Topdeck Vs Contiki – The Ultimate Comparison & Guide

Deciding between Topdeck or Contiki? Read this BEFORE you book your Tour!


If you’re looking for the adventure of a lifetime, but not sure if you should book with Topdeck or Contiki, then don’t worry. You’re not alone. Comparing Topdeck vs Contiki isn’t as easy as you may think.

Both Topdeck and Contiki offer different travel styles, payment options, pricing and their tours even visit different destinations. Talk about first world problems.

Fortunately, we’ve sorted it all out for you.

We have listed the main factors that 18-35-year-olds look at when comparing Topdeck vs Contiki. We hope you’re reading this before you book your tour so that you can figure out if Topdeck or Contiki is the best option.

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There is a lot of juicy information in this article, so to help you take it all in, we have broken each topic into sections. Click on an item below that you’re interested in, or you can read the whole article if you have time.

Why is Topdeck and Contiki similar?

Every month, hundreds of young travellers Google the term ‘Topdeck vs Contiki’. The fact that this even happens is a dead giveaway that these two brands are hugely similar. It also proves that so many people are confused about which company they should book with.

And it’s no surprise. Topdeck and Contiki trips aren’t exactly cheap – especially when you’re in your 20s or early 30s!

There are two main reasons why people find themselves tossing up between booking a Contiki or Topdeck trip; these are:

  • Both offer tours for similar age groups
  • Their tours are very similar

The good news is that you’re going to be travelling with other like-minded people who are all up for a good time. And trust me, you’re going to get that no matter if you’re on a Contiki trip or Topdeck tour!

Topdeck and Contiki have been around for a long time. Topdeck was founded in 1973, and Contiki started twelve years earlier in 1961. They have both grown to serve passengers from all corners of the world and operate over seven hundred tours between them.

Let’s look more closely are these two youth travel brands and help you work out which is the best option for you.

An old photo of the original Topdeck tour bus in India
The original Topdeck bus crossing a creek in India, 1983. Photo via Wikipedia

Ratings

18-30-somethings love to voice their thoughts; therefore, it’s no surprise that reviews are so critical when comparing Topdeck vs Contiki.

According to TourRadar, both Topdeck and Contiki are rated 4.5/5 from over seven thousand real reviews. This equal passenger satisfaction rating should help put your mind at ease, knowing that you’ll get the same level of quality with Topdeck or Contiki.

We have collated the key factors past passengers have rated about their recent tours. Looking at the data from TourRadar, you can see why it’s so close when you compare Contiki vs Topdeck.

Essential factors such as tour guides, meals, accommodation, transportation and overall value for money must also be taken into consideration.

There is no difference between Topdeck and Contiki’s guide ratings, with both top-scoring marks.

The same is true for meals, accommodation and value for money with both Topdeck and Contiki being rated 4.5/5.

According to Contiki’s past passengers, they do have better transportation. But I do think that it’s almost impossible to compare Topdeck and Contiki on their bus fleet. It’s a bus at the end of the day, and both operators use the latest buses.

Such close reviews are good news if you’re on the fence in deciding who to travel with. If you have a tour in mind, then you should now be able to book with confidence.

Age limits

Topdeck logo
18 – 39
years of age
Contiki logo
18 – 35
years of age

The age limits for Topdeck and Contiki vary slightly.

The age limit for Topdeck is 18-39, and the average age of Topdecks passengers is 26.

Contiki’s age limit is 18-35 only. There are no exceptions to this rule. The average age of passengers on Contiki is also 26.

The average age of passengers will vary between different tours and countries. I did a Contiki trip back when I was 23, and our average tour age was somewhere around 27. We had a great mix of younger people, a married couple and a few over 35.

Passenger age certainly didn’t bother the other passengers or me, but if you want to guarantee you’ll have no one over 35 on your tour, then I suggest you book with Contiki.

Tour prices & cost per day average

Topdeck logo
£99
per day
Contiki logo
£116
per day

Pricing is, without a doubt, one of the most important factors for any 18-30 your-old. It is the reason why 33% of under 30s didn’t buy travel insurance on their most recent trip.

While both Contiki and Topdeck offer similarly priced tours, but you will find that the average Contiki tour is more expensive than Topdecks.

Why are Contiki tours more expensive? Because Contiki includes more scheduled activities as standard compared to Topdeck.

At the time of writing, the average cost per day on a Topdeck tour is £99 compared to £116 per day on a Contiki tour.

Are you still tossing up between Topdeck vs Contiki? It might just come down to which one is better for your bank account!

Destinations & range of tours

Topdeck logo
234
tours
Contiki logo
452
tours

I mentioned early on that Topdeck, and Contiki tours are very similar. There is only one significant difference, and that is Contiki has Latin America tours, but Topdeck does not.

Both Topdeck and Contiki offer tours of Europe, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, Africa and North America. But if you’re desperate to explore Buenos Aires, Mexico City or Rio de Janeiro, then Contiki is your only option.

Because Contiki is considerably more prominent than Topdeck, it comes as no surprise that they offer over 120 more tours on their books.

Tour demographics

Topdeck logo
48
maximum passengers
Contiki logo
50
maximum passengers

There is a stigma that Contiki is an insane party tour with a busload of wasted youths. Yes, this was probably the case back in the early 2000s, but I believe Contiki worked hard to clean up their reputation of late.

Whilst some tours can indeed be more intense than others, they are not unruly or wild. Naturally, there is going to be some big nights on tour – but that’s all part of the adventure!

You might be interested in comparing Topdeck vs Contiki in regards to group size. Now I’ll be honest. If you’re looking for an intimate, organised tour, then neither Contiki or Topdeck is for you.

Topdeck claims that 48 passengers are their maximum capacity whereas Contiki says 50 is the maximum number of passengers they could accommodate.

As a guideline, Topdecks average Hotel, Club or Camping tour could have around 35 passengers, with a maximum group size of 48. Minimum numbers would not usually be below 20 passengers.

Group sizes vary from trip to trip, and of course, the time of the year makes a huge difference as well.

We did some research and have estimated that both Topdeck and Contiki tours have an average of 60% females to 40% males.

A Topdeck tour group in front of the Brandenburg Gate, Berlin
A typical Topdeck tour group size. Photo via Topdeck
Contiki logo

30% Off Selected Contiki Trips

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Transportation & flights

You need to understand that Topdeck and Contiki are not what you would consider luxury travel operators. So if you’re expecting high-end transport, you’re in for a surprise.

Depending on your destination and tour, transportation can vary, but in general, both Topdeck and Contiki operate large branded coaches of similar standards. They are all quite modern and have loads of power outlets for all those travel adaptors, a toilet, reclinable seats and most even offer free WiFi.

Bus transport is the beauty of travelling with a new group of friends. It forces you to mingle and socialise – and it’s fun! You’ll most likely be so exhausted (or hungover) from the night before, that you’ll end up sleeping most of the journey anyway. Make sure you pack your travel pillow, and you’re all set!

Neither Topdeck or Contiki include international flights to or from the destination where your tour starts or ends. If your trip does require that you take internal flights, then they will be included in the cost.

Topdeck and Contiki operate tours which will require internal flights and both operators sell international flights, but you book this yourself via Skyscanner.

A Contiki tour bus in front of the Eiffel Tower, Paris
A typical Contiki tour bus. Photo via Contiki

Accommodation

Accommodation is another big factor when comparing Topdeck vs Contiki. But it needn’t be. Why? Because you will be spending such little time in your hotel or hostel, that’s why!

If accommodation is a big deal for you, then you’ll be happy to know that there is no difference between Topdeck or Contiki. Both have been rated 4.5/5 on TourRadar in this department.

Depending on the type of tour you’re planning on booking, the standard and style of accommodation will vary greatly. Something I like is that Topdeck and Contiki make an effort to use local accommodation wherever possible and try to avoid chain hotels. This really helps you get a good feel for the city you’re visiting.

A great deal of research is carried out by Topdeck and Contiki to select accommodation close to public transport and as centrally located where possible – which is excellent for those nights out!

Have you ever heard of a single supplement? A single supplement is an extra charge incurred by a solo traveller to make up for losses incurred because only one person is staying in a room. It’s a real pain the ass, but the good news is that neither Topdeck or Contiki will charge you a single supplement on any of their tours!

Instead, they’ll try to match you up with a roommate of the same sex. If there uneven numbers of the same sex, then there will be a lucky person who scores a room all to themselves.

Consumer protection

Topdeck logo

you’re covered
Contiki logo

you’re covered

Just like having personal travel insurance, booking with a company that’s registered with both ABTA and ATOL is absolutely paramount.

You may have heard about the collapse of UK based Thomas Cook – a 100-year-old travel company. It’s a stark reminder that you must always travel with a company that is protected against bankruptcy!

Fortunately, both Topdeck and Contiki is both ABTA registered, and ATOL protected, meaning you are completely covered if anything should happen.

ABTA enforces specific standards and ensures that your holiday is protected in the event of the company going into liquidation.

Having ATOL protection means that if the company folds before or during your travel, you get your money back – and you receive support if you’re already travelling.

For your peace of mind, we have provided links to check both operators in these associations:

ABTA: Topdeck and Contiki
ATOL: Topdeck and Contiki

ABTA logo and ATOL logos for Topdeck and Contiki
You're covered! Both operators are registered

Pros & cons

Deals & discounts

In today’s competitive world, it is no surprise that both Topdeck and Contiki are generous in providing discount codes and special offers for their tours. If I had to choose though, I’d say that Topdeck offered more variety and quantity of deals compared to Contiki who mainly discount their last-minute deals.

The maximum discount I’ve seen for both Topdeck and Contiki is 30%. Last-minute deals are the most heavily discounted, but they can be used in conjunction with other deals.

We have the latest Topdeck discount codes & Contiki promo codes that will help you save a pretty penny on your next adventure. Make sure you check them out before you book. You’ll be glad you did!

Topdeck offer something called their Topdeck discount rewards which are a great way to save by booking early or booking in a group. Contiki also offers similar deals through their ongoing deals.

Both operators offer past passenger discount of 5% for returning passengers which is handy as something like 11% of Contiki passengers book a second tour.

Summary

Once you’ve decided on your destination, then it really just comes down to your budget and how you feel after reading reviews or hearing past experiences from friends.

Honestly, both Topdeck and Contiki are the top of their game and have been around for many many years. This decision is entirely up to you, but I am confident that you’ll have a fantastic time – no matter who you decide to travel with.

Topdeck logo

30% Off Selected Topdeck Trips

Click to show Topdeck discount codes & see discounted tours.
Deal ends soon


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