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How my solo trip with Contiki improved my well being 

Contiki traveller in Italy

For International Women’s Day 2024, we are interested in showcasing the ways travel can be empowering and open the doors of life, especially for our solo female travellers (who make up 52% of our travellers!)

7 ways travelling facilitates female empowerment

7 ways travelling facilitates female empowerment

by Erin Davis Mar 15, 2017

At the beginning of 2023, my life was in shambles. I was navigating heartbreak, depression, and anxiety, leaving me feeling completely lost in the world. A few months later I decided I needed something to help me overcome these challenges. My life long dream has always been to travel the world however this was constantly on hold – I always believed I needed a travel companion to travel and see the world with, but it became more and more obvious that waiting wasn’t leading me anywhere.

One day, I made the decision: “That’s it I’m doing this alone!” I refused to let anyone hold me back. It was recommended to me by a friend that Contiki was great for solo travelers, so I visited the Contiki website and before I knew it, I’d booked a solo trip to the one place at the top of my bucket list – Italy! I am Italian however, born and raised in Australia, I was desperate to explore and experience my heritage.

It was now time for me to embrace the world on my own terms. 

The journey there

As my departure date neared, I had some serious reservations. I was concerned about making friends as I sometimes struggle to connect with others and whether or not this trip was going to give me the fulfillment I sought after. I would often wonder if I would regret the entire thing. 

To my surprise, none of my worries became true. I had an incredible experience and would do it all over again.

The journey of friendships

Within the first few days of my trip, I connected with fellow solo female travellers, and together, we had the time of our lives.Together we discovered a love for red wine and would share a bottle at every dinner. We would cheer’s our glasses and say “chin, chin”. This became our little thing we did, and we even named our friendship group after the phrase. To this day, we’ve stayed in touch, and often reminisce about our adventures in Italy. 

 Not only was I experiencing Italian culture but I was experiencing the cultures of those on the trip with me. Connecting with others from all over the world was seriously one of the highlights of my trip.

group of female travellers in Italy

Image source:Alana Avallone

The journey to myself

This trip was EXACTLY what I needed and it helped me improve my mental health and well-being. I felt I was able to reconnect with myself and the world. As a result of the depression I was experiencing I was not my usual joyful self, but as soon as my flight landed in Rome everything I was mentally experiencing disappeared. 

Since that trip, I’ve been thriving. My self imposed limitations vanished. It pushed me out of my comfort zone, empowered me, and reaffirmed that I can accomplish anything. I am more confident, independent and happier. I proved to everyone who thought I couldn’t get on a plane to a foreign country that, as a young woman, I am perfectly capable on my own. And I proved this to myself as well.

8 Lies I’m Sick Of Hearing As A Solo Female Traveller

8 Lies I’m Sick Of Hearing As A Solo Female Traveller

by Danielle Kirk Mar 08, 2018


If you are feeling stuck like I was, it might be time to book that trip you have been dreaming of. Planning trips and figuring out every detail can be overwhelming. Contiki takes care of that for you. This was one of the key reasons I chose a tour instead of navigating it on my own. It also means you’re never truly alone which enhances your sense of security. 

My advice

To aid you on your solo journey, I have a few tips I’d like to share: 

Trust your Trip Manager: Your Trip Manager is a wealth of knowledge and can guide you to the best food spots, instagram-worthy locations, and shops to explore. They also know which places to avoid, ensuring your safety and enjoyment. 

Try everything: Embrace new experiences by participating in every activity Contiki has to offer. This will help you immerse yourself in the local culture. Don’t hesitate to try unfamiliar foods; you might discover something unexpectedly tasty!

Make an effort to talk to everyone on your trip: Putting yourself out there can be intimidating, especially when travelling solo. But rest assured, most people on the trip are in the same boat – solo travellers on their first adventure. Initiating conversations is the best way to make friends.

Pack an eye mask: I highly recommend bringing an eye mask for nighttime and on the coach. It’s the only way to block out light in shared rooms, ensuring you get a good night’s sleep and allowing you to get some Zzz’s in whilst on the coach.

Carry a rechargeable battery pack: Taking countless pictures can drain your phone battery quickly, so having a rechargeable battery pack will keep you powered up and ready to capture all those memories. Always having a fully charged phone is important incase you stray away from the group and need to use the maps on your phone to find your way back.

Bring a water bottle: It’s essential to stay hydrated, especially in hot weather. If you prefer your water cold like me, consider using an insulated water bottle. Make sure your bottle fits in your bag as well so you might have to get a smaller one.

Utilise packing cubes: Packing cubes are a game changer when it comes to keeping your suitcase organised and tidy. They’ll make your life much easier especially when you are constantly moving between different accommodations.

Italian coastal town

Image source:Alana Avallone

Remember, solo travel isn’t about being alone; it’s about finding a community of like-minded souls in every corner of the globe. It’s about realising that the only limitations are the ones we impose upon ourselves. 

Bon voyage to your own empowering adventure! 

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