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15 Travellers tell us their most memorable travel experiences – and how it changed them

Group in Lisbon

There’s no doubt that travelling brings you a range of emotions: joy and excitement, but also the feeling that you’re in unknown territory. One thing’s for sure though: travelling is probably the best thing you can ever do.

Don’t believe us? Just ask these 15 Travellers, who shared the trips and moments that changed them forever…


“The most memorable trip I have ever had was when I was 17 traveling to Vietnam alone. I was living and working in Vietnam for 4 months as a bartender (and ended up meeting my amazing girlfriend there too!). The most emotional part of the trip was when I was leaving back to Australia to visit my Grandmother who had been very sick. I felt like I lost everything (and even being able to see the person who I had come to love). I worked hard for 6 months and was able to find my way back here. 3 years later I live in this beautiful country and able to speak the native language while living with my girlfriend.” – Lachlan Gordon

“A friend and I booked a spur of the moment trip to India after a few drinks. That trip was one of the highlights of my life, teaching me so much about culture, enriching me and teaching me more than any classroom ever could. The smells and sites and sounds will forever stay with me. That trip gave me the travel bug and showed me the true meaning of wanderlust.” – Bala Walsh 

“My most memorable travel experience was when I was 12 years old I was lucky enough to be sent on a camp to Switzerland with children from all over the world who had also received organ transplants. Growing up being sick and having my liver transplant in 1998 at the age of 7 travel had never been an option for me, so this was such an incredible experience to be gifted. It was my first time on a plane and overseas. It was so special, I remembered being shocked at the sheer beauty of it all.” – Kate Elizabeth


“Our first night on Contiki, we could see the Eiffel Tower from our accommodation…and we decided to walk to it! 3 hours later it was 2am and we were getting closer and closer – it looks like it was just around the corner every corner! We finally reached it and and we were in utter awe! I don’t think I’ve ever been as happy as finding the Eiffel Tower at 3am covered in sparkles which lit up the night sky. That is what happiness feels like. In that moment, anything in the world felt possible.– Emma Walker

Couple in front of eiffel tower

“I have only started traveling this year. As a child I wasn’t fortunate enough to travel as my parents worked to keep a roofs over our heads. It was a DREAM of mine since I was very young to go to Japan. I worked, worked and worked my butt off to fulfill my dream all by myself! I finally got to go in April to see the cherry blossom trees, I literally cried as we touched down in Tokyo. To see a whole new world was mind blowing! Travelling is made me so humble since then.”  Maddi Lomas

“As a coeliac I found it difficult to locate gluten free foods in a lot of places, but I didn’t let that stop me from enjoying my contiki trip through Europe. We wanted some gelato in Italy and opted to walk around the streets to find some gluten free gelato. Finally, we found some – I then asked if there were gluten free cones as well, and when the shop keeper pulled out a gluten free cone, I confessed my love for him and his shop. It was so important for me to find traditional local foods so I could experience my European adventure to the fullest!” – Leslie Wickens


ice creams in the air

“After my summer study abroad trip to Italy fell through, my best friend and I decided to book a last minute trip to Europe. While searching for trips, we stumbled upon Contiki and decided to book. As Americans, we had never heard of Contiki before and really didn’t know what to expect. From this trip, I got to experience 6 different countries, watch the Euro Cup in Europe, and most importantly I met life long friends. I am dying to go back and as a teacher, although I have to work multiple jobs to even be able to dream of it. I work in an intercity where most students don’t get the opportunity to leave the state for a majority of their lives, due to financial reasons. My goal is to show my students that they should never let money limit their travels. With a lot of hard work, they too can see the world!” – Julia Gulia 

“I have always wanted to explore New Zealand and when the opportunity came up I just couldn’t say no. This group of people made the trip for me and I wouldn’t have had it any other way. They helped me to face my fears and try things I never imagined I’d be able to do. The euphoric rush you get when you compete your first bungy jump is one I will never forget!” – Kira Chow 

“My most Memorable travel memory was from a Christmas I spent in China. I was able to travel to a leper colony in one of the very rural areas outside of Guangzhou. There was one lady in particular who has rocked my world even to this day. After learning that they only have to eat what they can grow and the large bags of rice my friends and I brought them, she offered me and every person I was with this bowl of oranges. She had nothing by our standards – but was still willing to give all that she had. It’s moments like this that keep me hungry for travel.” – Arden Shanklin

“The moment that changed my life was in July 2016. I went on the grand southern contiki tour and I opened up the further into the tour I went (I’m usually quite shy) and have never been the same since. Because of this tour I wanted to be more open, so between this tour and my next tour in April 2017 I took the biggest step in my life and came out to my parents. Not only has travel physically changed me, but it’s helped me come to terms with myself” – Tim Savage


“My sister and I went on a Contiki to Scotland and Ireland. There was one night in Loch Ness when it was raining cats and dogs, so we were forced to stay at our hotel. Everyone was bummed at first, but then we didn’t really care, because we were cooped up in a hotel with some pretty awesome people. We sat and played card games and drinking games all night. It was probably one of the most fun nights in the whole trip!” – Kandyce Lauren

Do you have a travel experience that changed you forever? Let us know in the comments…

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