Topdeck Vs Contiki – The Ultimate Comparison & Guide

Read this BEFORE you book your Topdeck or Contiki Tour!

Are you looking for the adventure of a lifetime, but not sure which tour company is the right one to deliver that experience for you? Don’t worry, it’s a common situation many young travellers find themselves in mainly because deciding between Topdeck vs Contiki is real struggle.

Fear not though. The good news is that both of these travel operators are extremely well-known and respected; however, they do both offer different styles, options and pricing which can be the deal-breaker for many travellers.

So which is the best option for you? We encourage you to read this before you book your trip.

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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. Just click on the topic you’re most interested in, or you can read the whole article.


Did you know that over 800 people search for ‘Topdeck vs Contiki’ on Google every month? It’s a huge indication that these two brands are incredibly similar, yet people are unsure which is the right operator for them. But why is it that Topdeck and Contiki are so often linked together in this way?

The two main reasons are probably due to that fact that both are well-known around the globe and that they both offer tours for similar age groups.

Topdeck and Contiki are both major global brands. Topdeck was founded in 1973 whilst Contiki started out twelve years earlier in 1961. They have both grown to serve customers all around the world and operate over 770 tours between them.

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

Overall rating 4.5/5

Average guide rating 5/5

Average meals rating 4.5/5

Average value for money rating 4.5/5

Average transportation rating 4.5/5

Average accommodation rating 4.5/5

Contiki logo

Overall rating 4.5/5

Average guide rating 5/5

Average meals rating 4.5/5

Average value for money rating 4.5/5

Average transportation rating 5/5

Average accommodation rating 4.5/5

According to TourRadar, both Topdeck and Contiki are rated 4.5 out of 5 from over 7,500 traveller reviews. Because they are both equal in regards to passenger satisfaction, it should help put your mind at ease knowing that you should get the same level of quality no matter if you decide to book with Topdeck or Contiki.

Important factors such as tour guides, meals, accommodation, transportation and overall value for money must be taken into consideration when comparing Topdeck Vs Contiki.

There is absolutely no different between Topdeck or Contiki in the average guide rating (5 out of 5), average meal rating (4.5 out of 5), average accommodation rating (4.5 out of 5), or the average value for money rating (4.5 out of 5) with both operators scoring the same in each category.

Transportation was the only category where Contiki beats Topdeck with a 5 out of 5 rating compared to Topdeck’s 4.5 rating.

Jump to: transportation or accommodation sections for further details.

Detailed review of Topdeck travel showing 4.5 stars out of 5 via TourRadar
Topdeck is rated 4.5/5 on TourRadar from over 3,400 reviews
Detailed review of Contiki tours showing 4.5 stars out of 5 via TourRadar
Contiki is rated 4.5/5 on TourRadar from over 4,000 reviews
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. Topdeck’s age limit is 18 – 39; however, on their website they say that is you are older than 39 to contact them. This indicates that they might be willing to allow passengers slightly older (say 40 years of age) travel.

Unlike Topdeck, Contiki has a very strict age limit of 18 – 35 only. There are no exceptions to this rule and you will not be allowed to travel if you fall outside of these age ranges.

This might be a deciding factor for you when deciding between Topdeck vs Contiki as you might not want to travel with people over the age of 35. Personally speaking, I did a Contiki trip many years ago when I was 23 and our average tour age was 25 and we had a great mix of younger people up to married couples right on the upper age limit. It didn’t bother me or other passengers at all – it really just comes down to your personal preference.

Tour prices & cost per day average
Topdeck logo
per day
Contiki logo
per day

Pricing is without a doubt the most important factor when comparing Topdeck vs Contiki. Both Topdeck and Contiki offer similar pricing structures although Contiki’s average price per day is slightly higher than Topdeck’s simply because they include more scheduled activities in their itineraries, whilst Topdeck allows for more free time on your tour.

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

The average cost of a Topdeck trip works out to approximately £950 and Contiki comes in just under £1,100.

Again, it all comes down to personal preference and which is better for your bank account.

Destinations & range of tours
Topdeck logo

Europe tours (179)
Asia tours (29)
Australia/NZ tours (40)
Africa tours (33)
North America tours (41)
Latin America tours (0)

Contiki logo

Europe tours (235)
Asia tours (28)
Australia/NZ tours (105)
Africa tours (9)
North America tours (44)
Latin America tours (30)

By the time you’re at the point of deciding between Topdeck or Contiki, you probably already know the destination you want to travel to. When it comes to the destinations both operators service, it’s pretty much neck-and neck. Both Topdeck and Contiki offer trips to Europe, Asia, Australia/New Zealand, Africa and North America; however, Topdeck does not offer tours in Latin America and Contiki does.

So if you desperately want to explore Buenos Aires, Mexico City or Rio de Janeiro, then Contiki is your best option.

Because Contiki is a bigger (and probably more well-known) brand, it comes as no surprise that they offer over 120 more tours than Topdeck. This isn’t a bad thing or something that should sway your decision though.

The most popular destination for travellers is definitely Europe, and this goes for both Topdeck and Contiki.

Tour demographics
Topdeck logo
maximum passengers
Contiki logo
maximum passengers

Naturally, both Topdeck and Contiki group sizes will vary depending on the tour in question; however, both operators run a similar maximum number. Topdeck says 48 is their maximum capacity and Contiki claim that 50 is the maximum number of passengers they could accommodate on a tour.

Topdeck says that as a guideline, their average Hotel, Club or Camping tour could have around 35 passengers, with a maximum group size of 48. Minimum numbers would not normally be below 20 passengers.

As for Contiki, they claim that that majority of their Europe and Canadian tours have the same number of passengers from start to finish, while their USA, Australia & New Zealand tours are a combination of longer tours and passenger numbers could start lower and increase as another tour joins up. But they will not go over the 50 passenger threshold.

Now don’t let this put you off, and don’t expect every trip to be rammed with 50 passengers. Having travelled with both operators before, we can assure you that we have never experienced a trip with anywhere near 50 passengers before. Group sizes vary from trip to trip and of course the time of the year make a huge difference.

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
Transportation & flights
Topdeck logo

Average transportation rating 4.5/5

internal flights included
Contiki logo

Average transportation rating 5/5

internal flights included

Keep in mind that Topdeck and Contiki are not what you would consider luxury travel operators, so if you’re expecting high-end transport, then you’re in for a surprise.

Depending on you destination and tour, transportation can vary, but in general both Topdeck and Contiki run 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 about travelling with a new group of friend. It forces you to mingle and socialise – and it’s actually not that uncomfortable. You’ll most likely be so exhausted (or hungover) from the night before, that you’ll end up sleeping most of the journey anyway. Just bring a little travel pillow along with you and you’re all set!

Both Topdeck or Contiki do not include international flights to or from the destination where your tour starts or ends. If your tour does require that you take internal flights then they will be included in the cost of your tour.

Both Topdeck and Contiki have some tours which will require internal flights and both operators sell international flights, but you could just as easily do this yourself via Skyscanner.

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

Average accommodation rating 4.5/5

Contiki logo

Average accommodation rating 4.5/5

When comparing Topdeck vs Contiki in regards to accommodation, there are so many factors to take into consideration – like different tour types for example.

The good news is that neither Topdeck or Contiki will charge you a single supplement on any of their tours – instead, they try to match you up with a roommate of the same sex. Of course, if there an uneven numbers of the same sex, then there will be a lucky person who scores a room all to themselves (well that happened on my Contiki tour).

Depending on the style of tour you’re planning on booking, the standard and style of accommodation will vary greatly. Both Topdeck and Contiki make an effort to use local accommodations wherever possible and tend to avoid chain hotels which is actually quite nice as it really helps you get a feel for the city you’re in.

They both do a great deal of research and select accommodation close to public transport and as centrally located where possible – which is great for those nights out without the tour guide!

To be honest, you will be spending such little time in your accommodation that this should not be a deciding factor in your decision between Topdeck or Contiki.

Helpful link: Top 5 cheap hostels perfect for your London Contiki departure.

Consumer protection
Topdeck logo

you’re covered
Contiki logo

you’re covered

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

Both Topdeck and Contiki have been operating well over 45 years, so they are well-established – but when you’re spending a considerable amount of money, you need to ensure that you are protected in the event of financial problems.

ABTA (formerly known as the Association of British Travel Agents) is the UK’s largest travel association and represents tour operators and travel agents. When a company is registered with ABTA protection, they enforce certain standards and ensure that your holiday is protected if the company folds before or during your travel.

ATOL is similar in that it prevents you losing money or becoming stranded abroad if either Topdeck or Contiki collapses.

Fortunately, both Topdeck and Contiki are registered with both associations and in turn you are completely covered if anything should happen.

For your own piece 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

What are the payment options?- Visa
- Mastercard
- Amex
- Maestro
- Direct transfer
- Visa
- Mastercard
- Amex
- Direct deposit
- ZipMoney
Are there booking/charge fees?NoNo
What is their cancellation policy?With Topdeck, you must cancel at least 14 days prior to departure or you'll forfeit your full purchase amount.You can cancel as late as one day prior and still receive a return of 25% off your booking.
Is there a single supplement?NoNo
Deals & discounts

Both Topdeck and Contiki are quite generous when it comes to providing discount codes and special offers for their tours. If we had to choose, we’d say that Topdeck offered more variety and quantity of deals compared to Contiki who mainly discount their last minute deals.

Both Topdeck and Contiki max out at the 30% off mark with their deals, and most of them are able to 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 offer similar deals through their ongoing deals.

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

Example Topdeck discount code on our website
Example Topdeck discount code on our website
Example Contiki promo code on our website
Example Contiki promo code on our website
Topdeck Vs Contiki: Summary

Well, this decision is entirely up to you. Once you’ve decided on the destination, then it really comes down to budget and how you feel after reading reviews or hearing past experiences from friends etc. Honestly, both Topdeck & Contiki are the top of their game and have been around for many many years so whoever you decide to book with, you can be confident that you’re in good hands and that you’ll have a fantastic time – not matter where you go!

If you’re looking for more information on Topdeck and Contiki, we highly recommend that you check out TourRadar. It’s a great way to compare both operators and their trips in more detail. Now that you have read this first, you can go forward and book your Topdeck or Contiki trip with confidence.

Whoever you decide to book with – you’re going to have an amazing time 😀

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I'm a London based social media marketing consultant, cocktail enthusiast & proud dog dad. I've been running 18-35 Travel since 2015 & enjoy helping travellers save money on their adventures.