6 things to expect from your first tour with Contiki
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Six things to expect from your first Contiki Tour

So you’ve booked your first Contiki? Congratulations, you must be so excited?! I know I was when I booked the Winter Wanderer in 2015. Soon however the excitement gave way to feeling of anxiety. I had no idea what to expect, if I would make friends, what sharing a room with a stranger would be like, and if I could cope being with so many people for so long. But you know what? It was all fantastic in the end.

So, to try and help anyone feeling the same nauseating mix of excitement and anxiety, I have put together a wee list to try and help easy any anxieties you may be feeling! I hope it helps!

6 things to expect from your first tour with Contiki
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1. Sharing a room with a stranger – It’s not that awkward

Maybe it’s because I’m an only child so have never had to share a bedroom, but the thought of sharing a bedroom and bathroom with a stranger made me feel awkward. What if I snore? What if they snore?? However, after the first two nights I was completely over any feelings of awkwardness. You are going to be spending minimal time in your room and when you are in the room you won’t be interacting too much. One of you will be in the shower and the other watching TV or else you will both be asleep and oblivious to what the other one is doing. Your room-mate will most likely be your first Contiki friend and you will cling to each other for the first few days until you start making friends with the other people. It will all be ok.

 

2. You will make friends.

The leaning tower of pisa visited during a contiki tour
Just like a drunk uncle!

It is impossible to go on a Contiki tour and not make friends with at least one or two people. You are with these people every single day of the trip, experiencing amazing things, and possibly having once in a lift time experiences. You will make friends. Maybe not lifelong friends, but friends for the trip anyway. Everyone on the tour with you has at least one thing in common: A desire to see the world. Plus, with so many amazing sites in front of you, it’s not exactly going to be difficult to strike up conversation, I promise you. It will all be ok.

 

 

3. Your Tour Leader will probably be HOT!

Mine sure was. All the girls (and at least two guys) were crushing over him. And then we met up with another couple of Contiki groups and their tour leaders were pretty nice to look at too. Perhaps being blessed in the looks department is a Contiki requirement? Who knows? But any who, hands off! They are professionals there to do a (dream) job who cannot have …relations… with Contiki clients. Believe me, a couple of girls on my tour tried and got shut down pretty quick. Ouch.


4. Someone will get on your nerves.

It’s just a fact of life. Get a group of people together for an extended period of time and something will start grating on your nerves. Just avoid them. Don’t get snarky or bitchy. Just focus on the incredible adventure you’re on and all your cool new friends. If someone is giving you a hard time, just tell them to stop it and if they persist, mention it to your tour leader who will no double give them the hard word.

 

5. There will be the ‘cool kids

Eiffel Tower in Paris as seen on a contiki Tour
Another slightly drunk uncle we came across in Paris

There will be that group who forms who are lounder than everyone else, drinks more than everyone else, parties longer, and always sit at the back of the bus. If you are part of the ‘cool kids’ good for you have fun. If you’re not part of the ‘cool kids’, good for you have fun. Some people are just naturally more extroverted than others and people have their own ideas about what makes for a good time. As long as they are not impacting on your ability to have a good time (and vice versa) then there really is no problem. Which brings me on to my next point…

 

 

6. Different ideas of travel for different people.

One of the things our tour leader explained to us was that everyone has their own ideas about travel and what they want to get out of this trip. Some people are there for the culture, the museums and all the sites. Other people want to party all night and sleep all day. And that’s ok. This is your own journey, your own adventure so do what makes you happy. Most importantly, don’t judge others for how they are spending theirs.

 

So there you have it. A few of the things which worried me about my first Contiki. I hope this has helped you in some way. If you have any other questions / concerns, please feel free to let me know in the comments!

 

If you’re interested, prior to Contiki I had an adventure through Athens, and after Contiki I headed to Moscow.

 

Anything to add? Let me know in the comments and don’t forget to subscribe!

 

Thank you and much love,

Passport Kiwi.

67 thoughts on “Six things to expect from your first Contiki Tour”

  1. Never heard of Contiki, but I did a group travel tour before with people in more or less my age and it was a lot of fun. I still prefer traveling solo. But this tour was a good mixture of doing things together and explore on one own. Good summary, good to know what to expect beforehand otherwise to might be disappointed.

  2. Excellent summary! I’m too old for Contiki and didn’t have the pleasure of experiencing a tour or two when I was younger. But, I have friends with older kids that have mentioned Contiki, so I will share your past with them. Happy travels!

  3. This is a great summary – I took a contiki tour around 10 years now (makes me feel old!!) but all of your points ring true – I jumped on as a solo traveler, so I did share a room (and tent) with a stranger, and you’re right it wasn’t as awkward as it sounds – when everyones traveling with the same mindset and the same willingness to make friends, it’s very easy to get along, and you feel like you’ve known each other for much longer than you actually have!

    I find the cool kids concept is honestly much of a human nature thing – like anythign in life which involves big groups of people 🙂 – as with the people who will get on your nerves!!

    I loved my contiki tour though and as corny as it sounds the friends I made really were for life 🙂

  4. I took a contiki trip 5 years ago and I absolutely loved it! It’s perfect for those who opt for fast pace travel and for those who are not accustomed to traveling solo. I love the people I met there and to date, we still meet up.. seriously, I’ve been hosted in different countries due to that contiki trip.

  5. I haven’t been on a Contiki tour, but have heard good things! I studied abroad in university, and similar to what you said, when you are traveling with new people it’s easy to make friends because you’re having amazing experiences that bond you. That trip was life changing for me in so many ways. It sounds like you had a great time on your tour, and I love that you’re encouraging other solo travelers to get out and travel. Once you go you will be so glad you did!

  6. Lots of great tips here. I especially like the last two. Love that even in adult life it appears there will be the ‘cool kids’ at the back of the bus. Whether they are actually cool or not is questionable I would say but your advice is bang on. Also completely agree about everyone having their own ideas about travel. Everyone travels a little differently and for different reasons. It’s awesome when you meet someone who travels just like you but it’s just as awesome to meet someone who doesn’t. That’s how you broaden your horizons!

  7. This is a great summary – I took a contiki tour around 10 years now (makes me feel old!!) but all of your points ring true – I jumped on as a solo traveler, so I did share a room (and tent) with a stranger, and you’re right it wasn’t as awkward as it sounds – when everyones traveling with the same mindset and the same willingness to make friends, it’s very easy to get along, and you feel like you’ve known each other for much longer than you actually have!

    I find the cool kids concept is honestly much of a human nature thing – like anythign in life which involves big groups of people 🙂 – as with the people who will get on your nerves!!

    I loved my contiki tour though and as corny as it sounds the friends I made really were for life 🙂

    1. Hi Megan!

      Thank you so much for your comment! I totally agree that mindset is so important for a smooth group travel experience. Your Contiki experience sounds so fun! I’m glad you are still in contact with your Contiki mates 🙂

  8. True story: In Ljubljana we were staying at the same hotel as a Contiki tour and, with our backpacks, everyone at the hotel kept trying to usher us along with the tour – I don’t think they believed me when I said we were traveling by ourselves! Thanks for presenting such a balanced look at thing. Every travel situation has pros and cons and it’s good to go in with a fair look at things to know what’s best for you.

  9. All sounds like fun. I like the idea of making new friends in tours like this. One has to focus on the adventure part more as you said.
    Having a crush on tour guide… ha ha.

  10. “Someone will get on your nerves” — so true. I’ve never done a Contiki tour but did recently do a two-week tour in a group of six strangers. By the end of it we were barely hanging out anymore … just each doing our own thing for fear of killing each other if we spent more time together, which worked out fine.

  11. Making new friends is always a major benefit of any type of travel … and sounds like for the right person, a Contiki tour might just be the ticket. Great article offering, for me, insight into a type of travel I was not familiar with.

  12. I’ve never heard of Contiki before but it sound interesting! The thing I like about travelling like this is that you make new friends, always a plus! 🙂
    Have a nice day!
    Liv

  13. I’ve never heard of Contiki but it sounds kinda interesting! I really like your post, it’s very helpful! The good thing with travelling like this is the point that you make new friends, always a plus! 🙂
    Have a nice day,
    Liv

  14. I’ve never been on a Contiki tour but it sounds like it could be fun. I’m staying in a hostel for the first time later this month so I’m glad to hear sharing a room with a stranger isn’t as awkward as it sounds!

  15. I’ve never been on a Contiki tour but I’ve often wondered about it, it seems from your post it’s kind of like high school days. Always the cool kids, always someone who gets on your nerves just a little bit and the people we are thrust in with, usually end up friends.

  16. Totally makes sense that all the guides are hot. Lol. But besides that I have heard great things about Contiki and need to try one for myself!! Also love how you talked about the cool kids. Lol. Too funny

  17. I enjoyed reading your article, you have a great way to describe people and experiences. However, I’m still not quite sure what a contiki is. You should have started with a short explanation in the beginning to make it easier for people who are not familiar with New Zealand (guessing here that it is specific for New Zealand).

    1. Hi Daniela thanks for the feedback! Contiki is a tour company for people aged 18-35 and is used by people all over the world but mainly Australians. Glad to have introduced you to something new! 🙂

  18. I have never done one of these group tours because I am not usually the type of person who does well in a group and has a set schedule. Also wouldn’t like the “someone getting on my nerves” hahaha Maybe I will check it out one. Thanks for this post

  19. I haven’t done a Contiki because I’m a bit of a stubborn traveller so don’t do so well in travel groups 😂 So great to hear what they are like though and your experiences! As an Australian uni student, so many of my friends rave about them 🙂

    Glad you had fun and thanks for sharing!!

    Lucy x

  20. I didn’t even know what a Contiki tour was until now haha! I feel like it’s a once in a lifetime experience for many, so following these tips and just enjoying yourself is exactly what you should do!

  21. I haven’t tried Contiki tours before but the expectations you’ve listed down are really spot-on for tours like this. There will be annoyance, excitement and all that, but it is important to just have fun and go with the flow. 😉

  22. I never gave group travel a chance, but I’m sure it’s such an amazing options for people who do not want to travel alone (or at least not all the time)!! Good on you Maxine!

  23. I’ve heard a lot of good things about Contiki. I think I would’ve really enjoyed it back when I was in my early 20’s and before I had traveled abroad much on my own. Nowadays I just stay in hostels to meet new people or join shorter group tours like food tours that last a few hours. Glad to hear you had a positive experience though!

  24. I have never heard about Contiki Tour but it does sound like a cool social event. I’ve found that the older I get, the more I like meeting people and the less I care if I share a room or not! 🙂

  25. This post reminded me so much of my first Contiki tour & the things you mentioned are all spot on! 100% can relate to almost all of them! I wasn’t part of the cool kids group but I was ok with that because I’m still friends with the small group I made on the tour and even recently visited one of them in England!

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