Chaotically Yours

EF Tours Review: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

EF Tours Pin Image

Is EF Tours right for you?   

So your kid just came home from school with a gorgeous full color brochure about an upcoming trip to Europe with EF Tours that one of their teachers is leading.  He or she is super excited about all the cool things they get to do and is just begging you to let them go.  

It sounds great, but as a responsible parent, you want to know exactly what you’d be sending your child off to do, and how things would actually work on this trip.  

Well, lucky for you we took a 12 day visit to Europe with EF Tours, and have all the details to decide if taking an international trip with this company is right for you or your teenager.  

We’re going to start with the breakdown of how things work with EF and what to expect as a participant or a parent, and then move on to our specific experience with our tour.  

Trevi Fountain in Rome during EF Tours

I always like to start my reviews by reminding you that I was not compensated in any way to write this post.  All opinions are my own, and all costs were paid out of our pocket for this experience.

What is EF Tours? 

EF Tours is a travel company that specializes in international tours for students.   

According to their website , EF Tours has been in operation since 1965 and offers trips for students and teachers designed to “provide immersive, life-changing education.”

Basically, EF Tours organizes international trips for students to a wide variety of destinations, promising “compelling itineraries” full of “experiential learning.”

They also promise to have the “lowest price on the market” for this type of travel.  

EF, as a company, offers may types of tours ranging from group trips for adults to organized gap years for high school graduates.  While these options are available, the bread and butter of the company is the basic high school student tour which is what we took.  

How do EF Tours work?

EF Tours have a pretty straightforward process during the sign up period, prior to departure and during your trip. 

Before we get into that, it must be said that EF Tours operate fully independently of the local school district, and are not endorsed or supported by them whatsoever.  

Queen Victoria Statue in London

While this may seem like a school trip, it is not.  It is a trip run by a business who just happens to recruit participants through the school system.  Your local principals, school boards, etc. have zero control or influence on these trips.  The school is only involved in the process as far as whether they allow teachers to hand out information in schools or not. 

The EF in EF Tours stands for Education First.  According to their website, EF claims to “design tours to help educators teach, and so students can learn more—about tolerance, other perspectives, and themselves.”

The Sign Up Process

EF Tours are set up to be “hosted” by a local teacher who is then designated as the “group leader.”  Teachers are incentivized with free and reduced price travel to recruit students to join their tours.  

Tours are advertised by the group leader/teacher to students at their school and to their local community.  Interested students and parents are invited to attend informational meetings either in person or virtually where the group leader/teacher goes over the itinerary and any questions potential participants may have.  

Students and parents can then sign up directly through the EF Tours website, and submit all payments directly to the company.  

Trips are usually initially introduced about two years before the travel date so that participants can make smaller monthly payments to cover the cost of the trip.  Costs for these trips can range widely, depending on the destinations and length of the trip.  

EF has the group leader/teacher set up deadlines for signing up to go on the trip, sometimes including small discounts to encourage enrollment.  This tends to give a false sense of urgency to the sign up process. 

We found that participants can sign up just about any time before the trip departs.  We signed up about a year out from the trip, while another student who traveled with us signed up just a month or two before we left.  

Anyone was allowed to sign up for the trip.  We were encouraged to invite friends and family to join us on the tour, whether or not they were associated with our school or even local to our area.  

The Colosseum in Rome on an EF Tour

Adults did need to pass a background check in order to participate in the trip, since adult tour participants are traveling with minors.  

We were not given specific dates for our trip, but instead we were given a window of time during which the trip would occur.   Our dates were finally confirmed about two months before our departure.  

There are usually two or three optional excursions that can be added to any tour.  These usually include some special activity or visit to an additional landmark.  

Tour participants may also choose to upgrade the insurance for the tour. 

Before Your EF Tour

Once you’ve signed up for your EF Tour, you’ll be given access to a tour portal on the EF website where you can track your payments and what steps you need take next to participate in the trip.  They also provide a fundraising page, where friends and family can pay EF directly to offset the cost of your trip.  

Our group had a few in person meetings at a local restaurant prior to our trip where we discussed issues ranging from passports to packing for our trip to Europe , and got a chance to meet our fellow travelers.  This may or may not be true or all groups that are traveling with EF.  

EF Tours Trip Portal

Each participant in our tour was required to submit a copy of our passport to EF to insure that we had the proper documentation to travel.  

Information about our flights was not available until about a month before our departure, and information about our hotels was not available until we were about three weeks out from leaving.  

EF Tours uses a wide range of airlines, and travelers do not get to indicate a preference.  EF books all travelers in economy class seats for all transportation methods.  EF will book with whatever airline has space available for the lowest price for the group.  

As for hotels, travelers know very little about where they are staying ahead of time.  Per the website, tour participants are assured that “travelers can count on safe, clean and comfortable hotels with private bathrooms” but much beyond that the info is sparse.  

Students can expect to room with one to three other students, and possibly have to share beds.  Adults can expect to share a room with one other person.  For a fee, a single room can be requested for the tour. 

EF does indicate up front that hotels may have small rooms without air conditioning, television, or elevators, and that WiFi may not always be available.  

During an EF Tour

All transportation arrangements are made by EF Tours, including flights, buses, trains, etc.  They book all accommodations and attraction admissions for tour participants. 

Two meals a day are included in the cost of a trip with EF Tours.  Breakfast is provided each day at the hotel, usually continental style, but sometimes with hot offerings just depending on your hotel.  Dinners are are pre-arranged with a preset menu by EF at local restaurants.  EF will make accomodations for those with specific dietary needs, such as gluten free or dairy free meals.

While the teacher recruiting students is designated as your group leader, they don’t actually lead the tour once you start traveling.  EF provides a Tour Director to accompany your group through the entire trip.  

This Tour Director is supposed to handle just about everything on your tour, including all your pre-booked accommodations, meals, excursions, tickets, and transfers.  This person is there to direct the group and handle any problems with logistics you may encounter along the way.  

St Peters Basilica in the Vatican

During the tour, your group will meet up with various local guides who will give you some sort of tour of the city or historic site that you’re visiting.  These tours are usually walking tours, but sometimes are bus tours, depending on the location.  

Tour participants are also given access to an EF Tours App, that just lists your daily itinerary for your trip.  

Our EF Tour Review

Our specific tour featured quite a daunting itinerary.  We toured Europe for 12 days, visiting sites in London, Paris, Florence, Rome, Pompeii and Capri, with no more than two nights in any destination.  

Our tour consisted of 26 travelers from our high school: three teachers, seven adults and 16 students.  We were combined with a group from upstate New York consisting of 14 travelers: one teacher, one adult, one child and 11 students.  There were a total of 40 people on our tour.  

What EF Tours Promised

Before our tour, the group leaded made sure every person who showed an interest in going on the trip got the glossy, full color brochure that outlined our itinerary and told us what to expect on the tour.  

The brochure promised that participants would be “surrounded by the people, the language, the food, and the way of life” of the destinations on our itinerary.  We were assured that our tour director would be “with us around the clock, handling local transportation, hotels, and meals while also providing their own insight into the local history and culture.”  

We would be spending time in three different countries, seeing some of the most beautiful and historic cities in Europe.

The brochure also claimed that students could earn educational credit while on tour, and that all tours feature “experiential learning activities.”

Our tour left some of these promises unfulfilled, but did give us a glimpse at some fantastic destinations in Europe and some amazing memories.  

Our hotels along the trip started out stellar but seemed to go downhill from there, unfortunately ending in truly unacceptable accommodations.  

Even though this wasn’t guaranteed, all of our accommodations had some sort of air conditioning, with some that functioned better than others, and all of them had WiFi.  

Hilton Garden Inn in Rungis, France, booked by EF Tours

For the first four nights during our stays in London and Paris, we were sent to Hilton Hotels .  They both were on the higher end of what I expected based on the descriptions provided by EF Tours of what our hotels would be like.  

The rooms at these Hiltons were very new, immaculately clean and extremely comfortable.  They were both located about an hour outside of the city center, but that wasn’t too much of a problem.  

When we reached Italy, things changed a bit.  

AS Hotel Limbiate, Italy, booked on an EF Tour

For a quick overnight in Milan on our way to Florence, we stayed at and AS Hotel in Limbiate.  This hotel was a bit older than the Hiltons we’d stayed in, but it was clean, spacious, and comfortable.  

Between Florence and Rome, we spent the night at the Hotel Villa Ricci (not pictured).  This hotel was significantly older than the other three we had stayed at, but it was still clean and comfortable.  While the room wasn’t much to write home about, some members of our group lucked out and got spectacular balconies. 

Hotel Villa Aurelia in Rome, Italy booked by EF Tours

Once we arrived in Rome, the Villa Aurelia was our home base for two nights.  We learned that this hotel had once housed men studying to join a monastery, which explained the doritory feel of the place.  Again, we found these rooms to be clean and pretty comfortable.  

On our way to Southern Italy, we spent the night in Sorrento at Sisters Hostel .  This was the only true hostel on our trip.  While they still stuck with four students to a room, several of the student rooms had enough beds to sleep up to 12 people. 

Though not quite as refined as the Hiltons, and a little slap-shot with the furniture, we found this place to be clean and welcoming.  While it wasn’t quite as comfortable as some of the other places we’d stayed, it was completely acceptable and had a spectacular view of the Gulf of Naples from the rooftop terrace. 

Viewing the sunset from the rooftop terrace at Sisters Hostel in Sorrento, Italy

Things took a turn for the worse on our last night of the tour, when we stayed at Hotel La Pergola in Rome.  This place was truly one of the worst hotels I’ve ever had the misfortune to stay at (and as a travel blogger, I’ve stayed at a LOT of hotels).  

Things started off badly when we discovered that the lights in all the hallways were not on, and that we had to hunt around with our cell phone flashlights to find our way to our rooms.  I asked the front desk to remedy this, but it was never addressed, and we had to repeat the blind search for our rooms every time we went up.  

Upon arrival in my room, I found it to be extremely dirty.  There was a layer of dusty film all over my bathroom and my pillow had an unidentified crusty stain on it.  My daughter’s room had the same layer of dirt in the bathroom, plus a shoe print from where someone killed a bug on the wall.  I checked our beds for bedbugs and thankfully did not find any. 

The front desk did not seem to care and we were told no one was available to come clean the bathrooms.

But the worst experience in this hotel went to a dad on our trip, who’s single room contained only a sofa.   Not a sleeper sofa, but just a hard couch.  There were no linens or towels available to him whatsoever. 

When he asked for these items at the front desk, he was told that we should have called earlier to request them since they were all locked up in a cabinet by the time we arrived at the hotel.   He ended up sleeping on a towel laid out on the sofa with a travel neck pillow, that had been provided to him by his daughter from her room.

The front desk attendant seemed more than annoyed anytime someone from our group would approach them, and insisted that we all leave our keys at the front desk when leaving the hotel for dinner that night.    

Pictures from Hotel La Pergola in Rome, Italy, booked by EF Tours

We weren’t left with much recourse, since this was a group trip and we were on our last night, so we decided to just grin and bear it, and did our best to get some sleep.  

Overall, I’d say that the hotels provided were quite good, with the exception of Hotel La Pergola.  For ten of the eleven nights of our trip, we were provided with clean, safe accommodations that lived up to what the EF Tours website told us to expect.  

At the time of this publication, EF Tours has been notified of this unacceptable hotel and has yet to respond.  

Meals on the tour ran the gamut from weird to stellar, but overall were not to bad.  Breakfast and dinner every day were included in what we paid for our tour.  

All breakfasts were served at our hotels.  Sometimes they were just continental breakfasts with cold offerings, and sometimes we were given hot breakfasts with eggs, bacon, and such.  Sometimes it was quite obvious where our group was supposed to go, and sometimes it wasn’t. 

Breakfast Buffet for EF Tours travelers

Overall, breakfasts were adequate throughout the trip.  

Lunches were not included in the initial price of our trip and were paid out of pocket each day.   

Lunches were always a gamble.   It all depended on where we were and what was going on whether or not we’d get to select a restaurant on our own or if the group would be directed to eat at somewhere specific, and if we’d have lots of great choices or really limited options.  

For example, on our first full day of the trip, we visited the Tower of London.  We told to make sure we ate lunch after our tour, before rejoining the group to get on the bus.  The only options available to us were food trucks along the river right next to the Tower complex.  

It was the worst during our travel days.  We were frequently told we could just grab a bite to eat at the train station or the airport, only to be left with minimal time and very limited options.  

But some days lunch was great.  During our time in Rome, lunch came with some free time to wander, so we were able to go out and select the restaurant of our choice.  

Pasta Carbonara at a restaurant in Pompeii, Italy, on an EF Tour

Some days our tour guide would set up a lunch option for us, having arranged a preset menu and price with a local restaurant.  Those options were usually something like a burger, pizza or a cold sandwich.  

I’m not sure if the lunch situations were like this because of our tour guide or because of EF itself.  Sometimes it seemed inevitable, like when we were stuck in an airport or train station.  Other times it seemed like our guide might be creating these situations by not fully informing us what was available near by.  

All dinners were set up at local restaurants before our arrival.  We did not get to select from a menu and were all served the same thing each night, with the exception of those who had special dietary needs.  Each meal came with water, but we were allowed to order additional drinks at our own expense if we choose to do so.  

The worst dinners EF provided happened during the first few days of our trip.  During our entire time in London, we were not once served any traditional English food.  Our Tour Director said it was because “London is a melting pot of cultures,” but our group didn’t buy that.  

Our first group dinner in London was at a Korean restaurant where the group was served a hot stone bibimbap with chicken.  I’m normally a big fan of Korean food, but this wasn’t great. 

Korean Food in London, England, provided by EF Tours

The next group dinner was at a Polish restaurant where the group was served a fried chicken patty and french fries.  

When it became apparent on the second night that we weren’t going to be getting any traditional English food, my daughter and I made arrangements to go get dinner on our own, and pay for it out of pocket.  Four other members of our group chose to join us.  

We simply got information from our Tour Guide when and where to meet up with the group after dinner and selected a nearby local pub so we could have a traditional English dining experience.  

Dinners seemed to improve when we got to France. During our first night there we had a lovely traditional French meal of chicken with mushroom sauce in the back room of a small picturesque cafe with a ton of ambiance.   On the second night we had a traditional Alsatian dish called Flammekueche, which was sort of like a pizza with a creamy sauce.  

In Italy, the dinners were quite good.  Of course we were served a lot of pasta, but we also had braised beef in tomato sauce, gnocchi, and pizza.  

According to the folks on our trip who had special dietary needs, the dinners were pretty good for the most part.  Although it did seem that everywhere we went in Italy, anyone who was gluten free or dairy free was served watermelon for dessert.  

Gnocchi in Rome, Italy, served during EF Tours

Before we left on our trip, we were told by our group leader that we shouldn’t need more that $25 US dollars per person per day for lunches and snacks.  We found that that number was not quite accurate for us, especially if we ever wanted to stray from the planned meals that EF Tours had set up for us.  

We also found that we frequently needed to buy water to stay hydrated in the high temperatures of Italy during the summer, and at most of the locations we visited, water was marked up quite a bit.  

Overall, the meals on our trip were pretty good, but could definitely have been better.  

Our Itinerary

We knew going into this tour that our itinerary would be extremely hectic.  With no more than 48 hours in any location, we expected it to be jam packed.  It was kind of like a tasting menu, where you got a little bit of each destination.  

What we didn’t expect was the significant amount of wasted time and changes to our itinerary that happened on our tour.  

Things started off poorly when our tour guide was an hour late to meet us at baggage claim and then our bus was over another hour late to pick us up at the airport.  

While our tour guide was a very sweet, personable woman, she didn’t seem to understand how to manage the timing logistics for a group of 40 travelers.  

Our group was quite good about being on time to meet up locations with a couple of small exceptions that could not be helped.  No one wanted to be the person that made us late.  

View of the coast of Capri, Italy on an EF Tour

Our tour guide didn’t seem to have this mentality.  She was frequently the last person downstairs at our hotels to meet our bus 15 to 20 minutes after the time she told us to meet her, and did not budget in adequate travel time to most of our destinations. 

For example, while we were driving across Italy, she had our driver stop at a large gas station for a bathroom stop.   She told us we only had five minutes to use the restroom and get back on the bus.  It’s completely impossible for 40 people to make use of just a handful of bathroom stalls in five minutes. 

We were late to our tours in London, Florence, and the Vatican.  We were late to our tour of the Colosseum in Rome.  We were late to our appointment at the Louvre.  We were so late to our tour of Pompeii.  This significantly hindered what we were able to see at our destinations, and made the whole tour seemed very rushed every day.  

Things like this happened over and over again throughout the trip.  This resulted in our group being habitually late to most of the tours we went on, and significantly cut into our time at some really important places.

St Pancras Train Station in London, England, on an EF Tour

The only times it seemed like we weren’t late was when we had to catch a flight, a train, or a ferry.  

There were also some pretty significant changes to our itinerary. 

Several items listed on our initial brochure were changed before the trip due to pandemic restrictions and travel challenges, which was fine.  We had ample notice and knew what to expect.    

But there were several instances where visits to certain locations were dropped off our itinerary completely, and visits to other non-advertised locations were added.  

Sometimes this was a good thing, but sometimes it was incredibly frustrating.  

In London, a walking tour of Piccadilly Circus, Covent Garden and Leicester Square was replaced with “free time” at the British Museum, which we really didn’t mind. 

But in Florence, visits to San Miniato al Monte and Piazzale Michelangelo were dropped off the itinerary with no explanation.  

On our way to Rome, our guide added a stop in Ovierto, a beautiful small town with picturesque views, wonderful dining and great little shops which we enjoyed immensely. 

But in Paris, a visit to Montmartre was abandoned, even though our dinner restaurant was within a mile of the historic location.  

The best unexpected addition to our trip in my opinion was the opportunity to see a musical in the West End of London.  Our guide was able to secure tickets (for an extra fee) for those who wanted them to a performance of Wicked during our free evening.  It was absolutely fantastic.  

Entrance to Wicked in London's West End

But in the most frustrating example, during our time in Paris a visit to the Frogonard Perfume Museum was added to our itinerary.   No one asked to go there, and most of us seemed annoyed that we were stopping.  We were assured that the stop there would only last 30 minutes, but it ended up taking three times that, leaving us only an hour and a half to visit the Louvre before we had to be back on the bus to catch a flight to Italy.  

These added stops almost always involved additional costs as well, which we were not informed of before leaving for our trip.  This caused problems for a few kids on our trip who weren’t expecting these costs, and they unfortunately had to miss out on some of the better additions. 

There also seemed to be major sites in some of these cities that were not ever even an option to visit or see, due to our limited time in each city.   We didn’t go to Westminster Abbey or St. Paul’s Cathedral while we were in London, and there were too many things to count in Paris that we didn’t even glimpse.  While we were aware of this upfront before the tour, it really did feel like they didn’t allow enough time in any location to really see the cities we were in.  

Despite these frustrations, the itinerary did take us to some fantastic places and we had some absolutely unforgettable experiences.  We had a fantastic time seeing the Crown Jewels at the Tower of London.  We enjoyed a truly magical and unexpected sunset under the Eiffel Tower in Paris.  We got to listen to an orchestra perform in Piazza della Signoria in Florence.  We were able to marvel at the unparalleled artwork inside St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican.  We saw the stunningly beautiful sites of Capri from a private boat tour.  Those memories are truly priceless.  

During our trip there were extra excursions offered in any city we stayed in more than one night. 

In London, the excursion was a visit to the London Eye, a giant ferris wheel type ride that gives riders a birds eye view of the city.  In Paris, it was a trip to Versaille to tour the palace and the gardens.  In Rome, it was a tiramisu cooking class.  

ef tours parent guide

We choose not to participate in the excursion in London because I’m not the biggest fan of heights, and in Paris because my daughter wanted the opportunity to spend some extra free time in the city.  

I’m extremely glad we made those decisions.   

While the London Eye excursion seemed to go well for those who went on it, it was over priced.  EF Tours charged each participant $60.  Tickets can be purchased individually at the ticket booth for just $42 USD or for groups ahead of time for just $24 USD.  I’m not sure what EF added to the experience to warrant that upcharge.  

By skipping the London Eye, we were able to have a bit more time to explore and plenty of time to enjoy our pub dinner that we mentioned earlier since the London Eye excursion was timed to happen right before dinner.  

In Paris, those who went to Versaille told us the experience was underwhelming because of the limited time available inside the palace, and the lack of lunch options available to those who went.  

The Versailles excursion seemed overpriced as well.  EF Tours charged $114 USD to each participant.  Tickets to the entire estate are free for those under 18 years old and cost under $30 USD for anyone else, and that’s without a group discount.  Even if every single person had to buy a ticket,  I can’t imagine that the cost for a group tour and the transportation to get the group there cost an additional $84 USD per person.  

The tiramisu cooking class in Rome was not optional for our group for some reason.  I think our group leader made that choice when she set up our trip.  We paid an extra $85 USD above and beyond the base tour price to experience it.  While I could not find information about individual class pricing, I highly doubt that EF paid that much per person for us to spend an hour making tiramisu. 

I will say that the class was a fun experience at a great location, and we all enjoyed the desserts we made together.  

Overall, unless an excursion is of special interest to you, I wouldn’t recommend participating in them, simply because they seem overpriced.  Having extra free time to see the sites of your choice seemed to be the best option during our tour.  

Education on an EF Tour

EF Tours makes a big deal out of their tours being focused on education.  We were promised “experiential learning activities” during the trip.  They even claim you can earn credit for going on these tour.  

We found that there wasn’t that much education attached to our tour.  

The local tour guides who showed us the sights of each city were the most informative folks on this trip, with extensive knowledge of the history and culture at each stop, but we were forced to use amplifying devices called Whispers in order to hear the guides.  These Whispers often had glitches or were garbled, making it very hard to understand our guides.  

Other than the local tour guides and maybe the tiramisu class, I wouldn’t call just visiting these historic places an “experiential learning activity.”  

We also learned that our high school would not give any credit to students who participated in these trips, even though much was made of the educational credit during the pitch to get us to join the tour.  

This isn’t to say that we didn’t learn anything on our trip.  We did have some great cultural experiences while we traveled.  But learning seemed to take a back seat to just being in another country in most circumstances.  

Safety with EF Tours

As a parent considering an EF Tour for my teenager, I know safety was a big concern for me.  

When my husband and I decided to send our daughter, we felt like one of us should go with her since she was only 15 at the time we went on the trip, and had not traveled internationally like this before.  

For the most part, I felt quite safe during our trip.  

Before our trip, our group leader did make sure to advise us about pickpocketing and theft at major tourist sites in Europe, and advised us to be prepared.  She did make sure we were always wary of our passports and where we were keeping them during our travels.  

While on tour, there was only one time that I felt like our group was taken to an unsafe area.  That was during our terrible last night in Rome when we had to walk from our hotel to our dinner restaurant through some pretty sketchy areas of the city.  

Rome, Italy during an EF Tour

Although student were allowed to go out on their own during our free time, they were asked to go in groups of three or four and were left in pretty safe areas to spend their free time.  

The biggest problem I saw with safety was when our Tour Guide would take off walking at a breakneck speed, frequently leaving half our group stuck at crosswalks or a few turns behind.  She usually did a count to make sure everyone was there when we were ready to leave, but she did leave people behind at least twice during our trip and have to go back and get them.  

Most of the time we had no idea where we were headed when we were walking to different locations.  We were never given the names of the restaurants or addresses of where they would be unless we specifically asked for them.  I think communicating with the group more about where we’re going could have avoided some sticky situations that a few of our travelers found themselves in when they were left behind.  

We also didn’t have a way to contact our Tour Guide directly.  Only a couple of people were given her contact information, which made communication confusing and difficult during our free time, especially when she got delayed during our free evening in Paris and our meeting time had to be pushed back significantly.

Curfews and group rules were left up to our group leader, who didn’t set many boundaries for our students.  

Since the legal drinking age in the areas we visited was 18, student who met this requirement were allowed to drink alcohol on our trip, but were asked to limit it to one drink with dinner.  By and large, our students respected this request and did not take advantage of the lowered drinking age to go and party it up.  

Trips like this EF Tour require students to be pretty mature when it comes to safety.  We had a wonderful group of kids who took their personal safety pretty seriously, and didn’t take unnecessary risks that would put them in jeopardy.  Had it been a different group of personalities, I’m not sure how it would have gone.  

EF Tours:  Our Final Verdict

Would I travel with EF Tours again?  That seems to be the question at hand here.  

My EF Tours experience definitely taught me a lot about group travel.  As someone who travels pretty frequently , I usually make most of my own travel arrangements, from flights to hotel reservations to activities.  It was quite nice not to have to worry about any of that.  It really did take a lot of pressure off to just let someone else do all that work. 

But relinquishing that control does require a certain amount of trust.  There were some areas that I would definitely trust EF to arrange again, and other areas where I really think they could do better.  

For this trip it really came down to adjusting expectations once we were traveling.  I really did expect there to be more education involved in what we did while on our tour.  I really did expect to spend some quality time at these major historic sites. 

Once I realized that time would be much more limited at every destination than I expected it to be, the trip went much more smoothly.  

Eiffel Tower at sunset in Paris, France

I think our experience would have been better with a more seasoned Tour Guide.  Ours just didn’t seem quite ready to handle all the pressures and logistics that are required for managing a group of 40 people for 12 days.  

EF Tours is definitely a budget tour company, and for the price, you do get a good experience.  

Did EF Tours create the trip of my dreams?  Not by a long shot. 

Did they create a good experience for students who haven’t done a lot of international traveling?  I’d say yes.  

Do I regret going on an EF Tour?  Absolutely not.  I had some incredible experiences in some amazing locations with my only daughter, and I wouldn’t trade that for the world.  

Would I go on another EF Tour?  I think I would, but I would definitely choose a slower paced itinerary with more time in each destination.  

Do you have any questions about EF Tours that I didn’t answer?  Feel free to ask me in the comments!!

EF Tours Review: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

Wednesday 29th of May 2024

We are the latest scapegoats of EF tours which is not worth 10$ for the time they make you wait doing round about trip for 40 hours for a travel worth 14 hours . THE most pathetic travel plan i have ever seen in my entire life. Instead of paying for this tour, I would have taken my entire family with much better planning saving time and money. JUST NOT worth it and am hoping to do something more than just commenting here to avoid atleast 1% of naive parents into signing up for future EF tours from school.PLEASE don't waste precious time

Tuesday 28th of May 2024

Hi Louise A great review, thank you. I am an EF tour director, though I only continue to lead tours where I have already worked with the Group Leaders (the teacher organizing). I won't defend EF, there's no getting around the fact it's heavily profit-driven and as such does not use resources on adequately training its staff, whether they are office based or TDs. They use the cheapest bus companies, negotiate the cheapest menus, the cheapest room rates but of course spend a huge budget on marketing and corporate BS - and it works, they are the biggest student tour operator out there not to mention all its other extensive enterprises. Everything is done last minute which hopefully gives some explanation as to why TDs are often beyond frazzled and they have to spend time away from the group, particularly in their hotel room each night emailing and sorting out things for the next day or next few days which should have been organized well in advance by the company. And given how early morning departures are and late finishes at hotels, you can see that they get very little sleep. More and more we complain that TDs are having to spend days and days in advance on admin to make the tour anything like acceptable - time when they are not being paid and think about it, they have chosen a job which is not office based but are being forced to do so much admin which any other company would handle in the office. We are either already on tour, so it is taking time away from our current group, or we have to spend less time with family when we are in between tours. Cheapest labor, in fact it is free labor! To say nothing of how late they pay us and even then they dispute a lot of payments so we have to wait even longer. Of course TDs should never be late, this is appalling. To play devil's avocate though, in my time I have bumped into colleagues along the way who are in floods of tears because of how their tour is going. Almost always to do with impossible itineraries, tickets not arriving and the company not supporting them, but also sadly, due to relations with travelers. The most likely is parents who have elected to travel on a student trip without understanding what they means for them (long days, staying in poor quality hotels, rushed meals etc.). And sometimes it just takes a bit longer to compose yourself before going back to meet the group. Often I have to be on a call and skip a visit that I was really looking forward to just to sort out some s*** so the tour goes well. Of course to maintain professionalism, I would never tell the group that I have been sorting out s***, they just assume I've been gorging on gelato. Sometimes we are not even provided with a ticket to go into a museum or theatre so we cannot join the group. All aspects of the job has got worse and worse over the years and many of the experienced TDs have jumped ship where they are better paid and generally treated more humanely. I think it is worth emphasizing the importance of strong leadership from the Group Leader. It s amazing that some are willing to travel with kids they have never met until they arrive at the airport. A good teacher will pick good chaperones and give them guidance to prepare for the tour. So free time can be very different between one group and the next. It may sound like kids are let lose, but it is almost always in a controlled environment and the teacher will have set up parameters the students have to keep to. Again the biggest trouble makers are typically parents who travel with the group. Regarding educational aspects of the tour, I would like to deliver more education and we certainly used to do more. But as hotels have got further and further from the centre, meaning longer and longer hours on the go with very little sleep, bus journeys means the students need to catch up on sleep. There are some EF tours which are more educational-focused such as STEM, WW2, And don't forget there is also the 'soft skills' element that should not be overlooked - for most students this is their first time travelling abroad, certainly without their families. So learning self-reliance, not losing their passport, budgeting their spending money, navigating teenage relations, meeting foreigners, starting to understand their own limitations and what they are willing to compromise on or not... there is so much that they are learning and absorbing which you will not find in a text book, but this is life learning and the most rewarding part of the job is to see the kids blossom. More often than not it is the students who are introverted, who make the biggest steps and make the most progress - starting to speak words in the local language, trying different foods, open their eyes wide. The confident kids often stick together and don't appear to grow as much. One of the biggest problems with this kind of tour is that the more things listed on the itinerary, the more people sign up. As an example. teachers often say that they offer a tour, get a few signing up, then they amend it to include Paris and boom, a full bus. Only the most experienced of travelers would look at the shiny marketing brochure and question how it is possible to pack everything in. But having everything in is what sells tours. Kind of a vicious circle. Versailles optional - this is a tricky one. It is overpriced, but is a bestseller and I would like to offer some perspectives. Don't forget to factor in the service you are getting - sure, go there alone, work out the route from which of the Versailles train stations you can work out you can get to and yes under 18s enter for free, work out how to get an adult ticket on your own, queue for a long time (just google the length of those lines), work out where the bathrooms are on your own, options to eat, what train to get back... There are more costs involved with a group. for this visit In order to skip those long queues, groups must pay for group reservation fee, whatever the age of the group. You have to pay for 2 guides if there is more than a certain number in the group, so they split the group in half and have 2 tours at the same time. The Whisper audio headsets have a fee. The bus has to have a separate fee and parking. So yes, it is very profitable, but perhaps not as much as you think. The travel business can be precarious, just look at the pandemic years. Imagine airlines going on strike or sudden weather changes. Tour companies need a little reserve to deal with emergencies and the profits from side trips like Versailles is useful for this. Of course when it is clear that this tour company makes a lot of money by being very cheap on meals, poor buses and hotels, this is hard to hear. Some side trips like the London Eye are absolutely a rip off and teachers should really be more wise to this. Now that I mainly work for companies that have a calmer itinerary, the difference is immeasurable. A good one for teachers and trip organizers to work with is Lingo Tours. Each tour is bespoke so you can bring them your itinerary ideas, they will work with you to come up with something that truly works. Meals are high quality and usually offer a choice and hotels are so much better quality and even if they are not very central, they are not far out like with EF. You will get sleep, you will get an experienced tour director (you can even bring your EF TD with you, we are all freelance after all), you won't pay more and you won't regret it! You won't feel like you are part of a factory product and you will have decisions explained to you so you know you are offering a quality product to people signing up. But, like your tour director, you need to have experience because taking students away on a tour is no easy task and it takes time to understand all that it involves. Another small company that will work with you to design your tour is Global Explorers LLC. ACIS is also good for brochure tour style, but generally works out more expensive, same with Passports. Explorica is the real rival to EF and has a similar set up and EF does not let TDs work for both companies. You have have to laugh, on the EF website it says "Reimagining student travel, one itinerary at a time". If reimagine means "providing a worse product and service than last year" then they have that written correctly. They certainly do not do one itinerary at a time, they do everything en masse and this is a problem - they never turn down business and have too many tours going at the peak season. Adjust expectations appropriately. I hope this comment helps some people to understand the challenges of student touring.

I am happy that I can be helpful. CHAOS and ADRENALINE is how these tours are run. It's a big pity, there is really enough money in the company for these to be great tours. The family who own EF are on the Forbes rich list. Their business school has a reputation like Trump's did! But the family are good at business themselves , very good. But at the end of the day, whether EF does a good job or not, we all need to understand that more people are traveling than ever and this has an impact on many aspects of trips, especially group trips.

Louise Emery

Thank you SO much for this info! Having a TD perspective is really fantastic, and does give insight to how things are run. I especially appreciate the recommendations at the end!

Friday 3rd of May 2024

Hi, I signed up for the 2025 Rome and Greece trip with this company. Was wondering what I should do there and if there is anything to not do. Let me know if I should cancel a certain hotel stay or guided trip.

Saturday 4th of May 2024

Not sure if you can cancel one portion without cancelling your participation in the whole trip.

Friday 12th of April 2024

I have gone on 4 EF tours (England and Scotland), (London and Paris), Rome, and one called Bell'Italia, which was basically a road trip through Italy. The meals are always meh, and the hotels were usually ok to good. I'm surprised at your lackluster tour guide. We have ALWAYS fallen in love with all 4 tour guides!!! They are all friends for life now. I wish you could have had that experience. The kids just adored them all. I did find the more jam packed the itinerary is, the more stressful the trip can be, but on the other hand, you get to see it all.

Thursday 14th of March 2024

Thank you so much for your insightful review! My daughter is headed to S. Korea in a few weeks and reading all these comments & your review...I'm just hoping for the best at this point. I wanted to ask about the tipping. Our group leader has requested $145 paid to her in cash, which I was completely caught off guard, considering the financial commitment of the trip itself, but reading this, it seems that it is quite normal. I contacted EF and the representative said that according to the tour itinerary, the total suggested guideline should be significantly less. Do you know what happens if there is a surplus or shortage with the tipping amount? I'm just wary about giving someone I don't even know (group leader) cash.

Saturday 13th of April 2024

@Louise Emery, I can't thank you enough for you review. My school is planning a trip to Rome, London, and Paris in June 2025. I've been honestly on the fence, and I still have time to cancel. I'm a teacher at the school, but not actually a chaperone. I have to pay the full cost for the trip, but I know I will likely still need to supervise the students during the day. I don't necessarily mind this, but I wonder if I'd be able to explore at night. What time did you typically get back to your hotel? I really hope we are not an hour away from the Rome, London, or Paris city centers. I would love to be able to go out for drinks on my own at night time once the students are in the hotels. Louise, do you think it might be better to plan my own trip to Rome, London, and/or Paris? I'm a single man with no kids hahah.

Tuesday 2nd of April 2024

I really am not sure what would be done with a surplus. I would definitely ask the group leader about the discrepancy between their request and the recommendation of EF.


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Incredible experience for my son

My child spent a week in Spain and had a wonderful experience. He was able to spend enough time in a couple of different cities to get sense of the culture in each place. He enjoyed a combination of history and modern culture. He felt the tour guide was exceptional. The trip has been a highlight of his high school experience.

Date of experience : June 18, 2024

EF Tours....Efficient and Organized

EF Educational Tours was very organized and upfront with the details of the trip. My son signed up for the Japan trip. The online account page was helpful in making payments, checking status of trip and submitting passport information. My son and I recieved the emails with helpful tips and travel blogs specifically for his Japan trip. Our main tour chaperone shared all information from EF Tours during travel meetings. He also shared answers to questions he had asked our EF Tour director from Japan, those questions were answered very quickly!

Date of experience : June 03, 2024

Rough Start Made SMOOTH

I started off having a horrible experience with the trip BUT, it wasn't EF Tours fault. It was the airline who booted off 4 students when they had an overbooked flight. EF Tours kept our tour guide and school host in contact and made things a whole lot better once we finally caught up with our group.

Date of experience : June 02, 2024

Jordi the G.O.A.T.

Jordi van de Velde, our tour director, made our tour such an exciting and memorable experience. He was the perfect balance of fun and informative, and has the best sense of humor. Jordi is the reason the trip was amazing! All students and chaperones just adored him. Jordi really is the G.O.A.T. (Greatest Of All Time)

Date of experience : June 16, 2024

Great European sample platter, poorly executed

+ Great European sample platter + A great span of locations & experiences + Some hotels were great - EF cancelled 3 out of 4 excursions without notice - EF did not disclose methods of travel - EF did not disclose the physical demands of the trip - All hotels were wildly out of the cities - Some hotels were awful - Only 1/10 hotels had a pool - Most of the provided meals were trash

The local guides were excellent and blended nicely with our main tour guide. Everyone worked together to make our trip wonderful and exciting and memorable for the students (and adults). yongvl…

The local guides were excellent and knew so much information about where we were going and what we would see. Our main tour guide was also so knowledgeable and tried very hard to involve the students and even the adults into our daily activities. Our groups mixed well, and we all had so much fun while we were learning. Our guide was passionate about helping us to learn and get involved with the things were experiencing. Everything was taken care of for us so we did not have to worry about tickets or transportation (we had our bus). I learned so much about the areas we visited.

Date of experience : June 14, 2024

An amazing experience

The experience that EF gave my son was amazing. The whole school staff, chaperones, and your guides all gave my son an experience that he will remember for the rest of his life. He has so many stories to tell us when he came back. He loved the fact that it was an informative trip, as well as a fun one. He was able to develop new friendships/relationships, and I will definitely be signing my daughter up for an EF led trip when her turn comes around. Thanks once again!!!

Honest Feedback

My daughter traveled to Costa Rica and experienced some very cool things! She saw waterfalls, zip lined, and snorkeled, all of which she enjoyed in the beautiful landscape. However, she called me complaining about the availability and quality of the pre-paid meals. Also, the last hotel was not up to par in any way. The group had to be relocated to a Hilton. While I think this was a great opportunity for her, I'm not completely convinced that her experience matched the cost of the trip.

While it wasn't a perfect trip...

While it wasn't a perfect trip, traffic, protests, and the Olympics causing us to not see everything we may have been hoping to see, our tour director made sure we could have the best trip we could. Everyone still had a great trip and gained a lot of unforgettable memories.

Date of experience : June 12, 2024

Austria, Germany, and Switzerland

Our tour guide, Beate, was amazing. The specialty guides that came on as we did our tour were also very knowledgeable and just wonderful. Especially for the concentration camp, our guide truly made that experience memorable. I liked tasting the local cuisine, not all of it was what I consider good, but to experience it and learn about it was great. The unexpected things that pop-up as you’re taking your tour is what I will especially remember.

Date of experience : May 26, 2024

EF for the Win!

EF did a fantastic job preparing me for my first tour as Group Leader. Everything went smooth, the Tour Director, Guides and Bus Driver were responsive, friendly and professional. Everyone on tour can't wait for the next trip! Amazing!

Date of experience : June 08, 2024

Two thumbs up for Thailand!

This was an incredible trip! It was a great way for the kids to experience and learn about Thai culture. The sights and events in the itinerary were all worthwhile. Our Thai guide, Adi, went above and beyond to make the trip a memorable and enjoyable experience for the kids. He often brought local snacks on the bus for everyone and his joyful attitude was infectious. Our group leader, Dalen, did a great job. He made sure that the kids were always safe and held them accountable to the rules. He related well with kids and adults and took time to get to know everyone. He also brought an element of fun to the group.

Date of experience : June 17, 2024

My son's wonderful Ireland trip

My son had a wonderful experience. Being a parent and sending my son across the country I was very nervous. His chaperones were wonderful, they put me at ease and made me feel so much more at ease. my son saw so many wonderful sites and learned so many new things about Agriculture. I would recommend anyone to send your child on one of these tours. The only hiccup was no one thought to have a permit for the kids to leave the country when the parents were not accompanying them.

Date of experience : June 01, 2024

Good People

There are a lot of moving parts involved in any student-designed travel program. EF is remarkable for its dedication to creating and sustaining a great tour experience. Ours went smoothly--credit all the hard work beforehand to make that crooked road lay straight. Simply put: EF has Good People.

Date of experience : June 11, 2024

Spain Trip 2024

I truly appreciated all the phone calls and emails with that contained extremely helpful information about the trip. Both Allie and Kylie were extremely prompt in returning my calls and emails if I had questions. The trip itself was amazing and my students were so pleased and excited with everything about it. The meals were great as were the hotels. Our Tour Director, Eduardo Martin was superb. He really connected with the kids.

Fantastic Experience

My daughter went to Costa Rica and Panama with EF Tours. She had a fantastic trip. The trip was very structured, but still allowed for free time to explore the areas and pool time. She experienced things that she has never considered doing, like snorkeling, white water rafting, hot springs, swimming by a waterfall, and so much more. She and her school group have already talked about scheduling their next trip with EF Tours.

The support and experience you want.

The amount of support you get from promoting the tour all the way to being on your tour helps ease your mind. All EF staff members are able to give suggestions to make the tour memorable. The on tour director does such an amazing job with the logistics of the tour that makes your job as a group leader so much easier. Being able to bypass long lines to enter into museums because of the connections that EF has with several places globally allows your group to enjoy more of the cites instead of waiting all day in lines trying to get in to certain places.

The food was terrible

The food was terrible, accommodations were substandard. Spent more time getting to destinations than actually doing something. Nothing to do at hotel locations. If I could give you a lower rating I would. Total waste of money and time. You should not be in this business.

Our tour guide was very rude her…

Our tour guide was very rude her comments then and there were unnecessary I wish she would’ve been more considerate of our time and let us do things the way we wanted to. It was a stressful trip to say the least it didn’t feel like a vacation at all.

Date of experience : June 15, 2024

Best week of my granddaughters life!as…

According to my granddaughter it was the BEST week of her life!!! It was quite the adventure. From my perspective it was wonderful very informative. I was very worried about her going out of the country. Dr. Issacs (our chaperone) made me feel very relaxed. She met with us and prepared us for what was to come.

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Tour de France 2024 – Comprehensive team-by-team guide

A full rundown of all the teams, their leaders and the riders to watch at this year's race

Remco Evenepoel and Jonas Vingegaard amongst the WorldTour teams set for the Tour de France


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As the 2024 Tour de France rolls out from Florence, Italy on June 29, there will be 176 riders competing across 22 teams – some with a target on overall victory, others looking for stage wins and more still pleased with any opportunity that comes along their way to gather publicity on the biggest cycling stage in the world. 

All 18 WorldTour teams, plus the two best-ranked ProTeams – Israel-Premier Tech and Lotto-Dstny – got their automatic invitations to race while organisers ASO handed out wild card entries to Uno-X Mobility and TotalEnergies.

Crashes, form and Olympic goals have shaped the selections and ambitions for the teams but regardless all will be fighting to make an impression as the 21 days of racing over 3497.3km from Tuscany to Nice in the south of France unfolds.

Cyclingnews has pored through every squad, assessing their leaders, objectives and chances of success to bring you this comprehensive team-by-team guide.

  • Team leader: Jasper Philipsen
  • Objective: Stage wins, points classification
  • Rider to watch: Mathieu van der Poel

Mathieu van der Poel and Jasper Philipsen proved a winning combination at the 2023 Tour

In the bunch sprints of the Grand Tours of recent years, one team has stood out above the rest as masters of the lead-out train: Alpecin-Deceuninck .

They were a prominent presence throughout the bunch finishes at the recent Giro d’Italia, but Kaden Groves wasn’t able to ride them to victory. However, at the Tour de France, the team will have Jasper Philipsen , the quickest sprinter in the peloton.

Philipsen was one of the stars of last year’s Tour, storming to four stage wins (as many as any sprinter has managed at a single Tour since the 2011 edition), as well as riding consistently enough to claim the green jersey. He didn't slow down this spring, either, with victories at Milan-San Remo and the Classic Brugge-De Panne, as well as a second place at Paris-Roubaix, among his very impressive results.

Not only is Philipsen the quickest sprinter in the race, but he’ll also have the quickest lead-out man riding for him in Mathieu van der Poel . The pair work brilliantly together, as seen not just at last year’s Tour sprints, but also during the spring, when Van der Poel helped Philipsen to triumph at Milan-San Remo, and vice versa at Paris-Roubaix.

Van der Poel will also go hunting for stage wins on appropriate stages, most likely on days with punchy parcours too hard for sprinters but not hard enough for climbers. For a man so untouchable in the Classics, it’s perhaps surprising that he only has one stage win to his name from three Tour appearances, but he has often ridden here with a future goal in mind, as will be the case this year as he builds towards the Olympics.

  • Team leader: Arnaud Démare
  • Objective: Stage wins
  • Rider to watch: Kévin Vauquelin

Arnaud Démare will be Arkéa-B&B Hotels' sprint hope this July

With Warren Barguil having followed Nairo Quintana out the door, Arkéa-B&B Hotels are going in a fresh direction for the 2024 Tour with sprinter Arnaud Démare as their new talisman.

Having grown increasingly frustrated with the lack of opportunities provided him by his former Groupama-FDJ team, who selected him for only one Tour de France start in the last five years, Démare has moved to a team where he won’t just be picked but will command unified support behind him.

It’s hoped that as a winner of two Tour stages in the past, Démare can deliver the team their long-awaited first-ever following ten winless Tours, but does the Frenchman have the shape to do so? He hasn’t made the top ten of any race for almost four months, and recently fractured a finger at the 4 Jours de Dunkerque, plunging his Tour preparations into doubt.

It could therefore be up to others in the line-up to deliver, from which Kévin Vauquelin has shown particular potential. The 23-year-old has done everything this year, from making the top 10 at both Itzulia Basque Country and Tirreno-Adriatico, finishing second on the Mur de Huy at La Flèche Wallonne and winning a time trial at Etoile de Bessèges. He could be a contender for a variety of different stages though specialises in climbing hills and mountains.

  • Team leader: Mark Cavendish
  • Rider to watch: Alexey Lutsenko

Mark Cavendish sprinting to glory on stage 2 of the Tour de Hongrie

At last, it's nearly time for the race that Astana Qazaqstan 's whole season has been building up towards.

Since signing Mark Cavendish in January 2023, they've made it their foremost mission to deliver the Manxman to the elusive win number 35, move clear of Eddy Merckx, and thereby become the outright record holder for most stage wins at the Tour de France.

It had initially been intended as a one-year plan, but after the heartbreak of last year’s race, where Cavendish crashed out at the end of the first week , he and the team have decided to have one last shot at history this July.

Unlike last year, when he went into the Tour off the back of a final-day victory in Rome at the Giro d’Italia, Cavendish has shown only sporadic signs of form this season, confined to smaller races. He won a stage during his first race of the season at the Tour of Colombia in February but had to wait another three months for a first victory on European roads at the Tour of Hongrie.

The Astana team is set to be built entirely around him. Veteran lead-out master Michael Mørkøv was signed exclusively to deliver him in the sprints, while Cees Bol and Davide Ballerini will sacrifice their own sprinting ambitions to form part of his lead-out train.

One rider who might be granted some freedom to ride for himself is Alexey Lutsenko . He showed great form by winning Il Giro d’Abruzzo before abandoning the Giro d’Italia and finishing seventh and eighth on GC in 2021 and 2022, respectively. He has two Tour de France GC top 10s, as well as a stage win in 2020, on his palmarès, so another top showing isn't out of the question.

  • Team leaders: Pello Bilbao
  • Objective: GC, stage wins
  • Riders to watch: Santiago Buitrago, Matej Mohorič

Pello Bilbao celebrated a stage win at the 2023 Tour de France

What Bahrain Victorious lacks in a single stand-out GC contender, they make up for in strength in depth. Following Antonio Tiberi’s fifth place at the Giro d’Italia, they’re hoping to extend their run of top-six finishes on GC to a fifth consecutive Grand Tour and have several riders potentially capable of doing so.

Their best candidate is Pello Bilbao , based on his performance at the Tour last year and in stage races so far in 2024. He was sixth place last year and has been building nicely towards that level again this year with sixth-place finishes at Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana and Itzulia Basque Country, plus third at the UAE Tour in between.

Santiago Buitrago is poised to make his Tour debut. He brings with him considerable expectations off the back of his stage wins and top-ten finish at the Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a España, respectively, as well as his impressive showing at Paris-Nice earlier this year.

It’s also hoped that Jack Haig can rediscover some form ahead of the race, while even veteran Wout Poels could post a high GC finish based on his recent third and sixth-place finishes at the Tour de Hongrie and Tour of the Alps, respectively.

Poels and Bilbao were two of the three different riders to win a stage at last year’s Tour, along with Matej Mohorič, who will again be using his nous and engine to target breakaways. The Slovenian has three Tour stage wins on his career palmarès and it wouldn't be a surprise to see him add another win here.

With Phil Bauhaus , a debutant last summer, also posing a threat in the bunch sprints, Bahrain Victorious has the resources to target a win on almost every stage.

  • Team leaders: Guillaume Martin
  • Riders to watch: Bryan Coquard, Ion Izagirre.

Climber Guillaume Martin leads the French squad

For the first time in many years, Cofidis can go into a Tour de France without being badgered about questions of whether this will be the year they at last manage to claim a stage win.

By triumphing on stage 2 of last year’s edition, Victor Lafay ended the team’s 15-year drought and then Ion Izagirre added another stage a week later.

Lafay has since left for Decathlon AG2R La Mondiale but Izagirre remains and is set to ride, with stage wins on hilly and mountainous days again likely to be the target.

Guillaume Martin will ride his eighth consecutive Tour de France and will be the team’s leading GC hope. He’s placed eighth, 10th, 11th and 12th in past appearances, but has never won a stage, so he may prioritise trying to take one from a breakaway.

Bryan Coquard is another rider without a Tour stage win to his name despite many near misses, including a couple of fourth-place finishes last year. He’ll be the team’s man for the bunch sprints, especially on hillier days that weaken the specialists.

While these riders bring experience, 25-year-old Axel Zingle has form and potential. He’s been consistently in contention for multiple semi-Classics over the last few months and could win from a breakaway if he picks the right move.

  • Team leader: Felix Gall
  • Rider to watch: Sam Bennett, Benoît Cosnefroy

After a breakthrough 2023, Felix Gall will once again target a high overall placing

In the middle of an exceptional season, in which they have already racked up more victories than they managed in the last two seasons combined, expectations are high for Decathlon AG2R La Mondiale as they head into the biggest race of the year.

Although the men who delivered stage wins (Valentin Paret-Peintre and Andrea Vendrame) and fourth overall (Ben O’Connor) at the Giro d’Italia will sit this one out as they rest and recover, the core of the other names who have made 2024 such a success are set to be present.

Benoît Cosnefroy has been the team’s biggest contributor with seven of their 23 wins (as of the end of May) and will target the hilly stages, while Dorion Godon will be a candidate in reduced bunch sprints, having won two sprint finishes at the Tour de Romandie in late April.

In the pure flat finishes, Sam Bennett will still be their main candidate, having recently shown signs of returning to form with a haul of wins and GC at the 4 Jours de Dunkerque.

Felix Gall might have had a quieter season to date, but he'll still be the team’s main man for the mountains and their GC candidate.  He finished eighth overall last year after breaking through with a series of good performances in the spring, while he'll also be hoping to replicate his breakaway stage win at Courchevel.

  • Team leader: Fabio Jakobsen, Romain Bardet
  • Rider to watch: Warren Barguil

Home favourite Romain Bardet heads up DSM-Firmenich PostNL

For the Tour de France, DSM-Firmenich PostNL are making the unusual move of deploying the same two leaders as they did at the Giro d’Italia.

In the bunch sprints, Fabio Jakobsen will again line up as he continues to rediscover his mojo. The Dutchman still only has one win to his name (at the Tour of Turkey) since signing for the team this year, and he failed to get involved in the Giro bunch sprints before abandoning during the second week. However, the team still retains faith that he can reach the level that saw him win a stage on his Tour debut two years ago.

Romain Bardet fared better at the Giro than Jakobsen, finishing ninth overall while coming close to a stage win on Bocca della Selva. Though he has made the top 10 in all but two of the eight Tours he has finished throughout his career, his excursions in Italy may mean he targets stage wins this time instead.

With 11 wins to their name – including just one WorldTour race and only three outside the Tour of Turkey – DSM need some big results. That means that another French climber, Warren Barguil , will likely be given the freedom to attack and get into breakaways.

  • Team leader: Richard Carapaz
  • Rider to watch: Neilson Powless, Ben Healy

Richard Carapaz attacks on the way to his first WorldTour win for EF at the Tour De Romandie

Last season was the first in EF Education-Easy Post ’s 16-year history that they did not place a rider in the top 10 of any of the Grand Tours. That run continued at the Giro d’Italia last month, where they aggressively targeted stage wins rather than GC via constant attacks, and were eventually rewarded in the final week with success from Georg Steinhauser in the Dolomites.

Nevertheless, they intend to strive to finish as high as possible at the Tour with Richard Carapaz as their leader. The 2021 podium finisher and 2019 Giro champion was signed in 2023 to do precisely that but he endured an under-par season last year and is only just showing signs of some form recently, with a stage win and seventh overall at the Tour de Romandie. 

With Carapaz’s form still uncertain, there ought to be plenty of scope for the rest of the line-up to chase their own personal ambitions. Neilson Powless , for instance, could either chase GC as he did in 2023 (when he finished 12th), or stage wins and the polka-dot jersey as he did last year.

Irish puncheur Ben Healy is set to make his Tour debut, and if his Giro debut from last year and performances in the Classics are anything to go by, we can expect him to attack at every opportunity.

Alberto Bettiol ’s form during the spring suggests he could add a Tour stage win to the one he managed at the 2021 Giro, while Marijn van den Berg has also earned a spot on the team thanks to his impressive early season performances.

  • Team leader: David Gaudu
  • Rider to watch: Stefan Küng

David Gaudu leads the home nation's GC hopes this July

A new dawn awaits Groupama-FDJ as they embark upon the first Tour de France of the post-Thibaut Pinot era. Before retiring at the end of last year, Pinot had been the fulcrum of the team, appearing for them in all but two of the last 12 editions — sometimes with great success, other times with great heartbreak.

David Gaudu will seek to fill the void left by Pinot, as he has for several years now. Fourth overall in 2022 remains his highest finish at any Grand Tour, and though a repeat of that looks ambitious given his stuttering form this year, he’s still dreaming of a podium finish.

If Gaudu doesn’t have the legs to mount a serious GC challenge, targeting stage wins may be the team’s optimum approach, and they have plenty of riders capable of delivering on that front.

Rising star Lenny Martinez misses the race in favour of the Vuelta a España, but 21-year-old Romain Grégoire is set to make his Tour debut on the back of some very impressive results this year, including a stage win at Itzulia Basque Country

Valentin Madouas has become a recognisable face from recent Tours without quite winning a stage, though he certainly has the talent to do so. Stefan Küng will, as ever, be a candidate for both the time trials as well as select breakaways.

  • Team leaders: Carlos Rodríguez
  • Objective: GC
  • Rider to watch: Tom Pidcock, Egan Bernal

Tom Pidcock, Egan Bernal, and Carlos Rodríguez will take starring roles for Ineos Grenadiers

Last year was only the second time in the last decade that Ineos Grenadiers failed to put a rider on the GC podium at the Tour de France. Even since their run of yellow jersey-winning Tours came to an end in 2020, up until then they had still managed to crack the podium through Richard Carapaz (in 2021) and Geraint Thomas (in 2022), but last year their highest finisher, Carlos Rodríguez , finished further down in fifth place.

Still, that result means Rodríguez is the obvious choice to lead the team’s 2024 GC bid, and the 23-year-old has bolstered his status with overall victory at the Tour de Romandie and second place behind Juan Ayuso at Itzulia Basque Country.

Also in the squad are other, more wildcard options for GC. Geraint Thomas would usually be a dependable candidate, but it’s unclear how fresh he will be, having dug deep to seal third place at the Giro d’Italia , while Tom Pidcock has stated that he intends to concentrate on the GC rather than stage wins, despite failing to make the top ten last year.

And what of Egan Bernal ? The 2019 champion has for the first time since his horror crash two and a half years ago shown form approaching his best, with third overall at Volta a Catalunya and top tens at Paris-Nice and the Tour de Romandie, but it remains to be seen if he can manage a sustained GC bid over three weeks.

Michał Kwiatkowski and Laurens De Plus will be on hand to help the aforementioned trio achieve their GC goals, even if the Belgian could harbour ambitions of his own after racing to an unexpected and impressive fifth overall at the Critérium du Daupihiné. 

  • Team leader: Biniam Girmay, Louis Meintjes
  • Rider to watch: Georg Zimmermann

Biniam Girmay scored his second win of the season at the Circuit Franco-Belge in May

Biniam Girmay returns to the Tour de France hoping for a positive turn in fortunes. So far his season has been blighted by interruptions, with promising form in the early spring classics halted by a crash at Dwars door Vlaanderen, and another crash spelling the end of his Giro d’Italia one day after finishing third in Fossano.

He’s since returned to winning ways with victory at the Circuit Franco-Belge , and looks on course to arrive at the Tour in form. As Intermarché-Wanty ’s star, the onus is on the Eritrean to make an impact and he has the chance to make history as the first-ever Black African to win a stage of the Tour de France. His consistency and versatility also make him a candidate for the green jersey.

Like Girmay, who failed to show his best self at last year’s Tour, Louis Meintjes will be hoping to return to the form that saw him finish seventh overall in 2022 rather than crash out last year.

Meintjes will be the team’s GC leader, but the rest of the line-up will have the freedom to get into break and chase stage wins, much as Georg Zimmermann (who was second on stage 10) did last year. Rouleurs like Laurenz Rex and Hugo Page might fancy their chances of winning a stage this way, too.

  • Team leader: Stephen Williams
  • Rider to watch: Derek Gee, Pascal Ackermann

Derek Gee is one of the riders to watch at the Tour following his Dauphiné stage win and podium

Israel-Premier Tech 's high ambitions from 2021, when they gambled on signing Chris Froome in the hope that he could recover from his horror crash two years earlier and revive his Tour-winning form of old, have since been significantly tempered.

Now no longer a WorldTour team, they've instead depended upon a wildcard to earn entry into the Tour de France, and their hopes are limited to chasing stage wins rather than mixing it up in the battle for the yellow jersey.

Froome himself is still fighting for selection. He’s eager to avoid a repeat of last year when he was left out of the Tour line-up, but his hopes of proving himself worthy were compromised when a fractured wrist sustained during Tirreno-Adriatico forced him to miss almost three months of racing.

His compatriot Stephen Williams is enjoying a terrific season, winning both La Flèche Wallonne and the Tour Down Under. He'll therefore be a top contender for stage wins in the hilly terrain.

The team should have a presence in the sprints, where Tour debutant Pascal Ackermann aims to add to his Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a España stage wins and complete the Grand Tour clean sweep.

The rest of the line-up will be made up of stage hunters such as Dylan Teuns (who won here in both 2019 and 2021), and Derek Gee . The Canadian, who last year burst onto the scene with a series of breakaway second places at the Giro d'Italia, makes his Tour debut in the form of his life after scoring a stage win and third overall at the Critérium du Dauphné .

  • Team leader: Simon Yates, Dylan Groenewegen
  • Riders to watch: Michael Matthews

Simon Yates' big win in 2024 came at the AlUla Tour back in February

For a second successive season, Jayco-AlUla leader Simon Yates has foregone his usual Giro d’Italia participation in order to concentrate more committedly on the Tour de France.

Last year, this approach turned out to be a success, as he came to the Tour with some of the best legs of his career, eventually finishing fourth overall, and only missing out on a podium finish by 87 seconds to his brother Adam. His build-up to this year’s Tour isn’t so encouraging, however, having not shown much form since winning the AlUla Tour in the winter.

Jayco-AlUla aren’t putting all their eggs in the single basket of Yates’ GC bid. Dylan Groenewegen will be led out in the sprints by the likes of Luka Mezgec to see if he can add to his five Tour career stage wins, having come close last year with a second and third-place finish at Moulins and Paris, respectively.

On days too hilly for Groenewegen, Michael Matthews will step up, and may also try to get into some breakaways as he did to win a stage in 2022. He looked in fantastic form this spring, placing second at Milan-San Remo and, before being relegated for deviating from his line, third at the Tour of Flanders.

  • Team leader: Mads Pedersen, Tao Geoghegan Hart
  • Rider to watch: Giulio Ciccone

Mads Pedersen represents Lidl-Trek's best chance of success this July

As a team boasting a diverse range of talent, Lidl-Trek could feasibly compete for all three of the major jerseys.

For the yellow jersey, they have Tao Geoghegan Hart . He’s only done the Tour de France once in his career and is eager to target GC here while still in his prime years. Victory might seem implausible, but that was also the case when he triumphed at the Giro d’Italia in 2020.

Mads Pedersen finished a distant second to Jasper Philipsen in the points classification last year, though he did score his second stage win in as many years. He's shown the kind of excellent form throughout this year to suggest he could bridge that gap, as well as add to his stage win tally.

As for the king of the mountains, Giulio Ciccone won that classification last year and will now be present to potentially defend that title after saddle sore surgery forced him to skip the Giro d’Italia.

Lidl-Trek might even have had a prime candidate for the white jersey if Matias Skjelmose had opted to ride, but he plans to skip the Tour and save himself for a Vuelta a España overall bid instead.

  • Team leader : Arnaud De Lie
  • Rider to watch: Maxim Van Gils

Sprint star Arnaud De Lie makes his Grand Tour debut this July

Compared to other teams, Lotto-Dstny have a laser-focussed approach when it comes to the Tour de France. Not only will it be their first Grand Tour of the season, having opted out of the Giro d’Italia, but they have also narrow down their ambitions to focus exclusively on stage wins, having not placed a rider in the top 10 for 14 years.

They haven’t had success on these terms recently, though, with no stage win to their name since Caleb Ewan’s victories in the sprints during the 2020 edition. The Australian has led the team for the past five Tours, bringing much success initially with multiple stage wins in 2019 and 2020, but nothing in the three editions since then.

He’s now left the team for Jayco-AlUla, and taking his place as Lotto’s leader will be Arnaud De Lie . Much is hoped from the 22-year-old debutant based on his rapid rise over the past two years, and he'll be especially threatening on hillier days where the pure sprinters will struggle.

However, the Tour will be a big step up from the level of competition he’s used to, and he’s only recently r eturned to form after suffering from Lyme disease during the spring.

De Lie might be the most hyped name, but another young Belgian, Maxim Van Gils , has been the team’s best performer so far this season. He finished second on the stage to Grand Colombier last year and has since established himself as one of the very best puncheurs in the world following podium finishes at Strade Bianche and La Flèche Wallonne, and a fourth place at Liège-Bastogne-Liège.

2023 super-combativity winner Victor Campanaerts is also set to ride again, though his season to date has been a quiet one.

  • Team leader: Enric Mas
  • Rider to watch: Rémi Cavagna

Perennial Grand Tour contender Enric Mas aims for a top spot after two Tour de France DNFs in recent years

2024 has so far been another difficult season for Movistar , with Pelayo Sánchez’s stage victory at the Giro d’Italia their only win at WorldTour level all year.

That doesn’t bode well for their prospects at the Tour de France, where they have, in recent years, laboured to reach the levels of the past. They’ve now gone two successive Tours without placing a rider in the top 10, having done so in eight of the nine previous editions.

If any of their roster is to break that duck, it’ll be Enric Mas . The Spaniard has generally been one of the most dependable GC riders of his generation, making the top six in six of his last eight Grand Tour appearances.

However, he has been forced to abandon both of his last two Tours de France, with his participation last summer ending on the first day following a crash.

So far, Mas has enjoyed a solid season without causing too much of a stir, finishing fifth overall at Volta a Catalunya and sixth at the Tour de Romandie. Considering that he normally ups his game for the Grand Tours, that’s encouraging.

New signing Rémi Cavagna is a dependable name in the time trials, breakaways and in helping team leaders on the flat, though the Frenchman hasn't scored a WorldTour win of his own since 2021. Returning star Nairo Quintana won't make the race, meanwhile, after breaking his hand in a crash at the Tour de Suisse.

  • Team leaders: Primož Roglič
  • Riders to watch: Jai Hindley, Aleksandr Vlasov

Primož Roglič heads to the Tour with a Critérium du Dauphiné win in the books

For the 2024 season, Red Bull-Bora-Hansgrohe signed Primož Roglič with the primary objective of winning the Tour de France.

The team might never before have made the podium at any previous edition in their 10-year history, but Roglič has the calibre to challenge for yellow, as well as the desire, having moved from Visma-Lease a Bike for that specific purpose.

The Slovenian has left it to the last minute to show the kind of form he'll need to challenge for the yellow jersey, with his Critérium du Dauphiné victory his best showing of 2024 so far. The week-long warm-up race marked his first race since the heavy crash suffered by him, Remco Evenepoel, and Jonas Vingegaard at Itzulia Basque Country.

His two stage wins at the late summit finishes at Le Collet d'Allevard and Samöens 1600 were his first since the opening day at Itzulia, though a shaky final stage showing – where he shed almost a minute to Matteo Jorgenson and only held onto yellow by eight seconds – could provoke some cause for concern. 

Roglič’s presence means last year’s leader Jai Hindley — who enjoyed a day in the yellow jersey after winning stage five in Laruns before back pain contributed to a slip down to seventh on GC — will be demoted to the role of super-domestique.

While Hindley’s form has tailed away since his impressive third-place finish at Tirreno-Adriatico, Aleksandr Vlasov might believe he has the results to justify potential co-leadership status. With a second place at Tour de Romandie, sixth at Volta a Catalunya and fifth at Paris-Nice, he has been among the team's top performers this year. At the Dauphiné, he proved a reliable and strong deputy for Roglič.

Elsewhere, the rest of the team is geared exclusively towards targeting the yellow jersey, with Champs-Elysées-winning sprinter Jordi Meeus missing out on selection as the team looks to domestiques Danny van Poppel , Nico Denz , Marco Haller , Matteo Sobrero , and Bob Jungels .

  • Team leader: Remco Evenepoel
  • Rider to watch: Mikel Landa, Ilan Van Wilder

Soudal-QuickStep set their sights on GC success with Remco Evenepoel

In a drastic change of approach, Soudal-QuickStep have abandoned their usual Tour de France strategy of targeting bunch sprints and stage wins, and instead are going all in on Remco Evenepoel ’s push for GC.

This is set to be Evenepoel’s debut Tour, and it’s a hugely anticipated one, given the already enormous star profile he’s built for himself through many superb performances and major results including two Liège–Bastogne–Liège victories, the world title in 2022, and the GC at the Vuelta a España that same year.

His build-up has been compromised after a crash and fractured collarbone at Itzulia Basque Country stalled the momentum that had already seen him win Volta ao Algarve and finish second at Paris-Nice, but the plan remains the same.

His first race back, the Critérium du Dauphiné, saw him score a dominant time trial win, though he faded hard in the closing three mountain stages, losing 2:58 to Primož Roglič. That will be a major cause for concern heading into July.

As part of the team building around Evenepoel, Mikel Landa has been signed up as a super-domestique. The Spaniard has performed this role in the past – at Sky to help Chris Froome win the 2017 Tour de France, and at Movistar for Richard Carapaz’s 2019 Giro d’Italia triumph. Second at Volta a Catalunya and 10th at the Dauphiné suggests he has the legs to do something similar this year, too

Landa will be joined by Evenepoel’s familiar right-hand man, Ilan Van Wilder . The Belgian has ridden in support of Evenepoel many times, most notably during his triumphant Vuelta a España effort two years ago and should be in solid form, too, having placed fourth at the Tour de Romandie.

The team’s focus on GC means there will be no room for in-form sprinter Tim Merlier, despite his success at the Giro d’Italia, nor even home favourite Julian Alaphilippe, as the remaining spots instead go to domestiques including Yves Lampaert , Casper Pedersen , Louis Vervaeke and Gianni Moscon .

  • Team leader: Mathieu Burgaudeau
  • Rider to watch: Steff Cras

Mathieu Burgaudeau in polka dots at Paris-Nice

When TotalEnergies signed Peter Sagan for the 2022 season, they hoped the Slovakian would be the star name to make them protagonists at the Tour de France. His first edition for them was typically consistent, finishing in the top six of five different stages, but lacking the edge of his heyday; by the following year his powers had seriously waned, and he only made the top ten once.

Sagan now having retired, the team must embark on a new direction. They’ve struggled at the Tour in recent years, and haven’t won a stage since Lilian Calmejane in 2017.

It will be hard for them to break that duck this year. Of the four non-WorldTour entries, they probably have the weakest roster, as reflected by the fact that they’d only won three races this season as of the beginning of June.

Consequently, they’re strategy will be to buy daily tickets in the lottery that is getting into the breakaway. Mathieu Burgaudeau is a particular specialist at this, having finished second and third on stages of last year’s race, and placed second in the King of the Mountains classification at this year’s Paris-Nice riding similarly aggressively.

The likes of Pierre Latour, Anthony Turgis, Geoffrey Soupe and Alexis Vuillermoz all provide experienced options for TotalEnergies to potentially select. And though the team don’t tend to target GC anymore, Stef Cras ’ 11th place finish at the Vuelta a España last year suggests he could become their first rider to crack the top ten since Pierre Rolland in 2015 — although his participation remains up in the air due to his involvement in the horror crash at Itzulia Basque Country.

  • Team leaders: Tadej Pogačar
  • Rider to watch: Adam Yates, Juan Ayuso

Tadej Pogačar takes aim at the first Giro-Tour double since 1998

Phase one of UAE Team Emirates ’ great ambition to win the Giro/Tour double this year with Tadej Pogačar was a success, with the Slovenian waltzing to an enormous victory at the first Grand Tour . Now, it’s time for the hard part.

Pogačar won the Giro at a canter, almost 10 minutes clear of second place as he won a staggering six stages without ever appearing to have to stretch himself. But at the Tour, he’ll be up against a much stronger field of GC candidates, none of whom have the accumulated fatigue of having already completed a Grand Tour this season – even if Evenepoel, Roglič, and Vingegaard are all making comebacks from that brutal Itzulia crash.

UAE Team Emirates provided ample support to him at the Giro, with Rafał Majka and Vegard Stake Laengen impressing in particular, but the team is set to ring in the changes with an all-new line-up at the Tour.

On paper, it’s a much stronger group of riders. In Adam Yates , they have the man who finished third last summer, even if his form this year is in more doubt having performed only in patches since winning the UAE Tour in February. Juan Ayuso provides another potential GC option, making his Tour debut on the back of a podium finish at the Vuelta a España and overall victory at Itzulia Basque Country earlier this year. 

More climbing firepower will come from João Almeida , another rider who would slot in as a GC leader at most of the other teams in the peloton. Elsewhere, Pavel Sivakov and Marc Soler bolster the climbing line-up along with Tim Wellens and Nils Politt , the latter pairing set to feature in the engine room during flatter stages.

The team will be hoping Ayuso, Sivakov, Wellens, and Politt recover well from a mass spill at the Critérium du Dauphiné, with Ayuso forced out of the race with pain in both hips as a result.

  • Team leader: Alexander Kristoff
  • Riders to watch: Andreas Leknessund, Magnus Cort

Alexander Kristoff will hope to add to his four career Tour de France stage wins

After making a successful Tour de France debut last year, Uno-X Mobility have been invited back by ASO as a wild card entry again.

Last year, they impressed by being active in the breakaways, with Tobias Halland Johannessen enjoying particular success with three top-six finishes. He’s set to return this year and on the back of some good form, too, having finished sixth at La Flèche Wallonne during the spring.

This time, they’ll have more strings to their bow. In new signing Andreas Leknessund , they have a rider capable of challenging for GC, even if he hasn’t yet shown the form this season that saw him finish eighth overall at the Giro d’Italia last year. And Magnus Cort brings considerable experience as a two-time former stage winner at the Tour, and will be dangerous from an intermediate stage break or reduced bunch sprint.

They will also again have Alexander Kristoff for the bunch sprints, who, though poised to turn 37 during the Tour, has been winning regularly this past month or so and could have it in him to add to his four career Tour stage wins. 

But they are also sure to be one of the main presences in the breakaways, with Jonas Abrahamsen posing a particular threat, having recently won the Brussels Cycling Classic that way.

  • Team leader: Jonas Vingegaard
  • Rider to watch: Sepp Kuss, Wout van Aert

Jonas Vingegaard accelerates away during his dominant Tirreno-Adriatico win

As the Tour approaches, Visma-Lease a Bike are still sweating on the fitness of Jonas Vingegaard . The defending champion’s participation was plunged into doubt when he crashed out of Itzulia Basque Country in April and hasn’t raced since. He has recently returned to training at high altitude, though his exact racing level won't become apparent before the Tour.

Given the severity of that fall, the fact he has a genuine chance of returning in time feels miraculous, but doing so with the form to win the yellow jersey again will be an even bigger ask.

Prior to that crash, Vingegaard had started the season in intimidatingly good form, triumphing at both Tirreno-Adriatico and O Gran Camiño while claiming five stage wins in total, and would surely be the overwhelming favourite for yellow were it not for his fitness and form doubts. 

Should the Dane fail to recover in time, it might be up to Sepp Kuss to fill his boots. The peerless climbing super-domestique proved himself as a Grand Tour GC rider by winning the Vuelta a España last year, though he hasn’t shown anything like that form so far this year. On top of that, he abandoned the Critérium du Dauphiné before the final day of racing as he wasn't feeling 100% .

Like Vingegaard, Wout van Aert , too, is a doubt as he tries to recover in time from the injuries that ruled him out of both the Giro d’Italia and the major spring Classics, though he has returned to racing at the Tour of Norway.

He hopes to join other stalwarts of the previous yellow jersey-winning campaigns Tiesj Benoot , Dylan van Baarle and Christophe Laporte . Matteo Jorgenson will make for a very useful addition to the line-up, bringing a diverse range of talents that has this year seen him win Paris-Nice and Dwars door Vlaanderen and score a surprising second overall at the Dauphiné.

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Stephen Puddicombe is a freelance writer based in Bristol. He has written for Cyclingnews since 2020, and has covered cycling professionally as a freelancer since 2013, writing for outlets such as Rouleur , Cycling Weekly and Cycle Sport , among other publications. He is the author of The World of the Tour de France, published by Sona Books. Outside of cycling he is a passionate cinephile, and a long-suffering Spurs fan.

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ef tours parent guide


  1. For Parents

    ef tours parent guide

  2. School Travel with EF Tours

    ef tours parent guide

  3. How to host a virtual parent-teacher conference

    ef tours parent guide

  4. For Parents

    ef tours parent guide

  5. How to Stay Connected with Parents While on Tour

    ef tours parent guide

  6. EF Tours

    ef tours parent guide


  1. EF Tours for Families

    Your child's tour is going to change their world for the better. You're probably here because an educator in your community is leading an EF tour. That's awesome news! Educational travel gives students lifelong memories and helps them grow in countless ways. (We're talking everything from gaining more confidence to developing a greater ...

  2. Tools and Resources

    Plus, it notes everything the tour includes, such as special sightseeing tours, entrances to museums, and a full-time Tour Director. Parent guide This easy-to-read handbook gives parents information on your partnership with EF, our safety precautions, tour payment plan options, and more.

  3. For Parents

    Educational travel gives students lifelong memories and helps them grow in countless ways. (We're talking everything from gaining more confidence to developing a greater sense of empathy, just to name a few.) But before your child takes off, we're here to answer all of your questions. Take a look through this page, or download our printable ...

  4. Student travel programs

    We bottled some of this event's magic in our student Summit video recap. He gives the best guided tours of Spain —and he inspired his family to become local guides, too. Hundreds of destinations. Endless possibilities. EF Educational Tours offers student tours at the lowest prices guaranteed. Learn why teachers and parents choose EF for ...

  5. The ultimate guide to packing for each day on tour

    Here's what I recommend you bring: Wallet with money or credit cards for lunch and souvenirs. Reusable water bottle (Bring it with you to breakfast so you can fill it up before you head out for the day!) Weather-related accessories, as needed. Think: Layers or rain gear, sunglasses, sunscreen, and a wireless face fan.

  6. Traveling with EF Tours

    EF handles everything from flights and hotels to meals and sightseeing, so the group can relax and focus on the tour experience. The group's personal, full-time Tour Director takes care of on-tour details and provides cultural insight and knowledge for students. Everyone travels together on one tour bus and shares the same Tour Director and ...

  7. How to Stay Connected with Parents While on Tour

    Laura is a 7th grade World History teacher who first traveled with EF to Italy along with 52 middle schoolers, parents, and grandparents. Laura believes students who travel internationally gain a broader world perspective which develops tolerance, open-mindedness, understanding, and love for people everywhere. She wants her students' to navigate our world with confidence! As with many ...

  8. For Parents of Travelers

    Your child's tour is going to change their world for the better. You're probably here because a leader in your community is leading an EF tour. That's awesome news! Educational travel gives girls lifelong memories and helps them grow in countless ways. (We're talking everything from gaining more confidence to developing a greater sense ...

  9. How to Travel as a Student

    When students travel on EF tours, they expand their knowledge of the world around them, discover more about themselves, grow more confident and independent, and understand new people, places, and cultures. And when educators lead these tours, they grow in countless ways, bringing back a new perspective to their own classroom. Tour planning.

  10. My 3 Tips for Holding a Successful Student-Parent Tour ...

    A successful kick-off meeting should be all about wowing students and parents with your passion for leading student travel. In the end you should be able to naturally answer their questions, while quieting concerns and earning their confidence, respect, and trust. You. First and foremost, set the right tone by starting the meeting on time.

  11. EF Tours Review: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

    Some days our tour guide would set up a lunch option for us, having arranged a preset menu and price with a local restaurant. Those options were usually something like a burger, pizza or a cold sandwich. ... Safety with EF Tours. As a parent considering an EF Tour for my teenager, I know safety was a big concern for me.

  12. Student Trips and Educational Tours

    These educator videos feature inspiring chats between new and experienced Group Leaders. Check out our top tips for managing money on tour (hint: one includes the Till Financial app). Hundreds of destinations. Endless possibilities. EF Explore America offers student trips across the U.S. and Canada.

  13. A parent's take on safety with EF

    After an incredible experience exploring Boston and New York City with Macy, Lindsay's planning on joining her middle daughter's EF tour to Italy in 2022. But this time, it isn't due to any safety concerns. "I would 100% send her without me and feel very comfortable doing so," Lindsay says. "This time, selfishly, I'm just going ...

  14. All the apps you need on tour and how to use them

    06 / Photo editor. Our suggestion: Tezza. Use it to: Crystallize your memories. Why we like it: The camera is going to be the most used app on your trip. That's so obvious that we didn't even bother putting it on this list. To give your photos an extra sense of personalization, download an editing app like Tezza.

  15. Stay away from EF Tours

    Stay away from EF Tours. I just wanted to warn parents against using EF Tours for their kids. I went on a trip with my son to Italy and Greece (with a stop in Turkey) through his school. I was not ...

  16. EF Tours for Adults

    You can share your love of travel with friends, family, and neighbors as part of our Group Coordinator program and enjoy the same EF benefits Group Leaders love. Benefits include: Free travel! Earn one spot on tour for every 6 travelers you bring with you. Find out more details today at 1-800-438-7672.

  17. A Letter to Parents of Students Who Want to Take an EF Tour

    This is why EF offers their great Global Travel Protection Plan, which was designed specifically with the EF traveller in mind. This insurance provides protection for travellers should something unexpected happen before, en route to, or during the tour. As a parent, you can have peace of mind knowing your child is covered and protected.

  18. The Ultimate, EF Approved, Holiday Travel Guide

    Here at EF, we're pro travelers. We polled over 50 EF staff members and gathered some of our most useful travel tips to help you get home for the holidays. Avoiding Airport Troubles. An overwhelming majority of EF staff agreed that the best thing you can do to avoid problems at the airport is to arrive early - especially when traveling with ...

  19. EF Educational Tours Reviews

    EF Tours hits all the major must-see areas of the country in this 11-day itinerary. The group leader was helpful and friendly and kept the fast-paced agenda running on time. The included meals and accommodations were not extravagant but on par with what might be expected for the price point.

  20. PDF The teacher's guide to student travel

    • Free spots on tour for educators • Student payment plans • Pre-tour support (e.g., help picking your ideal destin-ation, direct sources for parent and student questions, collection and organization of student finances) • An expert tour director to guide your group • Unique experiential travel opportunities to ensure educational impact

  21. EF's Personalized Learning Guide

    Our Personalized Learning Guide creates a more engaging learning experience by helping students put a more personal lens on their tour. And it's available for free—contact your Tour Consultant for more information. Check out our Student Travel Projects. Students learn on a deeper level when what they're learning connects to their own lives.

  22. Student Travel Programs

    Whatever you need, we've got you. We're here to help you with everything and anything student travel-related. For one-on-one support, reach out to one of our Traveler Support Specialists (who we tend to think about as human search engines for all things EF). They'll work with you and your child to answer any what-ifs and how-tos, from ...

  23. International travel documents for children

    Parents who frequently cross the border by land with a minor must always carry a letter of permission from the other parent. Children (under age 16) of U.S. citizens arriving by land or sea from Canada or Mexico may present their original or a copy of their birth certificate, a Certificate of Naturalization, or a Consular Report of Birth Abroad.

  24. Tour de France 2024

    Still, that result means Rodríguez is the obvious choice to lead the team's 2024 GC bid, and the 23-year-old has bolstered his status with overall victory at the Tour de Romandie and second ...

  25. Student Trips and Educational Tours

    Student or parent? Join your teacher's tour. Experience the modern approach to educational travel / / / / / / ... Joining the EF family means you'll have the support of our community of educators, tour architects, operations wizards, and ever-curious explorers. We've experienced the transformative power of travel firsthand—and we can ...