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My first real big trip outside of North America was with Contiki Tours (European Adventurer), and till this day, It’s still probably the coolest thing I’ve ever done in my life.
I remember landing in London and taking the tube from the airport to the inner city for the first time. Navigating the enormous Heathrow airport and figuring out the underground was just the beginning of expanding myself and learning about the world outside of Canada.
While tubing to London, the countryside view was pretty unspectacular. It’s pretty much full of nothing. It didn’t even really hit me I was in London.
But I’ll never forget the feeling I had when I finally got off the tube and walked up underground and saw the beautiful old buildings. I WAS IN EUROPE! It’s a moment I will never forget for the rest of my life.
I’d only seen buildings like these in movies and books.
They were just regular buildings to any Brit, but to me, I was in the most amazing place I’d ever been.
It’s the little things like these that makes travel worth every single penny you worked so hard to save. I’m not sure I’d have gone to Europe myself. If it wasn’t for Contiki Tours, I may have never gone to Europe.
Contiki gives you the opportunity to travel around the world with like minded people. I’d really say that’s the coolest thing they offer. You get to see and do things you’ll never be able to do at home, with the safety of a large group who’s all looking to have fun and make memories.
If you want to check out tours currently offered by Contiki, click here.
With that said, here’s my top 10 reasons why you should travel with Contiki
When I first started travelling I just wanted to see stuff and do fun stuff. That’s what I thought travelling was mainly about. But actually, that’s HALF of what travelling is about. Now that I’ve gone around the world more, I’ve learned that meeting new people and making new friendships is one of the most rewarding part of traveling. I might even say that it’s the BEST experience you can get while traveling.
Contiki is great because you are usually on a bus with a lot of people (sometimes 50). And you get to make new friends from around the world. With your new friends, you’ll explore the Eiffel Tower or eat Pizza in Italy together. party at night and make fun of each other. These little things you do with your Contiki family is what you’ll remember 5 years down the road…. these memories will stick with you stronger than when you walked around a new town by yourself.
The world is a crazy place these days, and it’s a little scary to travel by yourself for a lot of people. Your Contiki group will likely be a large group of people, especially if you do one of those 2-3 week European tours. It’s always great to have a big group when it comes to safety. Nobody really wants to mess with that. Plus you guys are the bomb since you’re the ones having the most fun wherever you go, and everyone around is just looking at you wishing they could be as cool :P.
With a larger group, you’ll also be able to find more people who you connect with and can be close friends with. You’ll end up doing most of your stuff with this group of people usually. But you guys will travel around in one large group half the time you go around cities and explore new places. There’s a lot of value in being in such a large group travelling around. Contiki usually gives you that.
You’re always free to do whatever you want. However, most people choose to do whatever the tour is doing. Like you can land in a city and just run off and do your own thing but that rarely happens. Contiki is a very guided tour and they will take you around and show you stuff, explain history to you, and help you see the city and learn culture. And then you get free time too do whatever you want in the city. Your tour manager will give you suggestions for what you can do. So it’s kinda split between half guided tours and half free time (give or take).
It also depends on which type of tour and place you visit. But that’s the general idea. Anyway, you’re never stuck doing what Contiki wants. You are always free to break away and do whatever you want.
I’ve been on several group tours outside of Contiki and it made me realize how structured Contiki is. Most of the important things are planned out for you. You wake up at this time, get back to the coach at this time, eat at this time, and get free time at this time. This is good and bad. But for a lot of people, it’s great. Because you don’t have to worry about planning or logistics.
Many tour companies I’ve been on is more “relaxed” and do as you wish. Wish can be good too. But I think for most people who want to go on a tour and be shown around cities and taken around to see and experience things, they want the “guided” part more. Contiki gives you a lot of that and it’s structured in a way that maximizes your time.
How about paragliding over Austrian Alps or bar hopping in unique bars in Greece? Even simple things like taking the Underground in London for the first time or eating real Gelato in Italy are experiences you’ll never get back home. Travel offers you that. If you’re scared to travel or don’t know how to do it yourself, or don’t have anyone to go with, Contiki is a phenomenal company to help you out with that! Again, traveling with other people is an amazing thing. You’ll make friends quick and you’ll get to do all these fun things with them. You get that safety net of familiar faces to do stuff with.
If you’re scared to travel I recommend a group tour for your first time. Then you’ll get to see what the world is like outside of home and you can decide after that if you want to solo travel or do more group travel. I do both and I love both. I like to combine both on a single trip actually. Spend some time on my own and some time travelling.
For my first time travelling, I was scared of the unknown. I’m not sure I would have gone to Europe if I didn’t do a group tour. But going to Europe with Contiki made me fall in love with travelling and fall in love with travelling with a group of people. It’s just sooooo much fun making friends with your peer group and just doing stuff every day together. It’s like a big family. If you’re worried about traveling but want to do it, a group tour like Contiki will be an eye opening experience.
Contiki Tours are mostly fast paced tours. You spend anywhere from 1-3 days in each city typically, and you spend a lot of time on the bus getting from one place to another. It’s a tour that gives you a taste of each city. You’ll get a feel for what it’s like and one day you can come back and get a more in depth feel of it.
Even their more in depth tours that allow you to spend 3 days in each city with less travel time is usually not enough in my opinion. For example, I spent a week in Berlin by myself and I still had so much more to do. So that’s a good or bad thing depending on how you like to travel.
If you do a European tour, you’re going to see a lot of stuff every day. It’s like pretty damn amazing. One day you’re partying in a French Chateaux with your friends and the next day you’re in Barcelona laying on the sandy beach. It’s pretty dope.
It’s fast paced. It’s not everyone’s type of travel. It has its benefits and it’s something I recommend you trying for sure. You won’t know how you like it until you do. And like I mentioned earlier, you can always go back later to the best places and spend more time there. Think of Contiki like a sample platter of many major cities.
When Contiki takes you to a new city, they obviously know what the main attractions are. They like to drive the bus around town and show you these places. Sometimes you get to get off and see it a little more in depth for a little while before you get to hop back on.
For example, when we landed in Paris for the first time, we drove by the Eiffel Tower and got off for 10 minutes to take photos. It was soooooo amazing. This was my first major monument I ever saw. I will never for get it.
Other times you just drive by and your tour manager will talk about the monument and give you history. You typically arrive at your next destination in the afternoon or mid afternoon if it’s a longer bus day, so what you do depends on time. But the next day you’ll get to see the actual monuments/attractions. Either by a bus tour with your tour manager or by yourself with you free time, but typically both! You also get guided walking tours, like in Barcelona we got a walking tour from of the Gothic Quarter from our tour manager and that was eye opening.
You may not have time to hit up all the main monuments so you’ll need to figure out what you wanna see the most and go see it! But you’ll always find out what the main stuff is and how to get there. Your tour manager will help you with any logistical questions you may have.
You may have heard that Contiki is a party fest or sext fest or full of young people who just want to get drunk and do what young people do. It’s true. It can 100% be this type of tour for you. That’s all up to how you wanna experience your travels.
The “high energy” tours are more like the above in my experience. If you want to go wild I recommend a high energy tour. You visit a lot of cities quickly, go out a lot, and do a lot of things during your day. It’s just jam packed.
I found the in depth tours to be a little more chilled out, activities wise and people wise too. We still went out every night and had things to do. It was less wild than the high energy tours.
Regardless of whatever tour you go on, fun stuff will happen. Shenanigans will happen. They’re all going to be great memories and give you stories to tell later on.
Also, don’t be scared you’ll be on a bus full of little children who just want to get wasted. If you’re on a bus of 50 people there’s always other people who aren’t into going out every night and are more laid back and chilled out. Just hang with them when you want a quiet night.
Contki is a big company and they operate in many places around the world. They got started in Europe and that’s where the excel. I love Europe and if you don’t know where to start travelling, I highly recommend Europe!
It’s great because if you travelled with Contiki and had a great experience, you can travel with them again in another part of the world. I see a lot of my past tour mates do this! You have that familiarity with how they operate and know what to expect from your travel experience. I’ve personally done 3 Contiki’s and will do more in the future.
If you wanna learn more about Contiki, visit their website here.