As a 22 yr veteran teacher, and this bring my 3rd out of the country trip with students, here are my thoughts:
-it seemed all our “hands on” activities were saved till last day or two-those need to be spaced out and every other day ex:bike tour, scavenger hunt, cooking class
-students need to hear info for a day or two, then move around and do something themselves (like the above mentioned)
-dinners were scheduled WAY WAY too early and kids were starving by 9pm. The problem seemed to be that lunch and dinner were only a few hours apart, so no one seemed very hungry at dinner.
Everyone on the trip seemed to spend so much extra money on food in the evenings. As a parent, and with the cost of the trip, there seems to be a need to make a few adjustments to the schedule so kids can use their extra money for adventures instead of food.
Maybe instead of always having dinners scheduled, why not have a lunch or two and not always a dinner? Then, students can pay for their evening meal and make it later than the 5:30-6:00pm that was scheduled.
-metro tickets need to be purchased from our tour guide ahead of time, we spent so much wasted time in the metro waiting for tickets.
-a short description with excursions and basic info would be great for the bus rides, when the guide is talking-kids have more ownership to the info with something in their hand. On other tout we did, not with EF, kids were all given a small journal and we had them writing stuff down-that was a cool token and reminder.
-overall the trip was good, but there were definitely ways to make it more efficient and enjoyable for all.
Sporty2828 / Adult traveler Lake Charles, La / Posted on July 14, 2019
Seeing the sites was great but I wish we could’ve took a tour bus to them instead of walking and using the subway system
Dria / Student traveler Baton Rouge, Louisiana / Posted on May 08, 2019
LOTS of WALKING- Overall the trip was great
LOTS OF WALKING- Overall the trip was great but nothing could prepare Americans for the amount of walking for the tours ( 5-7 miles a day said my Fitbit).
I was uncomfortable with the subway rides and warnings of pick-pockets, this was a new thing for a girl from the deep south. Still a great experience overall.
Ankles / Adult traveler Baton Rouge, La / Posted on May 02, 2019
1st trip abroad
-Tour guides in Paris and Barcelona were excellent! The information they provided was priceless.
-Hotels were nice and clean with friendly staff and good breakfasts.
Cons: There should be a more defined itinerary with arrival and departure times even if the times are tentative.
Day 1 was extremely disappointing due to the fact we were not able to check into our hotel room until 8pm that evening. We arrived at the hotel around 8am that morning and did not have time for proper hygiene after having spent practically a full day traveling. EF tours should have arranged for an early check in time
***Transportation by subway and metro trains was very unsafe and hazardous to parents and students due to pick pockets. I’m POSITIVE parents would pay an additional amount to travel by passenger vans to the attractions.
Optional excursions that I paid for were canceled without me being notified.
EF Tours should just bill students and parents for excursions in advance and not offer them onsite to fill in free time. Some students that are not accompanied by parents have not budgeted for
-The dinners in France were subpar and totally not acceptable. Again, just charge a bit more and upgrade menu selections.
In closing, I realize that the company must be profitable, but cutting corners excessively detracted greatly from the experience.
Custom / Adult traveler Baton Rouge, LA / Posted on April 27, 2019
For me it was a once in a lifetime opportunity and exceeded my expectations. Our EF tour leader was great! She was familiar with both cities and did a first rate job! The tour guide was knowledgeable and friendly. The accommodations were fine and the staff at our hotel in Barcelona were helpful and gracious. A couple recommendations are to make sure that the tour leader and at least one chaperone have international calling/data plans so that communication is easier when coordinating meeting times, etc. There were several times when a text or quick call would have been helpful. Also, I understand that finding vendors that can and will accommodate a student tour, however the restaurants we went to were not the highlight of the tour. Either the food was boring or the staff was rude. We chose to eat on our own toward the end of the week at least twice so that the food experience would be more authentic to the region we were in. Overall, a great tour!
KyGiGi / Adult traveler Georgetown Kentucky / Posted on April 09, 2019
very disappointed. the tour didn't take us to the places that was on the itinerary. Spent too much time traveling by Metro.
bigcat / Adult traveler Posted on April 08, 2019
Great time, BUT...
This was truly an amazing trip. Both Paris and Barcelona were beautiful with perfect weather, and we also had a perfect tour guide. There were a few things about this trip, however, that were classic cost-cutting measures on EF's part and quite frankly unacceptable.
1. The hotels were 30-60 minutes outside of each city, so we spent a considerable amount of time on a bus or a train instead of exploring the city. Not to mention the hotel in Barcelona was way too small for our relatively small group of 20.
2. The dinners that EF provided were by far the worst part of this trip. We went to pre-selected restaurants that provided the most bland, inauthentic food. For example, we went to a pizza and salad bar one night and in our last night in Paris we had bland grilled chicken breast with a scoop of white rice. Thankfully, we took advantage of our lunchtime to try high end, quality foods.
3. The return flights were difficult to manage. We spent a total of 18 hours traveling from Barcelona to our US city. EF only gave us 2 hours in JFK to go through customs, so we all downloaded the Mobile Passport app. If we had not done so, we most certainly would not have made our flight home. In fact, there were two members of our group that didn't make the flight because they had EU passports, and had to fly out the next day. Poor scheduling on EF's part.
Overall, this was a great trip that I would definitely do again. I will not, however, be doing it through EF. If you are looking for a higher end experience that goes beyond sight seeing, this is not for you!
Deano / Student traveler Cleveland, Ohio / Posted on April 02, 2019
What you pay is not what you get. Super over priced for as cheap as they can find rooms and food. Was not given a choice for dinner and served things I could not eat almost every night. Starved is an understatement. The whole trip was hurry up we’re late. Saw things for maybe 5-10 mins and the hurried to the next stop.
Studentsmom1233 / Student traveler Columbus Georgia / Posted on March 31, 2019
The trip was amazing in it helped e better understand the world I live in.
Buddy87656 / Student traveler Arizona / Posted on March 30, 2019
The trip was great! Though we had some troublesome beginnings (canceled flight, missed day, and a riot in Paris), our tour director made up by making us feel comfortable and adjusting the schedule so that could continue on with the day. Though the metro was shut down past Champs Elysees, our director helped us find the better route to get to Notre Dame, which was our meeting point. The rest of the time at Paris was fantastic. Barcelona was definitely my group's favorite. The city is so enchanting and though it may have less touristic spots to offer, who could not be enchanted by La Sagrada Familia??? During our tour we were able to find a balance between free time and the itinerary. Our students benefited from the scheduled outings as well as what they wanted to see, such as the Bernabeu stadium.
AdultTraveler125 / Group leader Springdale, AR / Posted on March 24, 2019