Preparing for your trip

Package: Highlights of the Baltics

Print this page and refer to it as you prepare for your trip!

Printed Jul 29, 2021. Please visit https://static.friendlyplanet.com/before-you-go/?tourId=1622 for the latest updates.

Checklist

Item Due
Ensure you have a current passport valid for at least six months after your return date. ASAP
Complete your registration. You'll receive a link to the registration form after you complete your booking. Within 5 days of booking
Make your final payment, if any balance is due. See your invoice
Request any additions or changes you may still want to make to your trip. by final payment due date
Obtain any necessary travel visas and review any requirements for entry. See below
Print your itinerary and other final documents, which we will send you via email by 14 days prior to travel. Prior to travel
Print your policy documents, if you purchased travel insurance, and carry them with you. Prior to travel
Enroll in The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), if you're a U.S. citizen or national, so the State Dept. can locate and assist you in case of an emergency. Prior to travel

In addition, if you booked flights with your package:

Item Due
Book connecting flights to your departure city, if necessary. (Please confirm your international flight schedule first!) After receiving your e‑tickets
Make advance seat reservations for your international flight, if you have a preference. After receiving your e‑tickets
Confirm your flight times and any special meal requests with the airline, and print and carry a copy of your e-ticket. 72 hours prior to travel
Check in for your flights online and download/print your boarding passes (if available). 24 hours prior to travel
Arrive at the airport, ready for the trip of a lifetime! 3½ hours prior to departure

Documents

Passport, Visa & Entry Requirements for Estonia

U.S. citizens must have a passport which is valid for at least 90 days after your return date, though we strongly recommend at least six months. U.S. passport holders do not need a visa to enter Estonia. See the U.S. Dept. of State website for more information.

If you do not hold a U.S. passport, please see the entry requirements.

COVID-19 ENTRY REQUIREMENTS

  • Currently, only passengers who have received a vaccination authorized by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) are permitted to enter Estonia. Authorized vaccines include:
    • Pfizer-BioNTech
    • COVID-19 Vaccine Moderna
    • COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca
    • COVID-19 Vaccine Johnson & Johnson Janssen
  • All arriving passengers must complete the online Traveler Questionnaire no earlier than 72 hours prior to crossing the border. You must first provide your preferred email address, and the link to the actual questionnaire form will be sent to that email address. The form will require travelers to provide an address of stay while in Estonia, please provide the hotel in Estonia from the itinerary. A QR code will be provided upon submission of the form, which must be presented to border guard officials in order to be allowed to proceed to Immigration. Kindly ensure to have the QR Code easily available on your phone.  

Passport, Visa & Entry Requirements for Latvia

U.S. citizens must have a passport which is valid for at least six months after your return date. U.S. passport holders do not need a visa to enter Latvia for stays up to 90 days. See the U.S. Dept. of State website for more information.

If you do not hold a U.S. passport, please see the entry requirements.

COVID-19 ENTRY REQUIREMENTS

  • Currently, only passengers who have received a vaccination authorized by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) are permitted to enter Latvia. Authorized vaccines include:
    • Pfizer-BioNTech
    • COVID-19 Vaccine Moderna
    • COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca
    • COVID-19 Vaccine Johnson & Johnson Janssen
  • All arriving passengers must complete the online Latvia COVID Pass Questionnaire no earlier than 48 hours prior to crossing the border. A QR code will be provided upon submission of the form, which must be presented to border guard officials in order to be allowed to proceed to Immigration. Kindly ensure to have the QR Code easily available on your phone.  

Passport, Visa & Entry Requirements for Lithuania

U.S. citizens must have a passport which is valid for at least six months after your return date. U.S. passport holders do not need a visa to enter Lithuania. See the U.S. Dept. of State website for more information.

If you do not hold a U.S. passport, please see the entry requirements.

COVID-19 ENTRY REQUIREMENTS

  • Currently, only passengers who have received a vaccination authorized by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) are permitted to enter Lithuania. Authorized vaccines include:
    • Pfizer-BioNTech
    • COVID-19 Vaccine Moderna
    • COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca
    • COVID-19 Vaccine Johnson & Johnson Janssen
  • All arriving passengers must complete the online National Public Health Center’s questionnaire to obtain a QR code upon submission of the form. The form will require travelers to provide an address of stay while in Lithuania, please provide the first hotel of the itinerary. Travelers will then receive a unique QR code via email, which must be presented to the airline before boarding and may even be requested by airport health officials in order to be allowed to proceed to Immigration. Kindly ensure to have copies of the QR Code available either digitally or physical proof.

General Requirements & Guidelines

  • We provide visa & entry requirement information for the convenience of our travelers, and we try to keep it up-to-date. Ultimately, however, it is your responsibility to determine the passport and visa requirements that apply to you and to comply with them, including securing proper travel documents by the required deadlines and carrying them with you. Requirements are subject to change, sometimes without notice, and we suggest you verify them with the relevant embassy or consulate, the U.S. State Dept (if you're a U.S. passport holder), and/or with an expedited visa service such as VisaHQ. Airlines and cruise ships may deny boarding, your trip may be disrupted, and travel insurance may not cover your losses if your passport and visa are not in order.
  • To travel abroad, U.S. citizens must have a passport. In general, it should be valid for at least six months after your return date, and passports expiring before then should be renewed as soon as possible. We recommend that passports contain at least 2 blank pages for each country visited. If your passport does not have this many pages, you should obtain a new passport as soon as possible.
  • Any changes in names or passport information should be reported to us immediately. Airlines and cruise ships may deny boarding if the name on your passport does not match your tickets.
  • Minors (age 17 or younger) departing and/or returning to the U.S. without parents or with only one parent may be required by U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP) to present a notarized parental consent letter and/or unabridged birth certificate (more information). Many other countries have similar entry requirements, especially for minors traveling with a parent/guardian with a different surname; check with the consulates of all countries you'll be visiting to learn more.

Final Documents

Your final travel documents will be sent to you via email by 14 days prior to departure. These will include your daily itinerary, hotel and emergency contact information, and other relevant information. Please print your documents and take them with you. If you're departing in less than a week and haven't received your documents, let us know immediately!

Travel Insurance Documents

If you purchased travel insurance, please print and carry your policy documents, including contact information for emergency travel assistance and instructions on how to make a claim. If you purchased the travel protection plan we offer, we recommend you print the full policy.

Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)

We encourage all U.S. citizens and nationals traveling abroad to enroll in the Department of State's Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). This free service allows you to receive important updates about safety and security issues in your destination, and makes it easier for the U.S. Embassy, as well as family & friends, to contact you in case of an emergency. To enroll or get more information, please visit the STEP website or any U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

Flights, Transfers & Arrival

Questions about your flights before you depart? Read the information below first. If you still have questions, contact our air specialists at 800-555-5765 ext. 2 or [email protected].

Tour Only Option

If you purchased this package without flights, you are responsible for booking your own flights into Vilnius, Lithuania and out of Tallinn, Estonia. The touring program will begin at the hotel in Vilnius on Day 2 of the listed itinerary and will end in Tallinn on Day 11. Generally, hotel check-in time is at 3 PM and check-out is at 11 AM.  

Find out what to do in case of arrival complications.

Flights & Tickets

If you selected flights with your package, we generally book your flights and issue tickets after your final payment due date.

If you requested flights from another city, our air specialists will research the best options and send you a tentative flight schedule and quote for your approval within 5 business days of your booking (or approximately 330 days prior to travel, if you booked further out than that).

Once we have issued your tickets, we'll send you an "e-ticket receipt" which contains all of your flight information, including times, carriers, an airline booking reference number, and an e-ticket number. If you have not received this, or have questions about the flights we booked for you, please contact our air department. You will not receive paper tickets. We recommend you print and carry a copy of your flight details, including the airline booking reference number and e-ticket number, as some airports require this to enter the terminal. You do not need to reconfirm your flights with the airline prior to your departure, as we will handle this for you.

Air Canada's (AC) toll-free number is 888-247-2262.

Austrian Airlines (OS) toll-free number is: 800-843-0002

Brussels Airlines (SN) toll-free number is 866-308-2233.

KLM's (KL) toll-free number is: 800-618-0104

Lufthansa's (LH) toll-free number is 800-645-3880.

SAS (SK) toll-free number is: 800-221-2350.

Swiss Air's (LX) toll-free number is: 877-359-7947.

United Airlines (UA) toll-free number is 800-864-8331.

Want to reserve specific seats?

That depends on the airline. You can usually request a window or aisle seat, and sometimes specific seat numbers (but not exit row and bulkhead seats) ahead of time. Many airlines now charge a fee for this, and such fees are not included in your package price. If you have a seat preference, let us know when you book, in the special requests section, or email us at [email protected] after you book. Then:

If your airline does not charge a fee to pre-assign seats: We'll happily pass along your seat request to the airline and confirm they received it (though we cannot guarantee it will be honored).

If your airline does charge a fee to pre-assign seats: We'll let you know. You'll need to contact the airline directly to request your seats after we have issued your flight tickets, and fees are payable directly to the airline.

If you do not request specific seats: The airline typically assigns them within 24 hours of departure. If you do not like your assigned seats, you may be able to change them, subject to availability, when you check in online or at the counter. Learn more about Advance Seat Reservations.

Want to request a special meal?

You can enter special meal requests when you book with an agent or complete your online registration, shortly after booking. We will relay your requests to the airlines and our representatives abroad, but we cannot guarantee they will be honored. Please double check meal requests with your airline 72 hours before departure, and with our representatives upon arrival.

Looking to earn frequent flyer miles?

You may be able to earn frequent flyer points for your flights. Contact the airline directly once you receive your tickets to enter your frequent flyer number in your flight record, or enter it when you check in. As you travel, check your tickets or ask the check-in or gate agent prior to boarding each flight to ensure the number has been entered properly. And just to be safe, keep your boarding passes and passenger receipt as proof that you have actually flown the miles you want credited to your account.

Interested in upgrading to business class or premium economy?

Cabin upgrades may be available on your flights. Ask us about price and availability when you book online, in the special requests section, or contact our air department after you book. Please note that our special contracted airfare rates generally do not permit upgrading with frequent flyer points, and that upgrade requests may incur change fees if tickets have already been issued.

Flight Schedule

If you selected flights with your package, you will receive your flight schedule by email once we issue your tickets.

If you requested flights from another city, our air specialists will research the best options and send you a tentative flight schedule for your approval, and a confirmed schedule once we issue your tickets.

Airlines may change schedules at any time, even after flights have been confirmed, and we are not responsible for such changes. Please check for updates to your flight schedule prior to booking any connecting flights and again 72 hours prior to departure.

Connecting Flights

If you need to fly from (and/or return to) a different U.S. or Canadian city, we suggest you request those flights from us. If feasible, we will try to book all your flights together with a single carrier or a partner network on a single ticket. This ensures that your luggage will be transferred between flights for you, and more importantly, that if there are any schedule changes, flight cancellations, or delays that affect your trip, the airline(s) will adjust your flights to ensure you have sufficient time to make your connections and/or make alternate arrangements to get you to your destination. Besides offering the most peace of mind, this often yields lower fares than purchasing separate connecting flights.

If you plan to purchase connecting flights to your departure city, we strongly suggest waiting until after your final payment due date and after you receive the e-tickets for your international flights, to reduce the chances that that your departure might be cancelled or rescheduled or that your international flight times might change. Before purchasing connecting flights, verify the times for your international flights. Leave at least 3½ hours connecting time between flights, and if you're traveling within a few weeks of Daylight Savings Time changes (in March and November, when flight schedules may change even more dramatically), allow 5–5½ hours between flights. Nobody likes waiting around the airport, but missing your flight is far worse!

Airport Transfers

Scheduled airport transfers at the destination are included with this package. When you exit customs, please look for our representative holding a Friendly Planet sign, who will cheerfully escort you to your transfer vehicle and assist with your luggage. 

If you purchased the tour without flights and you submitted your flight itinerary no later than 30 days before your departure date, airport transfers will be provided. If you did not submit your flight itinerary or you are not arriving/departing from the same airport as the rest of the group, you will need to arrange your own ground transportation to the package start and end points. Note that there is no discount for any unused included transfers. Please send us your independent flight itinerary no later than 30 days prior to your departure date from the U.S. so that we can arrange your arrival and departure transfers accordingly.

 

Arrival Complications

We make every effort to ensure our tours run smoothly and trouble-free. We don't expect any problems, and nor should you. But when things don't go as planned, here's what to do:

  • You miss your flights, or your flights are cancelled: Please call us immediately. If it's outside our normal business hours, leave a message in our emergency mailbox, with a phone number at which to reach you, and we'll get right back to you.
  • Your flights are delayed and you're worried about missing your included transfers: Please contact us to let us know about the delay, and we will notify our partners in destination. If you are arriving on one of our group flights, or booked your own flights and supplied us with the details, our partners will be tracking your arrival and will plan accordingly.
  • Your package includes transfers, but you can't find our representative at your destination: Don't panic—they may have been unexpectedly delayed. Wait up to 30 minutes. Then contact our local partners in destination, listed on the emergency contact page of your final documents. If you can't reach them, call us. If it's outside our normal business hours, leave a message in our emergency mailbox. If all else fails, make your own way to the starting hotel (or cruise port), and we'll refund you the cost of your transfer.

Packing & Luggage

Baggage allowance: Many airlines now charge a fee for checked luggage. Often, these fees must be paid directly to the airline. We will let you know if the airline you are booked on charges a fee for checked luggage. If you are booked on an airline that charges a fee for checked luggage, we highly recommend that you prepay prior to departure. In general, our luggage allowance, per person, is one checked bag, one personal item such as a purse or camera bag, and one carry-on bag which should fit under your seat or in the overhead compartment. Your tour includes domestic flights within your destination, and the airlines used on these flights allow a maximum weight of 44 pounds for the checked bag. We recommend that you pack wisely and not over-pack.

Learn more about Baggage Allowances on your international flights. Note that our baggage allowances may be less than those for your international flights. If you exceed the baggage limits, you may be subject to excess baggage charges levied by the airlines and/or by Friendly Planet.

Regardless of the limits—we recommend a smaller size and weight for both your checked and carry-on bags. It's so much easier and faster for you to get around when you have fewer, lighter bags! For your carry-on, consider a soft-sided bag such as a duffel rather than a hard clamshell-type case, which may not fit as easily into overhead compartments or under your seat, especially on buses. For your protection, we suggest your checked luggage have a TSA-approved lock.

Luggage tags: For your safety, we are no longer mailing Friendly Planet luggage tags to you. We encourage you to use your own. Fill in the luggage tags with your name and contact information and attach to each bag, including carry-ons and camera cases, so that your luggage can be identified should it get misplaced during your trip.

What to pack: Check out our blog post on our Top 10 Must-Haves for International Travel. Pack smart: put your travel documents, medications, one change of clothing, and other essentials in your carry-on, in case your checked baggage is misplaced. And pack light, for your own comfort and convenience. For clothing, we suggest packing a variety of separates with climate and comfort in mind.

What not to pack: U.S. law forbids you to carry hazardous materials aboard aircraft in your checked or carry-on baggage or on your person, including explosives, compressed gases, flammable liquids & solids, loaded firearms, poisons, corrosives and radioactive materials. Common examples include paints, lighter fluid, fireworks, mace/tear gas and oxygen bottles. Restricted materials may vary by airline and destination. Some items, in quantities of no more than 70 ounces total, may be carried within baggage, including medicinal or toilet articles such as hairspray, perfume and certain medicines that are necessary during your journey. Please check with the airline and/or visit the FAA website prior to travel if you have any questions.

While on Tour

What to Expect

This moderately-paced, escorted tour includes a reasonable amount of walking and requires an average level of physical fitness

Remember that you're a guest in someone else's homeland, and that you're traveling to experience their country and culture. Be sensitive to local customs and manners, as many things may be done differently than what you're used to. And while we have made every effort to secure modern and comfortable accommodations and transportation, please note that the standards in other countries may be different from those you are accustomed to at home. Overall, you will find a polite, positive, patient, and open-minded approach generally yields the best travel experience!

Please keep in mind that you'll be traveling with a group. Sharing your explorations with like-minded folks can often be a source of joy, and some of our travelers become lifelong friends. But traveling with strangers can also sometimes be challenging, especially in a foreign country. We ask that you be patient and respectful with your fellow travelers, including their needs and preferences. Also remember that you have responsibilities to the group—please be prompt for group activities so you don't keep everyone else waiting. Lastly, please defer to your tour leader, guide or manager. They are there for your safety and wellbeing, and to ensure the journey goes smoothly for everyone. If you have a problem with one of our tour guides or managers, please let us know, either while you're on tour or after you return, and we'll make sure your concerns are addressed.

Accommodations

As you travel through the Baltic States, you will witness the picturesque landscapes and beautiful countryside vistas that are reminiscent of a storybook.  We have reserved the finest possible accommodations on your behalf. Please keep in mind, though, that even the best European standards do not always match those to which we are accustomed. All your hotels are comfortable and offer all modern conveniences. The hotels are all Western-style, and your room will, of course, have a private bathroom. Wall sockets will vary, so take a travel converter/adapter kit with you, as these are may not be readily available.

Eating & Drinking

The meals included with your package are listed in the itinerary.

The cuisine in the Baltic States consists of hearty dishes filled with diverse flavors and typically served with a sweet glass of wine or beer. Many popular dishes in the Baltics are heavy on meats and other high-fat foods, as it was once customary to eat a hearty meal before working in the fields or preparing for the cold winters. There may be limited options for vegans and the less common diet restrictions outside the major cities of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia as these countries are still heavily dependent on farming and cattle breeding. 

Non-Included Meals: Average cost for lunch (not including drinks) in the local shops and cafes is about $15 - $20 per person, per meal. Average cost for dinner is about $25 - $35 per person, per meal. Your hotel accepts major credit card payments for not-included meals. Most restaurants and cafes accept major credit cards.

Please see above for special meal requests.

Tipping

You will be traveling in the company of professionals who are very committed to making your tour the dream vacation you are counting on. These people feel great pride in being given a chance to show foreign visitors their country. If your guide, driver and others with whom you are traveling are doing a good job, please take our suggestions for tipping seriously. Naturally, tipping is personal and completely voluntary, and if you have not received good service, your tip should reflect this fact. 

The recommended amounts are as follows: 

  • Tour leader: $6-7 per person per day
  • Local guide on the sightseeing tours: $5-6 per person per day 
  • Driver on transfers and touring days: $3-5 per person per day 
  • Restaurant staff: $1-2 per person per meal 
  • Porters: $2 per bag upon arrival and departure
  • Housekeeping: $1-2 per person per day

Optional Excursions

To make your visit more complete and memorable, your local guide will offer optional tours and cultural/dining evening activities. Payments for these tours should be made directly to your guide. Payment must be made by cash, preferably in Euros. Rates quoted on our website may be subject to currency fluctuation. Please note that tours may be subject to minimum number of passengers. 

Independent Activities

You can leave the group and explore on your own at any time; however, should the group have planned activities for that day, please make sure to inform your Tour Escort in advance. There is NO refund for unused group arrangements. We recommend that you ask the front desk for a business card of the hotel with local phone numbers.

Special Needs & Requests

Please see above for special meal requests and seat requests. If you have any other special requests, including wheelchair or electric cart assistance, please mention your request when you book with an agent, or in the special requests section when you book online. We will do our best to accommodate them!

Country FAQs

Fast Facts about Estonia

Money & Credit Cards

Always notify your bank prior to departure to avoid any problems using your credit or debit card abroad.

Electricity & Power Adapters

Learn more about electrical standards around the world.

Cell Phones & Internet

Want to take your cell phone, tablet or laptop, but not sure how to get cell service or wifi? See our blog posts on using your cell phone abroad and the top 5 ways to get Internet abroad.

Did you know?
  • Estonia is also the birthplace of the first Christmas tree.
  • The tallest mountain–Suur Munamägi–in the country is just about 1000 ft. tall.
  • Estonia is one of the most internet-focused countries in Europe - you can even find internet access in the woods!
  • Nearly a quarter of the country is covered in wetlands and bogs, with bog walking a favorite activity for Estonians.
  • Estonia is about twice the size of New Jersey.
  • The country has distinctly more women than men. For every 100 females in Estonia, there are 84 men.

Fast Facts about Latvia

Money & Credit Cards

Always notify your bank prior to departure to avoid any problems using your credit or debit card abroad.

Electricity & Power Adapters

Learn more about electrical standards around the world.

Cell Phones & Internet

Want to take your cell phone, tablet or laptop, but not sure how to get cell service or wifi? See our blog posts on using your cell phone abroad and the top 5 ways to get Internet abroad.

Did you know?
  • Nearly 1 in 3 of Latvia’s two million residents lives in the capital, Riga, which is also known as the Paris of the North.
  • Latvia is home to 12,000 rivers and 3,000 small lakes.
  • Over half of Latvia is forest, making it one of Europe’s greenest countries.
  • Latvia produces more female models per capita than almost any country in the world, following behind Estonia, Iceland, Lithuania and Denmark.
  • Latvia’s current flag design has been in use since 1280.

Fast Facts about Lithuania

Money & Credit Cards

Always notify your bank prior to departure to avoid any problems using your credit or debit card abroad.

Electricity & Power Adapters

Learn more about electrical standards around the world.

Cell Phones & Internet

Want to take your cell phone, tablet or laptop, but not sure how to get cell service or wifi? See our blog posts on using your cell phone abroad and the top 5 ways to get Internet abroad.

Did you know?
  • Lithuanian is one of the oldest language in the world today.
  • The Stelmuze oak, located in Lithuania, is the oldest tree in Europe.
  • Lithuania has its own aroma, called ‘the Scent of Lithuania’, comprised of hints of wild flowers, ginger, raspberry, sandalwood and musk.
  • The national animal is the stork. Many Lithuanians superstitiously believe that storks bring luck and harmony to the families near which they nest.
  • Forests covers 1/3 of the country, including many protected regions, nature reserves and the national parks.

Fine Print

Terms & Conditions: Please review our terms & conditions for this package.

Cancellations: If something comes up and you need to cancel your trip, please let us know as soon as possible. All cancellations must be made in writing. Cancellation fees vary by package; please see the cancellation fees for this package.

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