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

Feature Contiki Busabout Verdict
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. No Flights are excluded for both.
Can I price match? No No Neither 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? No No Neither charges booking fees.
Is there online chat? Yes No Only 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 departure Cancellation fee based on your purchase price
45+ days Deposit only
45-22 days 25%
21-8 days 50%
7-1 days 75%

Percentage cancellation fee with Busabout

Days cancelled prior to departure Cancellation 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+ days 25% 25% 50%
21-15 days 25% 50% 0%
14-1 days 0% 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.

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Stephanie Yip

Stef is the Travel Editor at and has been writing about travel for over a decade. She's visited over 50 countries and has had some incredible experiences, including hot air ballooning over Cappadocia, hitchhiking across Romania and seeing the Northern Lights (twice!). And while she’d never say no to a luxury escape, she's far more likely to stretch her travel dollars as far as they can go by keeping her ear to the ground for unbeatable travel bargains. And she'll tell you all about them, too! Stef has had articles featured on Travel Weekly, Escape and Hostelworld.

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