THE TRUTH ABOUT CONTIKI
In 2016 I decided to take a step further in my travelling journey and fly over to Europe and do a Contiki for 3 weeks.
WHY I DECIDED TO DO A CONTIKI?
I decided to do a Contiki because I believe it’s a great way to travel on a budget, experience many destinations and also meet life long friends. I needed a way to travel overseas independently but also have some guidance along the way. Perfect idea right?
HOW DO I KNOW IF A CONTIKI IS THE RIGHT THING FOR ME?
I am going to be 100% honest with you all. If you love partying and staying up until early hours of the morning & then getting on the bus to travel to your next destination, then a Contiki may be your best option. Don’t get me wrong you can still go on a Contiki and not party with the others but if the majority of your group is going out, you may feel a bit isolated from the rest.
I am that type of person who loves to adventure, get a good night rest and wake up early enough to continue adventuring. Looking back at things now, maybe another option such as Topdeck, would of suited my needs a bit better.
Another aspect of a Contiki is that you have to make sure you read the additional activities (Me Time) that the Contiki has on offer. Doing the Me Time activities is optional but you must read through them carefully to ensure they are suitable for you. In other words why pay extra to do a wine tour if your not even interested in wine? (Yes I made that mistake) But like I mentioned earlier, when the majority of the group is doing the activity, you don’t want to feel like the outsider.
WHEN YOU FIRST MEET YOUR CONTIKI PALS
If any of you are shy and reserved like me, please make sure to read on as this could help you tremendously when meeting your Contiki group.
I initially met my Contiki group for the first time in London. When we met each other for the first time, we basically just had to sign a few papers and then we had time to introduce ourselves vaguely to each other. The next morning we all met again and got all ready to buckle up on our Contiki bus. Throughout the Contiki bus journey, we played a few “get to know each other” games, which was a great way to put a name to a face.
As time passes on the journey and you start to experience memories with your Contiki pals, everyone starts to ease up and become friends. You are all experiencing the mutual feelings of being overseas and being away from loved ones, so you will all share that same bond with one and another.
My biggest recommendation to you is to put yourself out there and mingle with your group. I know it can be so nerve racking especially if you are shy , but believe me If you don’t, it will be much harder to make friends on the tour.
When you are on a Contiki, you’re with your group pretty much 24/7 of the time, so if you are a very independent person and like to do your own thing a lot of the time, a Contiki can still be possible but maybe a little challenging. In saying this, when you have your have “free time”, you can definitely go explore and do your own thing, so don’t worry there are options to have your own time and space.
With my Europe Contiki, we mostly stayed in Hotels and Hostels. The rooms usually consisted with 2-4 people of the same sex. When I stayed in my first hotel in Amsterdam with a group of 4 girls, it was crowded and I definitely needed to get use to it. (Especially the bunk beds, I am that type of person who begs to sleep on the bottom). Don’t worry too much about the size of the room, because the next hotel we stayed at was so spacious and could fit 100 people.
My biggest recommendation would be to wake up earlier then the rest of your room mates so you can hog the bathroom all to yourself. It’s a nightmare when everyone wants a shower at the same time and you have to be downstairs in 10 minutes. MORNING MADNESS !!
A LITTLE ADVICE
If it’s your first time travelling overseas with a Contiki, my advice to you is to make sure you have everything you need for your trip overseas. (A Contiki guide book usually comes a few weeks after purchasing your Contiki tour).
I understand how daunting it can be meeting everyone for the first time, so just remember to smile and introduce yourself to everyone. Please make sure you make the most of your time overseas. Just think to yourself, “I may never be back here again”, and hopefully that keeps you going and motivated to make the most of your precious adventures overseas.