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Review: Travelling as a solo female on a Contiki Tour

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Nottingham chapter.

Like millions of people across the globe, I have always dreamed of seeing the world and embarking on a travel adventure. However, like many other women, a huge concern for me, which deterred me from pursuing my travel aspirations, was safety. I was apprehensive to ever book a trip by myself due to the risks and horror stories which are associated with solo female travel (I’m sure most people reading this have seen the film Taken!). Although there was always the option to travel with people I knew, after a few rough months at the beginning of 2022, I had decided that if I were to go travelling, it needed to be something that I did independently.

After a while scrolling online, I stumbled upon a company called Contiki, and within a few hours I had booked a 5-week trip across 17 counties in Europe. Contiki offers a range of trips of various lengths across the world; my specific trip was the European Adventurer in which around 40-50 people all travel together on a coach for the duration of the trip. This sounded perfect to me, as I could go on my own without actually having to be on my own, which made the safety concerns I was having practically disappear.

Despite having a group chat for everyone on the trip for a few months prior to our leaving date, knowing that I was soon to be thrown into a 5-week trip with 40 random strangers, the fear started to kick in: What if they didn’t like me? What if I didn’t like them? What if this was the worst decision I had ever made?

However, on day one of the trip, when I arrived in London ready to get on the coach, these fears soon melted away into sheer excitement as I was met with 40 smiling faces, most of whom were also solo travellers. Regardless of the 6am start, we were all keen to immediately get to know everyone’s name, find out where everyone had come from (I was one of only 2 British people in a sea of Australians), and begin bonding with people that otherwise we would never have crossed paths with.

We had 17 countries to visit and were essentially stuck with each other for 5 weeks straight, yet by our second stop, which was Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland, it was already clear that everyone had made friends to last lifetime. This was something that I had desperately hoped would materialise, as even just booking this trip to go solo, had been a big step for me in putting myself out there more in the hopes of meeting other likeminded people, who all wanted to experience the world.

The way a Contiki tour works is that whatever trip you decide to book, all the major and minor details are planned for you, down to accommodation, certain excursions, breakfast every morning and a large proportion of dinners. There was also a huge amount of free time in which everyone could spend the day as they pleased, meaning everybody’s individual experience was slightly different. Not once whilst I was away did I feel unsafe, as the trip manager (essentially someone who is in charge of the entire trip) was on call at all times to give advice on where to go or what to do, if you had gotten lost, or simply wanted a recommendation for a good bar.

To anyone out there who wants to go travelling, and is unsure of where to start, or is worried about going alone, I cannot recommend Contiki highly enough. I truly made friends for life, visited places that I had always dreamt of going to, was exposed to immensely rich cultures, and realised that putting yourself out of your comfort zone often pays off!    

Tamsin Draper

Nottingham '23

Having completed an undergrad degree in History and Politics at Nottingham, I have now moved onto studying MSc Environmental Leadership and Management. I am a lover of all things green and sustainable, travelling, concerts, and good coffee!