Contiki vs Busabout

An extensive comparison between Contiki and Busabout to see which works better for you.

Although Contiki and Busabout are sister brands of the same parent company, The Travel Corporation, they are quite different in their tours, traveller groups and booking methods.

We researched the differences that set both companies apart, so you don’t have to. Compare Contiki and Busabout side by side and pick the one that’s better for your next trip.

Contiki vs Busabout

What tours are available?
  • USA and Canada
  • Europe
  • Latin America
  • Asia
  • Australia and New Zealand
  • USA
  • Europe
  • South-East Asia
  • North Africa
Contiki covers more regions. Neither offers tours of Central America and the Middle East.
Do tours include flights?No, however Contiki can organise flights.NoFlights are excluded for both.
Can I price match?NoNoNeither offers price match.
Are there lay-by or payment plans?A non-refundable deposit of $255 per person is required to book your place.
Full payment is due 45 days from the start of the tour.
Full payment if the trip cost is less than $400. For trips costing above $400, a non-refundable deposit of $100 is required.
The balance must be paid 45 days prior to departure.
Contiki requires a higher deposit amount.
Both allow the same timeframe to make the full payment.
Are there booking/charge fees?NoNoNeither charges booking fees.
Is there online chat?YesNoOnly Contiki offers live chat.
Is there a loyalty scheme?5% off if you’ve booked a trip of 7+ days with Contiki or its sister groups including Trafalgar, Insight Vacations, Uniworld River Cruises, Busabout, Haggis Adventure, Shamrocker Adventures, Lion World Travel, African Travel, Brendan Vacations and AAT Kings.5% discounts if you’ve booked a tour earlier of 3+ days with Busabout, Haggis or Shamrocker.Both offer similar loyalty discounts.
What are the target age groups?Tours are restricted to 18-35 year olds.Available for all adults. Under 18s may be allowed to travel provided they are accompanied by an adult.Both only allow adults.
Busabout has no upper age limit.
Is there a single supplement?Yes, at an additional cost.Yes, at an additional cost.Both offer an optional single supplement.
What are my payment options?
  • Mastercard
  • Visa
  • American Express
  • Visa
  • Mastercard
  • Maestro
Both accept major credit cards, although Contiki accepts AMEX as well.

Who offers the best price?

Tours on Contiki and Busabout are priced pretty neck-and-neck. For example, a 5-day Hogmanay Festival tour in Scotland costs $765 on Contiki and the same tour is priced at

The verdict: Both offer similar prices.

Which offers a wider range of tours?

Contiki offers 343 tours while Busabout has 81 hop-on, hop-off ticket options.

The verdict: Contiki provides a wider range of tours.

Cancellation policy?

Contiki and Busabout's cancellation policies are varied by how far in advance you cancel. You can see a breakdown of each below:

Percentage cancellation fee with Contiki

Days cancelled prior to departureCancellation fee based on your purchase price
45+ daysDeposit only
45-22 days25%
21-8 days50%
7-1 days75%

Percentage cancellation fee with Busabout

Days cancelled prior to departureCancellation fee based on your purchase price (for the majority of tours)Cancellation fee based on your purchase price (for Asia Adventures)Cancellation fee based on your purchase price (Festivals, Special Events and Add-On Products)
22+ days25%25%50%
21-15 days25%50%0%
14-1 days0%0%0%


The tour company which works better for cancellations varies depending on how far in advance you cancel.

For cancellations of 45 days or more, Contiki's policy is more generous charging the deposit, as opposed to 25% of your purchase price with Busabout.

Cancellations made more than one day but less than 14 are better with Contiki, providing you with a 25% refund as opposed to no refund at all with Busabout.

Cancellations made in between these time periods could be better with either, depending on how far in advance it is made.

Site Navigation?

Contiki’s website is neat and is easy to navigate, while it’s difficult browsing the tour maps, itineraries and prices on Busabout.

What are the deals like?

Both Contiki and Busabout extend a variety of deals including loyalty offers, early payment, group-travel and multiple-trip discounts.

Last-minute deals are available only on Contiki. And Busabout offers student discounts which are not applicable on Contiki.

Busabout is advertising 15% off on its early payment tours while the tour price cuts on Contiki range from 10-30%. For example, the 8-day Italian Espresso tour is available at a 30% discount on Contiki.

The verdict: Generally speaking, both companies have similar discount ranges, but Contiki offers a much better deal than Busabout on some tours.

Contiki and Busabout tour deals

Up to $550 off Australia tours Valid on select 2018 departures. Destinations include Darwin, Alice Springs, Sydney, Cairns, Whitsundays and more. T&Cs apply.

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Up to 15% off USA and Canada tours

Deal expires

Valid on 2019 departures. Destinations include New York City, Texas, Florida, San Francisco and more. T&Cs apply.

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Up to 30% off last-minute Asia tours Valid on select tours departing until 26 December, including Asian Adventure and Eternal India.

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Up to 30% off last-minute Europe tours Book a range of last-minute Contiki tours, from week long jaunts to month long journeys, to destinations like Italy, France, Germany, Greece and more for up to 30% off.

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Up to $360 off Europe Winter trips

Deal expires

Valid for travel on select dates. Destinations include United Kingdom, Netherlands, France, Belgium, Switzerland, Spain and more. T&Cs apply.

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Up to 20% off Greek island hopping tours Valid for travel on select 2018 dates. Includes meals, accommodation, transport and more. Destinations include Athens, Mykonos, Santorini and more. T&Cs apply.

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Up to $909 off Latin America tours Valid for travel on select 2018 dates. Destinations include Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, Costa Rica and more. T&Cs apply.

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10% off select New Zealand tours

Deal expires

Valid for travel until October 2018. Minimum of 7 days. Destinations include Auckland, Christchurch, Queenstown and more. T&C's apply.

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5% off your next trip Travel again with Contiki to receive 5% off your next trip.

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10% off Croatia sailing tours

Deal expires

Valid on select 2018 Croatia sailing trips with Busabout.

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12% off 2018 Busabout passes

Deal expires

Valid on select passes including the unlimited pass, 15-stop pass, six-stop pass and two-week pass. Destinations include France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Croatia, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, Austria and more.

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Stephanie Yip

Stephanie is the travel editor at On top of being an avid traveller, she's an all-round bargain hunter. If there's a deal on hotels or a sale on flights, she'll know about it. And she'll let you know about it, too. Though probably not before she buys her own ticket.

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