Reviews

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European Encounter

★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Loves it!

Our Tour Manager is the beat! Thanks Paul! We enjoyed the trip some more because of you! For those who can't take a vacation for a month or so, this 16 days trip is enough to see the best of the best of Europe!

What did you see, what did you do?

As per the brochure really. We did majority of the optionals, it's worth the try as you can see more of the local lifestyle. Besides, the whole group opted to go so it also is a fun to be in it.

What were the optionals like?

Descriptions as per brochure. Some people like me wouldn't want to dine at some asian restaurants as part of the optionals (yep, im asian!) simply because I am from Asia, and I just know from the moment I look at the menu whether a meal is good to try to or not (this is just my opinion). If I am in Europe, I might opt to stroll along the sidewalks and try the local food instead for an experience.

Describe your accommodation?

For a good deal that you get with Contiki, don't expect fancy rooms. Although my favorite hotel was in Switzerland, our room had an amazing view of the lake! The rest are just normal twin bed small room.

What food did you eat?

Breakfast is Continental for 16 days! =(

What did your crew do for you?

Our Tour Manager Paul and Coach Driver Thierry are the best! They are honest which ones are worth to go to and which ones aren't.

How was the transport, what were your tour mates like, best moments, would you recommend it?

Had the best trip in europe so far with Contiki because of the amazing people in our group too!

  • Cobes Level 1 Traveler
  • 1 Contiki
  • 10 Countries

This tour was absolutely fantastic! There isn't anything else I could have asked for in a tour! It was the best thing I've ever done and I had the time of my life. We had a wonderful Tour manager and tour driver.

We went during one of the coldest winters in a long time, but it was still fun. I met the most amazing people and have made life long friends!

While on tour you experience fabulous places, food, attractions and different cultures and lifestyles. It's all so good.

To anyone thinking of doing this tour or any contiki tour, I strongly recommend it!

My Contiki was: Amazing , Memorable , Unforgettable

I went on this trip alone never having ventured by myself anywhere and it was the best experience I've ever had, hands down. The sights were so beautiful - Sorrento especially in my opinion - not to mention all the historical sites. The group was amazing, such a great dynamic and so much fun. Any time I feel down I listen to our song (Raise Your Glass) and it takes me back to that happy place! I would highly recommend this trip to anyone who wants to have a healthy balance between sightseeing and fun at the beach.

My Contiki was: Incredible, Memorable, Amazing

  • Nathan Level 3 Traveler
  • 3 Contikis
  • 4 Countries

Best time ever, fav was definitely Laos (Tubing). Was insane. Be careful about the 'special menus' tho haha

China Adventure

★ ★ ★ ★ ★ China trip
  • Leonie Level 1 Traveler
  • 1 Contiki
  • 2 Countries

it was fantastic! I reccommend people do it . definately worth the money and the tour guide was the best! :)

Vietnam Experience

★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Fantastic!!
  • sarah28 Level 2 Traveler
  • 2 Contikis
  • 1 Country

This was my first contiki trip AND my first overseas trip and afterwards, I can say it won't be the last!
Vietnam is such a culture rich country and contiki helps you see some of the best parts of it.
A highlight myself was the beautiful sights of Halong Bay (even in cooler weather!) and the old charm beauty of Ho Ani.
Our tour guide was great.. gave us lots of helpful advice.
The group of people was amazing!!
Tips and Recommendations:
- Don't stress about money! Everything is cheap from food to clothes to little nick nacks- don't hold yourself back.. Vietnam is a great trip to do if you are on a budget
- Have something in mind that you would like made in Hoi An otherwise you will be overwhelmed by choice!
- Try the food!- don't be scared ;)
- You must barter.. and you will get the hang of it ;)
- Have an open mind: especially when hearing about Vietnam's side of the War
- Don't bother taking heels girl.. they are DEFINITLY not needed: one pair of thongs, one pair of canvas/walking shoes and a pair of 'going out casual' flats is all you need
- There are opportunites to do laundry so don't worry about packing something for everyday
- People do try to steal bags so make sure you take a shoulder bag that hangs infront of your body and only carry cash you really need
- BEWARE OF CYCLO SCAMS!!!-

AND BEWARE OF JUNGLE JUICE AND JAM JARS ;)

My Contiki was: Amazing, Fun, Cultural

  • Shecontiki Level 5 Traveler
  • 5 Contikis
  • 17 Countries

Winter Wanderer is an amazing tour best of what Europe has to offer. I have been on 6 Contiki tours ranging from 9 days to 24 days to a variety of places and this would have to be one of my favourite experiences. Below I have put some bits together remember that most tours run similar but a lot of how successful the trip is depends on your attitude, the mix of fellow travellers, tour manager, driver and the weather.

What did you see: I saw everything if it was in the brochure you saw it, just remember that if it says see then you do only see it and at times this is only through the coach window while driving around the city, it is up to you on your free day to go back and see inside so you certainly before you leave try and plan what you want to see in each city, I suggest not following what others do, if there is something you really want to see then go and see it because you may never get back to Europe and also you don’t want to go home and say I wish I saw that. It is tricky to pre-book your tickets on line before you leave Australia as they time you have in each city varies greatly some you may get a full day egg. 8hrs and others eg. Florence 4 hours max & this is taken up with a leather demonstration & a walking tour, don’t be afraid to do what you want to do. As long as you are back on the coach before it leaves for the next city that’s all that matters.

What were the optionals like: I only got to do half the optionals as I injured my knee in Rome so I couldn’t do too many of the optionals after Rome. Paris: what can I say the Moulin Rouge – 3 course meal you choose what you want from 3 choices for entree, beef or fish for main & dessert is like a choc mousse. Then the show its one of those things you just have to do when will you ever get to go again (unless you’re like me & do another tour), I know it’s expensive but it’s the first real night you get to know each other as then you can go to the bar next door and dance & drink the night away.
Lucerne: mt Pilatus you get about 1 -1/2 hours up the top of the mountain the gondola ride is pretty good the higher you go the less you can see and you go through the clouds. Don’t be fooled into thinking you will get to go on the train as this wasn’t even offered as an optional on my tour. Once on the ground the others went to the fondue lunch most of them said they enjoyed it – just remember its cheese fondue not chocolate.
Barcelona: Tablao De Carmen dinner & show: 4 course meal with endless sangria half way through dinner the show starts so you watching & trying to eat at the same time. I think the show went for about 45 mins-1 hr could have been shorter but it felt like it went for ever – Google flamenco dancing & singing & that’s pretty much it but it adds to the spirit of the tour experiencing Spanish tradition.
Monaco – nice meal 4 courses get to choose 3 courses unlimited wine. Then off to the casino which will cost you 10 Euros to enter. Usually back in Nice by 11pm and then can go out in town if you like.
Florence: Photo you must buy we had people who thought it was too expensive but could spend 15 Euros on a drink. It’s a great photo and probably the only one that you will get of everybody together that actually looks any good. Dinner is amazing they have singers and you can dance as a couple, unlimited wine and lots of food – antipastos, pasta, lasagne, meat & potatoes & dessert. Then off to space disco which depending on which night of the week it is depends on how busy well we were the only one’s there but it has karaoke & for the 12 Euros you get a free drink. But you get this card to put your drinks on instead of paying cash & then you must pay for them before they will let you out of the club & you must have your receipt to say you have paid. But it’s a great night.
Rome: Vatican tour – good to get in past everyone but still no time to just take your time & stop and take in the amazing Sistine chapel but good to get an overview of the history of the Vatican & st peter’s Basilica. Our tour was at 2pm but at times it is in the morning
Venice: 6 people to a gondola about ½ to 45 minute ride through the cannels.
Vienna: nice meal but you go to the restaurant and then you have to get back on the bus and get dropped off at the theatre. The concert is ok but if you don’t like classical music then you probably would find this boring.
Prague: buffet lunch with 3 drinks included about 2 hour cruise, eat for the first half then the second half the local guide gives you info about Prague. Was good but its right in the middle of the day so depending on what you would like to do in Prague it can take up a bit of time as you have to meet down near the water.
Berlin: Although I did not do this optional I wish I could have as it goes around the main sites get some history information from the local guide and its about 3-4 hours long walking all the way, it ends at check point Charlie.
Amsterdam: Dinner was a great way to finish the tour 3 course meal with 2 drinks & a little starting cocktail/shot, the cannel cruise is great all you can drink wine, beer & soft drink for 1 ½ hours and the host tells you information about Amsterdam. Remember to allow extra money for nights out as there was always a pub/club crawl most nights on if nothing was actually offered as an optional eg. Drinks in Rome, pub crawl in Prague, so be prepared to spend a bit of money.

Describe your accommodation: I must admit I did a Europe Contiki in 2007 and the accommodation was pretty average, so I didn’t have high expectations for this tour, but on this tour the hotels were pretty amazing pretty spacious rooms I had a single room so I only had my suitcase to deal with for space, but the beds were comfortable most times I got a double bed. But be aware that in Rome & Florence the hotel showers are TINY if you are a bigger person then squeezing into the shower can be a bit of a problem but I guess its all part of the experience they seem to think you need more room to wash your bottom on a dubae then in a shower. Otherwise most of the hotels were within walking distance to metro stations, a corner shop close by to buy water and if there wasn’t then the hotels had vending machines. In Barcelona we had to put our cases in the back of a small truck and the truck took our bags up to the hotel and we walked up the road rather than dragging them up the street ourselves. In Prague the bus parked approx. 500 m away and they had to take the cases off then drag them to the hotel in the dark (that was a little crazy) and same as in the morning when you leave you have to take them to the bus but most times the bus would be right outside the hotel. But Prague hotel was amazing location it was easy to get around and pretty much right next door was a 5 floor shopping centre with supermarket, take away and all the other shops you could think of. Lucerne hotel I was worried about because the review weren’t that great on the net but it actually was ok it was clean, the Chateau don’t be fooled that it’s this grand fabulous place, yes some of the rooms were nice but every room is different and it kind of has that spooky hunted feeling to it, it certainly was one of the hotels everyone was glad to be leaving.

what food did you eat: Most meals included were pretty good, all 3 course meals – soup or salad or pasta, main meal – chicken & chips, meat & carrots (yes just carrots), fish & rice, pasta & schnitzel, buffets the best buffet was in Barcelona OMG it was good. For dessert it was things like apple pie and tiramisu. Breakfast was buffet most times sometimes you got bacon & eggs but other times it was cereal, yogurt, fruit, bread, meats (ham/salami), cheese, juice tea & coffee. I have to say the breakfast had improved a lot in 4 years previous I had a hard bread roll & that was breakfast. With the meals Contiki included you do not have any choice in what you get except you will get a different meal if you have dietary restrictions. But don’t forget you can try all the local food while you are exploring the city such as frogs legs or snails or crepes in Paris or Lyon, fondue or Swiss chocolate in Lucerne, Tapas’ or churrios or Sangria in Barcelona and don’t forget the macaroons in Nice. Pizza, pasta & gelato in Florence, Rome & Venice, crispy pork knuckle & a stein of beer in Munich, schnitzel & soktort cake in Vienna, goulash in Prague, fritz in Amsterdam (fries with mayo & ketchup). On travel days which is pretty much every second day there isn’t a lot of choice at the service stops as they are usually in service stations so mostly sandwiches & pizza or salads some hotel food. We also stopped at Macca’s or Hungry Jacks (burger king) a couple of times. Just ensure you have lots of water to drink or at least bring a drink bottle you can fill & filter the water they say that the tap water is safe to drink everywhere but depending on how sensitive your stomach is you don’t want to risk having to miss a day because you have a stomach bug.
What did your crew do for you?

My crew were great, very approachable and easy to talk to. They answered any question I had and as I was meeting people I had met on previous tours along the way they were able to tell me where to meet them & the group after I was done with my catch up. I was the only one in the group to want to go to the Eiffel tower on our free day to see it up close in day light and they did a drop off at the Eiffel tower so I could see it, they also did drop offs at the Louvre & arc de triumph. Also after I injured my knee in Rome they were pretty good, ensuring I was still able to participate in most of the itinerary and the plans they had eg. In Prague they were walking from the palace back into town and then back to the hotel, the tour manager had called the hotel to find out which train I needed to take to get to the hotel, he assisted me in purchasing a ticket and made sure I knew which train to catch and notified the hotel that I would be arriving early. Also in Amsterdam they asked what my plans were for the day as I was not going to Anne frank, I said the von gough museum & they dropped me off pretty much just down the road, so they ensured I was still a part of the tour and if I was behind the group most times the tour manager got the group to the place they were going and then walked back to me and walked with me, but in saying that there were times where I had to find my own way eg. In Munich because it was so busy and I wasn’t walking fast I got lost in the crowd. So my tip here is make sure you have your map & hotel sheet. Also for the whole of the trip they did (except on the drivers day off) pickups eg. In Munich you could stay out or go back on the coach to the hotel at say 9:30 or so there was always a pick up.

How was the transport?
The coach (don’t call it a bus the driver doesn’t like it) was comfortable enough, as I had been on several tours I knew what to expect. There is overhead storage but this is taken up very quickly with everyone’s coats & backpacks and stuff that just won’t fit in their suitcase. Also bags are placed under the seat which can be very cramped and when you’re sitting for 2-3 hours at a time. But in saying that I slept every day the best thing you can buy is the bean filled travel pillow (not the blow up ones), a pair of sunnies and iPod as you may not like the music the tour manager is playing or you might just want to block out the chat of your fellow travellers. The coach has a toilet on it and you will be told only to use it in absolute emergency and definitely no Number 2’s. You may think it’s cool to sit up the back of the bus but as the tour went on the people who started off up the back moved up the front as it is very bouncy (not good if you get travel sick) and can be very warm. This will be your best friend as you are on it every second day all day. Some days you will leave early as 7:30 or so and then not get to the hotel that night until 6 at night so it’s a long day and the only stops you have are at service stops so a day could be 2 ½ - 3 hour drive, 45 minute break, 2 ½ - 3 hour drive, 45 minute break, 2 hour drive to hotel or town etc. Coach has about 6 from memory European plugs so you can charge your iphone/phone/camera

What were your tour mates like, best moments, would you recommend it?
My tour mates were pretty good no one really rocked the boat or caused any friction. Some were amazing always helping me with my suitcase after I hurt my knee and walking with me when I was not able to walk as fast as the rest of the group, I was a bit worried about going on the tour as we had a face book group and from this the majority of the tour was going to be 18-22ish, and me being almost 30 I was a little worried but I as the saying goes don’t judge a book by its cover and it was ok, you will always get people that you may not get along with but in saying that the group is 51 people so there are plenty of other people to talk to. I liked the whole tour even though I injured myself half way through the tour and continued on the tour just adjusting what I could do I still had a great time I think it would have been an excellent time if I was able to fully participate but you win some you lose some. I certainly would recommend the tour it goes everywhere that is really on the must do of Europe and you have a fair amount of time in each city to site see basically they give you the tools eg. A map & info sheet and it’s up to you to make the most of your time in each city. I would probably recommend going later in November so you get the Christmas markets. I think deciding on when to go would depend on how much you can handle the cold and if you are prepared for the itinerary to change due to bad weather eg. Snow. But I would definitely do it all over again.

My tips:
• It gets dark very early it’s not uncommon for the sun to start to set at 4pm
• taxis about $15-$30 Euros
• rain coat/umbrella
• research what you want to see
• budget – what you think you will spend and double it (this is how Contiki explains it)
• have a first aid kit with a strong bandage so if you do injure yourself ankle/knee/wrist you are able to stabilise it
• be aware of the symptoms of DVT & PE’s as on my return home I had these and came very close to not being here
• Always have your hotel name – eg. Take the hotels business card for quick reference easy to show taxi drivers
• always have your travel insurance number on you and passport and cash/credit card as if you go to doctors etc be aware that most times you have to pay for medical treatment first and then claim it from your travel insurance company
• pack light as you will buy clothes along the way
• bring wash powder or buy it when you get to London
• bring medicines such as antibiotics, hand gel, etc

That’s about all, I enjoy Contiki they offer a great service and a safe way and Hassel free way to see the amazing sites of Europe. If you are thinking about Contiki and just not too sure I say just go for it and you will be surprised by how much fun you will have. Don’t be put off if you are not a drinker or going out person you don’t have to go out or drink, just make sure you put in the effort to talk to people in the group as you are going to be spending the next 24 days with them and at the end of it just remember you may or may not see these people again, this is completely up to you.

I know its a long review but I remember how I felt the first time I was going on Contiki I didn't know what to expect so I like to give as much information as possible so you have a realistic expectation.

  • cbru8 Level 2 Traveler
  • 2 Contikis
  • 3 Countries

Absolutely amazing in every way. I am actually having a hard time considering other trips now - would go back and do this one over and over. The people in SE Asia are the most friendly in the world - I felt safer than I do in my hometown. I have recommended this trip to at least 20 friends and am giving the ultimate recommendation - I am sending my step-daughter in a few years when she's 18! I've also never had the post-vacation high last so long. I look at my pictures every day.
Contiki is just the best tour company there is with a perfect balance of sightseeing, relaxing, and, of course, fun! I'm American, but I met a possible cousin from the town that my family if from in Italy on this trip! Friends you make on tour are truly friends for life - and you will meet people with the same sense of adventure as you when traveling.

My Contiki was: Perfect, Inspiring, Fun

  • Nat Level 2 Traveler
  • 2 Contikis
  • 17 Countries

This was the most amazing 37 days of my life and I had such a great group of people to experience it with :)

My Contiki was: Amazing, Unique, Cultured

The Grand Southern has it all: from the thriving cultural metropolises of New York and Washington D.C. to the Southern charm of the Deep South, the plains of Texas to the awe-inspiring Rockies, Monument Valley and Grand Canyon; finishing with a bang in Vegas! 26 fun filled days that ended with great mates and fantastic memories!

You will be travelling with plenty of likeminded people, who all have a desire to travel. Some of whom may never have travelled alone before at all, or never with Contiki. Some will be repeat offenders that may be on their fourth or fifth trip. Quite a lot of people travel alone and share a room with someone of the same sex. There are always some couples or friends travelling together. Whatever the mix, guaranteed you will find some friends! There are always people who are out late a crawl on the bus the next morning and those who go to bed early.

There are plenty of opportunities to party on this tour. From Georgetown in D.C. to Wet Willies frozen Daiquiri’s and karaoke in Savannah- try ‘attitude improvement’ or ‘call-a-cab’; Mojito’s & booze cruise in Miami; live Jazz & Hand grenades on Bourbon Street in New Orleans- earn some beads ladies! Hurricane’s & Beale St with live Blues bands in Memphis; Gator Haters, Margaritas and Beergarita in the Southwest not to be outdone by life size footballs, guitars and giant yard glasses that can be filled with anything and taken anywhere on the strip!

There are plenty of opportunities to try different types of local cuisine from New York hot dogs at a ball game; Latin American Churrasco Steak in Miami; Mango’s Tropical Café is a must! TexMex in the South West; Blue corn fajita’s in Santa Fe; Creole cooking in New Orleans not to be out done by Southern Fried Chicken and Rendezvous Ribs in Memphis, which are fantastic!!

Optionals: Miami party (booze) cruise all you can drink for 2 hours- plus the harbour is pretty. Mango’s Tropical Café in Miami is like no other, staff dance on the bar, live Latin music, great drinks and food, great atmosphere- a must! New Orleans Airboat Swamp tour is great, see Alligators, the swaps are quite pretty. Riverboat cruise with live Jazz band and Creole cooking was a nice way to spend the evening before heading out to Bourbon St. Orlando- Universal Studios- much better than it’s Hollywood counterpart- Harry Potter World is great! Albuquerque- hot air ballooning capital of the word, enough said. Durango jeep tour was fantastic, beautiful way to see the Rockies and snow. Highly recommend: Helicopter over Grand Canyon, save your money and do the 45min flight! Fantastic views, the shorter flight goes over the same route, the longer flight does a loop- far better. V Theater in Las Vegas is a lot of fun, a good, cheap, fun show.

The accommodation in general was great and central. Never more than a few blocks walk. Amarillo, TX with their quirky salon style rooms was great. Included meals were good, with a diverse range of meals. The staff were faultless. Our Tour Manager was always bright, enthusiastic and very knowledgeable; our driver polite. The Contiki Coaches are modern and nice, they tend to run on the cold side, so buy a pillow and blanket for the bus and you’re set! Bring an iPod and earplugs for the bus on your hangover mornings when you really need to catch up on sleep- they are a saving grace! There are plenty of rest stops and opportunities to stretch your legs.

I opted to do the Grand Southern in reverse starting from New York to Los Angles for a few reasons. Firstly, chose to go in October, autumn is a beautiful time of year in America, plus as the month went on the colder it got the further South, (warmer) it was. Florida was perfect, not too hot and humid, and there was snow on the Rockies. Also I wanted to finish the tour in Las Vegas for Halloween and stay there for an extra few days; half the bus stayed in Vegas!

I would recommend doing the New York Explorer before this tour. It gives you a great overview of the city in a short time. Many people on our tour that tried to do the sights of New York by themselves did not achieve half as much in twice the amount of time.

My Contiki was: Fantastic fun, Unforgettable memories, Just book it!!!

The Grand Southern has it all: from the thriving cultural metropolises of New York and Washington D.C. to the Southern charm of the Deep South, the plains of Texas to the awe-inspiring Rockies, Monument Valley and Grand Canyon; finishing with a bang in Vegas! 26 fun filled days that ended with great mates and fantastic memories!

You will be travelling with plenty of likeminded people, who all have a desire to travel. Some of whom may never have travelled alone before at all, or never with Contiki. Some will be repeat offenders that may be on their fourth or fifth trip. Quite a lot of people travel alone and share a room with someone of the same sex. There are always some couples or friends travelling together. Whatever the mix, guaranteed you will find some friends! There are always people who are out late a crawl on the bus the next morning and those who go to bed early.

There are plenty of opportunities to party on this tour. From Georgetown in D.C. to Wet Willies frozen Daiquiri’s and karaoke in Savannah- try ‘attitude improvement’ or ‘call-a-cab’; Mojito’s & booze cruise in Miami; live Jazz & Hand grenades on Bourbon Street in New Orleans- earn some beads ladies! Hurricane’s & Beale St with live Blues bands in Memphis; Gator Haters, Margaritas and Beergarita in the Southwest not to be outdone by life size footballs, guitars and giant yard glasses that can be filled with anything and taken anywhere on the strip!

There are plenty of opportunities to try different types of local cuisine from New York hot dogs at a ball game; Latin American Churrasco Steak in Miami; Mango’s Tropical Café is a must! TexMex in the South West; Blue corn fajita’s in Santa Fe; Creole cooking in New Orleans not to be out done by Southern Fried Chicken and Rendezvous Ribs in Memphis, which are fantastic!!

Optionals: Miami party (booze) cruise all you can drink for 2 hours- plus the harbour is pretty. Mango’s Tropical Café in Miami is like no other, staff dance on the bar, live Latin music, great drinks and food, great atmosphere- a must! New Orleans Airboat Swamp tour is great, see Alligators, the swaps are quite pretty. Riverboat cruise with live Jazz band and Creole cooking was a nice way to spend the evening before heading out to Bourbon St. Orlando- Universal Studios- much better than it’s Hollywood counterpart- Harry Potter World is great! Albuquerque- hot air ballooning capital of the word, enough said. Durango jeep tour was fantastic, beautiful way to see the Rockies and snow. Highly recommend: Helicopter over Grand Canyon, save your money and do the 45min flight! Fantastic views, the shorter flight goes over the same route, the longer flight does a loop- far better. V Theater in Las Vegas is a lot of fun, a good, cheap, fun show.

The accommodation in general was great and central. Never more than a few blocks walk. Amarillo, TX with their quirky salon style rooms was great. Included meals were good, with a diverse range of meals. The staff were faultless. Our Tour Manager was always bright, enthusiastic and very knowledgeable; our driver polite. The Contiki Coaches are modern and nice, they tend to run on the cold side, so buy a pillow and blanket for the bus and you’re set! Bring an iPod and earplugs for the bus on your hangover mornings when you really need to catch up on sleep- they are a saving grace! There are plenty of rest stops and opportunities to stretch your legs.

I opted to do the Grand Southern in reverse starting from New York to Los Angles for a few reasons. Firstly, chose to go in October, autumn is a beautiful time of year in America, plus as the month went on the colder it got the further South, (warmer) it was. Florida was perfect, not too hot and humid, and there was snow on the Rockies. Also I wanted to finish the tour in Las Vegas for Halloween and stay there for an extra few days; half the bus stayed in Vegas!

I would recommend doing the New York Explorer before this tour. It gives you a great overview of the city in a short time. Many people on our tour that tried to do the sights of New York by themselves did not achieve half as much in twice the amount of time.

My Contiki was: Fantastic fun, Unforgettable memories, Just book it!!!

  • tahnzzz Level 2 Traveler
  • 2 Contikis
  • 1 Country

This tour ecompases the best of the southern states of the USA. It took me to the places I have always wanted to go (Grand Canyon, Las Vegas, New York, Miami) and other places I hadn't really thought a lot about but fell in love with (New Orleans, Memphis & Savannah).
The optionals were mostly great and good value for money, the only two I wouldn't recommend would be the cooking class in new orleans (too much else to see) & the dinner cruise in New Orleans also, we were the only people on there under the age of 40 and too expensive for what it was.
All the hotels were impecible, our tour manager Camille was hilarious, approachable and full of information. She always seemed to lift the mood no matter how sick and hungover we all were! & the food was what you would expect from the USA but better!
I had the trip of a life time on this tour and would do it all over again if I could!
If you're considering booking this tour, just do it now!

My Contiki was: Excellent, Amazing, Fun

  • Shannon Level 1 Traveler
  • 1 Contiki
  • 12 Countries

The trip was awesome! We did a ton of things and were able to see alot in a short time. I had a great crew of 48 people as well as an awesome tour manager (Lee) and phenominal driver (Liz).

One rule of caution - most of the travelers on these trips are pretty young (18-23) and myself being 28, was annoyed at times with my trip mates. Although everyone was really great, the age difference can get to you. If you are cool with being around young people all the time, there are no issues but if you hang out with a crowd over 27-28 most of the time, it could take some getting used to.

My Contiki was: fast paced, exciting, fun

  • Gree Level 4 Traveler
  • 4 Contikis
  • 20 Countries

New York Explorer was a great tour. I'd just come off a 26 day tour so it was nice to have a few extra days in this awesome city! This tour was relaxed as you weren't changing hotels every day or two. I loved this tour as I got to see all the big New York sites, but I also had quite a bit of free time to do what I wanted to.

  • Gree Level 4 Traveler
  • 4 Contikis
  • 20 Countries

One word... AMAZING!
I had THE best month of my life! My only regret was not doing this sooner! Contiki was great! We had an awesome tour guide and driver that really went above and beyond. The 26 days went so fast, that I think we all would have stayed on the bus for another 26 days, if we had the chance. America is an awesome country and this tour definately did not disappoint. Loads of shopping, drinking, partying and sights. Best moments on the tour would have to be... Partying in Vegas (although that did hurt a little the next day :P ... ) Helicopter ride over the Grand Canyon, Bourban Street in New Orleans (earn your beads girls! hehe) spending Christmas in Miami and exploring New York! The other people on tour were so much fun and you definately make friends for life!! The food was also a highlight! :P I wish I was back on tour now!! Do this tour if you .... NO, just do this tour!!

Best Trip I've been on. Rachel our tour manager was great as and has made the trip really fun. Very hectic but so worth it when your touring. You get to see alot in a very short space of time

Best Trip I've been on. Rachel our tour manager was great as and has made the trip really fun. Very hectic but so worth it when your touring. You get to see alot in a very short space of time

  • Catie Level 1 Traveler
  • 1 Contiki
  • 11 Countries

This trip was truly a once in a life time experience. Who else can say that they visited Rome when it was under a foot a snow. When you are confronted with weather conditions that may affect your tour you just have to go with the flow and find something else to do that will give you a memory like no other. We had ample free time to discover places for ourselves and treat ourselves to true local food and culture.

I would recommend this tour to anyone who is not scared of a little cold snow and just wants to have a good time. Our contiki crew were amazing and added to the experience of travelling through Europe. I also made friends for life.

My Contiki was: snow

  • AmberWeber Level 1 Traveler
  • 1 Contiki
  • 3 Countries

Met some of the best people from all around the world! Made some amazing memories with great new friends and will never forget them. I hope to be going on another tour sometime within the next year, Hopefully by 2013!

My Contiki was: Amazing, Unforgettable , Life-Changing!

  • will13 Level 1 Traveler
  • 1 Contiki
  • 1 Country

Before we even started the tour, out tour manager Adri established herself as our hilarious guide through the best the US west coast has to offer. We quickly realised that she knew what she was talking about, and had done this tour enough times to know every funny aspect you could imagine.

We started off in LA but quickly headed off the San Diego, where the beachy lifestyle and laid back atmosphere was an instant hit with everyone on the tour. The nightlife and parties beckoned many on the tour, and for the under 21's, new ways to have fun needed to be found. Having grown accustomed to 18 being the drinking and gambling age, there were aspect that were not enjoyed by myself and a few other people. However, this sometimes worked to our advantage. On our second day, we had the choice of the zoo or Sea World, and from past visits to San Diego, I knew that the zoo was the place to go. The price, as well as the choice of things to do made it the clear winner in my head, and clearly many others as well, seeing as the majority of the group went there that day. The accommodation was fine, nothing fancy, but we were told that money had been diverted from our San Diego accommodation to improve Vegas' hotel.

From San Diego we headed straight to Phoenix, Arizona, and further still to the very well off neighbourhood of Scottsdale. Our accommodation here was next to a very big and very fancy mall, where a few of us made sure we had everything we needed for Vegas. Our dinner that night was not included but we all went and had a fantastic time, drinking, eating delicious ribs and 3-foot cotton candy.

The next day we were off to do the optional hot air ballooning ride, but after an hour-and-a-half wait in the van, we were told that the wind was too strong and that if we went, we would be dragged headfirst through plenty of cacti... not an optional we were willing to pay for! Disappointed, we headed back and ate a quick breakfast before we headed off to Sedona and ultimately the Grand Canyon. Sedona was beautiful, and the Jeep tours were excellently done by our very friendly tour guides. After they had finished, we got back on the bus and continued to the Grand Canyon! We were very luck as it had snowed pretty well the couple of days before we got there so the whole north rim was beautifully covered with a layer of snow.

The next day, we headed off to the helicopter tours which were breathtaking and a little scary for some. After this, Adri reminded us that the Super Bowl was on, which drew in almost our entire group the pizza pub at the lodge. Everyone enjoyed seeing a piece of an institutionalised American pastime. Adri was going for the Giants, which meant that most of the group were as well, however, we did have a few disappointed Patriots fans that were on the edge of their seats until the very end.

The tour continued to Vegas where we were put up in the very nice Harrah’s hotel and casino, one of the original brands on the new strip. Our city tour took place at night which allowed us to see the full glitz and beauty of Vegas. After our included dinner, the group went clubbing. The club they went to was having its anniversary and they had invited celebrities and had Skrillex DJ-ing. This news was monumental for a few of the tours members. The under 21's went sightseeing and were able to see parts of the strip that many of the other tour members wouldn’t get to.
Our second day in Vegas had us doing whatever we liked. A few of us went to the outlets and bought plenty of really cheap items from our favourite stores. Then we went on the rollercoaster at New York, New York which was great. We went out to dinner and saw the variety show that was an optional, it was very enjoyable. The best part of the night though was the stretch Hummers that took us around the strip, filled with cartons of champagne. This was the greatest way to view the city and the strip.

The next day we had plenty of hung-over people, and also had our longest drive to Tahoe. Whilst the ride was pretty uneventful some of the scenery as we got into Tahoe was spectacular.

Tahoe was by far one of the best stops, because it’s like every mountain, skiing village that you see in movies and magazines. It didn’t really snow while we were there but there was plenty to do as well. I didn’t go skiing on the first day, but was told it was very fun if not a little painful. On the second day, we went snowmobiling, which was fantastic. The day finished with a relaxing coffee at the Starbucks in the hotel lobby.

The next day was the trip to San Francisco, which is a pretty short journey, compared to the others. Having been born in San Francisco and living there for eight years, I was really looking forward to showing my new friends all the best parts that only the natives knew about. We went to a restaurant called Brandy Ho’s for lunch on the second day, which I wholly recommend to anyone. If you do go, have the deep-fried wontons. This was the final day for my tour, so a few goodbyes were said as most of the group went for their visit to Alcatraz.

All in all, this was one of the best experiences of my life as it not only showed me the areas of the west coast that I had missed out on, but it allowed me to meet new people as well.

I would like to thank Adri our Tour Manager for an unforgettable experience, Adrian our coach driver for a fantastic ride and funny stories at breakfast and dinner, and to all of the people on the tour, who made it fantastic :)

My Contiki was: Amazing, Unforgettable, Hilarious

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