travel advice & savings
 
SAVE on RAIL PASSES LOWEST PRICES / FREE SHIPPING on orders over $449!
Now use the Trip Planner to:
  • Find and Buy Rail Passes
  • Find and Book Hostels
Already know which Rail Pass you need?
Click here and buy now!
Special Eurotrip Member Savings!
10 replies
-p
tronxz28
tronxz28's profile picture
Member
MemberMember
Eurotrip Points: 59
Member: 1861
Joined: 01/03/2007
User offline. Last seen 7 years 14 weeks ago.

p

seraphim
seraphim's profile picture
Eurotripper
EurotripperEurotripperEurotripperEurotripperEurotripper
Eurotrip Points: 891
Member: 422
Joined: 01/03/2007
User offline. Last seen 4 years 39 weeks ago.

I’ve never been on such a tour, but honestly they don’t seem very interesting. They don’t go off the beaten path (and that’s where you’re likely to get the best experiences), they organise everything for you, and sometimes the times when you have to improvise are the best, they don’t stay in any place long enough to really get to know it. And you don’t need to go on a tour in Europe anyway, getting around etc. is all very simple in Europe. I can see reasons for wanting to go on a tour, e.g. because you want to go hiking/rafting/whatever in a remote area, or you want to see places with a guide who’s an expert on its history, culture, etc. – but it doesn’t seem like Contiki offers that kind of tours. The only thing they seem to offer is that once you get back, you’ll be able to say how many places you’ve been to. But you wouldn’t have had to make any effort to get there, so what’s the point, unless you just want to brag?

sickboy
sickboy's profile picture
Eurotripper
EurotripperEurotripperEurotripperEurotripperEurotripper
Eurotrip Points: 1166
Member: 703
Joined: 01/03/2007
User offline. Last seen 7 years 29 weeks ago.

Well, if they were so great, would they have to resort to spam and propagnada to get people?

How do you feel about a company that uses such base tactics to improve their business?

Travelling isn;t as difficult as it sounds, as long as yopu prepare and do the research. The little difficulties that come up require problem solving and learning, which makes you wiser and more prepared in the future. Problems are soon forgotten, then they become a story and sometimes a memory you cherish. Also, by travelling alone you have the freedom to change your mind, your length of stay and your whole plan. I ended up in Turkey and Azerbaijan one time, and my destination was Greece. Funny how that works out, but well worth it.

It isn’t hard to meet people who have many different plans, experiences etc. Talking to them, making friendships are some of the most interesting experiences I ever had. You won’t be lonely except for the times you chose to be by yourself.

I think travelling independently gives you the freedom to do what you want, when you wnat and how you want. On a package tour, with everything planned out, you miss out on the small things and never have the chance to go out on a whim.

And who wants to be herded away with the crowd right after hooking up with that cute guy or girl you just met… "hurry up, we have to go to the Leaning Tower of Pisa for two minutes… sandwiches on the bus" <-is that how you want to experience it?

hope
hope's profile picture
Eurotripper
EurotripperEurotripperEurotripperEurotripperEurotripper
Eurotrip Points: 716
Member: 694
Joined: 01/03/2007
User offline. Last seen 7 years 25 weeks ago.

oh for fuck’s sake, a tour is a tour.

the only time i took a tour was through the Australian Outback, but that was only because you need to pay for park admissions and everything is so far apart, renting a car and camping on my own would’ve been more expensive.

i guess if you have money and like things handed to you, a tour’s a good idea.

i’m saving my tour days for…when i’m too old and feeble to cook for myself.

luisfc1972
luisfc1972's profile picture
Traveler
TravelerTravelerTraveler
Eurotrip Points: 208
Member: 900
Joined: 12/31/2002
User offline. Last seen 2 years 25 weeks ago.

sickboy you seem to have a big anger against contiki or organized tours period. youre too hard on them. ive met plenty of people that LOVED contiki. its not for everyone but what ive heard people have an amazing time.

carli07
carli07's profile picture
Member
MemberMember
Eurotrip Points: 91
Member: 1371
Joined: 01/03/2007
User offline. Last seen 7 years 29 weeks ago.

Alright, I’ll take the other side, for arguements sake…

I took a Contiki tour this summer, I chose the longest one possible and I saved for a long time to be able to go. The reason I chose a tour is because I had never travelled by myself, and I thought it would be a good way to go by myself, but have a bit of a safety net so I could get my travel legs in check. The other reason I chose to go with a tour is because I wanted to travel to Egypt, and I did a lot of research and decided it wouldn’t I wouldn’t have felt safe backpacking by myself in that country. That was a smart choice, looking back.

It pisses me off that some people have to be so opionated about different methods of travelling. Why be such a travel snob? The whole point is- people are travelling. Yes, it might be in a different form than you would pick, but regardless they are getting off their asses, saving up their money, and travelling across the world, and whatever mode of transportation, bus, train, tour coach- THEY ARE DOING IT. And that in itself should garner respect.

I was never hearded around on my tour, it might have to do with the amount of time I was in each city, because I went on a 7 and a half week tour, but the Contiki coach would drop us off in the town in the morning, and we would meet up again at night. We would have our maps, and be on our own until we met up later on with the rest of the group. There were no time limits, if you didn’t feel like catching the coach to go back to the campground or hotel, you didn’t. You could go wherever you wanted, whenever, the coach was a convieniant way of getting there. The only time we had to be on the coach, was when we were leaving the city. And a few times people stayed behind and met up with us a few days later as well.

Obviously everyone has different opinions, and personally, now that’s I’ve done that tour, and truly enjoyed it to it’s highest extent, I probably won’t do another one, because I would like to experience another form of travelling. I don’t think you can judge something, until you’ve experienced it. Take everyones opinions for what they are- subjective. And make your own choice.

Personally I think the Contiki spam is annoying as well, but wouldn’t change my opinion about the company. I made best friends this summer, and some were people I met travelling with Contiki, some were people who work FOR Contiki, and some I met when I backpacked England after the tour.

whatever you chose, just go- travelling kicks ass, and once you start you won’t stop. I’m moving to the UK in April to work and travel for the next two years, and couldn’t be more excited.

Everyone’s entitled to their own opinion. Anyway, end of rant.

tronxz28
tronxz28's profile picture
Member
MemberMember
Eurotrip Points: 59
Member: 1861
Joined: 01/03/2007
User offline. Last seen 7 years 14 weeks ago.

sickboy
sickboy's profile picture
Eurotripper
EurotripperEurotripperEurotripperEurotripperEurotripper
Eurotrip Points: 1166
Member: 703
Joined: 01/03/2007
User offline. Last seen 7 years 29 weeks ago.

There are always people to meet everywhere you go if you are going to major tourist destinations.

With a tour you run the chance of being around people you don’t like, while on your own, you can always ditch the fools and find others.

hope
hope's profile picture
Eurotripper
EurotripperEurotripperEurotripperEurotripperEurotripper
Eurotrip Points: 716
Member: 694
Joined: 01/03/2007
User offline. Last seen 7 years 25 weeks ago.

quote:It pisses me off that some people have to be so opionated about different methods of travelling. Why be such a travel snob? The whole point is- people are travelling. Yes, it might be in a different form than you would pick, but regardless they are getting off their asses, saving up their money, and travelling across the world, and whatever mode of transportation, bus, train, tour coach- THEY ARE DOING IT. And that in itself should garner respect.
I see your point, but I argue that this type of travel can often do more damage than enlightenment regarding stereotypes of certain places. Granted, some people get a taste of Europe on a tour and have the urge to go back and explore on their own, but you are forgetting about those (the majority mind you) who cruise through a country in a couple of days on a tour and form their life-long impresisons of a nation and people based on these.

On a tour, you will be hard-pressed to meet local people. You are mostly only hanging out with tourists. You visit tourist sites. In Contiki, your food is ‘Americanized’ and you basically hang out with Americans on the European tour.

What does this teach you about Europe or about Europeans? In my experience, people who travel places and have an insular experience end up having narrowed perspectives and then justify to themselves that their narrow opinions must be "correct" because they have "experienced it for themselves" – whether these opinions are positive or negative.

This is the main reason I do not like tours: you see the world through rose-tinted and highly artificial glasses which, if never rectified by more exploration, is actually more damaging than helpful.

miss_bridget_jones
miss_bridget_jones's profile picture
Member
MemberMember
Eurotrip Points: 88
Member: 2307
Joined: 01/03/2007
User offline. Last seen 7 years 29 weeks ago.

I did a contiki camping tour when i was 18 in 2002 and I had a good time. Contiki is more about partying though europe than appreciating its history. It’s a good way to get a taste of europe when ur young and when organising an independent trip around europe is too daunting.
This year im going back but this time on my own. I think i learnt a lot of good stuff from my original trip that will help me with this one.

Whats with ppl bagging contiki if they’ve never been on one???

carli07
carli07's profile picture
Member
MemberMember
Eurotrip Points: 91
Member: 1371
Joined: 01/03/2007
User offline. Last seen 7 years 29 weeks ago.

I agree with you in some ways Hope, I think some people who would choose to do a tour, wouldn’t get it’s full effect and would rather just party and nurse a hangover during the entire next day. But I don’t think it’s fair to say the majority would be like that.

I also think that those types of personalities wouldn’t really appreciate the countries they were travelling through regardless of the way they are travelling. I met some people who slept through entire cities in Europe, or walked around in a post-party haze, but not all of them were tour people, lots of them were backpackers. I think there’s just a certain personality that will take an experience and grow and expand it, and there are those that will sit on it and go home thinking that, "yeah Paris rocked, they had the best dance club, and man, was that bartender hot!".

Honestly, you won’t go to that tiny town on the Italian coast and visit the locals homes if you do a Contiki tour. But you can make your own experiences in the places you do go. I had an amazing time in Corfu, sitting and chatting with the locals for hours, and I went to this dodgy hole in the wall cafe in Istanbul that had the most amazing Turkish coffee and the cafe owner let me smoke the sheesha pipe for free. You have to make experiences like that happen, because, yes, if you let someone hold your hand and guide you through your travels, cool experiences like that would not happen. But they can happen, contrary to popular belief, on a tour.

I think it’s more the person’s personality, if you really want to harness all of a foreign city and really want to understand the cultures and the local people, and take away lasting memories, and not just skim the surface, you will. If you don’t make the effort, or are apathetic, you won’t. Simple as that. But if you’re the second one, I question why you would even want to travel in the first place.