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Grand southern

8 Sep 2009 Yorkshire traveller said

me and a mate are looking at the grand southern trip and are just wondering how often do you get the oppertunity to cut loose n have a party? both the grand northern and the southern have great scenery and history, but we want the oppertunity to party aswel. Last year i did the grand Australian and there was loads of partying to be had on the coast bt it slowed down a little in the northern territory. Any advice would be appriciated. Oh and what is the average age of people in the America trips? cheers x
  • Read the responses 22 responses so far
  • 11 Nov 2009 Charlotte! said


    Heyyy! I am going to do the Grand Southern on the 1st April! And I am only 18… drinking age being 21 in the USA! However, i spoke to someone from contiki who confirmed that there were already 4 or 5 people under 21 booked on the trip! Sooo even if I am not going out partying.. I will be.. as I am a yorkshire lass!!!

    Where abouts are you from!? x

  • 6 Dec 2009 Lachlan said


    I too am starting the grand southern April 1 2010. Glad to hear there is plenty of party opotunity, it seems like there is alot of ground to cover in a fairly short time but I guess you could just sleep on the bus trips and party at night.

  • 25 Dec 2009 Explorer04012 said


    I did the GS in Feb/March 2009. I was only 19 when i went.. You can get into most clubs but then you cant.. wat we did if we didnt wanna go out we just got a lot of beer and went to someones room and partied all night in there.. If you guys wanna party in the Grand Canyon, DONT DO IT… EVER.. As to sleeping on the bus, its impossible to sleep on the bus.. The reasons why is because there is always a movie playing and the seat are not that big.. If you wanna sleep a bit (hopefully) go to the back of the bus. The leg room is HUGE, you can really get loads of sleep if you have an ipod because the engine is is really cheap there but as the Americans do they tip a lot, so for every beer you buy (about $3-$6) you have to tip them $1. FYI take $50 for the tour manager and driver because you have to tip them too, you basically have to to it every where you go in the US, bars, taxis and restaurants. One thing that suprised me the most is that the US add tax after.. So the shelve price is not your final price, they have to add tax.. Another thing with the bus is that some of the driving days take about 5-7 hours.. The longest on is from Orlando FL to Pensacola Beach FL, that was about 8 hours drive.. You guys should have done the NY start and LA finish tour.. Becuase you can finish the tour with a loud BANGin VegasBut with yours, you can start the tour with a BANG.

  • 9 Jan 2010 ogre867 said


    Hi All,

    I did the Grand Souther last year when I was 19 and don’t worry, you won’t be left out. Alot of the places don’t mind you coming in and drinking. They a bus load of tourists come, they just want the money. I certainly had no problem having a good time just like the others.

    The best thing I have ever done. Never regretted one bit, and you will never stop partying.

  • 10 May 2010 Mwarp said


    I did the Grand Southern in September/October 2009, and it was among the best times of my life! Obviously in Vegas you will have a HUGE night – I had the worst hangover of the entire trip there!
    Like other people have said as well, even in the sleepy towns you will probably go out as you do get free nights/some nights were just stopover points. Eg – our night in Cortez, Colorado involved us going over to Walmart and the liquor store to get 6 packs and bottles, which we drank on the hotel patio that we had all to ourselves. We bonded with a lot of our fellow Contiki travellers on nights like that. We also had big nights in Texas, Memphis (they sell cocktails in yard glasses on Beale Street there Big Grin<!--graemlin::D-->) New Orleans (because you need to drink to stave off the extreme humidity) our 80’s themed party in Orlando, Miami you will definitely drink in, and our last night of the tour in Washington DC was a huge night as well.
    I found after a while though I couldn’t drink or go out every night, as sleep became a virtue! I didn’t want to spend the entire trip feeling hungover all the time either, after all you pay a lot of money to see things and take it all in in the USA!

  • 23 Jun 2010 Aussie29 said


    Im going on Grand Southern on 22 july any good tips to make it even better

  • 29 Jun 2010 apriljune said


    what’s the weather when it’s september/october in grand southern?

  • 21 Jul 2010 Explorer1195287 said


    Hi Kate,

    21 July and, as yet, still no response from Contiki! Glad to see they really take complaints seriously!

    Still waiting…

  • 26 Jul 2010 Suzanne said


    keep us updated when you receive a reply as i would be interested in what they say….

  • 3 Aug 2010 jon82 said


    Hey Explorer1195287.

    I did the Grand Southern in June/July this year. I had an awesome time as did everyone else on the tour. Sure the D.C and Miami hotels were a bit out of the way, but get over it! I feel sorry for some of the people on your tour that would have had to put up with your whining all tour long.

  • 8 Aug 2010 Explorer1185667 said


    I have to agree with Jon82, I was on the same Grand Southern tour and it was fantastic! Best trip I’ve ever been on and I’d do it all again if I could Smiler<!--graemlin::)-->

  • 11 Aug 2010 toddt85 said


    I just did the Southern in May/June and whilst I think most of those complaints are an overreaction (I LIKED the pirate dinner!!), I have to agree re. the accommodation in Miami and (especially) Washington. The hotel in Miami was nice but the location was terrible – there was literally NOTHING to do in the immediate area. The Washington one? One morning I walked by myself to the Walmart that was down the road cos I needed a new SD card… the area was so dodgy that I would never do it again… Cops escorted people from our group home from the shops one night, cos they said it was too dangerous for a group of young white people to be out in the area at nighttime – for real! Scary ****… but other than that the Southern was an otherwise mostly great tour.

  • 22 Aug 2010 Little John said

    Little John

    Did you (Explorer1195287) receive your reply, if so could you post it for everyone to see to complete this forum page. Especially after such a long winded attack upon contiki. And i agree with jon82, feel sorry for some of the people on your tour that would have had to put up with your whining all tour long. Such a shame for them.

  • 23 Aug 2010 Kaznagan said


    i just did the grand southern july/aug and it was one fo the best things i ever did!!!! i loved it, the tour manager was awesome, everyone on the tour was great and the places were good! your letter prepared me for some bad hotel choices but they werent to bad, yea out of the way but hey when you have a group of people costs werent bad at all!!! i am definately going to recomend it to my friends who want to check out america! next step going back for the grand northern!

  • 22 Nov 2010 Daniel88 said


    Hey Guys
    The hotels are further out cause its cheaper for contiki that way(thats how they make their profits)Safest thing to do is be with a group when walking at night, thats wat we did in europe. Im doing the Grand Southern in a few wks Im hoping its gonna be great. Its also normally cheaper to book the stuff urself. i think tour managers are either a hit or a miss, in europe, mine was aewsome but a trip that we met up with HATED their tour manager. If the TM sucks, dont tip em! and i hear that the nightclub promoter thing is a rip!! Just grab a bunch of ppl and do it urself, thats wat im planning anyway.

  • 22 Nov 2010 Natalie said


    hey where u from explorer 1098469, sounds great the grand southern im planning mine next august would really like too hear how it goes


  • 7 Jan 2011 OrchyK26 said


    I just read this cause im thinking of doing the Grand southern in Oct 2011…. i’ve done 7 tours with contiki and have been happy with everyone…. I agree with Jon….! You get your good and your bad, just need to go with the flow. I love all my tours, and have amazing memories… yeah some of the stuff is out of the way but the next hotel you go to its close….!I recommend contiki to everyone i talk to…ive never had a bad experience!!

  • 26 May 2011 TC said


    Hi everyone

    I would be interested to know how much spending money you guys took for this tour. With all the tipping, i’m not too sure on how much I will need


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