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Thoughts on an educational tour during coronavirus outbreak

Thoughts on an educational tour during coronavirus outbreak

Old Mar 5th, 2020, 04:19 PM
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Thoughts on an educational tour during coronavirus outbreak

Hi. I was wondering if anyone had experience lately with EF Tours. I know they had a bad rap a few years ago but I don't know if they have changed since this would have been my first experience. My child's Spanish class was set to travel in a month but the teachers, because of the threat of coronavirus, decided to postpone the trip to next year. As a result, we have the option to go next year or receive a voucher but there is no option for a refund. I was wondering if anyone else had experienced something similar or if anyone has any feedback about EF Tours. Thank you.
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Old Mar 5th, 2020, 05:26 PM
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Lots of schools are cancelling all international trips and even bringing students back from semesters abroad. My niece’s trip over spring break to study environmental issues in Costa Rica was cancelled today. Very disappointing. It’s a volatile situation and schools are understandably taking a conservative approach.
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Old Mar 5th, 2020, 06:48 PM
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Disappointing indeed. Thanks.
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Old Mar 5th, 2020, 06:50 PM
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Was your niece's trip refunded?
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Old Mar 6th, 2020, 03:04 AM
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I think schools are rightly playing it safe. I think you can take the voucher, but what that voucher entails? Going next year is also a good option.
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Old Mar 6th, 2020, 12:26 PM
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Originally Posted by NinaPas View Post
Was your niece's trip refunded?
The university hasnít indicated what will happen to the money paid for the trip. I hope they have some sort of plan. The trip is part of a class offered only once a year so rescheduling is not easy.
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Old Mar 6th, 2020, 03:19 PM
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That probably isn't that unusual, all kinds of travel companies, airlines, hotels, etc., usually do not just give you your money back, they want the revenue and have probably counted on it in their books, etc. I don't think it makes much difference what people say about them, this is obviously a done deal that you already gave the money to and I'm sure signed a contract saying it was nonrefundable. So it doesn't really matter what people have to say about EF Tours.

Sounds like all kids were not seniors or postponing a year wouldn't work. What is this "voucher" for anyway, isn't that the only thing the company does? If you don't want to do that tour the next year, what else can you do with the voucher. I don't suppose you bought travel insurance, it's just like a cruise, etc., or any vacation you must pay in advance. But FWIW if you want people's opinions of what they did, I don't find it that unusual and think a lot of other vendors are not just refunding things, either. I presume you bought travel insurance from them, I'd check the terms. Better if you bought your own, probably.
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Old Mar 7th, 2020, 07:19 AM
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Lately, EF tours are in the news.
https://montrealgazette.com/news/loc...cause-of-virus

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montr...ears-1.5477095

https://www.boston25news.com/news/tr...OBGPE3G4B5IUU/

Good luck getting money back from the Swiss.
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Old Apr 16th, 2020, 10:19 AM
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Watch out for the fine print

Be careful of the fine print, no matter what the representatives tell you!
Signed up for my son to go to Thailand with his school. We were not sure if my step-son was going to be able to secure his passport because of some technical issues. The EF Tours rep said they would only charge a $95 cancellation fee if we could not secure one. Well after trying to get through for a week and finally reaching them they said that I would have to pay a $550 cancellation fee. So the rep at the school absolutely lied to me. Madison the rep I spoke with at the company even had the nerve to tell me I had plenty of time to take care of anything legal with my step-sons passport issues in the next ten months... What a joke, and I heard they are making people pay cancellations during the covid-19 pandemic. Sleazy travel company, I will never send my other children on a trip with them!
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Old Apr 16th, 2020, 03:39 PM
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It is not that EF or any of the student tour companies are not reputable. They are. It is that they have really tight, tight contracts which hardly anyone reads. I had to beg parents to read and be sure they understood the rules AND dates for payments and refunds. The company is always allowed to change and substitute trips, itineraries, tickets, tours, times, dates, etc. and travelers have little/no recourse. It is a bit like cruises, which can do the same. Personally, I don’t think schools and teachers who run the trips through these companies are always knowledgeable about the rules, so they are not effectively up front about them. Also, parents think the school sponsors the trip, and that is only half correct. They may plan it and sponsor it, but contracts are usually between each student and the Travel Company and that is completely and clearly stated in the paperwork the parent signs. I know that is so with EF. It is fine until something goes wrong. IMHO, every single student should have their own privately purchased insurance, or be willing to take the risk of a big loss.

All the companies are about the same and things must be pretty bad for them right now. They have things booked: hotels, flights, etc. Are they getting reimbursed by insurance? Do not know.

From what I read, EF is offering only full vouchers for later trips, or refunds with a huge loss of $1000.00 pp. I do not know which I would do. They are one of the older student companies, but they are also rock bottom budget and I do not know their current financial status. If I could do a trip later, I would likely take the chance that things would be better and that the company would survive and be in business next year, keeping in mind that if they declared bankruptcy, I would get nothing.

Now, this is only my personal opinion for anyone else who may happen to be reading.
I love travel and love trips for kids. I took small groups to Italy, France and Spain. They are educational, fun and a wonderful experience. However, they are often touted as trips or experiences of a life-time for your kids, and you feel like a poor parent if you don’t do it. Phooey! If you can afford a student trip for your child, great! If you must sacrifice or scrimp and save for this, don’t! If losing the money would be unthinkable, or not being able to afford the extra for decent insurance is a problem, don’t. There are plenty of places where you could afford an educational family vacation for the same cost. If your teen is working and does not need the money for college, etc. and can save most of it on their own, make sure they know the risks and weigh it against whatever else they might want. Then, the whole thing becomes their own experience and is a real education as to cost benefit, etc. Parents should not be “guilted” into it.
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