Reviews

Read reviews from past Contiki travelers.

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  • MitchellR Level 4 Traveler
  • 4 Contikis
  • 2 Countries

This was my first time ever out of Australia and I was also travelling for the first time on my own and I must say I had the best time of my life so far. I met so many new friends as it ended up being 3 different contiki's in one with Grand Southern, Southern Adventure (LA to New Orleans) & Eastern Discovery (New Orleans to New York). My tour manager & driver were awesome the tour manager had so much knowledge of all the places we went to and set up awesome night life for everyone. My highlights were definitely Las Vegas, Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, Dallas, Memphis, Miami, Washington DC then New York after the tour finished. And going to see Gracelands, Kennedy space center, Arlington National Cemetery & all the memorials as well as museums in DC. I already miss it all and everyone I met and I only been home for a week.

  • Greg Level 3 Traveler
  • 3 Contikis
  • 2 Countries

Well what can i say...best 3 weeks of my life, had a awesome time!!.....travelled solo, (which was a good option). I made soo many new freinds. Have some Awesome Memories!! ...Hotels were great, Places were great, Optional were great and the tour was Amazing

A MUST DO! on the tour is a chopper ride in Las Vegas ( Grand Canyon) its Absolutely breathtaking. It takes u right into the canyon, Champagne lunch, goes for about 1 and a half hours. If you can do the bike tour through San fran, it goes for about 2-3 hrs lol, but great way to see San Fransisco =D

This was my first trip solo and as much as i was nervous, the 2nd day on contiki i was and ready to go!! No need to worry, everyday is organized, all you have to is choose what you wanna do...Recommend this for anyone!!!.....this trip has given me the travel bug...Next stop Europe Contiki =D

My Contiki was: Awesome, Amazing, Good times !

  • Sasha Level 5 Traveler
  • 5 Contikis
  • 12 Countries

London: The crown jewels are really something else! They are located in the Tower of London and the line gets ridiculous so go there first thing! We did and there was no line; by the time we got out — huge line! St Pauls opens at 8:30 and the nearby Tower of London at like 9, so easy to combine the two. If you only have time to visit one church, I would suggest Westminster Abbey over St Pauls. The London Eye is cool, but it’s something you could skip really. It takes about 30 minutes to do the revolution btw. Tate Modern and National Gallery were cool but if you are low on time, you can skip. The one museum you must see is the British Museum (and free and by the hotel so no excuse). It’s a tourist trap for sure but I loved the London M&M store, located near the West End… it is so cute and a great place for souvenirs! Try to pay for Westminster Abbey by cash as it’s a much shorter line. If you are going to be there for several days before consider the London Pass; I didn’t get one but someone else did and she thought it was worth it. Oh and let me offer a huge timesaver: if you buy the tour over the phone they should offer a 10 pound metro pass that takes you from Heathrow to the train station by the hotel…. definitely buy that instead of at the airport metro station. The line is ridiculous and you will thank me. If the pass wasn’t offered to you I would call contiki. Probably saved me at least half an hour of standing in a ridiculous line.

Paris: I did the extension so I stayed an extra 2 days and I thought that was a good decision. Otherwise you will have about a day and a half to explore the city as the trip to the Palace of Versaille will take half a day. Like I said above, if you are going to be there for extra time, definitely get the Paris Museum Pass (2, 4, or 6 day) and I suggest buying it at the military museum (no line). If you lack time, skip walking up and down the Champ Elysee — it’s like fifth avenue in NY, lots of high end stores, and connects the Arc de Triomphe with the area of the Lourve. If you don’t have the time, you can take the metro station by the Arc de Triomphe to your next destination. If you do have the time here are a few highlights of that street (I walked up and down twice while I was in Paris): you might want to go to the Louis Vuitton store if you are into that kind of stuff (I skipped this), if you are female it might be worth going to the Abercrombie and Fitch store –- not to buy anything but because what you will see when you walk inside might be good for some giggles -- and I am not going to spoil it; you will not see the store from the street but instead a golden gate with a line outside and security in the form of guys with Abercombie and Fitch sweatshearts. If you are into cars at all, all of the French manufacturers have display rooms on this street – not to sell cars but to show off. The highlight for me was Renault which is showcasing their new car, Twizzy. The Citroen showroom was also cool. The Disney Paris store sells a very cute bag for 3.99 euro that makes for a great souvenier or beach bag. There’s a yummy pizza place that I went to with outside seating just to say I ate on the Champ Elysee. In the Lourve, well you need to see everything of course. But if you are limited in time you will have to see the Mona Lisa just because people will ask you, same for the Venus de Milo. Also make sure you see a room called the Apollo room –- it’s beautiful beyond words, trust me. I think it is in the Shelly wing (there are 3 wings). Napolean’s apartment is there as well and cool if you can find it. There is a hidden downstairs entrance to the Lourve which the tour guide suggested but it ended up with a huge line so I wouldn’t suggest it myself. If you have the museum pass then you can skip all the lines and enter through the pyramid and walk right in. The Musee d’ Orsay is OK, but I think it is safe to skip. The Pantheon is over by the Latin Quarter and a bit out of the way but if you have the time you should see it — one of my highlights; it is a shrine to the most famous french people. The Luxembourg gardens weren’t that interesting so I think it is safe to skip. The modern art museum, Centre Pompideau is pretty fun if you have got the time (make sure to check out the fountain outside). Bascillica Sacre Couer is a must do but far away from everything else. It is open like 6 am to 11 pm so fit it in if you can. Go to Sainte Germain by Notre Dame if you are there for some extra days.

Tips for Europe in General:
Yep, no problem. I’ve been to Lisbon, Madrid, Ireland, as well as London & Paris and these are my suggestions:
–- Always know the tipping customs for each country. In most of the countries that I have been to, the custom is not to tip or just round up to the nearest Euro. Just look it up online ahead of time. In France it is not required to tip the waiter. I never ate out at a restaurant in London, so I’m not sure.
- Understand how the VAT (value added tax) works. I am a bit confused myself. Basically, if you are not a citizen and buy over a certain amount at a store, some stores will give you a receipt to get back the VAT. At the airport you put the reciepts in an envelope and there are kiosks where you drop off the envelope and you will get money back on your credit card. I did this in Ireland where I got those receipts, but didn’t see anything in France. Google beforehand, especially if you are planning to make any big purchases.
–- The cheapest way to do currency exchange is to use an ATM. Your ATM card should have a VISA logo. Depending on your bank, it may have a program where you don’t pay fees if you use another member bank in a foreign country. Bank of America has such a program with other international banks. When using your ATM card you may pay a flat fee per transaction (my bank, Regions, charges $5). Airport kiosks and western unions are more expensive and less convenient.
- Capital One credit cards are the only ones I know that do not charge an extra fee for currency exchange. So that is what I always use. Discover Card will be pretty useless though I think they announced a program where they will be accepted internationally, check on this (but don’t bother if you have Capital One).
–- Most European credit cards use a chip and pin system where the card has an embedded chip and you slide the chip or insert the card half-way and then enter a pin. American cards do not have this, but can often be accepted. If there is a machine where you partially enter your card (enough for the chip to be read) look to see if there is a place to swipe instead. When I went to Madrid the metro only could accept cards with a pin so I was able to use my ATM because I had a pin to enter in the PIN screen.
- Remember: the ground floor for Europeans is the first floor for Americans. The first floor for Europeans is the second floor for Americans. It can be confusing at first.
–- Bring a pen on the plane as you will have to fill out a customs form. Make sure you have with you on the plane the name, address, phone number of where you will be staying.
- In some countries (ex. Spain, Portugal) restaurants may put appetizers on the table; they are not free so if you don’t want them just decline.
–- You will need a travel adapter, but I have never needed to use a travel converter. Most electronic devices (phones, laptops, cameras) can handle outlets in Europe provided you have the right adapter. Btw, in some countries, Spain comes to mind, they do not have a ground. The ground is the circular ‘thingy’ between the two prongs that you would have in an American plug. A little bit more risky, but I would just not have the ground plugged in.
- - Always make a copy of your passport and have it somewhere. The hotels we stayed at did not have safes in the room, so I used my money belt ($10 at walmart) and put my passport there and brought it with me (easy when you are wearing a coat and sweater). My copy I kept in my locked luggage.
–- You are supposed to register with the embassy ahead of time to inform them that you will be out there in case there is some emergency. Half the time, I forget to do this.
- Pickpocketing is an art form apparently. Especially in crowded areas like the Eiffel tower and in front of the Mona Lisa. So watch out for gypsies, pickpockets, etc. Always have your purse in front of you, yada, yada, yada.

My Contiki was: London, Paris

  • lou_85 Level 4 Traveler
  • 4 Contikis
  • 11 Countries

I had the most amazing time on this tour! I was really apprehensive before going on the tour because I went solo but I didn't need to worry at all! I think half of the people on the tour were there solo - it was great doing the twin share option so you could meet other people, my room mate was great!.
The highlights were Seaworld in San Diego (The Shamu Show), The hot air balloon in Phoenix (so beautiful!), The Grand Canyon, VEGAS! - the hotel is a casino - what else can I say!, my absolute favourite was Bass Lake - the place isn't really that close to anywhere and you have quad share so it was basically a big party for 2 nights - my tour manager Eileen organised beer pong for us, it was hilarious!. Speaking of Eileen she was really great - she organised all sorts of little 'Eileen Optionals', I won't go into too much detail just in case some of you have her as your tour manager, I don't want to spoil anything!. Ending the tour in San Francisco was great however the one down side to this was the hotel we stayed at, it was in a really dodgy area - if you're planning on staying longer in SF after the tour I'd definitely book elsewhere.
All in all though I would do this tour again in a heart beat! I've made some great friends (for life) and had the best experiences! If you're umming and aahing about this tour just do it! You won't regret it!.

My Contiki was: Laughter, Friendship, Party!

I had the most amazing time ever on this trip. Out of the 3 North America tours i did (also did New York New Year and California Highlights) this was def the most exciting of all. Made fantastic friends, ate fantastic foods in New Orleans, saw amazing sites including visits to the beautiful Charleston and Savannah. Drew, our TM and Ray, our driver were both incredible and made our trip the best it possibly could be. They went above and beyond- in Cocoa Beach they organised an amazing poolside cookout (BBQ) for us!
The optionals were usually pretty awesome (my favourites: the swamp boat in Louisiana and the New Orleans School of Cooking) but next time i probably would pass on the Miami Party Cruise and Riverboat in New Orleans.
My biggest advice if you go on the tour is to not go too hard at nighttime all the time because the East Coast of the USA (even small towns that you may think might have nothing to over you) has such rich history and beautiful sites.
The hotels we stayed in were of a good standard, great when you consider the overall cost of the tour.
Overall this is a fantastic value for money tour!

My Contiki was: unforgettable , amazing, unreal

I had the most amazing time ever on this trip. Out of the 3 North America tours i did (also did New York New Year and California Highlights) this was def the most exciting of all. Made fantastic friends, ate fantastic foods in New Orleans, saw amazing sites including visits to the beautiful Charleston and Savannah. Drew, our TM and Ray, our driver were both incredible and made our trip the best it possibly could be. They went above and beyond- in Cocoa Beach they organised an amazing poolside cookout (BBQ) for us!
The optionals were usually pretty awesome (my favourites: the swamp boat in Louisiana and the New Orleans School of Cooking) but next time i probably would pass on the Miami Party Cruise and Riverboat in New Orleans.
My biggest advice if you go on the tour is to not go too hard at nighttime all the time because the East Coast of the USA (even small towns that you may think might have nothing to over you) has such rich history and beautiful sites.
The hotels we stayed in were of a good standard, great when you consider the overall cost of the tour.
Overall this is a fantastic value for money tour!

My Contiki was: unforgettable , amazing, unreal

  • Arianna Level 2 Traveler
  • 2 Contikis
  • 2 Countries

Best experience of my life and I would do it again in a heart beat!
I met so many wonderful people who have become life long friends.
I went solo and realised there is nothing wrong with doing things on your own! it only makes you stronger and more independent.

The greek isalnds were one of the most beautiful and culturally blessed places I have visited. A must trip for anyone who just needs to get away and have a good time!

The group leader was so much FUN! MJ would party till dawn with us and still be able to get up early the next day and teach us about Greece.
the accomodation was beautiful especially Mykonos! you must visit the restaurant Taverna! the most beautiful scenery!
the night life was amazing! Crazy and wild!

I would recommend this trip to anyone - couples, singles and groups of friends. the tour has everything! whether you want a relaxing holiday or a crazy trip you can have both!

GREEK ISLANDS 2012! OPEN YOUR MIND!

My Contiki was: Greece, Greek Islands

  • BieBie Level 3 Traveler
  • 3 Contikis
  • 11 Countries

I went solo.. Scary at first.. But on the first day I already made so many friends and had soooo much funn!! I had the most amazing time ever!!! My Contiki were great.. Dave our tour leader was such a nice guy and knew his story!! Chris our bus driver were awesome!!

Its defnitly worth every cent!! Just do it!! Im still amazed with everything I saw in such a short time!! Europe is soooo beautifull!! And Contiki is the way to go!!!

We had great nights out, had the most amazing meals, I did most of the optionals and they were great (except for the walking tour in Venice - i wont recomend this one. Our guide had no Idea what she was doing. You'll see more by yourself) But the rest was fabulous.. Going to the top of the Eiffel tour, walking tour in rome& florence, Dinner at the Hofbrahaus, Sunset cruices in Lucerne and amterdam, Dinner in Rome, wine tasting in St Goar, Going to the top of Mount Stanserhorn, Schnapps train in Austrian alps were beautiful, aswell as the Swarovski museum... I can go on for hours!!

The accomadation were great.. Love the Blue Square hotel in Amsterdam, our hotel in Austria were so cute, nice little hotel in St Goar (just note theres no lift so rather back an overnite bag), Azimut in munich was nice aswell.. Just didnt like the hotel in florence that much but its okay and clean enough for one night.. Staying at the Jailhouse hotel in Lucerne was something diffrent.. DInner were great and dessert aswell!!

Contiki is great!! Your get so much for the price you pay!! Im already planning my next trip!!!

Thanks for the best time of my life CONTIKI
xoxoxo

My Contiki was: Time of my Life, soooo much funnn, Awesome!!!!

Simply Italy

★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Simply Italy
  • Tony Level 2 Traveler
  • 2 Contikis
  • 3 Countries

WOW what a trip!!! Tour manager Katia was amazing. If you are debating on shorter/longer trip go with the longer trip you will not be disappointed. This was a trip of a lifetime and I'm already saving for my next one. Two words if you are thinking of going on Contiki DO IT!!!!

  • Kevin Level 1 Traveler
  • 1 Contiki
  • 2 Countries

My first tour with Contiki was amazing and I love it. Our tour manager Katia was great. I would definitely follow her to Spain next year as well. I get to see and experience most of Italy in a short period of time. I love Rome and Florence the best and will definitely go back again in the future.

My Contiki was: Amazing, Beautiful, FUN

  • Kevin Level 1 Traveler
  • 1 Contiki
  • 2 Countries

My first tour with Contiki was amazing and I love it. Our tour manager Katia was great. I would definitely follow her to Spain next year as well. I get to see and experience most of Italy in a short period of time. I love Rome and Florence the best and will definitely go back again in the future.

My Contiki was: Amazing, Beautiful, FUN

  • Purdie22 Level 1 Traveler
  • 1 Contiki
  • 1 Country

By far the best thing I've ever experienced! Covered all the places I've dreamt of going and partied like no tommorow! Would do it again anytime.

Highlights would definatly be the helicopter ride over the grand canyon, everyone on tour and Vegas Baby!!

My Contiki was: Party, Drinking, More Drinking

I would not trade the experience I had on this amazing trip for anything! Not even for a free Contiki...Unless it would send me back on this same trip...I wrote an extensive travel blog about it, so message me if you want to read it =)

My Contiki was: Unbelievable, Fun!!!, WOW!

  • Kirsty1044 Level 4 Traveler
  • 4 Contikis
  • 12 Countries

I can honestly say that I had the best time of my life on this tour.

It wasn't just the amazing sights I saw, it wasn't the experiences that I will never forget. It was mostly about being in another part of the world and experiencing these unforgettable moments with people that appreciated them as much as I did.

I was a first time solo traveller and extremely excited about jet setting off on my first overseas experience. The first day on tour I met up with two girls that had befriended on the Contiki website. I was nervous about meeting the rest of the group, expecting the other travellers to all know each other. To my surprise, about 90% were travelling solo. I could see that most of the other travellers were as nervous as I was, so after the initial meeting we all hit The London Pub to get to know each other before the tour started, by the way, great location for the Pub.

Throughout the entire trip our tour manager and bus driver, in this instance Patrick and Dan, were just amazing. They would come out with us when they could and were always there just for a chat. Being an Aussie myself and having two Aussie blokes around to just talk about home or kick a footy around was great (an AFL footy, in case your wondering).

The amount we saw on this trip even astounded me. For what I paid and the time that we were on tour, the amount that we saw almost defied the laws of physics. From walking around Stonehenge to kissing the Blarney Stone, eating haggis (which is actually quite nice) and cursing around the Aran Islands, everything that I saw and experiences was seared into my mind. Though it was fast paced, it made it possible to fit so much in.

The accommodation was above what I expected for a budget tour, I was very impressed with the rooms and even more so because they were in Hotels. The food was also above what I expected, the breakfasts were always hot and filling, a great way cure any hangover. The dinners provided were all very good.

The extra dinners and activities were definitely worth the money. I was lucky enough to do every optional activity and I would recommend it to everyone. The experiences are worth so much more then a tacky souvenir.

I cant actually say that I had a favourite moment, I would feel like I was cheating on all my other moments if I chose one. Their was nothing I didn't love about my time on tour. I would recommend Contiki to anyone who wants to experience the world and have an amazing time doing it. If you do choose Contiki you will never ever regret it. You will take away moments that will stay with you for the rest of your life.

My Contiki was: Great Britain, Ireland, Experience

Simply Italy

★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Simply Italy tour
  • Shane21 Level 1 Traveler
  • 1 Contiki
  • 2 Countries

This was the best trip ever, I totally recommend this trip to everyone. I also recommend that if you do this trip be sure to do all the optianl things.

My Contiki was: Awesome, Exciting , Memories

  • Rana Level 1 Traveler
  • 1 Contiki
  • 12 Countries

This is one of the best trips I have ever done. I would recommend anyone going to Europe to travel with contiki. Thankyou to Pete and Mike for showing us an awesome time.

I went on the Italian Expresso last week and it was the best trip ever. I have nothing negative to say, it was a great experience. I will def travel with Contiki again.

My Contiki was: awesome, amazing, memorable

What can I say - Both the holiday of, and the absolute time of my life. Left me wanting to go back for longer. This trip was the best way to see the best bets of Europe in a month. We had an unbelievably great Tour Manager (GO MIKE!!!!) who knew all there was needed to know, and pointed us in the right direction to show us the best bits of Europe, with all the tips and tricks to beat the lines and do it in more style than the every day tourist. The hours of work that went in from the Contiki Crew (Mike TM and Pete Bus driver) to get us all around, both of whom loved to join in the festivities at every available opportunity, and join in while we had the time of our lives.

Great Trip! Great People, Great Stafff, Great organisation, Great Food, Gread Drinking! GO CONTIKI!

My Contiki was: Amazing Experience, Well Ran, Great Food and Drinks

  • NicHanlon Level 1 Traveler
  • 1 Contiki
  • 0 Countries

This was a great trip, a lot of places in a short spell which meant lots of bus sleeps and I was really tired by the end but was well worth it. It gives you a great idea for places you might want to go see again!
We had an amazing pair of Tour manager and driver!! Michael Brabenec and Gustavo were such a great match and it really does matter who your tour manager is and how good they are willing to make your trip. He had great knowledge of every where we went and went out of his way to not only get to know people and party with us but also made sure that we got to see everything we wanted to while away!! WAS AWESOME!!

My Contiki was: Fun, Halarious, Diverse

  • MattNZ Level 5 Traveler
  • 5 Contikis
  • 17 Countries

Being winter it was a bit cold but we didn’t have a drop of rain throughout the whole tour and the most perfect clear day when we went up Mt Pilatus in Luzern. Also on the plus side there were hardly any queues.

Some of the included meals weren’t as good as I was expecting but in saying that most of the optional dinners were terrific. I was happy with the accommodation; it’s not super flash or anything I did get the occasional lukewarm shower but it was clean and in the end it’s just a place lay your head.

You don’t get long in each location but it’s enough to see and do the main tourist attractions and it gives you the confidence to go back and do the best parts more thoroughly.

You could see that our tour guide Mike had put a lot of planning and research into the tour. He could off the cuff give us a rundown of each country we travelled through. He would try to help anyone who had specific spots they had heard about not included in the tour or where to do shopping for certain things. From the information he provided we could maximise our time and hit the ground running. And let’s not forget Mark our driver. He did a brilliant job getting us where we needed to be and avoiding low bridges that GPS doesn’t warn you about. They both brought the best of the group out.

What really makes the Contiki is the group; and we had one of the best. Cheers guys.

I recommend people do all the optional activities. I saw and did things I would have never have done had I travelled on my own like the Moulin Rouge for instance. This was my first solo tour and if you’re still on the fence about it my advice is just go for it.

My Contiki was: Friends, Legendary

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