So as most of you are aware if you follow me on instagram @notjustaprettyfaceblog_ I recently went on a Topdeck Tour around Europe with my partner. I had the absolute time of my life and felt safe and happy and loving life the whole time (which was amazing as this was my first experience travelling so before we left I was hella nervous)
So I thought I would put together a blog post talking about the pros and cons of doing a (camping) Topdeck Tour and whether I think it was worth the money or not.. so let’s jump right in.
First I’ll give you some of the basic details of the trip that I did.
I did the 26 Day European Inspired Camping Trip, the tour went to 12 countries and cost $2996 NZD which ended up being $115 NZD a day.
On the tour we visited: France, Switzerland, Italy, Vatican City, Slovenia, Croatia, Hungary, Czech Republic, Germany, Denmark and the Netherlands. Some of these countries we stayed in for a little while and some of them we just zipped through on our way somewhere else such as Slovenia.
As I did the Camping Tour I can’t vouch for any of the other tours but here are some bits and pieces for you to know about the Camping trip.
You mainly stay at camp grounds (obviously ha!) but you do get 12 nights in hostel upgrades which is honestly the best thing ever after sleeping on air mattresses and in tents no matter whether the hostel is ‘fancy’ or not.
Topdeck provide the air mattresses and tents which is very helpful when you are trying to stay under weight (20kgs whaaaaaat!) If you are travelling alone you will be paired with someone of the same gender, if you are a couple you are able to stay together.
The tents are very easy to put up (even when severely hungover or sleep deprived or both..) Although it is important to remember that you will have to bring your own sleeping bag, pillow and towels!
With the camping trip you are lucky enough to have your own chef that travels along with you, this chef makes you 25 breakfasts, 13 lunches and 12 dinners. They can cater to dietary needs such as veganism, vegetarainism, allergies and the like, but they cannot cater to likes/dislikes.
If you are ever in need of a quick pick me up and your chef is on site they will be able to give you snacks such as noodles and things as well, you won’t go hungry on this trip!
(The food is amazing, the chef that was on our tour made us lasngna, thai green curry, all sorts of pastas, and lots of veges so it definitely felt like you were at home with mums cooking.)
- It is definitely the cheapest way of travelling, comparing it to the other tours that Topdeck do: (I tried to get them all around the same length for a fairer comparison, and they should see around about the same amount of countries.)
Camping- 26 days of travel for $2996NZD
Hostel- 28 days of travel for $4967NZD
Hotels- 26 days of travel for $5876NZD
So depending on where your level of comfort lies, camping is definitely the most bang for your buck. Although if you dont like mud, the cold or rain it’s probably not for you. (It might be the “European Summer” but thunderstorms are still a thing apparenty….)
- A chef comes with you! You get fed absolutely delicious food (and coffee every morning which was something I thoroughly appreciated)
As I mentioned above the food was delicious and there was a huge variety. So if you are on a budget or not really a foodie, a camping trip could be perfect for you as you can spend all your money elsewhere. (Food is ridiculously expensive in some places in Europe.. *cough cough* Copenhagen I’m looking at you.)
- The social aspect of a camping Topdeck is one of my biggest positives because you are literally in tents with one other person so in free time you are kind of forced to make friends with the other people in your group. The group I was with (bless them if any of you guys are reading this) often sat outside the cook tent after we were finished dinner and yarned and drank and had a good time before we all went our seperate ways for bed (this was oftentimes very late) because of this we all became really good friends and actually got to know each other really well and we all continue to talk via groupchat regularly.
I personally think that if you were doing a Hostel or Hotel trip the social aspect wouldnt be as good as you could go off to your own room and be by yourself or just with the other girls/boys in your hostel room so you would only be really good friends with a small percentage of the group. Whereas with camping, you may as well socialise with the rest of the group cos the alternative of sitting in a very small tent with all of your belongings and a bed squished in there isn’t as appealing.
- My partner and I did as many of the optional activities that we could and I would also recommend that you do as well.
I think it’s an awesome way of getting to know the cities you are in a little bit more and get involved in fun things to do that you may not think of doing by yourself (such as a bike tour of Paris when you hate riding bikes and havent ridden one for years but turns out it was SO much fun) My favourite optional activities were
*Visiting Auschwitz concentration camp (this was the most humbling and mind blowing experience, I recommend everyone go.. even if its just for a little while)
*Walking tour of Berlin (learning all about the history of Berlin and the Berlin wall) this was one of the best walking tours we did, the lady showing us around had a great sense of humour but was also very very knowledgable.
*This isnt an optional activity but MY GOD make sure if you are in Venice, take a vaperetto to Burano, it is the most colourful vibrant and instagram worthy place you’ll ever see!
- As a camper, you will have to get up early in the morning to have enough time to take down your tent, pack everything onto a bus, eat, and then brush your teeth ready for the day which after a fair few big nights out is a rather hard thing to do.
We got up at around 6.30am everyday when we were camping so we could be on the bus by 8ish to get to the next country as your driver only has so many hours he is legally allowed to drive, meaning that everything needs to be down to a fine art to be able to get to places on time and within the drivers time range.
- You cannot control the weather! As a camper this is the story of your life.
Despite it being a “European Summer” apparently there are still huge thunderstorms and downpours as well.. who knew?
There were times when it was FREEZING and we all hated our lives, because we had to sleep in tents in the rain, and the cold but other times, it was so hot you couldnt cope either. So if you arent the kind of gal (or guy) who doesn’t mind being a little sweaty, cold, muddy, and very very tired this isn’t the trip for you!
This trip (and I’m assuming most Topdeck trips) are definitely not a ‘holiday’
If your idea of a overseas trip is relaxing by the pool drinking cocktails, going to explore the best restaraunts in the city and spending all day shopping then this is definitely not for you.
Topdeck is full of early starts, late night partying, sweating, exploring at a ridiculously fast pace (think, doing 3 cities in Italy in 4 days) and only seeing the touristy top picks of each city.
As exhihilarting and amazing as it was, guys, you get TIRED! This is not a sit around drinking cocktails by the pool holiday, it is a get up and go and do as many things as possible in one day adventure
I hope this helps you in making a decision whether you want to do a Topdeck tour or not. It was an incredible experience and I loved every minute and will probably forever be a highlight of my life.
If your thinking about it, don’t sit on it, just do it. It’ll be the craziest but most rewarding experience ever.
Lots of love,