Read reviews from past Contiki travelers.
While I enjoyed myself I think I have come to the age where Contiki may just not be for me, which is unfortunate as I had planned to book a European Tour with another friend later this year but think self directed travel or smaller groups may be more enjoyable. I have done quite a bit of traveling this way and feel I am more authentically "travelling" as opposed to "touristing" as this tour felt.
However if this is a first time trip away of you want a quick taste of the States with all nighters every night this would probably be your thing. My favourite days where the ones away from the main group spent in smaller groups with people who were interested in exploring and getting to know each destination a little more intimately as well as meeting locals and visiting local spots. Which is when I felt more like I was getting a real experience.
It really was the people on the tour that made it at times painful, I was told from others that had done tours with Contiki before that it wasn't the best bunch so just unlucky really but something you may encounter. The tour seemed to be more of an opportunity for half the group to have all night (and sometimes all day) alcoholic binges and hook ups and often some of them needed to be helped on the bus due to being still drunk. Also the age meant there were many "high school" type antics constant fallings out over hook-ups/drunken arguments the night before and some bullying of other tour members as well as one arrest. While I love a good night out all night- going every night all night meant this group often disrupted the day time tours, often late in the mornings, still drunk during the day, vomiting on bus rides, or simply not being interested in the tour guides history or tours of each city preferring to find the nearest bar and talk over our tour Manager. A real lack of respect for other people on the tour was evident.
The tour driver while lovely and informative he seemed disinterested in addressing this group affecting others experiences which was shame and more just fulfilling the itinerary/ticking the boxes. He often meet friends and his girlfriend at different locations and would disappear with them quite quickly to other bars earlier in the night.
I think if you are over the age of 26/27 you may find this not quite for you? I personally was looking for something a little more cultural, more local experience with the odd all night party thrown in. Good but could of been much better.
Also do be prepared for a tip to be stung on you at the end of the trip - $3 per day suggested for both the driver and tour manger. There is no way to do this in an anonymous way either so you feel you must tip at least the suggested which was fine for me but others on a budget need to be aware as it adds up quickly.
Everyone I asked did tip the suggested amount or slightly above, you are asked to put it in an envelope write on it and hand it to the Driver and Tour Manager personally. Considering we did part of the tour and the entire tour went closer to 25 days with a full bus the whole time (45-50 people) this adds up to $3000-$3400USD each for the driver and tour manager in tips which I thought is a little steep...
Our tour leader Az and our driver Jimmy were amazing! Our group had a ball! I have never drank so much in my life but omg the memories I've made will last a lifetime! Everyone needs to do this trip it was by far the best way to see as much as possible but still get a real feel for the places!
I loved Thailand! I did the Thailand West tour, and extended it to be there for two weeks with my husband. We had the best time! We met a lot of really cool people, and we got to really experience the culture. I would definitely recommend this tour!
If it is your first time traveling to Europe, I highly recommend doing the Winter Wanderer. You get to discover Europe in its amazing winter and bask in all its glory! I loved my trip! Our Trip Manager Dylan was one of the greatest people you could ask for to guide you around Europe and tell you little parts of history as you enter each city. Raf our driver was the best driver you can get! They are both incredibly trained. All the Trip Managers and Trip Driver are trained i got the chance to meet a couple while on my trip and they were very nice to talk to. I'm just being biased with Dyl and Raf as i spent 24 days with them and they helped me through everything. They are always there to support you.
I highly recommend doing all the MeTime optional's you will never again get the opportunity to do these activities with 50 young like minded people again. Even if you think the MeTime optional doesn't seem like your thing, i promise you will regret not doing it as you will hear everyone rave about it and you'll wish you did it. Treat yo'self while you are over there. Make it rain!! In the end you will only regret the things you wish you had done. I done everything i wanted to do, i made it rain and i did not regret one decision i made on that trip! I want to go over again and explore Europe in depth. You will catch the travel bug. While on the tour a couple of us decided that we would book another tour at the end of the year to New Zealand with Contiki and we are always looking at other tours they do all over the world! You have on life, one chance! Have no regrets! Take a naughty picture on top of a Swiss alp, eat as much chocolate as you can, drink all the beer in Munich, be mesmerized in Pairs by the Moulin Rouge discover and leave no city with wishing you had of done something. DO IT make your moment. Interact with your group, become friends and so close they become a new family with you, i did all that and now i have friends to see it different cities and travel buddies.
First thing I want to say is The Big Tiki was awesome! I enjoyed every minute of it and Contiki's catchphrase of "No Regrets" could not be truer!
Before I went on the tour, I was a little apprehensive as I am not a big partying person and I had heard about Contiki being "a party tour". This is true and it isn't. Contiki tours are what you make of it. On my tour there were people who would go back to the motel early in the night, there were people who went out every single night and didn't come home until 3am (to this day, I still have no idea how they did it.) and there were people like me; some nights I would go home after dinner, some nights I would stay out longer (the latest I was out was about 11 - as I said, I'm not a party person) and it was awesome! There were always people in the same frame of mind as yourself as to staying out late or not. So if you are worried about this, don't be!
This was my first time travelling abroad by myself, which is why I decided to do a tour. I was a little worried that everyone on the tour would be travelling with their friends and I would be all by myself, I needn't have worried! The majority of the people on the tour were travelling by themselves. I think there was only one group of friends and a few couples who intermingled with everyone else anyway.
I'm now realising I have talked a lot about the people on my tour and not much about the actual tour, trying to write a review for a tour that is almost three weeks long is not easy, there was just so much that we did that it would be impossible to mention everything! If you're still reading though, I will tell you a little bit.
The tour is so well organised that the tour managers have it all down to an art! Everything runs so smoothly, you don't have to worry about a thing, you don't even have to check in to the motel (which by the way every place we stayed at was great, clean and comfortable!) and your tour manager books all your extra activities for you!
Everything in New Zealand is beautiful! So many lakes and mountains, everything is so picture perfect you'll have to refrain from filling your camera's memory card on the first day.
The 4 days you spend in Queenstown are incredible! If you love adrenaline then this is the place for you! Every adrenaline inducing activity you can think of is right here! And if adrenaline is not your thing, there is still a lot of things you can do here. Two of the people in my tour hired a car and did their own thing for the time we were there. And the place you stay at in Queenstown has the most amazing view you could imagine!
I'm not going to tell you which activities are good and which ones aren't as your tour guide will tell you what you need to know, all I will say is they're right - listen to them.
If you're going to go to NZ, do this tour as it is the longest. A lot of people on the tour did the one that stopped at Auckland and didn't go up to Bay of Island, they missed out. It was the perfect way to wind down at the end of the trip.
Well this has been quite a long review, if you've stayed with me until the end, thanks! Enjoy your tour! And for staying with me all the way, here's a secret: the contiki busses have free wifi.
Have a great trip!
There are words which escape my mouth as to how amazing this Tour went. I Traveled alone not knowing a soul, and by the time i had left i made 38 new Friends from around the world.
I am glad i took my Nikon Camera the photos i took from day 1 look absolute and amazing..
Our Trip manager, My hat goes off to him for he made the trip memorable and enjoyable, there were only laughs, smiles and tears of JOY... Dario really took us on a journey where only my photos can tell the story.
In life, its all about timing and everything went to the clock and alas i actually met someone. It just happens but wow what an experience. I now enjoy my Red wine more than i have ever before, The food, the people and the Language is so beautiful i wish i could hear it everyday and smell the aroma in the air... Fresh bread smell.
This was my first Contiki Tour and i can tell you it wont be my last.. WOW.. you guys really know how to make a Espresso Taste strong.
To all the new friends that i have made thank you, our age group was in the late 20's but wow we were at least all on the same level with History as well a good wine from time to time. All so caring, giving and understanding. We never judged according to appearance but accepted everyone for who they were and no one was left out.
Thank you Dario for the best time of my life, #life_changing
Thank you Contiki for allowing me to experience this journey with you.
Grazie, e può rimanere l'Italia bella come sempre
This Contiki was amazing!
I'm from Australia so New Zealand is basically my neighbour. At the time of the tour I was only 18 and decided that I would only do the 10 day tour to see if Contiki was for me. HELPFUL HINT - Do a longer one!!
Within 10 days the tour group that I was with felt like I have known them for life. I was the youngest person with them and even the eldest didn't make that an issue.
Hayley was our tour guide and she was very helpful! She told us where the best places for sight seeing were - even the best places to get a meat pie (I had a craving one lunch time).
Most of the accommodation was good. At the end of the day, in most cities and towns you weren't in there for a lot except for sleeping anyway.
The coaches were comfy and great for catching up on some sleep.
Possibly the best view that I have seen in my life was on the ferry from the north island to the south island. Everyone that stayed on to do the south island posted their photos online. Don't regret not seeing it for myself like I did ..... BOOK A LONGER TOUR! #NOREGRETS
They say that money cannot buy happiness, but in the case of this tour, yes it can! One of the best weeks of my life, with a perfect mixture of relaxing and partying with a bunch of new extremely good mates!
I cannot recommend this trip more highly! 7 months after I returned from Europe, everyday I want to be back!
It may be a cliche, but it's true. I loved this trip so much; I've been on several trips with different tour groups, but I enjoyed this one the most. My group was full of awesome people, which may be the luck of the draw, but definitely helped make this trip so great. I'm excited for my next voyage with contiki. Oh, and definitely do the trek!!! There are ruins you can't see otherwise!
This is a link to my blog of the my whole trip to USA!
This is a link to my blog of the my whole trip to USA!
This was my first time traveling alone to another country so naturally I was really nerves new places, new people, different way of life but are tour guides Patrick or paddy as we called him on the east coast and Adam in the Northern Territory made the trip so easy. Everyone on the trip was really nice, the accommodation was really good, the food was amazing, the optionals we defiantly worth the money especially the scuba driving. The coaches are top of the line couldn't have asked for better. And I would highly recommend this to anyone anywhere around the world it is definitely a once in a life time trip and I a glad I did it first and because of it I will definitely be doing more Contiki trips.
Egypt & the Nile was such a great trip. I HIGHLY recommend it. I booked the trip for my 30th birthday and my sister and brother decided to come too. We were nervous at first because of the turmoil going on in the middle east right now. It was nothing like we expected. There wasn't one time where we felt unsafe. It was nothing like we expected from what they show in the media. In fact, the people were so friendly and welcoming. They were glad to see tourists again. Tourism is down there, but it is to your benefit to go now. There are no crowds... anywhere. Most of pictures are of us individually, no other tourists!
Sherif, our guide, was outstanding. Not only was he knowledgeable about so many things, but he genuinely wanted to make the trip amazing for everyone. He definitely made the entire experience memorable and made sure we were all learning and enjoying ourselves.
We saw so different temples and sites. It is a fast-paced trip. Each morning we started off around 6 or 7am. But each day was worth it. My favorite excursion was to Abu Simbel. I HIGHLY recommend doing that add on. The balloon ride in Luxor was breath taking as well! Hurghada was beautiful. The yacht ride was so relaxing and nice change of pace. In general, I highly recommend doing all of the add ons. The only one that was a little dull was the light show at the temple of Karnak.
We stayed 2 extra nights (you really only need to stay 1 extra night) and we hired Sherif to take us to Alexandria. It was definitely worth it. Alexandria was completely different than anything we had seen before the trip. Sherif does a great job of showing you the culture and the sites. It was $115 USD to add this... and worth every dollar. We booked our extra nights through Contiki too.
My advice to women booking the trip, definitely bring lightweight pants (linen worked great). It is a different culture there, so dress more conservatively than you normally would. I also had a button down shirt to wear if that was long sleeved and covered me up. I didn't wear it all of the time... but it was nice to have as an option. Sherif was very good about telling us what we should wear at each location.
I converted 200 US dollars to Egyptian pounds once I got there. I also had a lot of small US bills... $50 in $1 bills and $5 dollar bills. Between the souvenirs and excursions, I spent around $500USD additional to the trip cost. You can also use your credit card at a lot of places... just not the markets or souvenir stands.
Suncscreen is a must, the sun didn't ever feel hot... but a lot of people had sunburns. I also recommend a good hat. This is a jam packed tour. You travel by plane, bus and van... so pack lightly. On the riverboat, we had laundry service available.
This trip was the trip of a lifetime. Not only were the sites amazing, but the country and the people were too. If you love to sight-see and see what the world is outside of your own comfort zone, this is definitely the trip for you you.
Being the first time to Europe or any country other than Australia I had an amazing time and saw some beautiful places but my time spent in Sorrento for NYE and time in Rome were two of my favorite parts of my trip!
This had a mix of everything you needed and was incredible to tour some of these places I would not have known how to get to or what to do...
I loved all of it (minus the terrible plague of contiki cough that ripped through the group!) and made some great friends and unforgettable memories!
For the places you go and things you do the price is fabulous, I definitely recommend doing all of the me time optionals and even though you feel like you will see too many churches, the valley of the fallen was simply amazing and a must!
Ah how I miss the food and the wine everywhere!
Although this was a just part of my europe trip it was great to not be doing all of the planning and have it up to contiki compared to when I was alone!
Don't think, just book it!
I just got back from my Contiki adventures on Friday (5 days ago) and I miss Europe already!
That being said this particular tour left a little to be desired. We stayed at the Royal National Hotel and our rooms were clean, and the showers had great water pressure but there was very little water pressure from the sink in our room (I prefer a stronger stream when rinsing my toothbrush and washing my hands).
The included breakfast also leaves a lot to be desired (if you want bacon, eggs or hash browns you have to pay an additional 5 pounds per day for this), the only things included in breakfast are toast, buns, cereal, either mandarin oranges or grapefruit in liquid or a piece of fruit, and of course coffee, tea or juice. If you are not big on carbs in the morning there is not a lot of option available to you without paying for it.
The wait staff at breakfast were also super rude the last morning we were there - they didn't want you saving seats at tables (they demanded that you get your food first then go find a place to sit, but on a busy morning - if you have a big group of people with you, you may not be able to sit together) if you have to get your food first. The morning we were there this one lady did not even want to eat breakfast but wanted to sit with her travel companion during the meal anyways. The staff insisted that she could not occupy a table with no food - they made her go stand near the self-serve food section.
Also - the website says under the inclusions section that you can: see Westminster Abbey, the Tower of London, the House of Parliament, Big Ben and Buckingham Palace - which is only true if you pay an additional admission charge over and above what you are already paying for this "tour".
We had to pay 20 pounds for Westminster Abbey and the Tower of London, and the House of Parliament would have been an additional 18 pounds if we had gone. The Contiki Basement does offer slight discounts for some of the local attractions, but the savings are in most cases only a pound less than the regular price. Woohoo...although I suppose every dollar saved counts.
Buckingham Palace is also only open to the public for tours in the summer months when the Queen is not in residence. If she is home you can see it from the outside and go to the store only. Plan accordingly. We toured Kensington Palace instead to get a taste of a Palace - but again there was an admission fee - which can be reduced somewhat if you book online ahead of time.
The Ticket to the West End Musical is also listed as an inclusion - this is true. That being said depending on when you travel may depend on whether or not you have to pay an additional fee over and above the comped ticket voucher they give you - we traveled during Spring Break and were told it was a possibility that we might have to add up to an additional 10 pounds for a ticket if the show was popular and tickets were limited. We were lucky and got great seats for the show we wanted - we saw Mrs. Henderson Presents and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves - and we didn't have to pay any extra for the cost of our ticket. Highly recommend this show - it was great!
The final inclusion is a open top bus sightseeing tour. This was also awesome, however be prepared that the hop on off pass you are given is only valid for 24 hours and the last bus leaves near the Royal National at 5:30pm in the Spring. So if you are out late for dinner - don't expect to be able to catch the bus to get back to your hotel. Despite the limitations of the ticket we really enjoyed seeing the London Sights by bus. Great way to see the city but a full tour can take up to an hour and a half - so get on early so you can still do stuff later in the day.
Overall, while I really enjoyed London the extra costs added into this tour threw me for a bit of a loop - so consider your budget very carefully when you are choosing the sites you want to go to. Most things cost roughly 20 pounds to do. We did St. Paul's Cathedral and it was 18 pounds but if we had booked through Contiki it would have been 17 - not a lot of savings but a dollar is a dollar.
Another thing to keep in mind - in Europe water is not free with a meal so make sure you budget about 1.20 pounds per glass of water if that is what you want with your meal.
Some sweet and inexpensive things we did in London included the London Sky Garden - which offers a nice view of Tower or London and Tower Bridge, London Bridge and Millennium Bridge - and you can see the Eye of London and Big Ben in the distance. You have to book a slot online up to two weeks in advance but it is free. Because we did this and climbed to the top of St. Paul's Cathedral (the Cathedral was not free), we felt like we didn't need to do the London Eye which saved us some money. We also went the Twinings Original Store across from the Court Justice Building - it is part museum, part tea tasting and part store. If you buy nothing it is free to see - but the tea tasting wasn't open the day we went as there was a private tasting booked.
One fun extra that was included in the tour that we didn't expect was a free one-way trip up the Thames by Riverboat. We took the boat from the Tower of London to Big Ben and Parliament and then were able to walk that whole section of London up to Buckingham Palace which was really nice and saved our feet a little.
Overall I really enjoyed London - I just wish Contiki's description for this tour was a little more forthcoming with the information. The way it was written when I went made it sound like you got to see Westminster and Parliament etc. as a part of the tour you had paid for - when that was not the case.
Hope this was helpful! Happy traveling everyone!
I was so excited to start my contiki, but everyone was super welcoming and i've never had so much fun! I did all the optionals and don't regret any of them, they were all such a great time. Our tour guide Ellie and bus driver Joao did such an amazing job, I couldn't thank them enough! There was always somewhere close to grab a bite to eat and Ellie always pointed us in the right direction. I met some of my best friends on this trip and couldn't recommend it more highly
Egypt was absolutely beautiful, if you're thinking about booking this trip…book it now!
I arrived the day the tour started, early in the morning; so I was lucky enough to be offered to do a day trip to Alexandria (for an extra $100USD), it is totally worth the views and places you get to visit.
The first hotel you stay in isn't exactly the best, either is the breakfast provided, but thats all apart of the experience.
On the first full day, you get to see the pyramids of giza and if you're lucky enough you'll get to ride a camel through the desert with the pyramids in the background - this is a must!
It was quite hot whilst I was there (around 44-48 degrees celsius) although it is only humid in Cairo, as you journey your way to Luxor the humidity drops and its just hot!
Basically, all the food is provided for, you'll only have to buy meals maybe once or twice.
The tour guide, is amazing, he is so indulged in the culture and has knowledge on literally everything ancient egypt.
The highlight of the tour is cruising down the nile (best accom!) as well as seeing mummies and viewing the tombs and temples as well!
This is the perfect tour for someone who just wants to relax and see the world. The groups are small (mine had about 10 people, everyone was aged 20+) and you'll make friendships that will last a lifetime!
The tour itself was amazing and I loved every minute!
I believe this is mainly down to having such an amazing tour manager, Paddy Davis. I feel it necessary to let you know what an amazing employee you have on board representing Contiki. He is a real credit to your team. Through my travelling experiences I’ve been on several tours and I can tell you I’ve never had a more knowledgeable, helpful, considerate tour leader. He looked after the whole group from start to finish and nothing was ever too much trouble even if he was working away planning ahead for us at the front of the coach. He helped me to decide where I would travel to next after the tour ended and provided me with helpful contacts.
For a lot of us, it was our first time to Australia and I feel we had the best experience we could get. Paddy has such a natural ability to talk on our level and provide us with not only necessary, but also really interesting information ahead of the next destination. The day sheets were always well written, detailed and informative so we knew exactly what was happening or where we needed to be. Gary who was our coach driver also deserves a mention as he was very friendly, helpful and professional throughout.
The trip itself was epic. I really felt like we got to see the highlights of the east coast and it wasn’t too rushed. I was worried that a group of 50 people would taint the experience but I think it actually worked pretty well and we had a nice amount of time to get to know everybody. I really enjoyed to extra activities provided and the included meals were all really nice. I would definitely consider booking another tour with Contiki in the future thanks to a great first experience.
Didn't know you could cram so many awesome experiences into 9 days. What a great time with an awesome tour guide and amazing people!