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I would like to start off by saying, that a few of the people on my tour had previously already done the Grand Southern and said that they preferred the Grand Southern over this tour- so if you're trying to choose between the two- hope that helps!
But anyway here is my experience on the Grand Northern..
-NEW YORK - absolutely incredible- read my review on the New York Uncovered which I did as an add on tour before the Grand Northern
-BOSTON - went to a hilarious restaurant called Dicks Last Resort which was extremely crude food wasnt great but drinks were strong and a good night was had by all
- EVERYTHING IN CANADA - candian landscape was beautiful especially in French Canada around Quebec! Fantastic city great places to go out, Niagara Falls was definitely one of the highlights
-CHICAGO! We were very fortunate to get to see the Chicago Bulls NBA game while we were there
- Mt Rushmore
- Snow in Wyoming and Yellowstone
- Grand Canyon- most humbling and beautiful place
- VEGAS! Unlike the Grand Southern this tour has 3 nights in Vegas and every second is a fantastic blur
- Tour gets really quiet between Chicago and Vegas... We stayed in lots of smaller towns and a lot of places were closed for the season as it was the last tour of the season before Winter .. also not many activities or places to go out
- Some of the accommodation was a little dodgy especially Cleveland and Kanab
- Kanab in general is a pretty dodgy little town and the included dinner was awful!
- Budget for tipping! And plenty of spending money (I took around $4000 AUD for the whole tour and that worked out about right! And I did almost all of the optionals)
- Make sure you are 21 before you book! A few underagers on the tour had to miss out on nights out which was a little disappointing for them :(
- Do the FULL tour (some of our group were only doing parts of the tour like North by North East etc.) rather than the full 26 days and they were very disappointed to have to leave us :(
- Go mid season as opposed to end of the season (October) a lot of activities (included and optionals) were unavailable and some days we had to make detours to our destinations because of the snow
-Pack for every season! Some places are incredibly hot and others incredibly cold, so pack a variety of warm and cool clothes because the weather changes in every city
- Talk to everyone on the bus! One of the best things about travel is the people you get to meet along the way.. Don't judge people before you get to know them and put yourself out there to make friends with everyone. You will be suprised at who you're doing Tequila shots with at the bar at the end of the night..
Overall, had an amazing time, made the best new friends I could possibly ask for and currently saving up to do the Grand Southern in 2013!
For anyone who hasn't done Contiki before, the experience is what YOU make of it and it will be different for everyone. Some people on my tour hated it and were very anti-social... needless to say they didn't have much fun. It is really about putting yourself out there, putting in the effort to make new friends, try things you wouldn't normally do and overall get out of your comfort zone!
Review written Dec 2012Read more reviews » Write a review