Road to Athens plus 3 day Greek Island Cruise » Review by LucyPERTH
Overall, the trip was incredible. I would definitely recommend this tour to anyone!!!! Even if you have seen Europe before. Incredibly amazing.. You'll be talking about it for years after (as I still am!).
For our tour, accommodation always varied.. but overall it was to a pretty good standard. I'd definitely recommend eating as much local cuisine as possible! Comfort-wise, the tour bus was great (except our toilet broke on the third or fourth day!). You get used to the travelling after a while, our tour-guide and bus driver were extremely friendly and always went out of their way for us. For example, one of the girls in our group left her passport in Paris, and our tour guide organised for it to be sent to Florence.. awesome stuff like that.
Packing-wise.. I wish I had packed less instead of more. Most of the girls on our trip took big suitcases which, gives room for shopping- but part of me also wishes I took a big backpack. Most people didn't have time to do copious amounts of shopping anyway. Things like dettol and babywipes really come in handy. I kept these in my day bag along with water, passport, money cards, phone, camera, toothbrush etc. It's important that you have a day bag that can fit everything you'd need for one night and the next day as well (for overnight ferries) as I found my day bag was too small. Buy an adaptor beforehand! You have no idea how impossible it is to find Australia to Europe over in Europe!
Obviously, your clothes will get SO smelly and a lot of the time people have to rush and put wet clothes into their luggage- so in the warmer countries buy washing detergent and hang your clothes out to dry. I think we had only two opportunities to do washing and even then it's hard to get a spot, because there are 50 odd piles of clothes to get through- and their may n ot be enough time. Something to bear in mind! In the beginning, you may find you are strapped for time and are rushed to get ready in the evening. I went with three girlfriends and between the four of us, we had two straighteners and a hairdryer. (Recommend bringing them if you need).
Make sure you pack shoes you can do activities in (such as bike riding, paragliding, walking etc). I didn't wear heels once. Also, don't take a towel with you. Buy a cheap one when you need it, saves you room in your luggage and we all left ours behind. Before my trip, I was debating whether or not to take my Canon SLR and I'm so glad I did. We didn't have any problems with security and lots of people took their SLR cameras. Make sure to take lots of padlocks for your bag however.
It's hard to pin point the best moments, when I look back on the trip the fun we had was mind-blowing and I literally cannot think of one low point the entire time. Fortunately, our group was an amazing mix of people and you'll find you will keep the friends you made on Contiki for life. We are planning on flying over to see our Contiki friends in Sydney in the near future. It's important not to form mini groups within your tour group, as we spoke to other Contiki groups in the Greek Islands and that was something they were having problems with. Be friends with everyone! :) Especially people who come from different countries. You'll find you will learn so much from them.
If I had to give one piece of advice, it would be to do all of the optionals, have the most positive attitude possible and try absolutely everything within your capability. The only people that were regretting things on our tour were those that opted out of group activities. Enjoy your Contiki! I wish I was going for round two!
Review written Oct 2011event 0.3