Do some research on tours you thinking of – read other peoples travelogues, look up videos on you-tube, ask questions or use the ‘find’ button on the Contiki forums and read reviews on other web sites – the more you know and the better informed you are the better chance that you’ll get the most out of your tour.
Work out how much time do you have? – Work, family occasions, and other commitments sometimes effect the amount of free time you have to travel. Having said that, you don’t often have the opportunity to travel so when it comes along – grab it!
How much time do you want to be away and do you want to spend your entire time on tour or do some independent travel too?
How long do you want to spend in your gateway (ie starting and finishing) cities? Perhaps plan a few days of sightseeing in your Contiki departure city or maybe even a few days after your tour to take in even more of the sights.
When do you want to travel? Do you want the beaches and heat of Summer or the colder months of Winter? Crowds? How about a white Christmas, birthday away or a New Years you’ll never forget?
Who do you want to travel with? Don’t be afraid to travel alone. One thing is for sure – with Contiki you won’t be alone for long as Contiki tours are very social and you’ll soon find that you’re not the only one to be going it alone.
Determine what style of tour you are interested in. Contiki Tours in the USA, Canada, New Zealand and Australia are all hotel tours. In Europe however Contiki also offers Camping, Concept/Budget and Time Out/Superior/Hotel Tours – the main difference being the style of accommodation used.
How much is it going to cost? You should also consider the cost of flights and spending money as well as the cost of your tour.
Perhaps do some research on the place you will be travelling to. Contiki’s Tour Managers know loads of info about the places you will travel to but if you want to do a little research before hand about the places you will be visiting and what you can get up to there – go for it!
Apply for passport – This can sometimes be a time consuming process and you can’t travel outside your home country without one. Most Passports are valid for 10 years so even if you don’t plan to travel soon, you will always have it if you do want to visit another country. If you already have one, check the expiry date – usually you will need at least 6 months validity.
Arrange for any visas that might be required. Travel agents are a good source of information as are our pages on visas for travelling to Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the USA. The only truly reliable source of information on visa requirements are the consulates of the countries that you plan on visiting and you should check their web sites for the most up-to-date and reliable information on visa requirements.
Start reading guidebooks, watching travel programs and researching places that you might like to visit on the web. Highlight anything that sounds interesting or that you want to remember.
Get copies of any prescriptions from your doctor. This is especially important if you are diabetic or have any other condition that requires you to carry needles on you. Bring extra medication with you and keep it in the original bottles.
Get a copy of the prescription for your glasses or contact lenses in case they go missing while you’re away.
Check the expiry date on any credit card or debit cards you want to take with you to make sure it will last the length of your trip. Make sure you have a 4 digit PIN number attached to any cards you take with you
Purchase a small amount of travelers cheques for emergencies.
Make copies of all important documents. Leave one set with someone at home and take one with you. You can also scan the documents and send it to the email address you are going to use while travelling.
Purchase travel insurance.
Buy small locks for every zipper on your pack and day pack.