Your First Trip Abroad: 5 Reasons The Lost Girls Love Contiki for First Time Travelers

Featured, Featured Getaway, Tours & Attractions — By on April 15, 2012 at 11:51 am

By Amanda Pressner
LG Executive Editor

Jen and Amanda in Germany, Summer 2000Years before Jen and I embarked on our round-the-world Lost Girls adventure with Holly, the two of us backpacked through Europe together. We did it the summer after our college graduation, a four-week, whirlwind tour that took us to some of the continent’s most iconic destinations. We recall sipping wine and nibbling olives at a café in Venice’s San Marco Square, feeling as if we’d stumbled upon some magical new way of experiencing the world. To us, traveling represented a novel approach to living and learning, an education that extended beyond history, arts, culture and humanity—it actually helped us better understand ourselves.

We thought: Surely, if our friends back home knew what kind of incredible adventures they were missing out on, they’d hop the next flight to London or Barcelona or Rome—right? Well, not exactly. As we’d learn over the next decade, first as post-grads and then eventually as Lost Girls, there are a lot of things that keep first-time travelers—especially women—from realizing our travel dreams.

Jen and Amanda at Hofbräuhaus MünchenWe’re concerned about budgets and whether we can save enough for a dream trip. Worried about staying healthy and safe on the road. Anxious that we may travel thousands of miles away to a place we’ve never been—only to feel out-of-place or lonely once we arrive. These fears are not only common, they’re faced by nearly all first-time travelers.

Whether if it’s for 10 days—or 10 weeks—the decision to go abroad can be a real life (and game) changer…so having a partner in the process can prove hugely beneficial. That’s why we usually recommend that first-time travelers (especially younger women traveling solo) plan at least the first part of their journey with a well-established, reputable and ultra-reliable tour operator like Contiki.

Not only has the company been around for half a century (since 1962!), but they offer hundreds of trips designed specifically for 18 to 35 year olds embarking on their first trip abroad.

Last year, we sent Lost Girl Maggie Parker on a Contiki to South America, and by living vicariously through her, we got an even better picture of why so many young travelers choose to “Take a Contiki” for their inaugural adventure. After she returned, she shared why she’d take another trip with Contiki…and here’s why we’d recommend it to all first-time travelers.

1. It’s Ideal for Solo Travelers

Making the decision to travel on your own is a huge step, and it takes major guts to hop on the plane without a friend or fellow Lost Girl by your side! But going it alone is one of the very best ways to put yourself out there and meet new people. Signing up for a guided group trip means you can make your dream getaway a reality—without waiting for someone else to green light the plan. And once you arrive, Contiki takes care of the rest by pairing you with a same-sex roommate who is around you age, so you don’t have to pay extra for that dreaded single supplement. Plus, more than half of the attendees on their trips are solo travelers too, so you’re sure to have an instant group of new buds to see the world with.

2. You Visit Cool Destinations

While a lot of first-time travelers book their trips to Europe, Contiki actually offers adventures in 46 countries across 6 continents.  And wherever you end up going, you’ll be staying overnight in some cool spots, like a rainforest eco-lodge (that’s in Australia), a Roman Villa (in Italy, of course) and a Junkboat (Vietnam).

3. The Schedule is Flexible

With very few exceptions, The Lost Girls encourage you to take as much time to travel as your schedule and bank account will allow! However, even those with a limited timeframe can take a Contiki. They have trips as short as three days—and as long as six weeks. You can even plan your trip around festivals and events, such as Oktoberfest and New Year’s Eve.

4. Trips are Loaded with Fun and Free Time

Many of us have this idea that joining a tour means that every single second of your trip is scheduled. Ehhh—X—wrong! On a Contiki you’ll have tons of free time to do what makes you happy on the road, like adventure activities, hanging out on the beach, checking out live bands, visiting locals markets, etc. You’re on the road to indulge your passions and discover new ones, and you’ll definitely have the space and freedom in which to do it.

5. You Can Personalize Your Itinerary

While Contiki plans tons of cool, authentic things to do in each of the destinations they visit, you’ll have the chance to add-on some once-in-a-lifetime extras, like taking a helicopter ride over the Grand Canyon, scuba diving the Great Barrier Reef or wine tasting in the Rhine Valley.

Check out The Lost Girls recommended Top Trips for First Time Travelers—and get tons of advice on how to book flights, pack for the journey and more. 

For more info on specific Contiki itineraries and to learn more about booking, click here.