Travel is one of the most rewarding things you can do, and going with a group on a set itinerary can be a great way to start if you’ve never travelled solo before. Contiki is a company which runs group bus trips all over the world – the format is simple: Get on a bus, see a landmark, party hard, sleep on the bus to the next destination.
But Contiki isn’t right for everyone:
We’ve done all of our research to find the best group tour companies worldwide. To give you an idea of pricing, I’ve added a representative European tour for each.
If you’re more excited by the prospect of trying the local brews than you are of seeing every single landmark, then a party tour might be for you. These are the closest to Contiki that you’ll get, and you’ll find that you’re with mostly 18 to 30-something year olds.
The original party tour company, and the one that you’ve probably seen already.
Runs tours Worldwide: Europe, Americas, Asia, Australia & NZ
Sample itinerary: European Whirl – Amsterdam, Berlin, Prague, Munich, Venice, Rome, Florence, Venice
Cost: 18 days for £1,187
A London-based tour company who does great tours with a slightly less focus on the “Piss it and Miss it” aspect of party tours.
Runs tours in Europe & Middle East: Anywhere between Ireland and Turkey, as well as Egypt (Egypt tours are run by a local company)
Sample itinerary: Europe Explorer – Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Czech Republic, Austria, Italy, Vatican City, Switzerland, France
Cost: 18 days for £1,149
Intrepid travel sends smaller groups out on trips meaning that there’s less waiting around and getting to know people a little better. They also tend to be more expensive and cover less ground – meaning more time getting to know the area you’re visiting.
Runs tours Worldwide: Africa, Europe, Middle East, the Americas, even the Arctic!
Sample itinerary: Highlights of Central Europe – Austria, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary
Cost: 9 days for £1,260
Vodka Train specialises in taking small groups on the famous Trans Siberian Railway and the Silk Road.
Sample itinerary: Budgeting Bolshevik – The quintessential trans-mongolian adventure – Moscow to Beijing
Cost: 12 days for £995 excluding flights
A very similar offering to Contiki – same routes, same experience!
Runs tours from Eastern Europe to Middle East and South East Asia: Anywhere from Poland to Vietnam, including Russia, Iran, India, China, and Japan
Sample itinerary: Europe Uncovered – France, Switzerland, Monaco, Italy, Vatican City, Croatia, Slovenia, Austria, Czech Republic, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium
Cost: 22 days for £1,926
Exodus has a great range of trips where you’ll be doing much more than visiting a load of bars in different cities – they specialise in treking, cycling, and adventure trips across the world.
Runs tours Worldwide: Africa, Asia, the Americas, Europe, Australia & NZ, the Arctic and Antarctica
Sample itinerary: Vietnam Adventure – The top and bottom of Vietnam, skipping the middle
Cost: 17 days for £1,769 including flights to Vietnam from London
Explore have a wide range of trips with different themes – Choose from a focus on landscapes, cities, exploring the local cuisine, or soaking up the sun on the beach.
Runs tours Worldwide: Africa, Asia, the Americas, the Middle East, Europe
Sample itinerary: Russia, Belarus and the Baltics – Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Belarus, Russia
Cost: 15 days for £1,779 including flights from London
Neilson’s slogan ‘Relax as hard as you like’ sums it up – Neilson offers bespoke trips for groups. They specialise in Ski, Beach, and sailing trips across Europe – much more than your average beach break.
G Adventures have specialist section for family adventure and discovery travel – they cater for a wide variety of travel styles and have adventures for all ages. Their tours are all over the world.
Have you done a group tour? Who was it with? Have you got any tips you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments!