Read reviews from past Contiki travelers.
So honesty. November 2015 was a VERY warm November for the USA, so while this is true for my time, it is probably not true for a usual November tour!!!
The Grand Southern is a combination of two tours (LA-NOLA) Southern Adventure and (NOLA-NYC) Eastern Discovery.
The first half of my trip is a fantastic mix of party, history and natural wonder. The second half is a lot more party. History and culture is more focused on DC on this half.
My guide Rachael Bushner was freaking amazing! Info, playlists, local insights always on point. She made it a really fantastic trip. Really approachable. More than earned her tip! The driver, less amazing.
This tour can be super fun. Relax and let everything else go. I held on to work pressures for a while, but after a while (particularly Vegas) you bond and end up with new friends.
We missed seeing Little Rock, which left a bad taste in my mouth. But I still had a great time on tour.
Weather: Pack layers. Admittedly it was super warm, so I only really needed them in Grand Canyon, DC and NYC, but have options. The canyon gets super cool, particularly at night.
Group Photo: I like them, they are nice to look back on.
Cirque Show: Worth it, seeing a show in Vegas is always different.
High Roller Pass: The people on my trip that did it said it was great for views of the strip (better at night).
Canyon Helicopter: No question, do it! I did the longer one, the shorter one apparently can be a little short. We went all the way over to the North Rim (far side). I am still in awe!
Canyon Jeeping: My group went Jeeping around the canyon, a great way to cover a lot of ground and our guide was super knowledgeable and hilarious!
Durango stuff: None was in season when we were there, and there is really nothing in Durango before noon.
Ballooning: Couldn't operate, but I am told it is amazing.
Cowboy Stadium Tour: I wouldn't do it again, but it was interesting. Their guides will spend a lot of time talking about tiles and the number of TV screens. It is more a funny story later thing, particularly if everyone is relaxed and having fun.
Rock and Soul Museum: If you are hard core muso or enthusiast it is great, if you only do one in Memphis do Sun Studios. If doing both you will have virtually no free time in Memphis.
Sun Studios: A bit of fun, but between this and Graceland most of your full day in Memphis is gone. I would go to the Lorraine Motel (Civil Rights Museum) instead of either.
Taste of New Orleans: Not worth it. Pretty much everyone on my trip did it, but everyone on my table was disappointed.
School of Cooking: Fun, but the class is with the general public. Also it is watching someone else cook, not cooking yourself, just a heads up, I misunderstood.
Swamp Tour: Check if it is alligator season! The people on my tour saw some and had fun, but the warm weather really helped in that regard.
Universal Studios: Fun day. A bit of something for everyone. Some demonstration shows, meet characters, rides, etc. I liked it. Choose LA or Orlando, not both!
Party Cruise: Can be a bonding experience and a fun night. Drinks are super expensive in Miami, there are some included. I stayed at the hotel drinking on the roof top with some of the other travellers which was super fun too!
Bike Tour: You don't have to be super fit, so it can be a great way to kick of your day.
Speed boat: A bit of fun, seeing the homes of the rich and influential. Can also get you soaked!
Parasailing: Didn't run.
Speedway: If you are a serious rev-head it can be great, otherwise it is a long time at an empty race track.
NYC Pass: Great. If you are doing NY Uncovered, it is included in that.
Other NYC extras: Base on your own likes and dislikes. Note, they only run on certain days, so unless you are in NYC for over a week you can plan it, otherwise wait and see what is there on your days.
Would I recommend anything?
New Orleans, do a ghost tour.
Dallas, go to the rodeo.
Canyon, get up for the sunrise.
Pack a sense of adventure!!!
This was my first Contiki trip and it was seriously the best experience. The views are spectacular and the scenery itself is simply just breathtaking. If you're big on skiing and snowboard, this trip is for you! And if you're not too big on it, like myself, there are so many optionals to do, and I highly recommend zip-lining, dog sledding, snowmobiling, the helicopter ride...oh heck, just do them all!
The only tip I have is If you're booking post-accommodation in Calgary, I'd try to find somewhere closer to the city-centre. We booked through Contiki and ended up staying about 20 minutes away from the City. Not a big deal, just something to consider.
The food is amazing and decently priced. I ate so much Poutine, glorious. There was such a great mix of people on our tour, i met and made friends with some amazing people.
Lastly though, I simply cannot thank our tour manager, Alex, enough. He was just AMAZING. Really really made this tour something special! I highly recommend this tour!
The sites were great to see! However we had so much go wrong! Our tour manager turned up half an hour late one of the mornings because he was hungover so we missed out on half an hour extra exploration time in Rome! We got downgraded accomodation because there wasn't enough room for us. A lot of the "me time optional dinners" we're a waste of money as they were disgusting! Even had to wait an hour in the sun for our bus to turn up in Santorini. There was so much more that happened but yeah wouldn't recommend it as the organisation was terrible!
I was very hesitant at first on booking this trip, never gone with contiki or any tour group. Let me tell you it was the best decision! I am a world traveler and been to many places. Normally with friends on our own schedule. This trip I planned alone and was so happy that there were many others like me on the bus. Our group all got along, had many late nights and just a great time. Tour guide and bus driver (Hayley and Nick) were great! I didn't have to think on what I was doing next, everything was scheduled and anything you want to do on the contiki list, the tour manager books it for you. It was stress free and fun! Accommodations were decent compared to what I had in my head. Really no complaints there. Only one room was tiny for 4 people, but other than that they were great. You make great friends, always have something to do, and go everywhere. Besides New Zealand is beautiful, its a must place to visit!
This was my first contiki trip, and ill say i was really nervous, that it would be a disaster, people wouldnt be friendly, everything wrong, but when i got there all those got dismantled and i had the time of my life, everyone was real fun, and the trip itself was dope! my only regret was only doing 8 days, when everyone else on my tour group was doing 19 so i didnt get to experience everything they did, after i left, so if you can go for as long as you can because youll become family with everyone on your trip, and our tour manager Isobel was awesome and definitely knew her stuff, dont expect a perfect trip because youll always be let down, just roll with the punches and you'll have the time of your life, Dont go expecting to see everything cultural on this trip because you might not see everything, i went for a little bit of culture but mostly for the adventurous stuff we got to do, definitely going back again!
I can't express in words how amazing this trip was. I put in a lot of time researching my options before deciding on this trip and can safely say for what you pay on this trip you would not even be able to put half of it together yourself. You get the perfect amount of time in each place (sometimes when a trip takes you to a lot of places it can feel rushed, but this trip did not feel like that at all), and the bus days aren't so long as those of Contiki's in Europe.
I highly recommend starting this tour in NYC instead of the LA to NYC option, as starting in NYC means you finish the trip in Las Vegas, which is a lot more fun with your Contiki family after getting to know them for the last twenty odd days! Also, the bar at the hotel in Washington was the perfect place for our tour group to get to know eachother that first night.
Speaking of Contiki family...it sounds like such a cliche, but you really do form such a bond with the people on your tour. This trip made me some lifelong friends (I've just booked a trip to Europe with a couple of girls I met on this tour) who made this trip everything it was. Everybody says this in the reviews but it is so true...don't be worried if you are travelling alone, you will make instant friends! Although I personally didn't travel alone the majority of our tour group were, and it didn't matter at all. We all became instant friends and did everything together...there was always somebody to hang out with.
The optional extras are another thing that made this trip! I honestly recommend doing as many of them as possible. The snowmobiling in Colorado and the Hot Air Ballooning were my top 2 optional extras, I can't even describe how amazing they both were. Unfortunately the helicopter ride over the Grand Canyon did not go ahead for our tour as there was far too much fog, but this is obviously one not to miss if you can. The cowboy stadium tour was good, but if you aren't interested in American football then you may not find it that interesting, the stadium itself is very impressive and on another level to any stadium I've seen, but not being interested in football myself that's all I really got out of that tour. In Memphis the Sun Studios and Rock & Soul Museums were both good tours that most of our group participated in and quite enjoyed. The Taste of New Orleans and School of Cooking optionals in Nola didn't run for our tour because nobody signed up for them, however almost everybody signed up for the Airboat Swamp tour which was great. Universal studios in Orlando is a must do!! Especially if you are interested in Harry Potter...the Harry Potter world there is amazing! In Miami there were three optionals...do all of them! The speed boat ride was so much fun and a cool way to see the houses of the rich and famous. The bike tour was a great way to see a lot of Miami, and is fine for any fitness level. The best optional in Miami however is the party boat cruise! Warning with this one though...when they tell you to eat dinner before the boat, do it!! This is a mistake many of us (myself included) made and paid for later. It is an open bar (you do still have to tip for each drink so make sure you take some dollar bills along) and the free pour is strong! After the boat we got taken to Mansion nightclub, which is a very well known nightclub in Miami, and heaps of fun from what I can remember! There was only one optional that I was disappointed by and that was the Cirque du’ Soleil show in Vegas. Not many people on the tour were impressed by this show...I'm not sure if it was maybe just the particular show that we saw though because Cirque du' Soleil obviously have a very good name for themselves otherwise.
Our tour guide also set up a few other extra things for us as well, such as a Lakers match in Nola and a burger eating challenge.
We had a pretty great Contiki crew. Our tour guide was Ryan and our driver was Ricky. I can't speak highly enough of them both. The made the trip exceed my expectations by a mile.
Don't think twice about booking this tour...just do it. It will be one of your best decisions yet!
Having never been to Greece or its many islands before, i thought this trip would be an awesome way to see and experience the best of its different islands.
I went in September and the hot weather was just what i was hoping for after a poor summer in the UK.
I'm abit of a geek when it comes too Greek mythology and history so Athens as a starting point was perfect and it was great to see temples like the Parthenon.
Santorini was beautiful and you should ride the local Donkeys if you havnt before, its an experience.
Mykonos was great for partying and i recommend doing the trip to Delos. Ios again was great for partying and although its not recommended by the tour manager, rent a quad for the day and check out Ios. Just be safe and not an idiot!
You get a few free days to relax and do your own thing on the tour which appealed to me, beaches with clear waters and plenty to amuse yourself was spot on!
This trip has been the best idea i've ever had and the best choice I've ever taken. I have met wonderful people on the way and made friends for life! The atmosphere is special and unique, I was travelling alone and did't went into details about the destinations prior to my departure. The tour leader gave us hints of the best places to see in town and was ready to answer any question we had in mind. The time you get for your self and the time spent with the group is balanced perfectly, it gives you the chance to meet other fellow travellers and share experience and also gives you all the time on earth for you to room around. I have wonderful memories, pictures and friends I've taken back home with me. Although it was a total of 9 days I had the time to see whatever I could imagine, I have walked almost all over London and the same was in Paris but being wider the transportation was useful. The best part of this journey is that every time i think of it I just can't stop smiling :) Contiki has created such a great way to travel!
This trip was so amazing. I booked it on a whim to get to see a bit of Ireland and was not disappointed.
I was travelling solo and was worried about being on my own. Contiki is amazing as they take care of all of the details for you and help you meet some amazing people! I've never shared a room before but my roommate was so great :)
I participated in all of the Me Time activities and loved exploring all of the cities. For 8 days this is an amazing way to see the majority of the country, stay in nice places, eat good food, have fun with some awesome people, and to have a life changing experience.
I whole heartedly recommend it to anyone who is considering it! You'll want to go back again and again!
Had a good time on the Vietnam Highlights trip.
3 stars because:
- Do the tour in the warm weather months
- The incessant honking is annoying (culture!)
- Too many flights (the roads aren't great)
- and Do the tour in the warm weather months
Ha Long Bay vid:
This was my second Contiki and I had traveled to the states multiple times, the only place I had been already was Vegas. I did not expect to have as much fun as I did on my last trip, I didn't think it would be possible to top it, but it did! This trip was a part of a few other contikis, so some left us when others joined.
I landed in LA the night before and met everyone at the hotel before getting dinner with a large group. I hadn't planed on staying out, didn't get back to 2am! So that's how I started the trip! I ended in San Francisco, after being awake for almost 22 hours, and flew home that afternoon.
Our bus driver was one of the senior drivers, Richard... he always had bottles of water on the bus and vitamin c packets if needed. Our tour manager, John was so much fun... always making sure everyone was good, posting on the Facebook page if there was a change or update on something. He also partied with us most nights!
I did almost all the optionals... the zoo, two nights out in Vegas (front of the line at the nightclubs), hot air balloon ride, 1 day of snowboarding, snowmobiling, the Cirque Du Soleil show, then a $10 surprise that ended up being a wedding in one of the chapels with a singing Elvis in Vegas!
My group of people were so much fun... we were already missing each other before we even left! Thanks again everyone for making this trip so much fun!
I've wanted to go to Egypt for a long time, because it has the last ancient wonder of the world, because it's very different from everywhere else, and because it is packed with history.
You can watch an in depth 3 part travel vlog I made here, https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL54jadu9qqk49i67zO0foqOmcOMxgb7MF, which will show you how amazing this place really is. We were taken from one jaw dropping place to the next. The tour guide Sherif is a master storyteller, and even after reading the reviews and having high expectations of him, I was still amazed at how good he is.
Like many people have said this is a historical tour, it's not about getting wasted, it's about enjoying the sites and experiences. This was actually an attraction for me being a non-drinker.
I did/got all the extras but skipped the Sound and Light show, Group Photo (Just take one with your phone), and the High Damn. I suggest budgeting to do everything and some more because there are extras not mentioned like adding a day in Alexandria (Approx $159), or a hot air balloon ride (was a bit too expensive for me). Most of our group did most of the extras so it felt like we were just continuing with the tour. If you're on a tight budget make sure you see Abu Simble (See video 2), and if you want to experience riding through an Egyptian town do the Temple of Horus (Start of video 3). There is also an opportunity to buy jewelry on the ship. (If you know you want to buy, go there first thing when on the boat and they'll give you a discount for being first).
Despite being careful about what I ate and drank, I was one of the unlucky people who got a stomach bug on the trip - I think I got it from my roommate :P. It definitely takes away from the magic. So stock up on toilet paper, small change for toilets and I would ask Sheriff for some advice to get medicine in Egypt because it's the only thing that actually helped.
We stayed a few extra days in Cairo at "Le Meridien Pyramids Hotel & Spa." This was definitely worth it because it gave us a few days to chill, explore Cairo using the culture tips we learnt on the trip and Sherif gave us some tips on places to see.
I felt safe on this trip, although there was a noticeable army presence around, and the hotel with issues mentioned in earlier reviews has now been changed.
This trip was not what I expected, it was better. Book your trip to Egypt now while the crowds are small, and you can enjoy these majestic places in peace.
I first must say that I have enjoyed Contiki tours and this was my second one. I really liked Spain and Portugal, maybe a more inclusive tour of Portugal would be nice. It was going back in time and Lisboa was just beautiful. Amazing city I would just go back to Lisboa and travel around. Morocco was an interesting country with a lot of culture and history. I enjoyed knowing the people and the sites. However, I was very very disappointed in the purchases I made for I bought some 2 leather bags and stunk really bad after I brought them back (so just a heads up DO NOT BUY ANY LEATHER, it rots). Also, you have to haggle a lot, even taxi rides, so it was pretty stressful to go around the city on your free time. And if you don't haggle you feel you are being ripped off, which some people do. I also bought a carpet which my friend and I felt we were coerced to doing that even though we did not plan to get one. I get the feeling that the local Morocco guide (he will travel with you throughout Morocco, so about 5 days) gets a cut for how many people buy carpets. (He was advising me how great they are, once in a lifetime thing, etc, etc, and fell for it, so I felt disappointed) So if you are coerced to go towards the back to check out the carpets, better just wait for everyone else in the main gallery. So I would not go back to Morocco, would have liked to stay more time in Spain and Portugal.
I have to start by saying that this tour did not disappoint! The 37 days were jam packed with new friends, sights, parties and fun. I now have a whole bunch of new friends that I will hopefully stay in touch with for a long time. The tour was very well organised and took the planning out of most things, allowing us lots of free time as well. Some highlights of the tour for me were:
- paragliding in Austria, simply amazing
- exploring Dubrovnik, a wonderful old city
- partying with our Contiki group and other groups too
- Greece! i loved both Athens and Mykonos
- Ljubljana, a city with such a cool vibe.
I was happy with most of the accommodation and food options, and some were surprisingly extra awesome too! If you think this tour may be too long for you, that's what I thought too but you won't regret it! Whilst it can be tiring, there are always opportunities to catch up on sleep on the bus, and you can party as little or as much as you want to.
If you would like to read more about the tour, check out my blog at www.beccaasjourney.wordpress.com where I've written all about it!
Another unforgettable trip!Highly recommended.Contiki rocks!!!
Best holiday I've been on, no contenders! I was an absolute beginner but there were loads of us having lessons and I didn't feel at all left behind.
The location is fantastic - even the very best skiiers won't cover every run on offer in the Brixental region. The contiki hostel is a 20 minute walk from the lifts or there are regular coach shuttles in the morning and evening. Add €60 to the advertised price to get evening meals - they are well worth it and a nice place to catch up with friends who you didn't ski with that day. The 2 nights where this isn't provided are "local meal out" nights and there are plenty of choices in hopfgarten, or if you go nightskiing you can eat at the venue.
Equipment hire is easy and cheap and lessons are easy to prebook or extend if required. As a beginner, the lessons are quite slow by nature but with a bit of commitment you can get some extra practice in the mornings and afternoons.
For apres-ski the contiki bar and common room are perfect or there's a bar open late in town if you want to broaden your horizons. Everyone is there for a fun, sociable ski trip and whether you want to relax or party in the evenings, you'll find people with similar ambition.
Only downside - unless you're on a shoestring budget, get the "meet us there" option. Don't underestimate how painful 20 hours on a coach with ski-battered legs can be!
This trip was absolutely incredible. I like to have fun but I'm not a party-all-night and then wake-up-early girl. This trip kept me constantly entertained while still being super chill! There were awesome laid back parties in places nearby the hotel. Went to a cool glow party in Whistler too! Most people headed back to the hotel around midnight but some people stayed out much later. It was really easy to find people that were in my same mindset.
Morning starts weren't that early and the drives were fairly short. We played games, slept, and got to know each other during that times. Like everyone else mentioned....you'll definitely want some motion sickness medicine on the drive leaving Whistler. That is one windy road. You can buy a pack for a few bucks at the store in Whistler. The drives were broken up every 2 hours or so as well. One stop was at an ice cream store in the middle of no where where the cows on the farm provide the milk for the ice cream they make. That was life-changing ice cream haha.
The hotels were actually way better than I expected. The hotel in whistler is dead center in the middle of town. The hotel in Jasper is seriously hilarious and really unique--also right in the middle of town with an awesome window view. One of my favorite bars was in that hotel. Hello, free unlimited pool!
DO ALL THE ME-TIME OPTIONALS. I was terrified to zipline in Whistler and it was probably the most fun that I've ever had. So glad that I did it! ABSOLUTELY DO THE DINNER CRUISE. Basically everyone does it and its sooooo fun. By that time, you know everyone and it's a great end to the trip--not to mention beautiful to be looking at the Vancouver city line from the water. There is a hike you do in Athabasca (Included) and it was one of the highlights of my trip. Glacier walk (also included) was pretty cool. Someone in our group proposed to his girlfriend up there so that made it even more special :)
My trip manager Mia was SO RAD! I was surprised at how fun she was--she'd come out to the bars with us. But still stayed super professional and always took care of us- even when we were sick (Contiki cough!).
Basically, you cannot take a bad picture in Canada. Everywhere you turn it's an award winning photograph. I went in September so the fall colors were amazing. Mia said the trees don't usually change that early, but they were having a colder winter, so it was really special to see. I went on this trip by myself and just about everyone did the same. It's now my preferred way of travelling. I met SO many people-most were Australian lol.
My only complaint is that I didn't do the longer versions (some people were continuing on from the grand canadian or the big west. :)
In conclusion....TAKE THIS TRIP.
This trip is by far the best way to see this beautiful part of the world! Not only is the itinerary jam packed in the best way possible, you get to experience it with like-minded people who you become close with very quickly. I was generally impressed with the accommodation, most hotels had a nice pool for us to relax in after a big day!
Our tour manager, Margie was absolutely amazing from start to finish. She truly cared about giving us everything we wanted from our holiday and more. Margie was also extremely helpful when some of us got sick along the way.
The optionals were all very worth doing! And there was tons of stuff to do alongside these. Highly recommend going Zip Lining in Chiang Mai!
The transport ran very smoothly, but I do recommend you bring some motion sickness tablets with you. Many members of our tour experienced motion sickness on this tour, even though it had never happened to them in the past. I also recommend a good travel pillow for a nice bus snooze.
If you are unsure about doing this tour, just do it! You will not regret it. Whether you are the party type or not- there is something for everyone and never any pressure to do anything you aren't interested in! The tour is fantastic, the people are amazing, the destinations are breathtaking, what more could you ask for?
A year later and I still reminisce of this tour. From the UK to Amsterdam each day is filled with memories and adventures you will remember for a lifetime.
It was far better than my expectations as you had a lot more free time to explore the things you wanted to see.
I would highly recommend doing all the ME TIME activities - I ticked a lot off my bucket list and also it was a great way to get to know fellow travelers.
The Netherlands, Venice, Paris and the Vatican were the main highlights for the trip for me. From the delicious food to experiencing the night life, it was a great way to explore Europe and get a taste for the places I want to go back to.
If you are thinking about doing this trip.... DO IT. Its definitely worth every cent and the tour manager, bus driver and contiki team are there to support you every step of the way.
For more detailed info on the tour check out my travel diary:
I have always wanted to go to Hogmanay as it is meant to be the best New Year celebration and it didn't disappoint. I met some lovely, fun people to share the celebrations with and had a great time with a mixture of culture and partying. the accommodation was basic but clean and really close to the celebrations.
I watched the torchlight procession and the fireworks on Chalton Hill on the first night and it was really traditional but lovely with all the lights. I had been to Edinburgh before so I decided to do the optional trip to Stirling Castle and the William Wallace monument which was interesting as I like history but there are a lot of stairs at the monument.
The New Year's Eve street party was great and we went to the cheesy pop music stage so lots of old classics. You can bring your own alcohol (if in cans or plastic bottles) so that saves a fortune. I would recommend wrapping up with lots of layers though as it is freezing. On New Year's day, we went to the Looney Dook where loads of people jump in the freezing cold water for charity. I was cold enough just watching. The optional activity was a 3 course meal which was delicious and well worth the money. We also had traditional bag pipe music so a different experience.
I would recommend Edinburgh and Hogmanay it is a beautiful city. This trip is short but enjoyable. There is a fairly long coach journey from London to Edinburgh and back but even that is ok as our tour leader showed films and TV shows and it is an opportunity to chill out or sleep if you want.