“I booked three trips through International Friends: the Harry Potter Studio Tour, Pairs/Versailles by Eurostar, and Amsterdam/Bruges.
The communication is very efficient and courteous. When I asked to move my Harry Potter tour date, I received a reply within a few hours - they were then able to move it and confirm the date with me within two days.
The transportation/timing to and from the Harry Potter studios was exactly as outlined on their website, and everything ran very smoothly. I also liked how they gave four hours inside the studio, as it gives you plenty of time to see everything thoroughly, plus gives you time to take breaks and eat.
There were a couple of mishaps on the Paris tour that I do not count against International Friends as they were completely out of their control. 1) We toured with a large rambunctious group of teenagers - honestly should’ve gone on their own 2) We arrived much later to Versailles then expected as a few people decided to show up 40 mins late (which was quite frustrating to me, as I did feel a bit rushed at the palace) 3) The Eurostar on the way back to London had many issues at the French security due to weather delays. Our train was also delayed by an hour. Although these things happened, it definitely did not take away from the tour experience. Andrew was a very informative and friendly tour guide - he was very knowledgable about everything and gave a lot of good recommendations (for instance I could not get tickets to the Louvre, and Andrew suggested the Musee d’Orsay which was honestly a big highlight for me, it was a very nice art museum). I also appreciated how organized everything was, I felt like I got to see all I wanted to see in Paris, even within three short days. The accommodations were suitable, even nicer than I expected, and a great value for students especially.
Amsterdam was probably my favorite trip out of the three. Rob was absolutely fantastic, he definitely went above and beyond being a tour guide. He constantly checked in on everyone and conversed with all of us to make sure we were doing alright. And of course, he was so knowledgeable and always very adept at answering any questions I had. Again, the only issue I had with Amsterdam was the accommodation being near the red light district, as it was quite loud at night (it is Amsterdam culture I suppose) - but the hostel itself was clean and met my expectations. I particularly enjoyed the trip to the dutch countryside - it was a nice break from the city and very beautiful. I felt like I definitely got plenty of time in Amsterdam to see/eat/enjoy the city. We visited Bruges on a beautiful sunny day which was a huge plus - the city itself was very quaint, and I think I liked it even more than Amsterdam. A few hours in Bruges was more than enough time and I felt like I got a good feel for the town regardless. A big positive of this trip for me was the transportation by coach. Everything went so smoothly, from the pickup to the Eurotunnel to drop-off (as usual, International Friends was very very timely both ways, didn’t even hit a bit of traffic). Clearly Rob and our driver were well experienced, which made me feel safe. In addition, the coach makes the traveling a lot more comfortable and less stressful (I took many naps for sure!).
The only suggestion I have for International Friends is to provide a more detailed itinerary if possible. I would’ve liked access to the timing of each location (for instance how long/what time we’ll be at a certain excursion, just so we don’t feel too left in the dark). On the Amsterdam trip it would have been helpful to know if/when we would stop for a meal/snack beforehand.
I was very pleasantly surprised with International Friends, especially since I hadn’t heard of their company prior to arriving London. I’m not sure if I’ll be in London for a long period of time again, but I would certainly book again through them if I was. Overall I really liked my experience with International Friends and highly recommend them to anyone (especially students in the London area) who wish to see greater Europe.”
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