If you are a solo traveler yet to get the hang of independent travel, hiring a tour operator is not a bad idea. You would feel more comfortable in a foreign country where the language used, transportation options, and safety concerns are different. In our previous article, we reviewed EF Ultimate Break, a tour operator for the youth.
But, if you need an alternative that offers a wide range of trips or feel left out because you are just a few years older, Contiki can still help you feel young! It is more popular, especially for covering a lot of destinations in a short period. But is it necessarily better? Don’t rest your case until you read our review!
Below, we have covered important aspects of Contiki, mainly focusing on its Europe tours.
What is Contiki?
Founded in 1962, Contiki is a renowned travel company providing organized tours for young travelers. At present they offer over 300 trips to more than 50 countries around the globe. Contiki aims to “bring travelers together to discover the world” and provide them with localized, unique, and adventurous experiences. It is an ideal choice for first-timers, solo travelers, and anyone who likes their travel arrangements to be done by an experienced and reliable third party. It’s also noteworthy to mention that Contiki supports sustainable travel in different ways with the help of their TreadRight Foundation.
Can you go on Contiki if you are over 35?
Unfortunately no. Contiki only accommodates travelers aged 18-35 years for their trips. Even their tours primarily cater to the young crowd with more emphasis on partying, nightlife, and socializing. That said, assuming you're under 35, when you think about it, the age limit is actually useful. You know what to expect, feel more included, and have a higher chance of getting along with your fellow group members. If you were really keen on going and you're over 35, don't fret! Contiki's parent company owns other tour brands for those over 35 that are likely to be more your style anyway.
What are the features of Contiki?
- Organized group tours: You will be traveling with a group of nearly 50 people!
- Tour manager: There’s a tour manager appointed to oversee all the important aspects of the tour. There would also be local tour guides to guide you.
- Accommodation: Depending on the budget and tour type, accommodation can range from budget-hostels to 3-star hotels to campsites.
- Transportation: The cost of internal transport is borne by Contiki. You have to book flights and take care of travel insurance.
- Meals: Your breakfast is covered by Contiki throughout the trip along with a few other meals. For the rest, you can try out places you like or go along with Contiki recommendations.
- No Regrets Inclusions: These are activities that Contiki deems as mandatory or one-in-a-lifetime experiences. They are included in the tour cost.
- Free-Time Add-Ons: Contiki also provides activities that you can include in the tour at an added cost.
How does Contiki work?
What you have to do is relatively simple. Browse through their long list of trips for destinations around the world and pick one that speaks to your taste! Book a spot by making the payment, and the Contiki team will handle the rest for you. All you have to do afterward is get prepared for the journey!
Which Contiki Europe tour is the best?
Circling Europe is every traveler’s dream because there’s so much diversity to experience. But handling all the travel arrangements as you move from one country to another can be a daunting task. Contiki does an excellent job in helping you with it.
The best Contiki Europe tour is subjective as it depends on what you wish to see and explore. We have highlighted the most popular Contiki tours Europe so you can pick one for your liking.
If you need a tour that covers a single destination in detail, you may want to consider Contiki Greek Island Hopping, Simply Italy, Spanish Spree, and Contiki Ireland. If you like to cover Europe as much as possible, go for its multi-destination tours like Europe in One Week, Adriatic Unearthed, European Discovery, European Magic, and European Highlights.
How much is a Europe Contiki Trip?
The cost depends on the number of destinations covered, trip style, and trip length. On average, Contiki tours Europe can cost from $300-$9000. For an example, exploring London for 3 days will cost you $290 while the European Explorer tour that goes for over a month will cost you around $8000. But, remember that you have to allocate more for flight tickets, visa, travel insurance, additional excursions, meals, and of course, tipping.
What we like about Contiki?
So many tour choices!
Contiki offers enough choices to overwhelm you – literally! So, there’s a high chance you will be able to find the exact trip you are looking for. They cover almost all the destinations, and their tours are categorized under different themes to suit every traveler’s style. Whether you are looking for budgeted-vacations, week-long trips, or months-long adventures, Contiki has got you covered.
Everything is planned
If you have little experience figuring out the logistics of travel or if you are heading to a remote destination where it’s difficult to get around alone, Contiki is a really good option. From lodging to transport to dining, the Contiki team will cover all the essentials for you. It’s very convenient and hassle-free.
Like its rival EF Ultimate Break, Contiki also offers the wonderful opportunity of getting to know travelers from around the world. You can mingle with like-minded people from different cultures and share your experiences. In fact, some have even ended up falling in love with a fellow traveler in their group!
Unless you are informed about a schedule on the previous day, you have the freedom to explore and do your own thing, whether it's shopping, eating, or just relaxing.
Safety is a major concern for female solo travelers, especially beginners. Contiki ticks the safety box very well by selecting good places for accommodation, hiring reliable drivers, and keeping you informed about places you should avoid and places you should be cautious about.
What we don’t like about Contiki?
Too much partying
Like we said earlier, Contiki has a party atmosphere and even hosts theme parties on its tours. Continuous partying and drunken nights might not appeal to everyone, especially travelers close to the upper age limit. So, we think you should give it some thought before selecting Contiki.
Knowledgeable tour managers
Your tour manager can significantly alter your travel experience. You could get someone well-informed about the places you visit, aspects you should be cautious about (culture, customs, etc.), and excursions worth taking. There’s also the chance of ending up with tour managers who schedule things based on their preferences or profit without focusing on travelers’ requirements.
Pace of their trips
For some, Contiki tours Europe are a great option as its tours try to cover a lot of places within a limited timespan. But, for travelers who like to take their own time and enjoy exploring, this is not the case. If you are the latter, multi-destination Contiki tours might feel like a rat race for you.
Cost of Excursions
Contiki offers a host of No Regrets excursions that travelers can take part in. But, they are usually very expensive and can take a big chunk of your budget.
Many travelers have complained of accommodation being located far from the city. Contiki does this in order to lower costs, which is fair considering that you don’t spend a lot of time at the hostels. The low quality of selected hotels/hostel was another factor we noticed in many Contiki tours Europe reviews.
Is Contiki good for singles?
Contiki is great for singles! It's an awesome way to make a whole bunch of friends really quickly. If you're looking to meet someone special be careful however as you have to spend the rest of the trip with them. It's not unlike how it was usually not the best idea to date people on your floor in college. That said, it's a great opportunity to get to know people and have a great time. You can always "cuddle up" near the end of the trip if that's what you're looking for. ;)
Don't just take our word for it, here's the honest review from someone who've been on a Contiki trip!
Is Contiki good for couples?
Most of the people who go on Contiki tours tend to be single, so it's not the best idea to go in a couple, unless both of you are really keen to be social and make friends. The risk of going in a couple is that you keep to yourself more. Single people gravitate towards other single people as well, so it's something to keep in mind. That said, it's still a great opportunity to meet some really cool people, and see how well you and your significant other travel together. Just be sure to go into it with the right mindset and you can still have a great time. That means not treating it like a romantic trip together, but rather an adventure to both meet some cool new people!
So, are Contiki Tours worth it?
We highly recommend Contiki for travelers who want to visit specific destinations but unsure of what they want to see. It’s also great if you are really nervous about traveling for the first time. However, some of us like to challenge ourselves by journeying on our own. We like doing the legwork, exploring options, and being excited about the itinerary we create!
If you need travel planners that lets you plan your trips and organize everything, alone or together with a bunch of friends, try using Pilot! The specialty is that it’s equipped with almost every feature that makes planning loads easier! Ditch your scrawny writing and messy notes, and download the Pilot app today!