Tours & Guides

What's the matter with EF Ultimate Break? - In Depth Review

Updated on:  
July 25, 2021
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Raeesha Ikram
Raeesha Ikram
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https://www.clippings.me/users/raisha96Follow us on Linkedin
EF Ultimate Break is great, but it’s not for everyone. You're right to do research before you book because their average review rating (as of the dating of publishing this) is a 3.13 out of 5 from 229 reviews, from resellerratings.com where they collect reviews. Learn why in this in-depth review.

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 guide companies 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. 

EF Ultimate Break has earned an impressive reputation as a reliable tour guide company for the young blood. 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!

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Image courtesy: EF Ultimate Break


What Are the Main Features of EF Ultimate Break?

  • 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.


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Image courtesy: EF Ultimate Break


What are the best parts of EF Ultimate Break?

  • Takes away the hassle involved in planning: 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! 
  • Very reliable service: 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.
  • Reasonably priced: 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.
  • Provides space to explore places on your own: Although tours are readymade, you always have the option of taking a day off from the group to explore on your own. EF Ultimate Break also offers additional excursions that you can take part in, but you have to pay extra for them.
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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. 
  • Too 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. 
  • Might not fit your expectations: 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 (in some cases): 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.
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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 their average review rating (as of the dating of publishing this) is a 3.13 out of 5 from 229 reviews, from resellerratings.com where they collect reviews.

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.

Key Takeaway

Some of us love planning. We love the freedom of being able to choose every aspect of our travel journeys, planning them, detailing them, organizing them, and being in control of how we experience what. Besides, there's just so much quality travel-related materials out there, from travel guides and the latest sites with travel deals, to digital nomads and travel planning apps.

Do you still want to travel in a group but with a very flexible itinerary? Then, you would have to invest time and effort into creating one with travel mates who click with you. Pilot is a social travel planner that lets you do just that. With Pilot, travel planning isn’t tedious as it’s equipped with every feature necessary to gather all details in one place easily. Plus, it’s fun when you do it with friends!

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