Attention all Forum Users.
We’re working on a brand new shiny tool to make your experience as simple as possible.
Which means the community forums is now read only whilst we work on a new & improved ‘My Contiki’ space.


What did you think of Best of USA?

1 Mar 2008 Maria23 asked

Hi guys!<BR><BR>If you've already taken the Best of USA tour, please post up ur experience.<BR><BR>Any tips, recommendations, do's, don'ts, best memories, regrets... please let us know!<BR><BR>I've got it booked for Dec 08, and want to make the most of my trip, so any input from past Best of USA travelers would be much appreciated.<BR><BR>Thanks!
  • Read the responses 24 responses so far
  • 23 Jul 2008 Bel said


    Yes i did it in april and i think youll find that a lo of ppl like me are still a bit overwhelmed once they get back or that they have kept on travelling after it finished. It is a very fast paced tour with so much to see and do and not a lot of time and youll find that once you leave san fran youll be living on about 2 hrs sleep by the time you get home from the casinos etc in vegas and out drinking in NYC. If you plan on seeing any of the attractions at the vegas casinos like the bellagio fountain show for example most of them the last show is at midnight or just before midnight. It is definately a must to see and if you have the option of going to studio 54 in vegas its fantastic. Also for those who like baseball or are interested in seeing a game its defintately an experience. Most of the contiki hotels have irons and hairdryers but if you dont want to use theres you can always buy one in usa pretty cheap. Alcatraz is also a must to see its just mind blowing. You guys will definately love this tour

  • 23 Jul 2008 msznumeroUNO said


    Thanks for the advice, one question though, i know in Europe they have some optionals not listed on the site, was there any like that on this tour?
    Did you do any optionals that you thought were a bit overrated or wished you had of done but didn’t do?

    Thanks for ur help i am leavign for Europe and USA in 36 days .. eekkk

  • 3 Aug 2008 Megan_86_o said


    hey guys i just got back last week from doing this tour, its fantastic! wud def. recommend it hey.
    there is alot packed into 2 weeks, but its the best way to do it. make the most of the free days, and go out with the group on every organised night out, best way to bond!!!
    i had a really great group (52 of us) and we all got on well, they made my trip!
    hope u enjoy it as much as i did!

  • 6 Aug 2008 Maria23 said


    52 people! that’s incredible

    Hey on those tours around the city – do we get to ride around on a Contiki coach? I’ve seen a few photos, but since we’re left to our own devices most days I wasn’t counting on getting to jump on board.

    And I noticed some other tours coincide with the dates on ours (like those 4-5 stopovers/explorers in LA an NY). Do we actually join up with them making the group even bigger

    sounds so hectic, but my kind of fun!

  • 6 Aug 2008 Mitchybelle said


    Hi megan, i am curious to know how you went with all the flights, was there much waiting around in the airports? which airlines did you fly with and how were they? did many people go to disney for 1 or 2 days? how were the hotels? who was your tour manager? thanks!

  • 10 Aug 2008 Megan_86_o said


    nah we dont get contiki buses.. on the city tours we have different buses and drivers each time.
    yeh while we were in LA we did a few things with the other contiki group, went out at night n stuff, and also NY we were at the same bar as another contiki..
    the flights were ok.. i love flying so it didnt bother me, there was not much waiting around at all in the airports, we flew with jetblue i think they were called.. prob a more budget airline but comfortable and friendly!
    umm disneyland everyone went 1 day, we did the OC tour the other day.. hotels were ok.. anaheim great san fran good, beds were REALLY comfy haha, umm vegas was really seedy, but ur not there very much so dont let u bother u, and NY we stayed like 1 min from times square which was awesome, but it wasnt the nicest hotel..
    u guys r guna have soooo much fun

  • 15 Oct 2008 Maria23 said


    just wanted to bump this back up, especially to those who’re lucky enough to be departing this weekend!

    hope you enjoy the holiday of a lifetime – just don’t forget to tell us all about it =D

    thanks guys!! anything will be much appreciated…


  • 8 Aug 2010 RocketGirl said


    Hi everyone,

    I just wanted to bump this back up…
    There really aren’t many reviews for this tour, especially more recent ones!

    Anyone done this tour in the last 12months or so able to review it?


  • 19 Aug 2010 Andrew from Brisbane said


    What do you want to know? I did it in June this year and absolutely loved it, I’ll try to answer whatever questions you have about it if you want.

  • 26 Aug 2010 kewlchicky_lozza said


    Hi Andrew,

    Tell us the good, the bad and the ugly! I’m going on the best of usa tour in nov.


  • 29 Aug 2010 Andrew from Brisbane said


    The good:
    - You visit some amazing places. I was a little underwhelmed by LA but I would travel back to the other 3 cities in a heartbeat.
    - Since you fly from city to city, you don’t spend half a day on a coach travelling. Other than the days you fly, you have the entire day (and night) to see the sights.
    - The hotels were all great value. I can’t complain about any of them, and especially Las Vegas and New York, I’d probably look at staying in the same hotels if I went back.
    - There is plenty organised, but you also get a bit of free time if there’s something you have your heart set on seeing.
    - Las Vegas. If you can’t have the time of your life in Sin City, on a contiki, you’re doing something wrong.

    The bad:
    - It’s only 13 days, so the tour is half over by the time you get to know people.
    - The day that you fly from Las Vegas to New York is pretty much a write-off (especially for us, because our flight got delayed for a couple of hours).
    - If I could customise the tour, I’d drop a night in LA and spend an extra night in San Francisco. It’s such a nice city with so much to see and do, and 2 nights wasn’t enough.

    I don’t know, they’re the things that really stick out to me, but ask away if there’s anything specific.

  • 4 Sep 2010 Kazza said


    hey guys I just did this tour in July and I have to agree with everything Andrew said the best bit is meeting new ppl I have made some good friends on this tour but I suppose I would like to have spent longer in NY, San Fran and Vegas and maybe a few extra days in LA but I didn’t like La as much, but the accommodation in La was nice. Also the tour guides are amazing they can tell u everything from where 2 go, good things 2 c, places to eat and great shopping destinations lol. I had the best time and I hope u guys will too.Have fun and the best advice I can give u id be open to everything and enjoy ur time in the USA

  • 3 Oct 2010 melon1711 said


    I’m doing this trip May next year, and have a couple questions for the people who’ve already done it:
    – How did you get to the hotel from the airport? Taxi or shuttle?
    - How much approx do you think you spent on the tour?
    - Did you go to Alcatraz? As it’s not an optional for next year, Contiki have said i’d need to pre-book on my own to go there?
    - Did anyone see any shows in Vegas/NY? And if so any recommendations?


  • 4 Oct 2010 Andrew from Brisbane said


    Are you talking about getting from LAX to the first hotel, before the tour starts? There’s some details in one of the tour documents from Contiki about a shuttle company that you pre-book online, I think it was about $15-20, and they seemed pretty good for me. Worked out cheaper than a taxi, for sure.

    From memory I think spent about US$150-200 per day but it really varies per person. I had budgeted to be able to do or buy whatever I wanted without having to worry about how much I had left, although I know some people spent more and others spent less.

    Yes I did Alcatraz, you just book via their website, wait till closer to the date to book it though so that hopefully you can go with one or two others at the same time. Generally the first boat over in the morning is the one to get though, so that you have the rest of the day to explore the city.

    I saw the variety show in Vegas (the optional extra) and thought it was good value for money, other people bought tickets on the day to see other shows like magicians and what not. Plenty of people saw Broadway shows in NY (I saw Phantom of the Opera), you can get discount tickets on the day of the show to almost any show (except the really popular ones like the Lion King) if you don’t mind lining up in Times Square.

  • 4 Oct 2010 melon1711 said


    Great, thanks Andrew. Will look the shuttle thing up. Also, did you do the grand canyon helicopter flight? And was it a big group? Thanks again Smiler<!--graemlin::)-->

  • 5 Oct 2010 Andrew from Brisbane said


    Yes I did the Grand Canyon helicopter, absolutely loved it and would do it again in a heartbeat. Definitely worth it. Also our group had about 50 people, I can’t remember the exact number.

  • 2 Nov 2010 melon1711 said


    Sorry more questions for anyone that’s done this tour..

    So, i’ve been doing lots of research into my trip, and have some questions regarding the tour.

    - Do you leave San Francisco and fly to Vegas in the afternoon on the 3rd day of SF? So if you do the optional sailing cruise @ night you don’t really get a free night? (I have some friends in SF I was hoping to catch up with)

    - In NY, the itinerary says on the driving tour you see Wall Street, the NYSE, World Trade Center, Rockefeller etc etc – Do you actually stop and get off at these places (so you can take photo’s, have a look etc) or are they just drive bys? Trying to figure out what you actually see so I can plan what i’m going to see after the tour ends.

    - Can you do the bike and roll tour in Central Park & the sex and the city tour in the same day? Are either worth it?

    - Do you get the option to buy the NY explorer pass (the one that gives you entrance to the museums etc) as part of this tour or do I just need to buy my own (as am planning on staying on after)

    Thanks again!

  • 2 Nov 2010 Andrew from Brisbane said


    We left San Francisco in the morning to fly to Vegas. I can’t speak for all tours as the flights are probably different but for each of our flights we left the hotel between about 6am-8am in the morning. The first night was an included dinner and heading out as a group afterwards, and the second night was the optional sailing cruise followed by a dinner our tour manager organised (not included but everyone chose to go). Not many people kicked on that night because the night before ended up being massive and we had the early start the next day.

    When we did our driving tour of NY we just drove by all those places, except the WTC site where we had a walk around and a bit of a talk about the events from our tour guide for the day. The bus tour is good though because it gives you an idea of where everything is so you can explore it yourself in your free time.

    I can’t remember for sure but I have a feeling that the Bike & Roll and Sex and the City tour were on the same morning. I did the Bike & Roll and really enjoyed it, Central Park is amazing. I was hungover and dead tired yet would do it again, it’s just something completely different. I can’t speak for everyone but from the feedback I heard, the SATC tour wasn’t much good unless you’re REALLY into the show.

    We didn’t get a NY explorer pass, I think you’d have to buy it yourself. You do get a weekly subway pass though so that’s valid for a few days after the tour.

    If you’re staying on in NY after the tour, don’t make too many plans for the final few days of the tour. I had the 4 nights on the tour plus another 4 nights in NY after the tour. I spent the tour days/nights hanging with new friends since they were our last few days together, and then actually explored the city a bit more after the tour. I’d definitely do it that way again if I was going back.

  • 7 Nov 2010 Karina said


    Andrew from Brisbane – can i please pick your brain?

    I have a question regarding the flights between States. Which company did you fly with? I understand it could be different for my particular tour but i am eager to find out about the luggage policies as i plan on doing lots and lots of shopping :-) and have now found out i can fly home with 2 suitcases weighing 32kgs each WOOO HOOOOO! But i know i couldn’t fly internally with this much luggage so need to figure a few things out.

    Also does the tour actually Visit the Grand Canyon? I might be missing it in the summaries but i can’t say i’ve read we actually go there.

    Thanks for any help :-)


  • 16 Nov 2010 Explorer1217388 said


    HOPEFULLY WE ON THE SAME TRIP Smiler<!--graemlin::)-->

We are no longer accepting new responses to this discussion thread.



Visas? Money? Where to go? Chat to us about travel.