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My first time travelling solo was on a Contiki tour through Europe. I wanted to get a taste of Europe before I starting working as an Au Pair in England. Contiki is a group tour targeted at 18-35’s. Rumours were flying that Contiki is all about people getting drunk and performing crazy antics.
I made myself a promise, I was not going to party all night and sleep all day on the bus. I didn’t want to miss the scenery as we drove across Europe, I wanted to soak it all in. But was this a promise I could keep?
Turns out that was a promise I couldn’t keep. Well not on this trip anyway. I got a second chance some years later when I did another Contiki tour in the USA. Second time around I was slightly better but still enjoyed a night out. Ok, ok, I was out every night!
So enough about me, you are reading this because you want to know if Contiki is the right choice for you.
Where to go and how long for?
I am assuming you have some sort of destination in mind? Well if not Contiki offers tours to over 40 countries and across 6 continents. Take your pick, Europe, Canada, USA, Asia, Latin America, New Zealand or Australia.
Tours vary in length and you can go for as little as 3 days or over a month. Personally around 7-10 days was enough for me. I don’t think my liver could have taken much more!
Nervous about travelling solo?
If you are concerned about travelling solo don’t worry it is perfectly normal. Before you head off on an adventure of a life time you can connect with other passengers on your tour. Sign up for My Contiki, check out your travelling buddies and make connections before you go.
Once you are on the tour you will never be alone and you will be one of the contiki family.
Who will be on my tour?
There is a mix of nationalities but you will probably find that a majority are Aussies. The tour is aimed at 18-35 year old’s and usually most people are in their early twenties. We had a mixed bag of people, singles, married couples and friends travelling together.
A Tour Manager will look after you while you are on the tour and then there is a bus driver getting you from A to B.
It is go, go, go! You will just scratch the surface of places you visit but you get to see the main sites. Like in Paris expect to see the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe and Notre Dame Cathedral. I even tried escargot, never thought I would try snails but when in Rome!
The most you will spend in a city is 3 days. Just enough time to give you a taste of the culture, food, history and people.
The Bus ride
Every morning when you board the bus you will hear the rev of the engine and then your group song will be blaring out of the speakers. The song pumps you up and sets the mood to have an awesome day. Your group song is picked by your Tour Manager and everyone is singing and rocking out.
The buses are modern with large windows, perfect for soaking in the changing scenery. The seats recline slightly so you can have a wee nap, to recover from the night before.
Plenty of games are played, music pumping and you can even watch a movie or two. There is never a dull moment.
My main concern was will the bus have a toilet? The answer is yes! They advise you not to use it unless really necessary.
Be prepared to spend a whole day on the bus! Don’t worry there are frequent stops while you are on the road.
Accommodation can be tailored to your budget. Camp or stay in hostels and hotels. If you want to stay in a hotel you can bunk in with another traveller to cut costs.
The first tour I went on they changed who you shared with and the seconded tour I roomed with the same girl. I think it is up to the Tour Manager to work it out.
The hotels are budget and some are better than others. The rooms are nothing fancy but to be honest it is only a place to lay your weary head. You will probably find that you will spend little time in your room.
Accommodation is included in the prices of the tour so you never have to worry about finding a place to stay that suits your budget.
Do you party every night?
They encourage you to have a good time but it is totally up to you if you want to party every night. I have always been one who never wants to miss out on anything so I was usually there till the end of the night!
The choice is totally yours. Some people got an early night most night, others partied every second night and then there were the ones who partied every night.
Budget for Optional Activities
Contiki offers a range of optional activities that you will probably want to take part in. Some of the cool things you can do are jet boating, bungee jumping, whitewater rafting, hot air ballooning, just to name a few.
The best thing I did was a helicopter ride over the Grand Canyon.
Make sure you have some extra money saved as you don’t want to miss out!
You will be travelling with so many like minded people who have a passion for travel. That in its self makes it is easy to make friends as you have similar interests. Everyone is looking to have a good time and they want to socialise.
Don’t get me wrong you are probably going to get that one person on the tour who annoys everyone. But that is life, we can’t all get along.
Will you find love? There is usually plenty of hook ups within the group! One of my good friends fell in love with an American bloke. They got hitched in Vegas and have a child so you just never know when love will arrive.
If you are after a hassle free holiday with a bunch of great people then Contiki is the tour for you. Click here to look at the full range of tours they offer. #noregrets
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