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14 days to travel Europe...topdeck vs busabout

14 days to travel Europe...topdeck vs busabout

Dec 16th, 2013, 08:58 PM
  #1  
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14 days to travel Europe...topdeck vs busabout

Sorry to repeat the perennial question regarding topdeck vs busabout but I am really struggling to decide between these two as I only have about 14 days to travel around Europe in May/June 2014.

The topdeck tour I was looking at in particular were the 12 day 'Essential Europe' tour. However, I realise that the 'EuroHotel' tours with topdeck are geared towards couples rather than solo travelers but it is the only one that seem to fit my available dates.

However, Busabout sounded pretty good given the independence. However I am not sure whether it is so suitable for such a short time frame as I am really trying to see as much as I can.

Anyone who has been travelling with Topdeck or Busabout can shed some light onto this?
Any feedback would be much appreciated.

Cheers,
ayjay02 is offline  
Dec 16th, 2013, 11:46 PM
  #2  
 
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If you just want to "see as much as you can" so you can check random sites off of your bucket list, then go topdeck or similar.

As a general rule, Fodorites prefer a slower mode of travel and tend to eschew whirl-wind tours that leave you needing a vacation from your vacation.
sparkchaser is offline  
Dec 17th, 2013, 01:55 AM
  #3  
 
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Topdeck (or Contiki for that matter) isn't geared towards couples, other than charging a single supplement, so if you are wanting to "see as much as I can" and have a limited time to travel, they will fit your requirements.

Early mornings, late nights, but you cover a lot of ground in a short space of time and the bulk of the planning is done for you - accommodation, routes, travel times. As long as you understand you won't be able to spend as much time in each place as you might ordinarily like, you'll get a good overview of places and can choose where you might like to go back to in future.

Busabout is also a good product, but you'll have to plan a little more yourself - work out how much time you want to spend in each place, figure out a budget for accommodation to book as you go, and work out your end city (look at open jaw flights).

If you need a little more guidance and to be disciplined about leaving a place and getting to the next one, then Topdeck is your better option here.
madamtrashheap is offline  
Dec 17th, 2013, 03:43 AM
  #4  
 
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Did you really really feel the need to chastise someone over their choice of travel style, sparkchaser? Does it make you feel better to denigrate someone else because they aren't as sophisticated in their travel choices as you perceive yourself and to be?

Sorry ayjay02, I have no experience with the companies you are considering but I hope you find some feedback that is useful, like madamtrashheap's.
Aramis is offline  
Dec 17th, 2013, 04:11 AM
  #5  
 
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ayjay02, have you tried asking over at the Lonely Planet forum? Lots of young people there who have done Busabout and so forth. You might get more answers there, Fodors as a rule draws an older crowd.

By the way, I see the Topdeck tour begins and ends in London - but with the first overnight stay in Paris and the last in Amsterdam. Try to see if you can arrange to join the tour in Paris. I know what it is to travel with limited time (and money) but an extra night or two in Paris on your own before the tour could make a world of difference.
Sue_xx_yy is online now  
Dec 17th, 2013, 04:12 AM
  #6  
 
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I answered OP's question and I am sorry if it was not to your liking. Personally, I see nothing wrong with a whirlwind tour if the person knows what they are getting into.

Now, go troll someone else.
sparkchaser is offline  
Dec 17th, 2013, 07:31 AM
  #7  
 
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aramis trolls the boards to look for posts he can complain about -

I thought your comment was pretty accurate. If fast/not in depth is the OP's style, then TopDeck is great.

It all depends on what one wants.

ayjay02: TopDeck is fine -- but 'seeing as much as you can' can be a bit misleading. On these very fast paced tours one 'sees' a lot but doesn't visit very many (meaning going inside or touring). A lot of what one 'sees' is through the bus windows. If you really want to cover a lot of territory and don't care about down time or in-depth visits they are good options.

(And no, aramis, I am not slamming the OP's travel style)
janisj is online now  
Dec 17th, 2013, 05:07 PM
  #8  
 
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OP said;

>>>Sorry to repeat the perennial question regarding topdeck vs busabout but I am really struggling to >>>decide between these two

>>>Anyone who has been travelling with Topdeck or Busabout can shed some light onto this?
>>>Any feedback would be much appreciated.


sparkchaser- Those are the question you think you answered? With a condescending put down of bus tours, in general, as only good for people who simply want to check random sites off some sites off a list as opposed to "Fodorites" who eschew such vacation wasting escapades? Will you spare me the trouble of debating with you the inevitable (hopefully) comeback that the OP's phrase; "Any feedback would be much appreciated" entitles such arrogance.

janisj - What I am doing is pretty obvious to those who aren't actively involved in doing. I don't think your repetitive finger pointing is really illuminative but if it makes you feel good - you have at it, too.
Aramis is offline  
Dec 17th, 2013, 07:23 PM
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<>

Yup, and never actually offers any actual travel information.

To the OP: Have you investigated the many train possibilities? It can be quite cheap if you understand how the various national railroads work, and gives you lots more freedom (though maybe less company).
StCirq is online now  
Dec 18th, 2013, 06:53 AM
  #10  
 
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P'raps Aramis should just go off and continue scheming to take over France . . .

To the OP: Check the Contiki offerings too since you're obviously in the age range.
BigRuss is offline  
Dec 18th, 2013, 10:15 AM
  #11  
 
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What is your age? Your gender? Makes a difference sometimes on what tour may appeal most to you - Contiki tours for example are often overwhelmingly females - good for guys perhaps.
PalenQ is online now  
Dec 18th, 2013, 10:15 AM
  #12  
 
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"as I am really trying to see as much as I can."

When someone writes that overused phrase in one form or another it should be clear to any regular poster where they are coming from in their thinking.

Sparkchaser simply pointed out the error of that thinking as far as I am concerned. And it is an ERROR, not a simple personal preference in travel styles. If someone wants to spend their time ticking off a list that is a personal preference but when someone THINKS that is how to 'see as much as they can', then they should be advised as to the error in their thinking.

Ayjay02, the word 'much' is NOT synonymous with the word 'many'. But that is the common mistake people make. If you gave it a minute of thought you would realize it is a mistake. The way to see as 'much' as possible is obviously to spend as 'much' time as possible in a given place. Otherwise, the answer to how to 'see as much as possible' would be to move continuously covering as many miles/kilometres as you could in a given amount of time.

In travel, less is always more. The less moving you do, the more you see/do IN places.

A great parallel to moving too quickly when travelling can be found in a quote from Woody Allen. "I took a speed reading course and read 'War and Peace' in twenty minutes. It involves Russia."

The idea that you can see MORE of Europe by moving faster is just as mis-guided. If what you truly want is 'to see as much as you can', then NEITHER bus tour is the answer.
dulciusexasperis is offline  
Dec 18th, 2013, 02:44 PM
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St. Cirq said

<>
>>Yup, and never actually offers any actual travel information.

Another broken record response that does not advance the issue. A simple search on my nickname exposes this for the schoolyard gainsaying it is. Perhaps you feel this is a fact because of you happen to frequent the very low proportion of my threads where it occurs. Think about it.

Big Russ said;

>> P'raps Aramis should just go off and continue scheming to take over France . . .

The last poster who made this type comment had it removed by the moderators. "P'raps" you would care to clarify your attempt at what amounts to an offensive allusion. "P'robly" not a good idea, don't you think?

dulciusexasperis said:

>>then they should be advised as to the error in their thinking.

That phrase - and the entire post - is simply too easy a target
Aramis is offline  
Dec 18th, 2013, 02:58 PM
  #14  
 
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<>

Yup, and never actually offers any actual travel information.>

without getting involved with this food fight what St Cirq claims about never offering any actual travel info is plain wrong - I just went thru many of aramis' posts about German topics and he/she offers travel advice routinely.

a bogus charge IMO if the last month is any indication.
PalenQ is online now  
Dec 18th, 2013, 03:48 PM
  #15  
 
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PQ: You haven't been his target like many of the rest of us. Yes, he does post some info/advice about Germany and a couple of other places. But otherwise, he mostly just complains about others and doesn't add any info (just as he did on this thread . . . )

Mostly when someone posts a seriously over-ambitious plan and others try to guide them to something more doable -- up he pops to say 'don't listen to them' - but doesn't offer alternatives.
janisj is online now  
Dec 18th, 2013, 05:11 PM
  #16  
 
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Dulcie is a man of many skills, a true Renaissance man if ever there was one.

Owns a condo and yacht in some tax haven
Generally does not book hotels or apartments when he travels, but finds rooms on arrival
Has walked from river to rim in the Grand Canyon
Was born in Scotland, emigrated to Canada when young
Retired from employment when aged 45
Wears short (zip-off) trousers in Venice
Carries not much more than 15 pounds of luggage when travelling
Is a published travel writer
Ran a bar on Rhodes for four years
Drove a Red MGB on said island
Rode a Vespa on said island
Has contributed about 1000 posts to the Lonely Planet Thorn Tree forum


How dare anyone question his wisdom!
Peter_S_Aus is offline  
Dec 18th, 2013, 06:33 PM
  #17  
 
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So feeling like a "target" justifies making inaccurate comments on the helpfulness (we could debate that if you wanted - even my posts critical of arrogant response are likely helpful to the OP which is the only party I am concerned about) of my postings. See my comments to St. Cirq on why you might have that impression.

Your way isn't the right way because there is no right way. Travel is subjective and this is something you many people simply don't understand. They are compelled to correct, admonish (Some even even insult), and teach the proper way of traveling to people who you think are screwing it up.

I know the response to my position on this will likely be to justify the originating behaviour by saying that people come here and ask for advice so anyone is free to give it. Some do come and ask if their itinerary is doable or too much - I won't criticize posters for their responses to OP's on those threads (unless they are condescending or insulting), but many people choose to take the high handed admonishing route on any thread where they find a chance.

This OP came here committed to a bus tour and asked for specific feedback from people who had experience with either of his two possible choices. sparkchaser's response did nothing to assist the OP and was condescending and critical of the OP's choice of travel. I think that is out of line and not fitting of a supportive forum. Save your arguments on how that might not be considered supportive either because yes, I believe that pointing out the behaviour is useful and supportive because it may prevent an OP from becoming discouraged, from being made to feel like they are wasting their time and money, or from being made to feel like they are unworthy of coming here and seeking advice.

I have never said that the people who sometimes do this don't have useful information to give, they have a wealth of it, and regularly dispense it. The issue, in my opinion, is when their ego starts driving the bus. (Sorry, had to use that metaphor here)
Aramis is offline  
Dec 18th, 2013, 07:02 PM
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My God. Just looked at Top Deck's offering. 7 Continental countries and 9 cities in 12 days, and it starts and ends in London.

You must have buns of steel.

Suggest you spend the $2,000 and the 14 days seeing 4-5 of those destinations on your own. You'll actually get to see them that way. Get a discount flight from London into Paris or a deal on Eurostar. Buy cheap advance-sale tickets from Paris to Munich, Munich to the Rhine, Rhine to A'dam at the DB (German Railways) website. Stay in hostels and you'll meet other travelers.

Aramis exists to turn Fodorites into McLaughlin Group squabblers.
Russ is offline  
Dec 18th, 2013, 08:16 PM
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Does anyone even read Aramis's diatribes? Worthless, and rarely travel-related. Skip, skip, skip to next post.

True, Big Russ. A lot of money for a seat on an endless bus trip.
StCirq is online now  
Dec 19th, 2013, 01:12 AM
  #20  
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Many thanks to everyone for their input so far!

The 12 day topdeck 'Essential Europe' tour works out to be around $2570 NZ (~1550 euros), leaving from London, which includes visits (and tours of the major cities) to Paris, Lucerne, Venice, Florence, Rome, Austrian Alps and Munich, Rhine Valley and Amsterdam.

The trip includes '11 breakfasts, 5 dinners' and '11 nights hotel accommodation'. I personally am not too fussed about staying in 'hotels' but this tour was the only one from their brochure that fit my dates.

I am staying over in London for about a month after the 14 day holiday so am able to do weekend trips out.
(So I reckon somewhere like Paris can be visited during one of the weekends and I should go further out during the break?)

The travel agent with whom I booked flights to London with believed it would be much more expensive (putting together travel, accommodation, meals) if I were to visit the above sites myself within this time frame.
What does everyone think??


And I have heard about the party/booze culture of Topdeck. I am a 23 y.o. guy who enjoys a drink just as much as any average bloke but am not keen on spending about 1500 euros for a glorified pubcrawl if that's what these tours are all about...I am merely considering (haven't booked any tours yet, wanted some feedback from experienced travelers regarding different options before I commit to anything) the Topdeck tour as I think I am more likely to have some company (not necessarily drunken/hungover) while traveling and it seems to fit my dates and think it may be more travel oriented than their competitor Contiki Tours (who I've heard are notorious for their heavy drinking culture rather than any serious sightseeing) or maybe I am wrong??
ayjay02 is offline  

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