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dublinohmom Jun 14th, 2007 12:31 PM

Jeannie Bird-since it sounds like your son's experience is the most recent on this board, how was his trip in total? The itinerary for my son's trip seems void of free time, and no chance to eat dinner in real restaurants as they are so far from town. Did your son enjoy the trip before the logistics of getting home became a nightmare? MY son left 3 days ago with EF, and now that I've read the posts, I can't believe I let him leave with this company.

gforaker Jun 14th, 2007 07:02 PM

Dubs, don't worry, he will be fine. Yes, I won't plan another trip with them and prefer other companies, but the kids are not endangered. The hotels might be a little out of town and the food reminiscent of his school cafeteria, but he will probably still have a great time. The kids we took with EF did.

It is more like we are comparing buying a Ford Focus to a Toyota Camry, not a clapped out Yugo.

It is normal to not give the kids too much free time, that way they get the most trip for their money and it also keeps them out of trouble. At least that is the theory.

Sraphipps Jun 15th, 2007 01:27 PM

I just returned from my first trip with EF tours. 9 days in Costa Rica. (I am a teacher.) The first 6 were great. Then two not so great days and home. Reading the posts, I have decided to check into CHA. Please do not think that most teachers are going for a free ride and will let your children run amuck. I let my teens have breathing space, but with the understanding that I would send them home if needed. I could not possibly stay up 24 hours a day for 9 days to watch their every move. But I took kids I already had a respectful relationship with. You should know what kind of person is taking your kids and what are the behavior expectations before you send them. I would like to know how CHA compares with EF. We spend about 2 hours at each "activity." I would like to know about CHA's flexibilty of schedule. After the 5th day, we did not want another nature hike in the jungle, we just wanted to play on the beach!

TravelBug16 Jun 21st, 2007 08:52 AM

CHA is down there with EF, just not quite as bad:) Question for you, why are you leaning towards these low quality, crappy service student tours for your students? Their tours and overall service is horrible!

My wife lead a trip with ACIS and I got to go as her companion. The trip was awesome! We did Mardrid, Paris and London and stayed right in the middle of each city. Walking distance to everything. It was awesome taking walks at night and giving the kids so much more time to explore. The Tour Guide, flights and meals were all first class. According to my wife, ACIS does cost a little more than EF and CHA, but for what you get, and what you give your students, it's crazy not too.
Anyway, hope you have a great trip, whatever you decide.
Keep us posted!

bondj2000 Jun 23rd, 2007 06:13 AM

I was with an EF Tour Group (parent of a student) which just returned from England (6/22/07).

We were notified 6 days prior to departure that we were being moved from a hotel (which was booked for over 3 mons) to a college dorm. We were never compensated for the change and I can tell you that the services/accommodations were far from similar. I paid > $2,700 to stay at a college dorm for a week.

On our 4th day at the college dorm, while we were gone on a day trip , there was money stolen from the rooms (over $300 US dollars) and other
rooms rummaged thru looking for money. There was no forced entry , someone had a key. Security Personnel at the dorm and EF Tour Guide
basically said that it was our responsibility to report the loss to the local police and assumed no liability , offered little assistance. You
are truly on your own.

Some individuals/parents in our group spoke to the employees at the restaurants we visited. Those employees said it was a joke passed amongst
the restaurants and that EF pre-arranged for lesser meals/samples in order to cut cost.

No amount of follow-up by the trip sponsor/teacher could have prevented the issues.

I would never recommend EF Tours or University of London Queen Mary.

Also, based on other comments/reviews, Iím not the only one.

apriljan Jun 26th, 2007 12:52 PM

i know that in the ef tours policy it states that we as in the customers must abstain with filing a lawsuit against the company. is there any case where a customer has actually filed a claim? i've had a terrible experience as well, and i didn't even get to go on the trip that i paid for.

dublinohmom Jun 27th, 2007 09:11 AM

I posted the experience of my son who just returned from 2 weeks with EF on June 24, 2007 on another string, but want to repeat here. I want to make sure anyone looking into EF Tours goes in a different direction. Regardless of what you think is 'cheap', the experience will be horrendous with EF. Here is a synopsis of his tour:

One hotel had NO running water..they already messed up the departure flights so all the kids missed a full day of their was were stuck in hotels every night because they were so far from the city. The teacher did not want to trust public transp. which I appreciate. but evidently EF didn't care that kids spent their vacation in a hotel room...without water, no less. One hotel's pool was bug infested with a tarp over it.. kids were bussed so much they never got to just "be" somewhere for a day. The worst part is that EF scheduled so many 'tours' that teenagers couldn't care less about..but didn't take them to the cool stuff.

I would have gladly paid more to get them good food, central hotels. I didn't have a choice because the school had opted for EF, and I wanted him to travel with kids he knew.

crepes_a_go_go Jun 27th, 2007 10:21 AM

I am a teacher who just ended a student tour with Explorica, my second with this company. My best friend of over 30 years and fellow teacher of French consistently uses EF even though she has had complaints each and every year. Reading the stranded in Toronto thread above, at first I thought that was someone from her spring break tour because that is exactly what happened to them, and EF told her, sorry, you are on your own. Get your crew home the best way you can.

My trips are not school sponsored affairs. I teach at a private school, and the administration told me I was welcome to invite my students to join me on a trip but that the trip would be my own. That's fine with me because that way I can make my own rules (which are strict), and I can decide which students I will accept and which I will not. Like ebflo way up above in this thread, I had forms and documentation prepared by a trial lawyer who represents the big name insurance companies, so I've done all the protecting myself I can do.

Protecting myself (and my students) is also one of the reasons I try to encourage a parent to accompany each child. So far, I've only had 2 two students per trip who were on their own, and fortunately, one out of the two both times was already 18 and had graduated. The students I take DO NOT get any free time without an adult, so this cuts out lots of problems I see on other trips. Plus, my itineraries are FULL and what little time is not filled with touring is a welcome respite for the students (and parents!) to recharge for the next day.

But, how do parents of my prospective participants know that their children will be well supervised? Most of the parents know me well as I make myself a part of their lives (whether they like it or not) when I teach their children. For the ones whose children I don't teach but who want to go on the trips, I guess these parents are aware of how my previous trips have gone, hopefully checking with parents of former travelers.

Please do not send your children off on these student tours thinking that the tour companies will offer any type of supervision. While some tour guides are very good in this respect, I wouldn't count on that.

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