I haven't even gone on the trip yet and I'm already unhappy. They booked some of our tour on seats that include seat assignments and some of us unlucky folks on seats where we have to pay to reserve our seats. So I'm out an extra $75 that other folks on the tour are not. What other ways will our tour experience differ across the group? Will some get better hotel rooms? Didn't we all pay the same amount for the trip? I can't get anyone in customer service to call me back and the managers never seem to be there to take my calls.
Review by Pitbullzz Covangton1 month ago
I would say that Explorica is above average, but I don't know if I would say they are great. Every single person I worked with from Explorica was fantastic and they really helped with anything I needed. However, I felt like some information wasn't shared about the trip (ex: how much free time we would have- it's a lot more than the itinerary makes it seem). I would like more details the next time I work with Explorica, and I definitely plan to because I enjoy the company.
Review by DerpGames Venning2 months ago
I loved our tour director but the planning stage and the lack of focus on the educational aspect of travel left much to be desired.
Their sales force is amazing, but that is where the service stops. Once my students signed up (and the sales force is no longer in charge), Explorica tried to nickel and dime the students, by lying to them. They sent them multiple emails telling them they had to pay extra for a double room. THIS IS UNTRUE IN FRANCE! The rooms are so small that they are automatically doubles. DO NOT LET THEM LIE TO YOU! They also talked most of the students into getting the extra insurance. I had one student try and use it because her computer was stolen, but they wouldn't cover that! The hotels were so out of the way that even the bus driver was complaining (2 hours out of the way! You have got to be kidding me! IN Paris, the guides couldn't even find our hotel because it was a 30 minute walk from the end of the metro line. The food they served us at dinner was DISGUSTING and most of my kids were sick for the entire trip because of dinners. The timing was also off - in light of the Gilet Jaune movement, I requested that we not be in Paris on Saturday and that they move the trip forward by a day. They told me they knew better than me, and there was no issue. Consequently, our Paris bus tour was non-existent because all the roads were closed in Paris, and we couldn't get through. There was also the Paris marathon when we were there (which the guides knew about) so it was impossible to go visit. They booked us to be in Chartres on the morning of Pentecost Sunday, so we had to sit around and wait for 2 hours for the mass to finish (great planning) which meant that we had no time to even see the outside of Château de Chambord, because we had to do the 2 hour out of the way drive to our hotel. I do not suggest using their services at all.
Review by Lecherie Chitsike2 months ago
I have been leading student tours for my school for 13 years. I had used EF Tours for my first 10 years due to the price being much lower than competitors. Over the years, the hotel locations, food and services kept getting worse. When I complained about the unsafe hotel locations, (one hotel was on the M1, one hour outside London and another was in a corn field an hour outside of Rome and we spent most of the day in traffic) I was told that I could pay $125 more per city. That would have made the trip more expensive than other tours. After I switched to Explorica, they merged with another tour company and their prices were now LOWER than EF. The hotels were within 10-20 minutes from city center and the food was amazing! I cannot believe I wasted so much time with EF. I should have switched sooner. I couldn't be happier!
Review by Paolung2 months ago
It was really good. A few suggestions for growth would be to teach us a bit more about interesting facts on natural science related to what we are seeing. Also, during the rides we can learn more about the current events in Costa Rica, history or traditions. Overall, I mean a bit more of information than the basics which most of us know. One aspect that was not enjoyable was seeing bed. Ugh in the hotel at Puntarenas (they changed our rooms) and also the flood in the hotel in Arenales. Other than this it was an amazing trip. I will do it again!!!
Review by Stannard Skaliotis2 months ago
Shout out to our wonderful tour director, Delphine.
Review by Butzi2 months ago
After three tours with EF I decided to try Explorica, and I have to say, Explorica is way behind in terms of on-tour experience and customer service. Our group felt like there was so much wasted time and so many things from food to schedules to local guides that could have been way better. Explorica promised to outshine their competition in multiple areas so we gave them a shot. We ended up with a huge group, crammed bus, boring local guides, and mediocre meals. The tour was a total disappointment. I'm so sad my students missed out on their trip of a lifetime because it should have been amazing like my past tours have been. I wish I had stayed with EF Tours!
Review by Burry2 months ago
Enjoyed our trip. Great tour guide!!! Hotels were nice, food was good.
While in Paris we were placed in a hotel that was an 1 1/2 hours outside the city. This was a real logistical concern! Otherwise all was good.
Review by Saoirse Lakhlani2 months ago
Happy about the trip!
Review by Avner3 months ago
We enjoyed ourselves on the trip. However, the tour bus/coach was disappointing because we were not able to actually see a whole lot. So, we used our 'free' days to visit a lot of the places. Personally, the Tower of London should be a whole day and not 2 hours. Really glad that we did the London Eye excursion and will probably do again on the next trip. We had several adults who had trouble keeping up with the tour guide and we got spread out pretty far. However, our guide gave us the name and address of the restaurants for each night. We really appreciated the restaurants that provided us choices for our meals.
Review by CardiffMike3 months ago
My colleague and I grew very frustrated with the inconsistent and unprofessional actions of the Explorica office staff.
1) There was an expense incurred by our organization to change the name of two travelers. We have had chaperones drop out due to no fault of their own. When working with other travel companies, they never charged us a $95 fee to simply change a name in a company computer. They never charged us anything. The expense with Delta for the name change was no fault of Explorica’s.
2) we requested that all tips be included in the price for students and parents but weren’t informed that tips could not be taken from travelers. This information wasn’t shared with us until several students(not all) actually had $33 extra dollars taken from their account. When we contacted Bryan about this, it was then he informed us about the tipping situation. Parents were not happy about the $33 charged and having to add tips when we had told them tips were included.
3) We also asked for security at the hotels. It wasn’t until we were on our trip for the third night when we found out that we had not had security nor would we have any security for the rest of the trip. When this was discussed with Bryan, we were told that security was never charged for the trip, but this is questionable because security was on the original sign up information for parents. In addition, I contacted Bryan on June 3rd to insure hotel security was still in place. This was only 6 days prior to our departure. He assured me that all security was in place.
*All of these issues made my colleague and I look like we were incompetent. No parent wants to send their child across the country with someone who seems incompetent.
Having said this, my colleague and I were thoroughly pleased with the actual trip. Most of this was due to the excellence of our tour director, Spencer Hopson, and bus driver, Maurice. They were both knowledgeable of the area and professional in their work.
Review by Cuckfumbustion3 months ago
LONDON, PARIS, AND ITALY
We had a wonderful fun-filled trip from start to finish. Our travel consultant, Rachel Davis, was extremely helpful and personable. She really made me feel that she truly cared about us as an individual group. Jamie Smith, our on-site Tour Director, was fantastic and loved by all. He had a unique ability to be flexible yet organized, and also dealt equally well with adults and teenagers. The extension to Sorrento, Pompeii, and Capri was definitely a highlight for everyone!
Review by Eulalee3 months ago
Before tour support was constant & intuitive. Tour Director was one of the best I've had in 25 years ... enthusiastic, friendly, knowledgeable, and a great role model !!
Review by Sheenita3 months ago
Explorica makes traveling with students easy! Our tour director, Joe Costa, was funny and knowledgeable, and helped us feel informed and entertained all along the trip! The food was tasty and there was as much as you'd want, so students weren't hungry. Accommodations were clean, safe, and met expectations. Sites we visited were interesting, informative, and we came away from Spain and Morocco feeling like we had really seen and experienced both countries. In Spain, we saw Picasso's Guernika at the Prado, tasted tapas, ate fish and chips at the British-controlled Gibraltar, and saw olive groves in droves through La Mancha. In Morocco, we visited the tannery in Fes, dined on multi-course Moroccan salads and tajines, saw how pottery is decorated and fired, and watched argon nuts transformed into oils and lotions. The whole trip was a rich, lively experience!
The only drawback, which I consider a major one, was that I was not on the same flight as my students. My husband and I requested a stay-behind in Morocco at the end of the trip, but when our flight arrangements were made, we were not put on the same departure flight as my students from the US to Spain, even though I expected to be traveling with them (of course!). Thankfully, another teacher was with them, but it would have been better if I had been informed that I wouldn't be traveling with my students, rather than being surprised at the time we received our airline tickets.
Overall, it was a wonderful experience. This was my fifth trip with Explorica, and they are consistently positive to travel with, especially for students who are first-time travelers. They make it easy by planning all the logistics for you.
Review by Bogii McAnlis3 months ago
Our tour guide Luca was a wonderful tour guide. He was very friendly to everyone in the group. He connects with everyone and was super funny. Being my first time traveling to Italy he made my trip stress free. We, of course, took lots of picture with him to show him how much we appreciate him.
Review by Mamaxilla Buzzini3 months ago
Our recent trip to Italy and Greece was outstanding! It was well organized, the tour leader was both knowledgeable and funny and the historical education was exemplary! From the beginning contacts with Laura Jones and Victor Morales to the follow-up contact once the trip was complete, my experience was wonderful!
Review by Bafford3 months ago
75th Anniversary D Day trip with middle school. The scheduled attractions were outstanding. 1st and last hotel were as advertised.
I realize the logistical difficulies of booking hotels during the Anniversary as there was rumored to be 12,000 visitors to Normandy, but Explorica should be embarrassed by the hotel in Calais. it was dated, most of our groups A/C didn't work and the beds were horrible. The Moms in the group had to be assisted with luggage as there were no elevators,only outside spiral staircases.
Since we were a smaller group, we were assigned a older small bus for the majority of our travels. It was uncomfortable. Due to Euro bus driving regulations, our driver Frank(who was outstanding) needed to be back at the hotel before his allotted time for driving ran out, so he dropped us off at our dinner spot in Le Havre. Our tour director Adam( more on him later) made arrangements for a bus dropping off another Explorica group to drive us back. The bus driver refused to drive our group back to the same hotel. Adam had to use his own money for taxis. An extra 90 min to get back to our room. If you are a picky eater, your out of luck. Food was okay. Would rather of had a trip discount and bought our own food.
Adam Self was our tour director and he was top notch. He related to adult and child alike, was patient beyond his years, and passionate about his job. Explorica needs him in upper management. When the grumbling started, he rolled with the punches, and was flexible when he needed to be.
Our bus driver Frank was also outstanding. With all roads leading into Normandy closed or clogged, he went out of his way to get us to Pointe Du Hoc, no easy task. He is beloved by our group.
Overall I would not use Explorica again. The reason I am not down to 2 stars is Adam and Frank.
Review by Vadjiha3 months ago
As always, Explorica tours provide a lot of bang for your buck. Not only are the tours great and packed full of tours and activities , but the people they employ as your tour director and bus drivers are exemplary. Our TD (Rudi) and our driver (Jeremy) were helpful, knowledgeable, and kind. They truly embodied the beauty of the culture and people of Belize. This was my four tour with Explorica, and my fifth tour is already scheduled. I have never been disappointed as their tours are always trips of a lifetime.
Review by Fifian3 months ago
The service I received from the U.S.-based Explorica employees was great. They were freindly, helpful and quickly provided me with any information or paperwork I needed. Unfortunately, we did not have the best guide while on tour. The location of hotels was better than that of other tour companies have I used in the past. The food was good, but there could have been more variety.
Review by AgentMunky3 months ago
The English speaking tour guide, Yayo was amazing. The hotels were all very nice. The dinners provided were good, but I don't think an izakaya style place (tonkatsu dinner) is appropriate for middle school and high school students. The days were packed with a lot of great sight seeing and we were busy every day from morning to night. I do wish we had a little more time to check out the shopping areas. one hour to two hours is way too short for lunch and shopping. Overall, great experience, but I'd have to say having Yayo as our tour guide made the trip phenomenal!
Review by Ramatulai Veriga3 months ago
I LOVE this company. I have traveled 12 times with Explorica! My program consultant has always been accommodating and easy to reach!! I find the prices of tours affordable for my travelers, the tour guides phenomenal, the restaurants good, and the activities fun! I would recommend this company to anyone!
Review by Vendorine Pshemish3 months ago
I'd have rated this trip 5 stars if not for our Explorica Tour Guide, Martino, who turned out to be a huge disappointment and spoiled the first part of the trip. But first, the things that I loved, enjoyed or found pleasing.:
1. Every single one of the places we visited was fascinating. This was a great itinerary.
2. The LOCAL tour guides were excellent - knowledgeable, patient and kind.
3. Great food! Delicious and satisfying.
4. The motel selections were exceptional. Clean and many were located close to shopping and sightseeing opportunities.
Following are the disappointments:
1. The tour group was too large and diverse. There were 41 of us plus the tour guide and the bus driver. Ages ranged from 12 -63+ years. While I was very impressed with the students' behavior, I was somewhat appalled with the tour guide, Martino,
2. He had made disparaging comments to and about our group of people who were primarily over age 60 because we were slower than the younger people.
3. He did not wait for everyone to catch up. Consequently, those that were near the end of the line couldn't keep up and missed part or all of the workshops. This could have been avoided by leaving earlier and stopping to explain what things were, like tour guides should do and allowing time to take pictures. There were no explanations of things we saw while on the bus until right before he was replaced when we got to Rome. Unfortunately, this was near the end of the trip (his replacement, Laura, was great. She didn't lose anyone and clearly explained what we were seeing both while on the bus and walking around).
4. When I politely made suggestions, Martino said I should quit buying so much stuff and get in better shape.
5. Martino gave confusing instructions regarding when and where to meet after a "break." He gave us an average of 20 minutes to go to the bathroom, shop and find the meeting place.
6. He only sat with the students at meals and apparently did most of his information sharing at that time.
There is more, but you get the picture. Thank you for an otherwise great trip!
Review by Reinet3 months ago
Avoid! You will NOT get your monies worth with Explorica. They only want your $ and "customer service" is abysmal. After returning from trip to Dublin/London/Paris with my son I called the company to complain about the fact that adults did not get into the Louvre because Explorica does not make reservations in advance. Every other tour company were able to take their group in but not ours. Our hotel in Paris was disgusting-blood on sheets, A/C out in some rooms, elevator broken (looked up reviews these problems were posted repeatedly for a year). Food was meh. We weren't notified about the importance of booking high traffic tourist sites (London eye, Eiffel Tower) ahead of time and had very few places to tour that cost money (most of your money for touring goes to free sites). It'd be cheaper to book on my own and pay for a private tour guide.
But here comes the most frustrating part: It has been almost 3 weeks since we returned and I still do not have even the beginning processing of a refund for the 4 optional excursions I paid for that were canceled by Explorica. So, my money spent for product not given-no refund as of this time. I was told it'd take about 2 weeks. Manuel Garcia promised to help me on 2 July 2019 and hasn't replied back nor responded to any of my emails. Every person at customer service says the issues need to go through tour leader. That's Explorica's default: A non-employee of Explorica is responsible for all of your customer service needs. What a scam! What a burden for this teacher! I paid over $10,000 to this company and they wont even entertain my problems nor refund me for their mistakes. Don't trust the reviews by the teachers on here. They get free trips for recruiting students/parents. It's not as disappointing and worth complaining about when your trip is free. Worldstrides and EF was much better!