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Contiki in the Fall Months? And Gimmie All Your Wisdom!

Contiki in the Fall Months? And Gimmie All Your Wisdom!

May 31st, 2013, 03:49 PM
  #1  
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Join Date: May 2013
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Contiki in the Fall Months? And Gimmie All Your Wisdom!

I'm a fairly shy nerdy 23 year old looking to branch out of my comfort zone and use my savings and gift money from my recent college graduation to take a solo tour of Europe! Specifically I'm looking at a 20-30 day tour throughout many cities and countries so I can get a comprehensive feel for the area without being too rushed.

Since I'm a bit reserved around new people and have never been outside of the US, I'm certain that a guided tour would suit me more than independent travel and I want to be around individuals more my age, so I think that Contiki tours seem like a great fit- However, I'm not a party animal.

Don't get me wrong, I enjoy an occasional night of binge drinking, but for the purposes of this trip I'm looking more for culture and adventure and exploring all these areas throughout Europe that I've been studying for the last few years with my Art History minor. I know that not everyone on the tour is going to be partying every night, but I get worried when I watch personal travel vlogs on YouTube of folks on contiki tours that feature more beer than sightseeing.
My idea however is to take the tour in the fall when college kids looking for that crazy European summer vacation are back in school and more mid to late 20 somethings might be there

Is that a fair assumption to make? Am I worrying too much about something that isn't even an issue? Any other pieces of advice you want to bestow? I've done my fair share of research regarding pros and cons to contiki tours, but I'm always willing to hear more when it pertains to my situation!
Ztef715 is offline  
May 31st, 2013, 05:10 PM
  #2  
 
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Well if you enjoy occasional binge drinking - I suggest you stop while you still have a functioning liver.

And drunk is not the way to go through europe unless you want to be pickpocketed or worse.

Certain;y european enjoy a glass of wine or beer with dinner - esp since soft drinks are so small and expensive. But be prepared for mixed drinks to be VERY expensive - versus basic wine or beer in student hang-outs.

And unless you want to party the trip away I would consider another group that is for active people of all ages (so you don;t get stuck with all grandparents).
nytraveler is offline  
May 31st, 2013, 05:23 PM
  #3  
 
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My son did a Contiki tour last year - he was 20 and we are from Australia. Like you he is pretty shy around new people.
Contiki has always been something that young Australians seem to do - part of our growing up.
anyway - he loved it.
he had never been anywhere on his own, and we even went as far as Singapore with him. We stayed for a few days and popped him on that plane to London.
He was so worried about everything. The night he arrived there was a meeting of his tour group - the tour started the following day. He turned up at the meeting not knowing anyone. He stood there for a bit and a South African came up to him and said hi!. Straight after the meeting he was kind of swept away with his new friend and a group of them went to Covent Gardens for dinner and drinks, and honestly he never looked back.

What type of fun you have seems to be really dependent on the group you are with. He was with an older crowd - with lots of young people from South Africa. there were only a few Australians. He did meet other tour groups - there was a big converge of Contiki tours in Florence and he said that some of the groups looked like bigger drinkers than his group.

Having said all of that - they did party every night. They ate out and then spent time at clubs. In Paris they went to a street party with mostly Parisians.

But even though they did stay out late - they did do lots during the day. You could either do things that Contiki organised or do your own thing. He did a mix of both and he did see a lot. Enough to give him an idea of where he would like to go when he returns.

He was exhausted when he returned home but has lots of great memories and friendships.

Would my son do it again - he said maybe. I think now he would be quite happy to do it on his own and stay in hostels. The pace of the tour was very fast.

I do not think it will matter when you do the tour - you need to remember that people from all over the world do these tours so going in your Fall may not change the type of group you have.

what my son did not like about the tour - it was fast paced - but he had limited time to be overseas before returning to school so he had no choice.
The hotels where he stayed were really pretty average - and I think at one place there were bed bugs. (he had his sleeping bag for emergencies). HIs tour was a combo of contiki accomodation and hotels - so it is better that you pick a tour which is hotels only.
the food that contiki supplied - such as breakfast was also pretty awful - and a lot of the time he would eat out. He also hated sitting on a bus for really long periods of time but most used that time to catch up on sleep.

On this forum you will get a lot of negatives regarding these tours. But you need to be mindful that there are lots of over 50's that reply, so the idea of a tour and its pace are not something that they would consider. Also, lots of parents would not dream of letting their kids go on these tours - but as I said, in Australia a Contiki tour is something that a lot of our young do. Their first stepping stone to world travel.

There are other ways to travel - have you considered
http://www.busabout.com/
This is a great alternative to an organized tour and you will also be around young people.

also very popular is:
http://www.intrepidtravel.com/au/europe

hope my comments have been helpful. all i can say is my son is glad that he went on one, had a great time, and made some good memories/friendships.
millie2112 is offline  
May 31st, 2013, 05:25 PM
  #4  
 
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Have you heard of Rick Steves' best of Europe tours?
Travelforbeer is offline  
May 31st, 2013, 06:44 PM
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Contiki is known as party tour because it caters to the younger age groups. There are a few other companies that offer age restricted tours. Trafalgar used to offer tours for age 21-38, but I don't see them listed currently.

You might look at STA Travel which is a student geared travel agency available on many campuses.

http://www.statravel.com/
kybourbon is online now  
May 31st, 2013, 07:11 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
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If you don't want the binge drinking crowd, pick another tour company that doesn't focus so much on the youth market. Cosmos and Trafalgar have people of all ages from teens to grannies and you will still find enough young people so you don't feel marginalised. When I was 19 I did a Trafalgar tour (I think that's who it was) and there were people younger than me and also in their twenties so I had a lot of company. No-one drank themselves stupid, and everyone had a good time.

I also agree with kybourbon that STA travel probably has something to offer you too.

Lavandula
lavandula is offline  
May 31st, 2013, 10:20 PM
  #7  
 
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My nephew did a Contiki tour solo two years ago . He was 18 and it was his first trip out of the country. He had a great time, came home exhausted, and yes, he partied every night it seemed. He showed us photos and it did seem to be a party tour .. and upon questioning they do not really spend a lot of time on any cultural sites, quick highlights and that's it..

Personally I think you would be wiser to consider a Rick Steves tour, they are not all old people. Go on their website, click on "tours" then click on "scrapbooks" . Scrapbooks are people on the tours blogs etc, and you can clearly see its not all old farts.
justineparis is offline  
May 31st, 2013, 10:20 PM
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My nephew did a Contiki tour solo two years ago . He was 18 and it was his first trip out of the country. He had a great time, came home exhausted, and yes, he partied every night it seemed. He showed us photos and it did seem to be a party tour .. and upon questioning they do not really spend a lot of time on any cultural sites, quick highlights and that's it..

Personally I think you would be wiser to consider a Rick Steves tour, they are not all old people. Go on their website, click on "tours" then click on "scrapbooks" . Scrapbooks are people on the tours blogs etc, and you can clearly see its not all old farts.
justineparis is offline  
Jun 1st, 2013, 06:41 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
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I take college students to Europe each year as part of certain classes. When we have encountered others on Contiki tours, a frequent complaint has been unexpected expenses. I would urge you to read carefully what is covered and what is not to avoid unpleasant surprises. And yes, most of these kids clearly liked to party. However, I imagine that each Contiki group has its own personality just as each of my groups has a slightly different one, making a blanket assessment is difficult.
UNCalum is offline  
Jun 1st, 2013, 10:25 AM
  #10  
 
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Granted that I am over 50 - but I went to europe the first time at 19 - no tour. and would never have done CT - even if they had it then - since drinking is not what I went to europe for.

And if you are interested in art history - Con Tiki and drinking is not what I would waste time doing,
nytraveler is offline  
Jun 1st, 2013, 10:29 AM
  #11  
 
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Granted that I am over 50 - but I went to europe the first time at 19 - no tour. and would never have done CT - even if they had it then - since drinking is not what I went to europe for.

And if you are interested in art history - Con Tiki and drinking is not what I would waste time doing,

Also my DD 19 - went 2 summers ago - with a couple of friends - and had a great time. Yes, they went to student clubs some nights - but others they did concerts or other activities - and they weren;t stuck sitting on buses all day.

If you head out alone you will meet many friendly people in hostels that you can do things with locally - or travel on to other cities with.
nytraveler is offline  
Jun 1st, 2013, 05:23 PM
  #12  
 
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Oh yes, and will add this, nephew agrees that there was a lot of extra nickel and diming so the cheap up front price of the tour is not so cheap after !
justineparis is offline  
Jun 1st, 2013, 05:23 PM
  #13  
 
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Oh yes, and will add this, nephew agrees that there was a lot of extra nickel and diming so the cheap up front price of the tour is not so cheap after !
justineparis is offline  

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