Summer of 2017 was a really busy summer.
I graduated in May and I went on a 30 day trip with EF around Europe. If you’re not familiar with EF CollegeBreak (now called EF Ultimate Break), I suggest a quick google search or just click on this link.
In a nutshell, EF CollegeBreak is a travel company that takes care of everything when you a book a trip with them. From the plane tickets to the itinerary to a daily tour guide, you don’t have to stress about anything. Once you book, you have a team of travel experts to take care of any need, want, or question you might have about your trip. This was exactly what I wanted to reward myself with after completing a BA degree. I didn’t want to have to figure out anything about going to a bunch of places that I’ve never been before.
My trip was called the Grand Tour of Europe and my exact itinerary is not offered anymore. They are always changing things up over there but the map shows the route I took with my group and how many days we spent at each place.
I had my mind set on doing this trip for about a year before the take off date and took the option to make payment plans. There was also the option to extend the trip days without accommodations which I ended up taking advantage of. Basically, EF would allow me to fly into and out of any city I wanted outside the tour dates but I would have to take care of my own travel and accommodations.
Since I had a friend in London and Brighton, I flew into London a week earlier and hung out with my Josh for the day before departing to Brighton. I spent the rest of the week in Brighton with my friend Caitlyn and then headed back up to London to meet up with the group for the epic tour. I used the train to go back and forth and it was fairly simple.
The tour started with me being one of the firsts arrive at our hostel in London where I met the best tour guide Marco and the group of strangers that would be my travel companions for the next month. Marco was very enthusiastic and eager to help with any questions we might have. Most of the group came by themselves like I did but a few others came with a friend or two.
It did not take long for the group to become cliques and for us to find our people. Even for being a loner, I ended up making some pretty great travel buddies to have great experiences with.
Our tour ended in Madrid and when everyone else was going home, I was traveling to Thailand where I would be for a month. Remember how I said EF gave the option to extend the trip outside of tour dates? Well EF couldn’t take care of my flight to Thailand but it could take care of a flight back home from anywhere in Europe. After Thailand, I flew to Germany to visit my brother and EF took care of my flight home from there.
Overall, here is a list of pros and cons I came up with from my experience with EFCollegeBreak.
- Complimentary continental breakfast every morning
- Metro passes and travel transfers are already paid for
- Tours at every new destination
- Already built itinerary with excursions and lots of free time
- Optional excursion add-ons included for extra price (ex: For Paris, we had the option to add on a trip to Versailles)
- Very educational and informative as far as itineraries go
- It was a big group of 30 which meant longer times getting everyone together to go somewhere or decide on something. It felt like we were waiting around a lot. You don’t have to deal with waiting so much when it’s just you or a small group of friends.
- The trip was so compacted. You definitely had to prioritize what you wanted to do in certain cities. I’m for sure planning on going to the catacombs when I return to Paris.
- It was tiring. It was a long trip and I did not plan on exhausting myself with travel. Things like experiencing the night life in Rome or Barcelona were not a priority by the time we made it that far.
- The rooming situation at times could be irritating. One instance, there was a girl that shared a room with 5 others expected all of us turn off the lights when none of us were ready to go to bed when she was.
Overall, would I recommend booking a trip with EF? It depends. I say if you have the funds and are nervous about touring foreign countries, absolutely. It would also work for you if you were set on having an educational itinerary that you didn’t have to plan. Otherwise, research and common sense could get you a more relaxed and freeing version of travel. It was definitely a once in a lifetime experience that I don’t regret having.