As seen on DIWYY
Trip Review: EF College Break (EFCB) European Panorama
Starting/Ending Point: This tour up and down Europe starts in Dublin, Ireland. EFCB will arrange a flight departing from your city of choice (included in the price of the tour). Your guide will meet you at the airport, so no need to worry about finding the hotel or flagging down a cab on your own just yet. It ends in Barcelona, Spain where once again, EFCB will arrange your flight home. However, it is possible to start earlier or end later for an additional small fee.
Number of Days: 25 with various starting points throughout the summer
When I Went: July 2010
Highlights of the Trip: EF College Break has numerous tours through several different countries and continents but this was the one that caught my eye. The adventure begins in Dublin then continues to North Wales, London, Amsterdam, Brussels, Paris, Lucerne, Florence, the French Riviera and finally Barcelona. For the most part, you will take buses between cities, with the exception being Dublin to Wales and London to Amsterdam, where you will take a ferry.
I must say, you really do get a lot for your money. The price you pay includes round trip airfare, hotels (most of which had incredible location), travel between cities, breakfast every morning, a few dinners, a tour guide and entrance to all the attractions you visit with the group. If you have the curiosity and money available to do so, make sure you check out the optional excursions. For every one available, you will get transportation to and from your destination as well as a knowledgeable guide.
When first researching this tour, I was a little off put by the fact that we didn’t have many free days. It seemed there was always something planned or something we had to do. It’s important to understand that you don’t have to do anything, the tours and excursions are simply suggestions. I strongly urge anyone who goes on a tour, regardless of company, to participate in everything made available. Your guides provide insight and history you wouldn’t otherwise know about and they will always suggest things to do in your down time. I never felt that I was doing something against my will on this tour and in most cases, stayed with the majority of our group when we had time on our own.
EFCB is great because they take you into the heart of every city you visit. You will see all the main tourist attractions but you will also get to experience the off beaten track with the help of your guide. In Dublin, we got to explore the famous Temple Bar area, Trinity College and the Guinness factory. But we also took a quiet trip to the countryside for a picnic and a visit to the most breathtaking gardens I’ve strolled through.
Overall, this tour did not disappoint. Every city was full of discovery and left me wanting a little more. I was sad to leave but so excited to go on to the next destination, where I fell in love all over again. I think these tours are ideal for first time travelers or those who are not sure what to expect from Europe. You will get a small taste of different cities so you know where you might want to return and where to avoid for future purposes.
Don’t Forget to Bring:
As little as you can. You are going to be hauling your luggage between cities. You might get lucky enough to have a bus driver that will load your suitcase for you, but you are responsible for carrying your bags wherever you go. It’s also important to pack light since you’re taking buses between cities. You might think it’s okay to pack just one extra bag, but 50 other people on your tour might have the same idea. A bus can get awfully crowded when the aisles are full of luggage.
A journal. If not a journal, something to write on. I definitely do not suggest bringing a laptop on tours like these; they’re inconvenient to travel with. Most of the hotels we stayed at provided computers in the lobby we could use for a very small fee, so communication home was still available. I always recommend bringing a small pad of paper and a pen so you can jot down things you notice or memories you don’t want to forget.
Entertainment. A book, iPod, Kindle, something. You will have long bus rides, so it’s important to keep yourself entertained. This is a great time to catch up on sleep but you will want to bring something to aid the inevitable boredom between destinations.
Tissues. Primarily advice for young women traveling on these tours. You are thrust into uncomfortable situations with strangers, so in some ways you are forced to become fast friends with fellow participants. Despite how long you traveled together, I’m sure a few tears will be shed when you say your goodbyes.