Read reviews from past Contiki travelers.
Good value stopover package - a great way to relax after doing another tour or as a way to break up your flight home.
The hotel is basic but very comfortable and great location, right on the beach! There is also a restaurant/bar attached plus Contiki gives you daily vouchers for Starbucks. Waikiki is great for shopping and people watching but I would definitely recommend doing a circle island tour to see the rest of Oahu as it's very different, beautiful scenery.
Unfortunately I missed out on the pre-booked Pearl Harbour tour as I couldn't get in contact with the company to confirm my booking and pick up location - every time I called I could never get through to their office, which was disappointing.
If I did this stopover again, I would book the extra nights and try to see one of the other islands. Overall Hawaii is lovely, very chilled out and great people, and this Contiki package was a good introduction to the place.
Probably the best decision I've made in a long time. This tour is VERY fast paced. You WILL NOT be sleeping in but you also won't miss a thing. Lots of options for personal time or to spend all of your time with the group. Quite a few couples and single travelers on the tour. If you're an older traveler (like me -27), the tour had a nice mix of young and mature travelers. Good balance. The hotels we're probably equivalent to Holiday Inns, Howard Johnson, and Embassy Suites (if you're familiar with American Hotels). Our tour manager and driver were outstanding at managing personalities and keeping it lively. Lots of photo ops. Great food. Excellent shopping. Late nights and early mornings. Amazing new friends. Nothing quite like partying Contiki style...
If you're interested in sighseeing avoid this company and tours you're better off backpacking on your own. I've backpack before and this was my fist time going on a "guided" tour. Too many Australian, stuck up kids on this trip. These people were interested in just getting drunk. The beds were horrible. It's the winter time, low season. we should have at least get something better. The beds were as hard as the floor. I hated the fact that we had "options" I though everything was included. The tour manager kept saying to tip the guides, the bus driver and even her. She wanted 26 euros for her and 26 for the driver. We were 51 people, THAT'S 1326 euros EXTRA!! My package included that already so I wasn't going to pay anyone additional tips. The dinner at Monaco and the good bye dinner should have been included. Avoid the winter is too cold and some places are not even open. They took us to Portovino. There was one restaurant open and the whole island was deserted. Waste of my life. i WOULDN'T RECOMEND THIS COMPANY TO ANYONE..SORRY BUT I EXPECTED MORE THAN WHAT I GOT
This was an absolutely amazing trip and one that will stay with the 19 of us on the tour for the rest of our lives. Emmo, our tour guide, is one hell of a good guy and made sure we had rollicking time in SE Asia. In terms of value for money, excitement and sheer scope of activities on this trip, it is hard to think of anywhere better to go.
Contiki take all the hassle out of travelling in a foreign country and is ideal for people who may be travelling alone. The first few minutes are a bit daunting but once you get to meet everyone (and have a drink or two!) you will make some lifelong friends.
Sign up for the Asian Adventure, just do it, do it now. You won't regret it!
Accommodation was *fabulous*! Really clean and nice looking rooms, really nice lobby and courtyard! Had a fab time in Sydney, a must-do is the Sydney Opera House Backstage Tour, it was awesome! Bondi Beach is great, but warning harsh sun! I put about four loads of sunscreen on and still got burnt! Another great place to go is the Darling Harbour/Darling Quarter/Chinese Gardens area of Sydney, fabulous place to just hang out, highly recommended. The Darling Harbour Sydney Aquarium is great, the Wildlife World not so much, save your money for Taronga Zoo where it's far better/interactive. Hint if you go to Bondi get the Bondi Beach pass from the train station return for only $8.80. (train and bus return)
* The reason I don't give this 5 stars is because
1) the hotel is right above Kings Cross train station. This is absolutely fine in the daytime and very convenient, however if you go out at night I would get a taxi back as it's the, um, "seedy area" of Sydney. You'll be fine walking around buying dinner or something across the road, they have lots of nice places to eat (I would recommend the mexican place Guzman Y Gomez, very nice and pretty cheap too) but I would stay away from the train station after dark.
2) if you're doing a Contiki by yourself and you aren't into going out at night and you just want to see the sights, I recommend paying the extra for a single room, roomates were very friendly but they came in late night/early morning and when I wanted to get up and go out early they were still half asleep so if you don't like being disturbed or having to sneak around in the dark get a single room. Note I guess this would only apply to the self guided tours like sydney explorer, la explorer etc, as with a proper guided tour you all have to get up the same time.
Overall, great time!
I did the 29 day tour of the European Contrasts and it was easily the BEST thing i have ever done! I went July 23rd - August 20th 2010. Everything about this tour was amazing!
The weather was hot throughout the whole tour, peaking in the high 30's through Italy and Greece! Corfu and George's Boat were highlights!!
I would recommend this tour to anyone! I would even do it again!!
A review about the Winter Wanderer, it's hard to sum up, despite having unlimited words. I didn't read many reviews before I left- I was so nervous! Met the tour in Paris after they had already spent a day together on the bus. I shouldn't have been nervous, contiki people are lovely. Our fabulous tour manager was the best possible, we couldn't have got anyone more knowledgeable, kind or funny to take us on our trip around Europe! And our driver was one of the best parts of the tour, always up for a challenge (especially routes with 'No Bus' signs posted above them!)
I can only give my opinion of the tour - I would have paid 5 times the price I did - so don't be afraid that the tours will be a waste of money. If you are travelling solo, many people do! And it doesn't matter what age you are or if you're travelling in a group or not, you'll make friends that will be impossible to leave when it's time to go home.
My advice, if you want advice from someone who just finished the tour, is do everything you get the option to, rotate seats on the bus and sit with a bunch of different people, learn names nice and quickly, follow your tour managers advice (They're super awesome with tips and tricks), go out when you want to- don't be forced into going out all the time and then missing the cool cities you're in the next day with hangovers or illness and love the people who will surround you for 24 days. You will miss them! Contiki withdrawal is a huge problem :)
Don't be afraid to ask for help- shit happens. Sometimes the hotels are cramped and the food is bad, you learn to live with it. You learn to love it! You do LOADS in the 24 days you have on tour, that means long bus rides, lots of late nights and early mornings, clubs, pubs, walking tours, sightseeing, shopping. It is exhausting. Be ready for amazing sight after amazing sight! If you're up for 24 days of non-stop opportunity and experiences you will never forget I would highly recommend this tour. Be keen for fun and you can't go wrong!
Enjoy yourself, I hope this helped a little. It was the greatest 24 days of my life so far, I only hope the same applies to all the people who do the tour in the future.
The best way to see the highlights of China - Contiki set us this trip so that we would see the best things from the best point of view - You can't imagine how amazing to experience the Great Wall with very little people around, and the bund in Shanghai!
Our Tour Leader Luke was knowledgable and very easy to approach, and anwsered all our silly questions and opened up our minds to what we thought we knew about China.
I met so many amazing people from America, South Africa and NZ, as well as people from Australia!
Our Accomodation was amazing - Even staying in 5 star hotels in certain cities! (This may be variable for your trip though!)
Overall, this tour is amazing for anyone wanting to go here - I guarantee it will not be what you thought it was!
The first thing i will say is if your thinking about this trip dont forget your not going to a destination where tourism is well developed things will go wrong that is the joy of travel if you wanted it to run smooth you would stay home...
Saying that this was probably the best trip i have been on not everything went to plan but thats where special memories come from.
The Contiki tour was very well organised with a very professional tour manager (Hoover) and the local drivers where great.. the local tour guides where very knowledgeable although hard to understand some times when they had the microphone but they where easy to approach and answered all questions.
If youve done other Contikis. you might be a bit suprised when a big pink local bus pulls up out the front of your hotel . The bus was a bit older but it seemed well maintained and was comfortable for the longer days..
The hotels we stayed in where great they where clean and had everything you needed.. The only hotel we had trouble with was in Hanoi but we where told it was the first and last time contiki would stay there..
If your on this trip to see the sites or to party there is plenty of opportunities to do both and dont worry we did both.
You have the opportunity to eat western or asian at most stops dont deprive yourselves of there fabulous food . I did give in about half way through my tour and had a steak 1 night but that was a mistake. You will have the opportunity to eat Snake and Rat in the Mekong supprisingly the Rat tasted pretty good wasnt a fan of the snake but glad i tried it though
Our tour had a range of people on it from 18 - 36 and everyone got along great we have had about 4 reunions since aug 2011.. It was a good mixture of people i turned 35 on the tour so if your wondering if you should do Contiki because your at the tip of there range its not a problem these young ones need someone to show them how to party LoL...
There arent to many optionals in Vietnam but everyone signed up for all of them ..
There are things that will come up remember your on holidays and your doing CONTIKI so just go with the flow and do it.. I got called up to sing Karaoke in the middle of the ocean with a ladyboy not many people can say they've done that (or want to) . or float around in the middle of the ocean on a tube drinking rocket fuel. To seeing the war remaments and Vietnams history ..
If your looking for a tour that shows both the sites and traditions of a country where you can learn alot to trying traditional foods to going out at night and partying this is definetly the tour for you..
The great tour guide we had
The tour companions with all the sites and partying with out great people on the tour i dont think it would have been as enjoyable .. The tour is only as good as the people on it make it;;
Going to get on a plane and finding someone else already had that seat so haveing to catch 2 planes to get to the destination after the group ( i did get buisnees class the whole way though.. and i did say not everything will go to plan but just go with it . Its part of the travel to these destinations
Seeing the War museum and Vietnams history
Bartering (Its a bit daunting at first have fun with it though and it becomes enjoyable . but dont barter for something you dont want ause if you agree on a price you will end up with it..
Trying rat and snake..
Halong bay the party (My Bday) the sites and just the relaxing day
The whole trip was a highlight and i could mention everything..
But as i said go on this trip with a open mind as you are traveling to vietnam not everything will run to plan but they make up some of the unforgetable times on your trip and it makes your trip unique from the next....
And yes i would definetly recomend Contiki Vietnam
Im happy to answer all questions
I could not have asked for a better tour! Our tour manager was very engaging, friendly and knowledgeable.Our tour manager always knew the best places to eat and visit and every new city we went to we got a map showing were major sites were. Our bus driver was also very nice and a good driver. The two of them always went the extra mile for our group, for example we made two extra stops that weren't included in our itinerary, to innsbruck, Austria, and to the Ferrari centre where you could drive or be a passanger in one. All the included walking tours and dinners were great as was the accomodation (for european standards). I did all of the side tours offered which made the tour all that much better as it helped you get the most out of the cities you were visiting and get to know everyone on the tour a little better. As or getting to know everyone on the tour- its very easy and you meet some really fantastic people who you end up spending all your time with. The bus we travelled on was comfortable enough, for a bus so no complaints there! The fact that this particular tour ends in paris was a highlight as it really finishes the tour in a special way (especially if you see the moulin rouge). The cities visited were all fantastic and worth seeing and having two nights in every place meant we mostly had enough time to see everything in such a jam packed tour. I would reccommend it to everyone and would go on another contiki trip in a second!
What can i say what an amazing, unforgettable and life changing experince. For those who want to see Europe and travel the world to experience what llfe has to offer then go no further, a Contiki tour through europe is a must and the camping tour especially as you'll get a once in a life time chance and experience to camp throughout a very large part of europe. Europe will give you a very good look at different cultures, history, food and local customs that you may have never seen before. From visiting the Eiffel tower in Paris, experiencing the floating city of Venice on a Gondola ride, seeing the history of the Colosseum in Rome, experincing the relaxing life style of the Greek island of Corfu, to experiencing a true Greek Meal, The opportunity to visit Gallipoli and stand on the shores of Anzac Cove, The cultural experience of Istanbul to the Eye opening experincing of Albana, experiencing the full on action of Oktoberfest in Munich, seeing the awa inspiring views of the Swiss Alps and the Crazy city of Amsterdam. Every day will be a totally different experience going from country to country whether its learning a new language, experincing new foods to experiencing new local customs.
In addition to your tour inclusions the optional activites are a good way of seeing and experiencing things not normal seen The camping accommodation is very comfortable with plenty of space and air mattress to keep you compfy while you sleep. The food provide was well above normal camping food and gives you an opportunity to experince local foods like frogs legs to pasta dishes.
Your Contiki crew will be on hand to help with anything from giving directions to the best places to visit and eat to how to get around each city you visit, your tour driver will get you to all the places you need to get to hassle free and your contiki on road cook will keep you feed with heaps of food. You'll travel in very comfortable air condition coaches with power point to charge your electronic devises, its a great place to just sit back chill, listen to music, sleep or chat amongest your mates. I was one happy camper with one of the best touring partys, everyone pretty much got along really well and alot of people made close bonds with new friends and im very sure life long friends too, i know i have.
My top three places visited would be 1. Travelling through Italy 2. Visiting Gallipoli and Anzac Cove 3. Swiss Alps but i would have to say in whole it was amazing and there are plenty more favourites and ones to surprise me were 1. Istanbul 2. Budapest and 3. Prague would definiately return to these places and visit in more detail.
In finishing i would totally recommend doing this particular contiki tour if not justing doing contiki tour as its a great experincing, new way of meeting new friends, life changing, full of fun and memories to last a life time.
If your planning on travelling europe indepentently and are not sure what to expect in certain places i would totally recommending doing a contiki tour first as in the end will save you money as you can get a taste of each place to see if its worth spending the time or extra time in the city or country.
:S i did this tour from 2 december til 11 december and i have to say i'm disappointed because it didnt really worthed it :S im sorry contiki but i spend half of my vacations in a bus listening to music i didnt like and arriving in the afternoons to each country to have dinner and sleep :S i wouldnt recommend this trip. Contiki you should to less countries more time instead of lots of countries just some hours. First and last experience with contiki :/
As a first-time traveller I can really recommend this trip! It was well-organised, with an informative and very knowledgable local guide who helped organise a lot of activities for us, even post-tour. I chose all the optionals except for a few dinners. Would definitely recommend choosing all optional tours as you see and learn so much more than you would otherwise - this was especially true in Rome and Pompeii, and the guides are such fun characters! Included meals were delicious, and so fresh, and for other meals our guide Yannick recommended excellent places. A little, non-English speaking restaurant in La Spezia he recommended had the best ravioli I've ever tasted.
There were a lot of couples in the group, and in some ways it was quite a laid back tour, but there were also some great nights out! We all had a lot of fun.
As someone who only knows how to say "natural water" and "thankyou" in Italian, this trip certainly took the hassle and confusion out of travelling.
Pompeii and Capri were definite highlights, but really the entire trip was just one giant highlight!
I have just returned from my first Contiki which was LA to the bay. It was the best.holiday i have ever had! We went to amazing places like the grand.canyon and Lake Tahoe. Our driver was Adrian Ornelas and he was.FANTASTIC! best driver around...and a good guy to party with. Our tour.manager was Dylan Gallagher from South Carolina...he totally.made this trip! It wouldnt have been the same without this hook ups....and his country music haha. I also meet some great people...we really were/are like a family.
cantbwait for.my next one!!
Best 26 Days of my life! Did so much and saw so much of America from Vegas to the Grand Canyon, Memphis to New Orleans plus so much more!! I would highly recommend this tour to anyone who wants to really get a taste of America. Accommodation was comfortable nothing to fancy which is all you really need. Most hotels have free Wi-Fi and at least one laundromat. Lots of optional activities to choose from plus a wide range of food options as well. Tour group was incredible best people to travel with. Even if you are under 21 you will still have the time of your life (speaking for myself as i am under 21). You do spend a lot of time on the bus so for some that might be a downside but its a great way to see the country. Some highlights included a helicopter flight over the Grand Canyon, snowmobiling in the Rockies, a river boat dinner in New Orleans and a night tour of Washington DC.
The Spanish spree was such an amazing trip! I want to do it again in the summer!
So this tour was quite literally the best NYE of my life and I suspect it’s going to take a fair effort to top it.
To anyone considering this tour, it is a great way to see one of the most amazing cities in the world in a very short period of time. Although I would recommend some extra time in NYC, certainly if this is all you had you would feel as though you have seen the best.
A brief overview of the tour (presumably it will follow a similar schedule next year):
Day before (December 29th)
There is a tour meeting at the hotel where you are staying. I didn’t know about this until I got my documents (although perhaps if you had been on a contiki before you would have). This is certainly helpful to go to if you can manage it because you receive itineraries and a weekly metro card – so basically you get free travel sooner. And you get to meet up with your other tour mates.
Day 1 (December 30th)
The day starts ridiculously early at 7:30am with a guided bus tour of the city. The guide was great; knew so much about the city, was really funny. You see most of the major sites and get off at a few places like Rockefeller Centre and Grand Central Station. The tour ends after lunch down at the 9/11 Memorial where you have included tickets to the actual memorial itself, which is quite and experience (and I think there will be more there by next year as well).
After the memorial is the first optional extra – the helicopter tour of the city. I originally had no intention of doing this but peer pressure got the better of me and I am so glad it did! See my photo album for a picture but it is the most amazing experience. We went right at sunset, which meant the skyline was stunning. As our guide said, you will never see the skyline in the same way and he is absolutely right. There are 2 options, 1 is $137 and the other is $190. The $190 one is about 15-20 minutes (the other is less than 10 I believe, so definitely go the $190) and you basically go up and down the Hudson River – amazing experience.
That night you have an included dinner and then you head to Times Square for the group photo. This is another optional extra, everyone is included in the photo but it costs $17 to purchase. Another strong recommendation – you can see ours in my photo album. The photo taken by a professional and is well worth the $17 – a great souvenir (everyone knows how hard it is to get a good group photo!!)
Afterwards you have to option to go out to a bar with the tour guide. The bar we headed too was pretty far away and a lot of us were pretty exhausted so I went for a walk around Rockefeller Centre (amazing with the Christmas lights) and had an earlyish night. Remember, Day 2 is a big one!
Day 2 (December 31st)
This morning you head over to Brooklyn to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge back to Manhattan. This is a great way to see the skyline of the city and also a good way to meet and chat with other tour members. (I have also uploaded a photo in my photo album).
Afterwards you take the subway down to Battery Park to catch the ferry over to the Statue of Liberty (ticket is included). You can spend as much or as little time there as in the afternoon you have free time, unless you decide to do the Sex and the City optional tour. Having never really watched the show, I didn’t do it, however if you are a fan, I am told it is good fun and costs $40.
I chose to spend the afternoon shopping for a NYE outfit ;) Actually not a great idea because the streets are crazy at that time of year. It’s also a good time to sneak in a nana nap before the big night.
This year we went to Planet Hollywood and I would be surprised if you didn’t do it again. I certainly hope that you do. The atmosphere is amazing, you have an included (albeit kind of small) buffet dinner but most importantly, open bar. The party starts at 9pm but you have to leave the hotel at like 8pm to fight the crowds through Times Square. There is no outside viewing of Times Square from Planet Hollywood, but I really believe you aren’t missing anything. Someone who did wait from 2pm in Times Square (and you can’t leave for anything – including the bathroom once you go in) has told me that the ball is quite small and then there is a lot of confetti. So I definitely think we had a better deal. Just before midnight you can head to the dance floor and you are surrounded by huge tv screens which makes you feel as though you are right out in Times Square. Honestly, it was the one of the best nights of my life. To put it in perspective, if you chose to go to Planet Hollywood, not as part of the Contiki tour, it would cost you $250 – so a pretty good deal to have that included. You get kicked out at 1am and can head to another bar. Some of us chose to just walking around Times Square and soak up the environment before heading back to the hotel/hotel bar, which was a great experience too.
Day 3 (January 1st)
If you are up for it (or you feel guilty because you paid for it already), the TV and Movie Tour takes place at about 10am (don’t worry, it’s a bus tour, not much walking required!) This tour isn’t quite as good as I expected, mainly because I expected to see more famous places. However, you see places like the FRIENDS building, the Soup Nazi store, the inspiration pub from How I Met Your Mother, the Ghostbusters firehouse, something from the Cosby Show to name a few. You also get to see a lot of other parts of the city which you didn’t see on the bus tour on day 1, like Soho (great shopping) and Tribecca.
Afterwards you meet up with the rest of the group for a walk through Central Park – also optional. A lot of people have seen Central Park by now so you don’t have to go if you’d rather do something else.
That night dinner isn’t included but a lot of us just at together at the hotel restaurant and then you head to the Empire State Building (ticket included). It will undoubtedly be absolutely freezing but well worth it for a stunning view of the NYC skyline at night (I love me a good night photo!) You can stay up there for as long as you want and then head to a local bar afterwards for one last night of drunken craziness.
Day 4 (January 2nd)
You have until 12pm to checkout and head your separate ways!
You can also choose to do the optional Gossip Girl tour ($38) but there actually isn’t an allotted time for this, you get a voucher at a discounted rate and do it whenever.
There were 3 groups all doing this tour. My group stayed at the Skyline Hotel a few blocks from Times Square and the other 2 stayed at the Sheraton in Brooklyn. Basically it seems that the people who booked first stayed in Manhattan. Obviously I can’t comment on the Brooklyn hotel and whilst I hear it was very nice, it was so convenient being so close to Times Square. We could walk home from Planet Hollywood. I don’t know if this is something that frequently happens or if it was just this year? The hotel was also very comfortable and my room had a pretty sweet view as well (see photo album). I did however hear rumours of using a different hotel next year. Try to get confirmation from Contiki as early as possible but don’t be surprised if they don’t give it.
Top 3 favourite moments:
2. Empire State Building
3. Statue of Liberty
1. Book early!! This will hopefully ensure you get the hotel in Manhattan, in case this happens again where they decide to use one in Brooklyn as well. I paid the deposit in around February and the rest in October.
2. If you are travelling alone, I highly recommend a single room. It might sound unsociable and it is more expensive but it is so nice to have your own space especially because you know every tour has more than one of “that person” who drinks too much and vomits everywhere.
3. Don’t worry too much about booking pre/post accommodation at the same hotel as contiki. A lot of people tried to do this assuming that everyone was staying at the Skyline and ended up staying in Brooklyn (or visa versa). The hotel is actually quite expensive and you can do a lot cheaper and just get a taxi/subway the morning of the tour. I recommend the Pod Hotel (about a $10 cab ride away from the Skyline) or the Hilton Garden Inn.
4. Budget for some of the optional extras. It’s a great way to meet more people on your tour and really gives you 3 solid days of sight seeing.
5. Plan a couple of days after the tour to stay in NYC and do all the things you didn’t get time for (you do a lot but there is always more to do!!)
6. Pack a lot of warm clothes, including boots and good coat. We had pretty mild weather but it did drop to around -11 a few days after which was ridiculously cold.
7. Pack nice clothing for NYE. It is inside so you can rug up just to go outside. The idea is “dress to impress” and most people make a pretty nice effort. I don’t recommend leaving shopping til the few days before NYE. Way too hectic!
1. Get to see so much. You can really cover a lot of the city in 3 days if that is all the time you have.
2. NYE night is sensational. Don’t be fooled into thinking you have to stand out in Times Square. This is much better.
3. You get a lot for your money. I think to stay at the hotel around that time was over $200 per night, plus NYE night, a few meals, a few included tickets, included 7 day metro card ($29) so no paying for travel – well worth the price.
4. The optional extras are great and you still have enough free time for anything specific you want to do.
1. For a big company, Contiki could be a bit more organised. Expect to be left in the dark a bit about accommodation. Try to confirm you accommodation with them as well. We had people receive documents with the wrong hotel name on it and thus turn up to the wrong hotel.
2. I could be wrong, but I think staying out in Brooklyn would really have been a pain so hopefully they don’t do this again, but book early and it shouldn’t be a problem!!
I hope this is helpful to potential travellers. This was my first Contiki tour and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I met a great group of people and spent the best NYE of my life in one of the most amazing cities in the world. I can’t recommend the tour enough. Feel free to contact me if you’d like to know anything else about it.
This was easily the best holiday of my life,ive heard Contiki was awesome but it fully blew me away,met some awesome people some crazy charachters,and our Tour Guide Kristin Jenn was great,ive only been home 4 days and all i can think about is my next trip,if you havnt done Contiki i highly recommend it!
Awesome tour...plenty of time in majority of the cities and best tour manager Mick and driver Tim!
I travelled with Contiki because their was a presentation at my College and it got me really excited to travel with Contiki. For Christmas, I wanted to surprise my boyfriend with a trip of a lifetime. This tour is actually a Stopover trip but I decided to create it into a vacation itself. I bought plane tickets from YYZ (Toronto) to HNL (Honolulu) which were also booked through Contiki. I extended the 4 nights into 7 nights, 8 days. Along came another couple with us. This stopover tour did not have an escort on the trip but it gave us more freedom. On our first day, we spent some time on the beach and went shopping. Everything is accessible using theBus or by trolley. This trip was amazing, and we all, would do it again if we could!