To Contiki or not?

The thought of travelling alone can be quite daunting. For this reason many people look into Contiki trips in their desired destination. Contiki market themselves as providing non-stop travelling and partying experiences for 18-35 year olds. The premise of a Contiki trip is that you travel with a group around the best parts of your destination. Your accommodation, food and activities are prearranged and included in the price of the Contiki trip. Despite the reputation Contiki have established for themselves, I’ve heard many mixed reviews about people’s experiences in Contiki. Below are a couple experiences of Unravel Travel followers:

“Contiki was not at all what I was expecting. They market it as this party experiences, filled with young people all bonding and making unforgettable friendships. This definitely was not the case! Firstly, everyone was in their late 20s and early 30s with a large majority of the group being couples! One couple in our group was even on their honeymoon. Don’t get me wrong they were really nice people, but it just wasn’t what I was expecting. Also, the accommodation was subpar to say the least. Nothing like paying thousands of dollars to stay in places that are the stuff of nightmares! Although I think the worst aspect of my Contiki trip was that it felt like I signed up to travel through Italy as part of some weird Contiki army. The schedule was so rigid it gave you very little time to actually enjoy the city you were in. Also all the activities were mandatory so even if you weren’t interested you had to go. If someone asked me if they should go on Contiki, I’d say only if you were alone and had absolutely no other option. It’s overpriced for what you get.”

– Lauren*, 21, Sydney, Australia

“I did a few Contiki trips through Europe because I was travelling alone, and I absolutely loved it! I met so many amazing people. The Contiki tours meant I got to see things I perhaps wouldn’t have had the chance if I had to plan that sorta stuff myself – I’m not the most organised person. Sure the accommodation in some places wasn’t the best, but really who cares all that much about the quality of your bed when you’re on holidays anyway? If you’re spending that much time in your accommodation you’re wasting away your holiday. I would definitely recommend Contiki to people!”

– Morgan*, 25 Sydney, Australia

Contiki trips are great for if you’re uncomfortable travelling alone. You get to see all the sites whilst maybe even making friends along the way. But research carefully! Contiki isn’t the only touring company offering these all inclusive packages, so don’t think their thousand dollar packages are your only option. Sufficient research may even show you that in some destinations you’ll be safe enough on your own, or that you’ll want to experience much more than a Contiki tour can provide. Remember, just because someone’s Contiki experience wasn’t the best in one part of the world, doesn’t mean it’ll be the same on the other.

What are some of your Contiki stories?

* Names changed


4 responses to “To Contiki or not?

  1. I have been planning a Europe trip with my boyfriend at the end of the year before we decided to do it alone, we were faced with the Contiki questions. We found that 50% of people LOVED it and 50% of people HATED it. It was very difficult to decide who to listen to as we both have not travelled to Europe before. Many said that if we were going as a couple that we should not go Contiki because it was one big orgy and then others said we should go Contiki so we didn’t have to plan it all ourselves. Based purely on the financial side of things, we decided to go alone and give Contiki a miss. It’s really hard to know with them- they are really a company that is ruled by word-of-mouth.

    • Contiki is definitely ruled by word-of-mouth, which makes it increasingly difficult to decide if it’s right for you. But it’s nice to know there’s an option out there. Although travelling with your boyfriend means you’ll have a companion, plus it means you get to explore exactly what you want to. I’ve found you really get to know a city better that way!

  2. Thanks @unraveltravel1 for this information. I am planning on travelling to Europe next year by myself which I am somewhat concerned about because of the whole loneliness aspect. I am interested in finding out more about Contiki and other tours alike so your blog post was very timely. Just wondering if you know much about “Busabout” and if it is quite similar to Contiki or if they are different. Not sure which one to go with but definitely interested in both. Would love to know which one you recommend. Thanks!

    • I’ve had friends travel with Busabout through Amsterdam who said it was great. For them Busabout provided the experience Contiki claimed they would- they met many people in their age group and got to experience the best of Amsterdam. Personally, I haven’t tried Busabout but like Contiki you’re likely to hear a lot of mixed opinions about them; many people’s opinions differ depending on destination. They essentially offer the same product, so my advice would be to jump on to travel forums e.g. Tripadvisor or there’s also forums on the Contiki and Busabout websites. People usually post honestly about their experiences so you can make a better informed decision. You might find Busabout is better for one destination, while Contiki is better in another. Hope this helps!

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