Contiki: The perfect way to begin solo travel!
In my opinion, Contiki is the perfect way to start your solo travel adventures.
The Contiki trip that I went on in January 2016 is the main reason that I fell in love with travel, solo travel! I also met one of my best friends on this trip and 3 years on, we’re closer than ever!
Contiki, where my solo travel obsession began…
Before this I’d only really left the UK a couple of times, a family Holiday in France, visiting Santa in Lapland when, both when I was pretty young and a GirlGuiding International in which we visited 3 European cities and completed challenges in a week.
So, 4th January 2016 (how precise) I was awake at some ridiculous hour in the morning, sick of doing Uni work and looking for Gap Year experiences, it was during this search I stumbled across Contiki.
For those of you who don’t know, Contiki run tours across the world for travellers aged 18-35, mainly aimed at solo travel!
I found an amazing trip called European Magic which just seemed ideal for me, it was only 9 days long and just about in my price range (Christmas money well spent). So the following morning, I pitched this idea to my mum, who at first, really didn’t like it. Fast forward a couple of hours, I’d finally managed to talk to my mum round to let me go on this trip. I explained how I’d pay for it all myself and that I just really wanted to try something new. Being a rather socially awkward 18 year old at the time, my mother was worried that I wouldn’t speak to anyone or make friends on my trip and that I would hate every second of it. She could not have been more wrong!
I forgot to mention, this is one of the most spontaneous things I’ve ever done! I booked the trip on the Monday and by Friday I was in London for the first night. All getting ready to set off for mainland Europe at 6am Saturday morning.
Now I’m not gonna bore you all with the daily itineraries.
Maybe I can write some more posts about them in the future? We went to Amsterdam, St Goar, Munich, Innsbruck, Venice, Lucerne and Paris all via a coach. I made some amazing memories and lifelong friends and it really was the starting point of my travel addiction.
To anyone reading this and wanting to travel Europe (solo), but you’re not sure how or where to start, if you’re under 35, I would highly recommend Contiki! You get so much included in the price you pay: accommodation, travel, most meals (I say most because sometimes you might have to pay extra for a fancy group dinner or buy your lunch out) and some of the activities such as walking tours, bus tours and perfumeries and even going up the Eiffel Tower just to name a few. Also, you get so much free time and your tour manager is knowledgeable about all the cities you visit and is able to give you recommendations.
One of the best things about Contiki is being able to pay for ‘Free time add ons’. These are completely optional but Contiki offer things like a Canal Cruise in Amsterdam, a Gondola ride in Venice and Dinner and Show at the Moulin Rouge in Paris. To people who are interested, Contiki offer amazing discounts for activities like these!
I can honestly say that going on a Contiki trip as a socially awkward 18 year old (who to be honest was far too naive and innocent for that trip) has changed my life for the better. It gave me so much more confidence when travelling. Allowed me to meet so many new people and has given me friends from all over the world.
And to anyone who is worried about travelling solo, this is honestly one of the best options for you! As most people on Contiki trips travel solo, everyone is in the same boat as you. When you meet in your starting city the night before, you’re bound to get chatting to someone and make friends straight away and life-long friends at that too!
There is different tips to suit everyone, fast paced ones, slow paced ones, short ones (like my 9 days), longer ones that last up to 45 days, hotel accommodation, camping and these are throughout Europe, USA and Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Latin America and Asia. I promise there is something out there for everyone!
Now I’ve reminisced a bit about Contiki and the beginning of my solo travel life, maybe it’s time to start planning my next trip, I’m thinking Canada! 🇨🇦
That’s all for now, thanks for reading!
Laura – CountryGirlExplores x