Topdeck vs Caravan Tours - Tour Companies Compared
Compare details and see what other travelers are saying.
Overall — 4.5
Value — 4.3
Guide — 4.3
Activities — 4.3
Lodging — 4.2
Transportation — 4.2
Meals — 4.2
Overall — 5
Value — 4.6
Guide — 4.6
Activities — 4.7
Lodging — 4.6
Transportation — 4.7
Meals — 4.6
5.0 July 2018
This Topdeck was so much fun, with it being the leaders last trip the chefs first trip and everyone else on the bus being 18 on a GAP year it was one to remember!Read more
Unfortunately we missed out on Nice as we were in Paris heading to Nice on Bastille day, the day of the drive through attack. Topdeck took a good step forward and moved us to Switzerland earlier and we had an extra day there and in Florence instead! They had the best facts and took us to the best places. Our leader Amanda would tell us the most important facts of the trip show us where to party and where to stay safe and let us do our own thing at night!
Would highly recommend!
Check out my Topdeck here:
Tour European Adventure
5.0 February 2017
There are so many great things to say about my European trip of a lifetime. The people that made it was my fellow topdeckers and of course the Fab Tour guide Matt Stewart. This is a trip that I will never forget, so many lovely memories I will cherish forever. We was very lucky with Matt because he really took time to talk to us and make us all feel relaxed with each other and asked us what we wanted to do. He was so knowledgable about all the places we went to, I remember thinking to myself this guy is pretty cool the fact he knows so well about the history and culture of each place especially the amount of cities we travelled to. Matt made the trip fun, interesting, exciting and I hope that if I was to ever do a top deck again one day he would be the tour guide or I think I would be disappointed. Have recommended top deck to so many people, memories I will have for a lifetime.Read more
Tour Mega European
5.0 January 2017
Ian Armstrong Sydney
Topdeck Tours was awesome, at the time back in 2005 I was traveling for 12 months, and wanted to see a huge chunk of Europe on a budget, so I found this company and it was exactly what I was looking for, the guides were very friendly, our cook was making really great meals on the side of the road, and the driver was very funny, and the accommodation was all good and I and all the other people had such and awesome time, and lots of us still keep in touch and will always remember our Topdeck experience.Read more
Tour Topdeck Company Reviews
5.0 August 2018
We just returned from a Caravan tour of Yellowstone, Mount Rushmore, and Grand Tetons. Although there were just a couple of things we did not like, overall it was a very enjoyable seven days. The tour director was superb, very helpful, always available, friendly, and a pleasant person. The driver was very good at his job, extremely experienced and knowledgable. The trip was well planned, most of the hotels were above average in quality, the bus was comfortable, the included meals were good.Read more
Financially, it was a good buy overall. However, it did cost somewhat more than expected based on the advertisements. Although Caravan advertises that "most or all" meals are included, in this particular tour only nine of the twenty meals were included, and of these, only one of the seven dinners. In addition, there was heavy emphasis on gratuities, with too-frequent reminders. Suggested amounts were given, and even the minimum suggested amounts seemed rather high to me. We were given to feel obligated, rather than left to decide on our own based on the quality of the service. Caravan stated that the only gratuities not included in the price were those to the tour director and driver. However, gratuities to hotel maids and local guides, and shuttle drivers were also not included, and suggested amounts for these were given by the tour director. Overall we spent about $150 on gratuities, even though staying in the lower range of the suggested amounts.
But we are glad we went, and will consider Caravan again when planning another trip.
5.0 March 2018
Panama Tour with Pedro and David
We went on the tour with Pedro the tour director and David, our driver. We departed on the 15th and were there for a week. We toured the canal top to bottom. I'll be honest- if you're looking for lots of nature time, this isn't your tour. HOWEVER, we knew that going in AND we still picked up over 80 species of birds, lots of monkeys, etc. We toured Panama City for a day and a half, spent two days in Gamboa, 2 days at the beach and then one last day in Panama City.Read more
The entire trip we were well cared for. The food was really good (though if you're bringing kids on the trip, the Gamboa Resort is the only one that has more typical kid fare) David and Pedro kept us well hydrated, educated on all things Panama (historical, ecological, etc). Pedro also went out of his way to be sure our 5 year old was well cared for including time in the captain's cabin during the canal transit, telling them jokes, etc. He says he doesn't get to see many kids on this tour, so he seemed as excited as our son!
The accomodations are great with the exception of the Intercontinental Miramar. The food there is average and the rooms need updated. However, The Westin was an all inclusive day and amazing. The Gamboa resort is something out of a magazine - and the pool there is fabulous (though their bartenders need a little extra motivation it seems).
On our free day, Pedro even helped us organize a tour out to the Pipeline so we could get some extra birding in. He called a few different locals that were trustworthy and affordable so we could get more time in the rainforest.
Overall, it was worth every penny and we're excited to take other Caravan Tours!
3.0 February 2018
Does Not Recommend
My husband and I just returned from the guided tour of Panama with Caravan. This was the first time and the last time we have travelled with Caravan. We go away twice a year and like to take guided tours and have travelled with many tour companies including very large and prestigious travel company such as Trafalgar. Many companies we travelled with have a Tour Director/Bus Driver tipping recommendations - but those are only recommendations and not the expectations of a tour director. Pedro - our Caravan Tour Director expected to get $8/day/person - so for the bus of 41 people (this was the number of people on our tour), for 8 days he should get $2,624 - well if you make this kind of tax-free cash in one week - please go ahead and give him his $64/person for one week. My husband and I do not know anyone who makes this kind of tax-free cash, hence we decided to give him less generous tip. Pedro was so cheeky that he opened the envelope (that he himself provided to each couple on the bus) as he received it and checked the amount of money given to him by each couple. It become quite clear to us that Pedro did not appreciate our tip as he returned the envelope with cash to us. SHAME ON YOU PEDRO! SHAME ON YOU CARAVAN FOR HAVING PEDRO WORKING FOR YOU!!!! I wonder if Pedro did this because both my husband and I are of Polish descent and have an accent? I guess to Pedro having an accent is equal to being stupid and English language illiterate, hence being unable to complain and/or write a review. Well - Pedro - we just proved you wrong!Read more
Throughout entire trip Pedro was hinting how great he is and how he made very special arrangements for us and how this trip would have been a totally insignificant without him. He made a point of telling us that Caravan build stairs and washroom facilities , so that Embera Village can be visited, he also claimed that because of Caravan, there is now ramp to access Kuna Indian Marketplace. Yet, Caravan was not powerful enough to ensure that we get take-out breakfast on the last day when we were being transferred to the airport at 5:00 a.m.! Interesting!!! No matter where we travelled to, if we had to leave early to the airport - every hotel has provided us with a "take-out" breakfast - after all we paid for this. But not at the Intercontinental Miramar - no breakfast, no apology, no explanation! Well - having travelled with many travel companies the hotels, food, services provided by Caravan and Pedro were average. We certainly had better Tour Directors, better hotels, better food and much better experience with other tour companies then with Caravan. We had much better caliber of Tour Directors then Pedro but no one was ever so cheeky as Pedro and did not return his/her tip to us - this was a hit below the belt - disgusting!!!
Maybe inexperienced travelers find Caravan and Pedro great - but we did not.
|Tours||351 Trips||10 Trips|
|Average Trip Price Per Day||$ 149||$ 142|
|Operator Type||Group Tour Operator||Group Tour Operator|
|Size||Global Operator||Regional Expert|
|Headquarters||Chiswick, London, UK||Chicago, Illinois|
|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!
Caravan Tours, founded in 1952 and based in Chicago USA, provides escorted group tours to countries in the Americas.
They are one of the oldest group tour operators and focus on value vacations with a no-frills approach to group travel.
What Makes Caravan Tours Stand Out?
Caravan fills a specific niche for travelers looking to see the major sights in North and Latin America on a budget. Most of their tours focus on natural wonders, such as Grand Canyon and Yosemite National Parks in the US or the rainforests of Costa Rica.
A trip with Caravan offers accessibility for travelers to experience the Western Hemisphere’s most amazing natural attractions without needing to book an active, adventure experience.
Who Will Enjoy Traveling on Caravan Tours?
Caravan is not the most flashy or inventive tour company. Tours visit standard sites, groups are generally large - transportation in comfortable yet basic motorcoaches. If you are looking for an immersive cultural experience, you will probably won’t find what you’re looking for with Caravan.
However if you are looking for an affordable trip to some of the most incredible natural attractions and national parks in the USA, Canada, and Latin America - this could be a great fit.
Caravan’s tours tend to attract a slightly older crowd, primarily Americans. They are a well known budget brand for 50+ and senior travelers. Families looking for an easy, relatively comprehensive, and inclusive tour will also enjoy the Caravan experience.
Caravan Tours operates exclusively in North and Central America, including trips to the American west, Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Canada. They offer 10 tours total.
Caravan Tours Travel Style
Flights are not included in the price of most trips, but Caravan does provide resources to popular airlines with affordable airfare to the destinations they travel to. Accommodations are in basic lodges and hotels, often with large national chains such as Hilton.
Meals are included on most trips although some excursions offer flexibility for dining out at restaurants of your choosing. In Latin America, Caravan includes airport transfers in the tour price.
Why Choose a Tour with Caravan?
Caravan has many years of perfecting their itineraries to specific destinations, such as Yosemite National Park, the California coast, and Costa Rica.
Their escorted vacation packages truly offer great value for the money and you are assured to see the highlights in any destination you visit. You might choose Caravan if you want an all-inclusive tour experience and don’t mind traveling with a larger group.