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What do you wish you'd known?

18 Jul 2007 ashleightara asked

I'm curious to know what ppl wish they'd known before they went on their trips, and only discovered afterwards...<BR><BR>For example, <BR>Did you miss something in a town you wish you'd known about? <BR>Did you pack something, and never used it?<BR>Did you NEED something you didn't pack and had to go in search of it?<BR><BR>In particular, looking for different advice to what is already available on the board...share you experience so others can learn from you 'mistake'.<BR><BR>Thanks <img src="" alt="Smiler" width="15" height="15"><!--graemlin::)-->
  • 22 Sep 2010 Explorer1208349 said



    These tips are all really great! I notice that most are for europe though, can anyone reply re USA? I’m looking at doing the Grand Southern..

  • 25 Sep 2010 Mel the aussie said

    Mel the aussie

    I’m glad
    - I did almost all of the optionals ( except the venice walking tour, my friends did it and they said it wasn’t that good… I went shopping instead)
    - I went with an open mind
    - I tried everything (even if I didn’t like it eg. Frogs legs)
    - I made friends with everyone
    - I had enough money to just buy what I wanted when I saw it
    - I went out every night even if I didn’t drink a lot it was really good for bonding and you’d have great stories the next day
    - I took an extra camera battery with me. Some days it ran out half way through the day so I’d just change the battery.
    - I took a travel journal, even if I did just write dot points now I’m able to look over the dot points and write it out in full
    - I kept all the tickets and things for my scrapbook I’m making
    - I took a travel pillow, you know the neck ones. It was a life saver on the bus and plane
    - I took some comfy clothes for the long days on the bus
    - Sent all of the things I bought back home from Amsterdam. It was cheaper then everywhere else but it still cost me a little bit.
    - Ate at almost every stop. Some people didn’t n they were starving by the next stop. Even if only had a chocolate bar or something small.
    - I wore flat shoes to the optional dinners… it’s a really long walk!
    - I brought a travel clothes line.. it was really good because it was raining when I did my washing so I hung it in my room.
    - I went to the sex show. Even though I didn’t watch hardly any of it it was definatly an experience I wont forget and neither will some of the boys on tour either. Gotta love contiki
    - I took a power board… one day all of my things ran out of charge
    - I took legging for those nights where it was that little bit too cold (or you havnt shaved your legs Razzer<!--graemlin::p-->)
    - I brought my ipod touch… free wifi in Amsterdam was awesome lol
    I wish
    - I took more group photos and more photos of us out at night
    - I took less t-shirts and more going out dresses. I bought so many clothes but I needed more things to go out at night in. I’d read that people recommend taking dresses and I was always like I’m not a dress wearing person but basically all trip all I wore out at night were dresses.
    - I knew what the weather was going to be like – I took a heap of warm clothes but for the most part it was really hot (I went in September)
    - It wasn’t so sad when we finished the tour

    I don’t really have anymore wishes I had the best tour ever. Oh wait I do have one more wish. I wish I could have stayed on tour for longer.

  • 3 Oct 2010 Dimplez said


    Has anyone gone on the London 5 day trip and if so what would you recommend?

  • 8 Oct 2010 Romer said


    I AM GLAD I:
    - did almost all the of the optionals
    - made an effort to speak to everyone on the tour
    - tried some local food
    - asked the tour manager lots of questions before free time so I had a clear idea of what was where and made efficient use of time
    - took an NAB Gold debit card to withdraw money at ATM’s

    - read the instruction manual for my digital camera before using it for the first time when I landed (sounds like common sense but no I didn’t)
    - taken cold/flu tablets, as they didn’t sell them anywhere only the lozenges
    - made more of an effort to talk to the locals
    - gone out to party every night rather than every other night
    - more songs on my MP3 player, some days were 8+ hour drive days
    - bought some postcards in every city we went to

    I had an awesome time.

  • 18 Oct 2010 Explorer1180105 said


    Hey everyone! This forum has been a lifesaver!!! I’m leaving North Carolina for the 16-day Grand Adventurer tour from Auckland to Christchurch on November 11. I need HELP! This is my first international trip. Has anyone taken a NZ tour? Can anyone tell me realistically what I should pack for 16 days, clothes-wise? I want to pack light and I’m afraid, with all the medicine I’m apparently going to have to bring for the dreaded Contiki Cough, I won’t have room for my clothes and shoes! I think it’s going to be spring time in NZ…I’d love some help with what I need to bring. Also, I’m so confused about the adaptors…everyone is saying that, even with their adaptors, their blow dryers didn’t work right…should I just buy a hair dryer there? There’s so much to bring and we’re only allowed one bag! I’m lost. Any suggestions on what kind of backpack to bring in addition to the suitcase??? I’ve been looking, but I don’t know how big of a backpack to get. And, what is this NAB Gold Banking Visa card that everyone is talking about? Where can I get one?
    Any and all help is MUCH appreciated!



  • 22 Oct 2010 Bunty said


    Hi Jess,

    As far as weather goes, you will find various temperatures throughout NZ on your tour, ranging from 10 degrees celcius to maybe early 30s. In the north island there is more humidity, so even if it rains, it will be muggy. I would be surprised if you don’t have the opportunity to wash your clothes, so one weeks worth of clothing should do you fine. And you say you are coming down here to Christchurch – if you are lucky, there may be a juicy aftershock when you are here! As far as adapters go, if it is a simple plug adapter, then your dryer will not work, it will likely be fried. We use 220v over here, whereas the USA use 110v I think, so definitely get a dryer over here. As far as the cough goes, I don’t know if you will be as prone to getting it compared to if you were coming in the winter, but don’t take my word on that!

  • 2 Nov 2010 Aida F. said

    Aida F.

    I did the Italian Espresso (winter) and this is my feedback:

    Im glad I did all the optional BUT the disco (heard it was bad)
    Im glad I had antibiotics and medicine.
    Im glad I talk to everyone.
    Im glad I went out every night.
    Im glad I drank and got drunk LOL Razzer<!--graemlin::p-->
    Im glad I didn’t bring my laptop
    Im glad I have extra battery and extra cards for my camera and video.
    Im glad I had a travel journal.
    Im glad I had hand sanitizer wipes.
    Im glad I had nice winter clothes. (Italians dress really nice) Big Grin<!--graemlin::D-->
    Im glad that my tour manager was Amedeo (he is AWESOME)
    Im glad I read this panel before my trip. It helped me alot.

    I wish I didn’t get drunk one night, even thou I had a great time, it is not fun to be sick Roll Eyes<!--graemlin::rolleyes:-->
    I wish the hotels were better Mad<!--graemlin::mad:-->

  • 2 Nov 2010 Explorer1180105 said


    Hand sanitizer: check. Antibiotics, cold and pain medicine: check. Converter/adaptor: check. Dressy clothes: check. Rehydrating tabs: check. This forum really has opened my eyes to how unprepared I was to make my first international trip. haha! Thanks for all the tips. Now, did anyone use the free phone card that came with their Contiki documents? I’m trying to figure out if I should use that or try to get an international sim card for my blackberry so I can stay in touch. What did you all do? I’m leaving my dogs and cat behind and my dog just started having seizures, so I’m kind of nervous to be out of contact for any period of time.

  • 3 Nov 2010 Aida F. said

    Aida F.

    I used it and it was OK. I was away for 9 days and I didnt feel the need to have an international sim card. If you are a person that cant leave without a phone.. then buy it LOL

  • 13 Nov 2010 kristy said


    hey im just wondering about camera batteries…
    when you say ‘bring and extra one’ how many would you have in total.
    im a photo freak and have 3 batteries already so is this enough or would i need 4???

  • 15 Nov 2010 Mel the aussie said

    Mel the aussie

    i recommend 2 batteries… some days my camera ran out half way through the day so i just swapped my batteries. worked so well

  • 17 Nov 2010 LUKE said


    I really wish I had just managed my money a bit better. I thought I had budgeted fine but I think I didn’t really account for the amount of alcohol I drank, because I ran short 4 days before hand. I also wish I had brought more mix n matchable clothes then what I bought.

  • 26 Nov 2010 Kaz said

    Originally posted by kristy:
    hey im just wondering about camera batteries…
    when you say ‘bring and extra one’ how many would you have in total.
    im a photo freak and have 3 batteries already so is this enough or would i need 4???

    I found 2 batteries to be plenty enough. You charge them in your room or on the bus and they’re ready to go for the whole next day.

    I recommend getting a double adapter converter because it makes it handy when you want to charge your phone, your camera, or whatever all at the same time.

  • 8 Dec 2010 Trinhtrin said


    Re: ALL of the Contiki Cough advice

    Becuase of the constant concern about the seemingly unbeatable Contiki Cough, I did my due diligence.


    You don’t have to force feed yourself Vitamins to beat the cough—That was already addressed earlier.

    When you have a cold, your body heats up to fight the toxins. Help it out by eating spicy and acidic foods like onions, garlic, ginger and red peppers. If you are going to be in London, there is a plethera of Indian food to be had in all levels of spiciness. Jack Black (the actor) recommends a “super-spicy lamb vindaloo” to blast a cold.

    Thyme (herb) is an anti-cough, anti-viral herb.

    Green and black teas are loaded with antioxidents (green tea is also a great weight loss agent).

    You also want to AVOID mucous forming foods such as SUGAR, DAIRY and processed foods.

    That’s all for now. I will be making a Contiki Cough Blaster Kit to take with me on my trip (Great Britain & Ireland — May 6) using all of these things.

  • 12 Dec 2010 Explorer1120250_ Nat said

    Explorer1120250_ Nat

    wow im so glad i signed up to contiki.
    i havnt gone on a tour yet im planning on going in 2012. i would like to found out has much information has i can before going…

  • 14 Dec 2010 The Virgin Backpacker said


    I’m glad I took:
    Strong anti-hystamines (however u spell it)
    Nail clippers (funny, but can be annoying!)
    lots of memory for my camera
    power adapters
    spare camera battery

  • 16 Dec 2010 Chris said

    Originally posted by JOJO1983:

    Just adding to Miss Janeo about the Tuscan Dinner. The one dinner i wish i didnt do was that one. The food was **** and I felt really sick afterwards (not due to eating too much). The service was terrible and there was no atmosphere in the restaurant.

    The French dinner was nice and the Greek Dinner was awesome.

    I wish i had brought more dressy clothes and also more summery clothes. More high heels. People told me everyone wears flats… Not true! Although it is hard to walk the cobbled streets in heels.

    I wish i hadnt have bought wine in the Beaujolais, just due to the fact I now have to carry it. Or drink it!

    And also wish i had brought an Ipod!

    Hope this helps

    Interesting to read this about the Tuscan dinner.

    For mine the Tuscan dinner was probably the best dinner our group attended on tour. The food was amongst the best we had, the atmosphere great.

    Must have gone to different restaurants.

  • 24 Dec 2010 LUKE said


    Yeah the Tuscan dinner was a great time. I don’t recall if the meal was any good, but I remember the atmosphere was amazing. I remember they had lots of dancing as well, I remember it feeling a bit like a wedding reception Smiler<!--graemlin::)-->

  • 28 Dec 2010 ChicagoJanice said


    Most of these replies seem to be for the Europe trips. I am an American taking the Big Indochina Adventure Dec 11, 2011. Can anyone provide any wish I would have/wish I wouldn’t have nuggets specific to this Asian experience?

  • 1 Jan 2011 beck0892 said


    hey Explorer1120250 what tour are you looking at going on? My sister & I are going on the European Encounter on the 5th of Feb 2012. It would be awesome to meet somebody going on the same one so far in advance! Big Grin<!--graemlin::D-->

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