Do you love to travel?Are you someone who likes an adventure and won’t get your panties in a wad if everything doesn’t go as planned?If so, you might enjoy this blog post for several reasons.First, I am going to tell you about a travel company (Contiki) that specializes in tours for young people (18-35). Christa, Dave and I have actually have gone on one of these tours (I have gone on 2!). I will tell you about the company, tell you about our adventure, and then share with you another company that offer similar services for older folks like ourselves (EEK we are no longer eligible for CONTIKI!).But don’t worry, where there is a will, there is a way, and we will find someone who is willing to take 4 fun, young at heart adults who love adventure.
Contiki is a travel company that specializes in creating tours throughout the world for people from ages 18-35.You select a tour, buy a plane ticket, and then meet up with other young, adventurous types who want to see the world and have fun!
Before discovering Contiki, my idea of a “tour company” was a bus filled with elderly people traveling from place to place.After discovering Contiki, my idea changed DRASTICALLY!
I can’t remember how I stumbled upon Contiki, but I was newly divorced, young (22) and had no plans for the summer.I decided I needed a fun adventure, so I cashed my Louisiana teacher retirement and booked a 3 week European Contiki adventure.Everyone that balked at me for cashing out my retirement (trust me, it was not that much- 2.5 years of teaching in rural LA) laughed when I said that maybe my Contiki adventure was an “investment” and that I might meet my soul mate who might be a multi-millionaire in Monaco (one of our stops!).
How did it work?
After purchasing my plane ticket and tour, I flew to London (solo) and met up with 49 other young adults who were looking to have a fun traveling adventure.We started in London and traveled to Amsterdam, Lucerne, Paris, Pisa, Florence, Rome, Venice, the Swiss Alps, and other interesting places.
The “tour fee” included hotels (3 star), transportation (the party bus), a bus driver, a tour guide, and some meals. Our accommodations were diverse and it was fun to see what we would get next.I am not going to lie and tell you that we were awake most of the time on the bus.We would pull into a city, check into the hotel, explore, have a fun night, and then sleep on the bus while traveling to our next destination.
Who was on the tour?
Generally you found a mixture of Americans, Canadians, Australians, British, and South Africans. It was interesting because we all paid different amounts for our trips based on the value of our currency.
Did you have fun?
Yes, yes, and yes!It was a trip of a life time.I feel as though 18 year olds are too young for this type of trip.Personally I think young single (or couples) professionals would be ideal for this type of vacation.
Fast forward a few years when Christa was newly divorced and single (funny how life turns out) and Dave and I had been dating for about 9 months.We decided that the three of us (26 years old) would take a three week Contiki vacation that started in Amsterdam and ended in Barcelona. Christa had two kids (who were with their dad) and just started dating a nice tv producer who worked for Fox news.
Dave and I shared a room (sorry mom and dad!!!) and Christa was given “pot luck”. Christa’s roommate was a 19 year old Canadian “administrative assistant” named Gigi.Her job description was highly suspect because she had triple F boobs, was a size 2, and said her “boss” paid for her trip. Poor Christa had to endure numerous “middle of the night guests” and GiGi doing situps every day naked in their room.
Our first few days in Amsterdam and Paris, I was so sick. I don’t know what I had, but I felt terrible. I insisted Christa and Dave go explore Amsterdam with the others because I had been there before. It was funny the two of them took a picture together in a shoe. Dave sent the picture to his parents and his dad commented what a nice looking couple they were. Dave thought it was hilarious that his dad thought Christa was me.
By the time we reached our next destination (Paris) I was even worse. This was my second trip to Paris and I made such a big deal about only going up the Eiffel Tower with my true love. I was so miserable I made Dave take me to a Parisian Emergency room. I won’t even go there about socialized medicine and how disgusting the waiting room was. After a few hours I saw a French doctor who gave me antibiotics. They sent me a bill for about 20 Euros and I never could figure out how to pay them back (or I never tried hard enough). Dave kept begging me to go up the Eiffel Tower with him because I had made such a big deal about it prior to the trip and he felt we were doomed as a couple if we didn’t make it. We made it up the tower (I was miserable), but grateful that I proved how much I loved him. And yes, I can’t wait for my “do over” where I am not sick…hint, hint…Dave!
One night we were in Lucerne, Switzerland and Christa had enough of Gigi and the next random guy.She decided that she was “over it” and wanted to find our room.She had zit cream on her face and knocked on the door she thought was ours. Fortuanltely for her the elderly Japendese couple were understanding and then she ventured to the lobby to ask for our room number.
Here is a picture in Chamonix, France where they randomly had a picture of a Texans shirt.
Dave and I were the only “couple on the trip”, but everyone was super nice.Dave decided it would be “funny “ to tell everyone that Chirsta had a lazy eye.She had no idea he was speading this joke.On one of our long bus rides we played a game where each row had to add an original sentence to a story that was started at the front of the bus. Unfortunately for Christa, Dave and I were sitting towards the front of the bus, and by the end of the story, it was all about Christa’s lazy eye (which she doesn’t have).
One crazy night in Nice we went to a fun bar that happened to look like a dungeon.Poor Dave had to take care of two “Skelly girls” who had one too many.As he tells it, as one girl was getting sick in the bathroom the other twin was trying to leave the room.Poor Dave.He really has Skelly loyalty.
One of the funnier nights our Austrailain bus driver chugged a can of beans on stage at a disco. He didn’t want to embarrass his fellow Austrialns so he pretended to be a dumb American.Funny how nobody on either trip wanted to be misconstrued as an American.The Canadians made it painfully clear by planting every piece of item they owned with a maple leaf.
Ok, so now everyone knows that tour companies don’t have to be boring.Now that we are older, I tried to find companies that cater to older, yet still fun people like us.I found a tour company called Gecko Adventures that seems to cater to trips for a slightly older than 18 crowd, but still younger group.The good news is that they don’t have an age limit.
Ok, so who is ready to join Dave, Christa, Brad, and I on our next “adventure”!