Contiki vs Topdeck

By Samantha Scott
June 1, 2017

Tour companies Contiki and Topdeck are perfect choices for 18-30 something travelers, singles, and adventurers out for a good time. Our ultimate comparison guide will help you determine whether Contiki or Topdeck is right for you!


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Contiki vs Topdeck - the Ultimate Guide

young female traveler on croatia tour

Travel styles, group size, and tour types

Contiki and Topdeck both cater to young travelers after a good time, with some cultural activities thrown in for good measure - and perhaps to convince the parents to invest in at least part of the cost. Tours with both companies come with an age max: Contiki is geared toward 18-35 year olds while Topdeck takes it a little broader advertising “30 something” as their max. Sorry 40 year olds but you’re out of luck.

These tours are as much about being social and having fun as they are about seeing the world. You will stay very busy and active throughout the tour, with a good amount of free time to enjoy wandering on your own with your new friends.

Group of young friends on guided tour in Europe

While their messaging may seem to be all about the “yolo” (you only live once) and capitalizing on the “fomo” (fear of missing out) that comes with getting the perfect instagram shot, there is actually a surprising amount of versatility available. Introverts less interested in an ongoing party may have to hunt around a bit, but can definitely find tours they’ll enjoy with either Contiki or Topdeck.

At the crux of it is budget friendly, non-boring, experiences with heavy emphasis placed on staying local and authentic.

Group Size

On Topdeck tours your new friends will come from a group of 35 or more (the maximum is 48) or an average of 16-20 on trips that are part of their “Explorer” series. These trips are more premium than most Topdeck trips, and allow for a more intimate local experience.

Group at Blue lagoon in Iceland on guided tour

Contiki group size varies by destination. On most tours, especially Europe and Australia / New Zealand groups can be between 25-50 people. In Latin America they use smaller vehicles and groups have a maximum of 30, while Thai island tours are the smallest with a max of 20

Travel Styles

Contiki offers 8 distinct travel styles to choose from, including mini short trips for festival goers (Oktoberfest anyone?) and Independent itineraries if you want to go self guided. Other styles include:

“Discoverer” for travelers on a mission to cover multiple countries and landmarks,

“High Energy” which is for ‘discoverers’ who also like the nightlife,

“In Depth Explorer” for travelers who enjoy a more immersive tour with a lot of free time to explore at their own pace,

“Camping” only available in Europe and ideal for travelers looking to save money by sleeping under the stars,

“Sailing” if you’re dreaming about suntanning and snorkeling,

“Winter” for savvy skiers looking to take advantage of off season pricing.

Topdeck identifies most trips by their accommodations style, and others by time of year, and activity. More accommodation details can be seen below including:

“Hotel” style where you’ll stay in conveniently located 3 star establishments with local charm,

“Hostel Plus” for those who are all about the experience outside where you’re staying and who want to save money (though can foresee realotting some funds toward enjoying the nightlife),

“Camping” also ideal for penny pinchers.

Like Contiki, Topdeck also offers festival short breaks, winter excursions, and summer sailing.    

Accommodation

multi bed hostel room in europe

If you’re traveling with Contiki or Topdeck expect fairly basic lodging, designed for tight budgets.

Topdeck breaks down their accommodation styles into “Camping”, “Hostel Plus”, and “Hotel”. Camping tours with Topdeck involve spacious shared tents with air mattresses at official campgrounds throughout Europe - you will be required to bring your own sleeping bag. Hotels are 3 star and centrally located. Hostels will be multiple people to a room, shared bathrooms, and quite basic.

Group on camping tour in Europe

Contiki offers a variety of budget hotels, hostels, or cabins depending on the trip style you choose. Generally you’ll have either a triple or double share room, with mostly private bathrooms.

On trips with both companies, bringing your own travel towel and shower shoes is recommended.

Cost

Saving money for travel in europe

The average price per day on Contiki tours is $192 while Topdeck comes in at $166 per day.

On Topdeck tours they state that unless otherwise specified, entrance fees for some museums and sites are not included in the price. Certain excursions are extra. You can see what’s included in the price by using their “Bucket List Inclusions” and “More Inclusions” lists.

Young solo female traveler in New Zealand on budget tour

Contiki provides slightly less free time on their tours and offers more inclusions, which is why their price per day is slightly higher. Optional activities, called “ME time” are offered throughout the tour, which do cost extra - and cannot be paid for ahead of time.

Contiki and Topdeck are all about helping even the tightest budget discover the world all while meeting new travel friends, and having amazing experiences. If you are willing to sacrifice some creature comforts, and are fine with basic accommodations (don’t worry, there’s wifi), then these tours are going to suit you nicely.

Transportation

Young travelers in Italy gondola

Contiki uses comfortable and modern coaches for transportation, ideal since their groups are typically larger groups. You will also most likely use local public transportation at different times, so be sure to pack light! Airport transfers are not always available on Contiki tours.

Topdeck also uses large coaches on a majority of their trips. Other modes of transportation might include ferries and local trains.

Coaches are all equipped with wifi and amenities. Due to the space constraints of a coach, both Contiki and Topdeck have strict luggage rules: 1 backpack or suitcase and 1 smaller purse or bag. For activity based tours, such as skiing or snowboarding extra space is allotted for equipment.


TL;DR 

 Contiki vs Topdeck at a glance


 

Contiki

 Topdeck 

 

   Overall Average Rating                   


4/5 


4.5/5

 

   Number of Reviews


20


30

 

   Number of Tours


980


362

 

   Travel Styles

 

Value, Basic

 

Value

 

   Average Tour Price

 

$1,248

 

$2,421

 

   Average Tour Length

 

    13 Days

 

15.1 Days

 

   Tour Type

 

  Small and Large Group     


Large Group

 

   Years in Business

 

55 

 

44 

 

 


 

Save up to $700 on Topdeck tours when you become a Stride Member. It's free!

 



Destinations

 Contiki 

 Topdeck 

 

   Europe Tours

 

508

 

190

 

   South America Tours

 

108

 

0

 

   Africa Tours

 

16

 

32

 

   Asia Tours

 

34

 

28 

 

   Antarctica Tours

 

0

 

0

 

   Australia & Pacific Tours    

 

0

 

0

 

   Central America Tours 

 

6

 

0


   North America Tours

 

118


47


   Middle East Tours

 

0

 

0 

 

 


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