Contiki Review: A detailed guide on how to travel with Contiki

In this guide, I am going to narrate on all the essential things that I have learned from my experience with Contiki with a hope that you get some insight while planning your trip.

What is a Contiki and how is it different?

Contiki is a tour operator group that targets young and likeminded travelers from around the world; It’s slogan #Noregrets pretty much defines what they offer; a compact trip that covers maximum destination for the traveler in limited time.

It offers travel to destinations around the world like Europe, Asia, USA, Canada, Latin America, Australia, Africa, and New-Zealand.

A Contiki tour group would comprise of 15-50 individuals aged between 18-35 traveling together for 1,2,3,4 or up to 5 weeks.

Phew!! They make you travel a lot…

18-35? So, no Mumma and Dada allowed.

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Yeah, it is a one of a kind travel experience where you do not have your Mumma and Dada (physically) with you, so you explore the world at your terms.

Well, it still can’t stop them from calling you 3 times a day. 😊

Will Contiki be perfect for you?

Contiki is perfect for a Solo traveler, first-time traveler, small group, couples, adventure traveler, young traveler and all those who don’t want to get into the hassle of planning the trip and still want the value for money.

It is ideal for those looking for transport, accommodation and a map and love to explore the place on your own.

Trip Style

Contiki trips are very intense and fast-paced, it is because they try to capture maximum places in brief time.

Before you plan for the trip be aware that you are in for an extensive tour.

And if you are someone who dislikes traveling in bus/coach for long hours and likes to sleep long, a Contiki trip might not be the right thing for you.

Contiki travel is all about fast moving, quick capture, party hard, sleepless, be on the roads, walk whole day trips. Well, it might sound harsh, but it isn’t that hard if you have the knack to travel.

Itinerary

The Contiki itinerary is planned very much considering the days you have in hand for exploring a lot. You want to cover the gems of Europe in 3 weeks; they got you covered. You want to check out only 2-3 cities in Europe in 2 weeks; they got you covered.

They plan the cities and time around the cities very neatly to give you ample time for self-exploring.

Free time

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The whole tour is planned with a lot of free time for you. Contiki trips will literally cover you for transport, stay, meals (few) and select highlight visits (e.g., Eiffel tower) other than that it is more of free time for you unless you opt for their optional activities.

They take you to the center of the city in the morning, drop you and set a pickup time for the evening from the same location. You have ample time to explore the city on your own.

Optional

So, when you plan your trip with Contiki, you will get a detailed brochure from them, or even you can check on their website. There would be an aspect called “Optional.”

Optional is just what it says, the general trip organized is focused on keeping it light to the traveler’s pocket. To be precise, it would be more of accommodation, transport, a few meals and a few places they take you other than that; everything else would be optional.

Optional plans on most occasions include expensive meals, or a costly show, etc. but sometimes it provides value for money activities that would otherwise be expensive if planned by yourself.

Most people fall for opting all optional provided by the tour guide on the list because they feel they would miss on something when not chosen for or peer pressure, I advise to be selective of what you opt for and personally suggest opting out of expensive meals but do go for the opt activities.

Ensure you budget these when you plan because you don’t want to end up being on the upper curve of expenses.

Accommodations

Contiki provides budget accommodations that are not necessarily over the top but considering the location it is excellent value for money.

In most locations, the hotels are right in the center of the city making the travel around the place a walkable affair but in specific locations, it might slightly far from the center of the town but worry not Contiki arranges scheduled pickups and drops off to the area and the hotel between the day. You merely need to be at the pre-decided location at the right time. 😊

Room Sharing

In Contiki you’ll be sharing your room between 1-3 people, on most occasions, it is 1 person only. So if you are not a roommate kind of person. Plan-in-advance, you have to pay extra for a single occupancy room.

My advice. Don’t bother to go for a solo room unless necessary, meet new people. You never know, you might end up planning your next trip with your roommate.

Food

Each destination you are taken to has a speciality of certain kind of food, but if you expect the variety to be same as you get for breakfast in India, you are in for a shock.

What Contiki covers?

In all destinations breakfast would be provided, lunches would never be there, and dinner here and there. Often you will find a similar breakfast across all hotel stays.

If you need a special kind of food, like vegan, gluten-free or have allergies with a particular type of food, make sure to inform that in advance, so that tour operator plans your meals accordingly.

Parties and Drinking

Drinking and Parties come as a bundle of joy with Contiki, be prepared for it. For those who live to party, this is going to be their best feature of Contiki trip.

If you are not into drinking liquor, it is completely fine as you can still chill with mocktails.

Contiki tour guide always comes in handy here, they would suggest you the best places to drink around the hotel/town, and if you have a cool tour operator, he might as well take you around and have few shots with you.

Party times are best to jello with people, plus you can let loose, drink and have fun.

Each group on a Contiki trip is different, with people coming from different cultural background, family, ethnicity. You are not forced to be part of anything that you are uncomfortable with. There would be groups who don’t drink at all and choose to chill in their rooms, and there might be groups that drink every night. It entirely depends on your comfort.

Tour Guide

Your tour guide is an extremely important person, as he knows the places around, the way around problems and answers to the questions you might have.

During your trip he becomes more than a guide, they take you to places around outside the scope of the itinerary which is not a part of his job, but they are merely extending their courtesy.

But don’t expect them to be your parents, all present in the tour are between 18-35, none present are kids, so everyone needs to be responsible for their actions and extend courtesy by being on time for the departures.

Coz if you don’t, trust me no one has the patience to wait for a single individual for long and they would leave you.

Travel Friends

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A Contiki trip has a mixture of solo, group, siblings, couples and sometimes groups. You are sure to make friends on your journey with Contiki. It’s effortless because the games and ice-breakers that tour operator plans for you, help you get with it.

General rules

  • Be on time. it makes tour operators life much more comfortable. Trust me he is always under pressure to ensure your best experience, the least he expects you to do in your trip is be on time.
  • Pack light. Long tours with Contiki can take a toll on you if you don’t pack light. You will be unpacking, and repacking quite frequently.
  • Bring a book, cards, or some game to play through downtime.
  • Pack for nightclubs/go-out attire. There would be evenings where you might have to dress more than casual. Ensure you pack the essential looks.

Highlights of my trip

–    Maximum destination coverage in limited time

–    Making new friends

–    Effortless activities to kill time in coach/bus and break the ice with other travelers

–    Experts guide to see the city around with a handy map

–   An excellent tour guide who is courteous

–    Ideal for budget plans (If Optional, not opted for)

Downside

–    Expensive with all optional activities

–    Long walks (Not ideal for people who hate walking)

–    Long Coach/Bus hours. (Not suitable for people who cannot sleep in the bus)

–    Fast paced travel. (Not ideal for people looking to have a relaxed trip)

Conclusion

Contiki is the best thing that happened to me, because being the kind of traveler I am, exploring 10 countries in a single trip would have been difficult for me but thanks to Contiki, it was the best experience.

You can drop your questions below, I will try to answer them all, and if you like this blog and are planning to go for the trip with Contiki, you can book it with the link here.

Note: Link is an affiliate link, which means if you book with this link I would be paid a small amount of commission (with no change to your final amount)

Mumbai Ki Chori

Mumbai Ki Chori

Purvi is passionate about travel and a fitness enthusiast. She is Industries' leading Graphics Artist, begin exploring world many years back and stated her blog to share all her travel and lifestyle experience.

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