There’s a fairy good chance that at some point, you’ll get sick on your Contiki Tour.
It’s simply a combination of late nights, early starts, eating travel food (it’s usually not the healthiest), drinking, sharing drinks with others, and being on a bus a lot, surrounded by other people in an enclosed environment that causes the problem.
Someone gets sick on the bus and it spirals from there. It’s INEVITABLE. I’ve never been on a Contiki Tour where nobody got the Contiki cough.
Longer tours that require longer travel days are especially susceptible to the Contiki cough. If you’re on a tour that lasts a short period of time, say 10-15 days, you’ll be less likely to get sick compared to a long trip that spans over many weeks.
On my European Adventurer tour, one of Contiki’s longest tours, I was one of the first person to get sick. Unfortunately for me, I was sick for the rest of the tour, too. It didn’t go away by itself. Needless to say, that really sucked. And you wouldn’t catch me unprepared like that again.
The Contiki cough is a dry cough. Some people get it really bad where they are constantly coughing, like every 30 seconds. It’s difficult to sleep and it hurts your abs.
Other luckier people have a mild cough and it bothers them from time to time. But it can get really nasty so don’t take your chances.
Virtually everyone got sick on my European Adventurer tour, mostly with the Contiki cough.
My Advice On Dealing With The Contiki Cough
I’m a bit of a germ freak and I wash my hands before I eat, use hand sanitizer often, and don’t eat out of people’s stuff. I also don’t like sharing drinks. Even though I’m pretty careful with this type of stuff, I got really sick. I’m not sure if you can even avoid the cough, even if you are the most careful person in the world. It’s almost like it’s gonna happen, and you just need to prepare for it and find ways to manage it.
Here are 9 Suggestions:
1. Take vitamins or anything that boost your immune system and get your body running as efficiently as possible – You won’t be eating a lot of veggies or fruits on Contiki trips. These are essential nutrients for your health, so maybe find some pills that takes care of that.
2. Take Vitamin C pills or mixed powder with you – Specifically pack these. They don’t take up too much space and WILL come in handy, either for you or for a tour member. Contiki tends to travel to to well travelled places that will have modern grocery stores and pharmacies. So you could purchase any medical stuff there. BUT, there are times where it could be a few days until you get to one of these locations. It’s that night where you feel like absolute shit and you’re in the middle of Albania that you wished you brought some of your own medicine.
3. Bring all kinds of drugs – One thing you can’t overpack on Contiki is drugs. You’ll not only take care of your own medical needs, you’ll be everyones favorite medical provider too. If you don’t need it, someone else will. You’ll be a life saver.
4. Try not to share drinks – I know this is sometimes hard. Some people just throw their drinks into other peoples faces, encouraging them to try it. But if you avoid this, it could make a big difference.
5. Try not to eat too much crap – It’s hard to eat healthy on a Contiki tour. this is the truth. Your pit spots usually feature convenient store type foods or over priced pit stop restaurant foods. Your options are Pringles or a bowl of unhealthy looking pasta. When you get a chance, have an apple. Eat the salad in your included meal. Eat the Greek salad when you can (and why the hell not, they’re delicious).
6. Get as healthy as you can before the trip – Eat well, take vitamins, and stay active before you’re trip. Hopefully it will take a lot more crap to run you down while your on vacation.
7. Get some sleep on your tour – I wouldn’t rage every single night. For one, I’m too old for that shit now, but also, it’s really taxing on your body. You know your body better than anyone else. You’ll know when you need to chill out. So I really recommend you listen to your body.
8. I’d say wash your hands and sanitize as often as possible… – but that doesn’t seem to help me when I’m on vacation. I still always manage to get sick somehow. Plus, it’s sometimes hard to wash your hands every time before you eat something. But, I guess it’s still good practice and SHOULD help you avoid getting sick. So, I recommend it.