We know travel has a HUGE role and responsibility in supporting communities and cultures worldwide. That’s why we have MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Experiences on our trips – a chance to meet the locals, hear their powerful stories and make a real difference to their communities. And trust us: these stories deserve to be heard.
So, here are 10 of the best Contiki trips to inspire conscious travellers everywhere…
10. Grand Canadian
Jasper, in Alberta, Canada is one of the most beautiful places you’ll ever visit. Mountains. Waterfalls. Sweeping valleys. Soaring trees. But that’s not all this place has to offer. When visiting with Contiki, you’ll have the chance to meet Warrior Woman Matricia Bauer, of the Sturgeon Lake Cree Nation, to hear her powerful story.
We recently teamed up with Travel Alberta to speak to Matricia about the importance of knowledge transfer within her culture, and why telling authentic Indigenous stories to a wider audience matters now, more than ever. Here’s what we learned…
9. Italian Escape & Sicily
Ciao Italy! Conscious travel experiences throughout this beautiful country await on Italian Escape & Sicily trip. Visit the Italian countryside and learn about sustainable farming at a bio farm in Noto. Then head down to Palermo and support local businesses and the civil anti-mafia movement. You’ll even visit a sustainable lemon farm in the Amalfi Coast and sip limoncello under the lemon trees. If feels good to give back!
8. Portugal City & Surf
Portugal City & Surf is the perfect wellness trip for you to find your zen. If you’re about city life, there’s a conscious EatWith dinner with locals in Porto and a Cascais Street Art Tour, which feeds money back into the local neighbourhood creative scene. But the real wellness vibes happen when you visit the sweeping coast, practicing yoga at sunrise, paddleboarding or learning to surf. Bliss.
Image source:Noah Surf House
This local, sustainable Italian lemon grove is the wholesome experience everyone needs
7. East Africa Safari
Head to Africa to experience wildlife in their natural habitat and give back to the local area. If you visit between December and April, you’ll experience the great migration in the Serengeti! On the East Africa Safari trip, you’ll spend your days on game drive through National Parks in Kenya and Tanzania. You’ll also get closer to the wildlife in a responsible way with the MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Experiences on this trip. Think visiting an elephant orphanage sanctuary, dropping by an ethical giraffe centre and much more. To experience the people and culture of Africa, head over the traditional Maasai village and learn about the Shanga Community Project. You’ll leave Africa with a completely new perspective.
6. London to Berlin by Train
Skip the coach and travel by train. London to Berlin by Train is the perfect option for any conscious traveller. Trains are a responsible way to travel throughout Europe to get off the beaten path and see a different side of any country. There are also loads of Contiki Cares experiences on this trip – you can explore London on foot with Unseen Tours led by people who have lived on the streets of London. In Amsterdam, dine with locals on an EatWith dinner and end your trip in Berlin with a walking tour by a Syrian refugee with Refugee Voices.
5. Israel & Jordan Uncovered
Filled with MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Experiences, Israel & Jordan Uncovered is the perfect trip for any conscious adventurer. Stop at the Treadright-supported Iraq Al-Amir Women’s Cooperative Society and EatWith locals inside their homes in Tel Aviv. There’s also tons of history and archaeology you won’t want to miss out on. From visiting The World Holocaust Remembrance Centre to experiencing the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Petra, you’ll return home feeling more enlightened than ever.
4. Ecuador & Galapagos Island Hopper
If you LOVE nature and wildlife, head to South America pronto! Ecuador is rich with biodiversity, nature and wildlife. On Contiki’s Ecuador & Galapagos Island Hopper trip, you can visit a conscious turtle breeding centre, go snorkelling and see sea lions in the wild. You’ll also connect with the locals by visiting an Indigenous community village in Tena. Plus, there’s lots of adventure activities like paddleboarding, kayaking and biking that you can try.
3. Eastern Road
Eastern Europe is bursting with culture and history and Contiki’s Eastern Road takes you through Germany, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Austria and the Czech Republic. The itinerary is packed with conscious travel experiences, but our fave has to be Habibi & Hawara, a private initiative in the city of Vienna for a diverse and colourful meal. Refugees are employed as restaurant staff with a goal of creating employment and inclusion. What’s more, food waste is avoided, waste recycled and energy saved proactively. Travel experiences don’t get much more benevolent than that!
2. Fire & Ice
Iceland is famed for its glaciers and geysers, but it’s got more than natural beauty up its sleeve. With Contiki’s Fire & Ice, you’ll experience Iceland’s eye-watering vistas as well as its keen green initiatives. Take the Friðheimar Greenhouse visit, where you can learn all about greenhouse horticulture, and how your hosts create warm Mediterranean conditions through the long dark winter. Iceland has heaps of green energy from hydro and geothermal power plants, providing the artificial lighting necessary to grow the crops all year round. But when the sun finally comes out, the lights are automatically switched off. Pretty cool (and warm), right?
1. Asian Adventure
Tons of conscious travel experiences await on Contiki’s Asian Adventure. This trip visits countries in South East Asia such as Thailand, Laos and Cambodia. Lucky for us, there is a MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Experiences in every one of these countries. In Thailand, interact with rescue elephants at the Elephant Haven Sai Yok in Kanchanaburi. Stop by the COPE Visitor Centre in Vientiene, Laos to support people with mobility-related disabilities caused by landmine explosions. Finally, in Cambodia, enjoy dinner at Friends TREE Alliance Restaurant served by disadvantaged and former street children who are trained up in hospitality skills.