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Starting points and kick start meetings
Where does my Contiki start?
What is a kick-start meeting?
Every trip has a kick-start meeting, hosted by the Trip Manager, which happens either the night before the trip is due to start (if starting early the next day), or in the evening of the first day of the trip (if the trip starts later in the day).
The kick-start meeting is where you will meet your whole group for the first time, as well as your Trip Manager. In this meeting, your Trip Manager will give you an overview of how things work on Contiki, a health and safety briefing, as well as take all necessary information/documentation they may need from you.
Contiki and your Trip Manager will endeavour to introduce you virtually to members of your group prior to the Kick Start meeting.
I’m arriving late, does it matter if I miss the kick-start?
The Kick Start meetings contain important information and are a great way to meet your fellow travellers, we strongly encourage you to be there. If you are not able to make it, just let the Contiki reservations team know in advance and make sure you know all the necessary departure details for the trip start.
Your Trip Manager should add you to a trip chat group where information will be shared but will also post these in the hotel/hostel lobby.
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Are airport transfers included?
Transfers are not included in the trip (unless specified), and you must make your own way to the trip starting point.
In particular destinations or select trips we offer chargeable transfers that can be added onto your booking or complimentary shuttles to the train station/airport at the end of the trip.
Please read the trip itinerary carefully to understand available options.
How do I get to the starting point of my trip?
It’s up to you guys to make your own way to the starting point of the trip. We make sure our start points are in well connected and highly visible areas so it shouldn't be any stress getting public transport, or jumping in a cab.
If you need help planning this journey feel free to contact our reservations team, who will be able to help you out.
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What type of accommodation do you stay in on Contiki?
We have a whole mix of accommodation styles on our trips, depending on the destination and the travel style you have chosen. With us, you can stay in hotels, hostels, boats, camping sites, jungle lodges, eco camps, beach resorts, and even our very own 16th century French Chateau.
All accommodation used by Contiki has been vetted and determined by standard of the Travel Style it is associated with.
Search results may be filtered by accommodation type if you have a specific need.
Can I see a list of the accommodation for each trip?
Three weeks prior to your Contiki trips departure date you will be sent a list of accommodation within your pre-travel documents.
However, if you would like to see trip accommodation before this you can request it from our friendly reservation team by calling us on 0808-281-1120 or by chatting to us online.
Prior to booking, you can also check out the types of accommodation you could be sleeping in by looking at the information on the trip page for your specific trip.
Will I have to share a room on my trip?
Shared accommodation is part of the Contiki experience. How many people you’ll be sharing with depends on the region, travel style and type of accommodation, but twin or multi-share (up to 6 in one room) same-sex sharing is the norm.
Festival accommodation is the only instance where up to 8 people could be sharing, and this may be mixed gender.
After a lil' more privacy? On many of our trips (especially ones that are Twinshare) you'll have the option to upgrade to a private room for an additional cost.
Who will I be roomed with?
Your Trip Manager will assign each member of your group to a room, and this will be your rooming formation for the duration of the trip. If for any reason you want to switch rooms, you’ll need to put this request to your Trip Manager.
If you are booking as a couple and have booked a twin share trip then you will be roomed together. Booking as a group of friends on a multi-share trip, your Trip Manager will attempt to room you in the same room however this cannot always be guaranteed.
Can I have a room to myself?
What if my roommate and I don’t get along?
Roommates are part of the Contiki experience and help us create that social travel community that makes us famous. If you and your roommate are not getting on for any reason you can request a room move from the Trip Manager, but it’s not guaranteed. Ultimately, your bed is only where you sleep and so most of the time our travellers all enjoy the shared experience of travelling together.
Will I be able to do laundry while travelling?
Long days exploring can often = a necessity to do laundry. The good news is, lots of our accommodation offers laundry facilities, so you don’t need to be known as the traveller with the stinky socks. There will be a small fee for laundry services, as well as detergent (travellers tip - if you want to be super saving savvy, bring some laundry powder with you).
Alternatively, if your accommodation doesn't have a laundry service and you’re really desperate, just ask your Trip Manager to help find a local laundrette.
Is there WiFi at the accommodation we’ll stay at?
Yup! Don’t stress about keeping connected to all your friends and family from afar; almost all accommodation Contiki stays at offers free WiFi, so you can gram/Tok/chat to your heart's content.
Do Contiki coaches have WiFi?
They sure do. All of our Contiki branded coaches offer free WiFi to keep you up to date whilst on the road. However, this isn’t unlimited, so save any heavy internet usage (watching videos etc.) for when you get to your accommodation.
How can I stay online during my trip?
This should be determined in advance of travel to ensure you have a plan. Chat to your phone provider about any deals you can use to lower your roaming charges.
Where roaming is not an option you can buy a local SIM card upon arrival into the region you will be visiting, usually at the airports or major travel hubs.
Of course, you can use the complimentary WiFi at all of our accommodation stops and on the coach.
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Food and Diets
What food is included on Contiki trips?
Breakfasts are included on most trips, as well as a handful of lunches and dinners. For all other meals, we like to give you the freedom to explore the local culture and cuisine, and go on your own foodie safari.
Are you able to cater to my diet?
We sure are! If you have any particular diet requests, allergies or intolerances, you can provide details of these in My Contiki, and we will do our best to cater to your individual needs. Please also discuss your dietary needs with the Trip Manager at the start of the trip.
What if I’m allergic to something?
Please indicate any allergies in MyContiki, and also make your Trip Manager aware at the start of the trip. If this is a severe allergy that may also impact the group (for instance a nut allergy), please make this known to our reservation team prior and your Trip Manager who will make the rest of the group aware and take appropriate precautions so you are not in any danger.
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Free Time & Free Time Add-Ons
Is there any free time on Contiki trips?
How do I know how much free time I’ll have?
The amount of Free Time you have is dependent on the travel style and individual trip you book.
What do I do in my free time?
It’s yours to do as you please but your Trip Manager will be able to give you the local insight, best recommendations and suggest places to visit.
Additionally you may wish to take advantage of our Free Time Add-Ons. These are the experiences that we have cherry-picked for you in each destination, that are designed to take your trip to a whole new level of awesomeness, and are not included in the cost of your trip.
What are free time add-ons?
Free Time Add-Ons are basically the travel experiences we’ve picked that we think will take your trip to a whole new level. The experiences are built around activities or topics we know you’ll love. Think food, adventure, exploration, history, culture, fashion, music - you name it.
A few examples of Free Time Add-Ons include:
- A canal cruise down Amsterdam’s iconic canals
- White water rafting in Innsbruck, Austria
- An Italian feast in the Tuscan hills
- A half day snorkeling cruise in Koh Tao
- Visit a local hill tribe in Chiang Mai
- A polo day experience, Buenos Aires
- Kayaking down the Amazon river, Peruvian Jungle
- A sunrise hot air balloon ride, Alice Springs
- A skydive over the Great Barrier Reef, Cairns
Are free time add-on activities included in the cost of my trip?
No, these experiences are an additional cost and are not included in the price of your Contiki trip. However, thanks to our long standing relationships with suppliers, you can be safe in the knowledge that you are getting the best deal when booking one of our Add-Ons.
Do I have to do a free time add-on?
Nope, it’s totally up to you. Our Add-Ons happen during your Free Time, so if you’d rather do your own thing we are totally OK with that - the choice is yours!
How do I know what free time add-ons are on my trip?
The specific trip page itinerary will show inclusions and add ons for the day you are viewing. A full list of Add-Ons and approximate costs will also be sent to you with your travel documents, 3 weeks in advance of your departure.
Your Trip Manager will take you through all of the available options at the start of your trip so you can decide if you want to do any of these awesome experiences once you’ve got the full down low.
How do I pay for free time add-ons?
You can pay for your Add-Ons with a debit or credit card, or cash, once you are on your trip. Our Trip Managers will manage this process with you, and answer any questions you may have. We’d also advise having a good read over what Add-Ons are available on your trip prior to departure, as this will help with managing your budget.
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What will I need money for on the trip?
In terms of spending money, you’ll need to budget for the following at a minimum:
- Any meals (normally lunches and dinners) that are not included. You’ll be able to see the total number of meals included in the cost of your trip or on the itinerary page.
- Any Free Time Add-Ons you would like to do on your trip.
- Any additional sightseeing you plan on doing in your Free Time, that is not covered either by our Included Experiences or Free Time Add-Ons.
- Any additional personal expenses. This includes alcohol, shopping, and any evening entertainment not included.
How much spending money should I bring?
Depends on where you’re travelling to, how long for and how much you like to splash the cash when you travel. It’s also a good idea to read up on our incredible Free Time Add-Ons and decide how many you’ll want to do. You should set a daily budget based upon these factors, as well as doing some research on: the region you are travelling to (for instance Europe and Australia will be significantly more expensive than Asia, or Latin America), and how much you anticipate spending on personal expenses like alcohol or shopping. Before you travel, read up on and get an idea of the Free Time Add-Ons you think you’ll want to do on your trip, then set yourself a daily budget.
- Cost of a local lunch
- Cost of a local dinner
- Cost of a bottle of water
- Cost of a beer
- Cost of an ice cream
- Cost of entry to a sightseeing spot
Bring some cash in the local currency of the destination you’ll be travelling to first, and then use your debit or credit card to withdraw money along the way (don’t forget to let your bank know you’re travelling!) ).
Cash cards are also a good option if you want to reduce conversion fees.
Is tipping compulsory?
That depends!If you’re heading to America, tipping is a big part of the culture and is expected when paying your dinner bill, buying drinks at a bar, and even getting a taxi. However, if you were heading to Japan, tipping would be seen as impolite.
In most parts of Europe, leaving a tip of around 5 - 10% of the total bill is the standard, although make sure you check the bill first, as a tip may have already been included in the total cost of the bill. It’s generally worth reading up on the tipping culture of the region you are travelling to prior to your trip, or just ask your Trip Manager what the general etiquette is once on trip.
In terms of tipping Contiki staff and Local Guides, this is entirely up to you! If you think a Trip Manager, Driver or Local Guide has done an awesome job (and they usually do), you might want to tip them for this, but this is at your discretion and no one else’s. Tip what you think is right only.
What should I tip service staff?
Depends on the tipping culture of the country you are in. Read up on what’s expected prior to your trip or ask your Trip Manager if you are unsure, and also be careful not to over or under tip as a result of currency confusion. Downloading a currency converter app like XE Currency App is always a good shout.
What should I tip contiki trip managers and drivers?
Tipping of Contiki Trip Managers and Drivers is completely optional. If you think your Contiki crew have delivered an outstanding level of service throughout your trip (and we hope you do), you may wish to tip them, but this is at your discretion and no one else’s.
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