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Europe Advice - Answered Here

25 Sep 2008 Geoff C said

Geoff C
This basically covers everything from my experience on Contiki. I went on the European Whirl (18days Concept), but I'm sure it'll be quite helpful to anyone going around Europe.

Tour in general is incredibly fast paced. It's designed to maximise your amount of sight seeing in a short period of time.

Typical days would consist of:
Day 1: Travel for Full (or large part of) Day
Day 2: Explore city all day from early on in the morning

The first half of tour is spent in Hostels, the majority which are sweet (bearable), with only a few that were disappointing.
Second half is spent at camp-sites which again vary. The worst one I stayed in was in Venice.

Favourite Country: Germany
Favourite Cities: Berlin, Paris, Rome
Most Beautiful Scenery: Switzerland followed closely by Austria.
Cities I probably wouldn't go again in terms of sight seeing as I think I've seen all there really is to see: Venice, Amsterdam, Prague
Funniest Excursion: White Water Rafting


Food - Vegetarian

Food for Vegetarians was (for the most part) pretty ****. That goes for paid dinners and meals provided by Contiki. If you're Lactose or Vegan you'd do much better taking your own food or buying it as you go along. There's no cooking facilities and generally nowhere to store your food in a cool place so taken frozen meals/things that need to be refrigerated can be tough.

Special Diet meals in Europe in general is almost impossible to find, not like England where everything that's vegetarian/vegan. A helpful tip would be to learn how to say "Vegetarian" in the language of the countries you're attending as some places don't speak English and if they do, very limited.

On your Travel days, you would 9/10 being going to some crappy Diner which has **** all vegetarian options and piss poor food.


People on Tour

Your bus has about 50 people from different nationalities, the majority of them most likely being Australian (40 on Aussie, 6 Kiwi, 2 English, 2 American on my trip).

Each person has come for a different reason. It maybe to get absolutely smashed every night around Europe, to have a few drinks or solely to explore.

From what I've heard, there's bound to be couples who generally just stick together and don't socialise much. We were fortunate with our tour that most couples were cool and participated just as much as the single people.

Everyone will break up into little groups and will probably just hang with those certain people for the remainder of the tour.

Your tour manager and driver play a large part in how everything goes. We had a really awesome tour manager (Mecha) who partied with everyone and went outside his job description to ensure we enjoyed ourselves. It's not a requirement of the tour manager to do this. All they have to do is give you info so you don't get lost in town, arrange where you're stopping off next and ensure everyone is safe.

The other tours we met up with most of the time didn't appear nearly as close and didn't have the enthusiasm our group did.

Tips

Budget about 100 Euro ($200 NZ) per day if you can afford it. You may not need it all, but even if you're not drinking etc it's good to ensure you have extra money as (depending on your Tour manager) you'll probably want to do extra things off the itinerary. Of course if you're planning on doing heaps of shopping/drinking you'll want to have more.

Do all of the Excursions if you've never done them before or you can't afford it. This can be factored into your 100 Euro a day budget (I think it's about 500 Euro all up). The only excursion I didn't do was the group photo as the people who were important on tour would be in photos with me anyway.
Even the meals were really good in terms of bonding with the others on tour.

Take some Medication for any instance you may get sick. Everyone on our tour got really bad flu's and sore throats and missed some days on tour because of it. Especially take Multi-Vitamins as they'll probably decrease your chances of getting sick.

Have locks and money belts for Security. These probably won't come in use, but the last thing you want is to get robbed on holiday.

Have a book or learn the basics in every Language. Most places can speak little bits of English, but it really makes it easier when you're trying to ask for certain things.

Take back up batteries for your Camera and back up memory cards. If you're buying a camera before tour try and get one with a decent amount of optical zoom. I missed out on a few really good shots because my zoom was only like 4x Optical.

Washing and Drying clothes is incredibly expensive about 8 Euro ($20 NZ), so try take lots of clothes or think of other alternatives if possible.


Talk to everyone. You'll be surprised how much you have in common with different people.
  • 24 Oct 2011 Bec14 said

    Bec14

    thanks so much for that, im heading on this tour in sept 2012 and found this really helpful :)

  • 5 Dec 2011 Explorer1329361 said

    Default_avatar

    I found this blog that reviewed Contiki Europe tour – but just the food/restaurants …some good advice !
    It looks like this guy/girl is not finished yet though….so perhaps they will post more soon

    http://eatfamilylove.com/index.php/middle-childs-culinary-compass/

  • 13 Dec 2011 Reka803 said

    Reka803

    How are the people on the Greece tour are they just partying and drinking 24/7 or are they there to see the sites. I like to party and drink and dance but not take it overboard and obviously see all the beautiful sites. I am in the medium and just want a nice down to earth friendly nice group like in Simply Italy. The Spanish Spree people well 3/4 of them were just drunk all the time and our tour mamanger even had to discipline a few like a father seriously. I just want to make sure I do not have another experience like that although there were quite a few highlights, Ibizia was beautiful but expensive Spain is overall expensive. Many thanks and nice to meet some people!! :)

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