Youth tour as a not so youthful adult

We all know Contiki is the code word for young people, fun, booze and sex with a bit of disregard of the country you’re in. Their rival Topdeck is marketed as a slightly more mature alternative, young fun but still more engaged with the countries being visited (and also priced higher than Contiki).

 

The bus becomes your second home with a new backdrop every few days

 

So, what’s it like to go along with a 3-week Topdeck across Europe as a 28-year-old who is bordering on “not-so-young”?

Luckily for me, I wasn’t the oldest (near enough though to be conscious of the fact #oldfeels) but this is a luck of the draw as you don’t know who you’ll get until you join.

 

Group dinner in Florence. Florentine steak sesh

 

So, it went like…

The Good:

  • Meeting new friends, you wouldn’t of otherwise. The extended time being spent together with the same people helps establish this.
  • A good time-saving option if you don’t have enough time to plan out a long trip yourself.
  • Being a youth-oriented travel option, it is gentle on the budget. Good for backpacker adventure travel types with basic accommodation being provided and a lot of the meals taken care of.
  • Travel arrangements are taken care of
  • Always people to party and eat with
  • Game of Thrones seems to be a universal conversational topic

 

While flying or high-speed rail is faster you miss sights like this on the country roads. (Somewhere between Switzerland and Austria)

The not so good:

 

  • Since it’s a lucky dip you may not gel with everyone (whilst I didn’t have any issues I became closer to some than others)
  • Its nonstop go go go with minimal rest so it can become very taxing physically. Better to do this the younger you are.
  • It’s still an organised tour at the end of the day so you may not get to see and do everything you want to before its time to move off to a new place.
  • If you are the type that was luxury travel this is definitely not for you, it’s more or less a back-packing tour nearly (flash-packing is more accurate as it’s not totally devoid of creature comforts). There is also A LOT of bus time.
  • Lack of choice outside of the set itinerary with limited free time.
  • Depending on the average age of the group you can really feel your age.

 

Bus tours are a quick way to quickly see everything with an explanation letting you decide what to go back and see on the free days you are given, though time is limited.

 

As someone who normally goes it alone or just with friends, to join a tour of all randoms for such an extended period of time was a new experience and would definitely recommend to try at least once when you a bit younger before you are locked down with boring adult stuff (debt, bills, mortgages and hard shit like that) and full of energy.

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