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Contiki tour vs. backpacking??

25 Jul 2006 nat_brook asked

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Hi there, just curious...I've never traveled overseas before, and do not know whether to go with a tour group for my first time or give backpacking a try?  Me and a couple of friends are considering the European Vista tour in May of 2007.  I guess my main concern is about the length of travel between countries.  On the Contiki tours, about what percentage of the trip is spent on a bus?  Thanks for any help!!

Natalie
  • 26 Jul 2005 Sarah Smiles said

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    Well, I am an accountant, so details and numbers thrill me Smiler<!--graemlin::)--> j/k but this is what I did for my upcoming tour. I had the same concern that you did b/c I am going to have to go on a much shorter tour this time (I have done the Euro Vista and it is awesome!!!! I absolutely recommend it!). I went to my favorite driving directions website and clicked on the international button and I actually calculated the mileage and driving time between each city. The routes are all outlined on each tour’s web page so it wasn’t that hard. Some days will be longer than others but there are usually interesting stops along the way to help break up the driving time. To be able to cover so many great cities all over Europe, all in one tour, travelling time is a necessary evil. It wasn’t that bad though – there is great scenery to look at, new Contiki friends to talk to, and of course, time for a quick nap Smiler<!--graemlin::)-->
    I hope that helps with your decision
    Happy Travels
    Sarah

  • 8 Aug 2006 melsescapade said

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    Hey,
    I completly agree with Chelle. Do some independent research before you decide.Saing that lots of people end up doing both a tour and backpacking, provding they have enough funds! Doing one may make you appriciate the other more as they are different experiences. For a different perspective check out;
    http://thorntree.lonelyplanet.com

  • 8 Aug 2006 Sarah Smiles said

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    I’m all for backpacking if that is your thing, I just don’t think that it is THAT much of a savings over Contiki at the end of the day. (Contiki is quite accurate on the rate of the Eurail SAVER pass, I just checked – the link I provided quotes prices in US dollars, not AUD. However, if the “84” in your screen name is your birthyear then that means you are only 22 and would qualify for the Youth pass which is indeed cheaper.)
    I think that Contiki is great value for money and I have done a Contiki tour and am doing another in less that a month. Contiki does cover half of all of your meals while on tour (all breakfasts and half of your dinners). With Contiki you will also get city tours with your TM in almost every city. They will show you around either on foot, or in the coach and point things out and give you background on the city, buildings, monuments, ect. They also organize tickets to tourist places for you so that you don’t have to wait in the big lines. Personally, I am not interested in backpacking Europe, but I have read a lot of posts on the board where people do a Contiki tour to get a taste of Europe and then backpack afterwards to the places that they would have liked to spend more time in. I think that is an awesome way to do it!

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