To give you an insight into what to expect from this type of travel we asked some Travel Bloggers that have been there, done that to let us all in on their story and why they loved, or hated, travelling on a Coach Group Tour.
Get to know our travellers?
Dana is one of those young, female bloggers who have all of those colourful Instagram photos of people with beach bodies loving life in amazing places. She is also a travel writer with humour and the ability to appeal to more than just the young crowd.
She is also our daughter!
It seems like a coach tour with a company like Contiki or Topdeck is pretty much a right of passage for 18 to 20 somethings, and as a card carrying member of that group I refused to miss out.
In Late 2015 I went on my first ever Coach Tour through Europe with Topdeck. It was a little different to their usual tour as it was a specifically for Aussies graduating high school or as we like to call ourselves, “Schoolies”.
The “Winter Wonderland Tour” took us through 12-14 countries over 3 weeks. I think we even managed to drive through 5 within the same day which I still can’t quite wrap my head around.
What I liked about the Coach Tour was that every single person was there for the same reason, they loved travelling. Which is a huge reason why the tour was so successful, for me anyway. I got closer to the people on tour within a couple of hours than I had with most people I had known my whole life. It is also possible that being with 44 people for long hours on a bus together contributed.
Speaking of the bus, the driver was incredible and his skill helped us forget we were stuck travelling so much. I mentioned that we went through 12-14 countries and the driver did not use a GPS at all for the entire trip. As someone who needs Google maps to drive 5 minutes away from home I was extraordinarily impressed! Not to mention that he also reverse parallel parked a bus! Once again I can barely park my car normally.
What most people assume about these tours is that they never get to see anything except what they drive past because they spend so much time on the coach. I can’t deny that a lot of time is spent on the coach, which I will get to soon, but this didn’t mean that I missed out on seeing so many amazing things.
In fact, I saw and got to experience more in these places in just a couple of days than I would have alone with more time, and I have my tour guide and front of line passes to thank for that.
Even if you didn’t get to see as much as you had hoped I believe these tours are the best way to get a little taste of everything so you know where to return to explore further next time. It is also perfect for anyone who wants to see as much as they can when they only have a short period of time.
The trip wouldn’t have been anywhere near as remarkable as it was if it wasn’t for the tour guide who was full of information, hidden gems, jokes and loved a good party. He made all the long bus days as interesting as possible with fun games, movies, facts, more jokes and even themed days like ‘ugly Christmas sweaters’ which was a personal favourite.
I LOVED everything about the tour except for one thing, which you may have already guessed. Yep, the long bus days and nope, I’m not talking 3 to 5 hours but more like 8 to 15 hours every few days. As someone who is prone to randomly getting carsick it was a bit too risky for me.
Although now that I think of it I never did feel sick on the bus (another shoutout to the driver for that!) . Oh, except for that one very hungover day…… These strangers I went on this coach tour with are practically family now, the memories will stay with me forever. And thanks to Topdeck I have the most comfortable personalised hoodie that I now refuse to take off in winter.
Ever since I got back I have been itching for my next adventure and eager to make new travel buddies. All in all this tour was really an amazing experience and I would do another again in a heartbeat! In fact, I 100% recommend it for anyone short on time or looking to find like minded travellers and believe this would be the same whether you are youth touring or with one of the companies that cater for an older age group.
Do you have an opinion on travelling as part of an escorted coach tour?