My girlfriend and I are in the finalish stages of planning a Eurotrip leaving end of May and returning beggining of July
I have a few questions that we are looking for advice on as we can't seem to agree on contiki versus doing the trip by ourselves
I am pro doing it by ourselves as we can get to see more places and have control over when and where we go should we change our minds along the way i.e. if we like one place better tahn we thought stay an extra night there and then bail early on a place that we don't rate
As this is a one in a lifetime trip, I want to get to see as much as we can in as little time as we have and feel that a guided tour will limit what we can see
She is pro doing the Contiki thing because the trip is all preplanned and you don't have to worry about too much
Thanks very much for all your help
Well, since it is still a few weeks away, why don't you try planning the trip on your own. It only takes a while to do. You can make use of the internet to help you out in researching the places to go and people to contact for your travel. Now, after you have made your very own itinerary, you should then show it to your girl and then compare it to that of Contiki's.
it really depends on what youre looking to get out of the trip. when i traveled europe, i opted to go busabout bc it gave me the security of traveling with a group of people and the ease of getting around to specific cities, but at the same time the freedom to plan out my days once i got to those cities. it was perfect for me. any run-ins we had with contiki lead me to conclude that even though they might stop at many of the same cities, the main thing they came for was partying. it seemed like a big rowdy group of drunk teenagers who didnt really care what city they were in. i cant imagine they got much out of the trip. i know other people who have done contiki who enjoyed it, but again they were more about partying. if youre more about exploring and getting to know the city, id recommend going it on your own, or with a company like busabout. good luck!
Do it yourself unless you want a party bus. You'll meet tons of people in hostels anyway. Have you considered interrail?
Hi I did a Contiki tour about 5 years ago. It was my first trip to Europe and I didn't want to do it alone. I was 22 years old and I'm American. I had traveled out of the country two other times with school trips (Asia and Central Mexico). I did the 20-day Euro experience trip FYI. So it all depends....I had a wonderful time because I got to see the highlights of Europe, meet people from all over the world (UK, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, US, Korea), and not have to worry about all of the minute details. Since it's the two of you you might want to do it yourself if you feel pretty comfortable figuring out the languages, train schedules, hostels, etc etc. However, Contiki of course takes care of all of that, you can share a private room, but it's a lot of drinking and partying. I'm not a big drinker though the drinking didn't bother me too much, seeing as I just graduated from college. But if you are a bit older and want it to be more romantic I'd say go alone. It all just depends....the downside is that you spend only a few hours in each major city, are whisked away to the big sites, but you don't have to wait in lines, either. I also found that I never really knew where I was since I didn't really pay attention since we were either hungover asleep on the bus or engulfed in conversation.
contiki vs no contiki = Breadth vs Depth
If you take a contiki trip you will probablly be able to see lots more places and go home at the end and say to all your friends that you have scene Roma, Paris Amsterdam, Barcelona etc......
and sure you will have scene them and even scene a few of the major landmarks but one thing is for sure you won't have experienced any of the culture and atmosphere that these cities will have to offer. You probablly won't even talk to any locals other then a few shopkeepers.
If you ask me I would say organise it yourself half the fun is the experience of ending up in a city/town that you never expected.