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Nervous About Contiki

19 Aug 2010 CBrunet17 said

CBrunet17
I'm assuming most people on here are just ranting and raving about how awesome Contiki is, but I'm starting to have some reservations that maybe this trip just isn't for me.

My wife and I have been hoping to get to Europe soon after we got married, and since that was 1 week ago, we decide to just go this winter. So in February we are going and were going to do the European Discovery tour. Everything was well and good until I started reading the reviews from different sights. All the negative reviews complain either:

- Terrible tour managers that don't seem to care about anything except sleeping with the single girls and getting high.
- The terrible "included" food. Even the good reviews said to not expect anything but crap.
- The Americanization of it. Going to Karaoke bars in Italy full of American tourists? Irish pubs in France? I love a great drink, but isn't there more local stuff?
- The LONG drives... Ok, so I get it. Munich to Rome is FAR, but I've read horror stories of getting into Rome well after dark and not having any time to see the actual city. I've heard of travelers making travel arrangements on their own just so they wouldn't have to spend the extra time on the bus and miss out on sightseeing.
- Which brings me to sightseeing. Number 1 is seeing Europe, number two is partying and having a good time (for us). A lot of the complaints are that it sometimes feels like a huge pub crawl, and more emphasis is placed on the club rather than the city.
- Terrible hotels well out of city limits. Bed bugs, cold showers, cramped spaces... I could probably deal with that. 2 hours outside of the city I'm visiting? That seems extreme.

Yes, there are tons of reviews that just rant and rave about having the best experience of their life with Contiki, but all the negatives still crop around the same things. So I ask you this, is this trip for me? Should I look elsewhere? And are these fears warranted?

The negative reviews seem to be from people who just can't stand being around others and focus so hard on that I worry their complaints aren't fairly justified.

In other words, please sway my judgment.
  • 24 May 2011 Breeya said

    Breeya

    So now that February has come and gone how did you find it? I am booked in to the ultimate european in August this year and have also stumbled across many a horrible review. But told myself these people must not have a very thick skin or went in thinking it was going to be amazing.

    I realise it could be done much cheaper but for me the chance of meeting all these other people and experienceing these sights with complete strangers was just as important as seeing them in the first place. I think the long hours on the bus getting from A to B are to be expected and whilst not always enjoyed i’m sure its the random little things that happen on them that make some of the most interesting travel stories.

    Would be curious to hear your thoughts considering you went in questionably?

  • 24 May 2011 Cecilia_21 said

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    With any reviews you see online you must remember, people will always go on those sites to have a winge about something. People who have had a great time and enjoyed everything will more than likey go off and spread the word to all their friends and family and tell them how great it is rather than post it on a website.
    You have to also realised that the expectations of these people may have been completely different . Contiki isnt about luxury, so someone who is expecting that of course is going to b quite disapointed with the results.
    The best way to make sure that contiki is giong to be the right tour for you, is to seek the advise of your nearest travel agent as they can make the best reccommendations for your holiday. There are quite a few other tour operators around that do tours around Europe, so if after speaking to a travel agent, you still dont think contiki is good for you, they will point you in the right direction for a better tour.

  • 5 Jun 2011 Explorer1121796 said

    Explorer1121796

    Okay, so I understand your reservations about this trip but honestly I had the most amazing experience of my life on contiki (hence why im going again!) The tour managers are lively energetic and they show you all the highlighted parts to go on the trip. Them wanting to sleep with singles essentially have no effect on you because you’re married anyway but I never had that happen on my tour. It was moreso the single ladies wanting to sleep with the hot bus driver but he never acted on that lol Honestly best decission of my life to do a Contiki and i give it 5 stars out of 5 stars!!!

  • 6 Jun 2011 Candace and Charles said

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    I also have the same reservations as CBrunet17. My husband and I have never been to Europe and this is our big trip before starting a family. So is Contiki only about partying and drinking? We dont mind some drinking but dont want the trip to be consumed by always looking for the nearest bar. Explorer1121796… what do you think? Is it mostly about drinking and partying?

    Thanks,
    C

  • 6 Jun 2011 Lauren34 said

    Lauren34

    I haven’t been on my tour yet (6 more days!) but I think Contiki is like any tour in that if the majority of the group is doing something you are not interested in during free time – i.e. going out drinking, you are free to go your own way. Surely you’ll be able to find others that aren’t interested and the lot of you can find something else that better suits your interests. Of course there will be drinking, but there’s no saying that you’d have to participate every time. And keep in mind that the ‘partying’ aspect of the trip is reserved for evenings, daytime is all about seeing the sights and just enjoying Europe! I hope you have fun :)

  • 7 Jun 2011 Tara said

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    Hi Candace and Charles,
    I’m going on my second contiki tour this fall and had an amazing time last year. I am not a big drinker and was there more to see the sights than party all night. There were a great number just like me, you are able to do much of what you want and if you would like to party once in a while that is fine as well. Everyone was understanding and really great. Those that partied all the time were in the back of the bus, the middle consisted of those who partied sometimes and those in the front who just wanted to see everything. I was in the middle most of the time :). Hope this helps!
    Tara

  • 8 Jun 2011 Cecilia_21 said

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    From what I can read hear, there is some pretty good advice, but I can’t stress enough the importance of going to see or trying to contact a travel agent.
    Honestly there are soooo many tour companies out there that by the sounds of it, might cater more for what you are after. A travel agent will be able to point you in the right direction.

  • 8 Jun 2011 Candace and Charles said

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    Thank you everyone for your responses. I did discuss my ideal vacation and concerns with my travel agent and she still thought Contiki would be a good choice. Tara’s comments were reassuring as well. We are already booked and paid in full and now doing research to make this the best trip possible. Thanks again and will let you know how it goes.

  • 9 Jun 2011 Cecilia_21 said

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    Fanastic! I’m sure you will have a fanstastic time. All the best and have a great trip! Will look forward to hearing your thoughts about it when you get back. When are you travelling?

  • 9 Jun 2011 Candace and Charles said

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    We are leaving on Oct 13th for 25 days. Will definitely share my experence. Thanks again and safe travels.

  • 10 Jun 2011 JWI said

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    I loved my contiki, I’m not a big drinker and I don’t really love to stay out and party all night so I had some reservations as well however I loved it and would definitely go again!

  • 10 Jun 2011 interface2x said

    interface2x

    I don’t drink at all and am well past the age of wanting to party all night. I’ve been on two of them and they have both been fantastic – my first was a few years ago and I was part of the group that toured hard all day and then went out every night. By the end, I was TOAST. So exhausted, sick, and spent (this is even without drinking). My most recent one was in March and I didn’t do much of the nightlife at all – it was still amazing. There were TONS of people who just wanted to see everything they could all day every day and were more or less worn out at night. Everybody got along just fine and we’re all friends on Facebook now.

  • 17 Jun 2011 CanadianExplorer said

    CanadianExplorer

    I totaly agree with interface2x, I am not a big partier and I wanted to do a Contiki tour to see Europe. Yes people go on Contiki to party and drink and in some ways I really liked that there was always an opportunity to go and have a great time at night with a group of friends, but there was always the option to have a good night’s sleep so you could see the sights during the day. It really will depend on who you get as a tour manager and coach driver, I personally had the best I ever could have asked for; always the life of the party and always there if you wanted advice for what to see and do in a city. My group had everyone from the 18 year old single partiers to the 35 year old couples and I can honestly say everyone had a blast. As far as the drives, yes the distance between Munich and Venice is lengthy (unless you took a plane, you can’t avoid the long hours to get from A to B) and Lauterbrunnen to Paris is a full day too, but this is down time you can spend playing games with people and talking, reading or catching up on a travel journal, etc. I have come back with a Contiki cough and cold and am happy to have it as it means I had one of the best trips of my life.

  • 21 Jun 2011 sparkyuk said

    sparkyuk

    i have done 3 tours and i amdoing my 4th and 5th tours in november and doing new zealand and oz i am not a big drinking but i am a fun loving guy and contiki is not all about partying u can go out at night and still go back to the hotel and get a good night sleep and i have met lots of peeps on contiki who r not big partys goers so do not worry about so much it is ur holiday so u do whatever makes u happy ok

  • 24 Jun 2011 Explorer1121796 said

    Explorer1121796

    Honestly during the day everyone goes their own ways meaning you can do whatever you want during tge day and not drink! At night most the time everyone goes out to dinner then mist nights the bar or the special contiki stopovers that have their own party atmospheres. Best part is you don’t have to do that either but Its SUCH a good time and it’s really a bonding experience! I 100% recommend it! We had a bunch of couples on ours and had an amazing time!

  • 26 Jun 2011 Explorer1102160 said

    Explorer1102160

    My husband and I just booked our second Contiki tour. My husband and I did The Road to Athens a few years ago. You see all of the sights during the day and it is your choice whether or not you stay at the hotel to get some rest, do your own thing, or go out and party all night. We are not big partiers, but we did go out many of the nights with the group and we had a blast. We had a great time and we did make life long friends (another married couple) whom we have vacationed with every summer for the past three years since we met them on our Contiki tour.

  • 23 Feb 2012 BecS said

    BecS

    I went on my first contiki back in 2007 to NZ and will be going on my next tour this June to Scandinavia and Russia. I’m not a massive party/clubbing girl, I’d much more of a gig girl and don’t need alcohol to have a good night out. My NZ trip did have a lot of nights out. I went out nearly every night, except two nights when I decided I needed a bit of recharging. Every night that I went out I had an awesome time and the nights I stayed in I was glad that I felt rejuvenated the next day. Since I mainly drink soft drink when I’m out (much cheaper than booze – and gives you the sugar to dance the night away) I never had a hangover so I got to enjoy sightseeing during the day.

    People do have a choice though. Choose when you want to stay in, choose when you want to go out. You don’t have to follow the crowd and drink each other under the table. My happy snaps on nights out are some of the best pics from the trip, and since I wan’t drunk I have the best memory of what really went on.

    It’ll be interesting to see if I’ll have as much fun being a 28-year-old as I did when I was a 22-year-old. Looking forward to every minute of it!!!

  • 6 Apr 2012 C_MMartinez said

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    Hello all, I am so glad to read that the majority of you share the same feelings that I do. I will be going on my first Contiki tour in Sept 2012 and I can’t wait for all the sights I am going to see. And like most of you I am going with my now fiance for our Honeymoon. So although we are celebrating together I do look forward to traveling alone with my husband and experience Europe with him. I wasn’t sure what to expect about a group tour, since I have never done one like this before. However, thanks for putting some more confidence in the tour I am taking (European Discovery-start in London 9/26). I can’t wait to have a few drinks with my husband and meet new people. But will also be looking for that alone time on our own too.

  • 10 Apr 2012 JulieK said

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    I’m concerned too. I don’t want to feel pressured to party and drink every night, and that if I choose not to, I will be left our or shunned. I’m not interested in a giant pub crawl. I would not even go on a pub crawl in my home city.
    Also a little concerned about the food. I don’t eat meat… was that a huge problem?

    Can anyone shed light/reassurance on these two things?

  • 11 Apr 2012 Explorer13011989 said

    Explorer13011989

    Don’t feel concerned! Remember this is YOUR trip! Do the things you want to do! If people don’t respect that then stuff em! I use to be a big drinker but now i’m not. I definitely won’t be drinking every night and staying out till the early hours of the morning. It’s just not my style as a person anymore yet alone as a traveller. Sight seeing is more important to me and i don’t want to completely run myself out too by doing those things.
    I’m sure we won’t be the only one’s out of the 50 people in our group feeling like this. Everyone will be different! :)

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