EF Tourstravel

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I see a lot of comments about ef tours on this site. I think the good and bad should be looked at. I don't think any of them are ridiculous as people have taken time to review this company. Do you have anything else you can share with me, good or bad about ef tours? There is alot of bad on this company on this complaintsboard which makes me wonder about the good. Please advise and thanks for your time. What is important is that ef tours takes high school children on tours and should be a role model in what the right thing to do. In my case, they listed a $150 discount on their website if you signed up before feb 29, 2011 which i did and now they tell me it is for certain tours. They should give me my $150 and then this is over! Did that happen to anyone else? It is not the money that concerns me but setting up a good example and standing by what you have up on your website.
Please advise.

Responses

  • Ma
    MadameS Nov 18, 2013

    *I am an FL teacher in a district that has always used EF for overseas travel. We have been to Austria, England, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Mexico, and Costa Rica over the last 20+ years. No one is a fan of the overnight trains, but all in all, we have had very positive experiences with EF. There was a tatooing incident a couple of years ago, some delayed luggage on more than one trip, and even a lost bag on the return flight--none of it the fault of EF.

    *We teachers do a great job of preparing our travellers--adults and kids alike, what to expect from "typical" European hotels. Occasionally we get a nice modern Excel or Holiday Inn, and believe it or not, they are actually disappointed NOT to have the old-fashioned experience.
    *We prepare them to expect smaller portions, small rooms, small bathrooms--not every country has the luxury of the amount of expansion space as the US has. And they know to bring their own washcloths and toiletries JIC. They know not to expect super-cold American-style air-conditioning, and that they had better use the target language or don't bother signing up! Even my adults must learn to "S'il vous plaît" and "Grazie" and have a small list of emergency phrases for getting lost or hurt, etc, rather than expecting that someone who speaks English will happen along.
    *We double-check hotel info (name, address, phone) and exchange cell numbers as soon as we arrive. They are each expected to carry this in their passports.
    *Stuff happens when traveling, and to the folks who blame EF, I can only ask--didn't your group leader prepare you at all? Didn't you read the booklet EF sent you that lays out student tour expectations? Pre-trip prep is YOUR and your group leader's responsibility!

    *As to the money problems, any time one of our travelers has a problem, they ask us and we do our best to intervene. I have gotten students their "overlooked" discount, as well as "hey--they charged her less, and they enrolled the same day" type scenarios. *Cancellation policy: it's laid out in great detail what to expect if you bail out on a trip--even telling you how much you'll get back as pro-rated by proximity to departure date. Does it suck? Yes! but if you've been enrolled for a while, and the date is pretty close, they have already started booking hotels and planes, etc. so...

    I love traveling with EF. I will continue to do so. And no, getting my trip "for free" has nothing to do with it--in fact, we should get MORE than just a free trip!!. I put in hundreds of hours of work planning and prepping for these tours, not to mention pulling my hair out shepherding teenagers and paying for lunches when their card doesn't work, and solving roomie issues, and fending off aggressive merchants, and prowling the halls at night to make them mind curfew, and hunting all over London for the group that didn't wait where I said to while I paid the lunch bill, or in Vienna for the group that missed curfew and the same group that was late for the bus after free time.
    *I tell my travelers: Your travel experience will be as good as you make it. You want to whine and complain about the food, the service, the rooms?? Fine--but do it quietly, and in your room or on the bus. Do NOT be the Rude American who has to "Ew Yuck" loudly and embarrass the group and the staff.
    *And as to the Métro/Underground? What an adventure!! My students are disappointed when we get back because we don't have one!! They take turns plotting the course, watching signs during the ride, buying tickets in the automated machines... And if we're lucky, we get a musician on board!! They all get really into the performance, and don't mind tossing a coin into the hat--and even try to get their picture taken with the performers☺
    Oh, and, of course, we have enjoyed a great number of repeat travelers--student and adult alike!

    0 Votes
  • Cs
    cseymore Dec 09, 2011
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    I'm sorry you had a negative experience, and you;re entitled to your opinion. I'm just letting you know that over the course of 13 tours, my students and parents have been extremely pleased with EF Tours.

    GCG, there will be 7 adults for 47 students. Please trust me when I tell you that I know what I'm doing, and my students are extremely well looked after during the entire trip. Over 300 students and approximately 150 days abroad and nobody has gotten seriously injured, lost, or harmed. And all the students have come home with wonderful learning experiences in another country. Again, if there had been any mishaps or problems, parents would not continue sending their children (and investing thousands of dollars per trip in the process) with me on EF Tours year after year after year. Large numbers of parents continue to ask me about the tours we are running in 2013 and 2014; this wouldn't be happening year in and year out if (a) their children were not safe, secure and well cared for and (b) EF Tours didn't do an excellent job for me and my students.

    0 Votes
  • Gc
    GCG Dec 09, 2011
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    Chris Seymore, If you have forty kids on a trip to be responsible for 24/7 I think you have a problem of another kind. Where are the chaparones for these children. And I might add, where are the other "Group Leaders" on this site.

    0 Votes
  • Cs
    cseymore Dec 09, 2011
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    The fact is that a number of other companies run student educational tours, and I could use them if I so desired. (These other companies have the same basic approach in terms of paying for the adult chaperones on the basis of a given student-teacher ratio.) And if it's such a huge "benefit", how come most teachers think I'm "nuts" for giving up my summers to bring groups of teenagers on these educational tours. Yes, EF pays for the adult chaperones (but not their expenses like tips, spending money, typically insurance, fees for single rooms, etc.). This is done to allow for these tours to occur, because no student tour to another country can take place without adult supervision. The majority of these trips would not happen if EF Tours didn't have this system in place, and then thousands of students would miss out on the opportunity to travel abroad and experience another culture as a high school student.

    JJTansley, EF Tours does not pay "all expenses" for the teachers and adult chaperones that lead a tour. You are right when you advice parents to think long and hard before they make this kind of investment in their children's education and maturation. It's not something to be taken lightly, and some students aren't necessarily ready for the experience. And without question you need to know you can trust the teacher who is bringing your son/daughter abroad. Unfortunately, you traveled with a teacher or teachers who were irresponsible. They are not employees of EF Tours, just as I am not. I will not debate whether your group leader(s) behaved as you describe. It goes without saying that parents need to do their due diligence regarding the teacher or teachers who will be responsible for their kids while on tour. I have taken more than 300 students abroad in the past 6 years. When students get sick on tour, I'm the one who stays back at the hotel (along with a female chaperone if the student who has fallen ill is a girl). I make sure the kids are awake in the morning and I monitor their behavior AT ALL times. I don't have a sip of alcohol while on tour. I spend an hour or more each day sending home emails and photos to my parents back home, and I am often in communication with them via phone when the situation requires.

    GCG, one remark by JJTansley above is a prime example of a comment that's a bit "ridiculous." The assertion that "These group leaders could really care less about the kids ... it's all about them" is unfair and inaccurate. This is a gross generalization, and in my opinion, it's quite ridiculous. And, trust me, not only does it misrepresent me and the personal responsibility I take toward all of my students, but it misrepresents the vast majority of teachers who choose to lead groups of TEENAGERS on tours abroad. Imagine being responsible for a group of 40 sixteen and seventeen year olds on a 2 week trip to Italy and Greece. Think about it for a second. As you can imagine, an undertaking like this is a big responsibility, and certainly there are probably teachers out there who do these trips for the wrong reasons. But, again, the reason why I have led 13 tours and nearly 330 students on these educational tours is because of how seriously I take this responsibility. It's the reason why more than 20 parents have sent multiple children on EF Tours with me, and it's why more than 20 other parents have sent a child on two or three of these trips with me.

    JJTansley, over the years a number of parents have sent me detailed thank you notes after their kids returned, and a handful, I'm embarrassed to say, brought me thank you gifts. It's too bad your experience was a negative one. If you son/daughter had me as a teacher, I guarantee you your experience would have been completely different and you would feel differently today. I'm sorry you had a teacher who didn't take personal responsibility for his students. It sounds like the problem on your tour was with the teacher or teachers leading your child's group; the problem wasn't EF Tours. My students and parents have never had an experience on my tours with EF that resemble yours in the slightest. This summer I am leading a group of 48 students on an 18-day tour of France and Spain, and I am absolutely certain that my students will have an amazing, educational, life-changing experience as we tour Europe with EF Tours. (Of the 48, 10 of these are younger siblings of students who have traveled with me in the last few years.) This is the 14th tour I will be leading with EF. Please trust me when I tell you, that parents would not continue to send their kids on these educational tours with me if EF did not provide a great product and professional service at a great value.

    0 Votes
  • Gc
    GCG Dec 08, 2011
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    Thank you so much for your reply. All of my communications with this company have had a very negative impact on my excitement for the trip.. My grandson, whom I am accompanying's birthday is 3/17 so we were so excited to be in Dublin on that day. Now the dates for the trip has changed and we will be home before 3/15. Very disappointing. When you combine this with the increase in cost this makes for a more distasteful experience. This morning I find out he will be sharing a room with 3 or 4 other kids he does not know and are not even from this country. My accommodations have been changed from private to sharing with another person I do not know. O course I can cancel and lose our money. About $5-6000. at this point. Insurance they sell you is worthless. I will be filing a complaint with the MA Attorney General.for EF's deceptive practices.

    0 Votes
  • Cs
    cseymore Dec 08, 2011
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    GCG, not all of the complaints on this site are ridiculous. But in my opinion, some of them are. The fact that someone pays for something doesn't automatically ensure that they will always employ rational, logical thinking when analyzing a situation, and it doesn't guarantee that a complaint is a valid one. And it should come as no surprise that, occasionally, people do lodge complaints that aren't really fair or just. I'm simply providing an honest opinion about my experiences, including the consistent positive feedback of students and parents over a 6 year period.

    You can accuse me of bias, but the fact is that I could easily use other companies for my student tours if I was in any way dissatisfied with EF's overall product, or if any of my parents expressed any dissatisfaction. (Those other companies have a similar structure in terms of free chaperones based on a given student-teacher ratio.) But there's no reason to consider any other company. My parents and students consistently provide positive commentary about their experiences with EF Tours, and a significant number have sent multiple children on EF Tours with me, or have sent a son or daughter on more than one trip.

    0 Votes
  • Jj
    jjtansley Dec 08, 2011
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    People thinking about using EF Tours, think long and hard. I am so lucky nothing happened to my daughter when she took her tour. The first night the groups were wandering the streets WITHOUT supervision from anyone. These group leaders could really care less about the kids, it's all about THEM. Once they leave this country, the group leaders are NOT obligated to EF tours...they make all the decisions and we, as parents, have on say what so ever. So, whatever this cesymore is saying, is not true...he (or she) is totally benefiting from these tours...all expenses paid. That tour was the one of the worst decisions I have ever made. What a nightmare!

    0 Votes
  • Gc
    GCG Dec 08, 2011
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    @chrisseymore
    I will not engage is semantics with you. i don't care whether you are called an independent contractor, a casual laborer, an employee or a director; you receive a benefit for your services and that sir is a taxable event. The fact that you receive a benefit from EF Tours taints your opinion. Your opinion is biased and that was precisely my point. The facts are that you receive your accommodations, air fare, excursions, some meals and other expenses free gratis and you have the nerve to refer to parents' (who fork out this money) complaints' as being "ridiculous". Therein lies your immaturity.

    2 Votes
  • Cs
    cseymore Dec 08, 2011
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    Not sure what makes my thought process "immature." The fact is I am not an employee of EF Tours. I do not receive paychecks from EF not do I receive W-2 forms. Yes, EF Tours pays for the adult chaperones, based on a ratio of teachers to students. This is done, obviously, since no student tour can occur without adult supervision. Without this system, most trips would not occur, and countless students would not have the opportunity to travel. In some years I have led 3 groups of students on tours to Europe. Clearly, on a teacher salary I would not be able to afford to pay for 3 Europe trips per year. The parents of my student are aware of this, and have no problem with this arrangement. This does not make me an employee of EF Tours. Employee is defined as someone who is hired to perform services for wages or salary and is under the other's control. I do not receive a wage or salary, and I am not under the control of EF Tours. Sorry to refute your assertions, GCG, but I simply am not an employee of EF Tours.

    -1 Votes
  • Gc
    GCG Dec 08, 2011
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    @cseymore: I see by your many, many post on this site that you are a Group Leader and have taken 200 students on 11 trips. That equals out about 20 per trip. Your benefit in free trips would amount to well over $30, 000. Of course you are defending EF Tours, They have been very nice to you! In fact you are an employee of EF Tours no matter how much you state otherwise. Perhaps you should not be posting on this board and making statements about these "ridiculous" complaints (your word). Let the official EF rep respond since you are not in a position to resolve any issue. You seem quite immature in your thought process.

    0 Votes
  • Be
    BethOcomplaints Mar 16, 2011
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    Thank you for your interest. It looks like EF tours won't be honoring the $150 discount for now that was advertised on their website but I am sure that the Teacher at Del Norte in San Diego has been taking high schoolers to Europe for a while will take good care of the bunch and I know that my child is looking forward to going with him and Del Norte HS in San Diego.

    0 Votes
  • Cs
    cseymore Mar 15, 2011
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    I can just tell you from my personal experience that the issues facing the students traveling with me, and their parents, are ALWAYS my concern. Teachers who lead these tours are taking on extra responsibility because they enjoy making these opportunities available to their students, and I'm sure the teacher at Del Norte would say the same thing. We are able to teach AND keep up with planning our trips and helping parents and students who are traveling. I would always prefer that parents keep me in the loop so I'm in a position to help them whenever possible as we prepare for the trips.

    It's unfortunate that you have such a negative view of EF Tours right now, because I can tell you they are a very good company, take care of the logistics and details of every trip in an extremely professional manner, and have done right by my students and their families over and over again for the last 5 years.

    0 Votes
  • Be
    BethOcomplaints Mar 15, 2011
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    I didn't talk to the teacher at Del Norte in San Diego as he is teaching the students at Del Norte and not monitoring EF tours site. This doesn't effect him. He didn't write EF Tours website that stated that if you sign up before Feb 28th you get a $150 discount.

    I know that this particular teacher at Del Norte is well thought of by the students in Poway Unified schools. I bet if it was up to him, he would honor what was on any website.

    Thanks!

    0 Votes
  • Cs
    cseymore Mar 15, 2011
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    No. I don't work for EF. Please read the above comment above. It's pretty clear and easy to understand. I'm a regular high school teacher, just like the teacher at Del Norte HS who is taking your child on an EF Tour.

    Speaking of which, did you contact the teacher at Del Norte about this? What did he have to say about EF and this situation?

    0 Votes
  • Be
    BethOcomplaints Mar 15, 2011
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    I trust Del Norte HS in San Diego to make the right decision for their students as well as Poway Unified Schools. You work for EF tours right?

    0 Votes
  • Cs
    cseymore Mar 15, 2011
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    First, you continue to write "you" and imply that EF Tours and myself are one in the same. We're not. I don't work for EF and I'm not paid by EF. I'm a teacher who has used EF Tours to bring groups to Europe and I haven't had a single complaint from a parent about the quality or prices. And this year 26 of my students received both $150 Early Bird discounts for our 2012 tour to France & Spain.

    Like someone earlier wrote, reading the fine print is always helpful. I always make my parents aware of EXACTLY how much they will be paying. All of my parents were aware that if they signed up this winter for my 2011 trip the price would be X, and there would be no extra discounts. If you had been in communication with the teacher who is leading your tour I am sure he would have explained this to you. I also recall someone earlier on this site mentioning that nobody else on your daughter's tour is receiving the Early Bird discount, even though they enrolled on the trip before you did. That wouldn't seem fair, now would it?

    As I wrote earlier, in 2009 when airport departure fees and fuel costs dropped dramatically in the 2 weeks prior to departure, EF promptly issued $121 refund checks to 49 of my students and their families. The families were not expecting this refund. It came as a complete surprise to all of them and to me. EF easily could have pocketed this money as additional profit, but didn't. That's nearly $6000. And to my understanding this was done for students all across North America. Clearly, history would seem to indicate this isn't a company that would hesitate to give you a $150 discount if you had met the terms of the discount and actually signed up "early". Switch to a 2012 tour and you would have been in line for the $150 discount.

    Finally, with the way you're bashing EF over a $150 discount that you believe you are owed, and the comments you're making about how it's basically an untrustworthy and generally awful company, I don't understand why you're even sending your daughter on the trip at all.

    If I had such little faith in a company, there's no way I would send my child abroad with them. Again, I don't get paid by EF, but they have done a fantastic job for my kids and parents over the course of 11 tours since 2006. The company has been VERY generous with Early Bird discounts and very flexible whenever my parents have run into financial difficulties over the last 5 years. The company has waived late fees when parents couldn't pay on time, fees as small as $20 or even fees of $75 or $125. They have been extremely professional and honest. I have brought more than 215 students abroad since 2006 and I haven't had a single parent complaint about prices, discounts, customer service or the quality of the tours themselves. That's a fact. I understand that you want the $150 discount, but beyond that you have absolutely no frame of reference which would allow you to comment on the company and disparage it online in this way. Just my 2 cents.

    0 Votes
  • Be
    BethOcomplaints Mar 15, 2011
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    Then EF and you should come clean and be honest with people. A good business has good business practices and honors what they post on their website. You advertised that if I signed up before Feb 28th which I did, you get a $150 discount. You have since changed your website. Be honest and give me my $150. What do the rest of you paying parents think. Not caseymore that works and gets paid by EF! Shouldn't EF do the right thing, honor what is on their website! Especially since they take high schoolers on tours! Especially those in San Diego!

    0 Votes
  • Cs
    cseymore Mar 13, 2011
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    BethO, cutting and pasting the same comment you'd last week doesn't help anyone get a different insight into EF.

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  • Be
    BethOcomplaints Feb 24, 2011
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    I really don't agree with your decison at all. If you put on your website that you will get $150 off if you sign up before Feb 28th which I clearly did. I should get that $150 off. Any good company stands by what they have on their website. What other things do you have for other people that are stated when you read an offer? You are misleading and wrong and a bad example for a company that takes high schoolers from Del Norte in San Diego on a tour that the parents are paying much money for!

    0 Votes
  • eftours Feb 23, 2011
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    @BethOcomplaints Again sorry for the confusion but cseymore is correct and the early bird discount only applies to 2012 tours. If you have any other questions please give us a call at [protected]. Thanks cseymore for your nice comments! -Katie from eF

    0 Votes
  • Cs
    cseymore Feb 20, 2011
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    Yeah, if you look at the advertisement on the website, it's very clear. The $150 Early Bird discount requires that you enroll prior to Feb. 28, 2011, and is for 2012 tours. So if the tour you enrolled on is a 2011 tour, I doubt there is anything Ms. Gerlach or anyone else will be able to do. It's clear on the website that this discount applies to 2012 tours.

    0 Votes
  • Be
    BethOcomplaints Feb 20, 2011
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    Do you think you could contact Ms. Gerlach at EF tours and have her contact me and help me out? I signed up in February and my daughter goes to Del Norte in San Diego? I just want my $150 as I signed up before Feb 28 according to the EF tours website when I signed up and to pay what the others from Del Norte HS in San Diego are paying. I would appreciate this. Mr. Hanover is a busy man and likes EF tours. I appreciate your time and thank you in advance. It is nice of you to say something nice about EF tours. Thank you.

    0 Votes
  • Cs
    cseymore Feb 20, 2011
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    I understand, but as the Group Leader, it is MY responsibility to look out for my students and their families, and the contact with EF Tours ... is ME. So when there's an issue, I'M the one who take responsibility and gets it sorted out. That's the Group Leader's responsibility, since he/she has a DIRECT CONTACT (known as a Tour Consultant) at EF Tours in Boston.

    0 Votes
  • Be
    BethOcomplaints Feb 20, 2011
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    Thank you for your nice post. I really don't want to involve the Group Leader. We are a new high school in San Diego. I don't think this should concern Mr. Hanover. He is nice in organizing this trip for Del Norte High School in San Diego. He didn't have anything at all to do with the $150 discount listed on their website. Do you know if Lars from EF tours can correct this for our account? What do you suggest? I would like to be one of the parents that can say 100% positive about EF tours too. It isn't the price of the $150 discount, it is the principle of standing by what you list on your website. Thanks for your time and I hope you have a nice day!

    0 Votes
  • Cs
    cseymore Feb 20, 2011
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    All I can say is I have taken more than 200 students on 11 tours, and the feedback from parents and students has been 100% positive. Many, many parents have spent thousands of dollars to send kids on multiple tours with me, and several parents have sent multiple children on tours. If EF didn't do the right thing for the students on tour, these parents wouldn't be sending their kids on turs in back-to-back years, right? The company has consistently done an AMAZING job.

    As for the $150 discount, speak with your Group Leader (the teacher running the tour at your child's school) and have him/her call EF about the $150 discount. I would expect if you get to the right person at EF Tours, they will honor the $150 discount if it was promised to you.

    0 Votes
  • Cs
    cseymore Sep 20, 2010
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    Nice to see people go out of their way to make positive comments, instead of some of the ridiculous complaints posted on this site. Makes sense that parents trying to decide whether or not to send their kids on an EF Tour would be interested in both positive and negative reviews of the company.

    -1 Votes
  • Jj
    jjtansley Jul 11, 2010
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    not a complaint

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