Some travelers like to take the wheel and plan their own trips. Some travelers would like to hand over the wheel to someone else and get in the passenger seat.
Tour operators are for the latter. They take care of the planning and organizing, so you can focus on traveling and experiencing the itinerary that’s designed for you.
I'm here to introduce EF Ultimate Break to you and give you all the details you should know...
EF Ultimate Break has earned an impressive reputation as a reliable tour guide company for young adults. But, factors like age limit and fixated itineraries mean that it might not be for everyone.
So, in this article, I want to give you a comprehensive review on EF Ultimate Break to help you decide if it’s a sensible choice for you!
What Is EF Ultimate Break?
EF Ultimate Break, formerly known as EF College Break, is a travel company that specializes in providing guided group tours for different destinations around the world.
Founded in 2003, it’s a branch under EF Tours initiated more than 50 years ago. As you would have already guessed, EF Ultimate Break is not for everyone. It’s geared towards travelers aged 18-29 (sorry, old folks!), primarily college students hunting for fun, adventurous, carefree, and novel experiences.
Besides travelers who loathe planning, EF Ultimate Break is also a good option for people just beginning to explore the world and prefer an expert to handle the logistics for them.
What Are the Main Features of EF Ultimate Break?
Here's a quick rundown on the main features that EF Ultimate Break provides for their travelers.
At present, EF Ultimate Break offers over 70 readymade tours for countries across the world. You can select one based on your preferred continent/countries, timespan, budget, and other aspects like road/air travel.
EF Ultimate Break only provides group tours. You can sign up alone or with friends, but you will be paired with a group of other travelers signed up for the same trip.
Arrangement of All Necessary Logistics
The company will handle all aspects related to traveling, such as flight booking, transportation, accommodation, metro passes, entrance tickets to major attractions, etc.
Payment in Instalments
You can book a tour in advance and pay for it in interest-free instalments. This means you have to book early, depending on how soon you can complete the entire payment before the trip. You can also make one full-payment if you prefer.
There’s a tour director assigned for each trip to help travelers every step of the way. So, whether it’s resolving any issue you face during the trip or receiving recommendations on places to visit, they will guide you throughout the stay.
EF Ultimate Break also offers 24/7 support to help you clarify any issue before, during, and after the trip.
How Does EF Ultimate Break Work?
- Log in by creating an account.
- Choose a tour that you like using filters provided like preferred continent and countries, trip length, and travel style.
- Select your payment terms and arrange it to be paid in full or installments before the tour. The cost depends on the type and length of the tour.
- The team will contact you and assist you thereafter.
Best Parts of EF
If you have signed up for a trip with EF Ultimate Break, rest assured that you won’t have to fret about a disorganized or messy trip. They plan almost everything on behalf of you, arrange logistics, and even educate you on things required for the trip which is why it’s a convenient option for beginners.
An Opportunity to Make New Friends
Unless you are going with your friends, you will be traveling with a group of total strangers who are passionate about travel just like you. You can get to know them better, share experiences, and maybe even make lifelong friends!
The company provides a good customer experience, whether it’s via their tour directors assigned for each trip or the 24/7 customer support team. The tour directors are well-versed (most of the time) about the destinations and off-the-beaten-path attractions, so you can always count on them for help during the tour.
Considering everything they provide, from flight bookings to farewell dinner, there’s no doubt that EF tours Ultimate Break is one of the most cost-effective choices at present, and their installment payment facility makes it even better.
As most of their tour packages also cover multiple countries/cities, you can expect great value for the money paid.
What Can the Company Do Better?
Lack of Customization
You don’t have the freedom to create your own plan or include your preferred choices if they are not available in the set of options they provide. Some users have complained of poorly chosen hotels/hostels that didn’t cater to their expectations or provided value for the money they paid.
Fast-Paced Itineraries (Only)
When you travel with a group of people according to a predetermined schedule, you can’t explore places at your own pace. Longer trips by EF Ultimate Break include many countries and cities, and therefore, you might find the tours to be too fast in some cases.
In fact, the reason why many travelers stop booking EF Ultimate Break tours is the fact that the tours are way too fast-paced for their liking. Many travelers opt to plan trips themselves, or join other slower-paced tours.
Expected Age Group
While I stated that one of the pros of joining EF Ultimate Break is to make new friends, I wouldn't expect to make new friends on ever EF Ultimate Break trip, especially if you're not in their target age group of 18–20. While EF Ultimate Break's target age limit is 18–35, the majority of tour-goers consist of those leaning towards the younger age limit.
Expectations vs. Reality
While there’s a good chance you will get along with your fellow travelers in the group, there is also a probability that you won’t. Not everyone is a partygoer, adventure seeker, or an extroverted chatter. So, some of the activities might not fit your preferences.
Limited Choices for Tours
The number of trips offered by EF Ultimate Break is very limited. So, you might not find the trip you are looking for in the list.
Lack of Seamless Organization
We also came across some negative EF Ultimate Break reviews complaining of poor organization, illegible tour guides who lacked the required knowledge, and inefficient use of time. There were times when travelers had to wait for hours for the bus to arrive.
Is EF Ultimate Break Legit?
EF Ultimate Break is great, but as I mentioned in the beginning, it’s not for everyone.
You're right to do research before you book because EF Ultimate Break reviews averages around 3.13 out of 5 from 250+ reviews (as per updated date above), from online collected reviews.
The EF Ultimate Break reviews online range from complaints of being unable to re-schedule tours, communication and poor customer support, as well as varied tour experiences.
If you're still unsure about EF Ultimate Break, let me help you break their costs down so you can make more informed decisions.
How Much is EF Ultimate Break?
Prices depend on dates and the type of trip booked, but the minimum prices seem to hover around $2500 for the shorter trips to the cheapest places and up to $15,000 (not including taxes and other fees) for their longest trips (57 days as of writing). These come with considerable markup given to cost of those areas.
For example a trip to Vienna, Budapest, and Prague, all of which are on the cheaper end of many European cities, will set you back at least $3100, but can be done yourself for about half that (speaking from experience from members on our team who've done it) and less if you bus instead of fly.
How Do I Cancel My Trip?
If you have booked an EF Ultimate Break trip and are regretting it or something came up, you may be able to get a partial refund. You can call EF Ultimate Break at 1-800-766-2645. Note that this is a salesperson who will try to sway you into "changing your destination, adjusting dates or setting up a new payment plan to make paying for your trip easier" according to their help center.
You'll also be expected to pay cancellation fees ranging from $150 (for trips booked +365 days or more in advance) up to everything you've paid so far for trips under 30 days, most of which require you pay the full fee if that's when you booked, meaning there'd be effectively no refund.
You'll also be expected to pay any non-refundable fees, of which there may be several. Be sure to read to the booking conditions prior to your trip, since they are subject to change and may be different based on the trip you book.
Is EF Ultimate Break Worth It?
EF Ultimate Break is tailored for a specific type of traveler. If you're a high-school or college student around 18-29 years old and love to travel and party your nights away, EF Ultimate Break's the tour company for you!
A main focus of its tours is to not only travel, but to make new friends and experiences along the way.
The main downside of EF Ultimate Break is that the tours aren't inclusive. If you're 18-29 and want to focus on traveling, its tours aren't catered towards you.
If you're not in the company's age range, you should try their EF Go Ahead Tours instead.
Another thing to note is that EF Ultimate Break's tours are extremely fast-paced and at times, aren't very organized and flexible.
So, after all of this, I'm trying to say that EF Ultimate Break is only worth it for a small group of travelers. If you're not part of that specified group, I would definitely go with another company.
And even if you are part of their target traveler, consider also comparing its tours to competitors. There's nothing here that makes the company shoot ahead of other tour companies offering similar experiences!
My Rating: 2.9/5
- No planning needed
- Tailored for young adults
- Reliable customer service
- Decent pricing with deals
- Additional payments
- Disorganized tours
- Limited tour customizations & flexibility
- Fast-paced itineraries
- Most of the focus is partying
- Limited choices of itineraries offered
Other General EF Ultimate Break Frequently Asked Questions
What's Included in the Cost?
EF Ultimate Break tours typically include airfare, accommodations, a tour director, some meals, transportation between cities, and guided sightseeing.
How Big Are EF Ultimate Break Groups?
Many people who go on these tours say it's normal to have groups as large as 30 people.
Are the Trips Flexible? Can I Deviate From the Itinerary?
EF Ultimate Break trips follow a set itinerary, but there is usually some free time built in for travelers to explore on their own. However, deviating from the group to travel independently before or after the tour may not be possible.
What's the Cut Off Age for EF Ultimate Break?
Recently, the cut off age for these tours were changed to 35. Previously, you needed to be 29 years or younger.
Are There Different Payment Plans?
Yes! Depending on your situation, EF Ultimate Break allows you to pay monthly or bi-weekly, at your own pace, in full, or with affirm. Check out its payment explanation page for details on each option.
Take Control of Your Trip Instead!
But what if you'd like to take control of your own trip, see the things you want to see, do the things you want to do? If that sounds like you, make sure to give Pilot a try!