Read reviews from past Contiki travelers.
I’d say that overall, my first Contiki experience was pretty fantastic, though as a new trip that Contiki is offering, there are still a few kinks to work out. I’ve done a good amount of travelling and Japan is probably my favorite country I’ve ever been to. It is SO clean and the locals were SO accommodating and there are just SO many wonderful and exciting things to see and experience there.
All of the hotels that we stayed at were pretty nice and well-located. Almost every single activity planned for the trip was great. It really is impossible to choose what my favorite activity was -- the Robot Restaurant in Tokyo (the most hilarious, fun, original show you’ll ever see!), the Buddhist monastery overnight stay, the shopping on Harajuku Street, the delicious Teppanyaki dinners, the sushi-making class, the insanity of the fish market in Tokyo, even just the scenic train rides (bullet train!) from one city to the next… It all just made this one of the best trips of my life. Additionally, the other travellers on this trip were a lot of fun and I made quite a few friends from all over the world! Naito-San, our local guide who stayed with us for the duration of the trip, was incredibly knowledgeable and also had a good sense of humor and just an unlimited amount of energy. Our Tour Manager Jackie was also very knowledgeable, enthusiastic and fun as well!
That said, this IS still a pretty new trip that Contiki is offering and there are a few things that I think need to be augmented a bit. This trip covers 7 different cities in 13 days. In several of the cities, lots of activities were planned for us, but some free time was also allotted. For these bits of free time, it would have been very helpful if a map of each city had been provided to us with our hotel, some subway/bus stop info, and perhaps a recommended activity or two marked on it. Our tour manager was happy to give us verbal directions to things, but when you’ve just arrived in a new city, especially where English is not the first language, I needed a bit more than that. Also, I don’t feel that the time was very well planned in Tokyo. The first day was absolutely crammed with sight-seeing, which meant we only got a very short amount of time in some places (about 45 minutes maybe for Harajuku Street, where I well could have spent several hours) and then our second full day was a completely free day, where I just kind of found myself bumbling around a bit, not sure of what to do. Personally, it would have been much better to have split the sight-seeing up between the first two mornings and maybe had the afternoons free (maybe take the group to Harajuku Street for example, and if some people want to spend the afternoon there, they can, or if they want to leave and see other things in the afternoon, they could do that too).
Lastly, it took a bit too long into the trip to create some sort of system to make sure everyone on the trip was accounted for as we went from one activity to the next. (Side note: I personally thought that a group of 31 people was too big for a place like Japan. I think the maximum number of people for a trip like this should have been something more like 15 people or so. When all 31 of us would get on public transit, we’d take up the entire subway car, which seemed to be kind of irritating to the locals.) The group was very fast-moving and if, say, we were all going through the entrance to the subway in Tokyo where you have to swipe your card and someone’s card malfunctioned, it was difficult to communicate this to the people at the front of the group to hold on for a minute while this issue was resolved. By the middle of the trip we began roommate checks whenever we’d leave a certain area to make sure we were all there, but this definitely should have been instituted in the beginning.
All in all though, I was pretty happy with my trip and would most likely take another Contiki trip in the future!
This trip was incredible!! We had such an amazing tour manager (Nicole) who managed to take care of every little detail for us and also was such a blast to hang out and party with. This was my first time off the continent and I was travelling with two of my friends and I felt completely safe and secure. You could definitely do this trip on your own (probably true with any contiki for that matter) or with friends :). It says the Me Time excursions are optional, but I found those were really the highlights of my trip (I did all of them except for one!).
The hotels were great! Always beachfront and just a short bus ride away to go into town. The wifi could be a little spotty at times but like... there's other ways to amuse yourself and pass the time on the Greek islands (I'm sure you can find some!), and the showers are... interesting to say the least. It's pretty much impossible to shower and keep the bathroom floor relatively dry! There's laundry services at I believe one of the hotels and then there's included breakfast at each hotel.
My friends and I didn't go back to Athens with the group, we left on the last day in Ios to go to another island. If you're a big fan of partying and that's what you'd be especially excited for, I'd consider possibly staying extra time in Ios for a couple more nights out :)
This trip was so nice, I felt I had adequate time on each island to really get to know it before moving onto the next one. It's also nice because you're not stuck on a coach for hours a day like some other Contiki trips, as on this one you travel between the islands on Ferries (which are actually pretty fun!)
All in all it was an awesome time and I would recommend this tour for anyone, especially first time travellers like myself :)
This was my first major trip I've ever taken and decided to trust Contiki. Smart choice!!
I was not expecting to see SO much with the time we had and I loved every bit of it. I got to see all the major cities and hot spots that I know on my own, I wouldn't have managed it.
Ill give you a bit of my view for each day and some advice on how to prepare your self for this trip.
Day 1: Its a chilling day. If you land the day of then you wont get much time to check out Rome on your own. You do however get time again in Rome at the end of the trip. However I would have liked to arrive early and go out for a bit - so recommend you do the same!
Day 2: Pompeii Tour was great - highly recommend it. If you dont, then your kinda stuck on your own and cant do much either. Plus this is a great time to know the rest of your travel pack. You learn alot about what happened in Pompeii.
Day 3: 100% - DO THE CRUISE! Omg the sites, the water and the Blue Grotto - WOW. Capri is a beautiful city; one of my favorites. And as suggested, you must try Limoncello - just for the sake of it!
Day 4: The wine tasting was fun - a bit disappointed that we didnt get to see more of Tuscany. Be prepared...youll be in the coach for a long time. Another thing I did not like. The siteseeing was amazing but being locked up inside was a bit of a downer.
Day 5; FLORENCE - My absolute FAVORITE. I fell in love with this city. If I ever decide to come back to Italy, I would go to Florence. The club was really good but I dont think it was the Space club we went too. However this night was the BEST night. Did the group dinner - it was spaghetti and meatballs and my oh my...mouthwatering DELICIOUS! Start of the day we did go see the leather crafts man - dropped a few bills there. Leather is amazing - try to get something for yourself! And the Secrets of Michelangelo's Florence was really informative and had a great time. While here - BEFORE you leave to Venice, you MUST climb the INFINITE stairs. When you reach the top - the city view is amazing. Ask your tour guide about this!
Day 6: This was an okay day. If you like to shop, then hav fun! Its like a shop market - all cobblestone and everything. You do see Juliets Balcony but its not an 1hr thing. Its quick so make the most of your time here and check it out.
Day 7: Get ready to SHOP! Another great place to shop - so many vendors! And you MUST take the Gondola ride. I think for this day, I opt out the Walking Tour. Go on your own - explore. Have fun. Check out St. Mark;s Square - some really good restaurants.
Day 8: If you want to drop some major $$ on name brands - this is the place. Top name brands and very poshy. I wasnt too impressed with Milan. Again Im not a major spender. I enjoy siteseeing so this was more of a chilling day for me which it is actually.
Day 9: To be honest - I cant remember what I did this day...sorry!
Day 10: Ah yes - the Leaning Tower of Pisa. You wont spend too much time here - hopefully your tour guide will make you take funny pictures and compete with one another. Glad they included this on the way to Rome. However again - another long ride in the coach!
Day 11: Back in ROME! Def check our the Colosseum if you didnt arrive early and do it on your own. Its a must see and just learning the history behind it is great. Make the most of your day as this is your last!!
So, things I wasnt too impressed/or would like to change:
1) Long coach ride - cant avoid it and its nice they added in pit stops (Tuscany, La Spezia). But prepare yourself...bring something to occupy you or catch up on some MUCH needed rest...why...
2) Get ready for EARLY mornings! If you are not a morning person or like to take it easy, prepare yourself for a rude awakening. This is after all an 'In-Depth Explorer' style. I didnt mind it but at times it does get to you. But you get to catch up on SOME sleep on the coach...
3) Was not impressed with breakfast at all. I LOVE my breakfasy - one of the meals I will TRULY pig out on. There is only SO MUCH bread I can consume :(
4) If you like cheese, bread and oil for dipping then great! If not - as Im lactose intolerant and sensitive to wheat...then oh boy! lol Its Italy - what was I thinking! Home of PASTA AND PIZZA.
5) WATER WATER WATER - buy a water bottle and REFILL when you can. With the heat and walking, you will get dehydrated.
6) Washrooms - YUP - you gotta pay in order to use them unless you dine in which then you can use it for free!
7) Coffee - YUMMY! However I guess I forgot that they serve coffoe/americano is small cups - not what Im used to here 8OZ or more actually :)
Oh and DEF try the GELLATO's! I think everyday I treated myself. BEST one is in Florence and Rome.
Overall -this trip was amazing! You wont have regrets - the early mornings pay off...eventually ;)
This tour was perfect! Had an incredible time with an awesome group. Definitely the best way to see Australia and it is a great length especially with the sailing.
Bri and Contiki Tours made our Honeymoon trip a momentous and memorable trip. Bri is excellent at what she does, and it shows in her professionalism, expertise, and passion to allow everyone in the tour to have the time of their lives. She takes the time to commit to being the best tour guide - from planning out every step of the trip, giving a mini history lesson of each country we visited, to even staying up each night and highlighting maps and "go-to" hot spots wherever we visited. She basically did all the work for us, and all we had to do was enjoy our experience. This shows her dedication to each and every person, and they will forever be grateful to her for it. She is also a very sincere and sweet individual, as she made sure everyone on the trip was having a good time. The transportation and value for your buck is the best you can ask for, especially if you catch the Contiki early discount deals when booking. Our bus ride across Europe was peaceful, clean (the cleanest bus I've ever been on), and quite comfortable for those long hour(s) rides at times. The accommodations are a "get what you pay for" expense, but are just as interesting to experience (we spent a night in a former jail that is now a hotel - so how many people can say they did that!). The meals. I am a spoiled American (only when it comes to eating) and usually have a huge breakfast and dishes. But it did open my eyes to how much Americans eat - however overall the meals were according to the country we were in. It was awesome trying cafe and desserts from Italy and France especially. The Contiki and tour guide experience overall is a hands-down 5 stars! You cannot get a better deal anywhere else.
Hands down amazing trip.
I'll start with the crew: they are so kind and very helpful, really knowledgeable about the area and even happy to swim/dance/stay up talking with us all. On our tour we had three, which I think is probably standard (Captain, first mate, chef). The Captain even shared some basic star gazing and easy navigation tips with us (because you never know). They were fantastic!
The Food: Excellent, The chef was constantly outdoing himself. Lots of different dishes, always had a salad available and hot food options at every meal, lots of eggplant :D. The Bar was always open but don't expect a huge variety. There was Beer, Vodka, Gin and Raki. The small amount of Rum that was available was gone by the third day. But there were tons of soft drink/juice options for us to choose from.
The boat: I won't lie... you're sharing a small room with someone you've never met (unless traveling in a pair) and it gets pretty hot. Sleeping on deck is a great option, bring warm pjs because it can get pretty cold at night (We went in May so I'm not sure how it is at night in July!) If you're sleeping on deck take your blankets/towels in for the day because I noticed things would get really damp in the evening so you may end up with wet blankets!
They give you a thin blanket, wool blanket and a towel but it's good to bring your own towel because they don't like theirs to be used for swimming (plus you don't want to constantly be using a wet towel).
Swimming: You're allowed floaties, and they have flippers/snorkels/masks on deck for your use, and it's really awesome exploring the water so definitely check it out!
Outings: You stop at a few sea side towns that are pretty cute. They were a bit dead the time of year we went but I'm sure they're a little more bustling in the summer time. When it comes to the paid outings I had my heart set on going to the mud baths but we needed 10/16 people on the boat to agree to go, so it didn't happen. Don't get set on going on one of the outings just in case it doesn't happen, that way you won't end up disappointed! We did go to the Turkish Baths which was ABSOLUTELY SOMETHING YOU SHOULD NOT MISS! If you don't get to do it with Contiki just go do it, it was a really great experience.
Boat life: I brought earplugs to sleep in, this is really helpful because you never know who will be up and different people have different schedules. The earplugs did not manage to block out the call to prayer on the first and last mornings while docked in Bodrum, but it was interesting to hear... for the first 30 seconds. There is a plug in each room and a power bar by the stereo, bring your international plugs converters if you're not already from Europe! I severely over packed for this trip, like I said earlier the rooms are small. I found it cramped and I only had a carry on, and my roommate had a backpack (lost luggage). Luckily my carry on fit under the bed, but I didn't need half of what I brought. We spent most of the day in bathing suits and put on lounge clothes in the evening. If you're cool with it just bring a small amount of lounge wear and rewear it. No judgement, we all did it. You'll need two outfits for going to the bar if you're into the nightlife but other than than bathing suits with a bathing suit cover were fine for all the seaside stops (unless they weren't and I was secretly just being indecent ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ )
We had an amazing group, I feel incredibly lucky to have met all the people that were on our tour and I absolutely recommend this trip!! I would go back tomorrow if I didn't have a job or need money.. sad adult life. I hope this was helpful!
Enjoy your Contiki experience!!!
This trip ran for the first time this year so our group was the first to experience it. I would recommend it. It is a short one as you are only there for a long weekend but good fun. We fitted so much into our time there. In terms of optionals we did a canal cruise on the first night where we got unlimited beer or wine and saw Amsterdam just as the sun was setting. We did pedal boating on the canals which was so fun - they are so hard to control and there were a couple of near misses where we nearly hit bigger boats and there was a four course meal in Volendam which was delicious. My tour mates were really friendly and I enjoyed meeting them. King's Day itself was one massive street party everyone was wearing orange and there were stalls selling alcohol and food everywhere. There were also DJs and a Funfair. As a helpful hint it is very handy to have lots of coins in Amsterdam as nearly all toilets even in some clubs and restaurants charge for the toilet. I found the price to be 50 cents on the weekend but on King's day the price was about 1 Euro or even 2 Euros in some places.
I was a first time traveller who was quite nervous about this new contiki experience, I booked my ticket and made my way to Athens where the tor started and I'm SOOO HAPPY I did!! Our tour manager Ed was so friendly and knowledgable, I instantly bonded with many people on my tour, everything was organized and any questions we had were answered confidently. I would recommend this island hop to anyone, I just got back on May 12th and believe this is the perfect time to visit the islands, all clubs and tourist attractions are open yet and it's not toooooo hot yet or busy.. We defiantly had no problem getting our shopping or tan on. Tip- do most shopping in Mykonos and Santorini as Ios has barely any-just the most amazing beach I have ever seen. The weather and be he's Contiki hooked us up with were breathtaking! Not too fast paced yet plenty of options available to keep you busy the whole tour, defiantly go on the pirate ship adventure to the private beach for lunch and ride the donkey in Santorini! AND the mud bath...I have so many new memories and friends LOVED THIS adventure and will be planning my next soon!!
Absolutely fantastic trip. I work a very involved job and didn't have time to adequately plan an Eastern Europe trip. Contiki already had all of the hotels, tours, sight-seeing and travel pre-packaged and it was really valuable to have a tour guide to bounce ideas off. I didn't think I'd do any of the ME Time activities and we ended up doing them all. I didn't think I'd end up hanging out with any of the other travelers outside of the friend group I planned the trip with and now, a month later, still talk to a handful of people from the trip on a regular basis. Would highly recommend Contiki for any international, non-beach/skiing trip where you want to hit up a lot of spots and don't speak the local language.
I have to say that this tour exceeded my expectations! We saw so many things and did so much, but we still had loads of free time to wander around and spend more time at places we had seen or to try out places our tour guide recommended.
Our tour guide Maite was so great!! She went above and beyond what she had to! She recommended sites, restaurants, and things to do. Our driver "sexy Fabio" was very qualified to drive in Italy's small and crazy streets with our huge coach!
The food was great! Gelato even better:) It is mostly pasta and pizza but so many different kinds, so I never got sick of it:)
Everyone on my tour got along really well, we had a mix of couples and singles but the vibe was great:)! Couldn't have asked for a better group:)
I love the history in every city we went to, not sure if I had a favorite place as I loved it all, I would say that since Venice was on my bucket list that was really great, the gondola ride was amazing also, our gondolier was Stephano, and he was so great also, made the ride enjoyable:)
I found the hotels clean and had air condition, I didn't bring anything to need wifi so can't really say how that was:) But don't go expecting Italy to be the same as here, the showers might be abit smaller, and the rooms maybe dated, but I went to experience different not the same as home, take everything in as an experience:)
I have nothing to complain about, it was simply amazing!! I would totally recommend this trip!!
This was my second Contiki in Western Europe, I chose to do another one because I had the time of my life the first time and didn't even have to think twice about doing it again. I chose the Winter Wanderer because it was the opposite to my first trip - winter rather than summer, hotels over hostels, travelling with a friend rather than solo and nearly twice as long. I was slightly apprehensive about the fact that this trip may not live up to the high expectations which had been set following my first incredible Contiki. But I had no need to be worried, this trip far exceeded anything I could have imagined.
Admittedly this was partly due to luck, we had the most incredible group of people and we all got along so well and still keep in touch daily. Our tour manager and driver were also a major factor that made this trip so amazing, I can't even express how much I appreciate everything they did for us, way beyond their call of duty. Like getting everyone together and organising free metro tickets on our first night to go into the city and see the Eiffel Tower light show at 11pm. Earlier that day our bus had broken down and we were stuck at a garage a few hours outside Paris for most of the afternoon, which meant we arrived in Paris very late and our driver didn't have any driving time left to take us on the Paris by Night tour.
Both our bad luck and the over and above effort of the Contiki team continued throughout the tour. Our time in Italy was effected by severe flooding and a short 5 hour drive turned into an entire day on the bus stuck in classic Italian traffic and twisting and turning through mountain ranges. This being said I wouldn't change one thing about the entire trip. Even though I'd been to about half the cities before I barely doubled up on experiences and sights.
Some of the highlights were jumping the queue to the top of the Eiffel Tower, visiting the Musee D'Orsay on our free day in Paris, staying in perfect Lucerne in the Swiss Alps, partying the night away at a sangria bar in Barcelona, eating far two many courses in Italy, visiting the Christmas markets in Vienna and Berlin, trying ice-skating at these markets in Berlin, the entire time spent in Prague and the Rjiksmuseum in Amsterdam. Although not technically on the Contiki itinerary, visiting Hyde Park Winter Wonderland was a perfect way to end the trip with a big group getting together and heading there once we returned to London at the end.
If you're thinking of booking this tour, just do it. If you don't have the time of your life then you only have yourself to blame. I loved every second! And remember, it's not just about the places you see but the journey along the way and the relationships you make whilst travelling.
I am typically a solo traveler...I like my space and to move at my own speed, but this trip totally changed my mind. The people on the trip, our awesome tour manager and driver and the amazing landscapes and sites of England and Scotland blew my mind. This will not be my last Contiki tour.
As someone who is a backpacker to the core, I was hesitant about how this would go... it ended up being one of the most eye-opening and life-changing travel experiences (and after backpacking more than 23 countries, that says a lot). I truly made friends for life. From the encouragement of my new friends to jump off every ledge/bridge/platform I could, to having a slew of people willing to join for a rainy day hike, to nights at bars or 26 of us in a hotel room laughing and drinking wine, this trip was my favorite travel experience to date. Oh, and did I mention that New Zealand is breathtakingly gorgeous?
The ME Time optionals are AWESOME and worth it. The Skyline dinner was worth it, because the tram ride up to the top is $30 alone (the dinner includes a return trip back up and the food is TO DIE FOR- BUFFET STYLE). All bungy jumping is a giant YES! The Canyon Swing might be more exhilarating than bungy jumping and each jump after your first is only $35. I took the flight to milford sound because I feel my limited time in a country was more valuable- absolutely worth every penny.
At Franz Josef, do the Tartare Tunnel Hike (be sure to bring a flashlight). Really cool to see the glow worms and feel like you're entering a horror movie like the descent (less scary, I promise).
I would do this trip again in a heartbeat.
Great Staff and people I had a blast even ended up taking an extra certification on the boat. The hostel is a party hostel so be ready but nights are quite on the boat. The food you are served by pro-dive is awesome
This trip was my first time travelling overseas by myself and I honestly had never been so terrified/nervous/excited in my entire life! As quite an introverted person I was worried about going by myself and having to make friends, but going by myself ended up being one of the best decisions I have ever made! I met so many amazing people on this trip, and it was easily the best two weeks of my life! Our tour guide Danny was amazing!! He had such extensive and helpful knowledge on everywhere we went - make sure to to go to his restaurant recommendations in Chiang Mai and Bangkok, they were off the beaten track and so delicious! Make sure to bring at least one jumper and pair of pants and some wet weather clothes, we had really unusual weather in Laos and we were all permanently drenched and cold for the majority of Prakbeng and Luang Prabang! Enjoy Vang Vieng, it was easily my favourite place on the entire trip. Go to Kangaroo Sunset and talk to all the staff there, they all have incredible stories to share, and make sure to write your name on the wall! Definitely do all the optional extras as well, like tubing and kayaking in Vang Vieng as they made the trip so much better! Also, on your return flight home, don't book it too early in the morning. Everyone gets absolutely crazy on the last night and I made the mistake of booking a 9am flight from Siam Reap and then having an 8 hour stopover in Bangkok airport hungover as hell without a wink of sleep. But most of all just enjoy it! It was one of the most incredible experiences of my entire life and I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to go on this trip and to see so many amazing places and meet so many amazing people. My only regret is not continuing onto Vietnam with everyone!
Best thing i have ever done! This trip was incredible you spent 12 days falling in love with so much history and culture of Italy. You really got to take time and experience cities and towns and not feel to rushed.
I meet so many amazing people on this trip and made some great new friend and the Enzo's (Tour Manager and Driver) were amazing really went above and beyond to make our trip that much more special.
Defiantly do all of the Extras as they are all worth it the only one i didn't like to much was the final dinner the food wasn't the nicest also the Gondola ride in Venice was to crowded with 5-6 people and wasn't what i expected, defiantly book your own. But everything exceeded my expectations. All hotels were really nice except for Sorrento but can't expect more as its a small town not city. All hotels were in pretty good locations either close to city centre or close to public transport. Food in italy is amazing as we all already know, defiantly try this cute restaurant in Castello, Venice called Marco Polo really yummy pizza for decent price.
My favourite places and experience on the trip
- Isle of Capri and boat ride around Island
- Florence, Statue of David and Bell Tower climb
- Dinner in Verona
- Venice and Palazzo Ducale
- Sirmione and boat ride on Lake Garda
- Wine Tasting Tuscany
- Sistine Chapel Rome
All in all a incredible experience and i recommend to anyone who wants to slow down and get a in-depth history and culture experience of Italy.
Thinking about doing the big indochina tour? DO IT.
It was the best adventure that I've ever embarked on. I was the youngest on the trip (19) and trust me, it did not stop me from having the time of my life and meeting some of the best people that I still stay in contact with.
Here are my tips for you that I wish I had when going on this trip and just tips in general that I can give to you:
- Take a backpack not a suitcase. It's especially helpful on the overnight train ride as a suitcase is too big to fit under your bunks so you won't have to be stepping over a suitcase from point A to B and it's just easier in general.
- See your clothes? Split them in half. I suggest bringing only one dress or formal clothes (for the boys) as there is really only one formal night on the trip and that's on the Vietnam part of the trip when you go to the Sky Bar. The Asian Adventure part is really casual. I wore board shorts and singlets around the clubs and I wasn't the only one who did so. A big point to make is that make sure you bring temple pants. At Angkor Wat they WILL NOT let you up the top if you're just wearing a sarong. You MUST wear temple pants.
- Bring some sort of playing cards, whether it be uno or just normal playing cards. On the over night train ride and the boat ride you'll get good use of them.
- At the Laos border make sure you get your money! I cannot stress this enough. I made the stupid mistake of not getting any money at the border and when I got to Pakbeng I found out there were no ATMs.
- The boat accepts all currency, so don't worry about spending all your kip on beer Lao.
- Bring a neck pillow! You'll be thanking me on all of those bus/plane rides around everywhere.
- Be prepared to spend money in Cambodia and Vietnam. So budget carefully. I came very close to running out of money multiple times.
-Laos has a curfew and the only place that's open after that curfew is bowling. GO! It's really fun and a really cheap tuk tuk ride away from Utopia bar or whichever bar your leader takes you to.
-Bring an adaptor. If you're from Australia like I am, you will need two adaptors for this trip.
- Take a couple days break from drinking. As much as you're going to come to love drinking around 10+ beers a day starting at 7am in the morning (as they're $1.50 in most places.) You need that break as you'll start getting run down like I was by the end of the Vietnam part. It's completely up to you if you take a break but I recommend it :)
- Be prepared to get the Contiki Cough. It doesn't hit you until you least expect it.
- If you get more than 5 hours sleep each night on this trip. I applaud you. Expect sleepless nights especially if you were like my roommate Amanda (love you!) who got awoken by me most nights at 3am.
- Go to the Ping Pong show in Bangkok. You won't regret it (enough said).
- DO ALL OF THE OPTIONALS. TRUST ME. They're all so great. From memory, the cooking classes were exceptional. No complaints. For someone who has no cooking history and can only cook pasta, I cooked some good food on that trip. The hill tribes were so much fun. IF you get to participate in their activities, do so. It's literally the coolest feeling banging wood on logs with the other musicians (just to name one of the activities). The Mud baths were so much fun, embrace your inner mud monster.
- Be prepared to get two songs stuck in your head. Every morning we listen to the Contiki song which is chosen by your leader. Ours was "Rather be - Clean Bandits and Jess Glynne" and "MMBop - Hanson".
Afraid to go by yourself? Don't be. Honestly I was in the same boat as you when I first went but when I met everyone it was like we knew each other for years. Don't be afraid to rely on your leader for advice on where to go and what to do as they'll help you every step of the way.
Don't be afraid to go out of your comfort zone and do something. Do everything you can. I guarantee if you do everything that is given to you on this trip, you will have the best trip of your life.
I will always remember this trip and everyone on it. You won't regret choosing this trip.
Any questions that you may have? Feel free to message me and I'll help you out :)
Egypt&Nile is a trip like taking a time machine back to 5000 years ago with the magnificent ancient Egyptian monuments right in front of your eyes while listening to Sheriff tell you all the grand and glorious stories. (It is definitely not a party trip, but you do get to party on the Egyptian dress up night and the Red Sea farewell night.) I did all the optionals except the high dam and the light show, Abu Simbel is definitely worth of waking up 3am and 3 hours bus ride to see. Also, you are gonna see a lot of temples so it is a good idea to take pictures and make some simple notes to remember later which is which, some people are over temples at the end of the trip but remember you will probably never see them again and you did sign up because of the amazing Egyptian historical sights/monuments/temples.
Our tour guide, Sheriff is very knowledgeable, personal, fun and humble. He is the key that your Egypt trip will be guaranteed once a life time experience. You can ask him about anything, the ancient sights, Egypt culture/politics, extra history lessons/stories (while everyone was asleep on the bus, a few girls and me were up and listen to him telling the hidden stories of Cleopatra and Mark Anthony.) At the end of the trip I tried to ask him the appropriate amount of tips to give and he wouldn't tell me and said that anything is ok because he understood that us young people are traveling on budgets. I found out he now works 75% less due to the decline in the Egypt tourisms n yet he is still so considerate, genuine and humble. So if you are taking this trip, please be kind to save some good tips at the end of the tour for him :)
Now about the accommodations, I was happy with everything even though the Victoria hotel and the overnight train were not the best, but hey we are in Egypt to experience the real Egypt, not the Western luxury everyday life.Yes, you will probably encounter pushy sales or get rippled off on a few souvenirs on the first day, but you can learn, I did, and I haggled for the rest of my shopping trips and got the lowest prices for everything. If by the end of the trip, you understand Egypt a little more and can appreciate the good and the bad, and able to empathized with its current undesirable economical/political circumstances, and it's culture and people, then you did it right. This is the reason why we travel. You see, you learn, you understand, and you empathize. This is how you become a more open minded person with a bigger heart.
Tips: get the Egypt visa on arrival for $25, break your money into smaller Egyptian bills for easier tipping ( I exchanged approx $200 into 10s & 20s only, most places take US dollars so you can also prepare some $1,$5,$10 for back up, Google Egypt tipping for guidances too), the selfie stick my best friend gave me for the trip was so so handy, bring toilet paper at all times, bring wet wipes for instant shower(dusty everywhere because you are in the desert), power converter/adapter ($6 from Amazon,) external batteries for phones, small empty water bottle that can fit your day bag (all the bottle water you end up buying are big ones,) snack bars for in between meals, small sunscreen for your day bag,
Things I wish I had done:
get to know all my Contiki friends on day 1, since it was a short trip and can be tiring and I was tired to social at the end and didn't get to connect to some friends that I wish I had.
Extend 1-2days at the end of the trip and sign up with at least 2 people in order to to a one day Alexandria tour with Sheriff, I would of totally done it if I d know earlier.
Sorry for the mom like lengthy review, but I do hope you will be well prepared and have the time of your life on this trip! If you have any other questions about the trip feel free to email me firstname.lastname@example.org
I did this trip solo, and I am so glad, a friend or partner would have definitely been hard to deal with on this trip, as you want to do what you want to, and to not have to worry about anyone was a highlight. I also skipped London and had an extra day in Amsterdam, where I met the rest of the people on the tour the next day at our hotel. Our Tour manager Sarah was absolutely awesome, she definitely made our trip, caring, fun, and full of facts. People got sick half way through the trip and Sarah was amazing, she helped out a lot and I can say everyone was appreciative of this, with the extra stops and just the notion of her going to each person to see how they felt. I do believe that had it not been for her our trip would not have been as enjoyable. Also take medication with you for general illnesses (flu, nausea, stomach bugs, sore throats, fevers...) and DO NOT forget a sleeping bag, I did and I was horrified with the cold. I loved every second of the trip, I would definitely advise that you take the me time trips, as it allows for a lot of free time to divert from the group and enjoy the things you would like to experience, and to have some time with the group is also awesome. I made some really great friends and I cant say I would have done this trip differently. Our tour driver was super cool, got us into the mood before a great party night, awesome, friendly and best of all she was a chick :) I think the places we stayed at was alright for just a short sleep and a shower, the coach is awesome and clean! Cant wait to do another trip!!! This trip was perfect for a short trip, however I extended with pre and post night stays in Amsterdam and Paris, you have to do this! Try and do it for the places that you enjoyed the most. I would also say try and go on this tour when it is not peak season, so that there are not too many tourists around, I felt like that ruined my experience in Venice. Try and do as many optional events/experiences as you can, if money is not an issue, just do it! But other than that I enjoyed ever second of the European Horizon!