Topdeck vs Encounters Travel - Tour Companies Compared

Compare details and see what other travelers are saying.

Rating Breakdown
Overall — 5
Value — 4.6
Guide — 4.6
Activities — 4.6
Lodging — 4.6
Transportation — 4.6
Meals — 4.6
Overall — 5
Value — 5.0
Guide — 5.0
Activities — 5.0
Lodging — 5.0
Transportation — 5.0
Meals — 5.0
Recent Reviews

Fast-Paced Tour of Western Europe that highlighted most Bucket List Sights. Awesome Company. Great Food and Tour Leader

5.0 June 2019
B
Recommends
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 4.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
I jumped on this tour with very little notice and planning, and I was thoroughly impressed. Our Topdeck trip leader was very knowledgeable, fun, and adjusted the trip to the group (34 people). The meals provided were delicious, and they worked hard to cater to dietary needs. Accommodations were good, typically with 2-6 people in a hostel room. Keep in mind they are hostels, not hotels (bring your own towel).

I loved the itinerary, as it highlighted the must-see places and had variety (ex. Paris, Rome vs. Switzerland). The optionals in each city were all wonderful. However, many were not presented in the Topdeck literature online and were not introduced on the trip more than a day in advance. All are paid for in cash (Euros). Because of how the optionals were presented, it was a bit harder to budget. I would recommend inquiring more about the optionals when booking and at the beginning of your tour via your trip leader. Don't feel pressured to do all of them and remember to keep your own interests in mind.

The solo travelers easily found others with similar interests to explore with. For many on this trip, drinking and going out to bars/clubs was a major component (as alcohol is often cheaper than water). Because of the shortness of this tour along with all the destinations, prepare for lots of driving and to make the most of the time you have in each city.

This trip provided am amazing sampling of Western Europe and opened my eyes to cultures and history I was unfamiliar with. Overall, I would highly recommend this itinerary and touring company, as it provided a good balance between budget and experiences.

P.S. Stay flexible with plans, but some of the popular sights need more pre-planning than expected, like the Eiffel Tower and the Anne Frank House (Amsterdam).
Read more

Overall amazing value. Food, particularly by Topdeck staff, excellent. Spontaneous/flexible; be prepared to pay for lots of extra excursions, on and off your itinerary, in cash.

5.0 June 2019
K
Recommends
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
Food was excellent. Accomodations were better than expected: hostels, but usually with in-suite bathrooms and always only with other members of your tour of the same gender. Don't try to overplan; trip is quite spontaneous and flexible and you won't know much about the schedule/optionals for each city more than a day or so in advance. Optionals will be plentiful and paid in cash. Only do those that are right for you, even if your trip leader really encourages them and most other people are going. These trips are great for solo travelers, but make sure you find people interested in the same things as you...it will probably be easy to find groups to go to bars and clubs with in the evenings, but harder to find people who prefer other evening plans. Driver was excellent and bus was very comfortable and clean, but be prepared to spend a lot of time on it as there is no driving at night. Trip leader extremely knowledgeable, experienced, and helpful. Overall, excellent value and a trip with plenty of time to see the bucket list highlights in each city.
Read more

Winter Spirit around Europe!

5.0 March 2019
A
Recommends
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
I did the 24 day Winter Spirit around Europe! I would definitely recommend booking a Topdeck tour! It was the best experience ever. Doing my second Topdeck in July around New Zealand!

Tour Topdeck Company Reviews

Knowledgeable and entertaining

5.0 March 2018
N
Recommends
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
I just got back from the Discover Egypt tour and I don't have enough good things to say. Our guide, Mohamed El Zawahry is an Egyptologist and is incredibly knowledgeable and entertaining. I took my 2 kids, ages 12 and 16, and he did such an amazing job with them (and everyone else). Honestly as a blond haired, green eyed westerner I was a bit nervous about safety issues, but couldn't have felt better than I did (and I'm not a novice traveler). We saw so many things, learned so much, I only wish I would have added the Jordan trip on the front end of this tour! I had a medical complication in the middle of the trip and Mohammad and Walid went out of their way to help accommodate me. They made this trip so much more than it could have been! I highly recommend all of the 'extra' tours- Abu Simble, hot air balloon, Philae Temple- all incredible. Thanks for everything! My kids are still in awe!
Read more

Tour Encounters Travel Company Reviews

Amazing bespoke trip round North India.

5.0 February 2018
J
Recommends
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
I just came home from an amazing bespoke trip round North India.
Encounters Travel were amazing. Hotels were beautiful, our driver and local guides I couldn’t praise more. The trip was well planned and ran like clockwork.
I saw some amazing places, learned about the history, architecture and people. I would recommend anyone to go to India and to go with Encounters
Read more

Tour Encounters Travel Company Reviews

Amazing trip to Egypt!

5.0 February 2018
R
Recommends
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
I just got back from my amazing trip to Egypt!
My tour was Discover Egypt from January 13 to January 21, 2018... What can I say?! I grew up with a fascination for Egypt and I feel so blessed I was able to go, with so many dates as an option, once I saw the date of my birthday, that was it! What better way to spend my birthday than in a country that has always been on the top of my bucket list !
I was lucky to meet an amazing group of people that shared my desire to see this amazing place and every single person involved in this tour was absolutely amazing! My tour guy Big Mo was the best! I felt very safe and well taken care of from the moment I landed in Egypt to the day I left. I really appreciated the birthday celebration as well!
I miss every single moment I lived during those days.
I went with a fascination and left loving Egypt, it’s culture and it’s beautiful people.
I will treasure this experience forever.
Read more
Tours 347 Trips 145 Trips
Average Trip Price Per Day $ 147 $ 202
Operator Type Group Tour Operator Group Tour Operator
Size Global Operator Global Operator
Trip Types
  • Group Tours
  • Group Tours
  • Small Ship & Expedition Cruises
  • Custom Itineraries
Service Level Standard Standard
Regions
  • North America
  • Australia & Pacific
  • Africa
  • Middle East & North Africa
  • Europe
  • South America
  • Asia
  • Africa
  • Middle East & North Africa
  • Europe
  • Antarctica & the Arctic
Known For
  • 18 - 35
  • Safari
  • Trekking & Camping
  • Adventure
  • 50+
  • 18 - 35
  • Safari
Headquarters Chiswick, London, UK West Yorkshire, United Kingdom
Year Established 1973 2011
Solo Friendly Good for singles, No single supplement N/A
Tour Languages English N/A
Top Trips
Similar Companies
    Countries
    About Topdeck

    Founded in 1973, Topdeck has been providing fun, adventurous trips around the world for 18-39 for over 40 years.

    What Makes Topdeck Travel Stand Out?

    Topdeck tour focuses on providing friendly and authentic guided group tours where like-minded 18-39 year old travelers can have amazing group experiences. There are several trip types to choose from, from camping, to immersive, to multi destination, to sailing.

    Who Will Enjoy Traveling with Topdeck?

    Sociable, adventurous, budget conscious 18-39 year olds are the kinds of traveler who will gravitate to Topdeck. Though they offer a few different distinct travel styles, there is definitely a sense of an ongoing party, with travel as the conduit and underlying shared interest.

    If the idea of being around a group of similarly aged people - many of whom may be exploring internationally for the first or second time - being spontaneous, and meeting locals (often in the environment of bars or clubs) is unappealing, then Topdeck may not be your cup of tea.

    Introverted travelers, or those for whom an extensively planned itinerary including many museums and historical sites is ideal, may want to hunt around before choosing a Topdeck tour.

    That is not to dissuade the more observational traveler - who may very well find a group they gel with perfectly on a Topdeck tour. Only to caution that you will be surrounded by several extroverted personalities.

    The bottom line is if you are game for anything, are traveling on a budget, and don’t mind fairly basic but comfortable accommodations and inexpensive meals - sometimes on the go - then you will enjoy the Topdeck tour experience.

    Top Destinations

    Topdeck has tours throughout the world, in Europe, Australia & New Zealand, North America, the Middle East, Africa, and Asia.

    Topdeck Travel Style

    The Topdeck travel style is tied quite specifically to their audience. These tours are great for youthful and energetic 18-39 year olds looking for a good time and to make new friends.

    In the interest of keeping their tours affordable, travelers with Topdeck will need to make a few allowances. For example, hostels and hotels may be situated quite far away from the city centers. You can also expect some long travel days. The more of a good sense of humor and adventure you have, the more you’ll enjoy the experience.

    Why Choose a Tour With Topdeck

    Feeling the urge to connect with travelers in your age group, have fun, and make lasting friendships? Topdeck has over 40 years of experience in adventure travel, which has helped them create epic low cost trips for 18-30 somethings.

    These tours are certainly not for those who prefer to take things slow. You will be running around, moving between a lot of places - which in some cases means very long bus rides - going out a lot, meeting new people, and staying active throughout your tour.

    If your ideal travel experience is more methodical and planned out in nature, Topdeck may not be for you.

    But if you are an adventurous and social travelers eager to absorb a new culture and make new friends, then hop on board!

    About Encounters Travel

    Encounters Travel is a UK based travel company specializing in adventurous cultural tours. With over 50 years of experience, they have unbeatable knowledge and guarantee the best customer service. They offer a wide selection of tours that’ll take you around the world, catering to people of all ages, interests, and budgets.

    What Makes Encounters Travel Stand Out?

    They offer small group tours around the world, with an adventure twist. Their tours are about having an active and adventurous time, balanced with cultural activities. Encounters Travel creates innovative small group itineraries, as well as offering custom private tours. They focus on providing amazing experiences within a reasonable budget range.

    Who Will Enjoy Travelling with Encounters Travel?

    Travelers seeking adventure tours tied in with nature, wildlife, history, and culture will most enjoy their tours. Since they cater to people of all nationalities, it’s great chance to meet travelers from all over the globe.

    sunset over mountains

    Their tours offer great value for money, as they are focused on activities and authentic experiences. So whether you’re a budget traveller that’s trying to stretch their dollar, willing to pay premium for luxury, or something in between - there’s an adventure made for you.

    Their tours are primarily enjoyed by active travelers, in the 20-40 range. However, they do have tours made for families with children to enjoy as well.

    a book with an elephant and animations popping out

    Top Destinations

    They operate tours around the world, with a majority of tours in Europe and Africa. From a hike up the physically challenging trails in South America to discovering Egypt’s Pyramids of Gyza, they cover all your bucket list destinations.

    Tours with set itineraries will take you along the classic routes, where you will experience the highlights of the area. However their escorted and tailor-made tours are there for those seeking a more specialised trip.

    Encounters Travel Style

    Those who travel with Encounters will expect an adventure of their lifetime without cutting corners to save money or time. It’s all about getting to interact with travelers and locals, being immersed, and learning about cultures in an authentic and responsible way.

    friends with their arms around each other

    Accommodations are simple, but comfortable. Expect hotels in the 3-4 star range (for local standards), homestays, and camping. The places are always safe, clean, and comfortable, but will not be luxurious by any means. Transportation varies depending on what tour style you choose. For shoestring budget tours, you’ll be using more public transportation. Standard level tours will make use of private transportation. Majority of their tours are moderately physically challenging and will require you to walk, bike, or trek.

    Groups are small - the max is 20 but more typically you’ll travel with between 12-15 people. Custom designed itineraries are also an option for more independent minded travelers.

    They have six different ways of traveling...

    1. Small Group Adventure Tours: These tours are made for those traveling solo, with some friends or a couple, and enjoy being in a group setting. Small Group Adventure Tours are great for those that don’t mind meeting new faces and socializing throughout the journey. Build friendships with people of all different nationalities while going on an adventure of your lifetime. They’ll take you to exotic and exciting destinations - some you may have never even considered visiting!

    2. Shoestring Budget Adventure Tours: Maybe you’re trying to watch your spendings without sacrificing adventure. Or you’re a long-term traveler who would rather see more and can deal with discomfort. Encounters Travel is transparent and honest about how their budget tours will call for larger groups, use of public transit, and staying at 3-star hotels.

    3. Overland Tours & Safari Adventures: Made for young adults and seniors alike, Overland Tours and Safari Adventures are made for those looking for a cultural, scenic, and wildlife experience. See the key attractions in Africa, while exploring places off the beaten path too. Mid-ranged hotels and lodges are arranged for you. Or if you want to ramp up the adventure level, you can choose their camping option. Also you can decide if you want to do the whole trip, or only partake in one particular section.

    4. Family Adventure Tours: If you want some family vacation ideas that also cater to the adults, look no further! These itineraries are created to be enjoyed by everyone and make for a memorable family holiday. Trips can be tailored to suit your family’s particular requirements. Want child-friendly guides? To meet other families traveling with kids? More flexibility to move on when your kids are bored? They’ve got you covered.

    5. Escorted Group Adventure Tours: Reputable and specially selected experts will guide you throughout your entire journey, giving you in depth explanations and an educational tour experience. Depending on your destination, they’ll either lead the entire tour by themselves, or work with a local guide. This is the best way to go if you want a specialised itinerary, more talks, and workshops in your trip. Go home feeling like an expert yourself.

    6. Tailor-Made and Adventure Tours: These are made for people who want to have private tours and fully customized itineraries. Want to know the best part? These can made for both budget and luxury travelers! Focused on allowing you explore, learn, and appreciate the cultural heritage of your chosen country, itineraries are made for you to make the most out of your limited time. Have more free time to chat with locals, choose how much public transportation you want to use, and modify the suggested itineraries.

    Why Choose a Tour with Encounters?

    They strive to strike a balance and keep their tours focused on a good combination of fun and culture, regardless of the country. So if visiting important cultural icons and attractions is important to you, but you grow weary of non-stop sightseeing, Encounters Travel would be the perfect tour company for you.

    Reviewers have mentioned in the past that accommodations aren’t what you’d expect from a 4-star hotel in western countries. Be aware that local standards are different and may not be what you expect, but they use the best hotels at the level stated. Hotel breakfasts are also a hit-or-miss, and customers say they’ve had repeat meals. If an authentic culinary experience is important to you, you might want to take that into consideration.

    Overall, Encounters Travel is a great option for those looking for adventure around the world. A trip to Egypt, Morocco, or Greece is just around the corner. Just choose your destination and budget range, and let them take care of the rest.

    ×
    ×
    Sign in to Save Trips
    Welcome back! We're so happy to see you. ? Forgot Password?
    Don't have an account? Join
    • Bookmark trips you like
    • Share with your travel companions
    • Track price changes
    • Access private discounts on trips you save
    ×
    Sign in to see your results

    TripFinder is a member-only feature. Don’t worry, it’s free!

    With a membership you:

    • Save up to $700 per person!*
    • Access private deals and offers
    • See personalized trip recommendations
    • Save favorite trips
    *See Member Savings Program details
    ×
    Activate your free Stride membership

    Just use the email address and password provided in the email we sent.

    ? Forgot Password?

    With your free membership you:

    • Save up to $700 per person!*
    • Access private deals and offers
    • See personalized trip recommendations
    • Save favorite trips
    *See Member Savings Program details
    ×
    To Follow, sign in or sign up (it's free) ? Forgot Password?
    Don't have an account? Join
    member benefits
    First name is required!
    Last name is required!
    First name is not valid!
    Last name is not valid!
    This is not an email address!
    Email address is required!
    This email is already registered!
    Please enter valid email address
    Password is required!
    Enter a valid password!
    Please enter 6 or more characters!
    Please enter 16 or less characters!
    Passwords are not the same!
    Terms and Conditions are required!
    Email or Password is wrong!
    Please select the captcha checkbox!
    Please select the valid captcha!
    Something went wrong! Try again later!

    x