College Students Europe Tour?

Mar 10th, 2008, 07:15 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 3
College Students Europe Tour?

My daughter and a friend would like to travel in Europe this summer, but they are not confident enough or experienced enough to work it out for themselves. We have seen the EFA tours on line, but the reviews seem off-putting. Does anyone have any other recommendations for tour programs for college kids?
momjno is offline  
Mar 10th, 2008, 07:24 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 32,575
Many college age kids use www.contiki.com. No extremely early departures, but can be a bit of a party tour although they can elect not to party.
kybourbon is online now  
Mar 10th, 2008, 07:42 PM
  #3  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 3
Thanks! We'll check it out.
momjno is offline  
Mar 10th, 2008, 07:45 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 679
Another one that I've heard about is Kumuka. It's not quite as young as Contiki which is 18 to 35. Kumuka is 18 to 45. I can't really vouch for either though.

I toured Europe with my best friend in my early twenties and it was life changing. I just can't recommend it enough! I was overwhelmed and inexperienced at that time as well. We just had a very loose itinerary and used the rail and stayed in hostels. All I had was my Let's Go Europe Budget book. It was really nice to be able to say "I really like Barcelona. I'd like to stay here for 2 more days." It's an experience that would be hard to replicate at a later age in life.
laustic is offline  
Mar 10th, 2008, 07:46 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 54
It's seriously, really not that hard to plan a trip.

I'm a twenty year old college student planning to go backpacking this May, by the way.

Have your daughter check out Let's Go Europe on a Budget and BackpackEurope.com. They have TONS of information, specifically geared for college-aged students, about travelling Europe.

If they're still set on using a tour, then there's also Topdeck.co.uk.

Either way, they should still buy the Let's Go guidebook and check out the link I gave.
alecksonajetplane is offline  
Mar 10th, 2008, 07:54 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 136
Many colleges have their own travel abroad programs. Often they are combined with coursework for credit. Sometimes it is a several week program in a city with an optional travel part. If your daughter's school does not have such a program, she might be able to go on another school's program if they have space. The credits earned should transfer. Check with the "Study abroad" department at your State's 3 largest universities. If they don't have a program they should be able to recommend something.
gforaker is offline  
Mar 11th, 2008, 05:03 AM
  #7  
ira
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 74,166
Hi M,

Have them check out the Thorntree Forum at www.lonelyplanet.com.

ira is offline  
Mar 11th, 2008, 05:28 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 1,056
"they are not confident enough or experienced enough to work it out for themselves"

If Mum still has to do the planning for them, maybe they should not be going on their own.
Lawchick is offline  
Mar 11th, 2008, 06:53 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 2,974
I have to agree with Lawchick and alecksononajetplane. Could they plan a trip at home? What is the difference? Please take this in the spirit in which it is intended. I realize you are asking for tours, but as someone who begged my parents to let me travel and who later discovered its joys on my own, I have to say if they take care of this on their own, they will grow from it. If it is handled for them, then it is will just be fun.
yorkshire is offline  
Mar 11th, 2008, 06:55 AM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 458
There is nothing wrong with them wanting to go on a tour for their first trip to Europe; hopefully, after their first time, they'll feel more confident and experienced and be willing to try it out on their own. Momjno- don't worry about the snide people on the forum who say they shouldn't go- they should... it will be a great experience for them. I have heard good things about contiki, but have not been one one of those tours myself... that said, I believe they may find that they can travel on their own without the group- it will save costs and build that confidence they may lack now... with the right planning and direction, they will learn more and experience more figuring it out by themselves. Despite some of the posters, most here will be very supportive and be willing to give your daughter and her friend sage advice on how to go it w/o the tour...
shormk2 is offline  
Mar 11th, 2008, 07:03 AM
  #11  
LJ
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,759
How 'bout a compromise: one/two weeks on a tour and the next on their own?

I was a teacher/don at a high school in Italy for a number of years, and 'our' kids (14-18) were confident after being guided for a very short time to get out on their own. They had to be constrained by us as the Grade 10's were too young to be totally self-directed, but at age 17, they were out on their own.
LJ is offline  
Mar 11th, 2008, 07:04 AM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 77,721
Nothing wrong with a tour i agree IF they want it

So many college kids, Americans, Aussies, New Zealanders, etc. from all over the world still get a Youth Eurailpass and go from hostel to hostel and it is perfectly safe IMO

And you learn so much more in terms of becoming self-sufficient when doing it on your own.
PalenQ is online now  
Mar 11th, 2008, 07:55 AM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 1,607
I took a Contiki tour on my first trip to Europe when I was 22, and had the time of my life.

It's the perfect introduction to travel for a young person who's never been out of the country, and I made great friends (mainly Aussies) on the tour while seeing the sights of Europe.

But I also took a few days after the tour was over to travel a little on my own in France, because I speak enough French to get by. I liked doing a little touring independently and it gave me enough confidence to travel on my own in subsequent trips.
cheryllj is offline  
Mar 11th, 2008, 07:57 AM
  #14  
Mambo_
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Try STATravel.com. They specialize in student travel, and have retail locations in most major cities, usually nearby a college campus. We used them for study abroad travel, and they were great.
>-
 
Mar 11th, 2008, 07:59 AM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 679
I can see this thread going in some treacherous territory Anyway, I want to clarify that I don't think going on a tour is a bad thing. I can see the attraction. There is nothing wrong with being intimidated by planning an overseas trip. I've been there. Heck, I still get intimidated planning a trip to a new place! I just wanted to emphasize that I was in the same spot not too long ago and I did it and it really did amazing things to build my level of confidence. That's not to say that she wouldn't have a great time on a tour.
laustic is offline  
Mar 11th, 2008, 12:20 PM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 77,721
Tour groups often are mainly female because their parents, perhaps, don't feel as good about gals traveling along then guys doing it

whatever reason, i've seen Contiki tours roll off the bus many times and they are usually mainly female - why more guys don't join them for this reason should be marketed more i think

Great resources for college students planning their first trips to Europe: Let's Go Europe - an invaluable book for years now written and researched by college students - a wealth of info on cheap accommodations and lots else. At any bookstore - parents a great Bon Voyage gift. www.ricksteves.com and www.budgeteuropetravel.com are two sites dwelling on train travel, railpasses, etc. lots of great info. To me the Youth eurailpass is still one of Europe's bargains and the train trip experience great - they will meet many other travelers. I was just on any Italy-Paris night train and three college girls were in the adjoining compartment - sounded like they were having a ball.
PalenQ is online now  
Mar 11th, 2008, 12:35 PM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 287
I also did a Contiki tour about 7 yrs ago. PalenQ is right. At least in my tour-there were mainly girls and about 5 married couples. I think there were 4 single guys traveling together. The party crowd definitely had fun.

If they end up going through Contiki-I highly suggest a superior tour. My friend went on a budget tour and some of their accomodations were on a campground and had to help wash dishes and cook. Not something I'd want to do on vacation.
mv_rd is offline  
Mar 11th, 2008, 12:44 PM
  #18  
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 5
I just went last year, and if you are looking for a tour, or even just a trip, I highly recommend EF College Break. You should check them out. Its an 18-26 thing, so it is college aged kids without creepy 30 and 35 yr olds hitting on you, which was the case for one of my friends when she took I think a contiki tour or something. They are the cheapest thing i have found so far short of swimming over there (airfare is a killer) so I was really glad when I found out that the packages include round trip airfare, hotels, a tour director, and entrances to select attractions. I went to France and Spain with them, and I had an amazing time. Im going again this august with them to greece. I have a discount code for them from when I booked if your daughter wants to use them, its hesseln1188 and it saves you $50 no matter what, but like $150 on some of the tours that are on sale. They also have a price matching garuntee if you find it cheaper somwhere else, so its nice to have that too. If you have any questions about my trip, you can email me at [email protected]
cheers.
H_2008 is offline  
Mar 11th, 2008, 01:06 PM
  #19  
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 48
As gforaker mentioned, check into study abroad programs.

At the end of April, I will leave on my study abroad trip. Within my university, I found a program that doesn't require you to know a language [which was vital for me]. So, for a reasonable price, I will be visiting The Netherlands, France, Switzeralnd, Italy, and Germany. I will be traveling with fellow students and a professor, and gaining college credit in the meantime.

I feel so fortunate because the university and a travel company are dealing with the air fare, travel arrangements, lodging, and some of the reservations to the major museums.

It could be something work looking into, especially if they are uneasy about making all the plans themselves.
a_cafe_of_dreams is offline  
Mar 11th, 2008, 04:30 PM
  #20  
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 57,890
I would definitely encourage them to do it themselves. When I was 19 I went with my boyfriend and we had no serious problems - although some small ones that became good dinner stories later.

I know it did wonders for my self esteem to realize what I could cope with - and how fast my unused French and Spanish came back - never mind handsignals and faking it - since neither of us had any German.

And the planning process is part of the fun - and helps make sure you have the vacation you want - rather than a massively rushed blur.




nytraveler is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 06:37 PM.