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Winter Wanderer- don't bother!

20 Nov 2009 Explorer1157784 said

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I wasted a lot of money on my Winter Wanderer trip and feel obliged to inform others of this disappointing experience.

Basically, you will spend a vast majority of your time on an over-heated bus. Spare-time is minimum and it really is a shame to have travelled all that way to only see so little.

The meals organised by Contiki are DISGUSTING. Europe is renown for its cuisine- you won't experience this on the contiki itinerary...my first meal, after just arriving in Paris, was a slice of cold ham and MacDonald-type fries. Typically, most meals were an undercooked, slushy stew..

BTW, don't be pressured into the extras- the Moulin Rouge is the biggest waste of money ever...it's basically $300 to watch a bunch of uncoordinated strippers...the girls could not dance, at all- it was just all saggy breasts and wobbly butts...I'm sure this sounds great to a fair few perverts, but for $300, their breasts weren't that good!

Furthermore, having to keep to someone else's schedule is exhausting and robs you of exploring a city further...

I don't feel as if I've been to Europe at all- it felt like I was on a boring school excursion! Here I was, in Europe, having dreamed of such a trip for a looooong time, and I just wished the time away-it was so insanely boring.

You honestly spend 70% of your time on a bus...the rest of the time is spent drinking. Not exploring, not having fun, but sitting on your backside in a boring little pub of the tour guide's choice, drinking alcohol and talking to a bunch of other Australians (a majority of members on my trip and others were Australians)- no local interaction.

Don't waste your money. Even if you have to limit the number of countries you see, you will see more than if you had gone on the winter wanderer.
  • 14 Jan 2013 Megan said

    Megan

    You’re absolutely right, I don’t think I’ve ever been this excited for anything! I went solo on my first tour and was scared to death but it ended up being the most incredible, eye-opening, life changing experience of my entire life… so needless to say, I’m going solo on my next trip as well. Like you said, Contiki is perfect for that, I love it. I guarantee that when your tour is over, you won’t want to leave, and then you’ll be back on this website searching for the longest tour you can find! It’s the best possible addiction! :) Oh yes, I’m counting down the days too. Hmm, to be honest, the Roman Bath museum wasn’t that great. It was cheap so I don’t regret doing it, but it was kind of boring and I don’t think I’d want to do it again. So you aren’t missing out on too much, don’t worry! Stonehenge is definitely worth a visit though. And again, Moulin Rogue is AMAZING.

  • 15 Feb 2013 Explorer1157784 said

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    A very late reply. I had forgotten about this discussion post. Years later, and having travelled independently now, I maintain my original position- the Contiki tour, for me, was awful; it was simply drinking culture packaged into an over-heated bus.

    One of the above comments mentions that, as an adult, I had a choice. The thing is, at the time of this trip, I was barely an adult. In hindsight, I feel the travel agent bullied me into signing on for a tour that clearly didn’t suit my personality. It was my first trip abroad, and a bitter disappointment. Being older and wiser, I can say that I would now walk out on that tour within the first week. At the time, however, I was simply too scared to do so and, consequently, missed out on exploring a wonderful continent. Most nights, I did opt out of sitting in the pub and guzzling alcohol as one of the replies suggested I should have done. But, with little knowledge of the area (usually having only arrived in the evening without a chance to explore in the daylight) and being so young and timid at the time, that meant I spent a significant amount of time in my hotel room… just waiting to board the bus early the next morning so that I could travel all day and avoid the pub scene once again that evening…

    For anyone considering this tour (if it is still functioning), think carefully! If you just want a brief sample of the tourist-centred highlights and enjoy clubbing and drinking, then yes- you will LOVE this tour!

    If, however, you’re like me and are genuinely interested in the historical elements, visiting museums, exploring the local hangouts and just meandering about to take it all in, then you would be better off doing the trip independently. You may not get to visit as many places, but it would be far more enjoyable for you to take your time in two or three countries than trying to cram a shallow acquaintance of the array of European cultures into a generic itinerary.

    I guess it all depends on your personality and preferences!

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