On this review, I answer every question you have about EF College break. You most likely stumbled across their site via ads or word of mouth. Well, so did I! At the time, I knew that I was interested in taking a Euro-trip, but I wasn't so sure that I could make it happen. When I came across an EF College Break Facebook Ad and read a little more about the site, I thought it was too good to be true. I mean, my school's study abroad program was twice the cost for nearly the exact same trip. I read some reviews, trusted what I saw, and then committed. It ended up being such a great decision, but I can't say that I wasn't somewhat skeptical since the whole process was completed on the internet.
I know that travel itself, can be scary enough for some people. Add on the fact that you would be traveling with a group of people you've never met for a trip you paid thousands of dollars for on the internet and some would call that insane!
Well, I'm here as proof that EF College break is "legit" and that you should consider a trip if you're an inexperienced traveler interested in seeing the world.
I wrote this review so that other people who might be as skeptical and curious as myself, could hear about the company and trip from someone who doesn't work there.
FOR $100 OFF YOUR FIRST TRIP USE CODE : CiARA100
Where did you go?
9 Countries and 14 cities. My exact trip - See the map below.
Who did you travel with?
EF college Break - a company that creates trips all over the world for 18-28yr olds.
Why did you choose EF?
- Since I'd never been to Europe before, I knew it would be extremely difficult for me to plan an extensive trip like this alone. EF planned everything out so that all I had to do was pay and make sure not to miss my flight on the departure date.
- I knew it would be a that it'd be a great way to see some of the major spots in Europe, decide which places I loved, and visit again on my own in the future.
- You have the option to make monthly payments instead of paying for everything in full at once. - This was major for me!
- I really wanted to do a trip like this, whether I went with a friend or not. Since half of their travelers sign up alone, I felt comfortable doing so. If I I couldn't fully depend on a friend to sign up, it would be easier & safer for me to travel with a group rather than alone
- There is a balance of planned activities and free time.
- I'd dreamed of this!
Is this Study Abroad?
Nope! You don't have to be enrolled in school either. As long as you're 18-28 years old, you can travel with EF.
How does it all work?
You can go onto their site and view the various trips and locations that they have available. You will then select the trip that interests you, choose a date, and make a downpayment. You also have the option to extend your trip or arrive before the departure date at no cost. You will begin making the monthly payments and count down until the days of your trip. On the day of departure, you'll make your way the local airport and head off for your trip!
What does the price include?
Flight, accommodations, travel to and throughout the countries, tours, daily itineraries, a full time tour guide, entry into sites & museums, several dinners, etc.
FOR $100 OFF YOUR FIRST TRIP USE CODE : CiARA100
Is this the most cost efficient way to travel?
Most likely not. You could plan a budget trip like this by yourself if you're able to land some great deals. However, most people don't have the time or experience to plan this type of trip alone. I essentially paid for convenience and I don't regret it at all, especially since I'd never traveled to Europe before. For my trip specifically, I found it to be the most affordable tour company with everything that was included.
If you do happen to find the same trip somewhere else for cheaper, they will price-match it. You also can't beat the monthly payment plan that they offer!
How much free time do you really have?
About 50% of your time is unplanned. You will have time to relax and/or explore as you please. There is a daily itinerary, but are not required to stay with the group. Aside from travel between countries, you can choose to venture off or simply sleep in. There were days where we completely did our own thing or decided to sleep in after a late night out. Some people met up with other traveling friends or extended their stay in a country & met up with us when they wanted.
You'll most likely want to participate in the tours because you will be visiting major travel sites like The Colloseum, The Eiffel Tower, Versailles, Anne Frank Museum, the Louvre, etc. You have to see these places at least once. You'll usually get to skip the lines for sites that have 1-3 hour waits. I actually felt better about having some days planned because it forced me to wake up early and make the most out of my day.
Should I sign up alone?
If you don't have friends to sign up with you, sign up anyway! About 50% of our group came alone. You will definitely make friends! In fact, I believe going on the trip alone is a better experience because you're more likely to step out of your comfort zone and be-friend people that you normally wouldn't. You also don't feel accountable for another person and their desires.
What's it like traveling with strangers?
We had around 40 people in our group and let's just say that it was an adventure. EF adds everyone to a Facebook group so you can somewhat connect before the trip. One of the best things about traveling in a group is that there is always someone to do something with. If your friend doesn't want to go to the Anne Frank Museum, there will most likely be someone else who wants to go along with you. Some people want to go out every night and some people prefer to stay in. There are so many different personalities in a large group like this. You won't always like everyone and sometimes people will annoy you, but you all turn into one big family by the end of the trip. You'll make friends quicker than normal because you are together so often. The nights that we went out as a large group were so much fun. Our whole group, including our tour guide, is planning to meet up in New Orleans very soon and I can't wait.
What are the accommodations like?
You will stay in a combination of hotels and boutique hostels. The accommodations weren't always in the center of the city, but they were always near a metro. The hotels are pretty standard and the hostels are geared towards young travelers, so they're actually really cool. You're typically sharing a hostel room with 2-6 people, which isn't as bad as it seems. We only had one bad experience at a hostel. Thankfully, We were reimbursed for that stay and treated to a dinner by EF because enough people complained.
Wondering what a Hostel is like?
What is transportation like?
The flights are pretty standard. You'll receive multiple complimentary meals and beverages. Most international airlines will have a really good selection of movies and tv shows to help pass the time. I sleep like a baby on flights( okay, and everywhere else too!) and I can't stay awake for more than 2 hours - so none of this was of concern for me. Nonetheless, don't allow the long flights scare you!
We traveled between countries by bus mostly. The bus rides can be very long, but this gives you the opportunity to wind down or write in a journal after moving around so much. It was also great to be able to sleep on the bus after a long night.
While in the cities, we received subway tickets just incase we wanted to explore on our own time. This wasn't always easy, but it made for some great adventures and stories. Taxis and Ubers are also an option.
Finally, you'll probably walk more than you have ever walked in your life and I'm not exaggerating. On the bright side, you'll have plenty of chances to walk off all of the wine and bread you're bound to consume. (So.Much.Bread)
Should I be able to speak the language?
It helps, but it's not required. You will be in central regions where most people speak English. Knowing common greetings and phrases will certainly help, but you definitely don't need to be fluent to go on the trip. There may be times where you are going to need to communicate with people in their native language, but you'll find that effort and body language are the best helpers.
How is the Food?
Breakfast is provided at the hotel every single day. The breakfasts weren't anything special, but it's nice to have something free to put in your stomach before starting the day. Other than that, you'll be paying for and selecting your own food.
Of course, food will vary by location. If you're a picky eater like myself, you may be nervous about the food in other countries. There will be food that you like and food that you dislike. I honestly didn't enjoy the food in many cities, but you learn to manage. Trying new foods is a large part of the experience, so it doesn't hurt to try things. If all else fails, most places will at least have a few american fast-food restaraunts. I'd recommend Yelp! and TripAdvisor to discover really good restaurants beforehand and while on the trip. It also always helps to ask the locals!
How was the customer service?
Communicating with EF was extremely simple. They were always so quick to respond. Online chat seemed to be the easiest way to reach them. You don't have to communicate with them very much, due to such an effortless sign-up process.
Paros(Greek Isles), Rome, Amsterdam, Munich, and Paris - all for different reasons.
Would you recommend traveling with EF?
YES! YES! YES! If you are an inexperienced traveler, I highly recommend traveling with EF College Break. Most things are planned out for you, so it's extremely convenient. There were a few hiccups, but you can expect the the same issues if you were to plan the trip by yourself. If I had gone alone or just planned the trip with a few friends, I probably would have been so lost, especially since I don't speak any language other than English. Spontaneity is cool until it ruins your trip. A lot of people don't have the time or patience to plan an extensive trip to a place they've never been and/or they don't even know where to start. If you have to convince a worried parent, it might ease their mind to know that you are going in a group instead of alone. You'll get the chance to learn about the world, meet some incredible people, and have the most fun you've probably ever had. I've traveled to other countries but it was always associated with study abroad in some way. Those trips were all very special, but it was so relieving to not have to worry about school and/or work at all.
I had the absolute time of my life and I'm so grateful that I was able to see a new part of the world !Overall, I had an amazing experience. I'd always dreamed of a Eurotrip and I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to go on a trip like this. I was able to cross so many things off of my bucket list - skydiving(in Prague), visiting the Anne Frank Museum, seeing the red light district, island-hopping in Greece, riding a gondola in venice, taking a cooking class in Rome, visiting Cinque Terre, partying till 6am in Munich, visiting the Dachua concentration camp, partying at an ice pub in Prague, and so much more. I can't even begin to explain how much fun I had. We have stories for days. More than the sites I saw, the people I met along with the experiences that we shared were unforgettable. We met so many people from around the world that embraced us as their own, shared great conversation with us, and showed us a good time. This is one of those things that you can't put a price on. These type of experiences are worth so much more than clothes, restaurant food, drinks, etc. I wouldn't trade this experience for the anything. Like I said, there were a few downsides to traveling with a large tour group, but that didn't make the trip any less great. There are going to be downsides to traveling alone, with friends, and/or with a large group. I got the chance to see so much of the world in just 35 days. The days were long but there was so much fun to be had. Everyday I wish I could go back to these good times, which were so full of adventure.
FOR $100 OFF YOUR FIRST TRIP USE CODE : CiARA100
- Be sure to check the site frequently and follow EF College Break on Facebook to see sales that they might be having.
- If you sign up, refer friends using the code they give you - they'll receive $100 off and so will you!
- Check out these Carry-on Essentials and Tips
- Do your research before arriving to your country by checking out Pinterest, travel blogs, and sites like Trip Advisor
- Get to know a variety of people on your trip. You'll be happy you did!
- Be open minded and positive!
- Be spontaneous - we stumbled into so many cool places and experiences just by exploring and meeting new people!
- Take full advantage of the experience - all day, everyday.
- Look up the weather beforehand and pack accordingly
- Always watch for pick-pocketers - purchase a money belt if you need to
- Keep a budget in mind - Aside from your program fees, you're essentially only paying for food, optional excursions, and souvenirs or clothes you want to buy
- Be present in the moment
- Plan out your free time so that you aren't wasting it
- Purchase travel protection if it isn't included under your normal insurance plan
- Pack lighter than you normally would. Most hotels/hostel elevators are tiny - refer to travel blogs if you need help with this
- Sign up for the excursions if they sound like something you'd be interested in
- You don't need a phone plan - most hostels, hotels, and restaurants will have free wi-fi. Plus, its nice to unplug sometimes
- You know the saying, "nothing in life is free"? This rings true in Europe. Nothing is free!!! - not the bathroom, the water, or anything else. Be prepared to spend some change here and there, every so often on things you normally wouldn't in the US.
If you have specific questions about this trip or EF in general, leave a comment below and I'd be happy answer!
Keep expanding your horizons, decolonize your mind, and cross borders
“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”― Mark Twain
Check out more photos, stories, and videos from my trip!
This post is not sponsored. All opinions are my own.