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Unorganized Trip but Grateful for the ExperienceUnfortunately, I can only give this trip two stars. I am so grateful for the opportunity to visit Dublin and London but there were so many things that went wrong on my trip. First, there was a lack of communication. When we had our second tour guide, the plans were always changing. First, we were going to Dublin Castle, then we weren't going. Finally, the next day, we asked her how to get to the castle on our own and she informed us that we were going to the castle as a group. I was so confused. She never told us the plans changed until we asked her. I also noticed a lack of communication between EF Tours and the bus companies. One day when our bus driver was supposed to be taking us to Galway, he was taking us to the Cliffs of Moher. He didn't realize this mistake until we were almost there. It wasn’t until the bus driver asked him how close we were to Galway that he admitted that EF Tours told him to go to the Cliffs of Moher. There was also a lack of communication regarding one of the restaurants at which we ate. We were informed (via the itinerary) that the restaurant was called the Czech Inn. Our second tour guide told us multiple times that we would be eating at the Czech Inn. Then, when we met later that night to go to dinner our second tour guide told us that the restaurant was no longer operating under that name. Another miscommunication occurred when we arrived in London. After we got off the airplane and retrieved our luggage, we went outside to get on our bus only to find out that there was no bus. Our third tour director called the bus company and they informed her that there was a switch in bus drivers and they were sending a new driver to pick us up. We waited outside in the cold weather for thirty minutes waiting on the driver. Secondly, the itinerary for the trip was very vague. The early childhood visit for Dublin was still pending and there wasn’t even an early childhood visit listed for London. This is unacceptable. EF Tours had a year and a half to plan this trip. I would log into my EF Tours account months and days before our trip in the hopes that I would be able to see the itinerary. Time after time, the website said the itinerary was still being developed. We should have had a detailed itinerary well in advance of our departure. Third, this trip was full of false promises. We were told we were going to Skype with a representative from EF Tours. Our professor even arranged for us to meet so we could Skype with her. We arrived at our meeting only to find out that she was unable to talk to us because she was traveling. She left us a PowerPoint with what was supposed to be helpful information, but it was very basic and not specific to our trip. Another false promise is that we were told we would be issued e-tickets prior to our departure. This never happened. Then, when we were in London, our third tour director told us that she was able to get us tickets for the London Eye. She said that EF Tours agreed to pay for the tickets. Then, a few hours later, she informed us that she wasn’t able to get the tickets. It was such a let down. She should have never told us she had the tickets until they were officially confirmed. We would have had tickets if they were purchased a year and a half ago when this trip was planned. In addition, some aspects of the trip were unprofessional. When we were doing our early childhood visit at Giraffe, our second tour guide basically told us we had to leave as soon as possible so we could make it to our next destination. I felt so rushed. It made us look bad as a university. Several other things went wrong on our trip. I don’t even know what category these fall under so I am just going to call them problems. To start, our third tour director walked very quickly. This was especially problematic in London. One day, we were at the train station about to get on the train. The overcrowded train arrived and our third tour director told us to get on. She squeezed her way onto the train and left the rest of us to fend for ourselves. About half of the group was able to get onto that train. The other half of the group (which included myself), couldn’t fit on that train so we decided to wait for the next one. We were the first group to arrive at our destination because the other train got rerouted. I felt so bad for the girls on the other train. They were in three separate train cars. There was a group of girls in one car, the tour director in another car, and one student who got separated from the group and was in a train car all by herself. This is unacceptable. The tour director should have made the decision to wait for the next train so we could all be together. Speaking of the train, I was upset by our tour director’s lack of knowledge of the transportation system in London. A few students had questions regarding when to “tap in” or “tap out” at the station, but she was unable to answer them. I thought she would have been more knowledgeable about the system since she used to live in London. Another problem we encountered in London is that we arrived at the airport one hour later than we expected because of traffic. Our tour director acted surprised that there were other vehicles on the road at the same time as us. Then, when we got to the airport our tour director was unable to check into our flight because her ticket was under the incorrect name. EF Tours wasn’t able to fix the problem in time and she had to buy her own ticket just so she could board the plane. As a result of all these issues, we just barely made it onto the plane. I’m not sure what, if anything, EF Tours would have done if we missed our flight.
In the end, I hope it is clear why I can only give this trip two stars. I was really hoping for a better trip. It was something I was looking forward to for a long time. I spoke with students who took this tour in 2015 and they raved over it. It is unfortunate that a trip that is supposed to be fun and stress-free was filled with miscommunication, a vague itinerary, false promises, and numerous other problems. I really wish I could have a break down of everything that was included in the $4,000 I paid for this trip. Only a few of our dinners were included. More meals should have been included for the price we paid. EF Tours tried to appease us by offering us a $15 dinner voucher after the London Eye debacle. This was nice, but $15 doesn’t pay for everything that went wrong on this trip. The only days we didn’t have an issue was when we were with our first tour guide. She was wonderful. She was very friendly and knowledgeable about the culture of Dublin. She even gave us tips for places to eat and shop prior to our departure. So when it comes down to it, the blame should not be placed on her. Another person who shouldn’t be blamed is our group leader. Prior to the trip, she was constantly communicating with EF Tours through emails and phone calls. She found that they did not return her correspondence or they didn’t know the answers to her questions. She went above and beyond to contact you and make sure we got the best experience. I truly applaud her for putting up with the unorganized disaster of this trip.Christian, President
EF College Study Tours
Thank you for your feedback about your experience in Dublin & London. I am sorry to hear that so many parts of your experience, before and while abroad, did not meet your expectations. We always strive to provide the best experience for every traveler. We understand that there is room to improve communication during the planning process, and your feedback is very valuable to us. We would love to hear more from you to continue to improve our customer experience. Please don't hesitate to give us a call at (877) 485-4184 or to email me at Christian@ef.com.
Trip of a Lifetime!!!Our trip was one that I will never forget! The organization, planning and delivery of the trip was all exceptional. The tour directors and the all of the individuals involved on behalf of EF tours were amazing. They were all very accommodating prior, during and after the our to trip to Ireland! Each day we were given a day of activities and educational experiences that all had unique meaning and importance. It was so nice that we were able to travel to Dublin, Belfast, and Galway. Each city gave us a unique view and perspective of the culture, traditions and other essential elements to help contribute and enrich our experience. I would recommend this trip to anyone, particularly an education major as it heightens awareness, knowledge and inspiration for future endeavors in the multicultural field! Thank you so much!!!!
Amazing OpportunityThis trip was wonderful. I cannot wait to go back and have another amazing experience. The educational opportunities that were provided were incredible. I really enjoyed the tours and the guides.
Education Meets LeisureThis trip was the perfect mixture of education and leisure tourist activities and sights. I loved being able to learn about the educational system in Ireland and in the future would love to be able to go into an elementary school and not just early childhood centers. I loved all the places we visited, especially Galway! Galway was beautiful and I wish we spent more time there compared to Dublin because of the high tourist traffic found in Dublin. I only have a couple cons about the trip: 1) When covering meals for some who has a dietary restriction (I am gluten-free) allow them to have more options to choose from (A few times, but not all, when EF covered tours I found I did not like the choice of food and often ended up not eating) and 2) Our tour guide was a little to lax about getting to the airport, if you are traveling back into the States from Ireland be prepared to go through agriculture, customs, and immigration all at the airport in Ireland so give yourself plenty of time and make sure your tour guide is aware! Other than the few cons, I had a fabulous time and definitely look forward to making another trip back on my own!
Slainte!This tour was fantastic! I think our tour guide is what made is so great. She was knowledgeable, willing to offer information, answer questions, and handle problems as they arose in our schedule. She was flexible and eager to help us make the most of our visit. She really helped us personalize our free time - she offered ideas based on what we liked and what would really help us get to know the city as the natives do. By the end of our time in each city, I felt like I could confidently travel there by myself.
The schedule kept us busy, enough that we were never bored and always on the move! We had a perfect amount of time at nearly every site (but of course most of us want to visit again).
I was apprehensive about traveling with a tour group because I worried that we would only see tourist sites, not the real life of the country. However, because EF planned everything for us and we had such a great guide, we were free from worry and able to just experience a beautiful new place.
Breathtakingly GorgeousThis trip has made me fall in love with the whole country of Ireland. I learned so much about Irish culture while gazing at the beauty of this island. I have to go back someday.
Ireland Early ChildhoodI was the chaperone (husband of the professor) for a group of 15 college Education majors.
The trip afforded the students several educational visits to compare Ireland's early childhood educational system to America's system. It also gave them a brief view of the country as well as its history and culture. There were opportunities for the students to have free time to break into smaller groups and enjoy their interests, be it museums or just take in the sites.
A whirlwind of impressive experiencesThis was an expertly managed experience that left myself as faculty leader with hardly any logistical responsibilities so that I could concentrate on the students and the course. Although the trip was expensive for my particular students, it was, in fact, an incredible value for what we received. A substitution of a day on the canned itinerary had been requested in advance and was a spectacular hiking excursion that left us thrilled. The trip ended on a high note with a ferry ride viewing the majestic Cliffs of Moher from below, complete with dolphins following our boat. All accommodations were clean and comfortable; transportation went off without a hitch; and the dining was delicious local cuisine enjoyed by all.