If you’ve ever travelled on a Contiki trip, you’ll know the power of your Contiki fam and how one vacation = an amazing opportunity to make friends from across the globe. While travel is on hold, so many of us are patiently waiting until we plan our next adventure and make new connections once again. But one Contiki Trip Manager is proving that we can still connect with fellow travellers and travel lovers. Here’s his inspiring story on how he’s still ‘travelling’ with his Contiki fam at home, with plenty of inspirational tips for everyone, too…
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These Contiki Trip Managers share their favourite European destinations
Meet European Trip Manager, Joel Desbrow
Joel’s story started with Contiki as an on-site staff member at the Contiki Chateâu in France. Originally from Australia, he wanted to travel and see as much of Europe as possible. After one summer, he quickly realized his passion for meeting new people and learning their stories. This led him to apply to become a Contiki Trip Manager – he got the job and the rest is history!
Keeping in touch during the pandemic
After travelling with Contiki, you’ll realize that there are so many things that make your Contiki trip an experience unlike no other. Joel’s been working as a Contiki Trip Manager for over three years and has run countless trips across Europe, specializing in Scandinavia and Russia.
“I’ve learnt from my time as a Trip Manager that saying goodbye is ALWAYS the hardest,” says Joel. “So, I wanted to find a way to keep in touch with all of the travellers who joined me on the road.”
“I decided to build my own community and invite over 275 travellers that I’ve led across Europe to Facebook group. It’s become a space for my past travellers to keep in touch with their new friends. I also use the Facebook group as a way for me to share my own travel photos and funny stories that happened to me while I was the road.”
Travelling with my Contiki Fam at home
“Now that we’re all staying home, spread out across the world, I’ve challenged myself to find a way to bring travel to all of my travellers at home. With my love for travel and getting to know new people every few weeks being put on hold, I’ve turned to new avenues to connect with my Contiki Fam while at home. There’s no better way to bring travel to my past passengers than reminding them of their Contiki travel memories! So, I’ve pulled together a way to bring back the feeling of travel in true Contiki-style.”
Bringing back the day sheets
“If you’ve been on a Contiki before, the Contiki day sheet is your lifeline! Each day your Trip Manager will share a day sheet with the group. It includes all of the important details you need to know in each city for your Contiki trip like dates, times and any reminders.
“I wanted to take things to the next level. So I decided to created a Contiki day sheet and shared it with my Facebook group of past Contiki travellers. It was perfect way for all of us who are spending time at home to be reminded of our days travelling with Contiki. I used it as a way for me to announce upcoming ways I’ll be bring travel to my Contiki Fam at home through a Zoom social and a travel quiz.”
Our 100-person Zoom social
“With over 275 members in my Facebook group of past passengers, 100 travellers rsvp’ed to join the Zoom social. I was so surprised at the positive response! Everyone was excited to catch up with me and meet new people who had a shared love for Contiki. To bring out some Contiki, vibes I hosted a travel ‘quiztiki’, which included fun questions centered around their past Contiki trips. After the quiz, I shared a few tips on how to make the perfect Aperol spritz – something I’ve done on trip with most of them. It ended up being a HUGE success and the perfect way to catch up with my Contiki Fam at home.”
The importance of the day song (from home)
“A key element of any Contiki trip is your day song. It’s played at the beginning of each morning on coach. And even if it’s a song you aren’t a fan of, you’ll grow to love it. Years later when you hear your day song, you’ll be reminded of your trip and all of your Contiki travel memories.”
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Never underestimate the importance of the Contiki day song
“As a Trip Manager, I have the responsibility to select a day song for each trip and all of the music that’s played throughout the trip on the coach. Music has a way of bringing people together. So I couldn’t think of a better way to travel with my Contiki Fam at home than sharing my “on the road” Spotify playlists.
On my Spotify account you’ll find all of my Trip Manager playlists for day songs, wake up songs and the best road trippin’ songs. There’s even a few playlists full of artists from specific Europe destinations like Sweden, Norway and Denmark. These playlists are played on the road while we’re driving through each country. You’ll find some well-know artists are from these regions like Aqua, Zara Larsson, Kygo, Avicii and of course, Swedish House Mafia.”
“So, if you’re looking for a way to catch up with your travel friends virtually, take some tips out of my Trip Manager playbook. It’s the best way to bring back those travel vibes we all love to your Contiki Fam at home.”