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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...<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="http://connect.contiki.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif" alt="Smiler" width="15" height="15"><!--graemlin::)-->
  • 17 Jun 2013 Jada said

    Jada

    So I’m going on my first Contiki (European Contrasts plus Corfu) on the 24th of August. Whats the weather like in Europe that time of year? I’m from Australia and it’s pretty hot over here so don’t want to freeze! Also does anyone recommend and to do’s when in Europe that the tour might not include? And it’s a 29 day tour any idea how much spending money I should take.. Hoping about $5000 would be enough? :)

  • 19 Jun 2013 Catherine said

    Catherine

    Question about luggage…so we can bring one suitcase, backpack (would this be considered an overnight bag?), AND purse?

  • 30 Jun 2013 Gemmaek said

    Gemmaek

    hi!
    im seeing alot of posts about european trips but im wondering if anone had done a latin america trip?
    im going on the mexican fiesta next april and would love to hear some feedback and tips bout the tour! thanks!!

  • 30 Jun 2013 Gemmaek said

    Gemmaek

    Hi All!
    im reading alot about the europeon tours on here but im wondering if anyone has done any latin america tours?
    im travelling next april to do the mexican fiesta tour and if anybody had any feedback or tips about the tour that would be fantastic! thanks!

  • 2 Jul 2013 RosyThomson said

    Default_avatar

    Hi
    Liked the discussion.Found many interesting thing to pack before we leave for a tour. Don’t forget to collect your favorite music collection in your iPod.

  • 3 Jul 2013 Leigh said

    Leigh

    For those who have been on the Europe trips in the Fall, is there a pretty decent mix of ages on the tour or does it tend to be younger? I will be 28 when I go this year and I was just wondering if I’ll be considered old on my trip, heh.

  • 3 Jul 2013 Sarah said

    Sarah

    Hey there Elizabeth, I’m from aus also….just wondering what type of travel cards you are using. I was looking at getting a cash passport from matercard as it doesn’t carry fees, however, the only two currencies it supports that I’m going to is pounds and euros…I’m also going to czech repub and a few others that don’t do
    euros. Do you know of any others we can use or?

    snd Leigh I doubt you’ll be old!

  • 4 Jul 2013 Elizabeth said

    Elizabeth

    Hey Sarah. The cash passport is the only thing like that I know of, but check out the 28 degrees credit card – http://www.28degreescard.com.au – it has no international transaction fees and you can load up extra cash on it before you go or just pay some off through internet banking along the way if you need more. I used it last time I went to Europe and it was pretty good, no complaints. So if you used something like that in combination with the cash passport that would probably do you!
    Also Leigh, I’m 27 doing Simply Italy in September, I also doubt you’ll be old!

  • 4 Jul 2013 Sarah said

    Sarah

    Thanks for replying Elizabeth! Yeah my mate is in europe at the moment and says the 28 degrees card has been the best thing. I researched it a bit and couldn’t see any debit card options…but yeah he said to just load money onto it as you go. Commonwealth travel card seems to have a few fees and doesn’t seem worth it to be honest. Thinking about just taking my debit, credit, cash passport card and probably the 28 degree one now. Just have to apply for it! Ah so much planning….just hating the thought of being stuck somewhere without access to money!

  • 4 Jul 2013 Elizabeth said

    Elizabeth

    Yeah I just take a few different options so if one doesn’t work I have backup :) for my trip i’ll be taking 2 credit cards, cash passport and some cash as well.

  • 30 Jul 2013 Megs said

    Megs

    I’m really glad that I:
    *had a super comfy travel pillow and an oversized scarf – useful for absolutely everything!
    *packed bug spray to keep away the mosquitoes
    *did all the optionals I wanted to do
    *went to bed early the first night I felt sick
    *went to the kickstart meeting and spoke to people on facebook before the trip. It made going alone much less scary
    *went alone – I learnt so much about myself and really got out my comfort zone
    *socialised with everyone and tried to sit at a different place at dinner most nights
    *read up on everything before I went – I was prepared where a lot of people weren’t which means things didn’t upset me much
    *changed my plans on a whim and didn’t stress about seeing everything and rather enjoyed what I did see
    *tried to use the language in each country
    *took the time to speak to the onsite teams, my TM and driver coz they were all incredible!

    I wish that I had:
    *not underestimated the Contiki cough
    *found better brownies in Amsterdam
    *taken more videos that aren’t upside down
    *planned where to keep my key so I wouldn’t need to jump through the window
    *brought antistax with me so my feet wouldn’t get swollen
    *had time to travel longer afterwards!

    That’s all I can think of for now. Haha.

  • 14 Aug 2013 Ben said

    Ben

    Excellent topic! going on an contiki in September and there is so much helpful ideas in this thread thanks all.

  • 22 Aug 2013 Rylan Parker said

    Default_avatar

    Yes. I had been to Kolkata a few years ago and that too on the eve of the traditional Durga Puja and missed the whole mass rally that passed from just outside the lodge I was staying at because I was dead tired and couldn’t get out of bed.

  • 4 Sep 2013 Laura Cowen said

    Laura Cowen

    Following this discussion! It’s fantastic!! :)

  • 5 Sep 2013 Sbrown said

    Sbrown

    This place is filled with amazing information!! I’m sure it’s been asked somewhere but I can’t read all 38 pages, what is the weather like in the fall season. I’m doing London, Paris, and Amsterdam sept 27-Oct 6. What advice do you guys have. I’m so nervous!! Will I have time to explore each city on my own. Can skip out on some of the excursions and do my own thing one day? HELP!!

  • 9 Oct 2013 annabel_walsh said

    annabel_walsh

    anyone have advice to do with the grand southern tour?

  • 17 Oct 2013 Kelsey said

    Default_avatar

    @ Annabel_walsh – I did the southern adventure which is half of the grand southern and ends in New Orleans. It is such a great tour, I wish I had stayed on and done the whole trip with everyone. What time of year are you going? We went jan-feb and needed all types of clothing because Vegas is warm enough for jeans and a tshirt but then Colorado it was snowing. Pick out your optionals before going – makes it easier to budget for sure. I think I spent about $3500 for 5 weeks total travelling in the US.

  • 18 Oct 2013 Ben said

    Ben

    Did the European Vista, not really disappointed about anything and somethings were both good and bad but things that i did miss out on were
    regrets:
    -missed out on the heineken experience in Amsterdam supposedly amazing too.
    - got blinded at Oktoberfest don’t remember anything and struggled to find my way back to the hotel. therefore I didn’t get to experience Oktoberfest properly aka didn’t have any food or buy any merch etc.
    - didn’t buy many souvenirs til the last minute.
    - didn’t plan anything or organize anything.
    -doing all the optionals i didnt mind it doing them all but some were hit or miss and i’d rather have more free time than time wasted. aka: the bunker in Prague is a big miss and so were the italian walking tours.
    - not going to the meet up in London, missed my flight and had to meet up in Paris lol.
    -packing alot of stuff i didn’t need but just followed the guide: bug spray, sunscreen, swimmers.
    -left my vitamins at home probably wouldn’t of gotten this sick.
    - wish i got a gopro as well probably wouldnt use it much outside travelling but a couple of guys had them and they were awesome.
    - Paragliding was cancelled due to the rain, fog and wind.

    #noregrets:
    + some of the optionals were awesome: Monaco dinner was the best feed, Whitewater rafting was a great experience and excellent team building.
    + didn’t do all the pub crawls as i was tired enough as it was at the end of the day and i didn’t miss out on much from what i heard.
    + saw most of the big attractions at each place.
    + got blinded at Oktoberfest
    + high in Amsterdam
    thats all that comes to mind.

  • 29 Oct 2013 Samantha said

    Samantha

    I did the European Impressions in June 2013

    First thing i want to make sure people know if that you are on the coach alot of the time to get from place to place. When the itinarery says you have one night somewhere it really means one night. You drive most the day to get there have that afternoon/night to explore then leave the next morning for your next destination so if there was place you were hoping to spend more time in then make sure to choose a tour that has atleast two nights there as then you will get a whole day inbetween the nights!

    I went on this tour by myself, on my particular tour there were 5 girls on their own and 3 boys. If your not sure about going on your own dont be, after the initial first couple hours/day everyone is very friendly and people were sure to include me if they saw me on my own. I booked a twin room which is a great idea i think so that you have someone else who is on their own to get to know, i was lucky enough that i got along so well with my roommate and became really good friends.

    If your worried about the language barrier dont be, your contiki guide is very helpful and our guide handed out pages with phrases and words you need to know for each country we went too.

    I did the Hotel tour which I was very impressed with the quality of some of the places we stayed, the only hotels that were a bit dodgy looking were the italy ones however most italian hotels are small and old fashioned no matter where you stay. If your happy to go camping/hostels then go for it however if you are like me and feel more comfortable sleeping in a hotel then its definately worth the money to go that way.

    I read on here to pack good walking shoes however it wasnt really needed, yes you do alot of walking however a good pair of sandals or even just a pair of converse/ canvas casual would suffice.

    If your tour ends in paris I would recommend staying in paris a few extra nights as it really is an amazing city and there is so so much to do and see in such a short time. In my tour only 10 of us went back to london instead of staying but wish i had stayed!

    When it comes to optional activities I would suggest doing as many as you can, the optionals really bring everyone togeather as a group especially on the first few nights as it breaks the ice and after a few drinks people get more comfortable and chatty.

    It is highly important you pack a travel neck pillow for the bus as most bus days are spent sleeping as you can be on the bus for up to 4 hours at a time with not a whole lot to look at, i packed several books for me which were great to pass the time on trips. If you do get motion sickness quite easily i would suggest not having a massive night before a big day on the bus!

    I was very happy that I didnt overpack, there are a few places that let you do washing for really cheap about half way through the trip and ladies there are plenty of shopping opportunites for some new outfits so i would say underpack if you can. As i work in a pharmacy i took as many medicines as I could incase anything happened, and it is true about the contiki cough most people on my tour got it. Insure to take a dry cough syrup and some cold and flu tablets to kick it in the butt as soon as it happens! Dont bother with travel size shampoos and conditions as you go through them too quickly just get normal size toiletries and throw out whatever you dont use at the end of your tour.

    Last thing i can think to mention is, dont feel like your missing out if you decide to not go out a couple nights, me and my roommate had an early night in maybe every 3 or 4 nights and do not regret it at all. Usually the people that went out everynight had the same stories to tell the next day and half of them cant remember it anyway. Dont feel lame if you dont drink much as you can still have just as much fun.

    if you want to ask me any quesitons feel free to messege me!

  • 9 Nov 2013 Aleisha91 said

    Aleisha91

    Hi everyone,
    I have done three contikis now, if anyone needs some tips please let me know!
    I have been on the euro contrasts, mexican grande and costa rica unplugged :)
    Happy travelling :)

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