Frequently Asked Questions
When should I book my airfare?
Start checking 4-5 months or so in advance to get an idea of what flights are going for. I have found the best time to book is about 3 months before departure although this can vary. Be wary of cheap online sites that offer bookings through sites you've never heard of. If it sounds too good to be true it is! I would be happy to help you book your flight if you need assistance.
Will my cellphone work?
Most cell phones will work in Europe with no issue. It's a good idea to verify with your provider and also to check the rates of data, text and call charges.
What are some things I should bring that I might not think of?
Will my small appliances work there?
Europe uses a different voltage than in the US. The shape of the plug-in is different also. Because of this your curling irons, chargers etc. will not work without the use of an adaptor to modify the plug-in shape and a convertor to convert the electricity to the proper voltage for your appliance.
Are credit/debit cards accepted?
Yes. They are accepted in most places. American Express has limited acceptance. Visa is the most welcome. If you are using a debit card it's a good idea to have one that is linked to an account that is not your main account in case the card gets lost. This way no one can get at your "real" money. Or if you only have a card to your main account transfer the money you aren't using for travel into another account until you get back. I've never had an issue with this. It's just a good precautionary measure. Also, it's a good idea to bring a backup card in case your card doesn't work or gets lost.
TSA approved locks for your suitcase
Empty duffle bag for all your purchases. It can be your carryon on the way home so all your treasures will travel safely with you or it can be checked as an extra bag for a fee.
Kleenex for use as emergency toilet paper.
Dramamine or motion sickness medication if you are susceptible to car sickness.
Good headphones for movie watching on the airplane. The headphones handed out on the plane aren't very good.
Ziploc bags to put your phone and other valuables in if caught in a rainstorm.
A luggage scale if you have one otherwise one will be available to check the weight of your bags before returning home. 50 pounds is the maximum allowed.
Good pair of comfortable, broken in walking shoes. I can't stress this enough. Your day can quickly become miserable if your feet are hurting with every step. Most days in Florence will involve a good amount of walking. Choose comfort over fashion. High heels do not work well on cobblestone streets.
Small travel flashlight
Paint clothes that can get messy
Small camera with extra SD card. After all, this is a trip of a lifetime, your smart phone won't capture everything at it's best.
Light weight jacket
Rain coat or rain poncho
Small travel umbrella
Swimsuit - San Leo has a beautiful infinity pool and Jacuzzi.
Do I need to notify my bank of my plans?
Yes. You need to let your bank and credit card companies know your travel plans or they could deny your charges.
Is there an age limit?
Yes. All participants must be 18 or older.
What airport do I fly into?
The Florence international airport is called Peretola. The airport code is FLR.
Is there a great language barrier?
While odds are good you will encounter someone who speaks no English, it doesn't have to hinder you. I speak enough Italian to get us through in most situations. There are also usually plenty of people who speak enough English to help out, especially in the more touristy areas like Florence.
What do I need to know about my passport?
If you dont have one don't delay. They can take months to process. Also, it must be valid for 6 months AFTER you get back. If yours will expire before then you need to get it renewed. Bring a copy of your passport in case yours is lost or stolen. Also, leave a copy at home.
How strenuous are the traveling activities?
You should be OK walking most of the day and able to climb stairs comfortably. We will be walking quite a bit in Florence and Pisa. The historic city centers are relatively small and flat. Most sights can be reached on foot. Tuscany is very hilly. Most of our activities are such that we can be dropped off right where we need to be so no strenuous activity is necessary. However, there will be some uphill streets that we need to climb as we are wandering around. Also, since we will have a private driver to take us from place to place, there is no need to worry about having to haul your luggage around train stations and city streets. We will travel from door to door with our luggage.
How do I get my art home?
Your art will be packaged and shipped home for you, free of charge.
How many Euros should I bring?
It is very easy to get Euros once you arrive in Italy. Cash machines are all over the place, including the Florence airport, so you don't need to worry about bringing a large amount, if any, with you. It's nice to have some if your connecting flight is a European airport in case you want to buy something there. If you feel better bringing some with you I recommend bringing 100 just to get you started. Be aware of your daily ATM withdrawal limits as you might want to increase them for the trip.
Do I need to bring any art supplies?
Only if you want to. Everything you need for the art will be there. However, if you want to make your art more personal, the texture painting, mixed media collage and decoupage projects lend themselves very well to photos and other images or printed words. Print them on regular printer paper.
How large will the group be?
The maximum group size is 11, plus me. This is a comfortable size group to ensure that I can give everyone individual attention during our art days. It will also allow us to fit in 2 vans when travelling to our various destinations. The minimum size is five.
Please inquire if you are interested in a private larger group tour.