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
13 Jun 2013 - 25 Jun 2013
I had never done a Contiki tour before so it was all new to me.
I cant speak for all tours but this tour involved a LOT of driving. Obviously the country is huge and there are a lot of miles to cover. However knowing how many hours there are to each destination would be worth looking into and might change your decision on which tour you take.
Average driving time was 7 hours for most destinations.
This meant you were on a bus for almost an entire day from 8AM with 2 stops usually pulling into the destination around 5PM. You then race to your room, get ready and head straight back out to go to dinner with your crew. If you wanted to experience most places, it meant staying up all night to drink with everyone and try and explore (if it was the kind of destination that was a night life destination and was actually open at night). Otherwise you would be in bed and back on the bus for another 7 hours the next day.
So if you are not a night owl and would rather do activities during the day then dont do this tour.
If you were in a place for more than one day then you had an opportunity to explore and do the town during day light hours, provided you're not hung over from the night before. I am not a big drinker, but everyone else will be, so be ready to be sociable and drink every night, or a hermit and not be involved in the goings on of the crew if you dont hang out.
As for the destinations on this tour I did love most of it. Albuquerque was a waste of time. It was probably a stop because it would be too far to drive straight through and the optional extra was a hot air ballon ride over what was described as a beautiful mountain scene in the desert. It was instead over a dirk clearing then over peoples homes in suburbia. The ride itself was nice, but the location for it was poo.
Other than that it was a good tour to get a good overall taste and look of America, with quite huge differences in landscape, culture and food. So I would recommend it, just be aware of the amount of driving involved and that it all happens during the day. And there is a lot of drinking so kiss your liver goodbye!
Review written Jul 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