Safety and Experience | EF Ultimate Break
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Your safety matters most

As the world opens and we all get ready to travel again, your health and safety will continue to be our top priority.

We want to ensure that travelers are healthy before they take off on tour approximately 45 days before departure. At a minimum we require all travelers to either receive a negative COVID PCR test within 72 hours of your tour departure or to be fully vaccinated.

All travelers will receive information about local COVID-19 guidelines and regulations expected to be in place during their tour approximately 45 days before departure. Travelers are expected to comply with safety measures outlined in our Safe Traveler Agreement 14 days prior to departure as well as all local guidelines and regulations. See the current version of the agreement here.

Portions of your tour may be adjusted as we continuously work with our local partners such as tourist sites and restaurants to provide as safe an experience as possible. Examples may include avoiding crowded locations at peak times as well as itinerary alterations to follow local guidance and recommendations.

We partner with hotels that practice enhanced cleaning measures such as frequent cleaning of common areas and thoroughly disinfecting guest rooms between customers.

Your private coach will be thoroughly cleaned daily and high touch areas will be wiped down throughout the day. Our bus drivers will be trained in best practices to provide the safest possible environment.

Hand sanitizer will be provided on the bus, but we recommend travelers bring their own personal hand sanitizer. We require all travelers to wear a mask on tour when required by local law, other relevant authorities, or at the direction of their Tour Director or EF staff. Currently travelers who have been vaccinated and/or recently recovered from COVID are not exempt from wearing masks.

All our local staff, including your expert Tour Director, will be ready to explain guidelines in the destinations you are traveling to. Your Tour Director and EF Global Emergency Support team are trained how to support travelers should you feel ill during your trip.

If your trip is postponed due to travel restrictions or COVID safety concerns, we’ll notify you approximately 45 days before departure. You can reschedule to a different trip or a later date for free, or receive a future travel voucher for 100% of the money you’ve paid.

If you are either diagnosed with COVID-19 while on tour or required to quarantine on account of COVID-19 while on tour, EF will provide or arrange for the following, consistent with local requirements, at no additional expense throughout the duration of any on-tour quarantine period:

  • Lodging and meals
  • EF representatives available to support the traveler and to coordinate with local authorities on their behalf where necessary
  • Assistance connecting with local health care providers*
  • Translation services
  • Communication between the traveler and the traveler’s family back home
  • EF arranged flights home, based on existing itinerary, for the traveler once cleared to return
  • Voucher for missed time on tour

*Travelers are responsible for their own medical costs; we highly encourage travelers to confirm their current health insurance includes coverage while traveling domestically or internationally or purchase trip protection that includes medical coverage through EF or another provider.

EF has the largest worldwide network of support teams and in-country experts to assist you in times of need with EF staff on the ground, 365 days a year, in over 50 countries. Our Safety & Incident Response team is available 24/7 and we have a resource network of industry experts, healthcare professionals, and government personnel who liaise with local embassies, government authorities, and health providers.

EF is following the protocols and recommendations established by the WTTC. These include health, hygiene and social distancing guidelines. We have strong, long-established relationships with some of the largest airline, hotel, and transportation companies. These partnerships, along with our leadership roles in major industry organizations, mean that we are actively shaping new worldwide cleanliness and safety standards.

Safety first, national parks second.

See highlights from our recent national parks trip—new safety guidelines were in place, but it was the same awe and wonder you'd expect. We're ready for 2021 to continue doing what we do best: helping make your dream trips as stress-free as possible.

Current COVID-19 Situation

(Updated March 30, 2021)

We are closely monitoring the COVID-19 situation and are in constant communication with our offices around the world. Given the evolving nature of the situation‚ we will continue to follow guidance from the U.S. Department of State, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization and will respond quickly to any new announcements.

At this time, it seems unlikely that the international and domestic travel bans and restrictions, governmental orders and public health advisories will be sufficiently lifted for most destinations in times to run tours operating in the next couple months. Therefore we are encouraging everyone traveling on impacted departures through May 31st to contact us to reschedule their tour to a late date or tour at no penalty or receive a future travel voucher for 100% of their money paid so you can get the full experience of your tour.

For 2021 travelers with departures after May 31st, we have adjusted our rebooking and cancellation policies through May 31, 2021:

  • Any 2021 traveler can rebook to another date and/or duration at no penalty up to 60 days before departure.
  • Cancellation fees for all travelers will not increase between February 28, 2020 and May 31st, 2021 up to 30 days before departure. Cancellation fees are based on original booking and tour dates.

Travel options

Travelers whose tours have been postponed have two options to retain the full value of their investment.

  • Rebook to any 2021 or 2022 date or tour. See here for all of our tours.
  • Receive a Future Travel Voucher for 100% of the money paid into your current trip; this voucher can be applied to any travel booked prior to 12/31/2022, for departure before 9/30/2024. EF Future Travel Vouchers can also be used with any other EF travel or language product.

Travelers scheduled to travel before May 31st can email us at efubcustomercom@ef.com to tell us which option they would like. If travelers choose not to rebook or receive a Future Travel Voucher they can call us at 1-800-766-2645 to request a refund for monies paid minus cancellation and other non-refundable fees.

We have also continued negotiations with suppliers and made changes to our own business and have been able to increase the amount we can offer as a cash refund if travelers choose not to rebook or receive a Future Travel Voucher. Travelers who have requested a refund from a postponed March 2020 or April 2020 departure will now receive all monies paid less $1,000 and non-refundables such as travel protection. Travelers from a postponed May 2020 departure will now receive all monies paid minus $700 and non-refundables. Within 6-8 weeks eligible travelers will see an adjustment reflected in their refund payment or receive a second refund on their last form of payment on file reflecting any additional refund due. There is no action needed from those travelers and we will update your account automatically. If you are a March, April or May traveler and rebooked or received a Future Travel Voucher and would now like to receive a refund instead, please call us at 1-800-766-2645.

FAQs

Do I need to get a COVID test before traveling?

At a minimum we require all travelers to either receive a negative COVID PCR test within 72 hours of your tour departure or to be fully vaccinated. Some destinations may also require vaccinated travelers to present a negative COVID test upon entry. If a traveler receives a positive COVID test within 72 hours of departure they may not travel on tour and will be rebooked.

In addition to pre-tour testing, the United States Centers for Disease Control currently requires all travelers to provide a negative antigen or PCR COVID test before boarding international flights into the U.S. This test must be taken no more than 72 hours before departure. EF is currently facilitating traveler testing to meet this requirement.

Travelers are responsible for all COVID testing costs and must be prepared to show test results to any parties that require them on tour including, but not limited to, airlines and other suppliers.

Do I have to be vaccinated to travel?

We are currently requiring vaccinations only if the tour destination requires full vaccination. Full vaccination means it’s been at least two weeks since you’ve had both doses of a two-dose vaccine or one dose of a single-dose vaccine.

Are you adjusting rooming or group sizes on tour?

For certain departures we’ve reduced our group sizes to no more than 50% of the tour bus.

Currently our standard rooming will include a maximum of three travelers per room on tours where vaccinations are not required; this may change as the situation evolves. Ultimate Plus tours always have a maximum of two travelers per room.

For more specific details regarding a specific trip, give us a call at 1-800-766-2645 or chat with us live.

Will I need to wear a mask on tour?

We require all travelers to wear a mask on tour when required by local law, other relevant authorities, or at the direction of their Tour Director or EF staff. Currently travelers who have been vaccinated and/or recently recovered from COVID are not exempt from wearing masks.

What other safety guidelines should I be aware of on tour?

Travelers are expected to comply with safety measures outlined in our Safe Traveler Agreement 14 days prior to departure as well as all local guidelines and regulations. See the current version of the agreement here. Our global team has worked hard to make our trips the safest way to the see the world. See how we do it here.

What else may be different about my trip?

Some aspects of your tour experience might be impacted by local restrictions such as businesses operating at reduced hours and/or reduced capacity. In some rare cases, we may need to adjust the itinerary. Restrictions and itinerary adjustments will be communicated to travelers approximately 45 days before departure.

What if I am exposed to COVID and need to quarantine/miss part of my tour?

If you are either diagnosed with COVID-19 while on tour or required to quarantine on account of COVID-19 while on tour, EF will provide or arrange for support including lodging, meals, translation services, and more at no additional cost. EF will also provide a voucher for missed time on tour.

Do I need travel insurance?

While destinations such as Costa Rica and the Galapagos, currently require proof of international medical insurance, we believe it’s important to be protected while traveling and encourage all travelers to purchase travel insurance. That’s why we offer affordable Travel Protection, designed specifically to meet the needs of EF travelers, which can be purchased during checkout.

Please note for Costa Rica the minimum coverage required is 50,000 USD in COVID-19-related medical expenses and 2,000 USD for extended lodging expenses due to COVID-19 related illness or quarantine. Travelers who purchase their own travel insurance must bring a certificate of proof of purchase and coverage.

I purchased Travel Protection; can I file a claim due to COVID-19?

EF Ultimate Break travelers are offered insurance through a plan provided by Specialty Insurance Solutions and underwritten by United States Fire Insurance Company. The primary benefits of the policy prior to tour are a refund of your trip price less non-refundable fees if a traveler needs to cancel due to reasons that can include but are not limited to serious injury or illness requiring hospitalization and involuntary employer termination or layoff. On tour the policy provides coverage for incidents such as lost baggage and flight delays as well as coverage of hospital bills, doctors’ fees and medical transportation for illnesses or injury. Based on the circumstances, travelers who are diagnosed with COVID-19 prior to tour may qualify for cancellation coverage. For a full explanation of benefits provided under this policy or to submit a claim click here. We recommend you reach out to Specialty Insurance Solutions directly if you have additional questions regarding your specific circumstances.

EF Ultimate Break has also extended our flexible rebooking benefit included in the Travel Protection to enable all 2021 customers who purchase this plan to rebook to a different date and/or destination without re-booking costs up to 30 days before departure through May 31, 2021.

What options do I have if I want to change my tour?

To support travelers and provide more flexibility, we are amending our rebooking and cancellation policies through May 31st, 2021. Travelers can rebook their 2021 tour up to 30 days before departure to another date or trip in 2021 or 2022. Cancellation fees for travelers wanting a refund over 30 days before departure will not increase between February 28, 2020 and May 31st, 2021. Cancellation fees are based on original booking and tour dates.

What if my trip gets postponed due to COVID?

If your trip is unexpectedly postponed due to travel restrictions or COVID safety concerns, you can reschedule to a different trip or a later date for free, or receive a future travel voucher for 100% of the money you’ve paid. We are currently notifying travelers approximately 45 days before departure if their tour is being postponed due to travel restrictions or COVID concerns.

What if I have more questions?

If you have more questions, give us a call at 1-800-766-2645 or chat live with a Trip Expert during these hours:
Monday–Thursday, 9am–7pm ET.
Friday, 9am–5:30pm ET.