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Topdeck Vs Contiki: Everything You Need To Know

The ultimate comparison for anyone deciding between a Topdeck or Contiki tour. Read this BEFORE you book your tour!

Booking a tour can be a daunting experience – especially if you’ve never done it before. And if you’re comparing Topdeck vs Contiki, then you’ll soon realise that there’s a hell of a lot of things to consider.

“Which is better value?”
“Can I travel if I’m older than 35?”
“Does Topdeck include flights?”
“Which is better for couples?”
“Is Contiki just a drunken f*ck fest?”

9.4Our Rating

Topdeck is a highly-respected and reliable tour operator with over 47 years experience.

9.6Our Rating

Contiki is a renowned global name in youth travel and have been operating for 58 years.

Why compare Topdeck vs Contiki?

Does this sounds familiar…?

Plus mobile device
Example conversation between friends who are deciding if they should book a tour with Topdeck or Contiki

OK, so maybe yours was a bit different, but that’s exactly how the planning of my first overseas tour started.

My friend & I ended up booking with Contiki, but the only other company we looked at was Topdeck Travel.

But why did I – and why do approx. 400 people/month – compare Topdeck vs Contiki?

Because a Topdeck and Contiki trip is practically the same thing 🤯

Now, rewind ten years or so, and things were very different indeed. Contiki had a bit of a wild reputation. If you wanted to get wasted and f*ck your way around a foreign country, then you’d do a Contiki tour. But if you wanted to get wasted, f*ck your way around a foreign country AND learn about the destinations you were visiting, then you’d do a Topdeck tour.

Did you spot the subtle difference?

Fast forward to 2020, and the game has changed again – even more so when Topdeck dropped their new “Feel Real” campaign. Likewise, Contiki has really stepped up their game and have a solid and respectable reputation also.

So, why is comparing Topdeck vs Contiki such a difficult task? Well, that’s because even though there are lots of similarities, there are also quite a few differences too. Both Topdeck and Contiki offer different travel styles & payment options; they accept different ages, their destinations, deals & discounts vary slightly, as do their booking conditions.

It’s confusing and no wonder that every month, hundreds of young travellers Google’ Topdeck vs Contiki’ seeking answers.

And that’s probably how you ended up here, so let’s dive deeper into this Topdeck vs Contiki comparison and get you clear on which tour operator is best for you.

Topdeck & Contiki tour Demographics

Earlier I said that Topdeck and Contiki trip is practically the same thing and that definitely applies to the type of people who travel with these operators.

Passenger ages, nationalities, relationship status and interests are all relatively equal regardless if you’re on a Contiki or Topdeck tour. There are some differences, though, and I have outlined these below.

Age of passengers

Your age will have the most influence on deciding which operator you travel. Why? Because Topdeck & Contiki have different age restrictions.

The age limits for Topdeck is 18-39 years of age, whereas the Contiki age limits are 18-35. If you’re currently over 35 or will be by the time you book, then don’t even think about a Contiki tour – they will not make any exceptions to this rule.

On the contrary, Topdeck is willing to be more lenient and may (though that’s not guaranteed) allow people over the age of 39 to travel on their tours.

So this leads to two questions:

  1. Which age bracket do you fit into?
  2. Would you rather travel with a group of people no older than 35, or would you be happy with an older group up to 39 – or possibly even 40 years of age?
Ages Topdeck Age Limit Contiki Age Limit
Minimum age 18 years of age 18 years of age
Maximum age 39 years of age 35 years of age
Average age 28 years of age 26 years of age

Number of passengers

I know that many people are interested – or even possibly concerned about passenger numbers on tour. Most are worried that the tour will be absolutely rammed and not as personal as you’d hoped for. Now I’ll be honest if you’re looking for an intimate, small-group tour, then Contiki and Topdeck probably aren’t for you. For that, you’d need to look to the likes of G Adventures or Intrepid Travel, but be warned that prices can be considerably higher.

When it comes to passenger numbers, both Topdeck and Contiki say exactly the same thing “group sizes vary from trip to trip”. And that’s a no-brainer because a 24-day Europe tour in peak summertime will have many more passengers than a 7 day Asia tour during the depths of winter.

But the good news is that you can still compare Topdeck vs Contiki based on their average and maximum passenger numbers which I have listed for you in the table below.

NOTEThe figures below are taken from the Topdeck and Contiki websites. Some destinations such as Europe, Asia and the USA can operate smaller and more extensive tours. The maximum number shown below is their maximum capped limit.
Destination Topdeck Contiki
Australia & NZ Average: 8-22
Maximum: 36
Average: 12-22
Maximum: 30
Europe Average: 15-20
Maximum: 36
Average: 22-35
Maximum: 52
Middle East Average: 12-22
Maximum: 30
Average: 12-22
Maximum: 30
North America Average: 25-36
Maximum: 45
Average: 22-35
Maximum: 52
Africa Average: 12-15
Maximum: 21
Average: 12-22
Maximum: 30
Asia Average: 6-18
Maximum: 35
Average: 12-22
Maximum: 30

Gender of passengers

Is the percentage of females and males on tour something you’d care about when comparing Topdeck vs Contiki? If so, then you will be interested to know that there is little difference between these two operators.

I conducted some research and concluded that both Topdeck and Contiki tours have an average of 60% females to 40% males.

But please take this figure with a pinch of salt. It’s just an average, and the percentage will vary depending on the country you’re visting and the type of tour you’re on.

Neither Topdeck or Contiki provide exact figures on their website or even on individual tours (I assume so that they don’t guarantee it).

If you’re desperate for an accurate figure, you can contact Topdeck or Contiki when you know which tour you’d like to book, and they will provide you with a breakdown of confirmed ages & genders on your trip.

Gender Topdeck Contiki
Female Approx. 60% Approx. 60%
Male Approx. 40% Approx. 40%

Types of passengers

There’s absolutely no need to worry about travelling alone on a Topdeck or Contiki tour as both operators claim that often over 50% of their passengers travel solo. That’s something I can vouch for personally as my last Contiki Europe tour had a few solo passengers – but within the first few hours, we had all mingled and became one fabulous group.

So what about the other 50% or so of Topdeck and Contiki passengers? Well regardless if you’re on a Topdeck or Contiki tour, they will be couples (dating, engaged or married), groups or friends & relatives.

My Contiki Europe tour had a great mix of solo travellers, a few couples, including one who was on their honeymoon, friends in pairs and two cousins. You will find that it would be a similar scenario on a Topdeck tour, so there really is no difference between these two operators in this department.

Yes, Contiki tours are an excellent option for couples. Still, you do need to realise that Contiki trips are fast-paced and you’re obviously on a bus with solo travellers and friends, so you’re not going to get an intimate holiday.

Still, they are a fantastic way to mingle and make new friends and many couples do travel with Contiki.

Yes, Topdeck Travel tours are an excellent option for couples. Still, you do need to realise that Topdeck trips are fast-paced and you’re obviously on a bus with solo travellers and friends, so you’re not going to get an intimate holiday.

Still, they are a fantastic way to mingle and make new friends and many couples do travel with Topdeck.

Yes. Contiki claims that over 50% of their passengers are solo travellers.

Even if you do travel solo, you’ll quickly all become one group and forge amazing friendships.

Yes. Topdeck claims that over 50% of their passengers are solo travellers.

Even if you do travel solo, you’ll quickly all become one group and forge amazing friendships.

Contiki is a reliable and trustworthy tour operator who has been in business since 1962.

Contiki is a worldwide travel brand with hundreds of thousands of happy passengers and with exceptionally high customer reviews on TourRadar.

Contiki caters to a younger audience than Topdeck, so it’s no surprise that their tours are perhaps a bit more full-on than Topdeck tours.

Having said this, Contiki has cleaned up their act in recent years and offer fantastic tours for those who wish to mix travel with culture and of course, fun!

Nationalities of passengers

Check this out… These are the worldwide Google searches for the terms “Topdeck tours” and “Contiki tours” over the last five years. It’s scary what Google knows.

People from exactly the same countries are searching for both Topdeck and Contiki 😱

Google search trends for the term "Topdeck tours" over the past 5 years
Google search trends for the term "Topdeck tours" over the past 5 years.
Google search trends for the term "Contiki tours" over the past 5 years
Google search trends for the term "Contiki tours" over the past 5 years.
FYIThe values you see above are on a scale from 0 to 100. 100 is the country with the most popularity as a fraction of total searches in that location, and a value of 50 indicates a country which is half as popular. A value of 0 indicates a country where there was not enough data for either of these search terms.

OK, so while these in no accurately way represent the nationalities of people who will be on your particular tour, it does highlight the countries from which most people are interested in travelling with Topdeck or Contiki. Both Topdeck and Contiki have considerable interest and indeed passenger numbers from Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Canada United Kingdom and the United States.

Again, if you’re desperate for a breakdown on your particular tour (I worked for a travel brand, so trust me, some people actually care 🤦‍♀️), then contact Topdeck or Contiki, and they’ll be able to provide this information for you.

Demographic Topdeck Contiki
Top 6 most popular nationalities of passengers Australian, New Zealand, South African, Canadian, British & American Australian, New Zealand, South African, Canadian, British & American

Where can you book tours to?

Where can you go on tour could be a make or break factor when comparing Topdeck vs Contiki because they visit different destinations.

It’s slightly confusing as both operators list their destinations on their websites differently, but the only difference here is that Contiki run tours to the Caribbean, and Topdeck doesn’t.

So if you’re hell-bent on soaking up the sun in the Caribbean, then Contiki is your only option.

Other than the Caribbean, Topdeck and Contiki visit the same destinations, but the number of tours in each country will vary. Contiki is a bigger company than Topdeck, so it’s no surprise that they offer more tours, but Topdeck offer some fantastic tours too, so don’t discount them too quickly!

Tour Destinations Topdeck (274 Tours) Contiki (462 Tours)
Europe 172 tours 240 tours
Asia 31 tours 24 tours
Australia/Oceania 25 tours 85 tours
Africa 11 tours 15 tours
North America 33 tours 58 tours
Latin America 2 tours 40 tours

Topdeck vs Contiki: Transport

9/10

10/10

Rating data from TourRadar

Topdeck and Contiki both include transport as part of your tour cost but neither operator is responsible for getting you to the start destination for your tour. This is for you to organise and pay for.

Branded coaches or branded ships for sailing and island-hopping trips are the primary mode of transport for Topdeck and Contiki.

Your tour may also require travel on ferries or even plane (internal flights only), and these will operate by separate third-party companies; therefore, the standard of service will be exactly the same regardless if it’s a Topdeck or Contiki tour.

As you can imagine with a busload of people, storage is tight, and for this reason, both Topdeck and Contiki have strict luggage rules. You’re only allowed one non-expanding suitcase weighing a maximum of 44lb/20kg plus a day pack (backpack). Both operators allow extra luggage for their activity-based tours.

If you’re doing a sailing or island-hopping tour, then you’ll be pleased to know that Topdeck and Contiki both offer the same quality of ships – traditional and premium. Traditional ships are wooden boats that consist of bunk beds and cabins with a private shower and toilet whereas premium is steel hull ships with double or twin ensuite cabins.

Topdeck & Contiki tours can travel via

Branded coaches

Ships & ferries

Planes

Topdeck transport FAQs

Yes, all Topdeck buses now have free WiFi available.

Yes, all the big Topdeck buses have toilets on board, but the general consensus is that they are not to be used.

Your coach will stop every 2 hours or so, sometimes less, so you will have access to toilets often.

Topdeck buses all have comfortable reclining seats, heating & air conditioning as well as power points (bring your own power adaptors though)!

Contiki is strict when it comes to luggage on their buses. You’re only allowed one non-expanding suitcase weighing a maximum of 44lb/20kg plus a day pack (backpack).

Your suitcase is to be no bigger than 70cm x 45cm x 25cm.

Topdeck only includes internal flights if your tour requires it.

Topdeck does not provide or include flights from your country to your tour departure point as part of the tour package.

Topdeck used two type of ships – traditional and premium.

Traditional ships are wooden boats that consist of bunk beds and cabins with a private shower and toilet whereas premium is steel hull ships with double or twin ensuite cabins.

Contiki transport FAQs

Yes, all Contiki buses offer free WiFi.

Yes, all the big Contiki buses have toilets on board, but the general consensus is that they are to be used for emergencies only.

Your coach will stop every 2 hours or so, sometimes less, so you will have access to toilets often.

Contiki buses all have comfortable reclining seats, heating & air conditioning as well as power points (bring your own power adaptors though)!

Contiki is strict when it comes to luggage on their buses. You’re only allowed one non-expanding suitcase weighing a maximum of 44lb/20kg plus a day pack (backpack).

Your suitcase is to be no bigger than 73cm x 50cm x 25cm.

Contiki only includes internal flights if your tour requires it.

Contiki does not provide or include flights from your country to your tour departure point as part of the tour package.

Contiki used two type of ships – traditional and premium.

Traditional ships are wooden boats that consist of bunk beds and cabins with a private shower and toilet whereas premium is steel hull ships with double or twin ensuite cabins.

Topdeck vs Contiki's Transport Topdeck Contiki
Free WiFi on buses
Toilets on buses
Reclining seats on buses
Power sockets on buses
Air conditioning / heating on buses
Luggage restrictions on buses Pieces: 1 suitcase + 1 backpack
Max weight: 44lb/20kg
Max size: 70cm x 45cm x 25cm
Max weight (Outback tours): 33lb/15kg
Pieces: 1 suitcase + 1 backpack
Max weight: 44lb/20kg
Max size: 73cm x 50cm x 25cm
Flights included Internal flights only Internal flights only
Ship types Traditional & premium Traditional & premium

Topdeck vs Contiki: Accommodation

9/10

9/10

Rating data from TourRadar

Accommodation is often a significant factor when making any travel plans, and the same is true when comparing Topdeck vs Contiki also. Having done a Contiki tour myself, my advice is to not overthink it as you’ll be spending such little time in your accommodation.

Both Topdeck and Contiki offer a variety of accommodation options, and these will depend on the type of tour you’re on – but expect something fairly basic. These aren’t luxury tours. Your accommodation options on a Topdeck or Contiki tour can include hostels, hotels, tents, boats and special stays which could consist of anything from chalets to treehouses and floating raft hotels to homestays.

Topdeck and Contiki both use local accommodation wherever possible and try to avoid chain hotels which really helps you get a good feel for the city you’re visiting. One thing you may notice on tour is that other tour operators stay in the same areas, and this is because Topdeck and Contiki tours use accommodation close to public transport and as centrally located where possible.

I mentioned earlier that approximately 50% of Topdeck & Contiki passengers are solo travellers. If you are travelling solo, then a single supplement is something you need to be careful of as it can really put a dent in your budget – especially if you’re considering a Contiki tour!

FYISingle 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.

Topdeck Travel does not charge single supplements, instead, they match you up with a roommate(s) of the same sex at no extra cost. But with Contiki, you have the option to book your own room, but the single supplement charge is absolutely huge!

Accommodation FAQs

No, Topdeck Travel does not charge single supplements on their tours.

Yes, Contiki can charge single supplements, but you do the the option to pay extra (a lot extra) for your own room.

Example Contiki tour booking showing the single supplement price differences
For this Contiki Greek Island Hopping tour, the single supplement ads an extra 40% onto your total tour cost - that's £930!

Check out this dummy booking I made for a Contiki Greek Island Hopping tour. The total cost for a single passenger sharing a room is £1,865, but if you wanted to have your own room, then the price jumps up a whopping 40% to £2795 🤬

Topdeck vs Contiki: Value for money

9/10

9/10

Rating data from TourRadar

Pricing is one of the most critical factors for any 18-30-year-old when it comes to planning travel. We like to get a bargain, but we also don’t want crap. It’s a real balancing act.

Is there a difference between Topdeck vs Contiki in regards to tour prices and what that works out to be per day? Yes, but there is little discrepancy.  

Because Topdeck and Contiki are fighting for the same passengers, they have to keep their pricing similar. You’ll often see that if one company is running a special deal, then you can almost guarantee that the other has an equivalent deal also.

Question: Which is more expensive? Topdeck or Contiki?
Answer: Contiki, for sure (but only just).

You’ll pay slightly more for a Contiki tour as opposed to a Topdeck trip, and this is because, with Contiki, you get more scheduled experiences while Topdeck allows for more free time.

If you’re tossing up between a Topdeck or Contiki trip, then you’ll need to carefully look at your itinerary and see what you’d prefer. Pack more things into your day, or go for something a little more laid-back with free time to explore?

At the time of writing, the average cost per day for a Topdeck tour is $154 (£99) compared to $180 (£116) per day for a Contiki tour.

Payment options

The cost of a tour – regardless if it’s with Topdeck or Contiki can be quite high, especially by the time you add on your flights, travel insurance, spending money whatever else you plan on getting up to. But Contiki has got one up on Topdeck with the ability to layby your tour using Zip Money.

Remember when you were a kid and you could layby something from BigW or Target (OK, maybe that was just me 😂), but Zip Money works in the same kind of way.

So if money is tight and you’d like to pay your tour off over 6 months interest-free, then Contiki if your only option here. I have a feeling that Topdeck will adopt this same feature soon, but there’s no sign of it just yet!

When it comes to your tour deposit, there is no difference  at all. Both Topdeck and Contiki charge $200 per person with the tour to be paid in full 45 days before departure.

Neither Topdeck or Contiki price match or charge booking fees.

Topdeck vs Contiki's Payment & Pricing Topdeck Contiki
Average cost per day $154 AUD
£99 GBP
$180 AUD
£116 GBP
Price matching
Zip Money payment available
Payment options Visa
Mastercard
American Express
Maestro
Direct bank transfer
Visa
Mastercard
American Express
Maestro
Direct bank transfer
Part pay
Zip Money
Booking or charge fees

Topdeck vs Contiki: Meals

9/10

9/10

Rating data from TourRadar

The quality of meals is another hot topic when comparing Topdeck vs Contiki tours. And just like the standard of accommodation, you need to have realistic expectations.

Both Topdeck and Contiki include meals in the price, but you’re not going to be eating out in 5-star restaurants. Instead, you’ll be enjoying authentic local, wholesome meals – and they are actually pretty damn good!

Meals are of course broken down into three types – breakfast, lunch and dinner and while Topdeck and Contiki provide meals, you won’t necessarily get all three on every tour. I recommend that you take a close look at the inclusions of the tour you’re interested in as this will outline how many meals are included in the price.

According to TourRadar reviews from past Topdeck and Contiki passengers, both operators score the same for meals provided on tour.

On my Contiki Europe tour, the food was relatively basic but perfectly edible. We ate in some quaint local family-run restaurants, and experiencing life as the locals do is precisely what travelling is all about.

If your budget allows for it, then you have the option to skip an organised meal and find your own, which is what I and a few other did while on tour.

Meals FAQs

Topdeck trips can include breakfast, lunch and dinner, but you need to check individual tours to see which are included and how many you will get.

Contiki trips can include breakfast, lunch and dinner, but you need to check individual tours to see which are included and how many you will get.

Topdeck and Contiki offer meals for passengers with particular dietary requirements; however, you must clearly state these at the time of booking.

Both operators do not guarantee that special dietary requirements can be met and they do not take responsibility for requirements not being fulfilled.

Topdeck vs Contiki's Meals Topdeck Contiki
Breakfast Yes, but only on specific tours. Yes, but only on specific tours.
Lunch Yes, but only on specific tours. Yes, but only on specific tours.
Dinner Yes, but only on specific tours. Yes, but only on specific tours.
Special meals available Yes, there are options for vegetarians, vegans, diabetics and those with allergies. Yes, there are options for vegetarians, vegans, diabetics and those with allergies.

Topdeck vs Contiki: Tour guides

10/10

10/10

Rating data from TourRadar

What good is a tour without a tour guide? Pretty useless actually.

You really do have to give credit to guides, they work so hard to ensure you enjoy yourself, learn about your destination and stay safe are the same time. It’s not easy with a bus-load of excitable and sometimes crazy people!

I have only ever done a Contiki tour, so I can’t speak for Topdeck guides, but according to TourRadar, Topdeck and Contiki guides are rated exactly the same.

Guides are fundamental to the success of an organised group tour, and Topdeck and Contiki know this, which is why they invest a lot of time and energy into recruiting and training the best guides.

Guide FAQs

Contiki has a no-tipping policy on all of their trips. If you would like to give your crew a tip that is entirely up to you and you are under no pressure to do so.

Topdeck has a no-tipping policy on all of their trips. If you would like to give your crew a tip that is entirely up to you and you are under no pressure to do so.

Financial protection

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

The collapse of UK based Thomas Cook – a 100-year-old travel company in 2019 was a stark reminder that you must always travel with a company that is protected against bankruptcy!

Fortunately, Topdeck and Contiki are 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.

Cover provided Topdeck Contiki
ABTA registered Registration #L8291 & #Y2992 Registration #10144
ATOL protected Registration #11033 Registration #Y1792

Websites & communication

I highly doubt if a company’s website will be the deciding factor in who you book with. Still, it could affect your decision if the level of information varies between the Topdeck and Contiki websites.

Both operators have aesthetically pleasing and mobile freindly websites, but in my opinion, the way tour information is presented on Contiki’s website is much better than Topdeck.

Contiki makes use of bright icons and text boxes to highlight essential information such as tour inclusions, booking terms and conditions and optional activities. They also have a much more beautiful itinerary layout compared to Topdeck and include faqs and more reviews.

One thing I especially love about the Contiki tour pages is the combinations of official photos with those taken by past Contiki passengers for that particular tour. It gives you an honest snapshot of what to expect on a Contiki tour.

After almost one year of talks, Topdeck launched their new-look website in 2019 and I was disappointed. I was expecting so much more from Topdeck. The site looks like it’s stuck in the early 2000s.

Both operators have a live chat feature on their website, but unlike Topdeck, Contiki’s chat is not available 24/7.

Contiki’s tour pages are easy to use and allow you to see key information quickly.

Deals & discounts

If you are still unsure who you might decide to book your tour with then maybe a deal or discount will help sway your decision. Topdeck and Contiki both offer discounted deals during the year, and the maximum discount I’ve ever seen is 30% for both operators.

I check and list the Topdeck discount codes & Contiki promo codes daily, and I can say that Topdeck definitely provides more range of discounts than Contiki.

Topdeck and Contiki both have a passenger loyalty scheme in the form of a 5% discount for past passengers with no need for a discount code, but you will need to provide evidence that you have travelled before.

The most common discounts offered by Topdeck and Contiki are their last-minute deals which range from 5% off right up to a 30% discount.

Up To 30% Off Last-Minute Topdeck Trips
Deal
3 months ago

Up To 30% Off Last-Minute Topdeck Trips

Verified
30%
Valid online only
Last-minute deal
Last-minute deal
Valid for selected trips only. See available trips.
Up To 20% Off Last-Minute Trips
Deal
2 months ago Expired

Up To 20% Off Last-Minute Trips

Verified
20%
Valid online only
Last-minute deal
Last-minute deal

Topdeck vs Contiki: Reviews & testimonials

9.4Our Rating
Topdeck review

Criteria data from TourRadar

Accommodation
9
Transportation
10
Meals
9
Value for money
9
Guide
10
Pros
  • 40+ years of experience
  • Huge range of tours
  • No single supplement charge
  • Enthusiastic & proficient tour leaders
  • Great combination of social & free time
  • No tipping policy
  • Great range of deals
  • Flexible cancellation policies
Cons
  • Their website & booking process is a bit slow
Morgan
Morgan
Roman Trail tour
Read More
Great driver and tour leader - really knew the histories of all of the places we went to. Great guys, really relatable and friendly. Rest of the group really made us feel welcome. Overall - fantastic tour.
Daniel
Daniel
California Calling tour
Read More
The tour was extremely well organised and excellent value for money considering the amount of places you see. Meals included on several days was a bonus and our guide Nikki was so helpful and enthusiastic. Would definitely recommend this tour!
Josie
Josie
Winter Getaway tour
Read More
Absolutely amazing trip with amazing trip leader, bus driver and group. Didn’t want it to end.
Sarah
Sarah
Trail To The Alps tour
Read More
I loved it, it surpassed all my expectations. Would highly recommend.

Read more Topdeck reviews on TourRadar

9.6Our Rating
Contiki review

Criteria data from TourRadar

Accommodation
10
Transportation
10
Meals
9
Value for money
9
Guide
10
Pros
  • 58+ years in operation
  • Massive selection of tours
  • Enthusiastic & proficient tour leaders
  • Lots of scheduled experiences (excursions)
  • No tipping policy
  • Deals are always available
Cons
  • Slightly more expensive than Topdeck tours
  • People over the age of 35 cannot travel
  • Single supplement charge is massive
Robert
Robert
European Encounter tour
Read More
I would recommend Contiki for anyone 18-29. For those 30 and over (that is me), you'll need to understand that you will be traveling with crazy young adults and to be ready for all that can include.
Kyle
Kyle
Eastern Quest tour
Read More
Enjoyed the tour, however, there is not much down time if you do all the add-ons. For example, you may depart the hostel first thing, spend all day away, back to hostel at 4:45 and then dinner at 5:30, then another event and return to hostel at 9:30pm
Karrina
Karrina
Kiwiana Panorama tour
Read More
Best tour I've ever been on!! The itinerary was comprehensive, the activities amazing and the group made this the trip of a lifetime!!
Lianne
Lianne
European Magic tour
Read More
Highly recommend this tour! It was my first Contiki and first time I have travelled solo. The trip manager was amazing. It is a fast-paced trip around Europe. I enjoyed seeing the main sights, but getting off the beaten path at time to visit places I wouldn't have otherwise visited. I also made a whole bunch of new friends from other countries, which was a nice surprise as I was travelling alone. Would recommend!

Read more Contiki reviews on TourRadar

Booking conditions & fees

Cancellation fees

We all know that things happen and life is uncertain – just take the COVID-19 crisis, for example, so it’s reassuring to have flexible cancellation policies available.

I’ve compared Topdeck vs Contiki’s cancellation rules and found that while both operators fees vary depending on when you cancel, Topdeck offers you more days to cancel than Contiki; however, Topdeck keeps more of your money than Contiki do.

The table below shows you exactly how the Topdeck and Contiki cancellation works and precisely what % each company retains. If you meet the time requirement, then both operators do offer you the ability to use your deposit for a future tour. But take note that the rules are different for each!

For Topdeck it’s 60 days or more, but for Contiki, it’s only 30 days or more which is quite a difference.

While it’s no surprise that both Topdeck and Contiki keep 100% of the tour costs if you cancel or don’t show for your tour on the day of departure, what is impressive, is that Contiki only keeps 75% of your tour cost if you cancel within 1-7 days of your tour departure. Topdeck, on the other hand, retains up to 90% and might just be something to think about when you decide who to travel with.

Days Cancelled Prior To Departure % Topdeck Keeps
Over 60 days Deposit only. You are eligible for a rolling deposit for a future tour.
59-29 40%
28-14 60%
13-7 80%
6-3 90%
2-0 100%
Days Cancelled Prior To Departure % Contiki Keeps
30 days & over Deposit only. You can transfer your deposit to another tour with Flexdeposit.
29-22 25%
21-8 50%
7-1 75%
Day of departure 100%

Tour deposits

To compete with each other Topdeck and Contiki both have the same deposit figures and rules. Both Topdeck and Contiki require the deposit payment to be made at the time of booking your tour.

The deposit amount for your region is listed below.

For Residents Of Topdeck Contiki
Australia $200 per person $200 per person
New Zealand $200 per person $200 per person
United States $200 per person $200 per person
Canada $200 per person $200 per person
United Kingdom £60 per person £60 per person
Europe €75 per person €75 per person
South Africa R1000 per person R1000 per person

Summary: Which tour operator is the best?

If you were expecting me to tell you who you should book with, then I’m sorry, but that isn’t going to happen. It’s practically impossible to decide a clear winner between Topdeck and Contiki as one where operator exceed your expectations, the other may underachieve them.

According to the thousands of real reviews on TourRadar for both operators, the only differences are in accommodation and transport. Contiki beats Topdeck in both these categories but only just!

I think that 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.

Topdeck and Contiki are two of the biggest names when it comes to youth travel, and I am confident that you’ll have a fantastic time and be in safe hands no matter who you decide to travel with.

  1. Poll: Who Are You Most Likely To Travel With?

    Pick the operator you're most likely to travel with & share the results wth your friends!
    1. I want to do a Topdeck trip!
    2. I want to do a Contiki tour!
    18 votes
    Share Your Result

Images © Topdeck & Contiki

Detailed infographic showing rating comparison between Topdeck and Contiki tours
A side-by-side comparison of Topdeck & Contiki

Download a PDF version of this side-by-side comparison.

Rusty

Rusty

I'm an Australian who has called London home since 2007. I enjoy travelling & inspiring travellers through my experiences.

  • They are almost exactly the same. Both just as good in my opinion

  • Avatar Jay says:

    Topdeck over Contiki anytime!

  • Avatar Lee says:

    Fab post. My daughter wants to travel Europe this year and I have been helping her compare brands. Thank you for this.

  • Avatar Carla says:

    I’ve been looking for something this detailed and honest for a while now. Thanks x

  • Avatar Julie says:

    Thank you so much fo this. Really helpful information

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