05 Nov 2015 - 17 Nov 2015
Firstly, I highly recommend this tour for anyone who is unsure if they should travel to the USA.
Rachel Bushner was our tour manager and she is highly knowledgable and gave us a massive insight to every place we visited.. The bus driver, less enthusiastic but got us from A to B. Rachel made playlists and regular stops along the way so we got the best possible experience of our life.
Making friends is really easy, you get used to being out at 2am and waking up at 6am for the bus. Sometimes they'll sick around and you'll see them after the tour has finished and some you'll never talk to again.
Here is my full review on the tour.
I went in November, it was a little warm for a winter, but was cool in some places. IE, the Grand Canyon. I also suggest taking pillows and a blanket to sleep on the bus as the trips can be long a tiring. Also take some card games to play with your fellow passengers, it makes boning a hell of a lot easier.
Los Angeles, is alright. We stayed in downtown LA and there wasn't much to do, expect head over to Hollywood or Universal Studios.
Las Vegas, was incredible. I highly recommend doing the $10 surprise, everyone did it on my tour and it was amazing. Best $10 spent. All the inclusions are amazing as well. I also suggest doing the High Roller, but do it at night, you get a full 360 degree view of Vegas. Don't oversleep on the morning of your departure either, you'll have the bus waiting for a while on you.
Grand Canyon, will take your breath away. It was a little chilly, but the views are absolutely stunning. Do the optional helicopter flight, I almost chickened out, but some a quick chat with Bushy and I was ready to go. You get an amazing view of the canyon. Well worth my money. I didn't do the Jeep tour, but heard it was good. Also go watch the sunset and sunrise on the edge of the canyon. It will take your breath away - trust me.
Durango, Via Monument Valley.
We stopped at Monument Valley, which was pretty awesome, learnt about the Novajo's and their culture. Also got to walk on the ride where Forrest Gump ran along. Durango was a short visit, we went to a local bar and played some beer bong and danced on the bar, before meeting some very interesting locals.
Albuquerque, was one of the highlights of the tour. Such a nice little city, we can the option here to go to the Breaking Bad House, which I didn't attend. Buffet style dinner was god followed by some Karaoke. Our optional Hot air ballon trip was cancelled due to windy conditions, so we got to sleep in. This was another one night stop over.
Amarillo, now we're talking. Visiting Texas was the highlight of my tour. Something about Texas that I loved so dearly. Here we watched two of our fellow Contiki members try and conquer the Steak Challenge, which they both failed on. The food at the steak house was amazing. The night followed by some line dancing, beer pong and some dancing, until there was about 4 of us left until closing time. Amarillo, was another one night stop over, with an early get up - running on no sleep..
Dallas, arriving in Dallas we got the option to head to the Ice Hockey after our included dinner, which for me was an awesome experience. We watched Dallas vs Winnipeg. The atmosphere was amazing, followed by visiting the honky tonk. Here you also have the option to visit AT&T Stadium, which is a must do, even if you don't support NFL. I love the Dallas Cowboys, so I was like a kid in a candy store. Also visit the JFK Museum, the place has a wealth of knowledge and I could've spent all day in there. In the evening you also visit the Rodeo in Fort Worth. Which once again is an amazing experience, the calf tying may upset a few people. I also got the sad news of a friend passing away while I was here, so I was a bit of a downer while I was in Dallas.
Memphis, visiting Beale St is a must. Four of our Contiki boys took on a burger challenge here, was assuming to watch, but also made the stomach churn and how big the burger was. Visiting Graceland is a bucket list item tick, do check out the Rock and Soul museum and Sun studios.
I unfortunately this is where my tour ended, I wasn't able to go to New Orleans, but I heard it was an amazing experience for all who went.
To sum it up, the Southern Adventure is well worth every single cent, there was not one place where I felt it wasn't worth my money. If you don't sleep in your hotel, catch up on your sleep on the bus, bus buddies make comfortable pillows. Try and mix and match with people. I sat with my roomie for the first few stops, before I started talking and making other friends. Make sure you stay hydrated and go to the bathroom before you leave and at stops. Don't be that person who stinks out the bus. Take snacks as sometimes you'll be stuck in traffic for a very long time.
I can not praise Rachel Bushner enough for her wealth of knowledge and making this the best possible trip ever. I would happily do the Grand Southern Adventure next time, visiting the same places and many many more.
Review written May 2016event 0.3
12 Oct 2015 - 24 Oct 2015
before I talk about this tour I'll just preface by saying that before booking this, see if you can possibly afford to book the Grand Southern. Getting off the tour in New Orleans and watching all your friends continue on to New York is pretty sad. If you can manage to do the Grand then absolutely do it.
Now, to this tour. It was breathtakingly amazing! I honestly can't say enough good things. I'd done Contikis before and enjoyed them, but our Road team on this trip was just outstanding. Our tour manager was Charity and she was so friendly, helpful and just lovely. Her historical knowledge of the areas was excellent and her tours were much better than the local guides. She went out of her way to make our trip amazing, booking extra activities and giving personal tips to help us out. Our driver was Harold (the Chocolate Man) and we just loved him! He was funny, friendly and a great driver. Together, this team was the best!!!
I always get car sick so I was a little worried about the bus days but we played games, watched movies and had time to sleep and I wasn't sick even once!!! Plus, we stopped regularly for food and shopping breaks.
I travelled with a friend, but we also made lots of friends on the tour. It was just a great group of people. I also recommend doing the extras, they really make the trip memorable and you'll regret not doing them.
Monument Valley was a surprising highlight for me. It was simply breathtaking. In Durango go to the Rocky Mountain chocolate factory and buy triple what you think you should buy. We snack on it for the whole trip and it was the best chocolate ever!!! You'll be sad when it runs out.
- Bring ear plugs in case your roommate snores
- there's no phone coverage at the Grand Canyon so warn family and friends back home that you'll be off the grid for a few days. There is limited wifi but it's very weak
- bring an alarm. We leave the hotels early in the morning and we almost had to leave a few people behind because they slept in.
- eat local foods. You'll enjoy the experience so much more if you embrace the culture
- do the extras! They are so worth it
- if you can do the Grand Southern then DO IT!!! This tour was great but you'll hate watching everyone continue without you
Review written Nov 2015event 0.3
08 Jun 2015 - 20 Jun 2015
I am officially obsessed with Contiki! I was so nervous about doing another Contiki as my first one was just unbelievable & i thought nothing could possible top it. But i went in with an open mind & told myself it is a complete different experience & just take it as it comes and that i did.
The tour its self was so much fun and definitely value for money, the accommodation was great! I was so blown away after doing the hostel style tour in Europe. The rooms & beds were amazing and you were always in the centre of the towns.
The sites the towns where do i start, they were all so cool & so much fun, biggest highlight would of been the helicopter ride over the Grand Canyon. This is a must DO! and do the more expensive one worth every penny. All the optionals are great, bedsides the white water rafting in Durango, it was more like cruising down the river in a blow up boat id recommend doing the horse riding or just exploring the town. All the included & paid meals were great! The coach was super comfy & the drives weren't too long & Rachel would put on a movie that would relate to our next stop so that was a good way to past time if you weren't catching up on sleep.
What really makes Contiki are the people & the tour manager, the bus was full of different personalities but i loved them all! Once again i gained a bunch of new friends & even some new best friends. Rachel was our tour manager and i really don't think there is a word to describe her! She is honestly one of the most AMAZING humans i have ever come across, she is unbelievably awesome at her job. Everything was so organized and she ran the the tour so smoothly & any unexpected hiccups she was straight on to it, but at the same time she was able to be a great friend to us all, she knew how to get us all together and have a good time. I definitely think she was everyones favourite person.
**PLEASE READ BEFORE BOOKING** Sadly i had 1 #Regret & before i even started the trip i knew it would be a regret. Anyone looking to book this trip it is a split trip, its a mix of 3 tours, so there is the Grand Southern which starts in LA & finishes in New York, the Southern Adventure which is the this tour which goes from LA to New Orleans & the Eastern Discovery which starts in New Orleans & finishes in New York. When you start the tour it is a mix of The S.A tour & the G.S, In New Orleans the S.A tour sadly says goodbye & the new E.D people join the tour. This is the hardest thing to do & sucks & you will definitely regret not choosing to do the Grand Southern. I had already booked part of my trip & chose to throw in a short Contiki before the rest of the trip. So i knew i'd prob regret it & if i had nothing booked after i would of 100% paid to continue. So before booking try save up any $$ you can and try do the Grand, either way you'll have a blast but that is my biggest recommendation.
Check out my Instagram - "" toddy "" for pics of the trip =D
Review written Aug 2015event 0.3
14 Aug 2014 - 26 Aug 2014
This trip is ideal for those seeking a great mix of history, adventure, exciting back country authenticity and seeing the beautiful South. Loved the pace, friends and great food along the way!!!
Review written Aug 2014event 0.3
06 May 2014 - 18 May 2014
As the title says, this trip was absolutely amazing. Before I continue writing about the trip, I highly recommend you do the Grand Southern which continues on after the Southern Adventure. You begin to make these close friendships and you really don't want to leave once those 13 days are up, while majority of the others continue travelling.
Firstly the tours were a lot of fun. I ended up spending around $500 on my optional extras but it was so worth it. From rafting in the hail in Durango, to touring around one of the biggest NFL stadiums in Dallas, to seeing the Grand Canyon via a helicopter, to watching an amazing Circus De Soleil show in Vegas and if only we got to go Hot Air ballooning in Albuquerque but unfortunately it was too windy. There are loads of extras that everyone will enjoy. Even the included activities are fun like going down the Vegas strip in a Hummer or seeing Elvis place in Gracelands.
Our Tour guide Lee was awesome. Even though he was Australian he had a very good knowledge of every single place that we went. Kevin our bus driver was also full of energy and was a joy to travel with. As you have probably read from other peoples reviews, there are long bus rides. You are normally driving from 8am and not arriving at your next destination until 4, 5 sometimes 6pm. There are constant stops and sometimes we would stop in towns to check them out for an hour or two e.g. Santa Fe. The bus rides are known for sleeping as you are most likely going to be partying every night. My recommendation is to buy a pillow when you stop at Walmart! They also give you sheets of information for every single stop with ideas on where to go and what to see which was perfect. I would have loved for there to be more games played on the bus.. but hey majority of the time everyone was asleep from the big nights.
The accommodation on this tour was actually really good. Nearly all of the hotels had wifi and laundry facilities and if not, there was always wifi at a Starbucks or McDonalds close by. I don't think I heard any complaints about the accommodation actually. 90% of the restaurants that were included were great. If anyone from Contiki is reading this, get rid of the italian restaurant in Vegas. The food was horrible and we found some not nice things in our food.
If not all, you will definitely find some of your fellow Contiki travellers to be friends for life. Even though majority of the people on my tour were Australians, I still met a lot of people from around the world. Everyone was lovely.
I highly recommend this tour BUT I would even more recommend doing the full Grand Southern Adventure!!
Review written Jun 2014event 0.3
05 Sep 2013 - 17 Sep 2013
I loved every minute of this tour, great locations and the places you stay are quite central and close to everything. my only regret is not doing the grand southern tour and getting to continue on for the full 26 days with all my awesome new friends. would recommend this tour to anyone
Review written Oct 2013event 0.3
02 Aug 2012 - 14 Aug 2012
Best trip I've ever taken. I met tons of cool people from other countries and had a great time at all the stops. This was my first Contiki trip and I was travelling alone, but I had the greatest time. I wish I had more vacation time so I could've continued on and done the Grand Southern tour (the Southern Adventure is the first half of the Grand Southern tour). A great experience all around...I'm dying to book another Contiki trip for next year!
Review written Aug 2012event 0.3
21 Jun 2012 - 03 Jul 2012
Great tour for my first US trip as a solo traveller. Started towards end of June in the heat wave. Also on a full bus of mostly Aussies. Long bus rides but good for talking, chilling out or sleeping. The tour starts off with a bang heading to Vegas for a couple of the most memorable nights of your life. Grand Canyon experience was also great and a good contrast immediately after Vegas (I did the heli flight, bike ride and managed to squeeze in a short hike). Durango (adjacent to rockies) was probably the best extended lunch stop on tour (picturesque and plenty of action with optionals). Santa Fe was another beautiful town for an extended lunch stop. Great nightlife throughout thanks to our tour guide. Only downside was leaving the tour in New Orleans (only 4 out of 54 ended here) - as I'm writing this review, my tour group will be in Washington on the tail end of the Grand Southern and I have been missing them heaps. If you can, do the Grand Southern, especially if you're a solo traveller because you will simply not want to end your experience halfway through!
Review written Jul 2012event 0.3