When you work at EF College Break, you become an expert on our trips. So when I left for my first EFCB tour last week, I figured I knew exactly what I was getting into. Nope, I was wrong. I learned 5 things that made me love our tours even more.
1. Tour Directors are everything. We always talk about TDs and how they help you in each city, but I had no idea how completely lost I'd be (literally and metaphorically) without my TD. Our amazing TD Adam kept everyone in line, made sure we all knew where we were going and how to get there. Tour Directors aren't chaperones, they're just super smart people who is there 24/7 to help you make the most of each city.
2. Bus travel isn't that bad. It goes without saying that Europe is massive. Traveling primarily via bus takes time, but it also allows us to stop and see lots of cool stuff along the way. For instance, we got to stop over in Belgium for lunch between Paris and Amsterdam. We got our fill of waffles and frites, then were back on the road. Pro tip- prepare to sleep! Trust me, you're REALLY gonna need some sleep and 6 hours on the road with nothing to do is a great time to catch up.
3. Traveling alone (with us) is even easier than I thought. My trip was at least 60% solo travelers. By day 3, I couldn't even tell which people signed up alone, and which people were old friends from high school. With our groups it's so easy to find others to hang out with and travelers become fast friends. All you have to do is introduce yourself.
4. The "optional" stuff is pretty important. Two of my best days on the trip were the days I spent on optional excursions (Stonehendge & Bath and Biking the Dutch Countryside, if you were wondering). On top of having an AMAZING experience, I was able to get to know my fellow travelers and make some great memories. Don't sleep through early morning walking tours, go on excursions the Tour Directors plan, don't sit in your room every night. Just saying "yes" will change your entire travel experience.
5. But you don't have to do EVERYTHING. Traveling to a new city every 2-3 days means you can't see it all. I missed Abbey Road while in London and I'm still kicking myself. That being said, resist the urge to try and see every single thing. When you're running around like that it's hard to really enjoy yourself. One of my favorite days on tour was a rainy day in Paris. My friend and I did spent the afternoon in different cafes around the city soaking up all the local culture. It was a relaxing, beautiful afternoon that I'll always remember. So take some time to stop and smell the roses.
Did anything about our tours surprise you? Tell us about it on our Facebook page or on Twitter @EFCollegeBreak.