corey07850
Posts: 2335
Joined: Wed Feb 04, 2004 4:33 am

Anyone Travel With Contiki?

Wed Jun 07, 2006 9:32 am

A few people I work with have just returned from a European trip with Contiki, and a few others were so impressed that they are currently on a European tour with them... I'd love to travel around Europe so out of curiosity I looked up their website to see what they offer and I too was very impressed... The packages seem well put together with nearly everything included in the price other than airfare (which they can get cheap as well)... When I was being told about the trip I was expecting the price to run in the thousands, but I was shocked to see they had around 10 day tours across Europe starting just over $1000.

I'm not too keen on the idea of them promoting how you'll make "life long friends" and whatnot, as I merely would go for the sights themselves, but I've heard nothing but good things so far and was curious if any of the well traveled gurus of a.net had their own opinions?

BTW I would be looking into something like a 10-14 day "superior" (average to decent hotels w/ meals etc) around Europe
 
LOT767-300ER
Posts: 8526
Joined: Mon Jan 01, 2001 12:57 pm

RE: Anyone Travel With Contiki?

Wed Jun 07, 2006 9:42 am

Fly to FRA, MXP, ZRH, MAD, AMS for 1/3rd that price, then buy yourself a EUrail pass (or regular train ticket if outside of continental Europe) and do that yourself if you just want to see the sights. Probably learn alot more than when its all laid out for you.

Thats just my opinion though.
 
AeroWesty
Posts: 19551
Joined: Sat Oct 30, 2004 7:37 am

RE: Anyone Travel With Contiki?

Wed Jun 07, 2006 10:19 am

I think it really boils down to do you want to spend so much time on a bus driving around Europe? That's what a lot of these tours do, if you read them. And it's 6AM luggage calls every morning, so they can get you fed and down to the bus to pull out of town to the next stop.

You *will* see more in a shorter time than you could possibly do on your own. I did the Grand Tour with a Eurailpass and no prior hotel reservations eons ago. I simply arrived where I was going, used the travel agency in the train station, and they booked a hotel for me. Between train travel and finding my way to the hotel, I lost an entire day everytime I moved to a new city. Then you have to sort out how you're going to get to what you want to see and do. It takes time and attention to detail.

Taking a tour only requires you to show up.
International Homo of Mystery
 
corey07850
Posts: 2335
Joined: Wed Feb 04, 2004 4:33 am

RE: Anyone Travel With Contiki?

Wed Jun 07, 2006 10:20 am

Quoting LOT767-300ER (Reply 1):

There's no way that would be 1/3 the price.... You're telling me you can get round-trip airfare, 8 nights of hotel accomodations, almost 2 meals a day, transfer to/from all the separate countries, etc etc for $700 (which is 1/3 the price)?
 
corey07850
Posts: 2335
Joined: Wed Feb 04, 2004 4:33 am

RE: Anyone Travel With Contiki?

Wed Jun 07, 2006 10:25 am

Quoting AeroWesty (Reply 2):
I think it really boils down to do you want to spend so much time on a bus driving around Europe? That's what a lot of these tours do, if you read them. And it's 6AM luggage calls every morning, so they can get you fed and down to the bus to pull out of town to the next stop.

I don't think I would mind traveling on the bus. From what I hear the longest ride is about 9 hours, and they stop every couple hours for food and whatnot. Most of the rides are through nice countrysides and small villages which I also think I would enjoy. A lot of this stuff you would miss on a quick flight from place to place.

6AM does seem early, but if that's what it takes to cram in 5 or so countries in 8-10 days I think I can deal with that... There's no point in sleeping till noon everyday and spending your vacation in bed...

Like I said, I'm just getting opinions from others
 
AeroWesty
Posts: 19551
Joined: Sat Oct 30, 2004 7:37 am

RE: Anyone Travel With Contiki?

Wed Jun 07, 2006 10:33 am

Doing a tour works for a lot of people if you know what you're buying. If you're comfortable with the setup and the price is right, go for it. It might give you a taste of a lot of things, and give you ideas for what you'd want to see more of later. I did it on my own because I was away for a long time, and there was no way I could have done a tour on that basis.

Quoting Corey07850 (Reply 4):
6AM does seem early

The hotel I stayed in in Nice was the hotel for the First Class level of American Express Tours back then. Every day a new crowd came in, and they had ladies running around delivering breakfast to the rooms. Around 8AM they'd knock on my door, bring in a huge pot of coffee, juice, and a tray of all the croissants and pastries they didn't pass out that morning. I just sat on the balcony looking at the Med noshing on breakfast while I decided what to do that day.

You have to decide which way you want to travel, and taking a coach tour definitely works for some people.
International Homo of Mystery
 
LOT767-300ER
Posts: 8526
Joined: Mon Jan 01, 2001 12:57 pm

RE: Anyone Travel With Contiki?

Wed Jun 07, 2006 10:39 am

Quoting Corey07850 (Reply 3):
There's no way that would be 1/3 the price.... You're telling me you can get round-trip airfare, 8 nights of hotel accomodations, almost 2 meals a day, transfer to/from all the separate countries, etc etc for $700 (which is 1/3 the price)?

Read what I wrote son.

Quoting LOT767-300ER (Reply 1):
Fly to FRA, MXP, ZRH, MAD, AMS for 1/3rd that price, then buy yourself a EUrail pass

1/3rd of $1000 is around $333USD.

I just flew this spring break to Poland for $340 roundtrip with taxes to Warsaw from Chicago.

I flew to Dublin spring break 2005 r/t ORD-MAD-DUB-ORD for $300 with taxes. Hotel by O'Connell street was around 40EUR per night (I was there only for 2 nights). 8x40EUR=400USD
$320+$400USD is around $700 + $300 for beer, vodka and food. Id rather spend it like that than be bussed aroun Europe and waking up early.

Quoting Corey07850 (Reply 4):
Most of the rides are through nice countrysides and small villages which I also think I would enjoy. A lot of this stuff you would miss on a quick flight from place to place.

6AM does seem early, but if that's what it takes to cram in 5 or so countries in 8-10 days I think I can deal with that... There's no point in sleeping till noon everyday and spending your vacation in bed...

As a European (and living in America) I am suggesting to you that you do not visit Europe that way (as most Americans do) I would rather concentrate on 1 or 2 countries and really visit them. There is point in sleeping till noon if you want to drink good brews at bars.
 
AC777LR
Posts: 825
Joined: Sat Apr 29, 2006 10:07 am

RE: Anyone Travel With Contiki?

Wed Jun 07, 2006 12:10 pm

I heard from someone that GAP adventures are much better then Contikki's and I would like to try one of their African Safaris this year. Have you looked into GAP adventures?
Member since April 2000
 
aa757first
Posts: 3140
Joined: Sun Aug 03, 2003 11:40 am

RE: Anyone Travel With Contiki?

Wed Jun 07, 2006 1:05 pm

I agree with AeroWesty. Some people like to see as many sights as they can without really getting to know a city/country.

Usually on bus/train tours and cruises, you will be able to see one or two major sights in a city and that's pretty much it. The advantage is that you get to see a lot of different cities in a short amount of time.

If you fly to one or two cities during the same time period, you'll see more sights and get a better fell for the city. It just depends how you want to travel.

The best place for these escorted tours is probably www.tourvacationstogo.com. They are a travel agency just for escorted tours.

AAndrew
 
N1120A
Posts: 26467
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RE: Anyone Travel With Contiki?

Wed Jun 07, 2006 6:24 pm

My girlfriend has done several Contiki trips and has loved them. If you are the kind of person who likes to have no worries about your trip, then Contiki is for you. If you are the type who can't stand hanging around the same people and riding busses, do something else.
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