How to choose the right tour company for your mid-year trip

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If you’re a uni student, planning a gap year, taking a semester off or anything that gives you a few months travel time, then I’m sure you’re already well into planning your Europe getaway. This typical mid-year trip is a must if you have the funds, the time and are ready to experience a European Summer. To help you prepare for your travels, below is a comparison of some of the major tour companies that can help make your European adventures a little easier, and a little more memorable.

What companies are there?

The top tier companies for students to travel with, and recommended by us students, are Contiki, Topdeck and Busabout – all student price friendly and offer a variety of trips that alter in length, intensity and locations.

How much will this cost me?

It is best to have a flexible budget going into a big trip where you will most likely be travelling for an extended period.

If you’re on a budget Busabout is a great company to look at, as they offer a cheaper price with the flexibility to book your own accommodation, prices for a 10 day trip average between $600 and $900, or between $70 and $217 a day.

If you’re looking for a trip that includes accommodation for a similar length of time, Contiki is your next best option, offering 10-day trips from $1400. An average daily spend for Contiki is roughly $66 to $320 a day, dependent on the length of the tour as well as the activities included.

It’s important to look at the variety of trips to get a greater comparison of prices versus the length of the trip. Finally, Topdeck offers similar tours to Contiki with most accommodation included in the price, with a daily price averaging between $88 and $334.

Transportation and accommodation

All three of these tours will have you travelling across countries in either a coach or a boat, dependent on what areas of Europe you are visiting.

Accommodation varies between each company. With a higher price tag comes nicer hotels and hostels with a greater number of amenities, compared to a more budget-friendly style of campsites and smaller hostels. Contiki and Topdeck offer hostels as their primary form of accommodation. Busabout leaves the accommodation choice up to the traveller, with the choice to purchase a cheaper hostel/camping option or a nicer hotel for a higher cost.

Where can I visit?

Each of these three tour companies offer a variety of tours that cover the majority of Europe. Contiki and Topdeck offer over 150 tours each, covering popular countries like France, Germany, Spain and Greece. Although Busabout offer fewer tours, they visit locations that Contiki and Topdeck do not, reaching to islands off Spain and the southern Italy coast. These destinations include Capri in southern Italy and the Spanish islands of Menorca and Mallorca.

Contiki and Topdeck cover all major cities throughout Europe. All three of these tours spread to Scandinavia, visiting countries such as Sweden, Denmark and Estonia.

If you’re looking to tick off the major European destinations in a short amount of time, Topdeck and Contiki would be our recommendation. If you’re looking to visit the hidden treasures Europe has to offer as well as some of the major cities, Busabout is the way to go.

Who will I meet?

The best part about booking one of these European tours is that you’ll meet people from all across the globe.

Group sizes do vary, Contiki and Busabout offer similar group sizes of around 50 people per tour, with Topdeck offering up to 90 people in their tours. The age gap for Contiki and Topdeck range from 18 to 35, with Busabout offering tours for travellers aged from 18 to 70.

Travelling Europe is a must for any bucket list, whether it’s backpacking through the Alps, sailing through Croatia or island hoping in Greece. For a first time traveller, or even just on a budgeted uni trip, I definitely suggest travelling with a company to make your holiday easier, and see the secret sides of countries that only your tour guides will know of.

Rosie Chong

Rosie is studying a Bachelor of Arts/Commerce at Monash University and loves corgis more than one should.

Image: Tatiana Dzelskalei, Flickr Creative Commons license