17 July 2015

Contiki Review & Tips

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I went on my first Contiki trip in March/April 2010, the European Inspiration Winter. I had an amazing time and as an 18 year old, at the time, I fell in love with travel. But then I went off to uni for 4 years where I became somewhat poor, as uni students usually do. So 5 years later in February/March of this year (2015) I headed back over to Europe with my sister to go on another Contiki trip the Winter Wanderer.

This time at 23 years old (now 24), I definitely have another perspective on Contiki and had an even better time than the first time I went, 5 years ago. Below I'll list both pros and cons of going on a Contiki trip, as well as some extra info and tips. (By the way I am not sponsored by Contiki in any way, and this is my most honest opinion).
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My Winter Wanderer Contiki Group

  • If you're travelling alone, Contiki can be a great way to still travel, but in a group. It takes away the scary part of travelling by yourself.
  • Everything is organised for you. Accommodation, most meals, places to go, transport etc.
  • Group atmosphere: If you really get involved with your Contiki tour group, it can really make the trip. I met some amazing people on my Contiki and if you get involved with the group you can have an amazing time.
  • Me Time extras: The extras give you the opportunity to really see some great sights and have some awesome experiences. They are optional but both times I've been on Contiki, I've done them all and don't regret it. I'll talk about the extras below.
  • Tour Managers and Bus Driver: The tour manager you have can make or break your Contiki trip. I've never had a bad Contiki manager both have been amazing. Your Contiki manager provides you with information on your current city/country, helps you to get from one place to another and in general can provide you with a wealth of information.
  • If you want to be able to do what you want, when you want, Contiki isn't really for you. At each new city you are given a day sheet for the time you are there. While you are pretty much free to do what you want during the day, you're unable to extend your time at each place and there is a schedule for certain things. Contiki is very much a group travel option.
  • While this isn't a con it is a note of sorts. If you do decide to split from the group and go off on your own, I believe you aren't getting the whole Contiki experience. Hanging out and exploring with your Contiki group is fun and has made my overseas travelling experiences much more fun. 
  • There is a bit of drinking on Contiki. But you always have the option to join in, just not drink or do your own thing. And trust me, not everyone on Contiki wants to drink every night, so you won't be alone. Just be aware that some people will drink every night. 

The Me Time extras are usually amazing, and I have done all the extras on both Contiki's that I have gone on. The walking tours are great for exploring a city, and the guides I have had, have been informative and entertaining. I love the food/dinner time extras. They're delicious, include at least a bottle of wine or more for the table, and are a fun way to bond with your group.

Bonding with your Contiki group and making friends is a huge part of what has made my Contiki trips amazing. Trust me in saying you can meet some great people and become friends. There will be people from all over the world on your trip, so be open minded and open to meeting new people and you will have an amazing time.

Try and pack as light as you possibly can. I love clothes so I totally understand the fact that it's hard to pack light especially if you're heading overseas for more than a month. But keep in mind you will buy souvenirs and more clothes, so try and start your holiday with a bit of room in your suitcase. For more packing tips check out Travel Fashion Girl, it's my favourite site for packing tips.

If you have any questions about going on a Contiki, or travelling in general through Europe please comment below.