Topdeck vs Grand Circle Travel - Tour Companies Compared
Compare details and see what other travelers are saying.
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
Fast-Paced Tour of Western Europe that highlighted most Bucket List Sights. Awesome Company. Great Food and Tour Leader5.0 June 2019
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).Read more
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).
Tour European Wonder
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
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
Tour European Wonder
Winter Spirit around Europe!5.0 March 2019
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
It exceeded our expectations5.0 May 2018
We just returned from a Grand Circle trip in England ,Scotland and Wales.It exceeded our expectations primarily because of our excellent guide Jackie.We got more than we expected with additional perks and offerings.The hotels were very nice.It should be noted that AC is often not available and some may not have lifts.Read more
We all felt safe and well cared for by Jackie.She is a true professional.
Tour Grand Circle Travel Company Reviews
BEST!!!5.0 May 2018
We have taken many trips with GCT and OAT. My husband and I have been please with all aspects of planning, booking and taking trips with GCT and OAT! Their tour guides are the BEST!!!
Tour Grand Circle Travel Company Reviews
Great knowledgeable tour guides, wonderful food, & good accommodations!5.0 May 2018
We have been on 6 Grand Circle tours from Costa Rica to Egypt to Europe to the great national parks in America. We we're delighted with every trip.
Tour Grand Circle Travel Company Reviews
|Tours||347 Trips||13 Trips|
|Average Trip Price Per Day||$ 147||$ 220|
|Operator Type||Group Tour Operator||Mixed Land & Cruise|
|Size||Global Operator||Global Operator|
|Headquarters||Chiswick, London, UK||Boston, Massachusetts, USA|
|Solo Friendly||Good for singles, No single supplement||N/A|
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.
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!
The "older sibling" of Grand Circle Cruise Line, Grand Circle Travel specializes in land tours for Americans of baby boomer age and above (fifty-plus, but leaning toward the plus).
What Makes Grand Circle Travel Stand Out?
Grand Circle Travel was started by the founder of AARP, and as such know their demographic extremely well. Over the years they have established a solid reputation for tours and river cruises that offer good value to destinations around the world. They also foster a community of dedicated travelers, encouraging you to share your memories, images, and stories with them and the friends you meet along the way.
Who Will Enjoy Traveling with Grand Circle Travel?
If you like the idea of joining a tight knit travel community, with frequent cost cutting options, then Grand Circle could be for you.
This is definitely a travel experience well suited to older travelers in the 60+ range, seeking a degree of comfort, in their travel experience, within a mid to high budget range. Younger couples or families may feel out of place among the crowd on a Grand Circle tour, as the activities, lectures, and pace are all designed for older travelers. If relaxing on the cruise with a book in hand for hours on end, gliding by quiet European shores is your idea of a grand old time then Grand Circle is for you!
If you’d rather have a bit more action during your trip, this style of travel is probably not going to hit the right note.
Trips are mostly all-inclusive, focusing on comfortable accommodations, informative and easy paced guided walking tours, cultural encounters, learning experiences, and special events that they call their Discovery Series.
Solo travelers make up nearly a third of Grand Circle's customers, and they're made to feel more than welcome on group tours, including some price breaks on single supplements.
Itineraries are designed for American travelers, with an aim towards immersive experiences such as visiting local homes, interesting walking tours, in-depth cultural interactions and culinary experiences.
Grand Circle travels all over the world, with a strong focus in Europe, Aisa and Southeast Asia. They also have limited departures in Africa, South America, the Middle East, South Pacific, North America, Central America, and even Antarctica.
Grand Circle Travel Style
The Grand Circle Travel Style is comfortable, standard river cruises and motorcoaches. On motorcoach tours with Grand Circle you will make frequent stops to stretch your legs, and some longer stops for sightseeing. Groups are between 24-47 people, so expect some company! Because Grand Circle attracts a similar age range, you’re sure to meet new friends with like interests in no time.
Hotels are comfortable and centrally located. Don’t expect extreme luxury or especially unique accommodations.
You will probably do a fair amount of walking throughout the tour - Grand Circle suggests that travelers be relatively physically fit. Most trips with Grand Circle are, unfortunately, not wheelchair accessible.
Why Choose a Tour with Grand Circle Travel?
For the flexibility and comfort aspects, combined with unique experiences at every turn. You might find yourself sharing dinner at the home of a local family or visiting local schools. Plenty of free time is included in the itineraries, and there is a lot of choice among optional tours.