Topdeck vs Smithsonian Journeys - Tour Companies Compared

Compare details and see what other travelers are saying.

Rating Breakdown
Overall — 4.5
Value — 4.3
Guide — 4.3
Activities — 4.3
Lodging — 4.2
Transportation — 4.2
Meals — 4.2
Overall — 3
Value — 3.0
Guide — 3.0
Activities — 5.0
Lodging — 5.0
Transportation — 3.0
Meals — 4.0
Recent Reviews

FUNNEST GAP TOUR EVER!

5.0 July 2018
A
Recommends
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 4.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
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!
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:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tB_uiN6dOOc&lc=z221j1nhwkfwfjgeaacdp4302urkdwx33xmfi0u45j1w03c010c
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Amazing Europe Trip

5.0 February 2017
S
Recommends
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
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.

Georgina staines
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TopDeck Tours was awesome

5.0 January 2017
IAS
Recommends
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
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.
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Tour Topdeck Company Reviews

The trip was awful due to flight cancellations and failure of the contractor to adequately compensate for missed activities and days.

1.0 May 2018
SoAaNZ
Does Not Recommend
  • Value 1.0
  • Guide 1.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 1.0
  • Meals 4.0
My wife and I were on the Smithsonian Journeys Splendors of Australia and New Zealand between April 13 and May 2, 2018. Smithsonian is rated by this site as Luxury travel. However, Smithsonian "farms out" the logistics for their trip to Odysseys Unlimited. Odysseys booked within country air travel with the lowest cost air carriers. Flights were cancelled from Ayers Rock to Sydney and from Queenstown New Zealand to Rotorua. Another flight was significantly delayed so that we did not arrive at our Christchurch destination until 2:00 am, making for a really tired next day. Odysseys Unlimited compensated us $400 per person for missing a day in Sydney and paid for an excursion in Auckland for missing Rotorua. This was wholly inadequate, given that these were highlights of the trip. In addition, our tour guide was rude to several people on the trip. If Smithsonian Journeys is truly a luxury travel outfit, as we had believed, then they would not be farming out travel logistics to such a chinch company as Odysseys Unlimited. We will think twice about traveling with Smithsonian again, and so should others.
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Tour Smithsonian Journeys Company Reviews

Get to Cuba before it changes because it has to.

5.0 January 2017
C-Sdir
Recommends
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 4.0
Cuba has been open to limited group travel for four years and is being opened to individual travel (still with restrictions) now. With thousands of Americans descending on our nearest island neighbor, Cuba has to increase its tourist infrastructure - and lose some of its charm.

Smithsonian Journeys is a great way to see Cuba before it changes. Yes, Smithsonian tours are more expensive than some other tour companies but the phrase, "you get what you pay for", certainly holds true. Everything about the tour was top notch - the American tour coordinator, the local Cuban guide, the itinerary - the best. And everything is included - everything - tipping, all activities, tours. Cuba is a fascinating destination and deserves a quality tour company.
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Tours 351 Trips 12 Trips
Average Trip Price Per Day $ 149 $ 593
Operator Type Group Tour Operator Mixed Land & Cruise
Size Global Operator Global Operator
Trip Types
  • Group Tours
  • Group Tours
  • Private Guided Trips
  • Small Ship & Expedition Cruises
  • River Cruises
  • Custom Itineraries
Service Level Standard Luxury
Regions
  • North America
  • Australia & Pacific
  • Africa
  • Middle East & North Africa
  • Europe
  • North America
  • Central America & Caribbean
  • South America
  • Rivers & Seas
  • Australia & Pacific
  • Asia
  • Africa
  • Middle East & North Africa
  • Europe
  • Antarctica & the Arctic
Known For
  • 18 - 35
  • Safari
  • Trekking & Camping
  • Adventure
  • 50+
  • Safari
  • Luxury
  • Train & Rail
Headquarters Chiswick, London, UK Washington, DC, USA
Year Established 1973 1970
Solo Friendly Good for singles, No single supplement N/A
Tour Languages English English
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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 Smithsonian Journeys
Similar Companies 

Abercrombie KentButterfield & Robinson, Myths & Mountains, Road Scholar

Known For

50-Plus Travel Tours, North Amercian Tours, Central America & Caribbean Tours

Established in 1970, Smithsonian Journeys offers small group tours to 150 destinations around the globe. Smithsonian Journeys’ variability in style and destinations allows individuals to choose the perfect trip for them personally. Trips focus on “bringing a destination to life” through stories, facts, and tours led by experts in a variety of fields. 

What Makes Them Stand Out?

Unique to Smithsonian Journeys are the Smithsonian Journey Experts who accompany the programs. These scholars and experts range from art historians, anthropologists, geologists and more. Charismatic and knowledgable, they are a defining element of all Smithsonian trips. Their commitment and backgrounds bring insight meaningfulness to all travelers who join them on trips.  

Who Travels With Them?

The typical age range on Smithsonian trips is between 55-65, with younger travelers on outdoor, active adventures and older individuals often on special interest tours. Family tours, however, cater to a wide variety of ages including children. Trips are ideally suited to those looking to meet fellow travelers and lifelong learners. 

Where Do They Operate?

Smithsonian Journeys has trips to all 7 continents. Travelers can pick from a wide variety of travel styles including: exploring by land, ship, train, private jet, immersion programs, family trips, tailer-made journeys, and special-interest travel! 

Why Travel With Them?

The common denominator in all of it is the “diffusion of knowledge,” as Smithsonian Journeys puts it. Trips are sure to be educational, exciting and memorable for all who participate.

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Smithsonian Journeys vs Butterfield & Robinson

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