To celebrate reaching 150k followers on Instagram, here’s 15 real-life travel experiences that have changed the lives of #Topdeckers around the world!

#1 Getting engaged in front of a 3,000-year-old temple in Egypt

After getting together three years ago, Hayden and Sarah’s travel adventures led them to jump on board Topdeck’s 8 Day Nile Discovery where the unexpected happened (well, for Sarah anyway) – Hayden getting down on one knee in Abu Simbel.

After we went through Ramses II Temple, Hayden did the typical “let’s get a photo together” before getting down on one knee. Our amazing Trip Leader Mina caught the whole thing on video. Something we will cherish forever!

#2 Deciding to move to London to pursue a dream job in travel

Erin’s passion for group travel was sparked whilst on her first Topdeck Explorer trip through Turkey in 2011. After getting to explore amazing places, be apart of some truly unique experiences and meeting a bunch of incredible people, she well and truly caught the travel bug! Eventually her love for travel led her to pack up her life in Australia, move to London and pursue a career in inspiring others at Topdeck’s head office.

#3 Not being able to appreciate curry after returning home from India

After travelling to India in 2018, #Topdecker Jemma’s expectations in the curry department have sky-rocketed. She warns fellow #Topdeckers that if you’re planning a trip to India, keep in mind that no curry you have back at home will quite live up to the ones you had when you were there.

“Food throughout India is incredible – full of flavour, mouth-watering ingredients and all those tantalising spices!” 

#4 Remember that time we got married in Santorini? 

In May 2018, long-term couple Stephan and Elinor jumped aboard Topdeck’s 49 Day Mega European from Paris to Amsterdam. About halfway through their trip-of-a-lifetime, the loved-up couple decided to make this holiday truly unforgettable by eloping overlooking fifty shades of blue in Santorini.

“We were in Mykonos and just happened to have a general conversation with some of the tour group and if we had ever thought of eloping overseas. We said that we had, and that it would really suit us! After some secret meetings, we were told that we would be eloping in Santorini in a couple of days time!”.

#5 Jumping on a Topdeck trip and deciding to become a Trip Leader

Kiwi-born-and-bred Ruawai (or Ru) found out about Topdeck in 2015 during her first solo travel adventure overseas. She went on university exchange to Edinburgh and joined a Topdeck European Adventure camping trip during her uni break. At the time, she never thought she could become a Topdeck Trip Leader but a couple of years down the track the timing was just right!

Once you have the travel bug, it’s hard to shake. Travelling opened my eyes to so many new experiences and ideas. It gave me a space to discover who I was and what’s important to me. I’m so glad I took the chance to apply for my dream job.”

#6 Overcoming the fear of solo travel

About five years ago, Carlito was a first-time world traveller and was desperate to visit the culturally-rich country of Egypt. But as he shared with our #Topdecker community, he was scared – scared of travelling alone, scared of not knowing the language and scared of the turbulent nature of the country at the time. So what did he do? Booked a trip with Topdeck, of course!

“It was definitely the best decision I made. I shared unforgettable moments with people from Australia, Argentina, Bali and others with no issues at all! So, if you’re a beginner or you’re dying to go to a certain country and your lame friends can’t go with you, then there are options. You don’t need to travel alone.”

#7 Finding your other-side-of-the-world soulmate

Nelly found her Canadian soulmate travelling on Topdeck’s 27 Day Summer Fun and Sailing trip nearly a decade ago – creating life-long bonds over the grassy fields of Austria and gothic streets of Prague. A few years later, they met up in Canada before Topdecking across the west coast of the USA. In June 2019, Nelly travelled back to Canada to celebrate her bestie’s marriage to the love of her life! #bestfriendgoals

“Of all the people on all the Topdeck tours, I’m so glad I got to meet this one!” 

#8 Uncovering the refreshing side of Spain

Spain is not a country you would initially think of as ‘misty’ however, as our customer service representative Nick discovered on a recent trip to Spain, uncovering the misty dehumidifying fans of Spain’s tapas bars was a real life changing experience.

“There’s nothing better to do after exploring Seville on a 36 degree day than finding a small bar, ordering a cold beer, tucking into a few flavoursome tapas and relishing in the mists of Spain.”  

#9 Inspired to create a business after travelling Europe with Topdeck

Phoebe’s first ever solo trip with Topdeck in 2008 was one that would change her life forever. Not only did she meet her best friend on day one of her trip but her adventure sparked a love for travel that would inspire her to start Little Grey Box – an award-winning travel blog and YouTube channel.

“I learned so much about myself and it made me realise just how much I love to travel. Solo travel gives you so much perspective and reminds you of all the things you’re most thankful for, the things you really don’t need to lose time worrying about and just how strong you are!”

#10 Falling for a fellow #Topdecker after a travel near-miss

Before meeting in Europe, Samantha and Garreth hadn’t been sold on the idea of group travel but were convinced by friends to give it a go. When their Topdeck adventure reached Barcelona, Garreth came to the rescue when Samantha’s bag (containing her passport, money and phone) was stolen. Like something out of a cheesy rom-com, Garreth chased down the man who stole it and got everything back. They now live in Brisbane with their six-month-old-son. *Cue romantic sighs*

#11 Overcoming your fear of heights in New Zealand

For Minnesota-born college student Erin, the idea of heights had her breaking out in cold sweats and running for cover. It was something she thought she would never overcome but when travelling through New Zealand everything changed. With the support of her whole trip fam, she finally built up the courage to sky dive at 16,500 ft over the incredible South Island coast – then went on to bungy jump in Queenstown!

# 12 Finding your bestie on a Topdeck trip in 1979

Margaret was 23 when she boarded a London double-decker bus with her sister and two friends in 1979. They were living in London at the time and had saved to do a seven week trip around Europe with Topdeck. It would become an adventure she would never forget. Despite having no mobiles or social media back then, Margaret still keeps in touch with her bestie from Brisbane who she bonded with over 40 years ago! 

“I would suggest a Topdeck trip to anybody wanting a taste of Europe, especially if you are going solo. You will get to experience so many sights, everything is organised for you and you will make life-long friends and have life-long memories”.

#13 Quitting the corporate life to live out travel dreams in Europe

At 24 years old, Bec seemingly had everything – she was progressing in her career, living out of home and had a great bunch of friends. But, after getting her first taste of travel with a two-week Topdeck trip to Europe, she knew something was missing. Life had become mundane – she wanted a change but wasn’t willing to take any risks. That was when Bec decided to say bon voyage to her corporate job and hit the road!

Never in a million years did I think I would find the courage to go on a solo holiday. But I did it! I don’t regret my decision to leave work, not even for a single second. Sometimes in life you have to take a chance on yourself. You’ll be surprised just how far a dream and a little bit of determination can take you.

#14 Learning that rolling is WAY better than folding

For Laura, a year studying abroad was an experience that opened her up to new lifestyles, perspectives and cultures. Not only did she meet people from all around the world, get to visit places she never thought she would and grow exponentially as a person – she also became a master packer. Hint: it has something to do with taking up the least amount of room without compromising on clean underwear.

“When you study abroad, packing a bag for an overnight trip or a weekend away becomes second-nature. Not only do you learn what to pack at a moment’s notice, you also know that the key is to roll, not fold! Welcome to the future friends.” 

#15 Finding the ultimate bromance the Euro trip of a life time

Two kiwis walk into a bar… well, a Topdeck bus to be more precise. Joe and Matt were strangers on their 27 Day Summer Fun and Sailing trip across Europe until a bit of day-one-bus-banter uncovered they had lived a kilometre away from each other their entire lives! After bonding over toga nights in Rome and sliding down the wet streets of Dubrovnik, the guys are now committed to a long-distance friendship that will last a lifetime. 

“After our trip finished, we met up for a reunion at the Edinburgh Fringe and also caught up in New Zealand over the summer. We’re prepared for long distance friendship when Joe heads back to Edinburgh next month”.

Erin Bunn
Originally from country Western Australia, Erin has a serious travel addiction. A lover of fitness, the great outdoors and brunch, Erin’s favourite question is “where to next?”