Travel

10 things you need to know before embarking on your first European tour

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How many of your jet setting friends are you avoiding on snapchat right now because they’re baking themselves in Italian sun and drowning themselves in gelato on a daily basis? Probably far too many. So why not start planning for your own trip now?

Considering flights are only getting cheaper and the idea of catching the travel bug is probably the trendiest thing since sliced bread. More and more millennials are fleeing uni post-degree for their big O.E which of course includes one of those big, badass European tours with the likes of Top Deck or Contiki.

They’re renowned for not only being insanely fast paced and full of partying, but for conveniently creating the most overwhelmingly memorable three weeks of your entire existence – there’s no wonder why everybody is doing one!

However, the European summer is officially in full swing and for some of you, a tour was booked six months ago and you are about to embark on the spiciest three weeks of your life. So what do you need to know before you book one?

  1. You’re going to make friends for life

First and foremost, expect to make about 25 new best friends that learn things about you that even some of your closest girlfriend’s don’t even know. You literally become a family for life, and the chance of you making a ‘special friend’ is also just as promising 😉

  1. They’re not cheaps, so save up

The average 3-4 week long tour sits at around the $5000 mark. It may sound crazy, BUT it is covering the costs of 30 days of accommodation, transport, all of your breakfasts, half of your dinners and a bunch of super fun and awesome activities. They’re also saving you all of the stress of getting yourself between each city and country, which believe us can be hella overwhelming!

  1. Each day is planned and booked in advance

Some days you’ll get time to roam around Rome and consume all of the spaghetti as you please, however a majority of the activities on the trip are booked in advance. The best part is that tour guides know what they’re doing and you can trust that what they have planned for you is pretty damn awesome.

  1. You are incredibly well looked after

Feeling a bit nervous about something going wrong with nobody to bail you out in the middle of Switzerland? Luckily your tour manager and bus driver pretty much become your European parents. They’ve got your back and have the best advice out there in case you ever wind yourself up into a sticky situation.

  1. You need to be able to enjoy late nights and a drink or ten

The party culture ain’t no myth. Best be warned, you’re going to be hanging out with a bunch of crazy Aussie dudes for a month so you pretty much need to accept the fact that you’ll be visiting a different club per city and chances are you won’t always remember it!

  1. The odds of catching the Contiki cough is about 90%

Yes, the infamous Contiki cough. You’re spending a large amount of this trip on a bus with air conditioning so bugs can spread pretty easily. Ask your doc for some ‘just in case’ antibiotics before you leave home and never be without lozenges and painkillers.

  1. You need to be organised every day

If you don’t make it to the bus at 7 AM, they’re leaving without you. No matter how much your tour manager loves you, one of the strictest rules they have is to depart a city each morning on time! If you know you’re leaving a city the next morning, our best tip is to pack your suitcase and get yourself organised the night before, even if you’re going out!

  1. The accommodation isn’t Gucci

If you’re after a luxe hotel overlooking the Amalfi Coast, you might want to just create your own Contiki. Most of the accommodation is in 4 bed hostel dorms and some is onsite cabin camping, Contiki Tours aren’t for the weak and precious!

  1. You are going to have the most magical experience of your life

Through the dreaded Contiki cough, early hungover mornings and the billions of mosquitos ready to attack you at your Venice campground, booking a European Contiki is easily one of the most awesome things you will ever do. They are an amazing way to ease into the craziness of overseas long term travel if it’s your first time and definitely a great way to guarantee an unforgettable trip!

Words: Ash Owens
Photo: Instagram

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