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  • SurferBen Level 1 Traveler
  • 1 Contiki
  • 2 Countries

Firstly a huge shout out to Maggie and Fabio both of whom made the trip awesome!

I knew I always wanted to see a lot of Italy and a friend recommended Contiki to me and after seeing the schedule for this trip I couldn't say no.

Getting across Rome via public transport was an experience to say the least. It is pretty simple to find the Hotel Fleming, it's just getting used to the way the Italians do thing straight from the off thats a little daunting. However the hotel was really nice and PS I had a great room mate! Yo Anthony!!! The pizza for dinner that evening was the first of a great number of excellent pizzas I would taste along the week.

Be prepared, the day in Rome is tiring if you want to see as much as you can but on every corner you will see something fascinating that takes your interest. Not to mention a few but The Vatican, the Sistine chapel, the Colosseum, the Pantheon. My advice is just to go and get lost, but with a map of course. :)

Florence, the city of art is defiantly that and is place you have to visit. The top of the Duomo is a great place for views and photos of the city. Michelangelo's David is a must see but make sure you book ahead as the line we waited in was only 30 minutes, however we was advised that it can be for hours.

Pisa and Verona were good but the final stop in Venice was breathtaking. Again there is so much to see here that the guided tour really did help. The glass blowing demo was an experience all on its own and made me want to buy loads of it. However my bank balance doesn't stretch that far!

All in all the trip was one of the best I have ever been on. I met some great people that I am sure I will be in contact with for a very long time. A good piece of advice for this trip to expect what you image Italy will be like and be open minded to meet new people. But Maggie was great and couldn't do enough for the group, she really did make the trip!!!!!!

My Contiki was: breathtaking, emmersive, picturesque

  • Jason Level 1 Traveler
  • 1 Contiki
  • 1 Country

I simply cannot describe the impact this trip had on my life. I did the Western Highlights trip over a year ago (yes I know I'm late with my review), but with good reason.

I remember being highly nervous for this trip, as it was my first time travelling, and I wasn't sure what to expect. Well the memories were made from day one. The places we saw, the friends we made, the memories we will all eternally share, and the lifelong friendships that were formed is something that the Western Highlights trip helped create. The highlight of my trip was visiting the Grand Canyon...I knew the Grand Canyon was amazingly beautiful, but no picture can ever do it justice. It is something you have to see up close and personal. Such a phenomenal place that is definitely on my list of places I want to go back to.

Contiki had such an impact on my life, that I decided to pack up my life, and move from SA to the UK, with dreams of endless travel. I've just finished a two week trip in Italy, and it's all thanks to Contiki. Busy planning the next one.

My Contiki was: Unforgettable, Life Changing, Phenomenal

I could go on and on and on about this trip because it really was the most incredible time in my life. But, honestly for anyone who is even mildly considering doing this tour - do it! I cannot give you my experiences but I can promise you it will be absolutely incredible.

I went on my own and made lifelong friends that I'm already planning another trip with.

From the moment you start this tour it's high intensity, lots of drinking, lots to take in and super fast paced - and that never stops. The entire time is crazy busy, crazy partying and crazy fun. Some of the destinations where you think you'll have a quiet night and just wash your hair are the nights that you end up naked in the ocean at 3am. I'm not by any means a big partier, but this trip brings the best out in you and I cannot emphasise that enough.

My favourite places were Vegas and Miami - just for the atmosphere and weather, but absolutely everywhere was a new and exciting experience. I did the majority of the optionals and for the most part they were really awesome. And the accommodation is amazing (the Grand Canyon being the exception)!

If you're lucky enough to get Harold (sexy Chocolate) as your driver and Serena as your Tour Manager, you'll have an absolutely amazing and hilarious time.

For anyone who is like me and is reading reviews to work out whether or not you want to do the tour, DO IT. You will have #noregrets :)

#ContikiSerena #RollOut

My Contiki was: Exceeded huge expectations, Best time of my life, SoManyRegretsWhileDrunk

Over all, this was one of the best things I could of ever done. I went solo so I was extremely nervous, but by the 2nd day everyone had loosened up and intermingled and by then you already felt like a group.

With the OPTIONALS I did majority of them, I don't have any that stand out that say "do not do". some of the walking tours where a little boring but that just depends on the type of person you are, if you can keep your attention long enough. be prepared for the white water rafting, it was freezing! my toes went purple, so bring very warm clothes to change into after! apart from that, do everything you can afford.

ACCOMODATION: I didn't really have a problem with any of the accommodation. it depends on how picky you are with things. in Austria I unfortunately did pick up bed bugs but all my washing was paid for to get rid of them, and another guy got them in Rome. the cabins were really cute, majority didn't have air cons which was maybe the only down fall. in Florence I was a little annoyed at the fact there was only 2 washers and 2 dryers on offer to share, and which you needed to pay for (along with wifi that only worked in certain areas).

FOOD: the provided breakfast every day filled me up until lunch. At contiki run sights the breakfast was really good (eggs, bacon, toast, fruits ect) but at the hotels/cabins sometimes it was just toast, fruits yogurts and cereals which were still pretty good. lunch was provided on a couple days; other then that you needed to provide your own, but it was very easy to get where ever you went.

Some days you do spend quite a while on the busses, but you have service stops every 2.5hrs in a village to wander for an hour and get food. also on the bus is music and our guide played games ect. if you wanted to sleep then the chairs reclined and it was easy to doze off, especially after a big night before!
usually every 2nd night was a party night, even if it wasn't a party night; something chilled would become more. If you didn't want to go out that night/drink ect then there was no hassle at all, some nights I stayed in and I didn't get any crap for it.

my tour guide (Rachel) was better then I ever expected. she went out of her way to help me, one night she lent me her ipad so I could stay in and watch movies as I wasn't feeling very well. she was professional but knew how to connect with each person on tour individually and she pretty much notched the tour up that bit extra!
as for anna, the driver, the tight corners and passage ways she could squeeze through was crazy! even though she was at the front of the bus, she always bust a move and came out when she could!
the people I met on tour I will never forget, the last day together was very hard knowing you may never see them again.

all in all, this is a must do. ill def be doing contiki again!
#opaaaa #babybird #shoey #savethequeen #kyleeeeee #shotsshotsshots

My Contiki was: amazing, no regrets, must do

  • GregY Level 1 Traveler
  • 1 Contiki
  • 1 Country

This was one of the best vacations I've ever been on. I've previously read some not-so-good reviews about Contiki (e.g. tours centering entirely around drinking and partying), but this trip definitely exceeded my expectations. It was a perfect mix of nature, culture and nightlife. I don't like getting wasted every night, though I do enjoy the occasional bar night here and there, and I still fit in with the group perfectly.

Best things on this trip: everything was great, and Vietnam is very different from Western Countries. In particular, I enjoyed Nha Trang beach and the boat cruise, the My Son temples, driving through the Pass through the Ocean Clouds, as well as walking around crazy crowded Hanoi and getting 25-cent beer among the locals. Of course, my favorite place was Halong Bay. This place is amazing and I got to kayak and see monkeys, swim on the beach as well as go to a big cave.
Another great thing about Vietnam: the food. Prior to going, my coworkers told me the food is amazing, and they were proven right. My favorite place was Bale Well in Hoi An. Our trip manager Courtney took us there, and it's about $6 for all you can eat spring rolls, chicken and pork skewers and banh xeo (Vietnamese pancakes). Also we went to a place in Saigon that served beef that you cooked yourself on a roof tile and in Hanoi we went to Koto, a restaurant that employs street children and teaches them about the restaurant industry. If you go on this trip, do not order western food unless it's at a really nice place, as most likely you'll be disappointed and the local food is so much better. There were several of us on the trip who don't eat seafood, as well as a vegetarian, and Contiki was able to provide us with very good meals that fit these preferences.

Our trip manager Courtney was great and very knowledgeable about Vietnam. She was always able to suggest places to eat, drink and visit. Also our whole group was great, and I feel like everyone got along really well. Contiki is a nice way to travel by yourself but never be alone, and I'm thinking of going on another Contiki trip next year.

  • ChloeC9169 Level 1 Traveler
  • 1 Contiki
  • 8 Countries

At first, I was apprehensive about travelling solo but as the title of my review suggests, I had no reason to be.

The days are jam-packed with things to do. It's not a trip for the faint-hearted or someone that likes early nights. The coach is for sleeping because you'll realise that you need to make the most of every second you have with the people that start off as acquaintances who turn into friends and eventually your international family. We had travelers from 8 different countries across the globe. Just think that these friends now mean only having to pay for flights when you go abroad in the future or you get to host someone and show them all the best bits of your country.

I made some of the best friends of my entire life and I know our friendship will endure because we bonded over some of the most important things in life: food and wine.I say that because you have to be open-minded when it comes to trying new things. There's no point in going on a trip that encompasses so many different countries and cultures without being willing to venture out of the box and try a bit of everything. From escargot in France to pizza a million times better than you've ever tasted before in Italy to pretzels and currywurst in Munich and finally in Amsterdam... Waffles of course! And the wine... Don't get me started on the wine.

There are so many amazing things to be seen in Europe and Contiki is the gateway to discovery: finding new places that you adore and falling in love all over again with places you've already been, as was the case with me and Paris. One of the most important things for me was that Nice took my breath away and it made me realise where I wanted to go to university in England because they offer a year abroad studying in Nice. So it's not only fun but can also be incredibly eye-opening.

What I will say is be prepared for people to mock every stereotype about your country. Being English, I was a minority on our tour, in fact, I was the only European other than our bus driver, Barry, but don't let that stop you if you're a Brit. I was bombarded with people asking about tea, crumpets, the fact that we lost a revolution and pretty much every other preconception you could possibly imagine.

My trip wouldn't have been complete without the wonderful Contiki Team of #ContikiTony and #ContikiBarry, or Baz as he was lovingly known. Tony partied as hard as all of us and you can tell it's not just a job for him, it's a vocation and he loves bringing so much joy and excitement to so many people. It was the same with Barry. When he wasn't driving us from country to country the following day, he enjoyed a cheeky bevvy or two and made everyone feel so welcome, not just 'another number' but a friend.

Overall, I had the best experience I could have wished for and so so much more. It changed my life in so many ways. Contiki helped me to make the most of the time that we have, it gave me the chance to make friends from all over the world, it built my confidence and my alcohol tolerance. What more could you want?

It'll give you so many stories to tell your kids about. So my advice... Take the leap and live while you're young. Make the most of this life.

My Contiki was: Exhilarating, Awe-inspiring, Perfect

  • Melissa Level 1 Traveler
  • 1 Contiki
  • 2 Countries

Best experience of my life! First time doing contiki and it was amazing! Got to see so much of Spain which has always been on my bucketlist. It's amazing to see the different parts of Spain coz you never really know the story until you go there. Chloe M our trip manager she is the best ever! So good at her job, so much energy & always went that extra mile for our group! The people I met were amazing & I've made some life long friends now. Accommodation everywhere was great! So clean! Our included meals were fantastic too! Definitely all worth it! Only thing I wish is that an extra day was spent in Barcelona! There's so much to see there in so little time!

My Contiki was: Amazing, Culture, Detailed

Could not have asked for a better group / tour leader / week at Oktoberfest! Would highly recommend booking for anyone even considering it for next year.

  • Kat Level 1 Traveler
  • 1 Contiki
  • 1 Country

I have wanted to go to Egypt my whole life, I have always been fascinated by Egyptian mythology and Ancient Egypt. This was the best thing I have ever done and visiting this culturally and historical country has been on the top of my bucket list for a long time. Everyday me, along with everyone else on the tour were just astonished by our sights everyday that it was just so surreal. I highly recommend this trip.

The tour guide Sherif is absolutely amazing, very kind, funny, knowledgeable and a genuine great person to be around. He made everyone feel so comfortable everyday. His little "history lessons" were very interesting and great to listen to. Sherif always told us what to wear for the next day (this was especially helpful for girls as he told us what days we could wear shorts and singlets and what days we had to cover up, I got to wear shorts and singlets on 3 days), what to bring, took us to the best places to get photos and even hung out with us and had some drinks. Everyone I met on this tour was awesome, a great bunch of people to spend this trip with. We all had a blast and look forward to seeing each other on another contiki trip.

highs: the sights are absolutely amazing!! All the temples are just jaw dropping and each day is just so jam packed and full of things to do; I recommend doing next to all of the extras. The cruise ship is awesome, the highlight of the trip, sunbaking on the top while cruising down the Nile and seeing Abu Simbel (it's massive)!!!

VISA: as soon as you get to Cairo Airport, before you walk into immigration (which is around the corner) walk straight ahead to the booths, there will be someone there who will give you a visa no questions asked for $25US. Easy.
TRANSFERS: Make sure you let contiki know of your flights times so that you can take advantage of the free airport transfers to the hotel.
OTHER: Dettol hand sanitation + wipes, toilet paper (there will be none anywhere and if there is you have to pay for it), hydrolytes, buscapan or any other stomach pain tablets for when you get an upset stomach from the food, this happened to most the people on my trip.
MONEY: Make sure you carry SMALL denomination of money. You will need both Egyptian pound (EGP) and US dollars. I got $500US before I left to take with me and had a travel card with $500US on it. Then at the Cairo museum I converted $100US to EGP which got me around $700EGP. My extras I paid by card and my drinks bill from the cruise. This covered me the entire trip.

Victoria Hotel: it is honestly the worse hotel I have ever stayed in. I was warned (from other contiki reviews about bed bugs) so I wore bedsocks, didn't work though, I woke up the next day with 4 bites on my feet. The Victoria hotel has no hot running water, my sheets were dirty and the air con in our room didn't work so we had to get a room change. So I definitely recommend sleeping on top of the bed and having a blanket with you to avoid this, and have the water running for about 5mins before you get into the shower so that it will be "luke warm". On day 1 make sure you eat plenty of breakfast as you won't get food for a couple of hours. Definitely stock up when you get to the service station later on in the day. Make sure you stock up on bottles of water (that is sealed by plastic) as you can not drink any water here that is not bottled for safety reasons - even to brush your teeth. The breakfast offered by the Victoria is truly dreadful; there was mouldy pastries (like actually green in the inside), off meats/cheeses - not a good experience. Apparently this hotel is chosen for it's location only.
Extras: The sound and light show was pretty bad, very boring and not worth seeing at all. You see this temple during the day anyway, so not worth paying extra money to see it at night.

My Contiki was: breathtaking, awe-inspiring, highlight

  • Jess Byrne Level 3 Traveler
  • 3 Contikis
  • 4 Countries

This trip was such a incredible experience! You get to see and experience so much within a very small timeframe. 4 days (well technically 3) I got to go and visit some incredible historical sights that have been on my bucket list for years.

Athens was amazing one of favourite places from my entire trip (5 weeks) the Acropolis and the Parthenon are spectacular and incredible and the views from the Acropolis are breathtaking you get a 360 view of Athens. I highly recommend if you have time in Athens before or after this tour to visit the Acropolis museum a lot of the artefacts are in the museum and there is a really interesting movie about the Acropolis.
The Contiki extra dinner for 43 euro in my opinion was not worth it. The entertainment was great i loved the greek dancers and the singer was amazing but the food was at best average and defiantly not worth what we paid, however the greek dancing and joining in is defiantly something you should try.

Olympia was defiantly my favourite part of this tour and it was the part I was most excited about. The Olympia museum was incredible i loved seeing all the statues and artefacts. The Original Olympic Stadium was incredible to see. Even though most of it is just rubble and ruins you still get a image and idea of how it would have looked thousands of years ago. The Stadium itself is just a dirt track but it was fun to race on with the group and take some photos.

Delphi was okay I wasn't really interested in the beehive tomb we went to as it literally a empty tomb. The hotel was stayed at was incredible the views from our room were stunning. This was the first time the group all went out together at the only club in town. As this was the last night we all went hard and had a lot of fun.

Every hotel we stayed at was amazing very clean and comfortable and all had pools which was a bonus.

But what made this tour amazing was the people I meet. Even though we had only spent 4 days together we all became very close and i have defiantly made some lifelong friends.

Also shoutout to Contiki Tom or as i called him Tomas! Best Contiki tour manager i have ever had super funny and know a lot about greek history and mythology. He was always up for a chat and a laugh.

If you don't have much time in Greece but want to do and see a lot this is defiantly this trip for you.

My Contiki was: Fun, Incredible

  • Kazza Level 3 Traveler
  • 3 Contikis
  • 9 Countries

This trip has been the most amazing experience to date, it's hard to put it in to words but I will give it a go......the people on this trip made the experience one I will never forget and I can say without a doubt they are not only friends, but family, a life time of laughs, memories and silly hashtags. Our tour manager Jon Ramel always went out of his way to help and answer our million and one questions, show us good places to eat, sites to see and inspired me with his incredible knowledge of American history, an absolute legend in every way, Thankyou ramel. This trip is fantastic value for money, some of the best hotels I have stayed in, great bus drivers, surprises, sights, nightlife, and incredible included and non included meals, a trip I highly recommended to anyone wanting to visit the United States of America.

My Contiki was: Family/memories, Epic Aventure, Journey of a life time

I would do this trip again in a heartbeat! Such an amazing way to see and do so much in a month! Don't plan on sleeping - you get used to it! You also get used to the large alcohol consumption everyday/night... Long live the American free pour!

The huge cities are amazing but so are all the little ones in between, the trip is so well planned out! Do all the optionals if you can! Especially the helicopter ride over the Grand Canyon!

We had the BEST tour guide Maloney, I love you doll! And our bus driver Big E was such a honey!

You truly make the best memories and friends for life! If you are thinking about booking this trip just do it! #noregrets #maloneycontiki


Turkish Sailing

★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Best Experience!!
  • Jess Byrne Level 3 Traveler
  • 3 Contikis
  • 4 Countries

The only way to start this review is to say this trip was the best experience of my life so far and you need to do yourself a favour a book this tour!!
Honestly you spend 8 days sailing around the Aegean Sea drinking, eating, tanning, sleeping and swimming. You get to just switch off and relax, no phones, no WiFi (although you can buy it onboard but why would you?) and no distractions. You never know what time of the day it is until the bell rings for meals.
First the boat is incredible and i love that you are on a traditional Turkish Gulet. You share a room and bathroom with one other person, the rooms are small and you do share a double bed but everyone used the beds to put their luggage and stuff on and everyone usually sleeps up on deck on the tanning beds which is a amazing experience to sleep and under the stars. Although a few nights i slept inside due to it being quite cold and i got sick on the boat (Contiki Cough).
The food on this trip is INCREDIBLE thanks to the lovely Mehmet. You get 3 meals a day and afternoon tea which is biscuits/cakes and tea or coffee. The food was my favourite part of the tour, its all fresh and incredible healthy but tastes delicious. Drinks you put on a tab that you pay for at the end of the trip. In my opinion the drinks were quite cheap but cheaper in stores on land. It was 50c for a bottle of water and a beer was 3 euro. I ended up only spending 55 euro.
The places we went to were incredibly beautiful and the water was always crystal clear and turquoise blue although very salty. Defiantly go on land when we dock as we saw some amazing ruins and the walk up the hill to watch the sunset was spectacular although the hill to get up and down is bloody hard and everyone ended up with scratches and bruises.
I defiantly recommend doing all the extras as i regret not doing them all. I regret not doing the mud baths as everyone who did it on my tour said it was really fun and they saw some turtles. Defiantly do Marmaris as its a really fun night out although i felt horrible the next day. Hungover on a moving boat is not the best idea. The turkish baths was probably my favourite such a awesome experience, defiantly pay extra for a massage.
The crew were another favourite part of the tour Captain JJ and the two Mehmets were so much fun and always eager to join in and go out with us at night even though they do this tour every week for 26 weeks straight! They didn't speak much english but were always up for a conversation and to play card games and drink with us.
The people i meet on this trip were amazing and you really get to know each other as you spend so much time together. The others in my group were from England, Germany, Canada, Australia, NZ and USA.

Altogether this tour has been a highlight of my travels this year and i would defiantly do it again.

My Contiki was: unforgettable , relaxing, fun

  • emma13 Level 1 Traveler
  • 1 Contiki
  • 12 Countries

Wow! What can I say? Or where do I start?
First of all this was the best 29 contiki trip ive ever done! Hands down the most amazing expirence ever and I would recomand it too everyone, I had such an awesome group of people to travel with which now are great mates! And what also helped that was our amazing tour manager Greg Colgin, he always made sure we were having a blast and was very informative with everything. I've learnt so much just from him! Also our wonderful driver mark, them both were amazing and was good that they socialised with everyone and always made sure we were ok! Hands down best trip ever. Don't even need to second guess it

My Contiki was: Breathtaking , Amazing, Unreal

Thai Island Hopper East

★ ★ ★ ★ ★ No Words.

What can I say except that this was the absolute best time of my life. Jeenah was my favorite tour guide to date and it really set the bar for every other contiki. It's a super laid back trip with different bars every night and some of the most beautiful scenes I've ever seen. I think because the trip was more my pace I had much more in common with the people that went on it than on other trips. It's been over a year and I'm still friends with my guide and 5 others from the tour. Everyone should do this trip. I guess I found words after all...

My Contiki was: Beautiful, Relaxed, Fun

I just finished the European Contrast tour for September 2015 and I just wanted to send you guys a huge thank you!
Having recently finished another tour that was also fabulous I wasn't sure if it could be topped but thanks to our absolutely wonderful tour manager Greg Colgin and our bus driver Mark it has exceeded my expectations 100%!
Thanks to Greg I have had absolutely the most amazing tour so far! Not only did he make it super comfortable for everyone to make friends, he is consistently enthusiastic and approachable.
Greg has gone above and beyond for our tour and every morning comes up to each one of us and asks how we are doing and if there are any questions. He is also extremely organised and goes out of his way to make sure we are having the best trip!!
I will be highly recommending contiki but more importantly I highly praise and will recommend Greg to be a tour leader again!
Excellent job!

Contrasts was the best experience saw so much still had quite a bit more free time than I realised which was great & we went through summer and winter such an experience. Greg my tour guide was the best we could of asked for he included everyone always had a smile on his face, he is so knowledgable about anything and everything and just made out whole trip one massive adventure. Would do it again 10x

My Contiki was: Amazing, Fun, Perfect

This tour was an excellent experience. Our trip manager and driver, Nick and Nick, were incredible! They were friendly and so genuinely keen to help everyone get the most out of the trip. During the tour you see so many stunning cities - Lisbon and Seville being my personal favourites. It was also great getting such a broad taste of Morocco in such a short space of time. We had an amazing tour of the Fez medina which is something you could never do on your own as it is such an intricate labyrinth any tourist would be irretrievably lost in minutes. Nick was really helpful in explaining how to haggle - I went from being a complete novice to getting some really good prices!
The only real negative was when we were taken to the ‘pharmacy’ in Marrakech. This was a place that sold spices, oils, lipsticks, herbal remedies etc. We were in there for over an hour and a half as we sat listening to a woman go through each product and pass them around. It was like being at a tupperware party you never agreed to going to. The prices of the items were extortionate. For example, saffron was 10 times as expensive in the pharmacy as it was in the main market we went to straight after. Many people spent over 100 euro on what appeared to me to be pressurised impulse buys. I’m not sure why contiki put this trip in the tour, but I think it’s important people who are planning on going on this otherwise excellent trip to be prepared for this.
Overall, I would recommend this tour as it gave me such a wide range of new experiences and excellent food. I met some amazing people who really made the trip what it was.

European Impressions was full on but incredibly good. We saw some amazing places, and did things that I never would have done if I didn't go on this tour. Highlights included the cabaret show in Paris, tobogganing on Mt Titlis and a full day of cocktails and sand in Nice. If you're concerned about going on your own - don't! I was, but ended up making so many friends and never felt lonely. The hotels were great quality, WiFi was always available and the long drive days weren't as bad as I thought. The food was both good and bad but you just have to go with it, it's always going to be like that! Our tour guide, Rhi was so knowledgable and kind to us, we were lucky to have her. Fun for dayyyyyyz!

My Contiki was: Unforgettable, Hectic , Fun

  • karice213 Level 1 Traveler
  • 1 Contiki
  • 4 Countries

If I could use one word to describe this tour, and Contiki as a whole, it would be "misleading." I was aware that the majority of the trip would be "free time" that only included occasional tour group activities -- which is exactly what I wanted. However, when I first came upon this tour package a lot of the information about trip inclusions was extremely misleading. The info would use words like "See Buckingham Palace, Visit the Louvre, etc". This lead me to believe that entrance to the sites would be included in the overall price I paid for the trip, whether or not they were schedule group outings or things I could do on my own. This was not the case. This misleading information, along with the carelessly organized and execution of the itinerary, left me with a lot of wasted time in the countries I visited. I called months before the trip to confirm that a detailed itinerary would be sent to me before departure. Because if you really think about it you’re shelling out $2,000 for a trip that you have no clue what’s actually included in the price – that’s a lot to ask of any person. But I was promised I was promised by Contiki that this itinerary would include a detailed breakdown of what was included each day and would come in the mail 2 weeks before the trip. This was also untrue. When I received my itinerary in the mail it was just a paper document of everything I had already read online which was a vague outline of the trip.

When I arrived in London I got there 8 hours before the tour actually started and could have spent all that time actually doing tours of the sites. However, I waited because I was under the impression Contiki would be providing me entrance to many of the sites. Since I was grossly mislead on this factor, I wasted an entire day in London. When I finally did get my itinerary on site in London at the tour meeting, it was not the organized and well thought out schedule I was hoping for. Instead, it was a poorly handwritten piece of paper that everyone had to pass around and take pictures on their phone because the tour guide didn’t make copies for everyone. It was during this initial tour meeting that I was also shocked to learn that our travel from London to Paris was going to take 12 HOURS. We were to meet at the bus at 6am and wouldn’t arrive in Paris until 7pm. When I had called Contiki to inquire months previous to the trip, I had also questioned the travel in between countries. I get extremely motion sick so this was a huge concern of mine. I was told that the travel between countries would never exceed 4-5 hours, which I felt was doable. This was now the second time in a day that I realized Contiki made a lot of promises they didn’t intend to keep. I immediately booked a Eurostar train from London to Paris that cost me $300 USD so that I wouldn’t A. have to endure a torturous bus ride and B. waste an entire day on a bus when I could use that time exploring. Again, another example of how a lot of time went to waste with this tour.

The activities that were included in London were a joke. They said we would take a bus tour on our first night there. Little did we know that a bus tour meant at 9pm at night, in the dark, when you can’t see anything they’re telling you about. Also, this wasn’t a professional bus tour. It was led by the Contiki tour guide who, upon entering the bus, asked the driver if he was familiar with her tour route – he wasn’t. I felt very cheated. Not to mention that if I had only known a head of time that virtually NOTHING was planned, I would have spent a lot more time creating my own itinerary. Since I was misled to believe that Contiki had a lot of inclusions, I was not given the chance to fully utilize my already limited time in each country. Also, the hotel in London didn’t have AC or enough fans to accommodate each guest so it was almost unbearable to sleep at night.

Unlike London, the Paris portion had a lot of activities planned whether they were included or at an extra cost (which most did). This left NO time to plan anything you wanted to do on your own. Where in London we had way too much unplanned time (due to Contiki’s inability to properly communicate a schedule a head of time). So many of my tour mates, and myself, were left very annoyed. Also, we didn’t receive this itinerary until we arrived in Paris. Again, it was handwritten and thrown together last minute by the tour guide. I know this because I asked her while I was in London for the Paris itinerary since I was travelling spate from the group and she couldn’t give it to me because she hadn’t planned it yet. The two highlights of this tour were the Moulin Rouge and the “farewell” dinner in Montmartre. However, please note that collectively these two activities were close to an additional $300 USD. We had one young girl in the trip, she was 18, who could not afford to attend these two main events because she thought they were already included in the price she paid and was not prepared with enough money to join in the fun. I thought that was so sad that she had to stay in her hotel because Contiki lied.

We were also told that if you went to the “Contiki basement” you could purchase cheaper tickets than you would at the actual tourist spot. Also not true. The ticket prices were the same and you had to navigate to the location of the Contiki basement which was very difficult to find.

The one defense I could give this tour is that once I added up the cost of hotel rooms, travel, and the few activities that actually were included the tour did pay for itself. That still didn’t leave me feeling any better that I could have more effectively used my time if Contiki had just been upfront and honest.

Overall, my advice to anyone considering a Contiki tour would be to only rely on them for booking your hotel rooms. That’s pretty much the only part of the tour they followed through on. But after this experience I will personally never give Contiki another dollar of my money.

My Contiki was: misleading, dissapointing, unorganized

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