Read reviews from past Contiki travelers.
Just came back from the Simply Italy tour (April 20 - May 1) and I have to say the majority of us had an excellent time on this tour. Without going over long on this review, here are some pros and cons of this tour.
- Meet a group of like-minded, fun and friendly fellow travellers. True, the majority of the group are girls and they came on this tour by themselves. It's a good thing cause we look after each other and we had a great bonding during and after the trip.
- Great itinerary. For those who always say they can pay less and travel on their own...I can only say that if they want to follow the same itinerary and visit the same amount of places we've been, that's almost near impossible. I've travelled on my own with friends before and just trying to find the right train station and check in to a hotel in a small town can take you more than half a day, especially when you are in a foreign place with people who don't speak much English...We honestly saw almost all the major attractions in Italy on this trip. Plus you can always stay a few more days after the trip to go at your own pace.
- Tour Manager and Driver: I've been on 2 contiki trips now and both Tour managers are fantastic people. They are young, smart, friendly and knows their way inside out of all the cities they are in. No matter how long they stay up late with us, the next stay they manage to get up early on time and get us going. I have huge respect for the professionalism that they bring into this tour. I've never felt like they would force us to buy/purchase anything from a vendor.
This trip we have 2 people's birthday and my tour manager bake them cakes and planed special surprise for their night out. She's not ask to do that and she really doesn't have to...it really came from her heart and the birthday boy/girl are over the moon happy.
- Free time: I know people said with that much free-time why bother to join a tour. Again, if you have a group of people travelling with you I suggest you don't do a tour. If you are travelling on your own, free time is good as we get brief while we are on the bus commuting to the next destination. By then we can choose what we wanted to see and the people we want to see it with. Everyone has different ideas of what they wanted to see so that's actually the best way to go about. At the end of the day everyone is happy with the path they took.
Okay, a lot of pros, now let's go with the cons:
- Hotel choice and location. Well in Italy you really have to lower your expectation in terms of hotels...most of them are outside of the city and would require taxi ride to get back to your hotel. The hotel near Cinque Terre is terrible, worse hotel I've stayed in. However when I do my research for all the cities that I've stay, they are pretty much the same within the price point. So just really don't expect much of the hotels you stay in and remember that this is a budget tour.
- Optional meals: If you can, skip all the optional meals. Italy have tons of good restaurant so you WILL have better luck just walk into any place with a menu you like. Optional meals are over price and usually very average as it's hard for the chef to cook good food for 50 people at once. All the optional meals are bad to us and the restaurants in small towns have the best food.
- Autogrill lunch. Again, because we are on the bus a lot we tend to get drop off to the gas service station called "Autogrill" to have our lunch. The food is average and expensive. If you can wait, I suggest you just get some snack and waited for a small at a small town or the big city to have a proper meal. Just because it's noon doesn't mean you need to have lunch. We all kind of hated Autogrill after having it many times on the road...
But honestly, overall this has been an amazing journey and I would definitely join coniki again in the near future.
The tour itself was excellent. The places you go and things you do are great. My tour guide was amazing and went above and beyond to organise extra activites for us to do, from organising a Clippers basketball game in LA to the seeing the baseball in New York. Hotels were reasonable and very central location, with excellent buffet breakfasts included most days. The ONLY things I didn't find that appealing on this tour (and that's only if i'm being picky), were i think the group was a bit too big (54 people) and with all our transportation being via internal flights (whilst also a good thing), it was hard to get to know everybody as it was very rare that the entire group spent time together. Also, whilst Contiki gives you fantastic options to chose from, in order to have free time for your own exploring, you almost had to sacrifice one of the optionals.
All in all, a fantastic experience. Will definately do a Contiki again. Jam packed with loads of fun things to do. Excellent for solo travellers like myself too :)
Simply Italy is an amazing tour to go on if you are looking at seeing the highlights of Italy in the cheapest way possible. The tour manager and driver (Enzo and Lino) made this tour something special. This was the second tour that had done together but you never would have picked it up if they didn't tell us. They ran like a well oiled machine. Enzo and Lino made us a family. Enzo knowledge and passion about his country was like no other. He went above and beyond what a tour manager should do. Always checking to see if we were well looked after. I am a coeliac and this was not a problem. Every meal was delicious and wheat free :).
The sights and experiences that you get on this tour is definitely value for money. I thoroughly enjoyed this trip and will forever remember the people (now my family) and memories made forever.
I would like to thank the crew because I think that if we didn't have them, this trip would not have been the same.
The US has got the goods and the grand southern tour highlights all the amazing things about this country. From the big cities of NYC and Las Vegas to the quiet and natural beauty of the Grand Canyon and Durango. Experience the little kid inside in Orlando and the party loving adult in New Orleans. This was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. You see and experience so much. You make friends for life and make unforgettable memories. Book this tour today, you will not regret it.
I did this tour from 18/3/14 - 29/3/14 and had the absolute time of my life! We have a full bus of 51 people and the best tour manager and driver we could have imagined. It was a quick trip but it was amazing! Can't believe we did 9 countries in 12 days. It gave us all a taste of what Europe has to offer. Will definitely be doing another Contiki tour in the future!
This trip exceeded my expectations! I honestly was quite apprehensive in the lead up but from the first night I knew it would be great. Our tour guide Richie was fantastic - aside from being kind enough to accompany me to the hospital late one night, he was always there to offer helpful tips and information. Our bus driver Raf was also fantastic and a good laugh ;)
I did almost all of the optional extras and I would say each one was definitely worth it, with the exception of the Black Light Theatre in Prague - most bizarre experience, but unfortunately not in a good way!!
My only real complaint would be the location of the hotel in Berlin - it was quite far from the centre (very close to the airport though) which made getting home late difficult (about a £25 cab ride). Also we learnt early on that the elevators were very slow and to allow extra time to get down from breakfast! Otherwise it was clean (albeit a bit bare).
The hotel in Prague was perfect - nicer rooms, nicer breakfast, perfect location in the Old Town - so no complaints there.
The Berlin bike ride - despite the horrendous weather it was a lot of fun! We stopped in at a handful of cool bars and restaurants and although I hadn't been on a bike in about 15 years it was great.
The Ghost Tour - not everyone's cup of tea but I thought it was hilarious.
The River Cruise in Prague - a beautiful way to see the city.
I also really enjoyed our free time as everyone really got out and planned fun activities - I'd say there was a good balance of planned tours and free time.
I also think the easy pace was perfect - I couldn't imagine spending any less time in one place but I do wish I had stayed on for Vienna and Budapest!
Overall the trip was great - I would definitely recommend it!
This tour was more than I expected it to be. With a change in the itinerary a week before the start of the tour, I wasn't sure what to expect. Contiki delivered. This tour brought the city lifestyle, nightlife and culture together with a beach resort town and a Mexican-style small town (50,000 people). As you travel throughout central Mexico, starting and ending in Mexico City, you learn about the Aztec history and visit a few of the archeological sites of Cholula and Teotihuacan. You explore many of the 1000s of churches throughout the various states. Ish, the tour guide, provides great educational materials about the different conquests that occurred within Mexico including the French conquest and Spain conquest. Being more specific, in the city of Puebla, we visited the handicraft markets, tasted some traditional sweets and stayed just outside the center square. While in Acapulco, we experienced the nightlife, enjoyed a sunset cruise and gave the optional to kayak, snorkel or scuba dive. During our stay in Taxco, you stay at an old Mexican mission hotel and learn about the silver industry. Once back in Mexico City, we experienced the city lifestyle and nightlife. The food is exceptional, however I felt we weren't given many options for local cuisine. I love street tacos but we were only given 1 opportunity. This tour provided something different and unique as Mexico has such a strong culture and historical background (Mayans/Aztecs). I would recommend this tour to anyone looking for something different.
For the last 10 years I've wanted to go to Ireland. I had a close family member pass and I realized life's too short. So I figured I'm going. If I'm going I might as well do Scotland as well.
I met some amazing people and new life long friends. I had the best times in Scotland and the best adventures in Ireland.
My favorite moment of the entire trip (and this was hard to come to the conclusion of) was biking around the Aran Islands.
Our tour manager, Jon and our driver Chris where beyond amazing. The trip would not have been as awesome without these two.
I would do this trip again in a heart beat. I would recommend it to everyone and I will.
This tour is definitely worth the money! You get to stay in hotels for the whole tour, some were amazing some not so (e.g. the jail hotel in Lucerne) but you will be out exploring Europe for most of the day anyways so the hotels are just for sleeping. They all have good bathrooms and warm showers so you can look forward to that too at the end of your adventures.
In terms of optionals i know wish i had done them all but because i wanted to save money i skipped a couple but found i could have paid for all of them because i ended up going home with quite a bit of extra money. I don't recommend the Venice walking tour because you can find amazing little parts of the city on your own without the guide and i didn't like the swiss fondue lunch that much but the entertainment was pretty funny and all of the people on your tour make it feel worth it!
Included food was great for the most part, get used to eating chicken for dinner on these nights! But you can always grab a bite to eat while you are out in the cities!
The coach we had was super new so it was so nice and comfy to sleep on for those long driving days, and our Tour Manager Lee and our driver Patrice were the BOMB! They made the trip so much fun and i will always love them for that!
In most of the cities you have to catch the metro to get around but its not too bad just get used to reading maps and asking for directions if you need help. You also get mostly 1 full day in the cities and if you get there early enough you may have 1 and a half days to go around, which is plenty if its your first trip because you then can decide where you want to go back later on in life.
I loved the cruise even though it was pretty short and the time spent on the islands was not long enough for me! The food and crew on the cruise were amazing and they feed you delicious food at the buffet. i also suggest getting the 80 Euro (that's the price it was when i went) unlimited drinks package because you get alcohol, water, juice, smoothies etc included in that for the duration of the cruise so you don't have to worry about overspending on the drinks while you party!
I would do this tour again in a heartbeat with no changes even if there were a few bumps along the road, nonetheless it is an awesome tour that you will enjoy and have fond memories of because the people you tour with are amazing as well and they will be there forever!
If you want specific details about the tour check out my travel blog, it has daily recounts of what i did on this tour in June/July 2013 (summer):
Happy travelling! x
The tour was sub par it was rushed to much. Free time was like 4hrs. A day to do what u want then u had to go on some lame ghost tour or walking city tour then the manager would tell u where to eat (so they get kick backs). All the meals are basic cheap meals boiled ham and taters and cream on everything never any vegetables. Good luck trying to eat healthy it's truck stop food all the time. Every night the manager would try to get everyone out to get drunk and majority did and if you don't you kinda miss out on connecting with everyone. You spend about 7+ hrs on the bus each day many of the sights they claim u get to see you are on the bus having to snap pics through a window... most the add on activities are lame once u seen a few castles it gets boring fast there's not much to see in them. the farewell dinners are way over priced and again basic. You get to 'see a lot yes'. But you get to experience the culture and locals very little. And the end when you fill out your sheet about the trip the manager basically makes you feel like you have give 10 to everything and keeps stressing to tip them 20 pound n 20 for driver :/
Let's start out by saying this tour is awesome!
Wanna see this tour in action?
Check out my Contiki Thai Island Hopper West travel vlog here!
Thailand Contiki Vlog:
The activities that you have the opportunity to go on as optional are awesome and didn't disappoint. The length of the tour was good, but I would have been happy if it was even a few days longer! Was sad to have it end.
The snorkeling boat tours were the best, Thailand is just so picture perfect. The atmosphere in Thailand is somewhat touristy now, but it is what it is. Patong Beach in Phuket, Thailand is something you just have to experience at some point in your life (Ping pong show, anyone? No? Didn't think so...).
Southeast Asia is amazingly beautiful. Thai people are generally kind and polite and that's what makes this trip even better, is the locals who make it special. Most of my tour mates where either South African or Canadian, some Kiwis and a few Aussies.
The tour dates I went on included New Years Eve which was an incredible experience. The parties, especially the beach party in Koh Phi Phi didn't disappoint...fluro body painting happened, people jumped through hoops of fire, crazy drunken adventures took place. It didn't disappoint.
One suggestion would be to shorten the time in Patong and lengthen the time spent in Koh Phi Phi...that island is just surreal and amazing.
Our tour manager was great, she took care of the fine details and ensured our holiday was smooth, but she also came out with us and partied which was great. Nobody was injured (even with jumping through hoops of fire) and nobody was lost (another tour running the same time as ours actually lost a person for a few hours before he showed up at Lucky Chengs).
The weather was amazing, sun shining every day, the friends we made on the tour were great. Overall a really awesome tour that gave me memories to last a lifetime. Great for relaxing, sitting back on the beach and being out in the ocean and sun.
I loved this trip! I was a little nervous going a far ways from home and by myself for the first time but I am so happy I did. Our tour guide was so friendly and super organized and always had things for us to do on our spare time. The group I traveled with was a lot of fun and felt more like a little family traveling around. For only being 10 days you see so much of the country and it's history but, I would recommend a longer tour if you wanted to see more and get lots of traveling in. But all in all this was a great trip and would recommend it to anybody wanting to visit Vietnam :)
This tour was good even though it only went for a few days. Lots of things you get to do and see in a short time and lots of new people to meet (did this tour by myself). New Years was unorganised though, our group didnt get to the venue until late and all the other groups were already there. The venue was average. Would prefer to be right in Times Square for NYE next time.
I had an incredible time on this Contiki, it was my first proper Contiki experience that I did by myself, and my first time in America. I met some friends for life and saw so many amazing things and experiences. Highlights are definitely Las Vegas, the Grand Canyon, Lake Tahoe and San Francisco. Definitely live every day and night to the fullest on Contiki because it is so sad at the end saying goodbye to everyone and you don't want to have any regrets. If you are planning on heading straight home once its finished book your flight a few days later because you might want to go back to your favourite spot with your new friends. I wish the time was longer in Vegas and San Fran as they were so much fun, would definitely go back!
If you are a solo traveller and don't want to organise everything yourself - this trip is perfect for you! All your buses up to the mountain are included, your ski passes, breakfast every morning and your accommodation which makes this a whole lot easier.
If you are thinking of doing this tour, it is well worth it!! We saw so much, did a walking tour of the city, saw a live Irish band and Irish Dancing, amazing Irish food and partied the night away on St Paddy's day and much, much more. Met some awesome people!! It is a very quick snippet of Dublin, so I did stay longer. But overall I would definitely recommend this tour!!
I absolutely enjoyed the European tour was fast but you got a taste of each country in the amount of time you had, saw all the big attractions without huge crowds. Accommodation was brilliant, food was varied and culturally diverse. We had an awesome bunch of people on tour was like one big family, sad to finish the tour. But big thumbs up to Johnny our driver and Matt out tour guide, couldn't have asked for better people to take us around Europe.
Thanks Heaps for a tour of a lifetime!!
I would have to say the big chill tour was the most amazing thing I have ever done! The people I got experience it with were fantastic. Our coach driver Ricardo our tour manager Trent and our on road cook Boyd were the absolute best team a 40 something group could ask for.
I would recommend this tour to anyone! I have to admit I was unlucky in getting very sick with bronchitis through half of it but I did not let it get me down. I still had the most amazing time!
If you are hesitating. DONT!!! It's awesome. Turkey was awesome. Didn't. Like Albania or places like it but still a great experience. Wouldn't change it for the world.
Have fun guys if u decide to go.
My boyfriend and I literally had the best time of our lives. This tour was great, we got to see so much and experience an amazing European winter! Heads up the included meals aren't the best but they're decent for what you pay for. We did almost all of the optionals so make sure you budget for the extras. Our tour guide Jamie was amazing she was so dedicated and helpful. Our bus driver was awesome too, he was the best driver. Our hotels were decent and mostly central to everything. We met such great people too. It really packed so much into the time we had and we were able to get the most out of our holiday. Would recommend this tour to anyone!
This trip was everything I had hoped for and more. It was my first time leaving the states and I was traveling alone so needless to say, I was a little nervous. From the time we met up with our Contiki group, the good times started rolling. Ebony, our Tour Manager, was AWESOME! She was so helpful and very clear about what to expect in regards to how things were going to work with times, hotels, travel, etc. Marco, our driver, was equally awesome! I don't know how he did it but he managed to make it through the craziest driving conditions without so much as a knick on the coach. He even took a detour not included on our tour so we could visit the Disney castle in Germany on our way to Venice! They both made it extremely easy to enjoy my vacation without worrying about the little things. Ebony knew a lot about the cities we were visiting and would recommend things to see and places to eat. She was so fun yet professional and I don't think anyone could have done a better job!
I did all the Optionals except for the Eye Spy in Berlin. I was told it was a good time though! I probably wouldn't do the Fondue lunch again in Switzerland but it was always fun having meals with most of my tour mates. Mt Pilatus is a must and so is the walking tour of Berlin. Our local travel guides were very cool.
I could not have lucked out with a better group of people to travel Europe with. The people in my group were from the US, Mexico, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.
We also lucked out weather wise. I was expecting it to be a little chillier but most days, a light jacket would suffice (except at the top of Mt Pilatus!). I had to buy t-shirts and tanks in Prague because I mainly packed long sleeve shirts. So glad I went in March/April because I didn't feel like there were too many tourists. Italy would have been jam packed if it was summer time!
Hands down it was one of the best vacations I've ever taken. Not only was it amazing to see the beautiful sites and get immersed in the history of Europe, it was great to meet people from all over that will become lifelong friends. It was worth every penny and every minute away from home. It definitely was an experience I'll never forget and will think about often.