First of all, our family has traveled to Europe for over 30 years. My husband was a bicycle tour leader in France before going to graduate school, so we offer these thoughts with that background.
1. The tour should have non-stop flights. With a group of teenagers, it is ridiculous to risk a stop over in the interest in saving money. I am sure that the families would gladly have paid another $100-$200 per student for a non stop flight. During our tour, weather delayed the trip from Atlanta to Toronto by 6 hours. Even with a quick transition to the next flight in Toronto, one of the student's wallet was stolen or lost. It is just safer to have a non-stop flight.
2. Food. The kids' evening meal was always at 5:30 p.m. This is just too early for dinner. The group meals only offered one choice to eat. In St. Malo, the choice was mussels. Two of the kids were sickened by that choice. Surely there could be a choice of entrée at these dinners, even if it were a less expensive option like pasta.
Also, the tour director should never, ever offer an American fast food restaurant as an option for a group meal. The students' first meal in France was at Pizza Hut. There are so many options for food in France that are reasonable and convenient - even the highway restaurants are able to accommodate large groups and they offer many choices to eat.
Although the quality of the hotels was fine, the locations were so far away from the cities the kids were to visit, so much time was lost commuting that could have been spent touring the city. For example, in London, the students stayed in Barking, and in Paris, they stayed in Maison Lafitte - past CDG airport! There are so many choices of hotels in London and Paris, in particular, that the far afield hotels were not necessary. Also, we went to great expense to send a card to our son at the Maison Lafitte Hotel, and they never gave it to him. He asked twice at the front desk.
The tour guide on our son's tour was very unprofessional. First of all, she wore revealing clothes (where her breasts were visible. Secondly, we question her ability to lead a tour effectively. Setting up dinners at 5:30 pm was poor planning. Everyone spent much more on food than we had budgeted simply because they were having a second dinner.
All in all, I would not recommend this tour because we had the distinct feeling the planning was intentionally lowest of the low budget, so EF tours or the tour guide could keep as much money that was not spent on the students. That is a terrible feeling to have when you have entrusted your child to a tour company that is supposedly reputable.
Naryagain1 / Parent Macon, GA / Posted on July 02, 2019
This trip was truly incredible and was super educational and fun. It balanced being able to see things as a tourist while also providing so much opportunity to learn about the different places, particularly because of the amazing guide, Doniel!
JMILL / Adult traveller Phoenix, AZ / Posted on June 28, 2019
This was an amazing trip to places I have heard & read about since I was in grade school. To actually be there was truly an unforgettable experience. Our tour guide was extremely knowledgeable, personable, and very attentive to our well-being. We had separate tour guide for specific parts of the trip who gave us a more in-depth perspective and history, which added to the overall experience. Current events mixed with ancient history as we saw people going about their business surrounded by breath-taking architecture and scenery.
We sampled local cuisine on our own each day, which gave us a break from the fixed menu of the tour meals, some of which were quite good, but others not so good.
The accommodations were quite satisfactory and comfortable. They were farther outside the cities which made them quieter, but required extra time to travel back in to see the sights.
Having some free time was really nice, especially when you have the time constraints of the tour. It has its pros and cons...you see a lot but not always enough of some things.
Overall, it's well-worth it and makes you want to return for more.
Oneofmanytourfans / Adult traveller NJ / Posted on May 12, 2019
I loved all the tours, even though our time in Normandy was really depressing with all the WW2 stuff. I wish EF tours planned the dinner when we got off the ferry from London into France. It was a long day and it wast fair that we were given money and had to find dinner when we were hungry and were plopped into a new country with a new language. The hotels were ok though most of them had wifi that didnt work. The last hotel was in an obscure town and kids yelled racial slurs at us near the hotel. The tour guides though were great, though one if them said that he didnt care to talk about womens history because it wasnt important.
Chanayuurei / Adult traveller New york, ny / Posted on May 04, 2019
Not as good as expected
Concept of the trip to paris and London is great...here are the pitfalls. Hotel quality VERY bad. Hotels are too far out of the city in scketchy areas, had my ear buds stolen from my hotel room. My bed broke when I sat on it and the bathroom was gross. Took too long and ate up our time when we had to travel so far back to our hotels. The tour guides were not very interesting and we spent too long in places that are not that appealing to teeneagers. With so much to see in London and Paris the itneraries need to be reworked so that we learn and stay stimulated and engaged. For example, we had NO guided tour at St. Mount Michelle so we walked and had no idea what we were looking at, then turned around and walked back down and had no time to explore the town.
Jillybilly8 / Student traveller Kennebunk, ME / Posted on April 23, 2019
London was awesome
EF Tours made this process easy and enjoyable. London was amazing. Loved Paris. It was an awesome experience!!
Joe2007 / Student traveller Mercer, Wisconsin / Posted on April 14, 2019
This trip was amazing!! I loved all the history, sights, food, and the cultural experience. St. Malo, France was absolutely beautiful. I will definitely be going on more EF tours!!!
Marybeth / Student traveller Tupelo, Mississippi / Posted on March 30, 2019
I learned a lot about other cultures and history. I felt safe and cared about during the trip. My needs were taken care of. My boundaries were respected.
HoneyBear421 / Student traveller Palmdale, CA / Posted on March 30, 2019
London, France, Normandy
Great trip, with wonderful sites. A timed itinerary for each day once the trip started from the guide would have really been useful in planning each day since there was so much to do every day. Even small things like bathroom breaks and eating were on a super tight schedule, so knowing the timeline at the beginning of the trip would really help with that. My only complaint was we felt rushed a lot of the trip, but it was lovely & the whole experience was once in a lifetime.
MAHLG / Adult traveller Belden, MS / Posted on March 19, 2019
Europe and France Trip
We had a great time and our tour director was the best I have had. We felt taken care of and very protected. He was always mindful in the whole group. We where a very large group and he did a great job keeping us together.
Happy30 / Adult traveller Tupelo, MS / Posted on March 18, 2019