Ef Ultimate Break vs Contiki: Which One Is Better? 2024

EF Ultimate Break and Intrepid are two popular group travel companies offering cultural immersion adventures for 18-35 year olds. As a solo traveler in my 20s, I recently took trips with both companies and wanted to share my experience to help others decide which is better suited for their travel style and preferences.

EF Ultimate Break – A Review

EF Ultimate Break is all about fast-paced adventure, social excitement and exploring iconic destinations together as a group. With EF Ultimate Break, I joined a group of around 38 people as we embarked on a 9 day Greece Island Hopping trip.

My Experience With EF Ultimate Break

I chose EF Ultimate Break for my Greece adventure because I wanted a fun, social trip after finishing university. Right from the start I was drawn into the enthusiastic group dynamic. We immediately bonded on the ferry rides between islands as we played games and drank together on the deck.

Our tour guide was full of energy and kept the group engaged and entertained throughout. The itinerary packed as many activities, excursions and island visits as possible into each day. Some highlights for me were watching the sunset over Oia in Santorini, beach hopping in Mykonos and seeing the Mamma Mia filming locations in Skopelos.

The accommodations were mostly 3 star hotels in convenient locations. While simple, they allowed us to stay in the center of the action. The trip had an informal, youthful party vibe which was perfect for me. I made great friends from around the world that I still keep in touch with.

What Sets EF Ultimate Break Apart?

  • Large social groups – With 35-45 travelers, EF Ultimate Break trips emphasize group bonding and socializing. New friends and shared memories are a big part of the experience.
  • Fun tour leaders – The guides are young, energetic and fun. They get everyone involved and engaged throughout the trip.
  • Packed itineraries – The focus is on cramming as much as possible into each day and keeping up a fast, lively pace. You see a lot in a short time.
  • Convenience – Accommodations, transportation, activities and most meals are included and arranged for you. Everything is streamlined for the group.
  • Partying – EF Ultimate Break attracts a youthful crowd and incorporates nightlife into most itineraries for those who want it. It’s very social.

What Do You Get When Booking With EF Ultimate Break?

EF Ultimate Break packages include:

  • Accommodations (mostly 3 star hotels & pensions)
  • Buffet breakfasts
  • Transportation between destinations
  • Guided tours and entrance fees
  • Full-time tour leader
  • Activities like parties, pub crawls and watersports

Pros: EF Ultimate Break Review

Fun, energetic vibe – The trips are lively, social and promote quick bonding in the group. The tour leaders are friendly, entertaining and inclusive.

Value for money – Considering everything included, EF Ultimate Break offers an affordable way to see a lot with others your age.

Ideal for solo travelers – You’ll immediately be welcomed into the group so it’s easy to make friends and never feel alone.

Well organized – All logistics are arranged for you allowing you to just focus on enjoying the destinations.

Packaged itineraries – No planning or hassle trying to figure out where to go and what to do. The full itinerary is handled.

Cons: EF Ultimate Break Review

Very busy pace – Days start early and you’re on the go all day. There’s little downtime so it can feel too rushed and tiring.

Basic hotels – Accommodations are no frills and geared for convenience not luxury. Don’t expect anything fancy.

Highly social – The trips are great if you want a very social experience but can be overwhelming if you prefer more low key travel.

Younger demographic – Most travelers are fresh out of high school or early 20s. Could be too youth oriented for some.

Partying culture – Drinking and nightlife is a big component. If that’s not your scene it may not be the best fit.

Is EF Ultimate Break Legit?

Yes, EF Ultimate Break is run by EF Education First, a large, reputable educational travel organization founded in 1965. They have a proven track record running group tours worldwide. I felt safe and secure traveling with them.

Tips for Your Trip

How much free time do you have?

There is very little. Most activities are pre-planned so there’s not much time to explore independently. Be prepared for a highly structured, packed itinerary each day.

Should I go alone? How is it traveling with other people?

Going solo is great since it’s so easy to make friends in the group. I loved sharing the adventure with other travelers my age from around the world. The group bonding and dynamic is a huge part of the EF Ultimate Break experience.

Do I need to know the language?

No, you don’t need to know the local language. Your EF tour guide will handle all translation and logistics.

What is the age limit for EF Ultimate Break?

The trips are for ages 18-35. Most travelers seem to be college aged early 20s.

Are EF Ultimate Break trips worth it?

If you want an affordable, convenient and social way to explore new places with a group of other young travelers, then yes! You see a lot and everything is taken care of so you just have fun. But if you prefer less structured independent travel, it may not be for you.


  • Book early for best flight and trip availability.
  • Look out for sales around the holidays. I saved 15% booking a Black Friday deal.
  • Check for influencer promo codes online too. Some offer 5-10% off.
  • Consider trip insurance in case you need to cancel or cut the trip short.

Planning & Packing

Start preparing 2-3 months in advance. The company sends a detailed pre-departure guide with everything you need to know. I’ll share some of my top packing tips:

What to Pack

  • 5-7 T-shirts, tanks and long sleeve shirts
  • 2 pairs of shorts
  • 1-2 pairs of pants
  • 1 jacket
  • 7 pairs underwear and socks
  • Swimsuit and cover up
  • Pajamas
  • 1 pair walking shoes
  • 1 pair sandals
  • 2-3 simple dresses/skirts (for girls)
  • Toiletries
  • Medications
  • Phone charger
  • Sunglasses
  • Hat
  • Small bag for daily essentials

Tips for Having a Great Time

Be Open and Talk to Everyone

Don’t be shy! This is your chance to meet people from around the world. Ask lots of questions about their culture and experiences.

Do As Many Excursions As You Can

It’s worth waking up early to do all included activities. You can rest later. Try new things and make the most of it!

Try New Things

Sample the local food, even if it’s unfamiliar. Keep an open mind! The rewards are worthwhile memories.

Stay in Groups

For safety and fun, use the buddy system when exploring. Make sure everyone looks out for each other.

Bring Things to Do on the Ferry’s

Download shows, music, books or games on your phone or tablet to stay entertained during long ferry rides between islands.

Eat and Stay Hydrated

Pack healthy snacks to stay energized all day. The summer heat can also quickly lead to dehydration. Drink lots of water!

Don’t Overpack

You’ll be moving around a lot so 1 suitcase and small daypack is ideal. Only bring necessities!

Things Might Go Wrong, and It’s Ok!

Delays, mix-ups or surprises can happen on group trips. Keep a sense of humor and flexibility. Focus on all the new experiences you’re having!

Wrap Up: EF Ultimate Break Review

Overall I had an amazing experience and would recommend EF Ultimate Break to anyone looking for an easy, social and fun group tour for ages 18-35 focused on fast-paced adventure. If you have the stamina to keep up with the energetic itineraries, you’ll have the time of your life exploring with new friends from around the globe.

Ef Ultimate Break vs Contiki

EF Ultimate Break and Contiki are two leading tour operators offering epic group travel adventures for 18-35 year olds. How do you choose between them? Here is an in-depth comparison of each company’s strengths and features to consider.

EF Ultimate Break

EF Ultimate Break specializes in fast-paced, high energy group trips packed with sightseeing, cultural activities, social events and fun excursions.


  • Larger group sizes of 30-45 travelers
  • Tour leaders are lively entertainers who get everyone hyped up and engaged
  • Stays in convenient 3 star hotels in cities for more nightlife access
  • Busy itineraries focused on “must see” bucket list attractions and experiences
  • Partying and drinking is part of the culture for those who want it
  • Ideal for high energy travelers who want a social trip


Contiki offers more intimate, personalized group travel for 18-35 year olds focused on cultural immersion, unique experiences and traveling off the beaten path.


  • Smaller groups of 10-25 people
  • In-depth local guides provide insider knowledge and stories
  • A mix of hotels and local pensions for more authentic stays
  • Slower paced itineraries with time built in for wandering
  • Partying is optional. Not a big emphasis of most trips
  • Great for travelers who want an intimate, cultural experience

Target Audience

EF Ultimate Break caters to an outgoing, youthful 18-25 demographic ready to party and see the sights with other lively travelers their age.

Contiki appeals more to mid 20-30-somethings focused on adventure, culture and unique experiences. More subdued but still social.

Group Size and Style

EF Ultimate Break trips have 35-45 travelers while Contiki keeps it under 25.

The EF vibe is exuberant, boisterous and party oriented. Contiki is more relaxed with a personalized, chilled out social scene.

Itineraries and Destinations

Both companies hit the classic “must see” destinations but EF packs in more bucket list sites while Contiki goes more off the beaten path.

EF has a quicker pace trying to see everything. Contiki allows more time for wandering on your own or diving into local culture.


EF uses convenient 3 star hotels in cities and lively beach resorts. Great for socializing but not as authentic.

Contiki mixes hotels with local pensions and lodges for a more immersive cultural experience in destinations.


Both include transportation, hotels, activities and full-time tour guides.

EF also provides most meals. Contiki includes some meals but not all so you can sample local cuisine.

Contiki trips often have more optional excursions you can pick and choose from for a customized experience.

Travel Style

EF Ultimate Break is best for high energy travelers who want a whirlwind social trip packed with bucket list sights and partying.

Contiki suits laid back adventurers looking for culture, unique experiences, and intimate bonding in smaller groups.


Is EF Ultimate Break only for girls?

No, EF trips are open to both males and females. The average mix is 60% female and 40% male.

Is Contiki all about partying?

No. While Contiki offers party-focused trips, most itineraries focus on cultural immersion and unique adventures not hardcore partying.

Is Contiki good for couples?

Yes! Many couples enjoy the smaller group sizes. There’s a mix of singles and couples on most trips.

What is the difference between Topdeck and Contiki?

Topdeck also offers small group adventures but has an edgier vibe focused on dorm style hostels, extreme adventures and seeing unconventional places off the grid.

Overall EF Ultimate Break and Contiki both offer epic group travel experiences. Think about your travel style, priorities and demographic fit to choose the best company for your needs. For the more party-minded travelers, I’d recommend EF. For cultural immersion and camaraderie in an intimate group, look at Contiki. You really can’t go wrong with either!


EF Ultimate Break and Contiki both provide amazing group travel experiences for 18-35 year olds. The main differences come down to travel style and group dynamic preferences. EF is perfect for high energy travelers who want a whirlwind adventure packed with sights, activities, and socializing in a large lively group.

Contiki appeals more to laidback explorers focused on cultural immersion, unique experiences, and camaraderie in smaller intimate groups. For partiers, EF is the choice. For a personalized cultural experience, consider Contiki. You’re guaranteed incredible memories with either, so review the key distinctions and pick the best fit for your travel dreams and style.

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