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11. Posted by Degolasse (Travel Guru 823 posts) 9y

Imagine this...50 people (48 of our tour was Australian) being dragged around Europe with a Tour Guide who was rude, arrogant and didn't talk to you unless you were going out every night, drinking and picking up.

Sounds like you got unlucky with a bad group. that's definelty a risk with any tour. My guides were great, and I only had 26 people on my bus.

anything good you hear about Contiki is most likely from an 18 or 19 year old

That's pretty common complaint. But what's funny is that I was 22 and was the second youngest on the tour. The average age in our group was about 27.

12. Posted by Bee7250 (Budding Member 4 posts) 9y

I was just really dissapointed with my tour and found it a rip off, for $3,000 I coulda gone 'busabout' or caught the train and stayed at closer hotels and got way more out of Europe then I actually did. I guess your right in saying maybe it would of been better if our group was better but even then, everything else suxed so much that I don't think it would of made a difference.

Also, A guide we met on New Years Eve had the left side of his face smashed in from the night before when he was drunk and fell over onto a park bench, another guide (who was a girl) had lost 15,000 EUROS of her tours optional money after passing out, another spent all his time stoned after breaking up with his Fiancee on the tour and I have footage of our couch driver passed out on my friends bedroom floor. Not to mention our guide, who told us at the end of the tour that we had to tip and because he took us to all these different stops he should get more and that tipping made up half his wage...(it says in the Contiki booklet that tipping is totally optional and only tip if you think your tour guide did a great job) yeah right, he also told us how to fill out the Evaluation Form at the end and that we should put excellent for everything. I thought these things were OURS to do not the tour guides. Contiki review your staff and get some decent people in.

13. Posted by ikey (Full Member 172 posts) 9y

Quoting Bee7250

Also, A guide we met on New Years Eve had the left side of his face smashed in from the night before when he was drunk and fell over onto a park bench, another guide (who was a girl) had lost 15,000 EUROS of her tours optional money after passing out, another spent all his time stoned after breaking up with his Fiancee on the tour and I have footage of our couch driver passed out on my friends bedroom floor. Not to mention our guide, who told us at the end of the tour that we had to tip and because he took us to all these different stops he should get more and that tipping made up half his wage...(it says in the Contiki booklet that tipping is totally optional and only tip if you think your tour guide did a great job) yeah right, he also told us how to fill out the Evaluation Form at the end and that we should put excellent for everything. I thought these things were OURS to do not the tour guides. Contiki review your staff and get some decent people in.

Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha.
Stop, I'm in tears!!!

14. Posted by dbgomes (Respected Member 72 posts) 9y

My girlfriend and i went on a contiki trip in March 06, and i only have good things to say.

We have moved to UK for a few years, and did the contiki trip after a couple of weeks of landing. We did a 21 day tour (Vista). We basically decided on contiki so that we could get to all the big cities in Europe in a short amount of time to give us a good overview. With seeing everything on the tour briefly, we thought that once we finished the tour we could go back to the places we really liked and spend more time there ourself. Since finishing contiki and getting into jobs we have done other travels to Czech Rep. (by ourselves) and Greece (with a couple that we became very good friends with on contiki), and extensively throughout UK and Scotland, staying in hostels etc spending more time in 1 place. Both types of travelling have been very enjoyable. We are going back to Switzerland in May and i definately will be making it back to Paris and Rome again as i loved what i saw in the short time we had.

There were other things about contiki that made it really good. If you get a good group (in 50 people there will be some you like and some you dont) the friends that you make for the 3 weeks, like 'Degolasse' said, can become lifelong friends. We met a couple on tour that we became great friends with and as we were both staying in UK after the tour, we travelled to Greece as a party of 4 and also travelled through the Lake District and Scotland with them.

Even when we have done travels by ourself since the tour, at times i have missed having other people around to share the experiences with. The fun you have with other people in a particular place can make somewhere much more memorable. For instance, one of my best days on Contiki was in Lucerne, Switzerland where a small group of us spent a whole day sledding down the mountainside. I will always remember the laughs and fun we had more so than the things we saw.

If you get a good tour manager, the whole thing can go smoothly, and takes out the worry of getting yourself everywhere.

If you want to party and drink at night, you will have good company, BUT YOU DO NOT HAVE TO go out if you dont want. On the nights i did go out i had plenty of fun, but if i wanted to get back to the hotel before midnight so that i had the energy to walk round Rome the next day, Nobody cared!!! The tour is what you want it to be. You dont have to do anything except be at the bus when it leaves a city (unless you want to be left behind). Our tour had a higher average age than what has been touted on here probably being mid 20's.

Basically i can only say good things about contiki cos it served its purpose that we wanted, met some great friends, saw awesome places and had a well organised and run tour. There is a risk that you could be unlucky and get a bad group, but if you go on tour with an open mind and looking to enjoy yourself then despite others on tour, it should still be worth it! If you just have 3 weeks vacation from work, and you want to make the most of the time to see as much as you can, then i think contiki serves well.

If you want to get an actual idea of what days on tour are like, i read these two travelogues before i left and found them useful
http://www.travelscribe.org/travelogues/travelogues.html
http://www.ericandtahna.com/Europe2002/Europe_Home.htm
I am even putting a travelogue together for my trip (half way through) at
www.freewebs.com/dbgomes
These will all show that contiki can be what you want it to be.

Cheers :)
Daniel

15. Posted by Bee7250 (Budding Member 4 posts) 9y

its good that you got a great group of people and a good tour guide but I didn't, therefore I had a bad time, everyone said its what you make it but when you get treated like absolute CRAP for trying to do your own thing on the tour and ignored for not going out and getting drunk with the rest of them then it doesn't really make u enjoy yourself...don't get me wrong, we saw some amazing things and I also made a couple of lifelong friends on the tour, thats the only good thing that came out of Contiki but I would never do one again and I know a lot of people who wouldn't either. I guess it suited what you wanted because you live so close and can go again, However I don't know it I will ever make it back to Europe and it just wrecked my experience.

16. Posted by ikey (Full Member 172 posts) 9y

Is it true that there are different types of tours, some where you stay at hotels and some where you stay in hostels and camping grounds?

I heard that the ones where you stay in hotels are more up market and people arn't drinking as much and the one's at the camping grounds are full of 20 year olds getting drunk every night.

Maybe that's why you guys have had such different experiences with Contiki?

17. Posted by flanbos (Budding Member 24 posts) 9y

im going on contiki in a few months, ive know alot of people who have gone and they all have said only good things! ive been doing alot of readin about it all, and from what i can gather the people who had a great time far outway the people who didnt enjoy themselves, if your worried ya should do what im doing, im going on a short contiki then travelling by myself after it for a bit longer to explore more!

18. Posted by dbgomes (Respected Member 72 posts) 9y

I can understand where your coming from Bee7250. If you are being pressured into a lot of things you dont want to do, then thats never good. I guess its the only downside that there is the possibility of a negative experience. Its life i guess!! Most people would say they have a great time with a contiki tour if thats what there looking for, but it could always end up being not your cup of tea by things out of your control.

I would like to think that even tho your tour manager 'told you how to fill in the evaluation forms' you still answered it honestly, because i think contiki is aware that the tour manager has a big impact on a tour quality, so will do their best to have good managers.

On our tour, the tour manager and bus driver always sat on their own separate table at the included and optional meals. We quizzed them why they dont come and sit with anyone. They said that its not allowed so that they dont start to favour particular people on the tour. So if there are rules like that in place to make the managers more professional, then i guess it should make the tour guides better on a whole. In saying that, on the nights out with the tour manager and bus driver they were always up for a chat and a drink with everyone (no one was cold shouldered if they wanted to chat with them). All the times i went out, the guys were never extremely smashed. It might depend on how long they have been doing the job too, ours were seasoned managers, so they were probably past getting blotto every night.

Anyway just my thoughts for anyone who might be looking at contiki for a trip.

Daniel.

PS, yes ikey there are camping, budget and superior tours. Ours was the superior, and i guess it backs up your comment about age as our average age was definately mid 20's. We even had 2, 35 year olds and im pretty sure thay had just as much fun as everyone. The differences are camping=tents/campsite dorms, budget=hostels, contiki villages and occasional hotel, superior=hotels.

19. Posted by Bee7250 (Budding Member 4 posts) 9y

Thanks Daniel.
We all have different opinions and standards therefore no one is going to agree on everything.
If you decide to do Contiki I definitely recommend going with a friend and if you want to get anything out of Europe don't do ALL the optionals. We decided not to do the Gondola ride in Venice because at 26 Euro's a person with 6 in a boat we thought we could do it way cheaper and we did! 50 Euros for 4 of us on a better boat and we got longer as well! Everone on our tour were really dissapointed with there ride because they got a half arsed experience with a crabby Gondilier! Just be very wary of what the tour guide tells you because contiki gets a cut out of EVERYWHERE they take you therefore they will tell you anything to get you to do the optionals.

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