsace France Day-Tour (Lunch Inluded)||Until March 1, 2015|
March 1, 2015
|Single room surcharge**||Until March, 1 2015|
** If requesting single room single room for hotels there is a $300 charge for single-room supplement.
Full payment can be made at any time. All checks should be payable to "NDSU Libraries." Please keep this table handy and mark your calendars with the payment schedule listed above. Tour Land Price can not be paid with credit card.
Should a reservation need to be canceled for any reason, a full refund less a $600 U.S. administrative fee will be made for a tour cancellation received on or before 1 March 2015. If the tour is canceled by us due to a lack of registrations, you will receive a full refund. We need to secure 17 confirmed registrations before 1 February 2014 to be able to offer the tour.
From our tour experiences of 1996 to 2014, we specify a charge of $100 USD for each tour member to cover tips. We have found it is much easier if tour members know in advance that each person has participated equally with the tips. These tips will be for speakers, translators, bus drivers, restaurant and hotel employees, tourist facilities, and tour guides. Howevers, tips for meals and activities outside of group activities, are your responsibility.
A separate check in the amount of $100, payable to "NDSU Libraries", should be sent with the final payment of 1 February 2015.
ALSACE, FRANCE DAY TOUR
When we are in Stuttgart, Binder Travel will provide bus transportation from the hotel for the all-day tour to Alsace, France. We will need to inform Binder Travel about the size of the bus needed depending on the number of tour members who wish to take the "Alsace Day Tour". The cost of the tour is $100 USD for each person which includes an Alsatian lunch in Sessenheim, France. You will need to identify with response if you definitely wish to take the Alsace tour. Binder Travel is recognized for high quality transportation and services.
Please send a separate check of $100 USD each person if you wish to take the Alsace Tour. Mark on your check payable to "NDSU Libraries" for "Alsace Tour". Check should be sent with payment on 1 February 2015.
To assist everyone in becoming familiar with each other, and to assist us in becoming familiar with your expectations of the tour, please fill out the Biography Form, this is due by February 1 of your tour year. A booklet of tour member biographies will be prepared and sent to you prior to the tour. Tour members can also complete their biographies on another form with computers. If possible, please type biography summary.
BACKGROUND OF PAST TOUR MEMBERS
Visit the GRHC website at http://library.ndsu.edu/grhc/outreach/journey/index.html to see messages sent by tour members, photographs, newspaper articles and other items from past tours.
Please contact your local Public Health Office or your family physician for vaccinations. Public Health officials recommend various vaccinations or boosters depending on which parts of the world you will be visiting. At the very least, please investigate vaccinations or boosters for Hepatitis A, Tetanus and Polio. Costs for the vaccinations will vary. Do not wait until the last minute to obtain these vaccinations as your local public health office or personal physician may not have them on hand.
TRAVEL AND HEALTH INSURANCE
Contact your health insurance provider to verify your "out of country" health insurance coverage on your existing policy. According to the U.S. Department of State, the Social Security Medicare program does not provide coverage for hospital or medical costs outside the USA. Depending on your coverage, additional health insurance may be warranted for this trip. Contact your personal property insurance provider regarding your coverage against loss of material goods on your homeowners policy. Some insurance providers do not cover against theft or loss on items when you are outside the USA. Still cameras, video cameras and other personal items can be expensive to replace if lost or stolen. We highly encourage you to purchase travel insurace for your tour costs to protect against the loss of tour fees should you not be able to make the trip for some reason. The brochures provided by Kvamme Travel offer several types of insurance for all the items covered above. Your choice of coverages will depend on your personal needs. It is highly recommended that you secure travel insurance.
MEDICINES - WATER
Be sure to bring an adequate supply of any prescription medications you will be taking. It is also suggested that you bring an adequate supply of any non-prescription medications you may need such as aspirin, ibuprofen, antacids, liquid or solid, Imodium AD, and a gentle laxative. Chlorinated water treatment pills are not really necessary, as bottled water, both spring and mineral water, are readily available. You will find it helpful to bring a small squeeze bottle for water to use for personal consumption.
The hotel often provide bar soap in the bathrooms of each guestroom, however depending on your personal choice, you might want to bring your own. Toothpaste, mouthwash, shampoo, conditioner, sunscreen, and deodorants are all available for purchase in these cities, but they may not be up to standards you are accustomed to. Some sort of head cover or hat, and the use of sunscreen are recommended as direct sunlight will be very intense during the time of our trip. Sunglasses are also recommended.
Europe can become very warm in late May and June. Mornings can be quite cool, followed by very warm and humid temperatures in the afternoon. For mornings, you might want a light windbreaker. A heavy coat is not necessary, a sweater will do. For the afternoons, bring warm weather clothes, shorts, light shirts, and cover ups to protect your skin from the sun. Since we will be doing a lot of walking, sturdy walking shoes are a necessity. One pair of dress shoes will be sufficient. Dress clothes are recommended for social events such as the dinners. Men may want to bring a sport coat or blazer with dress slacks a dress shirt and a tie. Women should consider bringing one dress for the social occasions. Try to travel light. Remember, if you feel you are packing too many clothes, you probably are.
Commercial power in the Europe is different than we have in the USA. Power in the Europe is provided at 240V / 50hz. Power in the USA is provided at 120V / 60hz. Most appliances manufactured today have switches that allow the use of either type of power. Most camcorder, laptop PCs, hairdryers, electric shavers, and haircurlers are equipped to accept both 120V / 50hz, and 240V / 60hz. A power converter is essential if your appliance is not built to accept both. Check out the labels of your appliances. Power outlet adapters for Europe are available at most department stores for a few dollars.
It is highly recommended that each tour member has no more than one check-in piece of luggage and one carry-on. Each carry-on must be no larger than 22 inches wide, 14 inches high, and 9 inches deep (22" X 14" X 9"). If the carry-on does not fit into a box of these dimensions at time of check-in, you will not be allowed to bring it on the aircraft. Carry-on luggage that does not fit into the box will be checked. Do not place cameras, camcorders, or other expensive items in checked luggage. It is recommended you make provisions to take these items as carry-on.
Put your name, address and telephone numbers inside and outside of each piece of luggage. Use covered tags to avoid casual observation of your identity or nationality and if possible, lock your luggage.
From past tour experiences, we have found it much easier if each tour member has only one piece of check-in luggage.
Bring extra camera batteries. Due to the possibility of rain, an umbrella would be a good idea. A bag or pack with a shoulder strap to carry items during the day is also a good idea. It can become tiresome carrying cameras, jackets, sweaters, water bottles, and other items. Fanny packs large enough to carry several small items have been found to be quite useful.
Recording your adventure is something you will want to do. Bring a small notebook to record your photos and daily activities. Despite your best intentions, remembering what happened, where it happened and when can all become a blur. Some tour members have used small portable tape recorders that fit in a shirt pocket. Make notes often during the day. You will appreciate those notes when you are back home trying to remember the name of that church or what village that cemetery you visited was in.
It is a good idea to apply for your passport at least three months before you plan to travel. Passport applications are available at your local post office or local clerk of court office. Bring along photocopies of your passport and keep them in a separate place. In case you misplace or lose your original, the photocopies will make it easier for the American consul to assist in your return to the USA.
A visa is not required for Canadian or USA citizens if traveling to Germany.
TRAVEL DOCUMENT PHOTOCOPIES
Remember to make two photocopies of your passport, your airline tickets and itinerary, and other important documents that you take with you on the tour. Leave one copy at home with someone you will be able to contact, and take the other copy along on the tour. Keep the photocopies in a safe place, such as in your luggage, separate from the originals.
PHOTOCOPIES OF CREDIT CARDS
It is very important that each tour member creates a record of their Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Diners Club credit cards. Make a list of the telephone number contacts to these companies should you lose your credit cards and it becomes necessary to cancel them. Verify that you will be able to call the company from Europe should any thing happen. Make two copies. Bring one along and leave one with someone at home that you will be able to contact. That way, if you are not able to call the company from Europe, your contact in the United States will be able to do it for you.
Laundry services are available in Germany.
MONEY - CREDIT CARDS
American and Visa credit cards work in Germany but may charge a foreign transaction fee. Traveler's checks are very difficult to convert to cash. It is recommended you bring enough cash, $300 - $700 USD, to meet your needs. Contact your bank and secure new or almost new bills, as cash exchange locations will not accept old or worn bills. The currency exchanges accept large denomination American currency, so it is not necessary to bring a large number of $1 and $5 dollar bills. When you exchange money in the Germany, you will be given a document as a record of your transactions. Be sure to keep these documents, as you will be asked to present them when leaving each country.
Travelers checks and telephone calling cards, and traveler's checks are readily accepted in Germany and France.
Bring enough cash for your purchases of souvenirs, extra beverages, meals on your own, telephone calls, taxis, tips, Alsace tour expense, and anything else you may purchase. For example, taxi trips cost between $5 and $15. Bottled water, beer, or soda is available at cost at meals provided at the hotel. All other meals you may eat outside the hotel are on your own.
Please make use of some type of money-belt or hidden purse. Various types are available at department store luggage departments. Keep all your documents, airline tickets, currency exchange receipts, etc., with you at all times. Keep your passport with you at all times. Do not keep important documents in external purses.
Do not bring expensive jewelry or unnecessary valuables along. Only bring necessary credit cards and identification. Leave those "nice to have, but not really necessary" items in your wallet at home. Those membership cards, hunting licenses and library cards will be there when you return home.
Please realize we are large group of people touring in another culture. Everything will not be the same as how we live in the USA. What we expect in certain situations may not be how things are done in the culture of Germany. Use common sense and courtesy and you will usually come out ahead. Keep a positive attitude and it will have an affect if you become frustrated. We have not lost a tour member yet!
Any income generated from the Journey to the Homeland Tours is donated to the Germans from Russia Heritage Collection, North Dakota State University Libraries, Fargo. These projects include: 1) preservation, documentation, and collection of archival materials relating to the Germans from Russia; 2) preservation and collection of textiles and clothing relating to the Germans from Russia; 3) translations projects; 4) publishing of books relating to the Germans from Russia; 5) displays and exhibits; 6) documentary programs on the Germans from Russia; 7) purchase of books and educational materials for the Germans from Russia Heritage Collection; 8) oral history interviews; 9) other projects and promotions that fulfill the mission of the NDSU Libraries' Germans from Russia Heritage Collection; 10) salaries of employees to carry out above projects.
Additional information will be sent to you later. Please write, telephone or e-mail if you have additional questions.