Tours & Guides

What's the matter with EF Ultimate Break? Full review [2023]

What's the matter with EF Ultimate Break? Full review [2023]
Raeesha Ikram
linkedin logoInstagram logoLink to website icon

Raeesha is a freelance travel writer on a mission to reveal authentic experiences, unparalleled adventures, and sustainable travel choices the world has in store for wanderlusts. Her travel pieces encapsulate the diverse culture, heritage, and nature-bound attractions of different destinations. Besides travel, she also writes about economics, business, and linguistics.

Read more about this author
Travel Videos

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. 

We've covered tours like Contiki and Intrepid Travels before, but what about EF Ultimate Break?

EF Ultimate Break has earned an impressive reputation as a reliable tour guide company for young adults. However, factors like age limit and fixated itineraries mean that it might not be for everyone. 

So, in this article, we thought of doing a comprehensive review on EF Ultimate Break to help you decide if it’s a sensible choice for you!

EF Ultimate Break Logo.
Image courtesy: EF Ultimate Break

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.

Keep reading to find out why!

EF Ultimate break's website
Image courtesy: EF Ultimate Break

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.

Readymade tours

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. 

Group tours

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 installments

You can book a tour in advance and pay for it in interest-free installments. 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.

Tour directors

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. 

24/7 support

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?

  1. Log in by creating an account.
  2. Choose a tour that you like using filters provided like preferred continent and countries, trip length, and travel style.
  3. 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.
  4. The team will contact you and assist you thereafter.

Image courtesy: EF Ultimate Break

What are the best parts of EF Ultimate Break?

Pre-planned Trips

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! 

Reliable Services

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.

Reasonable Pricing

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.

Exploring and traveling with EF Ultimate Break
Photo by Drif Riadh on Unsplash

What can EF Ultimate Break 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

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.

Making friends with EF Ultimate Break Tours
Photo by Chang Duong on Unsplash

So, is EF ultimate break legit?

EF Ultimate Break is great, but as we 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 EF ultimate break 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.

Group travel with EF Ultimate Break Tours.
Photo by Javier Allegue Barros on Unsplash

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 for you! A main focus of their 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 tour isn't inclusive. If you're 18-29 and want to focus on traveling, their tours aren't catered towards you. If you're not in their age range, you should try their EF Go Ahead Tours instead. Their tours are also extremely fast paced and at times, aren't very organized and flexible.

With all of these pros and cons considered, if you feel like EF Ultimate Break is catered towards you, go ahead and book a tour with them now!

Our Rating: 3.3/5


  • No planning needed.
  • Tailored for young adults
  • Reliable customer service.
  • Decent pricing w/ deals


  • Additional payments
  • Disorganized tours
  • Limited tour customizations & flexibility
  • Fast-paced itineraries

Take control of your trip instead!

Pilot social trip planner

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!

Pilot is your brand new travel planner that helps you discover and build travel itineraries connecting you to resources everywhere. Make the planning experience more fun by collaborating with your travel buddies! Pilot makes it fun and easy to share and relive your favorite travel memories with many useful features!

Did we mention that it's completely free? Try it out now!


Disclosure: Pilot is supported by our community. We may earn a small commission fee with affiliate links on our website. All reviews and recommendations are independent and do not reflect the official view of Pilot.

Make the most of every trip

Join 14,000+ travelers and Pilot your next adventure!
Get the app
Get the app
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.