Question Featured_post

What do you wish you'd known?

18 Jul 2007 ashleightara asked

I'm curious to know what ppl wish they'd known before they went on their trips, and only discovered afterwards...<BR><BR>For example, <BR>Did you miss something in a town you wish you'd known about? <BR>Did you pack something, and never used it?<BR>Did you NEED something you didn't pack and had to go in search of it?<BR><BR>In particular, looking for different advice to what is already available on the board...share you experience so others can learn from you 'mistake'.<BR><BR>Thanks <img src="" alt="Smiler" width="15" height="15"><!--graemlin::)-->
  • 9 Sep 2007 ashleightara said


    Thanks nikki Smiler<!--graemlin::)-->

  • 19 Sep 2007 redleader said

    Originally posted by Curtis71:
    Absolutely… I did not know about Purell until some other girl on my tour pulled it out. Fantastic product and it would probably help prevent you from getting sick on tour.

    I’ve heard this many times from peopel outside of the states. In the states hand sanitizers are huge, you find them absolutely everywhere, in every shape and size and brand.

  • 23 Sep 2007 nibbs said


    i wish i hadn’t gone on the florence dinner. it was utter crap. a lousy entree, pasta out of a can and probably heated in a microwave and burnt pizza.

    i wish that in some places i had planned my days better. there were some cities that i didn’t do much at all.

  • 30 Sep 2007 Clarinda said


    Glad i did some research on getting to our accommodation when starting the tour.

    Forums are helpful.

    Glad i had my i-pod. Did not read other then the plane.

    Recommend arriving in Rome a couple of tours before, heaps to do and see and the airport is terrible. They lose bags all the time and it happened to us. Wish i had back stuff in my hand luggage. I had the attitude “it won’t happen to me”!!!!

    I took heels, nice for wearing out, but take i highly recommend wedges and not heels.

    Backpack – easier to get around, lots of stairs and cobble stone roads.

    Tissues, good for toilet paper and nose.

    Medication and plenty of headache tablets a must.

    Take a sarong and little chamois in lieu of towel. Saved on the space and many people which they had thought of that and if you really want to use a towel, you can use the one from the hotels. All came with towels.

    i was told to take a hip flask and snacks – not worth it.

    i took short shorts and skirts, i didn’t take any 3/4 length pants and wish i had for the various churches as shoulders and knees must be covered. I just thought i would wear jeans but some days are just too hot to do that.

    Glad i took my normal thongs, i didn’t know if i would wear them with all the walking but i used them alot in Nice and Spain.

    I wish i wore my togs when on our way to La Spezia in Italy – Cinque Terre. We stopped off for an hour a bit between boat rides and my partner was able to swim as i watched.

    Glad i did not get to wasted on nights on the town – not good being sick on the bus.


  • 4 Oct 2007 ashleightara said


    Advice has been good guys, thanks Big Grin<!--graemlin::D-->

    Out of curiosity, how many people found this forum AFTER their tour and wish they’d found it before?

  • 7 Oct 2007 Vivz said


    Wow, I’m glad someone made this subject up, because it really widens your eyes to things I would of never considered taking on a contiki holiday.

    Just a question.. Did anyone regret using a particular suitcase? Is it hard finding one with the 50cm-73cm contiki restrictions?

    I wanna be goin on a 45 day contiki tour.. I dunno if its enough!

  • 7 Oct 2007 MJ said


    I wish I had bought more stuff in Italy. Frowner<!--graemlin::(-->
    I wish I had more tank tops it was really hot some days even at the end of September.
    More allergy medication its hard to find in Italy.

    I wish I had brought an eye mask and a book light for reading at night.

    Bring extra batteries they are about 5-8 euros.

    For international flights back into the US you have to collect your baggage before your next connecting flight. I am glad I had extra time as others only gave themselves 30 minuts and you do have to go through security again. But I didn’t know about this.

    I wish I had exchanged all my money on the first day It was the next day our us dollar dropped it really sucked.

    Keep reciepts of expensive items you buy if they loose your luggage you will need it to file a claim. It took 5 days before I got mine back.

  • 8 Oct 2007 scuba_Nikki said


    Hey there, just thought I’d give my two cents. I just did the European Discovery tour in September.

    1). No matter how light you think you packed, you can pack lighter. My suitcase was 18.5 KG and I didn’t wear half of the clothes I packed.

    2). You’re going to buy more souvenirs than you anticipated, so make sure you have room for them!

    3). I wish I had realized how much time I would be spending on the coach. I highly reccommend bringing a travel pillow.

    4). Really glad I brought hand sanitizer and toilet paper

    5). Bring a book or ipod, or both. The drives between countries can get fairly long and there’s only so much talking one person can do!

  • 10 Oct 2007 Lana said


    1. I wish I had been prepared for how far away from main attractions or city centres the hotels were. Our hotel in Paris was a good 10-15 metro stops away from the centre and the metro closed at 1 so you had to be back at the hotel before then. Also in Amsterdam the hotel was at the airport and you literally had to catch a tram, then a train and then a bus to get back to the hotel from the city centre.

    2. I wish I brought more cold and flu medications. You WILL get sick. I was only on a ten day tour and it only took me 5 days to get sick.

    3. I wish I bought a beach towel at my first beach destination. I had one of those microsuede or whatever they are called towels and they were uncomfortable, didn’t dry you off and got smelly easily.

    4. I wish I had packed lighter, while I did wear most of the clothing I brought, there was a good 4 outfits that didn’t get touched. I ended up buying another rolling suitcase to go along with my backpack in the middle of my trip.

    5. I wish I had broken the ice earlier with the tour group. Our tour manager didn’t do any sort of ice breaker, we should have taken it into our own hands to do one.

    6. I’m soooo glad I brought an I-pod and a journal. With the journal there have been many time my boyfriend and I would be trying to remember where we went on a certain day and it was nice to have a book to look back to for memories. And its a good time waster on trains and buses and waiting for trains and buses.

    7. I’m glad I brought more than enough memory cards and chargers for my cameras. We took 3000 pictures and had no problems getting them all home through the help of 4MB memory cards and uploading the files to the Ipod once a week. I highly recommend a high speed card reader so you don’t have to sit in internet cafes for long periods of time waiting for pictures to transfer directly from your camera. We bought one on our third day in London and it wasn’t cheap there.

    8. I wish we had a tripod for night shots, it is impossible to take these without one.

    Hope that helps!

    London, Paris, Amsterdam August 2006 w/ our own 3 weeks in Italy

  • 22 Oct 2007 Emma said



    Im so gald this topic was started. Im going on the winter wanderer and then getting a VISA so I can stay in the UK for a couple of years. I’m really worried about what to pack because I want to take things that I’ll use on the tour and after.

    Is there anyone that has done this???

    Also, do the hotels have a hairdryer? I’m not sure if I should take one in case they have them there?

    Thanks all I want to ask at the moment but I’m sure I can come up with something else soon enought.

  • 23 Oct 2007 MJ said


    The hotel hair dryers suck bring a small travel one with a converter switch on it so you only need the plug. Thats what mine is and its great.

  • 27 Oct 2007 Sally said


    Hey Guys, I got back a week ago from doing two tours back to back. I had an awesome time, the best time of my life but there are probably some things I would have liked to know before going.

    1 Everyone gets the contiki cough. You may be the healthiest person in the world but I can guarantee you by halfway through the tour you will develop a hacking bark. Believe me, I thought I would be right. I was wrong Smiler<!--graemlin::)--> Prepare by asking your doc back home to perscribe you with some antibiotics and make sure you have an ample supply of cold and flu tablets. You can also lessen the blow by getting stuck into the multivitamins before you go.

    2 Pack nurofen/panadol/painkillers etc. A big box. They are expensive to buy and when you arn’t using them to overcome the worst hangover ever some else will want to borrow some off you.

    3 One for the girls. If you can avoid that time of the month by taking the pill do it. If you can’t bring enough supplies from home. Box of tampons in London costs 4 or 5 pounds or nearly $10 ozzie. Expensive.

    4 Europe/The UK is expensive. Very very expensive. Do not think that you will not spend money, you will and lots of it. Consider the fact that you have to pay nearly all of your entrance fees to all tourist attractions, all your lunches, alchohol, shopping you want to make sure you are finacially prepared.

    4 Do not bring travellers cheques. They are a pain in the a^$e. Everyone on my tours who used them regreted it. You will not want to spend a moment of you time wasted looking for a bank to change them at. I got travelex prepaid travellers cards, used my commonwealth bank cards, kept my credit card for emergencies and I was all good throughout the uk, scotland, ireland all of europe and asia. Also when you withdraw cash take as much as you feel comfortable carrying because the transaction fees start to add up after awhile.

    5 Pack an eye mask, ear plugs and one of those neck supporting travel pillows. If you are not a big partier I can assure you that will need the eye mask and ear plugs when your very merry room mates come bounding through the door at 3am in the morning, switch on the light, fall over themselves before finding their bed Smiler<!--graemlin::)-->

    6 For those of you on concept and camping tours pack a swimming chamois in sealed plastic case instead of a towel. Chamois costs about $10 from sporting store, takes up half the space of the towel and also comes in very handy for wringing out your undies in after you have washed them in the bathroom sink Smiler<!--graemlin::)--> Also because you spend so little time in each place your towel won’t have time to dry and because yo have to pack in your suitcase it ends up stinking up all your clothes. Yuck Frowner<!--graemlin::(-->

    7 ONLY PACK WHAT YOU NEED. I know everyone says this but it can’t be stressed enough. Two pairs of jeans, one warm jacket, five undies, four bras, five socks, two long sleeve shirts, 2 short sleeve shirts, black going out pants, two nice going out tops, sneakers, thongs, going out shoes, toiletries, hat, washing stuff, camera, mobile phone and hair straightener did me for seven weeks and I survived Smiler<!--graemlin::)--> Do not pack your best white pants, I can guarantee they will not be white by the time you are finished LOL

    8 Wash when every you get the chance because the opportunities at the hostels/hotels and campsites are very limited and very, very expensive. If you bring your own little washing pack from home you can get away with washing your undies in sink and then hanging them in your room to dry.

    9 Do not under any circumstances think that you are special and that because you are five minutes late the bus will wait for you, it will not. You will be stuck on your own and have to find your own way. Happened to four or five different people on my last tour and the situation can be expensive to rectify. Ie if you get left in Paris the last day before you are due to go back to London you can expect to pay 100 euro out of your own pocket to get were you are suppossed to be. Contiki tour managers and bus drivers go hard to get you to as many places as possible in the shortest amount of time so if they say the bus is leaving at 7.45am it will be gone by 7.46am.

    10 Your tour managers and bus drivers work extremely hard so that you can be guaranteed the time of your life. They are up early, stay up to all hours organising stuff for the next day or out with you making sure that you are all having a ball. In saying that it is not their fault if something happens and you can’t get somewhere, they can’t help it if such and such does not like you, won’t sleep with you etc etc. If you treat them right they will treat you right and they will become your best mates and like my two bus drivers and tour managers they will be people you will never forget the rest of your life for all the right reasons Smiler<!--graemlin::)-->

    11 Expect to be completley spun out, taken by surprised, winded, blown away whatever by the experience you are about to have. Nothing is ever wrong, weird, stupid, dumb it is just different and that is why you are on this tour to experience something new. It will be over before your know it and you will be back at home like I am wishing I was sitting at a pub in switzerland drinking pineapple beer Smiler<!--graemlin::)-->

    12 Respect everyone. There will be fifty something different personalities squeezed onto the one bus and probably up to 150 personalities squeezed into the one campsite at night. You know that you are not going to get along with everyone and you know everyone is not going to get along with you. You will be guaranteed to piss at least one person off and vice versa. Suck it up to experience, keep your religious and political opinions to yourself and you will have a ball.

    Well I hope that my information can help in some way and that you guys all have a ball. I did, honestly the best experience ever in my life!

    Sal – Great Britian/Southern Ireland, Euro Whirl September/October 2007.

  • 28 Oct 2007 ashleightara said


    Thanks Sally Big Grin<!--graemlin::D--> There’s some great advice in that post.

    Hadn’t thought about the additional uses for a chamois Big Grin<!--graemlin::D-->

  • 1 Nov 2007 Lauren said


    when you girls say u wish you brought more summery clothes and dresses, what time of year did u go in? I’m going in late april/early may so obviously i’ll need warm clothes 4 london but how is the weather in italy/greece at this time?



  • 4 Nov 2007 tara-grace said


    I went on the European Highlights tour in August and I wish:

    -I had have brought more dressy tops
    -I didnt bring a sleeping bag (next time Im just bring a sheet

    Im very glad I kept a travelogue because when you’re doing so much so quick it starts to blur

  • 5 Nov 2007 Steftacular said


    Im really glad that I decided not to spend alot of money to buy walking shoes – I wore flip flops the entire time and never had a problem!

  • 9 Nov 2007 loz said


    Sorry pressed the wrong button
    Need advice as first time traveller going solo 46 day camping trip 18 non drinker How much spending money what sights are worth every cent going 19th August 2008

  • 9 Nov 2007 New2Travels said


    Here are some things that I wish I would have known:

    10. Don’t worry about going solo. I went solo and had a great time with the group.
    9. Dont over pack. You don’t need all the clothes. Just bring the basic and mix and match. Save room to bring stuff back. It wasn’t a hassle, but only one suitcase is needed.
    8. Definitely go to the Moulin Rouge. It was pricey but I was glad I did and we had a blast.
    7. Don’t worry about getting a solo room. I thought it would isolate me but I wanted my privacy and didn’t want to be bothered at night. i wasn’t isolated and I had my own space and privacy. i could plug in with the group when i wanted, and plug out when i wanted to be solo. it was fine.
    6. Make sure to call your bank before you go and make sure you won’t have problems. I spent a lot of unnecessary stress and energy trying to verify overseas that I was indeed ME to my bank. They shut down my account at least twice. Just make sure you have enough money. Bring more if you are worried. The dollar doesn’t go that far. Several people had money problems with their bank or credit card company
    5. Make sure to bring the converter box. I’m glad I did, but my clippers (hair) didn’t work right still.
    4. Bring an extra battery for your digital camera.
    3. Bring a calling card and make sure you have enough minutes on it. Or make sure your cell phone works. When i had the money problems, I had to dial home a lot. The hotel phones will charge you a lot.
    2. If you’re over 30, still go!!! I’m 32 and I was worried that I was too old for this trip. However, i had a blast and i went by myself and the average age on our trip was about mid to late 20s. That was great and I didn’t feel like a grampa. lol. Plus you’re only as old or young as you feel.
    1. Take a few minutes to relax and enjoy the places you are. They are amazing and its easy to get rushed trying to go to one tourist trap to the next. In Paris I spent the last two days there and i’m soooo glad i did because I got to see things on my own pace and just soak up the culture and location. I wasn’t on a schedule and it felt good.

    Finally I was wondering if i would be the only black person on my tour. Not that it was a big deal either way, but since I was going solo, i wondered if there would be another African-American on the tour. If you’re concerned about that or wondering, it didn’t impact my trip at all. i had a great time mingling and mixing with everyone. there were two other african-american girls on the trip. they came together as friends so they spent most of their time with each other. it was a great time and if you’re the only XYZ dont’ trip. Everyone was cool and we had a pretty diverse crowd of Asian, Blacks, Whites, American, Aussies, Spanish, Turkish, Gay, Straight. It was a great tour.

  • 17 Nov 2007 ckat said


    The one thing I was glad i brought… and so was everyone else… was “Tide To Go”. It was like liquid gold on the bus.

  • 18 Nov 2007 Vivz said


    This is something for the ladies..

    I stumbled across a mall kiosks in my local shopping centre, and they were selling these fashionable vintage, double-layered silk-blended wrap skirts. But the great thing is they actually can be converted to dresses, tops, shawls, and cover ups. Theres like 100 ways to wear them.

    Brilliant for whoever is going on a long contiki tour like me, and don’t know what to pack. Its like 100 in 1 this little masterpiece Big Grin<!--graemlin::D-->

More Discussions

Follow this Discussion



Visas? Money? Where to go? Chat to us about travel.