Are EF Tour trips worth the cost?

Madi Repass, Staff Writer

Poolesville High School offers EF Tour trips during spring break to any student, regardless of grade level. The trips last the entire break, sometimes even longer, and are action-packed with moving around and learning about the local culture. 

“EF” stands for “Education First”. While these trips are intended to be fun, the main focus of each trip is to educate each traveller on being able to immerse themselves into a wider range of cultures and experiences. When originated by a Swedish student, Bertil Hult, 1960, the intent of the company was to help teach language, as Hult himself struggled to read and write until he visited London and discovered that he learned better when he used the language practically. 

“That discovery inspired Bertil to launch EF Education First in 1965—a company built on experiential learning, cultural immersion, and authentic connections. This experience is at the core of our educational philosophy,” according to the EF Tour website. 

Many students dream of being able to go on this trip, as it is notorious for its educational value and immersion into an unknown environment. In fact, EF Tours prides itself in its philosophy that students will be able to “expand their knowledge of the world around them, understand new people, places, and cultures, discover more about themselves, and grow more confident and independent.”

While EF Tours certainly have a great reputation, this experience comes at quite a cost. Any tour offered by EF can range at a from around $2,500-3,500. This covers airfare, hotels, any ground transportation, tour guides, and 2 meals a day. However, students are encouraged to bring extra spending money for souvenirs, more meals, or to pay for an international phone plan to keep in contact with family or friends back in the states. 

Terry Young, the tour coordinator and resource teacher at Poolesville, commented on the value of going on this tour compared to the monetary price paid. He noted that while he is sponsored for a portion of his travels, he pays for most of it out of pocket like the students do. Young also raved that the tour, although very expensive, meets all needs at the lowest cost possible. 

“It is way worth it…that’s another reason I love the group travel, because it brings the price down… I’ve tried to compare similar tours with other companies: what we get for the dollar is way better, but to do it on your own is even more.” (Mr. Young Interview)

The Pulse reached out to a previous EF traveller, Humanities senior Elizabeth Perelshteyn, to hear her perspective of the tour’s value. 

“I went to Spain and Portugal freshman year and it was definitely worth the price. I… am super excited to go on my second EF tours trip to France and Italy this upcoming spring,” Perelshteyn noted.

Because previous travellers see the value of the money for what they get out of the trip, it is common that students who can afford to go on more than one trip, because they were so pleased with their first trip. 

The Pulse also talked to a new traveller, Humanities senior Ashlynn Stearns, as to why she chose to go on her first tour. 

“I’m excited to learn about other cultures and expect to have lots of fun with my friends…I think the experience will totally be worth it, it’s worth memories I’ll have with me for the rest of my life,” Stearns said. 

When asked about whether the price was a limiting factor to her choice to go on the tour, she replied that it was not. 

“It was not a problem for my family, but it was quite expensive. My trip has counted as my Christmas and birthday present for the past few years,” Stearns added. 

Overall, the general consensus of both previous and prospective travellers is that while the tour was expensive, the experience gained from the tour was enough to make up for this price, making the educational and enjoyment aspects worth the monetary cost. In fact, because travellers enjoy their trips so much, they want to go back, despite the cost.