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14 days to travel Europe...topdeck vs busabout

14 days to travel Europe...topdeck vs busabout

Dec 19th, 2013, 01:19 AM
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 427
As was pointed out some time ago, most people on here don't use this kind of bus travel.

You will get more constructive responses on the Lonely Planet Thorntree forums which are frequented by more younger people.
mjdh1957 is offline  
Dec 19th, 2013, 03:01 AM
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 576
ayjay, if you were do try to do ALL of the sights, distances and meals exactly the same as the Topdeck tour by yourself, then yes it would be more expensive, By that I mean if you replicated the exact things in the same amount of time as the tour, booked all the same hotels, etc.

The days of Contiki (and Topdeck)tours being all sex, drugs and rock and roll are long gone. Of course, if that's what you're looking for when you go on a tour, then you'll find it, but on the whole you'll find people on the tours who want to see things, have fun along the way and meet people. Yes, there will be nights when you go out, possibly drink a little too much and feel a little dusty the next day, but you'll rally and get out to see things - you're young and it only hurts for the first 5mins (well, maybe 10) after the alarm goes off! The hotels for Topdeck and Contiki rarely central, but they usually offer a transfer with the bus to and from the cities.

The tour will be what you want to make of it - no-one is going to force you to go out, and the trick is to pick the nights you do want to go out, ie not have a big night before an important day to you.

If you still want more info, have a look at the Thorntree forum, Contiki forum, Topdeck forum and Guideforeurope.com boards - lots of information on this exact question which has been plaguing young travellers for years.

The best advice I can give you is that if you want to see (not experience) a lot in a short space of time, meet people (some of whom you'll stay in contact with for a long time after) and don't want to spend time/money doing so then take an organised tour. Then at least you have an idea of what you want to see next time around and it won't seem as daunting if you do decide to plan it yourself. Plus, you sound like you're going to plan a few individual trips after the tour, so the tour can give you the confidence to do those yourself as well as do a little research the first time you visit places.
madamtrashheap is offline  
Dec 19th, 2013, 04:00 AM
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 76,501
STA Travel is a very established student-oriented/ young person oriented travel agency with many group tours.


and yes asking this question here is like going to a nursing home and asking what kind of smart phone you should buy!
PalenQ is online now  
Dec 19th, 2013, 04:22 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,228
"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?)"

That makes perfect sense to me. The tour has you in Paris for 2 nights. But you could Eurostar over on Friday evening for a weekend, arrive there about 2 hours after leaving London, and actually have more time there. If you have another weekend, you could catch a cheapie Ryanair flight to Frankfurt Hahn and see the Rhine Valley.

If you wanted to mostly replicate the tour itinerary, you could spend 2 weeks slightly more sensibly by flying into MUC and doing a Munich-Salzburg-Venice-Rome-Florence-Lucerne loop on your own by train. Munich-Salzburg costs 23€ on a Bayern ticket daypass. For the rest... Are you under 26? If so, a 5-travel-days-within-30, 3-country railpass (Austria-Italy-Switzerland) is about US $330. You'd have 14 days to do what the tour does in just 6. OR, you could construct your own fixed itinerary, or keep it loose and flexible.

EasyJet and Ryanair can fly you to MUC and Frankfurt Hahn for around $50-$100 per travel leg. Eurostar to Paris and back might be had for around 100 GBP if bought in advance. I'm pretty sure you could come in at or under $2,000 or if you're staying in hostels.
Russ is offline  
Dec 19th, 2013, 08:34 AM
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 1,086
"rather than any serious sightseeing"

Are you then under the impression that what TopDeck offers is serious sightseeing ayjay? You're kidding right.

Peter-S, when you put it in that form it certainly does sound impressive. You got a few points wrong but overall have it pretty much right. It does make you wonder how anyone could question my travel wisdom doesn't it.

Aramis, try thinking of it this way. When someone driving a bus (pun intended) asks for directions to the edge of a cliff, do you just give them the answer to the question they asked or do you tell them that driving to the edge of a cliff and particularly beyond that edge is not a good idea?
dulciusexasperis is offline  
Dec 19th, 2013, 09:33 AM
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 285
I'm not sure the link will work as I'm on a phone but I regularly follow a travel blog from a young woman about your age who recently did a Busabout tour and she gave a review. It might give you some idea about the pros and cons she found with that particular company. The blog is www.dangerous-business.com/

Happy travels!
whoknew is offline  
Dec 19th, 2013, 09:47 AM
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 76,501
I saw busabout being 360 euros or so - if so have to be taking a lot of bus rides to make that pay off.
PalenQ is online now  
Dec 19th, 2013, 07:10 PM
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 2,343
dulciusexasperis on Dec 19, 13 at 12:34pm

>>Aramis, try thinking of it this way. When someone driving a bus (pun intended) asks for directions to the edge of a cliff, >>do you just give them the answer to the question they asked or do you tell them that driving to the edge of a cliff and >>particularly beyond that edge is not a good idea?

Quite the sad analogy - a bus tour as to plunging off a cliff (to one's death, no doubt).

You just keep on being the reason that I do what I do!
Aramis is offline  
Dec 20th, 2013, 02:32 PM
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 2,343
StCirq on Dec 19, 13 at 12:16am

>>Does anyone even read Aramis's diatribes? Worthless, and rarely travel-related. Skip, skip, skip to next post.

The definition of irony.

Let's analyze;

>>>Does anyone even read Aramis's diatribes?
Yes - you in particular it seems

At least you made this comment debatable, but if you don't read them then how......

>>>rarely travel-related
No, always - except when responding to non travel related posts like... well, this one from you.

>>>Skip, skip, skip to next post.
See 1st, 2nd and 3rd comments

Sigh... that's enough for this thread. The OP has received some good advice and doesn't seem shamed away.
Aramis is offline  
Dec 21st, 2013, 07:52 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 8,863
Ajay, here's the thing. At 23 one of the most exhilarating things is that you have tons of energy. So speed isn't necessarily your enemy - but it is still worth spending more time in any given stop. Heed Russ' advice about a general plan - Munich-Salzburg-Venice-Rome-Florence-Lucerne. Bear in mind that many years ago when I did a Contiki tour, we took 12 nights to cover just those cities - okay, we didn't do Lucerne, we did Lauterbrunnen instead (much prettier and great for hiking). So Russ' itinerary still requires lots of energy to perform.
Sue_xx_yy is offline  
Dec 21st, 2013, 08:26 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 8,863
Also, if I wanted to book 11 nights involving mainly a tour like Topdeck, I'd do their "London to Rome" tour which costs a little over euro 1000. If possible I'd join the tour in Paris, maybe add a night there so as to have 3 nights in Paris. The next 5 nights take you down to the Swiss alps (mention is made of hiking, so I suspect you're in the Lauterbrunnen valley) then on to the Nice, France, region, then to Florence, and finally Rome to which you need to add at least 1 night, preferably 2. That would give you 3 nights added in total, to an 8 night itinerary, for 11 nights. You could fly back from Rome to London, and later do Amsterdam on your own from London. This approach skips Munich, the Rhine, the 'austrian alps" by which is likely meant a drive to connect two other points, and Venice, but with respect, it's plenty.
Sue_xx_yy is offline  

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