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hawaiimom Apr 30th, 2004 07:39 PM

eftours for students
Has anyone ever sent their child on an eftour school tour to Europe? What was their experience like?

kybourbon Apr 30th, 2004 07:50 PM

I have taken a group on EF and would never again. Kids don't seem to mind the bad food and hotels as much as the adults. If you want a good student tour company use Acis or CHA. EF and Explorica are the budget companies. CHA and Passports are mid-range while Acis and NETC are top of the line.

I can't tell you what a tour is really like because Fodor's will delete the post. (netc)

cigalechanta Apr 30th, 2004 07:55 PM

Maybe they do want to know. If their information is real, like yours, they would want to know to make their publications to express the negative as well as the positive.

kybourbon Apr 30th, 2004 08:02 PM

cigalechanta - Are you talking about the tour companies wanting to know? EF is fully aware of the problems I had with them and friends have had with them but once they have your money they don't care. We are still waiting for promised refunds (it's been 3 years).

I am heading to Cambridge in a few weeks to pick up my daughter. Any restuarant suggestions. I'm tired of Legal Seafood.

cigalechanta Apr 30th, 2004 08:07 PM

hey, great, want to meet for a drink? I like trouquet on Boyslston but I need to know what foods you like. Email me if you have time at hotmail.

kybourbon Apr 30th, 2004 08:22 PM

I like all food! I plan on arriving Cambridge on May 20 and leave either the 22 or 23. I'm thinking about following in Indytravels footsteps and pricelining a room. He got a good deal on the Hotel Marlowe for the Boston GTG. I am going to try for the Hyatt Cambridge which seems to be getting bids for $60 a night.

Is your e-mail your Fodor's sn + hotmail?

cigalechanta Apr 30th, 2004 08:25 PM

I think David stayed on the cambridge side new hotel, I forget the name. The Marlowe is in In town by the subway stop Cpley sqyuare,,feets away.

cigalechanta Apr 30th, 2004 08:34 PM

shoot! I'm giving you the wrong information, I meant to suggest, intown, the Charlesmark at boylston street
you will be opposite the Copley Sq. subway, no car needed. And it won't be lonely like staying across the river.

kybourbon May 1st, 2004 03:47 AM

I will have a car because I will be bringing all my daughter's stuff home for the summer. I usually stay at the Cambridge Radison when I don't have a car because they have a shuttle to MIT.

hawaiimom - Sorry we hijacked your thread so to speak. If you do a search for students and tours on the search function you will pull up some previous info on student tour companies. Keep in mind that many critical posts get deleted by Fodors so it may appear people like a company or tour when there were really many that didn't.

CarolA May 1st, 2004 05:20 AM

back to the subject.

I have used EF tours. There appear to be two very different experiences. One is the custom tour which I was on (there is another poster who has used them for this also.) On these tours the leader gets a LOT more say on where you stay etc... These tours are also more expensive. In our case we had about 20 people on the tour which was great on the bus sections!

Reviews of the "standard" tours are less then glowing (did you try search?)

I am not using them for my next tour to Europe with the Girl Scouts since I think I can do it better for the same amount of money (and it is a small group).

BettyBoop May 1st, 2004 01:27 PM

My son went on a two week tour in June 2003, the leader of his group was his world topics (history) teacher who was on his 10th or more trip. My son had a great time. They went to Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and one or two other countries. He was critical of other students (not in his core group of 8) who insisted on always eating at McDonald's or other American joints instead of trying a "local" establishment.

lasouche Jul 9th, 2004 11:52 AM

I am a teacher who has taken a number of trips with EF. Although I've heard that some people have had bad experiences, I must say that mine have been positive--some more than others. I have also traveled with Prometour, a Canadian and I recommned them highly! EF is not perfect, but I've had good guides, decent hotels and fun experiences!

mebanese Jul 9th, 2004 04:03 PM

This is my second EF post today; I just got back from leading a wonderful trip. My son has already signed up for another trip with them next summer, and I'm hoping to lead another group myself.

Colette Jul 10th, 2004 12:01 AM

I was an adult on the EF student tour and I just came back from Italy and France at the end of June. I LOVED Italy and France, but I'll probably not take an EF tour again. It wasn't horrible (altho the food was). Our lodging was not the greatest, but it was always clean and safe. The students didn't seem to care too much about the bad food. As an adult, I also didn't enjoy the fact that our lodging was sometimes up to an hour outside of the city-----and due to the labor laws (bus driver/tour director), we often had to be back at our hotel by 8:00 or 9:00. What to do in the middle of the country, or in the middle of an industrial park at 9:00 at night? Again, the students didn't seem to mind. Other than the fact that our bus driver got lost many many times (which resulted in less time in some of the cities), I did enjoy the tour. I had done a search on this website ahead of time, so I kinda knew what I was getting into. But another woman on the trip had no idea and was really upset with the awful food and the less than desirable locations of our lodging. She also felt that we could have gone on an upgraded trip for the same amount of $$$ that we paid for our low-end trip. I spent a lot of extra money on food, and the woman I spoke of actually booked herself a separate hotel in Paris. Again, the students seemed to enjoy the trip----the adults thought it needed some fine-tuning!!

CarolA Jul 10th, 2004 07:18 AM

I think the hotel situation is the biggest difference between the custom tours and the standard tours. For example, our hotel in Paris was definetly in Paris and we were out late every night.

kybourbon Jul 10th, 2004 12:07 PM

Collette - If you want a nice student tour use ACIS or CHA. The hotels will be centrally located and the food with ACIS will be good while the food with CHA will be basic tour food but better than EF. When I used CHA we most of the hotels were 4 star.

CarolA - It's not whether it's a custom tour or regular tour what hotels you are in but more the time of year you are traveling and the cities and what is available.

While Mebanese thinks EF is wonderful and says teacher wouldn't continue to use them if they weren't. The reason so many teachers you EF is:
1. They are cheaper and they can get more people to sign up.
2. They get their trip free.
3. They get $$$ if they have more students

tkp42 May 15th, 2005 10:33 AM

well, i thought i had eased my EF parnoia, but i think it's creeping back up again....

i've searched all over the place for decent trips to Greece. i was there in 98 as a grad student and now that i teach world history, i wanted to bring some of my students.

and yes, EF, like ALL the other student tour companies, offer teachers or other group organizers a free trip for X number of paying travelers. i don't mind that as much.

my problem is this: when i get to greece, i don't want to be limited by stupid ol' ef and their rules.

BUT i'm have a very, very hard time finding folks who have taken EF to greece before.

so, there you go. i'm paranoid again....

any suggestions or advice?

kybourbon May 15th, 2005 11:40 AM

tkp42 - I did an Italy/Greece tour with EF years ago. The hotels for the Greece portion of the trip were ok and the breakfasts were much better than in Italy.

One of the main problems with some student(probably not just student) tour companies are the arrangements the tour guides/bus drivers with stores and out of the way expensive restaurants. They will stop for lunch in the middle of nowhere and you have no choice but to eat there. They also stop at shops and the tourguides get a percentage of what the students spend in the store or restaurant. I just don't like being taken advantage of like that or having kids on a budget having to pay $20-30 for lunch because it's the only place to eat.

If you have a large enough group (18 or 20 I think) you should check into Contiki. They will let you do a private group trip and their prices are pretty reasonable. They are also used to doing after hour things with their college age tours (bars, discos, etc.) so they don't mind taking your group somewhere at night if you want to go. They also don't leave early in the mornings - 9 is the earliest usually. Check out their website and see if you like any of their tours. Call and ask for their group private tour agent and they will help you come up with one and a price.

If you want any specifics of the Greece portion of my EF trip just ask.

mdmomof7 May 15th, 2005 10:28 PM

I seriously considered EF tours while coordinating my daughter's senior class trip through Europe last September. We opted to plan the trip ourselves, with lots of research by the students to decide where they wanted to go. We did a 2 week 5 city trip using Ryan Air and the Italian trains for $2150 all inclusive. We did get food on our own so that price includes an averaage of what people spent for food. Our hotels were right in the heart of our cities: London, Salzburg, Venice, Rome and Paris. We had a great time and I'd do it again.

mms May 26th, 2005 11:54 AM

I am glad to see all these comments. I went to an informational meeting last night about an EF Tour to Mexico for my daughters Spanish class. We have not decided either way yet, and all these comments will help. Does anyone have any experience with their tours in Mexico City and the Yucatan?

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