Read reviews from past Contiki travelers.
I did this trip in April and it was amazing. I did things i never would do back at home like hot air ballooning it was sooo much fun! If anyone is considering doing this trip i would definitely recommend it. We had an awesome tour manager Rachel, seriously we got so lucky having her.
We did have a tornado warning during our trip but it actually bonded everyone together closer. I would recommend doing as many optionals as possible and going out with the group at night even if you are not a drinker just so you can be social and bond with everyone because that's where a lot of the fun happens.
If anyone is thinking of doing only half the tour i would suggest doing the 1st half (LA-New Orleans) instead of the 2nd half (New Orleans-NYC) as the 1st half has a lot more optionals and things to do. I also found in more enjoyable then the 2nd half although Miami was amazing. If you have the money however i think it is totally worth it to do the full tour. Also it is a little harder for new people starting in new orleans to feel like they can approach the other people who have already been traveling together since LA so keep that in mind if your doing the 2nd half on the tour because you will be joining people who have already met, dont worry though most people are more then exciting to meet new people.
I went as a SOLO traveler and had no problems making awesome friends from the 1st night so dont worry if your going alone, i think it is actually better because we definitely witnessed some friendships being broken up and being tested throughout the tour. Rooming with another person you dont know can be difficult depending on who you get stuck with but you are only there to sleep so dont worry to much........ and trust me most of the time you dont sleep thats what the bus is for.
The best advice i could give you would be to have an OPEN MIND ( Learn new cultures, explore new places, don't stereotype people before you get to know them, etc), TRY AS MUCH AS YOU CAN even the things that scare you because you will come back home and realise how much you have grown from your travel.
I hope everyone who does this tour has as much fun as i did.
Just got back from this trip (May 3rd trip) and loved every bit of it.
The boat was really nice and had plenty of deck space to walk around/ sunbathe on. It was only the beginning of summer though so it was a little cool at times, but that didn't stop us sleeping on the deck at night. The boat crew provide extra rugs etc and you basically just make one massive pile up of people and rugs and pillows and on deck to fall asleep under the stars (really, really cool).
The crew were so friendly, there were three of them and they always got involved with what we were doing and they got us into some really, really really cool clubs. Definitely recommend paying for the optional extra of a night out in marmaris, and the mud baths trip are worth the 50 euro. If you're worried about how much money you'll spend, drinks on the boat cost about 2/3 euro for non alcoholic and 3/4 for the alcoholic ones. Water costs 0.35 for a bottle. When you don't go on land, all you pay for are drinks on the boat. Drinks on shore are a lot more expensive when you go to a club. We never saw any drinks cheaper than 5 euro, and they were usually at about 10 euro for cocktails and stuff. I was on a really tight budget and managed to give myself 25 lira a day (9 euro) and then 6 euro for drinks. So about 15 euro. It was a VERY tight budget but some days you don't get off the boat/ there's nothing to buy so you just save loads that way.
The rest of the team were great and we all got along really well- and while the whole trip was relaxing and time to wind down, there was no shortage of going out/ singing "i'm on a boat" an excessive amount of times.
I should probably also mention that this part of turkey is really beautiful and friendly- quite a lot of us had family + friends who were worrried about us going to turkey but this side of the country is absolutely fine and quite westernised. You can walk round in shorts and a t-shirt and not be frowned upon or anything. Also, as there are so few flights into bodrum I recommend joining the meet up once you're booked on the trip because you're almost guaranteed to be on the same flight as someone on your trip, so you can split a taxi to bodrum (costs about 110 lira so 35 euro. Apparently there's also a coach that goes from the airport which costs like 5 euro or something, so it's worth looking into that.
I totally recommend this trip- at the end you'll realise how quick it goes and you'll be envious of the next people getting on the boat just as you're getting off it!
There is so much to this tour that you will love. The places, the food, the people and the parties.. Oh the parties.. You will see some of the most beautiful places in the world and make memories you will never forget.
My favorite places were Egypt, Budapest and Istanbul. The Eastern Travel is definitely worth it!
Do every optional, go out with your tour manager when they suggest something because you won't remember the nights you slept in (that's what the 8 hour bus trips are for).
You get used to the food, there's usually plenty there but its the basics, toast or some normal cereal, dinners are usually decent at the hotels and pretty good when you go out on tour. Lunch time is usually when you get to go out yourself and splurge a bit so make the most of them.
One thing i wish i did was spend all of my money, i worried and i saved as much as i could and didn't make the most of some nights. The best advice i can give you is come home in debt. Make the most of your tour and if you see something you like BUY IT! When is the next time you'll come through Florence or Vienna or Cairo?
Spend your money, make great friends, take photos but most of all have an amazing time.
Had the best time and made long life friends. Great driver and tour manager. Already planning my next , highly recommend
This trip had to seriously the highlight of my life! Turkey is freaking amazing, has to be one of the most amazing countries on this planet! I met some amazing people on this tour and made some life long friends, this has to be my all time favorite holiday I've ever had, thanks contiki
This was my first trip with contiki, I've never joined a youth trip like this one and I have to say it was a great first impression.
Yes people on this trip and my next ones are very young, however when you are travelling, the age gap doesn't really matter as everyone is just trying to have a good time and we are sharing the same experience with each other.
We had a great tour manager, she is extremely professional, helpful with a youthful spirit. She brings a lot of energy to us and she hung out with us on most night, same as the bus driver.
Food is just alright but that's the Eastern European Cuisine for you...meat and potatoe everyday...don't have high expectation on it if that's not your type of diet. Vegetarians beware as easter european don't believe in no meat meals so your dish will always be less impressive than the meat lovers...
Hotels are quite good for this trip, Ibis and Noveltels are the staples, they are much better than the old hotels in Italy though. Rooms in Europe are always small so don't try to compare them with the ones in North America.
Overall, amazing trip, great itinerary and met a lot of cool people. =}
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!