Travel is always a leap of faith. Will the experience match up with my expectations? Will I make friends? Will I like the food? Will I come home with a feed full of FOMO and a head full of memories?
Fortunately, when you travel with Contiki, the answer to those kinda questions is usually a pretty resounding “yes.” You may join a trip solo, but you never leave solo. But well, we would say that, wouldn’t we?
Which brings us to Tamsin Draper. As a student writer and solo traveller, she recently took the leap with Contiki on our European Adventurer trip. And, since coming home, she wrote up her experience in a hugely entertaining piece for Her Campus magazine. In fact, we enjoyed the piece so much, we thought we’d get in touch and ask Tamsin a few questions about her adventure. Wondering what it’s like to travel with Contiki as a female solo traveller? Read on to find out…
Hey Tamsin! Did you have any concerns about travelling solo?
“As a young woman, I’d always put off of travelling solo due to safety concerns. But I always wanted to travel independently (without my friends from home) because I wanted to ‘put myself out there’ more, and really journey out of my comfort zone (which I always shied away from doing!).”
How did you hear about Contiki?
“I remember googling something like ‘travel companies for young adults’ and you guys popped up first. The more research I did into what you do and the trips you offer, the more certain I became that Contiki was the company that I wanted to travel with. The add-on experiences, the wide range of countries on the itinerary, and the value for money – these are the kinds of things that sealed the deal for me.”
How were you feeling the night before the first day of your trip?
“The night before the first trip I was buzzing with both excitement and nerves. It was nice to have met a group of people already during the day in London which made the prospect of getting on the coach the next day a little less daunting. I barely slept that night!”
How many people in your group were solo travellers?
“There were just over 40 people on my trip, and I would say just over half were solo travellers, which was comforting as it meant that pretty much everyone was in the same boat.”
Who did you make friends with in the group and why did you get on?
“I would say that I made an effort to talk to and familiarise myself with everyone, but there were obviously people that I became very close to. We had a small group that we would hang out in and do activities together in, and we all got on so well because we all just wanted to make the most of our opportunities, and we all enjoyed finding some amazing food to eat! I was the only Brit in our little group as well, so it was fun to talk about differences between the UK and Australia, teach each other slang, and learn about everyone’s lives back home.”
What were your trip highlights destination-wise?
“It’s SO hard to pick a fave destination because we went to so many (17 to be precise) but I did love Switzerland and Austria. They were the more adventurous stops on our trip. In Switzerland we went to the top of Jungfrau Mountain as well as doing a canyon swing, and in Austria we went paragliding, mountain biking in the alps, and white water rafting, all of which I loved. But overall there wasn’t a single place that I wouldn’t go back to, as each stop was exciting and interesting in its own way.”
How were you Trip Manager and Driver?
“Both our Trip Manager Meg, and our Driver Catia were amazing. They always went above and beyond to help absolutely everyone with whatever query or issue they had, and were genuinely some of the kindest people I have met. They were both so knowledgeable and kept everyone safe and happy at all times.”
Planning another Contiki anytime soon?
“Not yet! (Because I’m still completing my Master’s Degree), but this trip has definitely inspired me to see more of the world. I would love to go to South East Asia, New Zealand and Australia, and definitely have those in my sights once I’ve finished my studies.”
Any reunions in the works?
“One of the girls I was friendly with recently came back to London so we went for dinner and drinks, and I introduced her to my friends from home which was lovely. I keep in contact with quite a few of my Australian pals, and would love to visit them one day!”