Despite Student Loans and Inflation, Younger Adult Americans are Hacking Their Way to Affordable, Flexible and International Travel in 2024

7th November 2023
  • 84% of young adult travelers aged 18-35 plan to travel international in the next 12 months; 44% cutting back on other expenditures
  • Steep Black Friday travel discounts (up to 35% of some trips), all-in fees, and interest free monthly payment plans

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Nov. 7, 2023 -- Despite inflation and increased expenses related to student loan repayments and higher air fares, a new survey from EF Ultimate Break found that travel is the one thing younger adult Americans, ages 18-34, refuse to cut out of their budgets. There might not be a better time to book affordable international travel than during Ultimate Break's Black Friday sale, with up to 35% off trips per person.

The EF Ultimate Break Black Friday sale runs through December 7, 2023.

Despite there being a consensus that 84% of younger adults in the United States and Canada would continue to travel, many budget conscious younger adults will be looking to hack their way to more affordable international vacations in the coming year.

"Travel is a priority for Gen Z and Millennials, but they're looking to get the most value possible out of their travel buck … and Ultimate Break's Black Friday Event represents the best time of the year to lock in our biggest discounts to see the world," said Heather Leisman, President, EF Ultimate Break. "With a huge selection of international travel destinations and trips lasting from 5 to 57 days, we're helping cash-strapped young adults and solo travelers hack their way to the biggest discounted travel we offer all year, inclusive of all-in pricing, no hidden fees and interest-free payment plans. EF Ultimate Break is making travel more accessible and affordable for travelers who refuse to sacrifice their next international adventure."

The study also found:

  • Despite newly instituted student loan repayments, 14% of respondents said there would be no impact to their international travel plans, 36% would travel international but seek more budget-friendly options, and 31% said they'd book international travel further out to give them more time to take advantage of payment plans where and when available.

  • Only 6% of respondents would completely forego their international travel plans, with 44% saying they would cut other non-travel expenditures like purchases of electronics or exercise equipment, or activities like dining out.

  • Considering the impact of the global Covid-19 pandemic, 50% of respondents said travel was more important than other priorities in their lives, with 73% saying that the experiences and cultural exchange benefits of travel are more meaningful than ever.

  • Inflation is causing some travelers to alter their booking behaviors, with 39% saying they might cut their travel plans shorter by a few days and 9% of respondents saying they'll switch from international to domestic travel.

Methodology: The survey, conducted from September to October 2023, interviewed 109 American and Canadian adults ages 18-34, all of whom have student loans related to their college or university studies. 78% of respondents made zero/no student loan repayments during the U.S. federal payment pause instituted during the Covid-19 pandemic.

New Tours, Deep Discounts and Flexible Payment Plans

EF Ultimate Break's Black Friday sale starts November 7th and runs through December 7th. We'll release new deals and offers throughout the duration of the sale, but the biggest discounts are limited and will sell out fast so don't miss out.


Ultimate Europe (Plus) 35 days -Up to $1,300 off Discover your place in the world while immersing yourself in it on a 35-day adventure through Europe. From mountaintop castles and scenic canals to clear-blue beaches and picturesque piazzas, this is more than a trip — it's an odyssey. Land only prices start as low as $4,619.

The Greek Islands 11 days - Up to $900 off It makes sense that ancient gods and goddesses settled down in Greece. For starters, the islands average 300 days of sunshine annually. Then there's the clear-blue water, the crazy-tasty diet, and the #nofilter sunsets. It all gives OMG a whole new meaning, doesn't it? Land only prices start as low as $1,879.

Thailand Island Paradise 22 days - Up to $800 off Island Paradise sounds more like a dating show than a trip, which is fitting since you're going to fall hard. Thailand is exotic, loves animals, knows all the good restaurants, and looks just as good in the city as it does at the beach. Sigh. We've got a good feeling about this. Land only prices start as low as $1,999.

Highlights of Japan 14 days - Up to $700 off In Japan, there's something unique around every corner. It could be a centuries-old shrine, it could be a street lit entirely in neon, but it's probably a vending machine. Immerse yourself in the past and travel into the future as you explore every side of the Land of the Rising Sun. Land only prices start as low as $3,139.

Belize: Rainforests, Reefs and Ruins (Plus) 10 days - Up to $500 off Looking for adventure, ancient secrets, or maybe some R&R? In Belize you'll zipline through tropical jungles, explore Mayan Ruins and lie out on white-sand beaches. Where adrenaline meets history meets relaxation, this is every kind of fun under the sun. Land only prices start as low as $2,559.


EF Ultimate Break is introducing new tours for 2024, including:

  • Ultimate Southeast Asia: After 35 days of slurping phō in Vietnam, playing mermaids in Thailand, losing yourself in Laos and touring temples in Cambodia, you'll come back from Southeast Asia a different person—inspired, awestruck and full of noodles.

  • Taste of Italy (Tuscany & Umbria): This is the Italy that not everyone sees—but everyone should. Travel from iconic cities to quaint hilltop villages, (over)indulging in pasta, cheese and gelato every step of the way. Buon appetito!

  • Costa Rica & Panama Adventure: Sometimes you just need warm weather, sandy beaches, jungle ziplines and a healthy dose of immaculate vibes. Give your body what it needs on an 11-day adventure through Costa Rica and Panama.

  • Eastern Europe (Krakow to Budapest): Oh, you want medieval charm? How about historic sites, flavorful cuisine and electric nightlife? Yeah, we figured. Escape to Krakow and Budapest for the Eastern Europe trip you've been daydreaming of. ·

  • Iceland: The Golden Circle & Ring Road: This is it. This is the ultimate Iceland itinerary. You'll leave no stone unturned, no glacier un-gawked at and no waterfall un-admired. If it's on your Iceland bucket list, it's probably on this trip.

  • Madrid Pride (City Experience): Just when you thought Madrid couldn't get any more vibrant, it went and got dressed up for Pride. Discover priceless works of art, stunning architecture, crave-worthy tapas—and mix in a celebration of love and inclusion while you're at it. ·

  • Mexico City (City Experience): Not to be dramatic, but Mexico City will set your soul on fire. Discover vibrant neighborhoods, inspiring museums, ancient wonders and a food scene that will have you kicking yourself for not visiting sooner. ·

  • Germany (Berlin to Munich): This trip includes the Checkpoint Charlie Museum, Old Town Nuremburg, and Rothenburg ob der Tauber day trip. During September/October, the experience Oktoberfest. You know … massive beer steins, pretzels as big as your face and traditional lederhosen and dirndls. This trip is full of history, art and so much culture, too.

  • Portugal Getaway: Old and new; grand and quaint; traditional and forward thinking—discover each side of Portugal as you explore Porto and Lisbon. We would, however, not recommend discovering the pastry and tinned fish sides at the same time.

For a full listing of EF Ultimate Break's Black Friday deals and new tour offerings for 2024, visit:

  • All tours feature all-in pricing for air, lodging, and for certain meals and excursions within the tour. In addition to tours across the world, EF Ultimate Break traveler benefits include:

  • Avoiding hidden airline or lodging fees

  • Choice to book all-in (with flights) or land-only where travelers can book their air travel on their own

  • Opportunity to book a tour up to 2 years before date of travel

  • Securing a place on the tour for a $150 down payment

  • Interest-free monthly payment plans making international travel more affordable

For more information visit EF Ultimate Break's Black Friday Sale at:

About EF Ultimate Break

EF Ultimate Break is the best way to experience the world for anyone 18-35. With 120+ trips, everything from airfare and accommodations to interest-free payment plans is included. As a proud part of EF Education First, EF Ultimate Break draws on 55 years of EF expertise to add amazing travel experiences to its growing tour portfolio. EF, the world leader in international education, has helped millions of people throughout its history learn a language, discover the world, or earn an academic degree.

Students interested in earning free travel through the recently launched Campus Ambassador program can learn more by visiting: