Topdeck vs Rick Steves - 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 — 4.9
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
Our Rick Steve's "Best of Italy Tour," starting in Varenna, October 18, through Rome, November 3, 2015.5.0 January 2017
We flew into Milan and toured the town on our own a few days. Then we took the train to Varenna on Lake Como to formally start our Rick Steves tour with our guide, Lisa Anderson. She was excellent; very organized, helpful to a fault, and took us to a lot of out-of-way places not on the itinerary. What I liked most was the mixture of planned activities and time our own own; a nice balance which I believe gave us a good feel for the people, culture, and historical places we toured throughout Italy. You can read any itinerary for this trip and learn about what you're going to see, but getting to know your traveling companions (there were 28 of us) well, share food (and a cold- achoo!) made it all the better. I would highly recommend this tour to anyone who would really like to get a taste of Italy from Rome north. I had no interest in visiting Italy before, but would go back in a heartbeat. I especially enjoyed our time high up in a ski village in the Dolomite Mountains. Seeing the "big three" of Venice, Florence, and Rome was great, but I also enjoyed seeing Pisa and Assisi, and spending time in places I had never heard of before - Cinque Terre , Siena, and Orvieto. While I know you can't pick your tour hosts, I would give the highest marks to our guide Lisa, her assistant, Alex, and our bus driver extraordinaire, Adrian. They helped put an excellent adventure over the top. Kudos to you Rick Steve's! We'll book another one of your tours in the next few years.Read more
Great Tour of Paris5.0 July 2016
My family and I took the seven day Paris tour run by Rick Steves and had a great time. Excellent guide and perfect mix of scheduled events and free time. The specialist guides in the museums provided essentially a college level class on art history and appreciation which made it all the more special. The accommodations were well located and nicely sized. The mix of free time was excellent for my photography so I never felt rushed nor did we hold up the group. We look forward to booking another Rick Steves tour sometime in the future.Read more
Absolutely fantastic tour!5.0 October 2015
Just got back from the Best of Scandinavia Tour. It was absolutely fantastic in every respect: Great venues and sights, great food and lodging, great local tour guides, a wonderful group to travel with, but the best part was having two fantastic professional guides with us every day to make everything come to life and help us connect in a very meaningful way with the cultures and lands we were there to experience. This is my second RS tour and I would say both have exceeded my expectations. I would highly recommend RS tours to anyone looking to travel in this part of the world!!Read more
Tour Rick Steves Company Reviews
|Tours||347 Trips||35 Trips|
|Average Trip Price Per Day||$ 147||$ 263|
|Operator Type||Group Tour Operator||Group Tour Operator|
|Size||Global Operator||Regional Expert|
|Headquarters||Chiswick, London, UK||Edmonds, Washington, United States|
|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!
What Makes Rick Steves Stand Out?
Rick Steves is the new Arthur Frommer, the current-day guru of European travel. Steves has parlayed a successful series of well-produced public TV and radio shows and guidebooks into a European tour business that thrives on his personal brand.
His folksy, easy-going manner and easily digested practical advice breed trust, and the public has responded. (Don’t expect Steves himself to be leading the tours, however.)
Who Will Enjoy Traveling with Rick Steves?
The general customer tends to skew older, but not in an exclusionary sense. Families, solo travelers, and multi-gen groups are all welcome and will all enjoy a trip with Rick Steves.
The tours generally involve walking however; hotels are centrally located and are often the kind of “quirky, family-run” places that Steves himself prefers.
He advises that many do not have elevators, and you may have to climb several flights of stairs -- so those who pack light and “stay in shape,” as Steves puts it, will be the happiest campers.
Steves’ tours are concentrated mostly in Western Europe, though he does offer some Eastern European trips as well. You can also book special family trips. And along with single country and regional tours, you can choose to stay an entire week in Rome, Paris, London, or Istanbul, for a more intensive single city experience.
Rick Steves Travel Style
In keeping with the perspective of his famous and well read guide books, the Rick Steves travel style is about having fun, steeping yourself in rich history, and relishing in good food and wine.
Rick Steves made a name for himself bringing accessible European travel to America’s living room. Traveling on a Rick Steves tour brings the well known brand and personality to life as you experience Europe how Steves does.
You’ll probably do a lot of walking, so make sure your feet are up to the task!
Why Choose a Tour with Rick Steves?
For the peace of mind that you’re traveling with an experienced guide who knows Europe inside and out. This provides a fun, informative, enjoyable experience with little to no worry about logistical headaches - you’re free to just have a splendid vacation.
Steves offers two types of tours to Europe: fully guided, which include hotels, sightseeing and admissions, bus transport, and some meals (breakfasts and half of the dinners), and unguided “My Way” tours that appeal to more independent travelers.
The latter are less expensive and include hotels and bus transport between destinations but don’t include lunch, dinner, or sightseeing -- though escorts are available to offer advice. In both cases, groups are limited to 24-28 travelers.