Even the most experienced travellers still get trepidation about travelling solo.
I know I still do.
There are all the normal worries about not meeting anyone and spending the entire trip on your own.
So if you plan to go backpacking you are broadly left with two options.
- Organise it all yourself and travel by yourself.
- Book yourself onto an organised tour.
If you are a single traveller and you go for option two then you really need to make sure you choose the right tour company to travel with.
If you are considering Contiki then you are in luck as that is who we are going to look at today, more specifically whether its tours are good for single people/solo travellers.
So let’s get started.
Are Contiki Tours Good For Singles?
Around 70% of Contiki’s customers are solo travellers, so if you are young, want everything organised for you and don’t mind a fast-paced trip with lots of time spent travelling from place to place a Contiki tour will be ideal for you. If you are not really into partying and want to travel at a slower place you might consider another tour company or travelling independently.
Let’s Look at the Statistics
According to Contiki around 70% of people who travel with them are travelling solo.
Hopefully that will allay any fears you have that you might get on your Contiki coach and be presented with a sea of couples or friends travelling together.
That is unlikely on any tour.
I’ve done a number of organised tours and the number of solo travellers has nearly always outweighed the number of people travelling with a partner or friend.
Contiki’s tours are literally perfect for solo travellers (with a few caveats I will go into more detail on later) for a number of reasons:
- They are targeted at a younger audience, so there is less chance of people being with a partner or friends compared to if you were to go on a tour with many other companies that attract an older clientele.
- A big emphasis is put on partying and being social, so naturally this is more likely to attract solo travellers.
- If you are travelling with a friend, you are more likely to have the confidence to do it independently.
- Contiki tour groups are usually quite large, there can be up to 50 people on a trip. With such a large group you might not get on with everyone, but you will definitely find a number of people you really bond with.
In short, when you are making your way to the start point for your Contiki tour, with your worries about travelling solo and meeting people, I can guarantee that there will be a whole number of other people making their way there with the same fears.
Then within an hour of starting your trip, I can also guarantee you will be wondering what you were worried about in the first place.
I have always been a fairly quiet and reserved person, yet when I have travelled solo I have found it so easy to make friends.
I’d never dream of talking to a total strange on a bus or in a hotel at home, but once you start travelling that all changes!
So on the most part Contiki tours are great if you are travelling single.
But about those caveats I mentioned earlier…
Solo Travellers That Will Enjoy Contiki Tours…
A little while back I wrote an article about whether Contiki tours are good for couples.
And at the risk of repeating myself, much of what I said there holds true for single travellers.
Contiki tours will be more suited to certain types of solo travellers.
The most important thing is you have to be between 18 and 35, if you are outside of that age range it is a no-go I am afraid.
And if you are towards the older end of that age range, it might not be for you either. Contiki says the average age on its tours is 26, but in all honesty, when I was working for STA Travel and booking people on Contiki tours, most were in their late teens and early 20s.
Contiki tours can be very social and a lot of focus is put on going out and having a good time.
If you are a sociable person who likes partying Contiki is for you. Who knows it could even end up in marriage as it did with these three couples!
If you are a first-time and inexperienced traveller and you want everything taken care of for you then you will like a Contiki tour.
All the difficult stuff to organise like accommodation and transport is taken out of your hands.
There is nothing more for you to do than to make sure you get on your coach each morning and get off it when you stop.
Contiki tours are also good if you know you want to travel, but aren’t sure what you want to see.
They tend to give a whistlestop tour of destinations without any in-depth exploration.
In short, if you are a solo traveller, then Contiki will be for you if:
- You are in your late teens to mid-20s.
- You are sociable and like going out and partying.
- You want everything organised for you.
- You don’t mind a whistlestop tour that barely scratches the surface of the countries you travel through.
- You are happy to spend the tour with other people who meet the same criteria.
Contiki even has its own solo travel section on its website, dedicated to trips that are ideal for people travelling alone.
Solo Travellers That Won’t Enjoy Contiki Tours…
I am pretty certain that if you are in your late teens to mid-20s and a sociable person who likes going out you will enjoy a Contiki tour regardless.
But you should bear in mind its trips are very fast-paced.
If you really want to get under the skin of a particular country or location then you won’t with a Contiki tour, it literally a case of here one day and gone the next.
Also whilst it is great to have everything organised for you, you could do the same trip Contiki does for much cheaper if you booked everything yourself.
So if money is at a premium, you might want to rule out going on an organised tour.
Also there is a lot of upsell with Contiki, with many optional excursions at an additional cost.
The group dynamic on tours can also be a bit hit-and-miss.
By and large you should be ok on a Contiki tour, because as I mentioned its groups are quite large, so there should always be people you get on with, but sometimes it can be a bit cliquey, or there can be drama if any ‘love triangles’ develop!
In short Contiki isn’t for you if:
- If you want independence and control over your itinerary
- You want to explore locations in more depth.
- You aren’t that interested in partying a lot.
- Money is an important factor.
The Advantages of Travelling Solo and Independently
I know it can be scary to consider travelling completely independently and arranging everything yourself, but it can also be very rewarding.
On a group tour like Contiki you will pretty much only meet people on your bus, whereas travelling completely on your own you will meet people everywhere, in hostels, on transport, on day trips etc.
Then of course, if you travelling independently, you have complete control over your itinerary.
Find somewhere you like, stay there.
Find someone you like, stay with them.
Get a bit bored of a place, move on.
You basically do what you want to do when you want to do it.
The short answer is if you are a young and relatively inexperienced traveller, are sociable and you want everything organised for you, then Contiki is great for solo travellers.
You will undoubtedly have the time of your life and make lots of new friends.
If you aren’t really into partying or want don’t want to be tied down to a fast-paced itinerary, that will see you on the move nearly every day then consider another tour company like G Adventures or Intrepid, or consider biting the bullet and travelling independently.
But Contiki has a higher proportion of single/solo travellers than other tour companies, and will be great fun if you are a good fit for Contiki’s hectic, party-filled trips!
If you have read this and want to do a Contiki tour, but are still a bit nervous about booking up, forget those nerves and in the words of Nike, just do it!