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Please give advice for a first - time EF tour traveler. What will make the trip better?

Please give advice for a first - time EF tour traveler. What will make the trip better?

Aug 22nd, 2012, 06:33 PM
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 64,339
"there is no need to be rude."

"A well educated person should be able to understand it either way.

So who exactly was the rude one here?

Of course I can understand it. However it isn't worth the time/hassle to wade through something like that. (An 'educated' person should know - one needs to double return to get paragraph breaks . . . and to use the preview function)
janisj is online now  
Aug 22nd, 2012, 06:43 PM
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 32,578
Since you were paying for your trip, I guess you weren't the teacher as they travel free. If your school plans trips every year maybe you can convince them to use a better company next time, but many teachers want to use the cheapest company.
kybourbon is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2012, 07:41 PM
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 7
Seriously janisj what is your problem with me stating my opinion of how my trip was? I am a 16 year old student who had an awful trip. I am not the first one to put negative comments about EF tours. So maybe you should just get over the fact that they are a terrible student tour company. Let me guess why you are defending them, is it because you work or are a teacher that travels with them? Probably. Frankly I don't care. It’s sad because you're most likely a grown woman sitting at home waiting for someone to speak against EF tours so you can immediately defend them. I spent close to 4 thousand dollars on this trip and had a negative experience, and I would want others to inform me of a bad tour company. Sorry I am being a considerate human being.
fcat is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2012, 08:36 PM
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 2,065
maybe fcat you should learn to use paragraphs and not post form your phone and we'd take you more seriously.

plus we all KNEW what a lousy company EF was.
mztery is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2012, 08:43 PM
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 5,667
You had a bad and, for you, expensive trip. That is a shame. Your report was extremely hard to read. That is also a shame. Your response above is rude. That is a fact. I hope you treat your teachers with more respect.
socaltraveler is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2012, 08:44 PM
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 7
FYI mztery, I did not post from my phone, do you know how long that would have taken? And yeah they are.
fcat is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2012, 08:45 PM
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 64,339
"Let me guess why you are defending them, is it because you work or are a teacher that travels with them? Probably."

" . . . waiting for someone to speak against EF tours so you can immediately defend them

hardly . . . if you had read the thread you would see I agree they are a bad choice. I just couldn't wade through your rant.
janisj is online now  
Aug 22nd, 2012, 08:51 PM
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 64,339
I shouldn't get in a spitting match w/ a child, so sorry.

But if you re-read my post I was not being rude. I simply said you didn't need to re-post the whole thing and that it would help if you used paragraphs. I guess me capitalizing the "NO" may have upset you. But I certainly wasn't rude -- was actually trying to help you get better response in future.

Most of us know EF is a crap company.
janisj is online now  
Aug 22nd, 2012, 08:57 PM
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 7
Thank you for you apology. I was really upset and felt like I was being attacked.
fcat is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2012, 07:41 AM
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 4,063
fcat - well I hear you - I did two EF student trips with my daughters, the first one was OK, the second had a guide like yours. He was a student (doing graduate work on Norwegian lit.) and he led us from Rome to Madrid.

The first night in Rome he took the group on a walking tour - fortunately I did not go as I was meeting a friend. The group got back to the hotel at 2am! he had planned to bring them back on the bus but did not realize that the buses stopped running at some point so they walked for hours! death march! I also remember an incident like the money for tickets - asking the kids for money for tickets that you would have thought were pre-purchased.

Even tho he was European he seemed ignorant of train travel - we were all boarding a night train in Paris and he told us to just find a seat - night trains don't work that way. But as far as your complaint about how jammed the sleeping cars were, someone should have prepared you for that before hand. As we loaded into a car some of the ladies with much luggage declared the car was "full" because their bags were taking up too much room - nope, you need to travel light!

It does not surprise me about the special diet issues - almost all of our included meals were bad - by the second EF tour I knew I would need money for supplements! I was especially disappointed because even in Italy they geared the meals towards imagined US tastes instead of better Italian choices. At one point we had roast chicken and fries for four meals in a row!

Anyways I hope you had some pleasant moments on your trip and eventually you want to return. Both of my daughters were intrigued enough by Europe, in spite of EF, that they both did study abroad and now vacation there when they can. EF is not high end but it can cover alot of ground and maybe give you an idea of where to return to for a more enjoyable trip, next time.
suec1 is online now  
Dec 2nd, 2013, 01:11 PM
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 1
*This is long, but I wanted to address a lot of complaints all at once.
*Most of the people who have posted here seem to have had unrealistic expectations and little pre-trip preparation when they signed up. I have lead 3 EF tours, and have 2 more coming soon. As the Group Leader, I take the time to prepare my students and fellow adults in what to expect:

*They know about the small hotel rooms, tiny bathrooms and elevators, and lack of American-style air-conditioning, as are typical in many older hotels in Europe. Europeans are not going to change they way they do things because a tourist MAY be American--they serve other Europeans, too!
*Bread for breakfast? Read the literature, it says "continental breakfast".
*Catering to teenagers on the tour? OF COURSE they do!! This is a company that specializes in STUDENT travel!
*What can you do?: try something new whenever possible, and be polite and save any meal complaints for the plane ride home. Don't ruin it for those who have been enjoying themselves. Oh, and on free time, buy snacks to eat later--there are lots of cool things to try when abroad! We like to gather in the courtyard or lobby and compare finds!

*Paying for extras: Read the "what's included" in your tour brochure, and/or ask your Group Leader before you go!! You want extras, you pay for extras. Talk to your Group Leader in advance.

And, yes, the tour is packed with stuff to do. It's a student-oriented tour, and the busier EF keeps them, the better☺☺

*Missing the bus/subway: Happened to us, too. But that's because I pre-booked Eiffel Tower tickets for 11pm, and missed that the subway shuts down at 12. But we gathered enough money that our bus driver was willing to come get us. He spoke no English, we spoke no Italian (we used French and German to get along)--and our kids LOVED him !!

Speaking of which: Grumpy tour guides: Did you attack him/her right from the start with the "I'm an American, hear me roar"? Or did you attempt to be pleasant? We have had a newbie to the industry, a disenchanted veteran, and a super-pumped-can't-wait-to-show-you-this! All 3 were more willing to help the groups that were pleasant in their requests or concerns...

*Not knowing hotels or tour dates or flight info? Dates are confirmed WAY in advance. If you didn't get them about 3 months early, blame your Group Leader. The other info may have been held hostage due to someone still owing money. Happened to us once--the individual paid, and we got our info☺

Why do I choose EF? Because the bulk of the population I teach have limited resources. One of the other post-ers was right: this may be their ONLY opportunity to EVER go. This isn't for me--it's for those kids. I want them to get out there and experience this great big world and to come home so pumped that they can't wait to go AGAIN!

*To the folks who have written in to say "What I have always found to overshadow any tour shortcomings are the attitudes of those on the tour" and variations thereof, I couldn't agree more. I have had the pleasure of traveling with some genuinely excited-to-be there groups, as well as some who do nothing but complain. I try to steer my students away from the complainers, and have even had kids from those other groups ask to share activities with my kids.

*Because to them, this is (supposed to be) an adventure. They feed off of the excitement or the dissatisfaction of the group. Deal with problems if they are real problems (blown fuses) and use distractions when they are not. Yeah, yeah, night trains SUCK. BUT--have the kids take notes of the most interesting or creepy or funny things or people they experience until lights out, and tomorrow's breakfast is a BLAST!

EF has been good to us. Just remember that you DO have to do some research and prepare yourself/ your students for what to expect realistically. And if you truly have a bad experience, ask: is it the fault of EF? Or do I leave negative feedback on the hotel or restaurant or bus company, etc.

*As stated previously: "EF is not high end but it can cover alot of ground and maybe give you an idea of where to return to the next time."
DunkirkDave is offline  
Dec 2nd, 2013, 06:13 PM
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 842
DunkirkDave: I notice this is your first posting. Welcome to Fodor's. Thanks for your comments and your attempt to put a balance to some of the discussions. I am sure you realize that the original post was started in 2006 and the posting previous to yours was done about 15 months ago.

Some posters at Fodor's are so comfortable with their style of travel that they sometimes find it a challenge to grasp that others can travel differently. Group travel, especially student group travel is a horse of a different colour. The entire dynamic is different. You sound like a group leader that balances excitement, common sense and education. Congratulations.

I hope you will continue sharing your experiences on this forum. Would you be willing to provide us with a trip report on your most recent expedition - or tell us more about the trips you presently have planned?

teacherCanada is offline  

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