One of the things young people are encouraged to do repeatedly is to travel the world, in order to broaden their horizons. The problem with this piece of advice however, is the increasing cost of travelling.
This is something that companies such as Contiki are trying to change. The company works to plan holidays that are designed for 18 to 35 year olds who want to explore the six continental markets that the company has broken into.
One person who has experienced the Contiki tours is Khaya Binder, 28, who started doing Contiki tours when she turned 18. The best part of the tours, she believes, is being in a space where you’re allowed to explore.
“Each of my contikis were amazing for their own reason, the earlier ones I really did enjoy the partying aspect of them, and the latest one I focused more on the travel and learning new things part. But overall, the best thing was meeting amazing new people,” Binder said.
She added: “The people on contiki are from all over the world and it is amazing getting to know people from different countries, their cultures, their interests. As I said before, everyone is there for the same reason, so you build a bond over your mutual love of travel and adventure.”
For 22-year-old Matthew Hardy, the trips were equally as enjoyable. Hardy, who had the first trip gifted to him by his family last year, said he enjoyed the culture shift he experienced on the trip.
Khaya Binder at the Spanish steps. Photo: Supplied
“I particularly enjoyed seeing the various changes in culture, scenery, cuisine in the different countries. Even though they are so close geographically they all had their own personalities.
Countries like Amsterdam and Munich had such a ‘freedom’ about them. The ability to travel where ever you prefer by bicycle or the impressive public transport, “ he said.
“Switzerland and Austria had incredible scenery- with snow on the mountains being something very foreign to a South African”.
“Paris and Venice are just such iconic venues…everywhere you look you can almost place yourself in a movie you’ve seen. To eat a pizza like no other in Venice and walk down the Champs Elysees in Paris are difficult to comprehend at times.
The infrastructure and architecture of Europe is special.,” Hardy said.
With these raving reviews, it’s understandable that Contiki remains one of the popular choices for young people to experience the magic of globe trotting. According to general manager of Contiki, Kelly Jackson, this is why the company offers eight different ways to travel.
Their trips range: “From our multi-country discoverers that suit first time travellers wanting to see as much as possible to the In-Depth Explorer option which showcases one region or country in so much more detail,” she Jackson said.
One of the destinations that Contiki Tours explore, Bali. Photo: Supplied
She added that they also offer Easy Pace holidays that are more leisurely or high energy trips, which are perfect for the night owls and party animals. Contiki also has camping, sailing, short trips & festivals plus our Winter & Ski options
With Contiki offering holidays in six continents of the world namely Europe, Asia, South America, North America, there are also over 300 trips that go to these destinations.
According to Jackson, for South African youths the more popular destinations are Europe and Asia.
While the holidays are normally an exciting opportunity to explore, the with current cost of travelling abroad,this can deter potential travellers, especially those that are not very financially stable. At first glance, Contiki’s price ranges may seem inaccessible.
This is why, according to Jackson they offer potential travellers the opportunity to plan the finances of their trip a little better.
“Our online portal allows you to pay your trip over time by budgeting and paying in instalments. And it’s really easy to manage,“ Jackson said.
“Once a trip is booked and the traveller registers online, they can pay towards the trip. It’s the easiest way to pay a trip off over time,” she added.
Contiki also offers deals online that offer travellers percentages off their trips up to 30% if they book up to a month or two in advance.
“For those early birds who like to plan in advance, you could get up to 10% off your trip plus a range of other discounts such as our friendly fours, multiple trips and triple share. If you book with 4 or more friends, you get 5% off. You save another 5% if you book a triple-share hotel room, and if you’ve travelled with us (or one of our sister companies) before, you save another 5%. So there are plenty of ways to get more bang for your buck,” Jackson explained.
With the financial aspect of the tours, Binder was lucky to have her first two tours sponsored by her father. The latest one to the United States, did require that she save up for the experience.
“Unfortunately travel to certain places is very expensive for South Africans at the moment and therefore 26 days to America did not come cheap, so it took me a few years to save up for it. It was worth every cent!” she said.
Hardy acknowledged that the cost of travelling abroad for South Africans is steep, but said he would recommend Contiki trips to other young people.
“I can highly recommend a Contiki trip for anyone looking forward to travel or just for an absolutely incredible experience”.