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Grand Southern - June 25th - July 20th 2009 (LA-NY)
- 50 responses so far
Yup. Well I’m about 90% sure I’m doing this tour <!--graemlin::)-->.
My patrner (Nick) and I have just paid our deposit to do the Grand Southern 25 June 09.
Now that we are on the bus, we just have to try and find the cheap flights to get us to the US to start with <!--graemlin::)-->
Hi Carly (and Nick and Explorer 1103880!)
That’s great that you’re booked. Where are you all from? I’m from England and I did a Contiki tour of Europe in 2004. I’ve lived in the States and visited quite a few places there, but never been further west than Wyoming. I thought I’d give this trip a shot – saves me driving and having to find accomodation!
I’m flying out to San Francisco for a few days, then LA for a couple of days before we leave. I’m then flying from New York to Montreal at the end as my mum lives there. I found some great deals on flights, but I guess it depends where you’re flying from.
We are from Adelaide, Australia and have never done a Contiki tour, but definately thought it was the best way to see as much of the US as possible.
We have found that the cheapest flights are via Hawaii so are going to be stopping off there on our return to Australia.
We are also considering stopping in the SanFrancisco at some point.
Look forward to meeting you on the trip!
I’ve just paid my deposit for Grand Southern departing 25 June!! Can’t wait. I did Contiki Europe a few years ago and had a ball. I’m from Ireland but living in Perth, Western Australia.
Looking forward to meeting you on the trip.
me and my best mate just booked for the tour starting on the 2nd of july!!! so so excited hehe
i know its gona be heaps of fun <!--graemlin::D-->
Just bumping this back up to the top to see if anyone else has booked this trip yet?
We have just been told that this trip has been cancelled and are wondering what everyone else who had been booked is going to do?
We are thinking of moving to the 2 July tour, but it is going to cause us to change all of our other arrangements, and I don’t think travel insurance is going to cover us <!--graemlin::(-->
After seeing your message and rang my Travel Agent and she told me that the tour was cancelled. Very disappointed… Alternative dates don’t suit so not sure what I’m going to do…
I have exactly the same problem. I had a phone call on Tuesday saying it had been cancelled. I’d already booked flights and hotels for a few days in San Fran and LA before hand, plus a flight up to Montreal the day after the trip ended. ALL non-refundable. It’s going to cost me more to change the flights that it did to pay for them in the first place! My new plan is to join the 2nd July tour, even though it’s not ideal. It was going to cost me £500+ to change my original outgoing flight and pay the difference for a new one, so I’m now having to fill the time between the 20th and the 2nd July! This is costing me more money in flights and hotels, as I’m now planning on spending more time in San Fran and LA as well as a couple of days in San Diego. They tried to offer me the Grand Northern, but I’ve been to most of those states so it doesn’t interest me. Have also looked at other tour operators but nothing that leaves at the right time or goes to the places I want to see.
The Contiki rep I spoke to in London said I can email in my “complaint”, i.e the fact the tour was cancelled and give them all my flight details and this will be forwarded to the US office where they may or may not agree to refund my flights. Maybe you can try the same thing? I checked my travel insurance details and cancellation only applies in case of illness or emergency, plus it only covers trips leaving from the UK, so not my internal US/Canadian flights.
My other worry is that if I go ahead and book new flights and all my hotel accomdation that they might cancel the 2nd July trip. I was told they can’t guarantee departure until 45 days before it’s due to leave but that the 2nd July is a “preferred” trip, whatever that means!
We are in exactly the same situtation as you.
We went and spoke with our travel agent last night who said that our travel insurance doesn’t cover any of the flights that we must cancel or reschedule to get on the 2nd July trip. We had planned on staying in New York for 5 days after the tour, then going on to Hawaii for a week, but if we move to the July 2nd tour we will have to pay an additional $AU2500-$3000 for the change of flights and accomodation.
We are furious. The reason that we booked this tour is so that we could see a large amount of the US on a limited budget, and made sure that we booked early enough to get the early bird discount. We have researched this tour so thoroughly and booked accomodation over the internet so that we could save as much money as we possibly could, and now it has been pulled out from under us.
We are also completely unimpressed with travel insurance which we had thought would cover this huge amount of money and inconvenience, and are now wondering why the hell we even bothered with paying for it.
I am really anrgy with contiki for cancelling a tour 6 months prior for apparently not having enough people booked on it when the one the week before is completely booked out.
So we don’t know what we are going to do. We don’t want to pay all the extra money to change the trip to then have this happen all over again with the July 2nd tour.
Feeling very annoyed. Can’t believe they’ve cancelled when as you say the 18 June is full. Looks like they’ve also cancelled the tour on 11 June. The 2nd July was also offered to me however it doesn’t suit. After the 25 June tour I was spending a few days in NY and then heading to Ireland for a wedding. I’m lucky in regards to my flights as I had booked using frequest flyer points so my flights are easy to cancel without me being out of pocket. I’m now going to bypass the states and go straight to Ireland and maybe do a few tours in Europe. Won’t be with Contiki though…. Good Luck everyone….
I’ve just discovered that this tour has been reinstated. Not much good to me now that I’ve changed all my flights/accommation etc…..
I am absolutely FURIOUS with contiki. How can they cancel a trip due to ‘lack of numbers’ so that it is not covered by travel insurance, get everyone to reschedule, and the reinstate?????
We have been forced to spend thousands extra to continue our trip, and now we have lost it for nothing?
I will be on the phone tomorrow to our travel agent to see what can be done about this. It seems that ‘lack of numbers’ isn’t really holding up any more and therefore I can’t see why travel insurance should not refund the money that we have lost. I will also be questioning contiki as to what reason they are now giving for having cancelled the tour 6 months prior for no good reason.
We chose contiki to travel with due to the value for money that we were able to get from the trip. We did everything we could ie. Grand Southern, early bird tickets (booked September 2008), to be able to afford to go on this trip. What disappoints me most is that we have done everything we possibly could to not waste money, and it has still been taken from us, and now for no reason at all.
I thought you might be interested to know. I was furious as well considering I only happened to find out by looking on Contikis website. Nobody from Contiki bothered to contact me to let me know. I lodged a complaint with them but I don’t think you’ll get much out of them. I received an apology for the inconvience but that was about it. Their email advised: Our operations department in the USA has withdrawn the Grand Southern tour 25th June departure early based on booking history and passenger numbers, it didn?t appear that it would reach minimum numbers to run as scheduled. We apologise if this has caused you any inconvenience however we did not anticipate the popularity of the Grand Southern tour on this date having considered the economy and exchange rate. In order to meet this demand we felt the best solution was to reinstate this tour.
I too have been hit with accommodation cancellation fees and lost frequent flyer points as that was how I booked my flights. It completely upset my travel plans as the alternatives offered didn’t suit so I cancelled Grand Southern all together and rebooked my flights to fly direct to NY. I’m not prepared to re-book and shuffle everything again. 25 June is not a quaranteed departure so whos to say it won’t be cancelled again!!!!
PS. Been keen to hear how you get on when you speak with Contiki.
Well, I spoke to a national Consumer helpline that we have here in the UK. They think that Contiki could be in breach of contract. I’m not convinced as there is a clause in their small print that says they can cancel a trip and are not responsible for any money lost as a result. However, I can’t see anything in their paperwork that relates to reinstating a tour.
I’ve written to the manager of customer services quoting breach of contract (the advice was that this shows you know your rights etc) asking for what’s called “consequential losses”. I’ve asked for a specific amount that I don’t think is unreasonable (a couple of hundred pounds that covers my intial flight to LA and a flight leaving NYC). I’ve pointed out that I’m not claiming for any of the additional expenses of rebooking flights and hotels. I’ve given them a deadline to reply by and sent it recorded delivery. I’ll let you know how I get on. If they’re not prepared to offer anything, then I’ll be back on the phone for advice!
I can’t believe Contiki said they thought the best solution was to reinstate the tour – best for who? They obviously just wanted the money – and I did point out in my letter that what I was asking was a fraction of what they would be making as a result of this tour!
I am about to book my spot on the June 25th 2009 tour. I am 27 from Melbourne Australia. I will be travelling on my own. I plan to stay a few extra nights in NY and LA and also do a stop over in Hawaii on the way home.
Im keen to find out if anyone else is wanting to do some extra nights in LA and NY and are looking for a partner in crime…
Add me on facebook if you have it Carley Beever
I’ve been to the travel agents today and trying to decide between this tour or Eastern Discovery on 7th July, either way we will meet at some point as apparently they join up! wooooo!!
Im so excited!! Although all the stuff I’ve just been reading on here about the poor people who booked and then got cancelled on is a little scary!! Eek! Hopefully people will still book up! Definitly felt much better when I saw theres at least one other person going tho! :-)
I’m also hoping to do a few extra nights in NY and LA if i do this tour so we should definitly meet up!!
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