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Contiki London, Paris, Rome

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Mar 6th, 2013, 05:44 PM
  #1
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Contiki London, Paris, Rome

I'm going on the Contiki London and Paris plus Rome adventure in November. What are the best to-do items for my trip?

Please don't reply discouraging me to take this specific trip; I'm already set on taking it. I'm looking for recommendations for these three cities, especially if you've been on a guided tour that offers options!
amd24 is offline  
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Mar 6th, 2013, 05:51 PM
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How long will you have in each city outside of the tour and what is included on the tour? What are your interests?

There are endless lists of wonderful things to do but we need some parameters.

Click on the the word "destinations" above for highlights to get you started.

If you want to know which options to take of the tour choices it would be polite of you to give a link to the tour. The more information you can offer the better the answers you will receive.
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Mar 6th, 2013, 06:57 PM
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Contiki is pretty much a party tour aimed at college kids (restricted to under age 35). I doubt you will have much free time to go off and do things. Their hotels aren't usually centrally located so it makes it difficult to sightsee on your own any. They typically start their day later than most tour companies because everyone is out partying late at night.
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Mar 6th, 2013, 09:27 PM
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Give us a link to the specific tour. Then we can tell you how much if any free time you'll have, what else you should try to see, where the hotels are, etc.
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Mar 6th, 2013, 11:44 PM
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My 18 yr old nephew did the 14 day tour, he had fun, but really, there isn't alot of free time, and usually a bunch of the kids would just elect to stick together and do something. It is also true that the hotels are often not very central, so it pays to pick one site you might be interested in doing on your own in each city and learn how to get there ahead of time ( what bus or metro to take) since you only get a bit of free time.
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Mar 7th, 2013, 12:09 AM
  #6
 
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Hi Amd. For my first trip to Europe I did a 21 day Contiki tour around Europe. This was a few years ago now but it was a great intro. It also gave me confidence to venture out and travel on my own. If you are doing the hotel based tour then keep in mind that most hotels were a way out of main town.
There were a lot,of optionals offered and they keep you very busy so you won't have much time. Maybe an hour or 2 at most for independent exploring.
As an aside, I want to a talk given by John Anderson the founder of Contiki recently and actually met him. He signed a copy of his book "only 2 seats left" for me, which is an interesting read of you get the chance. He's view was - Fake it till you make it
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Mar 7th, 2013, 08:30 AM
  #7
 
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<>

<>

That's just nonsense. Both of those descriptions MAY apply to the multi-country bus tours that hit 7-10 overnight destinations (or more) in 17-25 nights. They don't apply to Contiki's country-specific tours or the tour that amd24 referred to. Perhaps if the other posters had actually looked at amd24's tour itinerary they would know that. And amd24 asked "Please don't reply discouraging me to take this specific trip" so instead Ozgirl, kybourbon and justine just tried to discourage you from taking ANY Contiki trip.

For Contiki tours the general rule of thumb is that if you have more than one night in a city, for your full day in town the tour takes you to place X for the morning and gives you the rest of your day to yourself. This was true in both the Spain/Portugal and Italy tours I took. Contiki does not overload with activities like old people tours (Cosmos, Trafalgar) but does give you a chance for a lot of optional (and not necessarily cheap) excursions.

Looking at this specific tour, which is the only way anyone can give you decent feedback, you get three nights each in London, Paris and Rome - a full day in London and a day trip to Bath/Stonehenge and a full day in Paris with a day trip to Versailles. If you skip the Bath tour (I would) you get two full days in London, which means you get to scratch the surface of the city (it's the largest in Western Europe by FAR and two days would be better than one). You can skip the Versailles trip from Paris (again, I would because I couldn't hit all the art museums I'd want to see and Notre Dame and Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe and Invalides. . . in one day), but comparatively that is more worthwhile than skipping the possibility for another day in London to go to Bath (BFD).

REMEMBER: This tour is in Western Europe, there is a modicum of freedom in the region and nothing says you need to go with the tour group on a given day.

You also get two full days in Rome and your time in Rome is "unescorted" so you're on your own to do whatever you want - which to me means about 100% of your time is "independent exploring."

And of course, you could arrive a day before the trip starts or a day after it ends (or more) to get more time in London/Rome.

My only question is why November, but other than that this is a perfectly decent taster itinerary.
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Mar 7th, 2013, 08:39 AM
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"Perhaps if the other posters had actually looked at amd24's tour itinerary they would know that."

Perhaps if the OP had been polite enough to post the relevant link, other posters would have looked at the itinerary.
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Mar 7th, 2013, 08:45 AM
  #9
 
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"Perhaps if the other posters had actually looked at amd24's tour itinerary they would know that."

I suggested right up front that the OP give a link to the tour and why it would be helpful to do so. It's not up to me to figure out which tour the OP has booked.
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Mar 7th, 2013, 08:51 AM
  #10
 
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Waa waa waa.

Took about 2 seconds on Google to find the link considering that s/he posted the proper name of the tour, which is a lot more than most others do, and the OP is a newbie so doesn't know the unwritten rules. Took me less time to find the tour than it did for either of you two who posted right below me to fuss about the lack of a link.
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Mar 7th, 2013, 10:15 AM
  #11
 
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It doesn't take Google for many of us to know about Contiki. In the US, they are known as a drunken party tour for college kids. There have been people post here complaining about how far out the hotels are and that people on the tours aren't interested in sightseeing. They were more interested in clubs/nightlife. There have also been people report here about the facilities Contiki owns (they have some hostel/hotels of their own that they use). If you look at their itineraries, they always mention the clubs. They usually don't mention any hotels used or locations do you have no clue where you will be staying. Makes it difficult to plan independent sightseeing excursions if your hotel turns out to be an hour outside Paris.
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Mar 7th, 2013, 10:20 AM
  #12
 
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. I doubt you will have much free time to go off and do things. Their hotels aren't usually centrally located so it makes it difficult to sightsee on your own any>

totally wrong IME of observing Contiki tours for years now - yes they use remote hotels or even camping grounds where, like in the TCF Paris at Joinville-le-Pont have Contiki Villages and they drive the whole busload into the centers of towns and drop off folks so that they can explore on their own and then pick them up. I've seen so so many Contiki buses parked say in Paris and everyone get off and go their own ways.

So I do not think that characterization is accurate at least not IME.
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Mar 7th, 2013, 10:27 AM
  #13
 
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Is this the correct link?
http://www.contiki.com/destinations/...aris-plus-rome

What are your interests? We can give you better suggestions if you give us a little more information.

I see they list Stonehenge and Bath as optional excursions. With only 2 1/2 days in London, you don't have time for either one.

Lee Ann
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Mar 7th, 2013, 10:39 AM
  #14
 
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<>

No, but experience helps - such as actually having taken a Contiki tour in Europe. The shorter ones like the one the OP wants tend to NOT be drunken party bus tours for collegians and the tours in Europe tend to have a different type of customer than the ones in the US.

<>

A "Superior" Contiki tour like the one the OP wants to take does not use Contiki campsites for overnight stays. Those tours use Tourist-class (3*) hotels.
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Mar 7th, 2013, 11:53 AM
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With all due respect, I don't think words superior and Contiki go together but that doesn't mean you don't have fun or wont make some good future friends.
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Mar 7th, 2013, 12:02 PM
  #16
 
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It doesn't take Google for many of us to know about Contiki. In the US, they are known as a drunken party tour for college kids.>

nothing could be further from the truth IME of camping in Paris and many other camp sites - Lauterbrunnen for one - Contiki Villages - I was struck by the general lack of loutishness and drunkenness - folks helped with the chores as required and just seemed to be having a good time.

A drunken party - quite the opposite - Google is your friend but also can be your worst enemy IMO and this is one example.
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Mar 7th, 2013, 12:05 PM
  #17
 
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I have observed Contiki tours for years and most of them are highly highly female and this nearly all female make up is one reason why they are not drunken party tours IMO.

Any young stud looking for the pick of the cream of the crop should go on a Contiki tour - indeed they should charge guys a lot more than gals!
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Mar 7th, 2013, 12:29 PM
  #18
 
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The description of that Contiki tour starts with

"Discover London, Paris & Rome with this action packed tour. No need for studying maps, guidebooks & languages - leave it to us!

But you will enjoy it so much more if you give some thought and study about what you want to do in advance. (Don't worry about language, a polite "excuse me please do you speak English?" will be enough to get started anywhere you will be.

You might want to browse books at your library for what appeals to you. Probably you would like the same things in Europe that you like here whether that is art, history, architecture, restaurants or shopping. There are good guidebooks that focus on cities by neighborhood. Then you can maximize your time in one place and not lose time by moving around too much if you just have part of a day free time. These are "Encounter" (or maybe now called "Pocketbook") by Lonely Planet, "Time Out London", and "DK London" or "Top 10 London". (All but DK London are also small so you can just keep in a purse and not be weighed down while you are out and about.)
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Mar 7th, 2013, 12:39 PM
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Contiki has "Superior," "Budget" and "Camping" tours. Budget and Camping Tours use the "Contiki" facilities.

And PalQ is right - the Europe tours tend to have more women (my Italy tour was 4:1 ratio after taking out the pre-trip couples). They also tend to have lots of Aussies, a good number of Canadians and random entrants from New Zealand, South Africa and other countries in Europe or the Anglosphere.
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Mar 7th, 2013, 01:04 PM
  #20
 
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My son did a Contiki tour last year. 14 days, staying in hotels.
He had a wonderful time and I hope you do too.
There were many things that Contiki organised to do during the day. They were optional, and I think my son did have time to do a bit of exploring on his own. But that was only a couple of days.
the rest of the time he was busy having a great time with people on his tour.
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