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What do you wish you'd known?

18 Jul 2007 ashleightara asked

ashleightara
I'm curious to know what ppl wish they'd known before they went on their trips, and only discovered afterwards...

For example,
Did you miss something in a town you wish you'd known about?
Did you pack something, and never used it?
Did you NEED something you didn't pack and had to go in search of it?

In particular, looking for different advice to what is already available on the board...share you experience so others can learn from you 'mistake'.

Thanks Smiler
  • 27 May 2010 LauraM12345 said

    LauraM12345

    This more has to do with france/paris, I went a couple of years ago, but not on a tour.

    things I’m glad of
    -going on the river cruise in paris, its amazing to see the ornate bridges, and you learn a lot of history
    -spending a day at musee d’orsay. AMAZING
    -taking the metro, its sooo convenient, just make sure you know where you’re going, its crazy!!
    -eating french cuisine. soo worth it, and better than any mcdonalds
    -on that note, going to a french mcdonalds, my brother wanted to go, and it was kinda funny to order un big mac!
    -discovering Shakespeare & Co. near notre dame, the coolest bookstore i’ve EVER seen
    -Carcassonne (sp?) it was an awesome castle, we spent 2 days there, in another part of france, but some of the tours go there!!
    -going to local markets, so much neat stuff to find
    -Walking up to momentre, what a view! and the church was beautiful!!!

    things I wish…
    -that I’d gone up the eiffel tower, the line was long and no one wanted to!!
    -I’d paid for a taxi to go to versailles, the metro was on strike the day we were to go so we didn’t, sooo disappointing!
    -that I’d brought more advil, I had splitting headaches for a few days day and went on a massive trek to find it
    -that i’d used more french, considering I speak it!
    -taken a warmer coat, it rained a lot and I was FREEZING
    -been more open to different experiences, things are a lot different in north america, but its worth it to try new things!
    -that i didn’t sleep during long car rides, there was so much stuff to see!
    -been aware that the metro goes on strike ALL THE TIME in paris, and work around it!
    -watched out for pickpockets, especially entering the metro…

  • 29 May 2010 nervous_traveler said

    nervous_traveler

    Hi eveyone. Thanks for all the great advice it will come in real handy. There is something i would like to know though how much does it cost to get a single room. I like my space and i can’t find a price anywhere Razzer<!--graemlin::p-->

  • 30 May 2010 Kelsey said

    Kelsey

    It depends on the length of the tour so the price for a single room is different for every tour. The price should be listed on your tour page if its not just contact contiki or a travel agent to find out. It is called a single supplement and it is how much extra you have to pay in addition to the regular price.

  • 13 Jun 2010 Rach886 said

    Default_avatar

    Im going to America in August for 6 weeks, going to pack as light as possible. Im planning on buying all toiletries in LA when we get there to last the trip then throw them away when we leave.
    Should we buy painkillers as well and what sort of shop would we go to? Wallmart or something?
    I’d appreciate your help! thanks heaps

  • 13 Jun 2010 Pervy said

    Pervy

    Hey Rach886 the best one stop shop for all those things is Walgreens. I did the same thing you are planning with the toiltries. Check out there site. http://www.walgreens.com/
    Or another place you can try is CVS

  • 29 Jun 2010 apriljune said

    apriljune

    i think you have to buy some painkillers for emergency. you might need it in case.

  • 6 Jul 2010 Justine said

    Justine

    I had booked a double and ended up with the most awesome room mate we are still in contact, I am glad I did cause we had such a good tine. There were about 15 girls on tour all travelling solo so we all grouped together.

    I wish I had…

    - Known of the “Contiki Cough” or “Contiki Cold” I would of stocked up on essentials before I left home, our whole bus got sick!
    - More time in Rome, between the Vatican and all the Roman sites we were rushing trying to see everything and eventually got back to the hotel so late and still didn’t see everything!!!
    - Packed a little lighter, it was hard due to it being winter during the tour.
    - I wish I had sent some of my stuff home in Amsterdam – I had to leave stuff behind at Heathrow!!!!
    - Know nothing good comes from drink cheap 1 euro sparkling the day before the Perfume tour.

    I’m Glad…

    - I did every optional extra, all the dinners, the Mozart concert, the Gondola ride, Going up MT Pilatus and seeing the awesome Swiss Alps and I especially love the group photo (the only one we managed to get of the whole group) and my contiki hoodie!!!!
    - I stepped out of my comfort zone, I am not made for winter sports but I still taboggened down Mt Pilatus, tried ice skating for the first time in Vienna and travelled by myself.
    - I packed a double adapter I could charge my camera and phone/ipod every night.
    - I had a travel hair dryer and hair straightner it was great bonding with all the girls while doing their hair – cheesy i know but it was fun!!!!
    - I was in Switzerland during the Faschant Festival (40 days before lent) it was pure luck out tour was there at the same time it just made Lucerne even more amazing by seeing the people and town celebrate and get dressed up and be a part of it.
    - I went to the Moulin Rouge even on Valentine’s Day!!!
    - I packed a travel pillow and a pair of thongs there are some long days on the bus
    - I bought a pack of cards for nights staying in or for games on the bus
    - I tried to talk to everyone on the bus and met some truly amazing people who will be friends for life
    - I had a travel diary
    - I packed a small torch – we had no power in Vienna for most of the night
    - I bought my CONTIKI EUROPE beer Stein
    - I bought a postcard from every place we visited
    - I wrote on every map where all the pick up and drops were in case we got lost which I did!!!!
    - I tried to learn the basic greetings at each place
    - I went out and partied but backed up the next day by sightseeing
    - I had an awesome Tour Manager and Bus Driver Jono and Gustavo you guys were awesome!!!!

    I could go on but i think this should cover it…
    Contiki European Vista!!!!
    (Winter) February – March 2010

  • 10 Jul 2010 Shava said

    Shava

    I wish I’d added a couple of days extra in both LA and San Francisco… other than that I had a fab time.

  • 20 Jul 2010 rosie said

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    two quick questions, what was the main age of people on everyones tours? and also what is the contiki cough exactly? is it just the normal flu?

    thanks!

  • 20 Jul 2010 meg said

    Default_avatar

    IM GLAD…..

    Im glad I made an effort with everyone on tour. I ended up hanging out with the people I got along with more but you have to make an effort with everyone to find out!

    Im glad I went with an open mind

    Im glad I did all the optionals! There were people on our tour who only did one or 2 and they missed heaps of fun stuff with the group and didn’t make as many friends

    I kept up with my travel journal! So much goes on every day that after a few days you start to forget stuff.

    Im glad I didn’t get hammered every night. I realise this is a personal decision but I enjoyed the sights the next day more than those who were hung over

    Im glad I didn’t over pack too much

    Im glad I brought a quick dry towel- great for drying your clothes after washing them in the bathroom sink

    Im glad I took a wide range of drugs- you will get the contiki cough and I had a few friends borrow drugs from me that they didnt pack and I had to take some too.

    Im glad I used my visa overseas. My friends had travelex cards and they didnt work anywhere for the first few days and it was a pain trying to get to their own money.

    Im glad I went to Greece- it was better than Italy. (my own personal opinion lol)

    Im glad I wore flat shoes around towns and skechers on historic sites – most in Greece and Italy are slippery cause of the marble on the ground or just really dusty and dirty

    Im glad I read these forums before I left- I got so many great ideas and tips!

    Im glad our group was soo awesome! I made friends with some of the most amazing people!

    I WISH…..

    I wish I hadn’t packed my jewellery in my luggage… long story short, I picked up my luggage from the plane in Venice and someone had busted my bag lock and broke into my bag and stole my jewellery. not a good start to a holiday.

    I wish I had gone with the flow more.

    I wish there was more time for shopping.

    I wish the guided tour of the Vatican and the Sistine Chaple didnt take 4 and a half hours – It’s just beautiful and breathtaking but you really only need 2 hours in there max!

    I wish I had been prepared for the full on depression when you come back from Contiki. You get into this bubble where you see the same people every day and night for 2 and a bit weeks and then you have to say goodbye and you come home to your real life and you just feel lonely!

    I wish I packed more dresses. We went out almost every night of a 14 day tour and I only packed 3 dresses.

    I wish I hadn’t got sea sick so many times! I took gravol but theres only so much a tablet can do! Especially on the boat around Isle of Capri.

  • 5 Aug 2010 lalocaLeanne said

    lalocaLeanne

    Hi people,
    Firstly, I’m SO GLAD that I read this forum subject!! It’s been really helpful in adding to my list. I’ll definately be packing some snap-lock bags to take full advantage of the breakfasts… I can never eat heaps in the mornings anyway so it makes sense to take a peice of fruit or a sandwich or something with me for a snack later on. Also, I had never thought of taking a chamois-towel… what a great idea, especially for ‘squeezing the excess water’ out of undies and socks washed in the hotel bathroom. Fabulous ideas!!

    So this will be my first Contiki but my third overseas trip that involved a tour. Here are a couple of my own tips:

    1) If you like Vegemite, you MUST take a tube with you. 6 weeks in the USA was too long to be without!! I don’t eat honey and I quickly got tired of Peanut Butter and/or ‘jelly’. I never knew that I had an addiction to Vegemite before that LOL

    2) If you burn easily, as I do (or are sun conscious) take a light shirt or a sarong in your backpack/day-bag. I found the seat rotation would quite often sit me on the ‘sunny’ side of the bus… a few hours with the sun streaming on my arm/leg/torso and I knew I was going to be sorry. Especially if I wanted to have a nap and couldn’t ensure that all my ‘bits’ remained in the shade. I ended up having to put a jacket sleeve over my arm so I didn’t get burned to a crisp… not much fun when it’s warm weather. :-(

    Well, that’s all I can think of for now. Getting pretty excited for my trip, only about 6 weeks till I leave YAH!!! If you’re booked on my tour, then hit me up…. I haven’t been able to find any fellow travellers yet!!

    Cheers everyone. I wish you all happy and safe travels!.

    Leanne.

    Mediterranean Highlights departs 25th September 2010 (Start Madrid)

  • 7 Aug 2010 Erroneously said

    Default_avatar

    Just wanted to say how helpful this topic has been – I’ve got a long list of things I need to take/find out more about that I never would’ve thought of such as vitamins, hand sanitiser etc., and I’m feeling really excitied about my tour Big Grin<!--graemlin::D-->

  • 8 Aug 2010 justchad said

    Default_avatar

    Hi Guys, just came back from the UK and Paris for a month and here is my contributionSmiler<!--graemlin::)-->

    Im Glad I

    • brought hand sanitizer, some toilets in Paris arn’t exactly what I call sanitary.
    • brought extra camera batteries and memory cards and a USB. I filled 8 G up easily. so worth it for the video!
    • brought leggings and tights. To save packing I brought dresses and long tops to make an easy ‘clubbing outfit’
    • brought an A% exercside book to recordd my what I did each day and how much I spent. I wrote it all in dotpoints.
    • brought sticky tape, mainly for sticking reciepts, mementos and my sdmission tickets in my travel notebook. I also ended up using the tape to wrap my breakable snowglobes in when coming home.
    • Spent most of my $ on prints and sketches (ie Notre Dame, eiffel Tower, London Skyline, film posters) as they are expensive in Aus. Most I paid for one poster (sketch) was 3 Euros.
    • A toilet roll, so useful for European toilets and emergencies
    • Brought my skin care products ie cleanser, moisteriser. We were in the middle of the heatwave in London and my skin started to get more oily.
    • Makeup wipes, a quick clean before slumping into bed drunk
    • My GHD, quick and easy to use for nights out
    • iPod touch. great to check fb, emails, youtube, play games without the hasssle and weight of a laptop.
    • My black flats. used them from sightseeing, to churches to clubbing. So verstil. I also brought socks specifically for my flats.
    • A scarf. Used for the cold, accessorise and as a travel pillow on long rides.
    • A money pouch to sling over my neck, hidden by my bra. It didnt get sweaty or loose unlike the money belt and all I kept in there was my passport, extra $. I took it eveerywhere with me and if I needed to access anything, I just went to the toilet or did it discretly in the bus so locals wouldnt know I was hiding valuables on my chest LOL
    • A portable luggage weigher, which worked as a hook, quite an obselete item nowadays unfortunately. I would weigh my suitcase every week to see how much allowance I had for the rest of my trip so I wouldnt be suprised at the end.
    • Body wash instead of cluggy, messy soap. To conserve on body wash, bring a bath sponge, as it lathers quickly.
    • An eye mask, really lets you get a good sleep.
    • I brought a cardigan. It was really hot in England and Paris due to the heatwave, so I didnt use any of my jackets, but only a cardigan during the evening.

    • An ‘overnight bag’ as carry on, to fit my breakables and food to bring home.

      Things I Regret/Take into Consideration next time

    • No Jeans or thick jackets. Didnt use them once.
    • Travel sized shampoo and conditioner. I could have used only 100ml of each for a month.
    • DO not bring so much jewellry. I was never bothered to ‘dress up’ after awhile and it was a pain trying to untangle them in my makeup bag. next time Ill only bring my watch, one pair of hoops, my usual cuff cloth bracelet and one necklace to always wear.
    • To bring cold/flu tablets or antibiotics. I got sick after a week and was a pain in the arse to find the right medicine for me.
    • As everyone else said, pack light!! I could have survived with 4 shirts and I only used one jumper. I did shopping, so I could have had more space coming home.
    • Only one set of flats, one sneakers, one thongs for showers and sandals. Thats itSmiler<!--graemlin::)-->
    • A powerboard, so I can simultaneously charge my ipod, camera and phone.
    • Books. I like to read, but in the atmposhere and excitement of my holiday, I couldnt concentrate except on the airplane.
    • Colgate swissers. hey look practically and cute, but the ‘freshness’ you get is the same as gum. I preferred just using my regular toothbrush.
    • 2 pairs of pj’s. Thought I wouldnt have time to do washing, but I did and only needed one pair.


    This topic is excellent, thanks to whoever created it. Hope my contribution helped someSmiler<!--graemlin::)-->

  • 8 Aug 2010 Jen_au said

    Jen_au
    quote:
    Originally posted by Explorer1199133:
    ….

    • A money pouch to sling over my neck, hidden by my bra. It didnt get sweaty or loose unlike the money belt and all I kept in there was my passport, extra $. I took it eveerywhere with me and if I needed to access anything, I just went to the toilet or did it discretly in the bus so locals wouldnt know I was hiding valuables on my chest LOL

    ….



    Wow really handy tips there!! Where did you get that from?!??

  • 11 Aug 2010 Jen_au said

    Jen_au

    Awesome thanks for that!! Smiler<!--graemlin::)--> I think I have seen them around, I might go for a hunt this weekend!!! Big Grin<!--graemlin::D-->

  • 12 Aug 2010 Megggg said

    Default_avatar

    Hi there Smiler<!--graemlin::)-->

    Just came back from a 37 day trip a few days ago and this is what I learnt…

    The Good:

    • My three most treasured items on my trip (other than obvious camera etc) were a powerboard, my travel pillow and my laptop. You always need to be charging things and it’s good so you don’t have any problems with more than one person in the room and only one powerpoint. I was asleep basically every time I was on the bus, just ‘cause Contiki gets exhausting with the early starts and the rushing to see things and however many late nights you have. I used my laptop to store photos as I went, which was great as a couple of people on our tour lost all of theirs, and also to write a travel journal which I could just send off in e-mails to everyone rather than trying to write to everyone individually.
    • I was glad I took a pair of joggers. You do wear thongs a lot but some days are full-on sightseeing and you might want to hoof it from one side of Paris to the other, which is a good trek.
    • Glad I took bathroom products bigger than just travel size – they never would’ve lasted and the ones I bought just weren’t right.
    • I’m so glad I packed so many comfy clothes like tights, trackies, crop tops and singlets to wear on the the bus…probably about half of our trip was spent on bus days and I sure would have hated to have been in jeans with a bra on.
    • So glad I took cold and flu tablets. I used them a couple of times for a bit of a pick-me-up and to clear up my nose etc, but when I tried to buy more over there they weren’t the same and didn’t work for me at all.
    • I am SO glad I did: whitewater rafting in Austria, gondola ride in Venice, Dubrovnik cruise, Jungfrau mountain, Parisian dinner and Munich beerhall.
    • Glad I had a lock on my suitcase just for peace of mind when leaving the room for the day in cabins and hostels etc.
    • So glad I got a NAB Gold Banking Visa Card. It was as if I wasn’t overseas at all – no overseas transaction charges, no currency exchange charges, and it worked everywhere exactly the same as my card works at home.



    The Bad:
    • I wiiiish I’d taken more going out dresses – you go out to dinner or to clubs or even just to a party in your hotel pretty much every second night…so two wasn’t enough and I didn’t buy enough to solve this problem.
    • I didn’t need to take as many warm clothes as I did…basically it was sweltering hot all the way from London to Slovenia then only a couple of countries were cold, but the hoodies I had from bus days were fine and one jacket sufficed for nights out.
    • I wish I had hand sanitiser. Very much needed with all of the sickness that went around.
    • DO NOT FLY AIR CHINA!
    • I wish I’d packed more undies. However many you think you would normally need…take more. There is not enough chances for washing.
    • I really wish I hadn’t done the flamenco show in Barcelona…waste of money.
    • I wish I’d had an e-book like a Kindle or something, would have been great to have something light and small with lots of books like that.
    • I wish I’d put more thought into what I would do with my phone before I left, by the sounds of things an international SIM is the best bet as it’s the same price everywhere…international roaming cost me a lot of money.


    The Rest:
    • Everyone on our tour really started to miss fruit so my advice is to try and make sure you keep up with it before you start dying without it!
    • Try cider in London!! Oh my goodness I fell in love with it. Kopparberg was my favourite Smiler<!--graemlin::)-->
    • Everyone kept on getting sick, so think about your plan of attack for this before you leave…I know enough about infections to know you shouldn’t just start taking antibiotics because you feel like it, which a lot of people did, but look into how you’re going to fix things like infections/colds/coughs before you go (and remember antibiotics don’t need precriptions through most of Europe but this doesn’t mean you should just use them for a tickle…)
    • I spent $7000 in 6 weeks, just ‘cause I know this is something a lot of people ask about.
    • It was tough being around new people for 37 days straight…it was awesome to see so much of Europe but a loooong time to be on a tour.


    Think that’s everything…hope this helps someone Smiler<!--graemlin::)-->

  • 17 Aug 2010 mercurius said

    Default_avatar

    I WISH:

  • I had paid extra for a single room (roomie was a weirdo, and I hated having to rush through, or waiting for the shower)
  • I had brought my laptop (waiting in line for one computer at the lobby, or trying to find a hotspot for my iphone was not fun)
  • Packed lighter –- I ended up buying clothes. I found out I brought too much shoes
  • Bought an additional memory card for my camera
  • Brought more underwear


    I’m GLAD:
  • Brought medicine from home (though I never had to use it)
  • Brought a new memory card for my camera (you’re going to take tons of pictures)

    Obviously, more wishes than glads; I’ll do better next time Smiler<!-graemlin::)—>

  • 23 Aug 2010 cindychick said

    Default_avatar

    just bumping up this post, its has been a MASSIVE help!!! all these things like flu tablet, micro fibre towels, bottle opener that i never would have thought of had i not read it on here, so a big THANK YOU to everyone that has contributed, and keep them coming!!!

  • 29 Aug 2010 Kaz said

    Kaz

    I wish that I hadn’t gone to Disneyland on LA Explorer, or that I had gone to the California Adventure one instead. On the itinerary it said that Universal Studios or Disney were on the same day, so I budgeted for one. Then it was on diff days. It meant when I was at the Grand Canyon, on my LA to The Bay, I couldn’t do the Helicopter ride.

  • 3 Sep 2010 Karina88 said

    Karina88

    bumppp!

    this topic is so helpful!
    im planning a tour for march/april 2011 and these tips are coming in handy!
    thanks guys!

    Big Grin<!--graemlin::D-->

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