- One of a Kind1 December, 2013
Visiting Alaska has always been a dream for me and in 2013 my dream finally came true. As travelling in Alaska on your own is not the easiest and most of all not the cheapest way, I decided to join an organized trip and spent a lot of time searching the internet for it. From the first moment on I had contact to Infinite Adventures I totally felt to be in good hands. Nat gave me a lot of helpful tips for organizing my travels and when I arrived in Anchorage a few days before the trip started they welcomed me cordially and helped me to buy some stuff I needed for the trip and couldn't bring from Germany. Due to their experience Nat and Dave were the perfect tour leaders during the whole trip, they did everything to make it unforgetable for everyone. I had a really great time exploring the amazing nature and wilderness of Alaska, every day was a totally new adventure and soon travel mates became friends. If I visit Alaska again there is no doubt who I will be travelling with.
- One of a Kind1 December, 2013
Natalie and Dave are the most passionate, knowledgable and experienced guys you will ever meet when it comes to overlanding and Alaska. Hand in hand with their awesome, one of a kind converted school bus, they take a tour round the outstanding last frontier of Alaska and turn it into the trip of a lifetime. This trip should be on everyone's bucket list.
- Excellent Route, Average Accomm, Poor Food & Guide21 November, 2013
So I took this tour a few months ago after getting a pretty deep discount on it by a stroke of luck. My trip was quite vast and this Topdeck tour served as the "middle" in a 7 week long trip across North America which consisted of travel with friends, group travel and travelling alone. I started in Montreal, spent 10 days in NYC with friends, did this tour, then went back up to Canada, then Seattle before going back to LA and heading back home. I'd never taken a group tour before this one so was a bit nervous about the dynamics involved and how I would deal with it as I had never traveled with more then a few people at a time before. Below is my general re-count of it for those that might be considering taking it.
Bus: Outstanding. Brand new, comfortable, power in most seat backs. Excellent journey considering the sheer amount of driving time this 3 week tour takes. Plenty of space for luggage, unless the group is very large the luggage suggestion by Topdeck is on the low side, there were people on the bus with 2 or 3 full bags of luggage with no issues. A
On the Road: The driving itself was fine, however the rest breaks (mandated?) were extremely long and very tedious. We stopped at Walmart over 10 times over the course of the trip for Lunch, other times stops were strip malls with fast food joints only. Rest breaks were almost always an hour to an hour and a half. Absolute worst was having to spend an hour each at tourist trap souvenir stops twice within a few days. This is definitely a big problem, and as much as I appreciate their is a lot of driving and the driver does need to take a break, surely they could plan these a lot better. In many cases the excessive rest breaks caused us to arrive late to our destination. D
Guide & Driver:These guys, as is the operations of the tour are outsourced to another company under contract from Topdeck (PEAK). The driver was top notch, however knew more about the general trip than the guide, which was of concern. Drove very well however. The guide was below average, though was very easygoing and great to deal with. I'm going to take a guess he was working seasonally as he was actively looking for jobs on the bus as we were travelling. Played music on the bus during times where the majority either wanted quiet, or played music that nobody wanted to listen to. Knew some information about the route but not much.
Bar and restaurant suggestions outside of the included meals were hit and miss and clearly received kickbacks for recommending certain restaurants. Towards the end of the trip the guide tended to hang out with only a few members of the group which would have made some people perhaps a bit alienated. While he was a nice guy I wouldn't rate him very well on the job he did. Also be aware that this guide and driver also "suggested" that you tip them at the end of the tour between US$2-3/day, despite this been in contrary with information given from Topdeck that this practice generally didn't occur. Driver A Guide C-
Group: The group that I traveled with consisted of quite a variety of different people. One flaw with the setup that Topdeck use is that 3 tours are combined onto the one route... i.e the Coast to Coast does the whole route, then you have the Southeast States group for the first week and the Southwest States group for the last two weeks. The way this is set up, while clearly done to make the tours viable for Topdeck does mean that the group dynamic isn't quite as fluid as tours may be with competitors that have the same group on the whole time. Average age was quite high, I was close to the youngest and I myself am 22, I'd say the average age would have been Early 30s. Their was one instance even of people above the age limit on the tour, which while it didn't bother me personally may have bothered others. Group was about 90/10 Australian to everyone else (NZ, Britain). Almost everyone was single, there was no couples after the first week. Unfortunately the age gaps and some of the other dynamics did make things a bit cliquish, and in my opinion the group didn't really meld together that well. There was to some extent pressure to drink, and drink a lot and if you abstained from this you didn't have many options. DO NOT do this tour if you are under 21 as you will find it very difficult to blend with most groups unless its a daytime activity, even if you get a group that doesn't drink as much thanks to the archaic laws the US has on drinking age. You can't really control the group you get and of course its going to vary from tour to tour. By all means the majority of the people on the tour were fantastic to be around and there was no real negatives apart from the cliques formed by few. Your Mileage May Vary.
Route: The route taken is actually generally very good, despite some complaints from other travelers in the group. The accommodation in DC is actually in Maryland, on the outskirts of the DC metro area in College Park. The amount of time in DC is very sparse considering the sheer amount of museums and things to see and do in the capitol and the travel time back to the accommodation made things a little restrictive. Be aware that the "Appalachian Mountains" day is literally a driving only day - you get to see the mountains as you drive past in the bus, but you stop at a tiny town for the night. Many in the group suggested that Nashville be increased to a second day but in my opinion this would be completely unnecessary unless you really, really like country music. The route is designed quite well to appeal to those who like to do daytime activities, as well as see the nightlife. Be wary that the tours tend to be timed that you come into major cities during Mon-Wed most of the time (I'm guessing to avoid peak accommodation pricing on weekends), so don't expect the nightlife to be lively everywhere. I'd recommend making sure you have some form of 3G internet connection with you so you can plan stuff on the fly or research towns and cities prior as Topdeck gives out AWFUL reference material. The guide generally indicated the maps were incorrect, and the information was generally vague and in some cases wrong. Overall the route for this tour is something they have right - despite the large amounts of driving it's set out to make the most of the areas traveled. B+
Activities: Included and optional activities were all excellent and worth the money. I'd recommend doing as many as you can afford, as many of them are things that you wouldn't be able to do on your own or without being in a larger group, or without it being logistically difficult with transportation and such. Topdeck does not overcharge for activities as the major competitor is generally said to do, what you pay is what it would cost if you did it yourself. Ensure that if it's something you don't have experience in or are not sure about, ASK! Their were people on my tour who couldn't swim who then proceeded to go out into the water... oops... A
Accommodation: Accommodation was quite puzzling as it varies so much. I was quite surprised considering the endless amount of Motel Chains in the US with locations everywhere that they don't arrange with one company as to provide some consistency. Varied from 2 Star to 4 Star. The worst ones, while old and musty were still clean and without issue. Amenities varied heavily. I think Topdeck should focus on providing some consistency in this area, as much as I appreciate them trying to keep costs down having such disparity between accommodation reflects poorly. B-
Included Meals: Everywhere from awesome to down right disgusting. For those looking for a more nutritional focus, or with special dietary requirements it will be a struggle. I easily gained 5kg on this trip in a matter of a few weeks, and that was being somewhat conscious of what I was eating! People could easily put on 10kg+. Chain restaurants shouldn't be permitted (i.e Applebees, Golden Corral), neither should cheap and questionable buffets which made up half the included dinners (in which one made me ill for a week or two after the trip). Other places were awesome and very well chosen (i.e Salt Lick BBQ in Austin). Be advised that the included breakfast is whatever the hotel happens to have in it's lobby - this is extremely hit and miss and I chose to not bother most of the time. The budget used for the allocated meals seemed to be very inconsistent. This is an area that definitely needs some work. C-
* Washington DC - Awesome, though you must plan the day out well to see as much as you can. * Memphis - Nightlife was great, attractions very interesting even if you have just a general interest in music. City however is very run down, but this does give you an insight into how many places in America are Post-GFC. * New Orleans - awesome city, lots of things to do day and night. Be wary of Bourbon St as much of it is a Giant Tourist Trap. * Austin - Very cool, hipster city. Very cheap drinks, great nightlife. Not many daytime attractions. * Carlsbad - A surprise as I'd never heard of these underground caves before. While the night stop is at a small town, the tour through the Caverns is something that's quite unforgettable. * Grand Canyon - While this stop is logistically difficult (You stay in Williams, about 100km from the Canyon), there is a lot to see and do during the day. Try and make the most of the scenery, the optional helicopter trip is well worth it too if you can afford it. * Vegas - The accommodation chosen is very good considering the type of tour, right on the strip. Be wary this is where the group divide is probably shown the most due to alcohol being everywhere and definitely not a good stop if you're under 21 as you practically can't do anything. Over 21? Possibilities are endless. Do your research on what you want to do while you're here if you aren't the party type. * Activities - as mentioned. Almost all the activities were worth the time. Don't change your mind on them, as you won't get your money back from the guide once things are booked. * Bus - excellent fitout, very comfortable. Stayed cool despite 40+c temps throughout a lot of the journey, plenty of space. * Accommodation - Though the standards varied, it was generally clean and tidy. Probably worthwhile to pay the extra if you can afford it to get your own room however as while I didn't have an issue, many people on the tour had issues with their roommates doing things they perhaps shouldn't have been doing in a twin room situation.
* Nashville - Boring unless you love your country music. One day of it and I'd had enough. City is rather derelict and very little to do during the day. * Santa Fe - This could have been an up however Topdeck do not schedule this stop well, you get in very late afternoon and then leave early the next morning so you can't really do or see anything. Tour guide was cagey on going out here despite research showing there was plenty of places to go. * San Antonio - Not much to do during the stay apart from the Alamo visit, city is very run down. Timing is also a problem here as there is maybe an hour or two at best to look around the place after going around The Alamo. Tour guides nightlife suggestions were awful here so this may be a plus if you know where to go. * Guide - This obviously varies from trip to trip, but the guide on mine was sub-par. * Topdeck Information - The information given out for many cities was awful, inaccurate and in some cases completely wrong (maps). I'd highly recommend you get a SIM card/smartphone to help you out on the tour as you go around the country. * Many Meals - American chain restaurants are awful and a poor representation of the cuisine in the country. So many other local places that could have been utilised. Be prepared to gain weight even with all the walking, etc. * Rest Breaks - SOMEWHERE OTHER THEN WALMART PLEASE! This was very tedious and after the first week or so everyone had had enough. Surely their is a better way to manage rest stops/lunch breaks than stopping at Walmart for an hour to an hour and a half. Its just lazy. * Tipping Suggestion for Driver/Guide - Topdeck must communicate with PEAK in the US to not allow this. We all know about tipping service staff in the US however their shouldn't be a suggestion to tip the driver and/or the guide for their services considering the amount already paid for the tour.
Overall: The trip itself was well worth the money I paid at the discount I got. At full price, I'd perhaps be questioning it. The experience will vary heavily on who your guide and driver are, and the type of people that you have as fellow travellers on the bus. The route itself is superb, as are the activities available. Be savvy and research cities and towns, and don't expect the guide to recommend places that are very good, nor there to be many good suggestions. Be very wary of the included food, it might almost be worth saying you have a dietary requirement even if you don't to see if you're able to get better options. In conclusion, Topdeck have done some things well but still have a very long way to go before they perfect this particular tour. I don't see myself using Topdeck again however for many of the reasons I've stated. B-
- Mayan Adventure and More19 November, 2013
This 22-day trip from Mexico City to Chiapas, through the Yucatan,around Belize and into Guatemala has well-designed itinerary. I was able to see and do most everything I hoped to do. My fellow travelers with Toucan has a considerable age range but were bonded well, had lots of enthusiasm which guarantee a fun time! Some of my fellow travelers continued their adventure on to Costa Rica and then to Panama with the same tour leader, Becky. She is a great gal, originally from New Zealand but more of an Aussie now, but has just purchased a home in Antigua, so she's making Guatemala her home.
My days in Mexico City at the start of the trip went well. Of course, one could spend months there, exploring the city and its environs. But I saw a great deal and the Majestic Zocalo was right on the Zocalo for the end of the Independence Day celebration and the arrival of the President of Mexico for the National Earthquake Preparedness Day on Oct. 19, the anniversary of the devastating Mexico City earthquake from 20 years ago. My hotel window had the best view of the Zocalo all the time. Visiting Teotihuacan twice was fine, as I was able to see different parts of the site each time, and climb the Pyramid of the Sun twice with two different groups.
The accommodations with Tucan along the way were adequate--and a few fairly good. Fortunately we had A/C in most tropical locations in the rooms at night. The chicken buses in Belize were an experience but worth it. I enjoyed the itinerary, although I would have preferred an additional day in Oaxaca and also in Merida but perhaps one less day in San Cristobal. While at Merida, I did the optional trip to Uxmal--definitely worth it but had to skip the cenotes trip. However while in Playa del Carmen, I was able to visit Tulum in the morning and found a place nearby with cenotes that I did on my own in the afternoon. The most challenging thing for me was probably the caving near San Ignacio, Belize, but I managed just fine. One unplanned event that we all got to experience was in San Cristobál, where the bar owner of a place that Becky knows invited our group to his daughter's quinceañera--a huge event that kept the tequilla flowing all night! Plenty of drinking and dancing.
I should have added a few days in Antigua should have been longer. Hikes up to the Pacaya Volcano have been limited to the first ridge right now so it is a shorter trip. The trip to Chichicastenego is very touristic and a bit over-rated, as the Mayan villages near San Cristobál are more interesting and authentic. Besides, the Mayan folk art marketed in Chichicastenego is overpriced for tourists and the same items can be purchased in the better shops in Antigua. I should have had time to visit Lake Atitán--but perhaps on another visit.
I will probably kick myself for not continuing on with my group to San Jose, Costa Rica. But I needed to get back to L.A. Toucan offers a repeat customer discount plus a late booking discount, so I could have easily afforded the added two weeks.
As an adventure tour, this itinerary was a great choice and I really appreciate all you did in setting it up and planning the extras through Kamino Tours--including the airport transfer from Antigua to Guatemala City, which I would never have figured out on my own.
I was healthy for the entire trip--fortunately. And all the medicine I brought was not really needed--so I gave most of it to others for their on-going adventures in Central America. I was the oldest person of the group, except for two ladies from Australia who are in their 50s but did not do some of the more active things that some of us chose to do.
Thanks, Becky, for making this a most enjoyable experience!
- Fab9 November, 2013
I spent the summer of 2013 on the Busabout network. The flexipass is great for a backpacker. I like the fact that you get the perks of a 'tour' without actually being on a tour. I had my own space when I wanted it, and met so many new friends at the same time. I highly recommend the flexipass for someone travelling alone, as it is safer than using the Eurorail, and much more social. It is also so much more comforting sharing a room with other people traveling with busabout vs 10-20 randoms in a hostel at every stop.
- Good value for a family7 November, 2013
Travelling as a family of five adults on a 45 day tour was always going to be risky but as it turned out it was a wonderful way for us to all travel together. There was enough room for us to spread out in 'Peggy' and in some respects this tour allowed us to travel as 5 individuals when the need arose. My only criticisms would be the food as people were often left hungry as the food frequently ran out especially at dinner time. As our tour guide was often not very observant, or in fact present during these meals, she seemed completely unaware that people were often left very hungry. In addition everyone was aware, as other reviewers have written, that Tucan makes a huge profit on their add-on/side trips so if money is an issue you really should organise these yourself. Apart from these we travelled with a large very mixed group (ages ranged from 20 to 67 years) and all-in-all got along very well with eight of these new friends attending our daughters 21st which took place in Melbourne a month after the end of the trip and 11 of us attending one of the couple's engagement party in Sydney in May. We even have our own Facebook group from the tour. In summary participants prominent memories are about the wonderful places we saw and people we met and not about being frequently hungry and being over-charged for add-ons.
- Topdeck; Never Again!27 October, 2013
22 days of regretting traveling with Top deck unfortunately. Seriously people they were hopeless. I always felt like I was not getting value for money. I found that the accommodation was always in a location far away from the main sights of each city. Most hotels were standard at best and a few were small and filthy. The tour guide didn't give us the time of day and it was more or less a case of 'here is the city guys, see ya later!' That was disappointing as I expected an actual tour guide to be 'guiding' us through the city. Don't get me started on the included dinners and breakfasts on this tour. Me and a few on tour literally skipped a few dinners and went to other restaurants when we found out where our 'free' meals were they were so bad. Overall experience was MISERABLE!!!
Response from Topdeck Travel
We are sorry to hear about your disappointment with Topdeck. We don’t have a record of your complaint or from a 22 day Europe Uncovered trip. We do take all complaints seriously and so please send us full details of the trip you were on so we can investigate and give a full response.
We are committed to delivering for our customers and are proud of our 97% customer satisfaction rate. These ratings are taken from post trip questionnaires that are moderated by an external company and so if you can get in touch with us on firstname.lastname@example.org we can isolate your trip and investigate fully.
- Wonderful24 October, 2013
This is the longest Topdeck tour in Europe (49 days), so it can be testing at times being on tour for this long, but I give major credit to our tour leader and driver who where nothing but professional and up-beat the entire trip. On a trip this long the staff can make or break the experience, and in my case they made it amazing. I was also really happy with the accommodation, prices and activities on offer. My favorite leg of the tour was through Eastern Europe (cheaper and full of intrigue), and our time in Greece and Istanbul were nice relaxing breaks from the hustle of this tour in general (there is a lot of early mornings and late nights), but it was all worth it given everything I was fortunate to experience, and Topdeck was a great choice. I would travel with them again.
- Exceeded my expecations15 October, 2013
I only have great things to say about G Adventures. The guides we had on this tour were top notch, and I was very impressed with the porters and the comfort they provided while hiking the Inca Trail. The G Lodge experience was well worth it, and also exceeded my expectations. I will definitely be traveling we G Adventures again in the future.
- Great to see the 'other side' of Thailand4 October, 2013
On my first trip to Thailand I spend the entire time at the beach with my buddies drinking and relaxing. While it was a great time, I wanted to actually experience the true Thai culture this time around. Finding this tour was the best thing that happened to me. I love the places we visited and the activities Intrepid had organized for us. This tour is all about getting in touch with the local culture, food and people. The group was fantastic, the accommodation a thumbs up.
- Glad we went4 October, 2013
With all of the unrest in Egypt over the past year, we were seriously considering cancelling the Egypt portion of our trip, but we are so glad we didn't. Travel Talk was wonderful, and I highly recommend the Felucca travel. The food was amazing, and while overnighting on a Felucca is quite rustic, it is also a very unique Egyptian experience. The hotels were also of a great standard considering the incredibly low price of the tour, and most importantly, we felt safe and trusted our guide.
- Fantastic4 September, 2013
When we were searching for a tour to India, this one was more on the pricier side compared to the G Adventures and Intrepid trips we were considering, but I wanted to travel in comfort, and I am so glad I spent the extra few hundred dollars to travel with Peregrine. Everything about the tour was above and beyond. The information provided by the staff, the accommodation, the itinerary, the organization, and the transport were all wonderful, and made for a comfortable and enjoyable trip. We will definitely book with Peregrine next time we travel.
- Great way to see Europe3 September, 2013
I traveled with Busabout this summer and had a great time. I had fun planning my own itinerary, but it was nice to not have to worry about planning every detail. Best part is the accommodation is already organized. It was also nice to have staff to point you in the right direction and give you local advice when you arrive in each place. The only thing I would say, it that I was hoping to get more information about great places to eat and drink. I felt like a lot of the suggestions from the Busabout crew were very generic. The accommodation is generally cheaper (like hostels and campsites), but they were always clean, and there was often the option to upgrade if you wanted a few nights on your own (I upgraded twice when I was knackered and just wanted my own space for a few nights). Worth the $$ spent, and I will recommend the Busabout hop on hop off style to all of my friends headed to Europe.
- Amazing Guide!Moroccan Explorer28 August, 2013
Went on this tour in August 2012, and was blessed with an incredible group (mostly aussies and kiwis) and an exqually amazing guide. Sure, a lot of sitting on a bus, but what do you expect? The days that we weren't travelling were packed full of activities, and our guide was mindful of finding us food we all wanted, having enough toilet and photo stops, and explaining the more sensitive parts of Islamic and Berber culture to us! Amazing to see Morocco in Ramadan, totally recommend it! My only complaint about this tour would have to be that some of the hotel accommodation in bigger cities (esp. Marrakech) was really below par. Pretty dirty, unreliable staff, stale bread at brekkie and no wifi although they advertised it. I would say our guide Abdou really made the trip amazing for us, but we have remained friends, and he now works for Intrepid! What is that saying?
Either way, good itinerary and reliable tour provider!
- Great Tour16 August, 2013
I was really impressed with the level of service that Gecko's provided. All of the guides and leaders were very informative and friendly. The nights spent on an overnight coach are not the most comfortable nights sleep, but it is a great way to maximize the time spent in each destination, and a much better option than spending all day on a coach. My only regret is wishing I booked a longer tour. But if you are looking to get from Buenos Aires to Rio De Janeiro by seeing the sights along the way, this tour is perfect for that.
- Topdeck was very disappointing7 August, 2013
I booked a tour around Europe for 28 days in 2012 and totally regretted travelling with this company. The accommodation was sub-par, the itinerary was lacking, the meals were often terrible and the tour guide couldn’t care less about the tour group.
Expectations and disappointment:
For me the whole point of paying a tour company is that they take the fuss out of travel. I expected that you would be given updates everyday about weather conditions and what should be worn (i.e if it was forecast to snow or rain). I expected to be told what the itinerary was for the day or given guidance and information on the ‘free days’ to make the most of the time spent without a tour guide. Instead of the expected service, the tour was pretty much left up to yourself. Every day I had to do my own research of the sights in each city because we were rarely given quality information about the city and its sights. We all had to plan the logistics of what to do on free days because the company does nothing for you on these days. Every day you would have to look up what the weather would be and constantly ask the tour guide what the following day would consist of. In a major city like Rome, we weren't even given maps. There were also no maps given on any of the short stopovers where you had a few hours to explore a city/area. Every day it felt like I was missing out on something as our tour group was given minimal information at every stage of the tour. Overall Topdeck was terrible with their service. Even when they book you in to begin with they couldn’t even attempt to understand who was booking the tour. Unfortunately for me I landed on a tour of 90% couples. Do you think that would have been something a solo traveller would have liked to know Topdeck? The answer is yes. If they had have informed me of this I would have just asked to be put on a tour with more solo travellers.
Roughly 7 out of the 28 days were spent on the bus from about 8am to 6pm. Most of the time the only stopovers were highway rest areas. If you were lucky enough to get a stopover in a city, the bus would drop you off and the information you would get from the tour guide would basically be ‘Here's the drop off point. Do whatever for a few hours and make sure you’re be back here on the bus at this time'. Little to no information would be given on things to do, no city tour….this meant no clue at each stop. This company also stated in their itinerary there were 2 night stopovers in many cities. This actually meant arriving at the new destination around 6pm with the next day usually being a ‘free’ day. You have to get to the sights yourself from the poorly positioned accommodation (meaning public transport or cab) and then fork out even more money for lunches and dinner. Don’t expect any info on good eats or the best sights either as it’s something Topdeck just doesn’t do for you.
Accommodation varied with Topdeck. Sometimes it was good, sometimes not so good. The disappointing thing with this company is that they specifically stated in their itinerary things like in Krk Island, Croatia we would be staying in a beautiful resort. Reality was it was an old Villa type building from the 70s that was nothing like a resort. They talked it up like it was a 5 star resort however it was just a run down building with nothing you’d expect from a resort. No pool, no luxury rooms, no spas, no beach. In Nice, France the room size was comparable to a large walk in wardrobe. Accommodation was usually so far away from the city centre so you would spend a fair amount of time on public transport getting to where you wanted to go. In Switzerland we had to walk through the snow for quite a distance to even reach cabins we were staying in.
Meals were good at times but more often than not they were terrible. In Bordeaux, France we were served a dish of a small portion of white rice and what appeared to be a fillet of chicken with disgusting custard Tiramisu that felt like rubber. That was the meal...I kid you not. I’d rather have just paid for my own dinner… I’d even rather a greasy Big Mac over that meal.
The tour guide Justin:
The tour guide was inattentive, he had a very poor work ethic and he just didn’t care. Every so often we would be given a vague itinerary of what we were doing over the next 2-3 days. Most days he didn’t even give us a rundown on what we were doing that day. He hated people asking him questions and would answer direct questions with a vague response i.e Q: 'Do you recommend any restaurants in this area as you said you have been here many times?'...A: ‘All the restaurants are good, just choose any of them.' Q: What’s the best thing to do in this city? A: I can’t answer that. Everyone is different.’ Q: ‘What sights are a must’? A: ‘All the sights are good; it just depends on what you like.’ This guy was so incredibly frustrating to talk to. I know that everyone is different and we all like different things but when you ask for an opinion or want a recommendation from someone who has been to these cities before you expect to be given an answer. All we were ever given was a run-around.
Wrapping it up:
I have travelled all over the world and each time I travel I usually have the time of my life and I try to enjoy every second. I wish I could say that I had the time of my life with Topdeck but I just can’t. They were a terrible company to travel with.
Response from Topdeck Travel
We are sorry to hear about your disappointment with Topdeck. We don’t have a record of your complaint or from any other trips that had departed in October 2012. I know it has been some 9-10 months since you travelled with us but we do take all complaints seriously and so please send us full details of the trip you were on so we can investigate and give a full response.
We are committed to delivering for our customers and are proud of our 97% customer satisfaction rate. These ratings are taken from post trip questionnaires that are moderated by an external company and so if you can get in touch with us on email@example.com we can isolate your trip and trip leader and take action.
- Not Recommended7 August, 2013
Booked the tour from bangkok to singapore. This company is simply a middle man. You book the tour with Intrepid, and then they outsource your tour to another company. The local guides often can't speak good English, so it's difficult to understand what is going on (and confusing). They claim to be a tour for travelers, but it's really a tour for tourists. Also there are a lot of rules such as no guests in the rooms. You may get placed with people of any ages and cultures, which could be a good or bad thing depending on your view. If they want to cancel the tour on you, that is their right. If you wish to cancel your tour, then you will not be getting a refund.
Response from Intrepid Travel
Thanks for providing feedback. We love to hear how we can improve our trips and will take your feedback onboard. We would like to clarify a few of your points to ensure there isn’t any confusion.
Intrepid, unlike many other travel companies, owns the vast majority of our on-the-ground operations companies. These are the companies that organise the logistics of our trips, employ local leaders and manage the responsible tourism aspects of our operations. The very first operations company we set-up was in Thailand and they are responsible for running this trip and ensuring it gets an average rating of 4.69 out of 5 from our travellers. It is true that there may be activities or elements of the trip that we can’t operate and we will source local suppliers to manage these part of a trip. If you can send us any specific feedback about activities that you have been unhappy with we will absolutely look into how they can be improved. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
We do use local leaders as we believe that they can provide more of an immersive experience and give our traveller’s insight into a country that they wouldn’t otherwise get. It is also a major factor in ensuring that in 2012 $60m was contributed to local economies from the operations of our trips.
Finally, over 98% of our trips depart as scheduled. We don’t think it is fair to say that 100% of our trips will depart when there are situations such as the Chinese Government closing the Tibet border that are beyond our control but we do promise to make every effort to make sure our other trips depart.
- Excellent Tour29 July, 2013
My tour of Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand with Tucan Travel was an amazing trip and well worth every penny. The tour leader Brian Mcdonald was excellent as was all the accommodation from start to finish. Brian was engaging, thorough, knowledgeable and made sure we got the most out of the trip. I had my wallet stolen in Saigon and he accompanied me to the police station where he waited with me for two hours bearing in mind he had the evening's meal for the rest of the group to organize. One day I broke my earphones and he personally went to a market and got some new ones for a good price.I shared a room with him as well and so I could see the trouble and effort he went to to make sure the trip ran as smoothly as possible which it did. Also he regularly gave us opinions on the excursions and ways of making the travel better which always came good. He was a great laugh in the evening's as well, showing us the best sights and sounds of each city. I loved every minute of this trip and I was devastated I had to leave and couldn't go on to Laos. I would definitely use Tucan Travel again (Central America 2014) and recommend Brian Mcdonald as tour leader.
- Disappointing15 July, 2013
G Adventures provided very Poor Hotels. The last hotel had leaking air-conditioning, and was in the noisiest corner of the town. It also had plenty of ants, so you can’t leave any food in your room. At one point there was a power outage without emergency lighting, and we had to walk up/down multiple floors in darkness. The hotels were three stars on paper but in reality I would give them zero stars. Old, not safe, no free drinking water or wifi etc in any of the hotels. One hotel had a safe in reception that was about it.
Only half of the temples and sight seeing locations are covered with this tour. You need to pay extra for tips which is paid as a lump sump to the tour guide (CEO) on day first day. There are many sight seeing activities you need to pay for almost on a daily basis. I paid 240 Pounds for one visit to two temples in Luxor, and the entrance only fee are :Luxor Temple 50 Pounds +Karnak Temple 65 Pounds= 115 Pounds. So you will be charged almost double by G Adventures. You need to take into consideration doubling the initial price of the tour to estimate your total travel cost.
On the last day the tour includes a flight from Luxor to Cairo, where you are left at the airport to meet your own flight arrangements after the tour. This flight was not worth it, as there is an international airport in Luxor so you do not need to fly to Cairo to make your own flight arrangements out of Egypt. You may waste a lot of time waiting in the Cairo airport since we reached Cairo airport at 8:15 am and the tour itinerary advised we would arrive sometime before 12pm. So we all had flights later in the afternoon and spent almost an entire day at the Cairo airport. I felt this was a deceptive and low quality tour in general.
Response from G Adventures:
Thank you for your additional thoughts on your time in Egypt with us. We were in contact with this traveller during, and after, the tour experience.
The standards of the hotels were without doubt below where they should have been on a couple of occasions. The pool being closed in Luxor was a blow for the group who were anticipating a refreshing dip. Most people commented on that on their tour evaluations. That said, the feedback from the group (apart from this traveller) was overall overwhelmingly positive, and they rated their overall experience as 9 or 10 out of 10.
The tour outlines what is included in terms of activities, and what activities are optional. We will look into seeing if the costs we have listed for optional activities are accurate - thanks you for helping us to get better at what we do.
This tour does indeed include a flight from Luxor to Cairo. Most of our travellers fly into and out of Cairo, and so there is a need to return there. Yes, Luxor does have an International airport, but this is unlikely to work for the majority of our travellers.
- Huge Disappointment1 July, 2013
My experience with Toucan Tours was awful. Even using that word does not being to cover how poor of an experience I had. The tour guide was rude, self-centered and did not put an ounce of effort into making sure our group enjoyed your experience. The accommodations were not worth the value I paid for the trip. Despite all of this the tour was also poorly designed. What tour is called Vietnam discovered yet fails to include Ha Long Bay? I ended up leaving the tour early because for a cheap price I could stay in nice places and actually discover the Vietnamese culture.
Response from Tucan Travel:
Thank you for your feedback. Your comments regarding the tour leader are currently being followed up by our regional manager in Bangkok. Appropriate action will be taken depending on the experiences of other tour participants.
Vietnam Discovered is a Budget Expeditions tour and is designed to be cost effective for young travellers. The accommodation that we use on Budget Expeditions tours is basic, but should be clean, safe and well-located. If you feel we did not achieve this, please email email@example.com with specific details and we will investigate further. The tour itinerary is clearly advertised as not including Ha Long Bay. Instead we offer a 2-day Ha Long Bay Add-on which can be booked after your tour ends in Hanoi.
We are sorry if you feel this tour did not give you a proper insight into Vietnamese culture. It is sometimes difficult to properly get across the intricate and intriguing details of a country in a 9-day tour, but we always aspire to offer our travellers an authentic experience. I hope you enjoyed the places you did see while you were on tour with us and had a great time during your onward travel.
- China adventure tour- G adventures3 June, 2013
This is a relatively new tour, hence there are not many reviews for it yet. The overall experience in the tour was very positive and the main guide Charles Yang was very professional and knew his job very well. The tour has a lot of optional extras which will add to the cost as will the food which is mainly not included, this is clearly said in the itinery. Some of the accommodation is very basic but most is OK. The exception being a hotel in Yangshuo which ran a scam on 4 members of the tour group to falsely retain deposits. The hotel name was the 'Explorer' guesthouse and if you are interested in this trip it is worth seeing if G adventures still uses this place. If they are you should be careful! All things considered I would recommend this trip. The highlights were the trekking on the Great wall and also the trekking at the Longji rice terraces and cycling trip at Yangshuo. It is a good way to introduce China so long as you have a decent level of fitness to make the most of it.
- Exceeded expectations.2 June, 2013
From the time we landed in Lima until the morning we left Peru, G Adventures representatives took great care of us. Every rep we met went out of his way to provide extra and enthusiastic service - setting up a city tour of Lima, getting us to the airport on time for our flight to Cusco despite a collapsed bridge and a three hour traffic jam, translating for us in an internet café. In Cusco and on the Inca Trail, our guides were enthusiastic, knowledgeable, entertaining, encouraging and always there. They made sure the slowest members of our group were never left behind without delaying the fastest members. They were full of information about the history as well as the flora and fauna along the trail. The porters were amazing and I never knew camp food could taste so good. I cannot say enough positive things about this trip - it exceeded my friends and my expectations.
- Felt Ripped Off25 May, 2013
This is my experience with Intrepid Travel's Greek Islands Walking Tour from May 19 - 26, 2013:
Since I am in US they 'outsourced' me to their UK partner Exodus Tours which is fine but the communication was very poor. My only contact was Intrepid's US liaison. I was never given the name, email or phone# of the Exodus' trip leader. Intrepid's original trip description included a half day tour of Athens on the first day. Only after I arrived in Athens did I find out that there was no half day tour. So what was supposed to be a 7 days/8 nights tour was reduced to a 6 days/8 nights without notice, apology or compensation. I am not sure whether this was bait and switch or just poor communications and organization.
To add insult to injury I booked two extra days of hotel stay prior to the Tour at the same hotel in Athens where the tour began. Later on by checking the hotel's web site I discovered Intrepid had charged me 40-45% more than if I had booked the room directly. Upon protesting to Intrepid's US representative, his response was "The biggest reason is that Intrepid has a set rate contracted with the hotel for a full year... We contract with the hotels to hold a substantial number of rooms throughout the year. This is as a service to our passengers for their pre and post trip needs. For these hotels to be able to set aside such a large amount of inventory for our groups on regular basis, they do need to be sure that this will be financially sustainable." As if I the customer actually benefitted from being fleeced!!! And all along they tried to convince their customers that they would get the 'wholesale' rate when booking trip extras through them.
It was my first trip with Intrepid Travel and I can guarantee it will be my last.
Response from Intrepid Travel
Thank you for your comments, we are sorry to hear you did not fully enjoy the experiences on your trip. The hotel booked for you in Athens was at our Intrepid rate, which depending on the season and occupancy can be higher or lower than what you would find if you were to seek out your own booking. Essentially we partner with local hotels and agree on a set rate in order to guarantee availability on our trip departures. This ensures that even when we run trip in the heart of the tourist season, regardless of the destination, we know these hotels will have rooms blocked off for our travellers. As you may be aware, hotels often lower the cost of rooms at the last minute in order to fill rooms. This does not impact the rates Intrepid receives. We do, however, openly list the starting and ending point hotels in our trip notes so travellers are free to book these directly should they wish to secure a lower rate.
We understand your frustration that you did not receive contact details for your leader in advance of the trip, however this is company policy for both Intrepid and Exodus. We do list an emergency number in the trip notes should any assistance be required when you arrive at your starting destination. With regards to the half-day tour on day one of the trip, we have looked at both the itineraries listed by Intrepid and Exodus and cannot find reference to this in either. We do apologise if you were under the impression this was included in the itinerary. If you can provide more detail on where you saw this mentioned, we would be happy to look into this further. You can reach us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kind regards, Intrepid Travel
- Great for a solo traveler with lots of time24 May, 2013
I traveled in summer 2012 on my first trip to Europe, and wanted to have a lot of flexibility because I did not know what to expect. The Hop-on Hop-off pass was the best choice by far since I had a lot of time but wasn’t sure how far my budget would take me. When I booked my itinerary, there was open availability on every route. Everything ran smoothly except for one exception when I had to spend extra time in Berlin because I missed the bus on my original travel day. This turned out ok in my situation since I had a friend in town, but if I was in any other city it would have sucked. This could have messed up the rest of my itinerary, but luckily I was getting off in Prague and doing my own thing for two weeks. (Basically I don’t recommend EVER missing the bus, or trying to change your travel days once you get there).
The hostels Busabout uses are for the most part really great. Some of them are campsites and are a little too far from the centre of town. But they pick up and drop off at the hostels they use, so it is often easier to just stay there than book something else and have to make your own way to and from on your travel days. You meet plenty of young people on the buses along the way, but everyone has their own itinerary, so I would often make ‘friends’ to hang out with in each stop, but it is not really the kind of tour where you make really good friends, because you don’t often travel with the same people for long. I also traveled by train through some of Eastern Europe, but I wish Busabout did their hop on hop off style there, as their setup is far more comfortable and easier to use than the train system in Europe.
- Very poor experience and a loss of a lot of money23 May, 2013
Our Lares Trek was confirmed by our agent at STA Travel as an alternative to the Inca Trail that we had initially requested. Our agent informed us that the Lares Trek was very similar to the Inca Trail, just quieter and more beautiful. G Adventures also sent us a confirmation email, which included a link to the wrong 'trip details' for the Inca Trail. When questioned our STA agent said, "literally all details in those trip notes are the same for you, the only difference is that you are doing the Lares Trek instead of the Inca Trail day 3 and onwards." The email from G-Adventures also noted that our "final documentation will be sent by email 2 weeks before our departure." The fact that we were sent no such documentation did not bode well for the foreseeable trek.
On the 13th May we turned up at the stipulated meeting point, for our briefing. At this meeting the administrative incompitancies of STA Travel and G-Adventures continued to be highlighted. With little information, we found ourselves embarrassed and humiliated as everyone who was at the meeting had booklets of information. We were told important information about the Lares Trek for the first time, such as details of the itinerary, the packing list and the obligatory extra costs that the Lares Trek entailed. Having payed a considerable amount in advance for this trip, the last thing we were expecting was to have to take from our limited travel budget. We left unprepared and stressed, which started our "trip of a lifetime" on a bad note.
We would like to highlight the following as a significantly financial and emotional burden. On the 17th May we woke up in our campsite to very distressing news; a mule had died over night and another was in a critical state, both of which had been carrying our belongings and equipment for the previous 2 days. The clear sadness and panic of the horsemen impacted severely on our group; being witnesses to this emotional situation put us in a very difficult position, feeling collectively accountable for these terrible events. Our guide stressed the importance of these animals on their owners livelihoods and the disproportionately high price to buy another. Feeling responsible and guilt ridden, a fund was put together by all the group members of around $250. We would dread to think how we would feel if it was a horseman and not his mule who had died.
We are shocked by the lack of insurance that these contracted horsemen suffered, which we did not expect when booking through a globally established company like G-Adventures. If insurance had been correctly in place we would not have witnessed such an event or felt the brunt of its consequence.
We were obliged to carry our bags and were then taken past a field where the dead mule was exposed. As you could imagine this was a very upsetting scene. To avoid another uncomfortable situation we decided that it was only humane to cancel lunch to allow the horsemen to resolve the situation, again leading to further expenditure.
Throughout this emotionally straining day our guide was clearly very upset, unfriendly and distant. We were left mostly by ourselves to deal with the situation.
As a final point and "the cherry on the cake", we would like to make a disappointing note about the amount of trekking done, which was significantly less than stated. The reality is that we walked a total of 10 and a half hours, which is not remotely close to the 17 hours quoted on the G-Adventures site. To be honest we feel cheated out of a lot of money and lied to by our STA agent; we have been left saddened and disappointed with our experience.
Response from G Adventures:
Thank you for your well thought out review of your Lares Trek experience with us. We do take this feedback very seriously and we are sorry that this tour did not live up to your expectations. We are looking into your concerns regarding the documentation and will be in contact with you again soon about this. I also want to apologize for the unfortunate situation with the mules on this trek and I understand that this must have been distressing for all concerned. We have been in contact with our local operations office and have opened an investigation into this incident. I can assure you that all staff and guides are covered by insurance but we do need to investigate further to determine the cause of the incident and to see what better action could have been taken to minimize the impact to our clients and staff. Once again we will be in contact with you directly to discuss these issues.
Sincerely, G Adventures
- Impressive7 May, 2013
The tour was impressive. Each of our guides were friendly, helpful, and their knowledge was far beyond anything I was expecting. Machu Piccu was phenomenal and it was my favorite part of the tour. Pre-booking this was nerve racking, as there are limited permits for hiking the Inca Trail, and I didn’t want to miss out and have to take an alternative route. G Adventures had a good reservations team who helped out with my many questions and phone calls about the permit!
51 days is a long time to be on tour, and I would probably suggest to others to consider splitting it up by doing two separate tours, and take a week for some downtime (maybe in Buenos Aires), then doing the other half. I appreciated the amount of sights and activities packed into the tour, but the early mornings and long days can ware you out after a while. I recommend G Adventures to any of my friends or family of any age with an adventurous spirit (over 18 of course).
- Short Days30 April, 2013
This tour is good for someone who has never been to Europe. It goes to so many places, and we pretty much didn't have to do any pre-planning before we got on the tour (good for us since we booked pretty late).
The people we traveled with were fun, and the bus wasn't completely full, so it was nice to have extra room on long driving days. I also thought that the hotels we stayed in were decent, mostly because of the location. I wasn't a huge fan the cold weather and the fact that the days were so short (not Topdeck's fault I know), but this trip would be much better in summer or spring. The scenery was really amazing with all of the snow, and given I had never seen snow before it was a pretty big novelty.
Prague was my favorite city, there was lots to see, and the pubs and restaurants were really cozy and perfect for winter. I recommend traveling with a friend since all of the accommodation is shared with one other person, and it is better to share with someone you know than someone you don't.
- Christmas in Panama26 March, 2013
The itinerary on this trip was fantastic for a short one week tour through Panama. There was a good mix of beaches, activities and culture.The accommodation and transport were much better than I had expected on a budget style tour. I did this trip over Christmas so expected that some things would be closed and some optional excursions unavailable at least on Christmas Day. Our tour leader Neil let us know that this was the case at our orientation meeting. He had contacted all the companies in Boquete where we would be on Chrissy Day and they advised that they wouldnt be operating. To compensate for this Neil had booked an amazing restaurant well in advance as he knew this would book out as well. We had the most spectacular Christmas Eve dinner complete with Turkey,an open fire, mulled wine and all the trimmings perfect for those of us missing family and christmas feasts at home! A few people had mentioned during the day that they were disappointed they couldnt go rock climbing and because Neil had such good relationships with the local guides he managed to get everyone on the Christmas Day excursion of their choice. Whilst we were out he personally prepared a 6 course christmas feast for the entire group. It was a fantastic week made perfect by a knowledgable, fun and enthusiatic tour leader who did his best to make sure that all the people on the trip went back home loving Central America as much as he obviously does! The Panama Canal was as amazing as I had expected as well!!
- Perfect for someone who loves the outdoors21 March, 2013
Costa Rica is beautiful, and if you love the outdoors you should go! I was very impressed with G, they ran a great trip. This is a 9 day trip, but it is really only 7 days of actual travel and sightseeing since the first day you simply check-in, and the last day the trip ends in the morning. I originally thought we wouldn't see much because we had so little time, but G packed in so much stuff, I was truly satisfied that I had a well-rounded experience in Costa Rica in only one week. We were always outdoors doing interesting and adventurous activities (I don't recommend if you aren't fit or adventurous), and everyone we met was so friendly and helpful. The accommodation was nice but simple, and our CEO was probably one of the best tour guides I have ever encountered. I would recommend this trip to any one with little time, but who likes the outdoors and is looking for a trip that packs in lots of activities.
- Safe and comfortable option for travel to Egypt6 March, 2013
I have been meaning to write this review for a while, we travelled in August 2012. We were fortunate to go at this time because there were so few tourists at all of the popular destinations. Overall the accommodation at each destination was very impressive. We’ve gone on tours in Europe for a similar amount of money with a much lower standard of accommodation. All of the hotels were 4 star quality at least. Naturally the hotels had fantastic breakfasts to start us off. Overall, the food was above average, but definitely not anything special. We were on our own for many of the dinners. We relied on our guide for recommendations when we could, but it was pretty hit or miss when we were on our own. The first couple days in Cairo were definitely the highlight of the trip. We started the tour in Cairo at the Egyptian Museum, which is the most comprehensive museum I’ve ever been to. It seemed like every Egyptian artifact was crammed into this massive building. King Tut’s famous tomb is here and was a sight in and of itself. We later saw the pyramids and spent some time in the amazing markets shopping for Egyptian cotton and other handmade goods. Having a comprehensive guide with us in the museum and at the pyramids was priceless. Egypt definitely didn’t feel like a country that had just gone through a revolution. All of the people were friendly to tourists and it seemed like they were just happy that tourists weren’t scared to come see their beautiful country. The tour was a lot more comfortable and luxurious than I expected which was a nice surprise. The only problem was that it was over 40 degrees Celsius every day. I’d definitely recommend this trip in the summer as it is less expensive and less crowded (as long as you can stand the extreme heat!)
- For a seasoned hiker6 March, 2013
The reason we went with Intrepid was because they guaranteed their trail permit. We read some stories about some tours not being able to get a permit for all of their guests and decided it would be best to make sure we got one. As for the trip, make sure you do some training if you are thinking about hopping on this trip. I’d recommend this trip for a seasoned hiker. We hiked pretty much every day with the big day being the hike to Macchu Picchu. We walked close to 10 miles a day and this was on a hiking trail which made it much more difficult. Apparently there is the option to take buses so if you aren’t feeling totally fit, you may want to look into this route. Some of the hikes started as early as 4 AM and there were occasional breaks for lessons on Incan culture. I wished these were longer because for the most part the group was pretty burned out and tired on the trip. The highlight of the trip was definitely the food. The porters who’ve done this trip so many times would run ahead and set up camp and cook the meals so the food would be ready when we arrived. Most of the meals were restaurant quality and it was hard to believe that this food was made in a camping setting. Overall, this was a great trip, but I would caution anyone who does not feel “in shape” since I was exhausted by the end of the trip.
- tour leader con4 March, 2013
The itinerary was great for a very short trip, hitting some highlights of Panama - starting San Jose Costa Rica, then travelling to Bocas del Toro, Boquete, and Panama City. The accommodation was fine for a budget tour, basic but clean, with the exception of a place in Bouquete where we were staying for Christmas Eve and Christmas night. The door didn't close unless locked, the bathroom floor was wet after a shower no matter what you did, one thin towel is all that was supplied, toilet paper was see-through. I've been on a lot of tours like this and have stayed in some dodgy accommodations but this was probably the worst. The tour was good value for the money, it was on special so was a great value. The tour leader seemed to be knowledgeable about the places visited, however was not at all helpful in booking extra activities in Boquete, in hindsight I believe because all agencies had prices advertised, so there would be no money in it for him. I contacted the company about my issues with the tour leader skimming at the end of the trip, and was told that wasn't against their rules. Would have been nice to know, I would not have tipped him!
Response from Tucan Travel
We are delighted that you enjoyed the itinerary and that your tour leader was knowledgeable on Panama. We are also very pleased to hear that you found the tour good value for money as this is one of the key areas in which hope to deliver in all our tours. It is disappointing to hear of your experience when booking optional excursions. To help, we provide a list of recommended optional excursions on our website. These are excursions that have been reviewed and risk assessed with prices in either local currency or USD. It is our policy and included in our crew manual that tour leaders do not increase the price of excursions when booking on the behalf of clients. If you asked a tour leader to book an excursion that is not included in our list of approved optional excursions offered while on tour, it is very difficult for us to verify the true price and whether any discrepancy was a result of the tour leader, hotel or the operator. We will look into your comments regarding the hotel in Boquete and revise our hotel choice based on the results of our findings. We very much appreciate you taking the time to make us aware of these issues as it allows us to continuously improve our tours for future travellers. Should you have further comments, please feel free to contact us at email@example.com.
- Great Trip - Not so great organisation12 February, 2013
Firstly I have used Gecko's for two other trips in South America. Both of which were great. But that's mostly down to the tour operator in those countries. For this trip I was very frustrated to find a group of 6 people, with age ranging from 27 (me) to 60. Sadly no one else was under the age of 40. Geckos is meant to be about youth travel but it seems this trip was sold worldwide to anyone and everyone. The trip itself was an awesome experience, but that's more down to the trip itself than Gecko's. A more like minded group would have made the experience even better. The other issue was the trip notes were horrible and gave you no idea that there would be 5-6 hours per day of sitting around a tea house with nothing to do. Better planning would have made down time much more enjoyable. I really don't know if I would book with Gecko's again as there is no way of knowing what to expect from their trips.
- It was OK8 February, 2013
This trip is really cheap, and rightfully so. You travel on an overnight bus to and from London, and then you stay in tent at a campsite in below zero temperatures. We partied hard and drank lots of beer, so the cold wasn’t so bad. But lining up for a shower in the morning for about 45 minutes was brutal. The campsite is packed to the max with tents lined up side by side, not even any room to walk between the tents. The campsite is also really noisy all night long. The beerhalls close around 10pm, and then everyone heads back to the campsite and continues to party. It is fun, but really tiring. I recommend taking the day trip to Neuschwanstein castle. It is a good day to recover from all of the drinking! By the time you get on the overnight coach back to London you can’t think of anything worse than spending 10 hours on a bus overnight again. If you have the money, fly to Munich and stay in a hotel or hostel, but this trip at least gives budget travelers like me the chance to experience one of the best festivals in the world. The opening festival is also something you need to make sure you get out of bed for, and getting to the festival as early as possible everyday is important if you want to find somewhere to sit at ANY of the beer halls.
- Great day trip from Florence7 February, 2013
So glad I stumbled across this company while in Florence. They run so many great little day trips in Tuscany, I wish I had more time in Florence to do them all! We only had one day spare, and chose their wine tour, because the wine region of Tuscany is a must-see when in Italy, and this trip is perfect if you only have one day spare to see it. Irene was a great guide and very knowledgable and friendly. The Italian’s don’t skimp on the amount of wine they pour for a tasting, and the oils were great too. We had homemade pasta for lunch, which was authentic and delicious. The views at lunch set the tone of exactly how I expected the Tuscan hills to be - beautiful. Overall, I wonderful day with lots of wine, and lots of fun.
- New Zealand is Beautiful3 February, 2013
The Pure Adrenaline trip introduced me to the true beauty of New Zealand’s South Island. Our tour guide Tara took great care of us and was able to share with us a ton of history of New Zealand. She had family from New Zealand and the bus driver was also from New Zealand so it was great to get the insight of real Kiwis.
The highlight of the trip by far was Queenstown, the adventure capital of the world. I went Bungy Jumping, which was far and away the scariest moment of my life. Queenstoqn also had a killer nightlife with lots of bars and pub crawls going on. Make sure that you get a Fergburger when you are in Queenstown. It has been voted best burger in New Zealand numerous times. It would have been nice to stay longer but the other stops on the trip were worth it.
I enjoyed the trip to the Fox Glacier which is one of largest glaciers in the country. It was incredible and strange at the same time to see the glacier turning into a river in real-time. We also went on an incredible overnight cruise in Doubtful Sound. The group was able to jump on kayaks and see the waterfalls and rare birds only found in this part of the world. We were able to get up close and personal with penguins.
Overall, the trip definitely exceeded my expectations and provided me with some phenomenal pictures and memories that will last for a long time. I’d definitely recommend this trip, and wish I went on a longer trip that went up through the North Island.
- Lots of hiking3 February, 2013
Gecko's did a really great job of organising a great tour. The accommodation was good, especially the homestays, as the locals are so friendly and take really great care of you. It is also a really great opportunity to get to know the local people and pick their brains about their culture. They speak really good english for the most part. I chose this trip specifically for the Orangutans, and seeing them at the rehabilitation centre was worth the trip alone. You also get the chance to see lots of other wildlife, and it is a very outdoorsy trip. The hike up Mount Kinabalu is tough, and some people on our tour struggled. I don't think you could get the same experience in Borneo without a guide, and our guides were really good. The only downside is that the tour is a little pricey.
- Highly Recommend1 February, 2013
Back in 2008 I spent 10 days exploring the Alaska wilderness as part of a group. We were really lucky to have Dave as our guide. His leadership, knowledge of the area and organizational skills made for the camping trip to go flawlessly throughout the whole time we were there. In addition, his friendliness, jovial personality, team player attitude and open mindedness made every body in the tour feel safe and appreciate the whole experience that is to visit one of the last pristine wilderness in this planet. I highly recommend Dave for any of his tours and hope to, in the future, be a participant of one of this tours again. Alaska is such a vast area I want to visit again soon.
- Well rounded tour31 January, 2013
If you want a good mix of relaxation and sight-seeing, this is a good itinerary. You spend 3 days on Corfu island in Greece, which is relaxing, and Eastern Europe was equally great (Slovenia is divine). The accommodation was clean and comfortable, but nothing I would rave about. Our guide was friendly and knew a lot about the history of most places, which I appreciated. The only big downfall of this trip is that it is half of a longer tour. You join a tour 'half way through'. Most of the people on the tour have traveled from London for about 2 weeks prior, so I felt like a total outsider for the first few days, which was pretty sucky. I made some really good friends in the end though.
- you will get what you paid for!!!24 January, 2013
1. You have a tour guide
2. Low prices
3. Nice stays at every stop (except for one -Sukhothai)
4.Take you to hot spots
1. Lots of wasted time
2. It reads 10 days trip, but really it is 8 days and 2 of them are wasted by traveling.
3. Advertised for a swim under the water falls. Never happened.
4. Three of the nights you will stay far from anything (town or city market....etc.)
5. Although it is cheap but you can get better deal on your own in Thailand.
I don't recommend it, you can do much much better with other company or on your own
- Amazing14 January, 2013
My 15 classic Delhi/Rajasthan trip in December 2012 with Intrepid tours was amazing, we had a group of 12 and it was one of the best groups. We all just had a fantastic time under the guidance of our tour guide Mr D J (Digvijay Singh Jodha). I have never seen such a person with so much of patience, tolerance, humor, friendly, good knowledge of places, he was always there when needed, suggested good restaurants, shopping places and places to visit when we had free time. I would recommend Intrepid Tours to everyone, it was a life experience with an affordable price and we stayed at the best hotels and Forts and had a wonderful time and made good friends, something that I will always remember. The only bad thing was that tour came to an end. Aspi
- Unorganized14 January, 2013
We have toured with Geckos throughout South America and it was great, but our golden triangle experience in India was poor! We had to make telephone calls for our tour guides to show up, hotels asked for vouchers we were never given and local representatives were asking us what was planned next when we expected them to tell us! Just bad organization but once the guides were there it was a fine experience!
- I gained appreciation for world10 January, 2013
This trip to Northern India was a truly unique trip since it was pretty much entirely within one state of India. The trip started in Delhi which seemed like the most chaotic place in the world. If you are a big fan of Gandhi you will appreciate a lot of the tributes to him all over the town. This trip gave me a whole new appreciation for Indian Architecture. Every town we visited seemed to have a color theme, there was both a pink city and a blue city we visited where almost all of the buildings were shades of blue and pink. No doubt the best part of the trip was the Taj Mahal because it is one of the most beautiful buildings on earth. Be advised that this is not much of a party trip but more of a historical trip. If you want to understand Indian culture and dive deep into their history, I highly recommend this trip.
- Truly Amazing10 January, 2013
The Reunification Express was an amazing experience. The immersion into Vietnamese culture was just what I was hoping for. The 11 days actually felt like more like 3 weeks with everything we did. My favorite part of the trip was the Cu Chi Tunnels. The stories about how these networks were used to engage in battles during the war were incredible and gave a whole new perspective on how the Vietnam War was fought. The markets were also fun because the Vietnamese are not as pushy of salesman like others in Southeast Asia. The experiences were incredible but the sleeper trains we took from Hanoi weren’t very comfortable, but it probably helped keep the trip more affordable so it didn’t ruin the trip. There were not many meals included in the trip, it was fun shopping around for street food and exceptionally cheap. We pretty much ate Pho for every meal which was very cheap but very delicious.
- Save your money31 December, 2012
Save your money and don’t go with Gecko. The trip was interesting and the countries were interesting, the problem was the value for money. Gecko is a master at overcharging and finding the lowest cost forms of transport and accommodation without taking into account the location or safety of the lodgings. In Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, they even managed to find rooms without windows, their savings $10 per room. In most cases, public transit was used and for one leg of the trip the guide suggested rather than take the chance of not getting a seat and standing for the duration of the trip each member of the group could pay an additional amount and we could rent a minibus and driver. The trip was booked through a third party who sold the trip for $1,400 and we were told to bring $300 US to the orientation meeting for “local charges”. At the meeting we discovered that the $300 was for travel and accommodation, the true cost of our trip. If you enjoy being overcharged for mediocre to poor tour, by all means choose Gecko.
Response from Gecko's Adventures:
Hello bmcl2003, Thank you for submitting your review to TravAddict and we are sorry to learn that your experience with Gecko’s Grassroots Adventures did not live up to your expectations in terms of value for money. As you’re aware, we have been in contact with you directly and we hope that we have addressed your concerns and welcome you to contact us directly should you have any further questions or comments. We sincerely wish you and your travelling companion all the very best with your future adventures. Yours Sincerely,
The Gecko’s Team
- A great experience13 November, 2012
Hiking Mt Kilimanjaro has always been on my bucket list, but I had never been to Africa before so I also wanted to experience the 'big 5' while there. The hike was really difficult, I recommend training before you go, but it was incredible and an unforgettable experience. It was comforting to know that the hike was all organized well in advance. Intrepid ran a great tour, camping in the Ngorongoro Crater was a surprising highlight. The night in the hotel after the Kilimanjaro hike was the best, and a great way to wind down after the most challenging thing I have ever done.
- Beijing to Hong Kong Express7 November, 2012
This was an excellent 'whistle stop' tour of China. I suppose the clue was in the name but from the moment we arrived to the time we said goodbye this was high speed express tour which took in so many key tourist attractions from the Great Wall and Terracotta Army to the river cruises in Yangshou and skyscrapers of Hong Kong. We had a fantastic group of fellow travellers and we were led by a superb leader (Howard) who couldn't have been more helpful - he was consciencious, informative, knowledgeable, funny, hugely enthusiastic and rightly proud to show us around his native country. His clear objective was to ensure we all got a good insight into Chinese history and culture, that we were always safe and most importantly we all enjoyed the holiday. I recommend this trip to anyone who is happy to move at a quick pace in order to see as much as possible in a short period of time. Most of us bolted on a few relaxing days in Hong Kong or Macau at the end of the trip just to relax and reflect on the brilliant experience we'd all had before flying back home.
- A bit disappointed5 November, 2012
My wife and I regretted booking back to back G Adventures tours in India and Nepal and then Thailand. Many of our accommodations were grim, ranking at the bottom of Trip Advisor's lists. We joked in one particularly stained and wrecked Thai hotel that we shouldn't disturb anything because it looked like someone had been murdered in the room and the police might return for evidence. In one town our B side accommodations were ranked 71 of 82 hotels in the area on Trip Advisor (and deservedly so). We walked next door to a beautiful resort with fountains and pools and discovered the price was only $6USD more per night! Why did we pay G Adventures to book our accommodations when they do such a shoddy job of it? Beforehand we assumed G had local knowledge that helped them arrange the best lodging at a reasonable price, but in our experience anyone with an internet connection and a drop of common sense can fare better. The planned activities were good but not great. We assumed that G Adventures would have really good local guides for our destinations but they were wholly mediocre. If you asked a question that was off script, they stared blankly (Q: was there conflict between the Muslim rulers of the Mughal empire and the Hindus they ruled? A: oh no sir, they got along fine by paying taxes). We booked an"active adventure" in Thailand ranked as a 3 out of 5 on G's activity-meter with hiking, biking, and kayaking, but found that the activity level was exaggerated. Most people on the trip weren't particularly fit or active which meant that our athletic sojourns moved at a pace more reminiscent of middle school PE class than adult sport. We won't recommend G Adventures to our family or friends and feel regret that we sunk so much of our personal savings into these trips. I don't think G Adventures used our money well in arranging lodging, tours, and transportation. Asia is wonderful and my wife and I had an amazing trip, but we won't be booking with G in the future.
Response from G Adventures:
Thank you for your feedback regarding our Delhi to Kathmandu, and Thailand Hike, Bike & Kayak tours. We take this feedback very seriously, and apologize for your disappointment. We assure you that G Adventures strives to provide positive and rewarding experiences for our passengers at all times, and we will contact you directly to discuss the complaints described above.
- Disappointing2 November, 2012
Top Deck says you'll spend the night in the cities you are touring...this was really important to me because I wanted to experience the nightlife in Rome, Venice etc. However, many of the so-called hostels or cabins are actually just trailer parks located miles away from the city.After the tour bus had taken everyone back to the campsite for the day, it took a 45 Euro taxi ride to get back into the city at night. Since people didn't want to mess with taxis or public transportation, everyone just drank at the campsites. I'm not saying that can't be fun..but honestly I didn't go to Rome so I could party in a trailer park with no Italians in sight! Our guide wasn't particularly helpful either. She didn't seem very concerned when 2 girls got placed in a smoking room, when 75% of the tour came down with a nasty cough that turned into pneumonia for at least one of us, or when a girl asked her for help booking a train ticket. Guides are not suppose to be moms-i do get that.But since they had time to party every night, it would have been nice if they could've found the time to give some group members extra help. Also, the itinerary for the European Wonder tour just tried to cram too many places into too few days. We spent a large part of our trip on the bus-if you added up the hours spent driving, we literally spent days on the road.I don't blame top deck for that, I knew the itinerary before I signed up. But for anyone considering a tour, take into consideration the 6, 8, and even 10 hour bus rides. I think one of their explorer trips would have been better.
Response from Topdeck Travel:
We strive to provide our passengers with a great experience and are sorry to hear that you rated yours otherwise. Your feedback is important to us, so we'd like to address your points above.
Accommodation: you refer to the European Wonder staying outside the city at campsites in Rome and Venice on the 14 day itinerary. Getting accommodation in Venice could really hurt your wallet and logistically it is impossible for coaches to get in and out of Venice as it's a vehicle-free zone, so as all companies do, we stay on the mainland. Camping Roma is the closest campsite to the city centre of Rome, with good public transport links, en-suite twin share cabins and superb facilities which are far better than most hostels in Europe. It is a very well-equipped budget accommodation with a good reputation so we feel that 'trailer park' is not really an appropriate description.
Guide: we have passed your comments on to our crew department.
Itinerary: the European Wonder is a trip which appeals to travellers who want to see as much of Europe as possible within a limited amount of time. As you know, Europe is pretty big so long drive days are sometimes necessary. However the actual time spent on the coach is broken up regularly for comfort and lunch stops. We also aim to include interesting day stops where possible, such as your visit to Pisa on the way to Florence and the visit to the former concentration camp at Dachau upon leaving the Austrian Alps. We do understand that some days are unavoidably long, however the contrast between the destinations you visited in Europe is remarkable. For instance, we feel that given a magical city like Paris and the stunning village of Lauterbrunnen in the Swiss Alps are within a day's drive, it makes the journey more than worthwile.
We hope that our reply addressed your issues. Please feel free to contact us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org if you wish to discuss this matter further.
Best Regards, Team Topdeck
- Very Impressed30 October, 2012
This was a well-rounded tour, which I would do again. Our guide and driver were great, they had so much energy the entire trip I don't know how they were both headed back to London to do it all again after it was over. Our guide asked everyone what our favorite part of the tour was at the end (on the bus into the microphone), and pretty much everyone's answer was different. The itinerary was perfect for someone like me. It was my first time to Europe, travelling with my boyfriend. We had free time explore in each place, which I liked because I am always on the lookout for great food, but a lot of other people on our tour weren't really interested in spending a lot of money on food. Rome was by far my favorite place for food. I was also surprised with the restaurants we ate at with the group. They were mostly authentic to the area, and they were a lot better than what I was expecting. Breakfast isn't anything great, but that was expected. If you like ham and cheese and bread, then you will be fine! At least the bread rolls at breakfast were always fresh. Also if you are travelling with a partner you will get your own room. Only thing is that most of the time the rooms have two single beds. It didn't bother me and my boyfriend, but it did bother some other couples.
- Jordan is beautiful25 October, 2012
Jordan is an amazing country, and I had completely underestimated it's beauty. Peregrine could not have run a better tour. The hotels were wonderful, our guide was very informative and was genuinely concerned about our wellbeing, and every sight on the itinerary was worth our time. Thank you Peregrine, I can't wait to book my next tour.
- Impressed with the guide23 October, 2012
I was very impressed with our guide. He was very kind and knew everything about anything we encountered. The train sleeper was surprisingly comfortable, and the rest of the accommodation was standard of what you would probably expect in India, not great, but not bad. I enjoyed the flexibility of the trip. We had plenty of time to explore in our own time, and our guide was always helpful with suggestions for where to go, where not to go (important in India), and always had a handful of different suggestions for dining.
- If you want to hike the Inca Trail, book this trip18 October, 2012
If you want to hike the Inca Trail, I recommend this trip. The guides were great, everything was well planned, and Tucan helped organize the Inca Trail permit which saved us a lot of pre-planning. The only thing I did not like was the 'toilets' on the trek. Make sure you take a lot of hand sanitizer! Really enjoyed the experience, and I am glad we decided to do the trek with Tucan. We booked flights in and out of Lima, and the rest was all taken care of.
- Golden Triangle India tour1 October, 2012
My wife and I traveled on this 8 day g adventures tour to India 9/2012. We enjoyed the tour tremendously. The small group concept (9 on our tour) and flexibility is ideal. This allows flexibility for the group to spend more time at places of interest and you don't feel herded. Can't say enough about our CEO (Chief Experience Officer-IE tour guide) Jai. He is very flexible, enthusiastic, outgoing, cares about people and our experience in India. On his own time he arranged a trip to a small village which was a highlight of our tour. He also went on a 2 hour power walk with some group members and taught a short yoga class on the roof of one hotel we stayed at. We are looking forward to our next g adventures tour.
- Great Experience in History30 September, 2012
My friend and I joined this group on 03/09/2012 and joined 11 others to complete these 15 days. Our Tour Guide- Burak GULCAN,was such an interesting and helpful person. We travelled for the 15 days throughout Turkey using so many different types of transport and seeing so many interesting and historical sights. Burak's knowledge of his country and its history was an experience to all of us. He was helpful, understanding and a real friend to each of us on the trip, and we were not a young group. We had so much fun, and I wish to personally thank the other travellers in the group and mostly Burak for this wonderful, interesting, exhausting but truly great experience. Many thanks to all. I recommend Intrepid to everyone I can. Anne Anstee.
- FIRST TRIP ABROAD28 September, 2012
My husband & I happened upon G Adventures by accident and are very happy that we did. Our Kenyan experience will forever be etched in our memories because of the well-planned and executed tour through western Kenya. Our guide, Daniel, was professional, knowledgeable and looked after us in every situation. It is basic as far as accomo, but that is what made the tour an experience to remember. Our drivers could not have been more helpful and fun! The group consisted of 8 of us from around the globe and we have created close bonds with all. The people of Kenya are wonderful and I would encourage everyone to visit this part of Africa. We never once felt threatened by either 2 or 4 legged critters. The wildlife is like a fairy tale...we saw all of the BIG 5 thanks to our CEO and drivers. Be sure to use some Swahili while there as it goes a long way with the local folks if you try. As far as money, don't bother with traveller's cks as we couldn't cash them...but VISA and Db worked great. And you will want some KES to have when you land. Also, get your VISA into Kenya before you go, as the lineup was huge & you may miss your connection to the hotel. Be sure to keep any essentials, like your malaria pills in your carry on in case your luggage doesn't make it.(one of our group had that happen..paid $180 to get it to our location). All in all, we would travel with G Adventures again. Very happy with our first trip abroad.
- Don't do it! Book a hostel!27 September, 2012
We were searching for last minute cheapish accommodation for Oktoberfest Opening Weekend and decided to camp with Topdeck. Well. That was a mistake! Upon checking in I informed the staff that a friend of mine would be arriving late and could she be assigned my tent. No Dice. We were both placed with random girls. Even though prior to booking I had rung Topdeck and queried this and they said it would be fine, we would get a tent together. The weather was a large contribution to my misery. It rained for almost 24hours from friday night to saturday night. Our tent flooded, saturating all of our clothes. It was cold and wet and I was wishing I had spent the extra money for the Hostel tour. Topdeck provided a bus to and from the event. The first bus in the morning was at 8am. I was under the impression that over opening week you had to get there early to secure a spot! We arrived at Oktoberfest at 9am. By the time we fluffed around trying to decide which Hall to go into the lines were massive - most people had been there since 7am! Needless to say we missed out on a table inside. It was still raining, making the tables outside very undesirable. So because we got there so late we missed out on getting into a hall ALL DAY! Ended up heading to a nearby pub instead to drink away our sorrows! A cooked breakfast was supplied daily, but if you wanted to get to the Halls in time you had to skip it. I found the staff very unwilling to help. It was freezing camping and the line for the showers were just stupid. I know I sound like a moaning whiner but really... Spend the money and get a hostel or a house or a hotel - Anything! You'll enjoy your weekend so much more!
Response from Topdeck Travel:
We are sorry to hear that your weekend was not what you were expecting. The management and staff on site were aiming to provide the best service possible in order to not let the weather hinder our passengers' enjoyment. Let us address your points one by one:
As per your post, Oktoberfest opening weekend was stuck with heavy rain unfortunately, something I am sure you can appreciate is out of the control of our team. The team based at the campsite prepared the tents and camping area as best as possible to handle any heavy downpours, and were ready to respond to any problems with tents when reported, to handle the weather. We are very limited however in consistent days of heavy rain in an outdoor environment. Opening weekend is a demanding time to get entrance to the beer halls every year. As much of the outdoor seating was not in use this weekend, it increased the demand even more. We were unable to reserve spaces in tents for people who did not arrive together on this weekend due to volume of passengers we had checking in on one day.
We appreciate your feedback and if you wish to discuss this further, please contact us directly at email@example.com
- France & Italy24 September, 2012
This tour was amazing. Our tour leader Francesco was a great leader very caring and nothing was too much trouble. The group we travelled with were great and we became firm friends. The accommodation was perfect. Intrepid takes you to all the main places to see. The trains were on time and very comfortable. Loads of walking but that was part of the adventure. Intrepids the way to do your travelling.
- Would do it again tomorrow13 September, 2012
We have just left our tour group earlier today but whilst I had some free time thought it would be fitting to reflect on the trip and share with others looking to travel Europe with a tour company. Call me lucky but I was very hesitant about the age of other tour members after being told tours are just massive piss up's where everyone sleeps with everyone... Not something you want to do for a honeymoon?. Well it was our honeymoon and it was a great trip. We had an awesome group of people, average age would have been late 20's and mostly Aussie couples. We had a great tour leader Matt, he was nothing short of amazing with all of our group. We were always on time he got us best seats, meals etc wherever he could and generally made it easy for us all to relax, enjoy and experience the trip. I would highly recommend the Hotel trip option to all as good value for money, a few less desirable rooms but on average across the trip not too bad. Meals they provide are above average in general and the optional activities are well spread and great value for money. I hope all others are as pleasantly surprised as I was and a big thanks to Matt, Rae and the Top Deck team for a great trip!
- Time of my life9 September, 2012
Man, I had such a good time on this trip. Our trip leader Dan was so great. I am still trying to figure out how he had so much energy and enthusiasm the entire trip. He was always happy to answer questions, and always got excited about everywhere we went (even though he had probably been to all of them so many times before). Our bus driver, Damo, was also great, and always did his best to get us everywhere promptly and safely (but just so you know you do spend a lot of time on the bus). I made some amazing friends and would do it all over again if I could! I plan to book another trip with Topdeck again soon
- Seeing the Gorillas was the most amazing experience9 September, 2012
Seeing the Gorillas in the wild was the best part of this trip, and worth it 100%. Gecko's as the tour company did a great job. I was very impressed with the kindness and the knowledge of the tour guide. Our cook was also wonderful and made amazing food (better than what I was expecting). While we seemed to spend a lot of time driving, our driver was skilled, and I always felt safe (this would be a concern of mine if I was booking another tour, because we encountered another tour group along the way who said their driver was horrible and not safe. I can't remember who they said their tour company was). We saw so many animals, and our guide was really good at spotting them and pointing them out to us at any chance he had. I got some amazing pictures that I am going to blow up and frame. I also liked that we went to Zanzibar near the end of the tour. It was so nice to wind down the trip by the beach.
- Wonderful9 September, 2012
This tour was simply wonderful. The lodges we stayed in were fantastic. We saw plenty of wildlife, and met plenty of locals. Intrepid was very good at creating an experience that made me feel like I did more than I could have ever imagined in 8 days. We purposely chose an Intrepid Comfort tour because I wanted to stay in nice places, but still make sure I didn't end up on a snooty glamorous tour with people who didn't want to get off the safari truck. My favorite part of this trip was visiting the Ngorongoro Crater. It was an unexpected highlight for me which was just incredible to see.
- never again9 September, 2012
The trip was extremely poorly run. Our tour guide assisted and enabled the locals tour guides in scamming the group and often reacted to our questions with a dismissive laugh or rolling her eyes. The trip is described as basic but this is an exaggeration. Many of the places we stayed the showers didnt work or would only run cold. Also a majority of the beds were either very dirty or best described as a plank of wood with a yoga mat on top. I would never go on a trip with this tour company again.
- Stay away from gecko tours!!!!3 September, 2012
My friend and I booked the tour of the Greek Islands and I strongly reccommend you never go with Gecko's. Our transfer (which we organized through Gecko's) never showed up (which we also paid extra for). We ended up paying €40 for a taxi to the hotel. The tour was pretty expensive compared to others, then when we arrived in Athens we were told we needed to pay a €150 'local tax' which we were told covered things like buses and ferries. The hotels were old, unclean, far from the centre of town and just not a nice place to stay. Our tour guide did very little guiding and we saw nothing touristy (no museums, churches, monuments etc) she showed us places to eat and shop. After sending several emails to Gecko's to let them know how I felt, I got no reply from any email I sent. They obviously didn't care after they already had my money. Definitely do not recommend this tour group at all. Total waste of money.
Note from TravAddict:
The Gecko's website clearly states that this tour has a €150 local payment, payable on the first day of our tour in Greece.
- TOPDECK = AMAZING!!!30 August, 2012
I did the Topdeck Spirit of Europe tour in Septmeber/October 2011. It was honestly the best time I have ever had! Our tour guide was extremely knowledgeable and professional whilst also making the trip loads of fun. Whatever we needed he tried to help us out, we were never left not knowing where to go or how to get home and always felt safe. Whilst the trip was fast paced and you didnt spent a lot of time in each place, it was exactly as I thought it would be. I felt like i saw soooooooo many beautiful places in each city. With these kind of tours you can't expect to have all the time in the world to explore, you have to take every minute and use it wisely. AND if you do you will get the essence of each city and have the best trip.
Topdeck knows their food!!! I thought if there was going to be a problem on tour it would be what we eat. BUT i was wrong, the food we were given in the topdeck tents was seriously good food. Traditional to the areas, plenty of it and usually wine to go with it. Sure there were some strange breakfasts as we got further east, but hey its expected. Our driver was great! Very experienced, knew some local languages, always safe and always joined in our fun. All in all the whole Topdeck team we experienced was fantastic!! Overall the accommodation was great. Few funny showers and such, but nothing that couldn't be handled/laughed about and forgiven. If you want luxury, don't go on a whirlwind tour. Spirit of Europe was a great choice to see the highlights Europe has to offer. I have recommended both this tour and Topdeck in general to many people and will continue to do so. Thanks Topdeck!! Amazing company :) Amazing trip...cant wait to do it all again!
- I only book Intrepid30 August, 2012
Intrepid are the best tour operator around. Worth every penny in my opinion. Recently returned from a tour in Vietnam, and loved it. I have also traveled with them to China, India and Thailand. Yes they are all tours to Asia, but that is what they are known for. If you are like me and can only ever travel for short periods of time and hate making all of the travel arrangements, Intrepid is the perfect solution. A lot of my friends have told me I should try other tour companys, but why mess with a good thing.
- Top Deck is a WASTE of money. Read before booking!!22 August, 2012
I attended a European tour this summer. I have broke down a detailed review based on my experiences. I know it kind of wordy, but the most important thing to know is that I was incredibly uncomfortable and found the company's laziness put the entire tour group in danger. BASICS First off, I was under the impression that the group size would be 30. We were nearly 40. This meant that we lost precious sightseeing time on our fast moving tour because there were more people to wait around for in the morning or at rest stops, check in times were extended at the hotel, dinners took longer, etc. It just wasn't ideal. ACCOMMODATIONS I read we'd be staying at 2-3 star hotels, but this generally wasn't the case. I was also subjected to being put into a triple share (despite the fact I paid for a twin share and made the tour leader aware at check in). If you have issues with any of the following, you may want look to into booking elsewhere: -No free wifi -No air conditioning -No blackout curtains -Bathtub only (no shower) -Broken shower heads -Mold (like a lot, and on the walls) -Dirty sheets with random hairs upon arrival -Walls cracking, paint chipping, mystery stains on the walls, bedspreads and towels -Location was typically 30-60 mins away via public transport from the actual city you are touring -Bugs on the food at the breakfast buffet It was so bad in Berlin, I actually booked a hotel room 3 blocks away that had a/c and only cost 1 euro more then the hotel they chose for us (which was a mere 55 cause they are so cheap!). On a side note, I passed by several hotels that had Contiki passengers and they were usually nicer and had a/c. BUS -I think it's important to know that the bus will stop every 2 hours and it is mandatory for you to get off. Breaks will last for 15 or 30 minutes. It's impossible to get any decent sleep because of this. -Our bus broke down at a rest stop in Italy. Luckily, we only had to spend 90 minutes in the sun before other arrangements had been made. There were no reparation for the inconvenience, but I think that just may be a European thing. In the states, they would have at least given us a bottle of water or something to make us more comfortable. TOUR TEAM Several members of the tour group had come to the conclusion that we may have drawn the short end of the stick when it came to leaders, so I don't know for sure if this would apply to them all. I do know I paid the same amount as someone departing on the same trip at a different time, so you should just be aware of what your money is getting you. Here are some of the major issues I encountered: -Day 1 a sheet containing all of our personal information (full name, passport info, emergency contact details) was left on display at the front desk of the pick up location for anyone to see. Then, it was left behind and we had to go back to retrieve it. That was the first sign of what was to come. -It seemed as though we were always missing or getting on the wrong public transport (ferries, trains, etc), it's like nobody was calling ahead to confirm departure information or directions. These weren't cases of "last minute changes" or "force majeure." It was simple laziness. -Crew members are not required to know any of the local languages. For the most part, they can help you no more than you can help yourself. -Communication was rubbish. For example, we had a group dinner in the evening. So, I would stop by the hotel at noon to check and see if the meeting time/location had been posted. It had not. How am I suppose to know when to return to from the city? I was forced to track down the leader to ask but simply got a vague response of "maybe 6, maybe 6:30." Ok, I will just put my vacation on hold until you figure it out. These kinds of things happened on a daily basis (of which there were 18). -We were forced to buy optional activities through our leader. Yet, somehow the details of the product would be unknown. If you sell me a ticket to a boat ride and drop me off in the city at 9:30am, shouldn't you be able to tell me when the first cruise leaves? But instead of just admitting they didn't know, it once again would be some vague information like "usually 10:30, or 11, but I cannot guarantee." Didn't I pay to have someone to help me figure out this stuff? I would expect for them to say they would make an attempt to find out. -The tour leader didn't know squat about history. If you ask them questions, most of the time the answers will be made up. Thanks google! -There was one particular safety issue that came up due to employees negligence. When arriving at a concentration camp, it was raining, so it was asked how much time we would be spending outside because it may be necessary to get supplies from under the bus. The tour leader responded that it wouldn't be too much time spent outdoors. At the conclusion of our tour we had to walk down what was know as the "death stairs." It was 200 stone steps without railing. Most of us were in flip flops in the pouring rain and there was no other option to get back to the coach. I slipped on the cobble stones leading up to the steps and came close to taking off my shoes all together. It is a miracle nobody died. For the record, my driver was amazing! He was way more knowledgeable and actually spoke most of the languages. If you wanted something done we all knew to go to him. OPTIONAL AND INCLUDED ACTIVITIES -Be aware that Top Deck sometimes marks up the optional prices. For example skydiving through them cost 125 euro's, but when you arrive at the facility they advertise it at 110. However, there were times when it did work out in our favor. In the end, I found most activities were worth the value. -Included activities were questionable. For example, I'd read in the itinerary that a visit to a museum was included, but upon arrival I was told that if I want to actually to go in I will have to pay. My only other option would be to wait on the bus for 2 hours. Really? INCLUDED MEALS -For the most part the dinners were good. They always took you somewhere that displayed dishes of the local culture. The tour leader never knew what we were having or if any drinks were included. Only once did they cover a cocktail. -Breakfast was bread, meat, cheese and boiled eggs... Everyday! Not great. Bottom line is that I think I could have done a better job on my own. I have also traveled with Intrepid, which was a WONDERFUL experience. I suggest you look into them, or anyone else really.
RESPONSE FROM TOPDECK TRAVEL:
We take your feedback seriously and would like to investigate the matter further. Could you please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org and advise your departure date? Please also let us know whether you have submitted a formal complaint.
Thank you & best regards,
- Fast trip, but worth it17 August, 2012
There is no denying that this tour is fast! In 8 days you go from Bangkok to Ho Chi Minh, but it is worth it if you don't have a lot of time. I went with my husband on his business trip to Thailand, and forced him to take this trip with me so that we could actually experience some culture while we were there. He was so hesitant about the 'cheap' tour that I booked, but I didn't want to travel with a bunch of oldies, and I REALLY wanted to go to Angkor Wat, and this trip went there. It wasn't a luxurious tour by any means, but I had a great time, and surprisingly so did my husband (who generally likes to travel in style). From the words of my husband 'I am glad we went on a tour. I saw a lot of things I would have never thought to go and see'. While we probably could have booked a similar tour that stayed in amazing hotels, I think the organization and the itinerary was probably just as good as any other tour.
- Cheap and worth it14 August, 2012
The first thing I have to acknowledge about this tour is the price. I paid around £250 for an 8 day sailing tour to Croatia (£350 including flights). It sailed from Split to Dubrovnik in just over one week, and it included breakfast and lunch everyday. The tour was very organized, our leader was awesome (I want her job)! I was very impressed with the boat we sailed on. The cabins were nice, and the crew were friendly. Most of the people on our boat were in their 20's. I highly recommend this tour, I spent less money on my holiday than I would at home. This is the perfect relaxing getaway for young people living in London (or anywhere in Europe). Also, check out their website, they have good pictures of what their boats are like, and it is what made me decide to book with them.
- Don't Choose Gecko's!!!18 July, 2012
*PLEASE NOTE: TravAddict has deleted parts of this review due to it's excessive length
My holiday, which was my wife's and my honeymoon, was great! The other guests on the tour (mainly from Australia) were amazing! They definitely made the trip much more fun! I think the time at each place was about right. There were a couple of times where I wish we didn't have to tear-down the tents as soon as we did but then we wouldn't have been able to see as many places as we did. I would say the tour was reasonably priced. However, the tour leader (Moses) was very difficult to understand. The Tour Leader's local and country knowledge was one of the most frustrating parts of the tour. I remember driving from Arusha towards Nairobi wondering which of the beautiful peaks I was looking at was Mount Kilimanjaro. But Moses never said a word. I learned a lot more from Peter (the cook) about the local culture than I did from Moses. I was actually very impressed with the meals! Peter, our cook, was amazing! He did an excellent job finding good fresh food along the way and provided good variety for dinners. The last night Peter made a popular African meal that was delicious! The driver Alfred did a great job getting us from point A to point B safely. We broke-down a couple of times and he had the expertise to be able to get the truck functional again within a reasonable time. However, he was not approachable or friendly at all. The safari truck was great! Although it was extremely bouncy/bumpy at times which was annoying for some of the guests. I was happy with the activities but it would have been nice if the activities offered were consistent with what was listed in our itinerary. Two of the three hotels that we were offered intentionally screwed us! Especially the Lake Victoria hotel. The only reason I went with this tour is because it was the only safari I found that visited an orphanage and a school. We arrived at the school on January 6th, so the school should have been open according to the itinerary. Even if you go on the School of St. Jude website, they list the term dates for 2012 starting on January 3rd. Gecko's needs to sort this out because this was a huge reason people chose this tour. Moses called ahead to determine whether or not the school would be in session and so we knew ahead of time they were not. Regardless, our group was still anxious to visit the school. But Moses told us we weren't going to the school anymore since they were not in session. We had to beg him to at least drive by the school so we could take pictures. Moses reluctantly agreed to make a quick stop. When we arrived at the school we were greeted by a woman that worked at the school. She asked us how long we had and Moses quickly said 'we have very limited time'. But our group quickly retorted 'we have all day!' So Moses walked off pouting while the woman started playing a DVD about the school. The only thing I expected from Gecko's was to ensure our safety and to look out for our well-being. These things were not satisfied, and largely in part to a poor choice in our tour guide.
And I can only blame Gecko's for this since they didn't do a better job finding a qualified tour guide. Additionally, Gecko's should have been more responsible in their hotel/campsite selections and not introduce us to places that blatantly took advantage of foreigners.
Response from Gecko's Adventures:
Hello rkhuber. As per our communication in February 2012, we thank you for having contacted us directly and allowing us the opportunity to investigate and subsequently address your concerns. As you're aware, your comprehensive feedback was very much appreciated as it assists us in ensuring we are able to provide excellent services and products to our customers who like us, are keen to explore the world. We were happy to learn that you were pleased with our reply and although there were certain elements of the tour which did not meet your expectations, we are pleased that you enjoyed your travels through East Africa. a truly fascinating part of the world. We wish you and your wife all the very best with your future travels!
- I recommend this tour9 July, 2012
1. The price of this tour was value for money
2. I was a solo traveller and I always felt safe
3. The best part of the tour was the overnight desert camping. I recommend booking a tour that does this
4. The accommodation was the standard I was expecting
5. The guides were very good
6. I think they should have included entrance fees in the price and pre-organised our tickets. Everyone did the excursions, so why not include them in the price?
7. I recommend this tour, and I will travel with Geckos again.
- Did Not Even Make It18 June, 2012
Earlier this year my wife and I booked a 5 day stay at the G Lodge in Peru. This was supposed to be an amazing trip and all of the existing reviews we read were great. The reservation process was quick and easy, and they took our deposits. About 4 weeks after we booked they called to inform us they were canceling our reservation because they wanted to book a larger group in our reserved spots. As we did not have an option they told us they would refund our deposit. Instead of a refund they actually billed us our deposit value a second time. We did eventually get our full amount of money refunded, and were are now booked for the same sort of an adventure with a totally different organization. When we Investigated what happened to us a little further we were informed that 'Cancelling small groups to accommodate larger size tours is a standard practice for G Adventures' as per a G Adventures representative.
Response from G Adventures:
We apologize for being unable to accommodate you in our G Lodge. I can assure you we do not have a policy of accepting bigger groups at the expense of smaller ones. We do sometimes need to move reservations due to maintenance of the Lodge, however. If you would like to contact us to discuss, we would welcome that. I wish you safe and enjoyable travels to a wonderful part of the planet.
- Amazing12 June, 2012
Topdeck i had the most amazing time ever everyone had so much fun! The places we stayed at where beautiful and everything else was amazing. Will recommeded it to everyone. Had the time of our lives we had an awsome tour leader Brent and driver Brian they showed us loads of fun and learnt lots. Thank you for a great experience !!!!A+
- Fantastic21 May, 2012
There's a lot of differing opinions out there.. Let me add mine. My wife and I just finished a G Adventures (formerly Gap Adventures) 9-day tour from Johannesburg, South Africa to Victoria Falls, Zambia. We couldn't have had a better time! A few thoughts: - So much depends on the tour guide. Our guide, Vladia Bajerovska, was fantastic. She was both a great organizer and a great cheerleader, making sure everybody was included and knew what was going on. She had a lot of knowledge, both natural (describing animals) and practical (navigating border crossings). She answered all of our questions, no matter how many times we asked. I can't say enough good things about her. Our driver, Stefan, was also fantastic. - A lot also depends on your group. We had 20 people, mixed group from US/UK/Canada/Australia, aged from mid-20s to mid-40s. By the end of the trip we were all great friends. Our tour involved a lot of "participatory camping", meaning everybody had to pitch in to load/unload the truck, chop veggies for dinner, etc. Everybody pitched in without even having to ask, which was great. Obviously this is one of those things where one bad apple can spoil the bunch. There was a little bit of drinking at the campsites (some had bars, others were BYOB), but everybody was pretty much in bed by 10. - We had the "basic" accommodation level, and believe me, it was BASIC. We spent nearly every night in tents, though there was an option to upgrade to a cabin at some sites. If you enjoy camping for multiple days, you'll be fine. But if you're the type to whine because there's no hot water in the shower, or there's a bug in your tent, or your sleeping bag smells funny after a week, you won't have fun. - There was a lot of driving, sometimes 4-5 hours per day. The overland truck was pretty sweet, though spartan. Personally, I didn't mind the long drives; I had a well-stocked Kindle, great scenery to look at, and a truck-full of people to get to know. But this might get tiresome for some people. Read the itinerary carefully. - A lot of the activities billed as "optional" were pretty much required, if you wanted to have fun. The focus of our tour was African game drives, and except for one, they were all "optional", and cost between US$30-50 dollars each. My wife and I had decided ahead of time to do all of the optionals (spent approximately $250 total for each of us) and I'm glad we did, but if you're a penny-pincher, I could see it getting annoying. Again, read the itinerary carefully. All in all, I feel that by taking G Adventures, we were able to see a lot more of southern Africa than if we had just gone on our own. I suppose it depends on your comfort level in the third world, but there were some situations (choosing safe markets to shop at, bribing corrupt SA police (really!), and navigating the crazy Botswana-Zambia border crossing) that I know I wouldn't have been able to do by myself, and least not without great stress. The lodging and travel is definitely not luxury, but I think it was more fun that way. All we had to do was spend a few nights roughing it and helping around the campsite, and we had the trip of a lifetime. -Evan
- Amazed and surprised9 May, 2012
I was very amazed and surprised to learn that there were only 2 of us on the tour. It felt like a private experience and we were delighted to find out that we had not only a driver, but tour guide as well. Delighted that Peregrine did not cancel for lack of participants.
- Great concept30 April, 2012
I love the busabout concept. Plan your own itinerary, never worry about being alone, accommodation is already organized all you have to do is put your name down, meet lots of people, party hard. I did the west of Europe in 2010, and I am going back to do the East this summer. If you are in your 20's, you should absolutely consider busabout for traveling around Europe
- I love Australia18 April, 2012
I had a wonderful time on this tour! I was surprised when I arrived on the first day because the tour was actually run by TOPDECK. I guess both companies are the same? None the less, 'Topdeck' and Adventure Tours ran a fantastic tour. I am from the USA, and I was blown away by how beautiful Australia was. It is one thing to see it in pictures and on TV, and another thing to see it for real. I was very impressed by the accommodation, and our guide was very animated and down to earth. Most of the people traveling on the tour were in their 20's and we all got along well. I am already planning a tour to New Zealand, and I will absolutely be booking my tour with Topdeck. I know this review is about Adventure Tour Australia (and I wrote the review about them because I booked with them), but Topdeck appear to be much easier to book from the USA, and they are essentially the same company.
- Amazing13 April, 2012
I had an amazing time traveling in South American with Tucan (Peru). I am was a solo traveler so I wanted to join a tour. The Tucan trip was mostly solo travelers my age 23 (Budget Tour Overland) . Keeping in mind that it was a budget tour the accommodations were not 5 star but were always clean, with hot running water and in prime locations within the cities. The campsites were always safe and clean. The optional excursions seemed on the pricey side if I was to book without tucan but they were always delivered as described and always arrived on time. Our tour leader would be honest if an optional excursion was worth it or not. He was very knowledgeable of each destination of places to eat and see and what to avoid in each destination. Fellow travelers on my tour were there to see culture but also go out on the town on some nights. I had an excellent time on the tour and I would recommend it for someone who is traveling solo. You will meet new friends and have an excellent time.
- Wonderful25 March, 2012
My work sent me to China for the first time, so I decided to extend my stay and do some traveling. I booked the China Express tour with Gecko's because it was highly recommended by my travel agent, and her recommendation did not disappoint. I had a great time. The tour was a great introduction to China, and I walked away with so many great memories. The tour itself was wonderful, I have no complaints, and I now always recommend Gecko's to all of my friends. I have recently booked another tour with them to South America (but Peregrine this time).
- Outstanding21 March, 2012
I would like to comment on the outstanding experience my new husband and I had whilst on the Travel Talk Exotic Morocco tour over Christmas and New Year. After wanting to visit Morocco for many years, we decided that we would spend some of our honeymoon time on this tour. It was an excellent decision as we loved everywhere we went. Perhaps the most outstanding part of this was the services of the staff involved. Rudwane, our tour guide, did an exceptional job. He dealt with everybody on our tour in such a friendly and professional manner that we couldn't help but be extremely impressed with him. His knowledge of Morocco was outstanding (as a history teacher I notice things like that!) and his commitment to ensuring that all of the people on his tour had a great time. He really went above and beyond and we were incredibly impressed with him. He is such an outstanding guide, I would recommend this tour to anyone.
- Great21 March, 2012
This is a great tour. It was incredibly cheap, so I wasn't expecting much, but the tour was worth every penny. I read some of the below reviews, and it seems that there are some bad guides out there. This is a shame because our guides were amazing. They were very informative, approachable, and really cared about the well-being of the group. Maybe South America is different, but in Africa Tucan rocks. It would be a shame to think that the tour guides are the luck of the draw, because they pretty much can make or break a tour. But based on my experience I would give Tucan no less than 5 stars. I would probably only warn that it is a budget tour designed for shoestring travelers, so I wouldn't book this tour expecting the best of the best in regards to transportation and accommodation, but it was all reliable and comfortable, and good for the price I paid, and I liked the rugged feel of the tour. AND the food was fantastic.
- Essential India20 March, 2012
This has proved to be the best holiday that my wife and I have ever undertaken. The itineray was spot on and did all that it said. The CEO Abhishek Chhetri was absolutely outstanding. From start to finish he was there to look after us all. He was on time, very knowledgeable and made sure we were safe at all times. He interacted with all the group and gave us a keen sense of his pride and love for his country.His contribution made the whole experience so very enjoyable.
- Not recommended18 February, 2012
Hi all, I too had a similar experience to "zchaxf8". Aside from the quality of service being unacceptable, I would like to add that Tucan rip you off on the optional excursions. Instead of receiving a 'group discount' Tucan mark up the price. Here are some examples. We went to the Bolivian salt flats. Tucan charged people $45 USD; by then we had cottoned on to the fact that they were ripping us off and sourced our own supplier through a company recommended in the lonely planet, we paid $23 USD. We managed to gather 10 others to join us. The Tucan tour guide was rather rude, and there were rumors to say that we would 'die' because the cars were dodgy, we'd get crap service etc because it was cheap. We had done our homework and this company was great, in the end we had the last laugh, as we got EXACTLY what the Tucan company got and we paid half the price. The same thing happened for the Lake Titicaca tour and various other excusions. For Death Road we wanted to use "Gavity Assisted" the company that Tucan recommend, so we contacted them directly and got a lower cost than Tucan quoted us directly (for the same company!!). We confronted Tucan and Tucan matched the price (after some uming and aring). I'm sorry but they are total con artists. Like "zchaxf8" we were also experienced travelers and don't mine slumming it but the service (drunk, drugs, attitude, poor service/ professionalism by the tour lead) was totally unacceptable. They forgot that we were paying customers. I would NOT recommend them (well at least the South American lot). A few people (1/3) on the tour left the tour part way through and did their own thing, until they joined up with us for carnival. We complained to head office (a few of us did) including complaints about driving under the influence of cannabis; the driving bringing on board his sister and her boyfriend for free so that we were more than over booked); poor hygiene practice that resulted in people getting sick....headoffice didn't give a rats and said that we should have complained during the trip (which a couple of people did). End result a token £200 voucher for our next trip (as if we would use them again! we paid a good few thousand £s for this trip!!!) Sorry for the ramble, South America was AMAZING and would have been better without using Tucan :) Check out Kamuka they are pretty cool. Our group actually had Kamuka tour leaders at the start and they were excellent, then we got Tucan tour leader and they were poor. I guess at the end of the day it's all down to the Tour Leader. but Tucan a) rips you off b) doesn't train their staff well enough c) does not care about you. :) please consider booking with a different operator :) it's so not worth the risk of ruining your holiday! (which it almost did, until I stopped caring) Happy travels :)!!!
Response from Tucan Travel:
As a client's experience on tour is our paramount concern as a company that provides a travel service, we take very seriously the issues that have been raised here. One of the best ways that we can monitor the standard of our tours is by relying on the feedback we receive from clients. This means that in areas where Tucan Travel has made mistakes, we can rectify them as soon as possible and make sure they do not happen again.
As the above comments are posted anonymously we are unable to reference this client's complaint against our records to establish exactly what measures were taken to resolve this issue. However, we can stipulate that any complaints we receive of a nature as mentioned above are taken very seriously and are fully investigated by the company, particularly where they refer to the conduct of an individual tour leader. If the person in question is not satisfied with the response they received from the company when they made an initial complaint, we encourage them to contact us again on email@example.com so we can look to further resolve this issue.
- huge rip off, false advertising14 February, 2012
this trip was a bust. Stayed in unsafe sections of the cities we went to in accomadations that were 1 star or less. Came home with bed bug bites and many things stolen from my belongings. Most of our time was spent on a bus severly limiting any touring of the actual places visited. tour guides "clocked out" at 5 and you were on your own in places you have no knowledge of and have difficulty communicating due to language issues. the brochure is very misleading...BEWARE!
RESPONSE FROM TOPDECK TRAVEL:
We are sorry to hear that you did not enjoy your trip. Please note that we take your
feedback seriously and would like to investigate the matter further. Could you
please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org and advise your departure date?
Please also advise if you have submitted a formal complaint.
Thank you & best regards,
Dennis Jack, Topdeck Travel
- Very well organised, but not for me13 February, 2012
I usually always travel independaently, BUT I always travel with at least one friend, and this time no one was available to travel to Vietnam with me, which is why I decided to book a tour. I did my research as any smart traveler should do before leaving, and I chose G Adventures based on their level of professionalism. Their website is easy to navigate, user friendly, and offers detailed information about their tours. Also, when I called to talk to a representative, they were very helpful and informative. In regards to the actual tour, I think I was too used to doing my own thing to be on a tour . The tour was very well organized, and probably ideal for people who don't like to worry. But, I am not one of those people. I think I was way too free spirited for a 'tour'. I recommend traveling with G Adventures if you are new to traveling abroad, and want some guidance along the way. All in all, not a bad experience, but I would have preferred to do it on my own with a fellow seasoned backpacker. I wanted to give this review 3.5 stars, but that wasn't an option which is why I upped it to 4.
- awful awful awful!!24 January, 2012
Hi, wanted to share my experience to warn people about this tour company. I would first like to point out that i have travelled extensively and have travelled independently and with over 15 tour groups including intrepid, geckos, trek america, gap, and unfortunately tucan. I am in my mid twenties and don't get me wrong, definitely don't take things too seriously when travelling. i It takes a lot for me to complain, and have never written any other bad reviews about any of my other tours, but i felt so strongly about this experience, that i decided to write a review. The tour leader was a waste of space, he spoke no spanish, had never been to a single place on the tour and was more interested in getting out of control drunk and doing drugs than leading anything or anyone- i got more information from my guide book than i did from him. He was frequently late/not showing up at times when we we supposed to meet. He had no mobile phone and had to use a travellers phone throughout the trip racking up big bills on their international call bill (which were reimbursed at the end of the trip after that traveller took the initiative to work out how much it was). We also had a bus accident whilst travelling on the toucan trucks (doris), it was at high speed on a motorway when one of the back wheels fell off, axial and everything- i took photos off this so am happy to post them to anyone interested. we skidded off the road and fortunately stopped without hitting everything. luckily no one was injured. We were given a replacement truck which had just been taken off the road for "repair" as it hadn't been deemed road worthy. I know for a fact that when it came to feedback time from the group that the tour leader was given very poor reviews from the vast majority of the group. I actually wrote a letter of complaint to the company, expressing my concern for the state of their trucks and the general state at which the tour was conducted. i got a reply which was dismissive and insinuating that essentially i was not a relaxed enough traveller and they gave me £300 gift voucher if i booked again! well i won't be wasting my money booking again, i won't be recommending them to anyone, and have since had an amazing time camping for 2 months through africa with intrepid (where i had a truly fantastic and fun experience with people who knew what they were doing). hope people find this useful.
- Good but not great17 January, 2012
Traveling with Topdeck was fun, but there was a lot about the tour that I didn't know about before I left. This is why I am writing this review. The tour is really fast. You are pretty much on the bus more than you are sightseeing. Sometimes we would get to our destination before the sun went down, and then we would leave again about half way through the next day, so we pretty much saw nothing. The Topdeck staff were friendly and the accommodation was fine, but I would not recommend this tour, because I did not see as much as I thought I was going to. I wish I did my research on the distance between each destination, and the time we actually had to sight see in each place, because the itinerary on paper is deceiving.
- Great time and7 January, 2012
We've been almost everywhere both on our own and with at least 5 different companies. This "G" tour was really great; we ranged in age from 19 to 72, from six different countries, and had a CEO who couldn't have been better - she was Terrific. Price wise, it couldn't be beat; we saw and experienced the countries and the people. The weather was perfect, hotels more than adequate, and food in the countries - a vegetarians' delight. All in all, the only thing that could be improved upon --- should have been longer..
- The Good and the Bad29 December, 2011
I have to say there were good times and bad times on my Busabout tour: The good times: I loved being on tour with other people my own age. Travelling with my best friend, and always feeling safe with a group. All of the great places we got to see. The bad times: We wanted to stay longer in some places but were afraid to change our itinerary after hearing about others not being able to get on a bus for weeks after they forefited their seat. We chose an itinerary that was quite long, and got very tired towards the end and didnt enjoy it as much as the first half. Busabout has a good set up for travelers in their 20's, and I recommend traveling with them, but I also recommend doing lots of research before you plan your itinerary if you are traveling in summer, and make at least 3 stops along the way where you stay somewhere for a longer time for a few 'chill-out' days along the way.
- This tour is great15 December, 2011
This tour was great. I had never been on a tour before, nor done much travelling. I am in my 40's and was travelling with my cousin. I liked the ease being on a tour, and all of the great things I learned from our guide. There was a nice mix of different travellers in our group that were friendly and nice to travel with. We had a great time, and I recommend Intrepid to others.
- Short and sweet14 December, 2011
I had a great time with Topdeck. A warning though to people thinking about booking the European Wonder tour, 14 days across Europe is not a lot, and I felt we were rushed pretty much everywhere we stopped. I was disappointed with stops like the Rhine Valley where you only got to see the place driving in and out. Topdeck in general was a great company to do a tour with. The tour guide and driver were organized, friendly and compassionate. They genuinely cared about our wellbeing, and were responsible. As a 20 year old traveling overseas on my own for the first time this was a good choice for me. But I recommend to others to take a longer tour if you can and spend more time in each place.
- Abandoned by Gecko's11 December, 2011
Geckos failed to notify us that they were discontinuing the Bangkok portion of the trip until 2 days before we were supposed to go to Bangkok. The letter we received on November 5 stated that they decided to cancel all Bangkok travel as of October 25th yet we didn't find out until almost 2 weeks later. They did not offer to reimburse us for the cost of overland travel from Siem Reap to Bangkok or the tour guide for 2 days. Nor did they offer to help us find a way to Bangkok which most of us were flying out of to return home. By the time they told us, most hotels were booked. I was not looking for this kind of stress on my vacation. It would have been nice if they had restructured the trip for more time in Vietnam or to see something else in Cambodia. Also, I found the Vietnamese tour guide to be a bit Anti-American and all of the tour guides to have very poor English.
- Good trip but not so good guide11 December, 2011
The itinerary for this trip is great, but I was highly disappointed with our guide. He seemed more interested in partying than showing us around, and was often hungover with alcohol breath. I know to expect this from fellow travellers, but not from the guide. He also mentioned a few times how little he gets paid to do his job......um, excuse me you get to travel around South America and get paid for it, even if the pay is low. If you don't want to be here, someone else will willingly replace you! To be honest the guide is a gamble because I have spoken to others who said their guide was great. Tucan should monitor their guides and their behavior more closely. I loved South America though, and the prices with Tucan and better than what I found anywhere else.
- Thai-Indochina Loop review9 September, 2011
I just came back from a 33 day tour through Indochina with Gecko's and hated it. Honestly, I think all these so-called 'cheap' tour groups are about the same (when you add up food and extra trips not included, you will be surprised how much this actually costs). Nothing is included except very inferior places to stay, sometimes verging on extraordinarily gross (blood on sheets, rats, cockroaches, ripped sheets, human scum on bathroom walls and floors), and likewise, public transport with cockroaches and other peoples hair on used sheets as bed mates. I believe this is par for the course on these trips, but what is worse, is that you are herded daily, from one place to another, spending sometimes over 50% of your trip on the road. You need to look VERY carefully to see how much time you spend in important places. For example, the Gecko trip indicated we went to Thailand. We actually only had 2 days in Bangkok and because of train problems, 4 hours in Chiang Mai; that was it. Most of these trips, your companions are there for drinking and hanging out, not to see anything 'cultural' so they don't care that some of the places your stay are purely to get you to another place and there is absolutely nothing of any value whatsoever to see there (wasting a day of your time and money). It is VERY important that you read the 'trip notes' to the T. Nearly everything that is mentioned to do, is not included, and more than 75% of the time, there is not the available time to do them. Also, some places marked on their map with dots indicating that they are part of the trip, you are actually never stopping there...you see them for 5 minutes through the window of a bus as you drive by. A quarter of the tour leaders I've had through Gecko and Intrepid were clearly annoyed that they had to be working. Truly...it literally killed them to give me helpful information about, let's say, how to get the 'token' necessary to use the toilet at the train station; things as simple as that. The number of problems I've had with getting very simple help from as I said, about a quarter of their tour leaders, led to extraordinary frustration and a very bad taste in my mouth through the entire trip. Let me note, the other 3/4's of the tour leaders were very good, verging on exceptional. Point being, you are taking your chances with your time and money. If this is your thing and it IS a lot of people's thing, just not mine, then I would say, all these companies are about the same, (the places we stayed on the whole through Gecko were cleaner than Intrepid) and most of these companies have been bought out by one company which is just using their names to pull in old clients (note the same trips on many differently named sites). I believe you are better off doing one of two things. 1. planning this on your own and going with a friend. 2. going with a more expensive tour group for a shorter period of time and staying at better places, eating better food, and meeting more interesting people. Good luck!
- Awesome Croatian Fun8 September, 2011
We did the One Way Sail from Dubrovnik to Split in July. The boat started at Dubrovnik then hit up Mljet, Korcula, Vis, Hvar, Makarska, Pucisca and then Split with day stops in Omis and at Golden Horn beach. We were on the bigger boat which contained 26 people and a smaller boat with 14-ish people kept us company along the way. The food was AMAZING, the guide fantatic and all of the destinations phenomenal! Busabout seemed to split the boats by age so we weren't paired with 18 year olds but travelled with a slightly older crowd (23-30s) which was great for us. We generally travel to see things and not to party (Contiki-style) so it was a bit of a shock when we showed up to see that the focus would be around clubbing and drinking. This wasn't entirely the case though and we were able to see some amazing sites on islands we wouldn't have normally seen, and we had some awesome nights out along the way. The boat was relaxing during the day providing a good amount of time to recuperate. The Pros: - Great food and guide. The cook on baord made fantastic lunches and the breakfasts (if you were up at that time) were great. The busabout guide was knowledgable and also a lot of fun. He knew each town and where all the good food and drinking spots were. He was able to provide great advice on each of the towns. - the deck hand was a champ, even took someone to hospital when they needed it acting as a translator in his time off. - Stopping in the middle of the ocean to swim is such a fun experience. Laid back atmosphere. - Smart decisions made eg. Captain decided to head to Vis one day early and delay Hvar as he knew that the next day it would be too rough to sail to Vis, so we didn't miss out on this fantastic island. - The cities/towns were so fantastic. We loved Korcula the most but I couldn't fault any of them. All had fantastic restaurants and nightlife as well as welcoming people! The Cons: -For my 6 foot 3 husband the cabins were ridiculously small. He literally couldn't fit in the bed without curling up so would sleep on deck sometimes. Not much sleeping went on anyway so it was ok. - The cabins below deck were unbearably hot. Though it was 40degreesC somedays so I guess that can't be helped. - Somedays we spent a crazy amount of time on 'swim breaks' in the middle of nowhere, awesome for an hour, not so much for 4 hours. I understand this was to do with docking times and port control but it was a little annoying that we had reduced time on the island because of this. Overall I would really recommend this trip. Perhaps not RIGHT in the middle of summer because it was super hot on the boat but the islands were fantastic and it was great to be able to travel in such a way when most of what we'd been up to was on land.
- Can't beat the price3 September, 2011
65 days on tour in South America is a long time, but Tucan managed to meet my expectations every step of the way. I chose this trip because it was way cheaper than anything with Gap or Intrepid, and I was worried at first because I didn't know what to expect for such a low price compared to Gap or Intrepid (which I have traveled with before). I was incredibly surprised and impressed, and I had such a great time. Tucan was very professional and I would recommend them to anyone. I think 65 days is a long time to be on tour, and I would recommend booking two separate tours and give yourself a break somewhere half way.
- Hotels were disappointing16 August, 2011
I chose this trip over many other Gap tours to Peru because it was a 'comfort' trip which meant that the accommodation was of a higher standard that many of their other trips. BUT the places we stayed were very disappointing. I know it is Peru, and the comfort of hotels there is typically different, but it was the lack of cleanliness and the amount of features that were promised that did not actually work i.e air conditioning, the phone and the hot water at times. I paid a premium for a comfort tour, and felt that I got nothing for it. I would hate to see their 'standard' accommodations, because if they are worse than the comfort level I wouldn't even consider it. The actual tour aside from the accommodation was good however. I would travel with Gap again provided they could provide me accommodation details before hand so that I could do some research before I made my decision to take the tour.
- I loved Turkey!9 August, 2011
Turkey is a great country! I was so surprised as I did not know what to expect, but I loved it. On the Go was great to travel with. The only complaint I would have was our guide did not seem as enthusiastic compared to other tour guides I have traveled with before. Maybe they have been doing the tour guide thing for too long. But, the trip was well planned, the accommodation was good, and the other people I traveled with were loads of fun. I recommend this trip.
- A good time6 July, 2011
I am an Australian so it probably sounds weird that I went on this tour, but I have always liked traveling with tour groups and I have always wanted to travel along the Great Ocean Road. I was highly impressed with the way the tour was run. The information from the staff was fabulous, the food was much better than I expected, and the accommodation was good. There were a lot of Europeans on the tour, so it was also nice for me to meet lots of people from other parts of the world, and they loved hanging out with me and asking me funny questions about Australians as a people. Good times.
- A wonderful time!2 July, 2011
This 18 day trip was absolutely fantastic! And also relatively affordable since I did the one where we stayed at hostels and cheap hotels, which were really not bad at all. The trip did all the European highlights, making a point to stop at places like Pisa to take a picture of the tower, even though we weren't staying the night in Pisa (moved onto florence). My tour guide was so ridiculously knowledgeable about the countries and cities we went to. He would explain to us the low down as we entered each new country or drove to the next city, and would give us tips regarding currency and such so we never felt overwhelmed. He was completely helpful whenever we had questions. What I liked about this tour was that there were plenty of activities set up for us but we never had to do any if we didn't want to (most did since they all gave us a taste of wherever we were). And in addition to that, we had free days in each place where we could go off on our own and choose what we wanted to do. It never felt too structured to me, but just enough structure that it was organized and allowed us to really see a lot for such relatively little time. I felt like there was no need to go back to any of the cities (though I may choose to for the ones I really liked) because even though we had less than a couple days in each one, I really saw a lot-all the main stuff. That said, if you have the time and cash (I didn't), I would recommend a longer trip. Really, you have less than 2 days in each place because you don't arrive till afternoon and then you only have the next full day so keep that in mind. Also, I have to mention that the hostel locations weren't always great. They were sometimes far from the city center, and you had to take transportation to get in which was a pain especially when you have limited time. All in all though, a great trip!