Read reviews from past Contiki travelers.
Firstly, I highly recommend this tour for anyone who is unsure if they should travel to the USA.
Rachel Bushner was our tour manager and she is highly knowledgable and gave us a massive insight to every place we visited.. The bus driver, less enthusiastic but got us from A to B. Rachel made playlists and regular stops along the way so we got the best possible experience of our life.
Making friends is really easy, you get used to being out at 2am and waking up at 6am for the bus. Sometimes they'll sick around and you'll see them after the tour has finished and some you'll never talk to again.
Here is my full review on the tour.
I went in November, it was a little warm for a winter, but was cool in some places. IE, the Grand Canyon. I also suggest taking pillows and a blanket to sleep on the bus as the trips can be long a tiring. Also take some card games to play with your fellow passengers, it makes boning a hell of a lot easier.
Los Angeles, is alright. We stayed in downtown LA and there wasn't much to do, expect head over to Hollywood or Universal Studios.
Las Vegas, was incredible. I highly recommend doing the $10 surprise, everyone did it on my tour and it was amazing. Best $10 spent. All the inclusions are amazing as well. I also suggest doing the High Roller, but do it at night, you get a full 360 degree view of Vegas. Don't oversleep on the morning of your departure either, you'll have the bus waiting for a while on you.
Grand Canyon, will take your breath away. It was a little chilly, but the views are absolutely stunning. Do the optional helicopter flight, I almost chickened out, but some a quick chat with Bushy and I was ready to go. You get an amazing view of the canyon. Well worth my money. I didn't do the Jeep tour, but heard it was good. Also go watch the sunset and sunrise on the edge of the canyon. It will take your breath away - trust me.
Durango, Via Monument Valley.
We stopped at Monument Valley, which was pretty awesome, learnt about the Novajo's and their culture. Also got to walk on the ride where Forrest Gump ran along. Durango was a short visit, we went to a local bar and played some beer bong and danced on the bar, before meeting some very interesting locals.
Albuquerque, was one of the highlights of the tour. Such a nice little city, we can the option here to go to the Breaking Bad House, which I didn't attend. Buffet style dinner was god followed by some Karaoke. Our optional Hot air ballon trip was cancelled due to windy conditions, so we got to sleep in. This was another one night stop over.
Amarillo, now we're talking. Visiting Texas was the highlight of my tour. Something about Texas that I loved so dearly. Here we watched two of our fellow Contiki members try and conquer the Steak Challenge, which they both failed on. The food at the steak house was amazing. The night followed by some line dancing, beer pong and some dancing, until there was about 4 of us left until closing time. Amarillo, was another one night stop over, with an early get up - running on no sleep..
Dallas, arriving in Dallas we got the option to head to the Ice Hockey after our included dinner, which for me was an awesome experience. We watched Dallas vs Winnipeg. The atmosphere was amazing, followed by visiting the honky tonk. Here you also have the option to visit AT&T Stadium, which is a must do, even if you don't support NFL. I love the Dallas Cowboys, so I was like a kid in a candy store. Also visit the JFK Museum, the place has a wealth of knowledge and I could've spent all day in there. In the evening you also visit the Rodeo in Fort Worth. Which once again is an amazing experience, the calf tying may upset a few people. I also got the sad news of a friend passing away while I was here, so I was a bit of a downer while I was in Dallas.
Memphis, visiting Beale St is a must. Four of our Contiki boys took on a burger challenge here, was assuming to watch, but also made the stomach churn and how big the burger was. Visiting Graceland is a bucket list item tick, do check out the Rock and Soul museum and Sun studios.
I unfortunately this is where my tour ended, I wasn't able to go to New Orleans, but I heard it was an amazing experience for all who went.
To sum it up, the Southern Adventure is well worth every single cent, there was not one place where I felt it wasn't worth my money. If you don't sleep in your hotel, catch up on your sleep on the bus, bus buddies make comfortable pillows. Try and mix and match with people. I sat with my roomie for the first few stops, before I started talking and making other friends. Make sure you stay hydrated and go to the bathroom before you leave and at stops. Don't be that person who stinks out the bus. Take snacks as sometimes you'll be stuck in traffic for a very long time.
I can not praise Rachel Bushner enough for her wealth of knowledge and making this the best possible trip ever. I would happily do the Grand Southern Adventure next time, visiting the same places and many many more.
Coming from a Australian visiting her own country, this was without a doubt a amazing tour with so many #wowgasms and experiences I will never ever forget. Even times when it was raining the tour managers always gave us something to do which was fun and sometimes very entertaining. 10/10. As we were told don't treat it like a holiday treat it as an adventure, you only get out what you put in.
This was my first Contiki Tour and it will not be my last! I met amazing new people and had the best tour manager and bus driver I could have imagined! This is the perfect trip if you want a taste of a lot of different countries! :)
I started this trip like a little baby bird leaving the nest but now that I left I don't like coming back I miss all the new family I have meet.
Our trip manager was Evan and he was amazing he was your best friend and tour guide that know everything about everything. Imperiously he did and he had terrible puns but I get why he did them throughout the tour first I would've been to lease the nerves between everyone because we didn't know who they were, but then I think it was just because he was Evan and he loved he's puns.
Sorry back to the review I got sides tracked there, but why booking this tour you are making one of the best decision of your life. The accommodation you stay in are pretty good and then location of them are amazing in some of the places you go. The food you get it great you really feel where you are with the food you will eat whilst there. During the trip do all the me time activities if you don't you'll #regretit as contiki puts it but seriously do them you get to see the city in the best way and experience the place better with them and with the new family you've made.
Bouns tips about this trip take a travel hair dryer that works well because you will need it and take medicine and something you can take for your headache you WILL get from the night you had. Also rain boots or gum boots or jus some kind of water proof shoes for you to wear, it's only a caution but depending on when you go it will rain and not the fun kind of rain.
The new family you make is incredible. In the short amount of time you bond so well with everyone and it will be sad to leave them. But alas there is Facebook and no time zone can stop you from talking and seeing your new family after the tour.
So in conclusion of this super long kind of review thing I have typed. Do this tour if it's you first tour or seven hundredth tour do it you'll love every part of it. Except the last part and the end of Scotland when people leave you but the rest you'll love and will never forget.
I did the quest to Rome tour and it was the best thing I've ever done! I went as a solo traveller and instantly made so many new friends! It's so easy as everyone is there for the same thing and mostly everyone is solo also so their all open to making new friends!
Our tour guide and our bus driver were amazing! Always going the extra mile to give our trip a little something extra and pushing us to try new things! Our tour manager even went as far as giving us history of each place we visited so we understood the significance of each monument.
The accommodation was awesome! Wasn't five star obviously but it was clean and tidy and you spend literally a few hours a night in there sleeping and showering so don't need anything else.
The buses are amazing and comfy so you can catch up oh some zzz!
You have to do all the optional activities! They are so worth it and are such good value.
As you can see I enjoyed everything about this trip and can't wait to do my next contiki tour!
Keep it up contiki your amazing!
This tour is awesome! We were lucky it snowed in multiple places along our tour and it was the most wonderful experience. I went solo and was worried I would be stuck with a bunch of 18 year olds but our tour was mixed ages. I had the best group and have made many friends from doing this tour. I went on my own and would highly recommend to anyone who wants to do a tour to just book it! I had some of the best times with my group and would say to do all the Me Time Optionals (#noregrets). This best times you have are with the whole tour group so make friends and get to know everyone. Move around the bus and get to know you're fellow travellers. It was my first time in Europe and my first big overseas trip and honestly it was the best decision I made!
This was by far the best experience ever. I have done a Contiki before to NZ - but this was a whole new thing.
There is so much to do and see on this trip - Vegas was well.... no one on my trip can remember it so that's saying something. Have made some incredible friends and will remember every moment. Out tour guide STEPH was incredible and funny :) Would def go back and do it again with little less drinking so I can actually explore more of the wonderful places America has to offer.
Such a great trip, with an awesome group and manager! partying every night! Gilli-T island is worth it
This trip was Amazing! Could not have been any better. Whether you're there for the culture or just to have fun, it doesn't matter. Everyone is very friendly and considerate of why you're travelling.
This tour is a part of a larger tour and there is a smaller tour in the middle of this tour. It didn't bother me as you get to meet new people but you have to say goodbye to some of your new friends.
The hostel in Paris was really small. I had 3 in a room and bathroom was even smaller. But you can't expect a lot when staying in a hostel. It's just somewhere to sleep really.
Moulin Rouge was AMAZING - I would highly recommend seeing it. It's not in English but that doesn't matter.
There's a lot of time on the bus which is good because you have some time to catch up on some sleep.
Most of the places we went, the whether co-operated. It was pouring rain in Paris but we went in winter. Had some Beautiful days in Spain and Italy about 20 degrees Celecius for a couple of days.
All the optionals are worth it, most of them are dinners, but you get good food and good wine, if you're a wine lover.
We didn't get to do the tour if the Isle of Capri because the water was too choppy so we got a beautiful tour of the Amalfi Coast for free... It was AMAZING!
Try some snails while you're in Paris, You may only be there once, you never know.
And try some Lemon cello, its usually an after dinner thing in Italy ( I think), we usually had it after dinner.
There is SO much walking on this tour, which was hard for me because I'm really unfit. But there were others as unfit as me so it was good. We struggled together.
We nicknamed the tour the Cardio Tour instead. The hostel in San Sebastian, you have to walk up a massive hill to get to the hostel and the Contiki Bus cannot get there so a driver in a smaller car comes and picks up your bags and takes them there. If you're sneaky enough, There is another way to get to the hostel, it can take a little longer but you can go around the hill instead if you cant bare the hill for 2 days.
We had some not so great Tour guides when we went on the Vatican tour and the Colosseum tour. But the tour Guide for Pompeii, he was amazing! He was so passionate.
The tours are worth it as you don't have to wait in the lines. But if you have a crappy Tour Guide, walk off and have a look around for yourself. Our Tour Guide for the Colosseum didn't take us up on the top level we had to do that at the end when we only had 10 minutes to get back to our Contiki tour manager. We got some nice shots but we had to rush.
I had Kassie as the tour manager and Firo as the driver. They were Amazing. So knowledgeable and made everything fun, even the bus rides. Kassie had the worst song to wake everyone up when we were stopping for a break. It was great.
I was one of those people that thought the Contiki cough wouldn't get me... but when you slow down, and are on a bus breathing the same air as everyone else, YOU WILL GET IT even if you take anti-biotics. Sorry.
I highly recommend this tour. 12 days with a wonderful group of people in 9 countries, it ended up being the most amazing trip.
Ebony our tour guide was amazing, her knowledge about each country taught me so much and Tamas our bus driver amazed me as he drove through the busy traffic and tight squeezes. Both were a lot of fun and very professional.
It was a very fast paced tour and you do spend a lot of time on the bus travelling, luckily for the great music and movies that helped pass the time.
I did most of the options except the two dinners and the sex show, if you can do as many options as possible to mix with the group, they are a lot of fun.
Also make sure you bring a backpack for two of the hotels that have too many stairs for your suitcase. I only had a small backpack but ended up being able to pack enough for the next day.
My favourite time was in Austria being able to rent a bike and discover the countryside. It was so beautiful.
Thanks to this trip I want to return to Europe and hopefully one day move there.
THE BEST CONTIKI TRIP!
Video of Trip: https://youtu.be/I1aUwPGPtXI
This was my third trip with Contiki and I have to say China Adventure has been the best one so far. This is for many reasons but the number one reason has to be because of how many inclusions are involved with this tour as well as the incredible places you visit on this trip.
With breakfast, lunch and dinner almost every other day, many activities included and transport you really save your self money.
This trip involved catching many types of transport which I was a little apprehensive about but all the tickets we printed for us, the paper work was sorted out effortlessly our tour guide was fantastic and very good at his job. (Tom - Contiki_Dreads) Sorting out over 25 peoples' plane / train tickets can't be easy.
The tour covers the best sites to see, my favourite place we visited was Yangsuho - Film set to Avatar, it was mind blowing! The scenery was out of this world, I really recommend the cooking class Contiki offer as a MEtime optional too!
The accommodation on this trip was great, every hotel we stayed at had WiFi, comfy beds and was in a fantastic location.
This tour was a trip of a lifetime and I want to do it all over again!
(oh yeah and you make life long friendships) :)
Firstly, my trip manager, Monica, was wonderful. Knowledgeable and energetic, she was also very attentive. I began my first night in Lima violently ill with food poisoning (from an American airport - I hadn't even eaten anything/had anything to drink in Peru yet) and remained sick for four days. Monica, the local guides, and the hotel professionals were so incredibly on point making sure I was taken care of. I'd never before been so grateful to be in a tour group instead of traveling solo!
Secondly, I'd wanted to visit Peru for half of my life, and this trip was so inclusive and thorough that I feel I really saw a bit of everything. Peru is a truly beautiful country, and from Lima to remote areas such as Chivay I was constantly in awe. The locals were extremely friendly and accommodating (seriously, I didn't know people could be so kind), and happy to share their culture with us. The food was delicious, the hotels were extremely clean and comfortable, and our Coach drivers were kind, patient, and skilled. The trip was also run in a very efficient and timely manner, which I greatly appreciated.
Some of my favorite parts of this trip include sitting in natural hot springs in Colca Valley, learning about how alpaca wool is dyed and woven, watching the sun rise over the peaks of Machu Picchu, and eating empanadas in various hole-in-the-wall shops in Cuzco and Pukara. This trip was an excellent combination of cultural education and adventure! I also must say that I truly had an amazing group - getting to know other young people from around the world, and bonding of new experiences and long bus rides was one of the best parts! I really could go on for hours about how great this entire experience was, but I'll spare you :-)
Just a few words of caution: this is a really busy trip! You rarely stay in the same hotel/town for more than one night, many mornings you'll leave at/before dawn and the days are jam-packed. It's totally, 100% worth it, but if you're looking for a relaxing vacation this isn't exactly that. Also, a few of us struggled with digestive issues (as is common when traveling anywhere), and some members of my group certainly felt the effects of the altitude. I went in July and temperatures ranged from about 20-75 degrees Fahrenheit, so make sure you pack layers and wear comfortable shoes - there's a lot of walking involved! Lastly, you're responsible for getting yourself from the Lima airport to your hotel approximately 45 minutes away - I recommend being aware of your surroundings, researching cab companies ahead of time, and brushing up on some Spanish to help yourself out!
This is truly the trip of a lifetime. I'd go again in a heartbeat!
if you have the time and money, then this is the trip you must take, its as simple as that! was the best trip i have ever done, amazing people on the bus, heaps an heaps to do, being such a long contiki, you make some really good friends, and get to know then on another level , i would even do this trip again it was that good,
after doing a 45 day contiki. this was a very nice add on contiki i done, nice crew, nice water, nice food, lots to do and see, but every chill
This trip was seriously the most amazing time of my life. We saw and experienced the most unforgettable sites and cultures. I made some wonderful lifelong friends. The only downside was the Contiki Cough. It is not a myth and it spreads like wildfire on those buses. Make sure you research doctors before you go so you can get assistance when required. Depending on the size of your group (ours was to the max - 40+ people) so the tour manager could only devote her time to so many people at a time, which is understandable so it helps to be able to organise doctors/medical assistance for yourself if you can as they may not have the time to help you (learn from me and don't leave it to the last minute of your trip when you feel horrible beyond belief!). Bronchitis was not going to get me down though, this European trip opened my eyes to so many things. I tried all types of different foods that I would never usually try (um, snails smothered in garlic are actually delicious, who knew?!). This tour truly is a taste tester of so many different places. 33 days flew by without me even realising! I wouldn't recommend the Greek Island cruising personally as it was so rushed and it felt like we ran from one end of the islands to the other without really soaking it in. Staying in Mykonos would have been the better choice but honestly I could not have organised the things that Contiki did for us. Out tour manager and bus driver were stellar, I don't know how they put up with us but they did and I'm very thankful for it! More than 6 months later and I'm still dreaming about the Eiffel Tower, risotto in Florence, sailing through Dubrovnik and enjoying the sights of "King's Landing". The optionals are worthwhile if you're unorganised and don't know what you're interested in doing in Europe (AKA me). If you're really into research and know what you'd like to do in the places you visit, skip the optionals and do your own thing as they can be quite expensive. 33 days is a great amount of time to really get to know and love the people you are traveling with. I will cherish the memories we've made together taking endless selfies in the most picturesque places, playing countless hours of 'heads-up' on the bus, big nights out or just a movie night in someone's hotel room to wind down. Definitely a worthwhile trip. I would definitely recommend Contiki :)
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.