03 Oct 2013 - 28 Oct 2013
I did this as my first EVER adventure overseas solo. Now I must admit I was nervous at first, and that my parents worried about their 21 yo old daughter was going across America on her own.... BUT IT WAS THE BEST THING I EVER DID!
I was lucky enough to have Blake Franks as my tour manager and I couldnt fault the guy! There wasn't one night that he didnt go out of his way to find night life for us, and to be honest I dont think there was a night that he didnt join us!
You may be scared to be a loner BUT my group of 53 (full bus) was amazing! I made a whole new family (so much nudity and partying but in a good way) that I never felt homesick when I was away!
I did the tour in October, so it was getting to the cool side, but we were still able to do the Water rafting in Durango (It's not crazy rapids, but it is good fun! We even got to see beavers pretty close!) If you can line up the tour with the Albuquerque Balloon festival I would highly recommend it! We got to be part of the 400 balloons that went up during the morning and it was honestly the most amazing experiece of my life!
UNFORTUNATELY we were meant to do the Grand Canyon, but were there during the Government Shut-Down, so we didnt get to stay in the cabins... HOWEVER Contiki lined it up well and gave us another night in Vegas and the chance to do the helicopter tour that lands in the Grand Canyon on indian land and have lunch inside the Grand Canyon (not the usual offering). I am glad that we got this as seeing the size of me compared to the canyon really put it into perspective.
TIP: I wouldnt plan to diet on this tour... The Southern food is to die for! Try everything!!! Deep fried pickles are AMAZING!!!
I would do this tour again in a heart beat.... Infact I AM! I honestly struck gold with this tour, and I really thank my CONTIKI FAMILY, BLAKE FRANKS, and MARCUS MORMON (driver) for the best days of my life
Review written Jun 2014event 0.3
17 Apr 2014 - 12 May 2014
This trip is a 'must do' for anyone planning to do Contiki in America!
I did this trip in April and it was an amazing. I did things I never thought I would do and saw some amazing things! We had the most awesome tour manager, Rachel, who was just excellent and definitely made the trip more amazing!
Being on a pretty tight budget I didn't do many of the optionals but there are always other things to go see and do but I would definitely budget for all of the optionals even if you don't do all of them.
All of the accommodation was pretty good, there were a couple of hotels we stayed in that weren't that great but you don't spend much time in hotel room anyway.
The tour is split into 3 so you can do LA-New Orleans, New Orleans-NY or the full trip LA-NY. I would definitely recommend doing the entire trip. you get to bond with more people and see more.
I went as a solo traveler and had made friends on the first day. A lot of the people are in the same boat and are by themselves so you just have common ground and its easy to make friends. Going out with the group at night is also a great way to get to know everyone, even if you're not a big party person or a big drinker, it doesn't matter, there will be people who will go out every night and get drunk but its what you make of it, you don't have to get drunk, just go out to have a good time!
Rooming with another person was definitely a new experience for me and it was great! If you don't get on with your roommate its not that big of a deal because you're not in your room that often anyway.
My advice would be to try as much as you can, be open to trying new things, try to research the places you are going to before so that when you have free time you can go explore more effectively.
Do the Grand Southern, you won't regret it!
Review written May 2014event 0.3
17 Apr 2014 - 12 May 2014
I did this trip in April and it was amazing. I did things i never would do back at home like hot air ballooning it was sooo much fun! If anyone is considering doing this trip i would definitely recommend it. We had an awesome tour manager Rachel, seriously we got so lucky having her.
We did have a tornado warning during our trip but it actually bonded everyone together closer. I would recommend doing as many optionals as possible and going out with the group at night even if you are not a drinker just so you can be social and bond with everyone because that's where a lot of the fun happens.
If anyone is thinking of doing only half the tour i would suggest doing the 1st half (LA-New Orleans) instead of the 2nd half (New Orleans-NYC) as the 1st half has a lot more optionals and things to do. I also found in more enjoyable then the 2nd half although Miami was amazing. If you have the money however i think it is totally worth it to do the full tour. Also it is a little harder for new people starting in new orleans to feel like they can approach the other people who have already been traveling together since LA so keep that in mind if your doing the 2nd half on the tour because you will be joining people who have already met, dont worry though most people are more then exciting to meet new people.
I went as a SOLO traveler and had no problems making awesome friends from the 1st night so dont worry if your going alone, i think it is actually better because we definitely witnessed some friendships being broken up and being tested throughout the tour. Rooming with another person you dont know can be difficult depending on who you get stuck with but you are only there to sleep so dont worry to much........ and trust me most of the time you dont sleep thats what the bus is for.
The best advice i could give you would be to have an OPEN MIND ( Learn new cultures, explore new places, don't stereotype people before you get to know them, etc), TRY AS MUCH AS YOU CAN even the things that scare you because you will come back home and realise how much you have grown from your travel.
I hope everyone who does this tour has as much fun as i did.
Review written May 2014event 0.3
20 Jun 2013 - 15 Jul 2013
I went on this trip by myself and before I had even got to LA I was already speaking with 15+ people who were also doing this trip. We had such a great group of people who all got along and it was our tour managers first trip by himself taking a group. There were big days and long nights out partying and sightseeing of course, but it evens itself out when you have long bus days so you can sleep it off! Never say no to anything because you will regret it. Met so many awesome people, and keep in contact with alot and planning future holidays together even. This really was a trip of a lifetime, there is so much to see and do in America, and travelling solo via Contiki is the best way. Hopefully one day I will do the Grand Northern and have the same experience. 26 days is the perfect amount of time. Don't think about it for too long, this is something you wont' regret!
Review written Feb 2014event 0.3
05 Sep 2013 - 30 Sep 2013
I recently returned from my trip doing the Grand Southern (LA to NY) - this was honestly the best time of my life! It was my first time overseas, so I travelled with my sister and we had a blast! Of course we were nervous going but once we were there and met everyone on our bus we lost all our nerves. Our group became family. We were blessed to have such amazing people on our tour and a great tour guide Andy. Since we have been back everyone has organised multiple contiki catch ups and we are all heading to Brisbane for Australia Day next year together! I have definitely made friends for life. From the very start it was a lot of partying and socializing. There were always moments to wind down and catch up on sleep on the bus. I wouldn't recommend doing this tour if you are under 21 as it would be extremely difficult to watch the rest of the group go out almost every night and be stuck in the hotel room. I am happy to answer any specific questions if you would like more info. My advice is to JUST BOOK IT! You will have #noregrets :)
Review written Feb 2014event 0.3
13 Dec 2012 - 07 Jan 2013
This was the best trip we've ever been on! We made so many good friends and are still feeling post-holiday blues 5 months after our trip ended - wish we still on the bus! It is a fast-paced trip, sometimes covering two states in one day - but this is what you must do to see more in the time-frame (and to get more for your money) - I wouldn't change any of it. We had plenty of time at the main locations (my highlight was the Grand Canyon with it's first snowfall for the year).
The optional extras were great - especially snowmobiling, some optionals are dependent on month and/or daily weather. Accommodation was great in most places, all were hotel rooms. Our bus driver and tour guide absolutely rocked and made our trip.
This was our first organised trip where we let someone else take charge and it was worth it. We are now looking at Contiki again to do Europe in 2014. P.S. If you're feeling extra adventurous, get hitched in Las Vegas like we did on Day 2!
Review written Jun 2013event 0.3
19 Jul 2012 - 13 Aug 2012
Dear Contikians, this tour was so awesome that i made an Epic Tour Montage Video - Check it out if you have the time and want to see what its all about.
Now planning my next Contiki Holiday!
Review written Jan 2013event 0.3
05 Jul 2012 - 30 Jul 2012
This tour was the trip of a lifetime! Every day was exciting and I had the time of my life. I travelled by myself, which I was worried about to begin with, but from the first day I met such amazing friends from all around the world and who i still keep in touch with. The accomodation was absolutely amazing, very comfortable and we always had a double bed each - bonus! The optionals were spectacular and definitely worth the money - isn't often where you'll hear someone hot air ballooned over Alburquerque or did a tour of Dallas Cowboys Stadium! The tour guides are so informative and the bus driver was keen to get to know everyone. The worst day of the tour was saying goodbye and knowing it was finished! I want to go back ASAP and am planning on doing the Grand Northern. My advice for anyone even considering it - JUST DO IT! You will have no regrets and will find that 26 days isn't even long enough, so take the risk, and travelling alone was the best decision i have ever made :)
Review written Dec 2012event 0.3
04 Oct 2012 - 29 Oct 2012
Truly had the time of my life!! i have already suggested this tour to so many friends and a few have now booked. Our Tour guide and bus driver were brilliant funniest blokes around the Accommodation was fantastic but what really made the trip were the people and the new found friends i've made! I'm so thankful i did this trip alone and recommend it to anyone :)
Review written Nov 2012event 0.3
09 Aug 2012 - 03 Sep 2012
Contiki Grand Southern was INCREDIBLE! Can't believe how much I got to see and do in just 26 days! Vegas was sensational, the night life in New Orleans is like nothing I've ever experienced - you must go to Bourbon St! Even some of the smaller towns along the way, like Savannah, were some of the best nights on the trip! The bus trip was fun, as there were always people to chat to or games going on, or you could just sleep after the big nights out! Personally, my favourite optionals were the helicopter flight over the Grand Canyon (amazing experience!), white water rafting in Durango, the rodeo and Cowboy Stadium tour in Dallas, riverboat dinner cruise in New Orleans, Universal Studios in Orlando and the Miami party booze cruise. And of course, the people that I travelled with were incredible. By the end of the trip I had made so many amazing new friends! The people you meet and experience everything with on the trip is what makes it so great, I am really happy that I decided to go on my own too! I also highly recommend staying in New York after the Contiki, its an incredible place and there's heaps to see and do there! Everyone who is thinking about doing this tour, you definitely won't regret it!!! I had the time of my life.
Review written Oct 2012event 0.3
23 Aug 2012 - 17 Sep 2012
It was the best thing i have ever done in my life, i travelled with my sister but yet made sooo many friends from around australia. We both had the time of our lives, our whole crew drank every night and was up bright and early for the bus the next day. Travelling on the busy across the country made it sooo much more fun, we played games and caught up on sleep. I would love to do it again, but worried that it would not come close to the adventure i have recently experienced. Must say though i am considering doing the Grand Northern next year!!!!! It is definately something that everyone under 35 should do in their life :)
Review written Sep 2012event 0.3
05 Jul 2012 - 30 Jul 2012
This tour was amazing and quite honestly the best month of my life. I met so many new friends. From LA to New York, so much was crammed in. Highlights were definitely Vegas, Dallas, Memphis and New Orleans but everything was incredible. Every place we went was better than the last and I'm only sorry that it's over. Our tour manager Tony was so knowledgeable and helpful and our driver Ray was a real gentleman, always willing to accommodate 53 passengers everyday on long journeys. I think they made the tour for me! Both were great fun and made a real effort with all of us. The coach was actually quite comfortable and I really enjoyed our journey times because it was a chance to chill out and chat with my new friends. The included meals were always of very good quality (I never went hungry!) and there were plenty of optionals to enjoy - some top ones included the Haunted House in Dallas, Hot Air Balloon ride in Albuquerque, the dinner cruise in New Orleans and the Miami cruise. The quality of the hotels was quite good as well. I couldn't recommend this tour more. I'd do it all again in a heartbeat.
Review written Aug 2012event 0.3
16 Jul 2012 - 10 Aug 2012
If you want a trip of a lifetime... book the grand southern. Dont be scared by the 26 days as i could have done double the amount. There were so many amazing optionals do to along the way, helicopter rides over the grand canyon,dallas cowboys stadium tour,limo rides in vegas and thats just to name a few.All of the accommodation was great, heaps of room and always central with plenty to do in your free time.We always had good food to eat and there were always plenty of options and all of the included meals in the tour never dissapointed. I was lucky that i made some of the most amazing friends and by 1/2 way through the trip our contiki group turned into family.My favourite places were vegas,miami,cocoa beach and dallas,taxas and of course NEW ORLEANS!.Be prepared tho... depending on your group will depend on the state of your liver. We literally drank 23/26 nights !! Adri was my TM, if you get her, goodluck..you will fall in love with her.She is amazing, super helpful and knows EVERYTHING about USA. You do spend a lot of time on the bus getting to your next stop, but a ipad and ipod keep you occupied and movies are played and sometimes games too. This isnt a beach holiday, you will feel for a good 40% of the trip you are in the wild west, at first i was thinking i wasnt going to like it, but texas,memphis etc was where i had some of my funnest nights out and memories.All in all i would say dont wait, just book it. I would do it again in a heartbeat.
Review written Aug 2012event 0.3
05 Apr 2012 - 30 Apr 2012
This was my first time ever out of Australia and I was also travelling for the first time on my own and I must say I had the best time of my life so far. I met so many new friends as it ended up being 3 different contiki's in one with Grand Southern, Southern Adventure (LA to New Orleans) & Eastern Discovery (New Orleans to New York). My tour manager & driver were awesome the tour manager had so much knowledge of all the places we went to and set up awesome night life for everyone. My highlights were definitely Las Vegas, Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, Dallas, Memphis, Miami, Washington DC then New York after the tour finished. And going to see Gracelands, Kennedy space center, Arlington National Cemetery & all the memorials as well as museums in DC. I already miss it all and everyone I met and I only been home for a week.
Review written May 2012event 0.3
08 Dec 2011 - 02 Jan 2012
One word... AMAZING!
I had THE best month of my life! My only regret was not doing this sooner! Contiki was great! We had an awesome tour guide and driver that really went above and beyond. The 26 days went so fast, that I think we all would have stayed on the bus for another 26 days, if we had the chance. America is an awesome country and this tour definately did not disappoint. Loads of shopping, drinking, partying and sights. Best moments on the tour would have to be... Partying in Vegas (although that did hurt a little the next day :P ... ) Helicopter ride over the Grand Canyon, Bourban Street in New Orleans (earn your beads girls! hehe) spending Christmas in Miami and exploring New York! The other people on tour were so much fun and you definately make friends for life!! The food was also a highlight! :P I wish I was back on tour now!! Do this tour if you .... NO, just do this tour!!
Review written Feb 2012event 0.3
08 Dec 2011 - 02 Jan 2012
Best 26 Days of my life! Did so much and saw so much of America from Vegas to the Grand Canyon, Memphis to New Orleans plus so much more!! I would highly recommend this tour to anyone who wants to really get a taste of America. Accommodation was comfortable nothing to fancy which is all you really need. Most hotels have free Wi-Fi and at least one laundromat. Lots of optional activities to choose from plus a wide range of food options as well. Tour group was incredible best people to travel with. Even if you are under 21 you will still have the time of your life (speaking for myself as i am under 21). You do spend a lot of time on the bus so for some that might be a downside but its a great way to see the country. Some highlights included a helicopter flight over the Grand Canyon, snowmobiling in the Rockies, a river boat dinner in New Orleans and a night tour of Washington DC.
Review written Jan 2012event 0.3
03 Nov 2011 - 28 Nov 2011
Had the best time of my life. managed to fit so much in to such a short time. stayed in really nice places, saw everything from drag shows to gators (alligators) did everything from helicoptering over the grand canyon to karaoke to air boating to ghost hunting. would totally recommend this to anyone who want to see america. we meet some awesome locals, some crazy locals. Our tour manager and bus driver were awesome. fun, interesting and just down right cool!! made some amazing friends who i will be friends with forever! thank you contiki!!
Review written Dec 2011event 0.3
18 Aug 2011 - 12 Sep 2011
This trip was amazing, I met so many amazing people and we saw heaps of awesome places. You literally see every different facade of American culture. The optionals were all super fun and the crew we super helpful and tonnes of fun to be around. They went above and beyond to make our trip enjoyable.
I would recommend this trip to everyone. If you have ever wanted to see America do it. The tour guide was very knowledgeable and knew everything about everywhere we went. You learn alot about the culture but you also have loads of fun while doing it.
Review written Oct 2011event 0.3