Top Reasons to Book a Tour with Topdeck Travel
To some people the idea of travelling as part of a group of 30-35 others is what nightmares are made of, and to some it’s the best idea ever. As a person who was always a part of the former, I must say doing group tours were some of the best experiences of my life.
I always had the urge to travel the world but couldn’t find the right person to join me on my journey. After a bit of research online I discovered organised tours, where you book a place on a particular tour but technically you aren’t travelling alone, as you have with you a group of other likeminded travellers from all corners of the world. There are many, many companies that offer these types of trips, it just depends overall what type of experience you’re looking for and where you want to go as to what company to go with.
I have travelled with a few of these companies and found my favourite to be a company called Topdeck. My first trip was a 21 day tour around Europe (I started close to home haha). Now, included in this trip were all accommodation, most meals, and all transportation costs (with the exception of travel to and from the start point of your tour). You also have a tour guide, bus driver, and on road chef with you for the full duration of your trip (There are some tours which differ but will tell you in the information sections). So you are fully supported for the full length of your tour.
On my European tour I had opted to go for the camping trip (there are many other options of accommodation to choose from, be it hostels to nice hotels, obviously depending on your preference will dictate the price), with the option to upgrade to hostel in certain destinations. The tents were two man tents so you shared with another member of the group (there were a few couples in our group so they were allowed to share). The good thing about Topdeck was that you were allowed to choose who you shared with (it was same sex sharing) which made some people feel a bit more comfortable.
During the process of choosing which tour to go on, I just had to decide which itinerary was the best one for me based on where I personally wanted to visit and what attractions I most wanted to see, and trust me there were plenty of options available so deciding was the hardest part. As part of your tour you have many other things included. Your tour guide will be well versed on information, local knowledge and history of each destination you travel to and I found that I learned quite a few things about European history along the way. There are also optional excursions available in each destination that aren’t included in the cost of your tour. In Switzerland I took the option of skydiving. Again as its optional it’s up to you whether you do it or would rather have a free day to explore your destination at your own leisure and you can do as many or as little optionals as you like.
When you’re near your departure date you will be sent a welcome pack which will give you a copy of your itinerary, your departure point with time of departure, a list of the optional excursions available in each destination and also a list of necessary documents to bring with you. It also gives you a handy essentials guide of what to pack and also very handily a guide on how to not over-pack.
When I was on my tour whenever we arrived in a new destination we always had an orientation walking tour. This was so you could get your bearings around the city which was a great touch as you got a feel for the city quite early on. Now I very much liked the walking tours but you didn’t have to do it if you didn’t want to, you weren’t required or expected to stay with the group if you preferred to go off on your own.
It was very relaxed, although the company was very particular about time keeping. Obviously being a bus tour we had to leave destinations at particular times to make it to somewhere else for a particular time. You were warned right at the start that if you were ever late you had ten minutes grace then the bus would have to leave and you’d have to make your own way to the next city. We all had a copy of the tour guides phone number in case we ran into any problems. Never really a problem as long as your timekeeping was good.
As I quickly mentioned at the start, on the trip I had an on the road chef as part of my tour and while you might think the food may have been not the best I was actually pleasantly surprised. I’m a vegetarian so I – among quite a few dietary requirements within my group – had to be catered for separately. There was so much effort put into the food making sure everyone was catered for and that there was also variety, no two days were ever the same.
Now I feel one of the most important parts of this article is to stress how many amazing friends I made on this one trip. At first, yes, it was slightly awkward while everyone got to know each other but after that it was like we had all been friends for years. On my European tour our group had 45 people in total and never was anyone left out or ignored. Of course, as you do, everyone separated into smaller groups with people they had more in common with but there were no problems with clashes of personalities or fighting. The people who do these trips aren’t like that.
They are people who want to see the world and make some friends along the way and the thing is we all started of our trip the same way; as lone travellers. By the end we were lifelong friends. One thing I will mention though is that the youngsters on these tours LOVE to party and they party hard. I’m personally not a big drinker or partygoer and although the majority of people on my tour were out drinking every night and hungover the next day, it didn’t affect my enjoyment of the trip. It could make some people feel uncomfortable but I think if you’re an open person and willing to get involved in activities etc no one cares whether your drinking or not.
Another thing to remember is that no two tours are ever the same. I have done four tours, ranging from 2-4 weeks in length, and they have all been so different that there is absolutely no way to compare them. My advice to anyone contemplating travelling alone is to try one of these tours. It’s a great confidence booster and well worth the money you pay. It was hassle free as all the important things were taken care of, and it also meant I was seeing all the main attractions at each destination but still having the opportunity to do my own exploring and finding hidden treasures of my own. All you need to worry about is deciding which trip to go on.
By Karyn Hicks
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