For decades Contiki has connected young people through travel. But what about the people behind the adventures – Contiki’s famed Trip Managers? Travelling to exotic destinations, meeting new people and exploring the best that our planet has to offer - sounds like a pretty sweet gig, right? Well yeah, it totally is, but there’s heaps of hard work that the Contiki Trip Managers go through behind the scenes to ensure that every second of a Contiki trip pushes boundaries and evokes wonder.
We spoke with Cameron Steel - who’s been with Contiki since 2010 and a TM in New Zealand since 2016 – to find out what it’s really like being a Contiki Trip Manager.
Being a Contiki trip manager means you need to feel at home on the open road.
‘You run about 12 trips a year which is about 216 days a year on the road.’
The Best Parts
Staying true to the Contiki ethos, and how we feel about travel in general, Cameron reckons the best part of the job is ‘100% all of the people you meet along the way.’ Or more specifically ‘Seeing people do their first bungy jump or skydive. Or watching their eyes light up when they experience Hobbiton for the first time.’
The Worst Parts
‘Saying goodbye to my crew at the end of the trip.’
‘That it’s really easy… All of your hard work is done behind the scenes, so people don’t see that side of the job!’
Don’t worry Cameron, we appreciate you.
Favourite part of New Zealand?
‘My favourite city is Wellington. Amazing food and just an awesome scene. Best smaller destination is Ohakune, a new spot this season on the North Island. It’s stunning, proper New Zealand wilderness – amazing snowboarding in the winter and bike riding in the summer.’
Favourite thing to eat in New Zealand?
‘If I’m not in one of Queenstown or Wellington’s amazing cafes eating cake, it has to be the traditional Maori Hungi feast at Mitai Marori village in Rotorua.’
Typical day on the road?
‘Run and gym, followed by getting my crew pumped for the day. Coffee and cake, see some beautiful New Zealand countryside – throw people off a bridge/plane/mountain – more cake – show the crew some amazing New Zealand night life.’
It’s a hard life, Cameron.
Best part of showing off New Zealand?
‘The scenery is just mind-boggling, the adventure sports, Hobbiton… But the winner has to be the Maori culture. Kiwis are proud of our heritage and I love teaching people more about it.’
Biggest surprises about New Zealand?
‘Its beauty and the richness of Maori culture.’
Job in three words?
‘Cake, mean, chur’