The Scoop: What to Know About Contiki

This tour company for 18- to 35-year-olds takes a slightly different approach than the typical guided tour provider.

young people on bicycles riding around a European city on a Contiki tour
(Photo: Contiki)

Here at TourScoop, we use our real-world, real-person travel expertise—honed over decades of travel—to help travelers make great decisions about tours. Today we’re going deep on Contiki, a tour company focused on travelers ages 18 to 35. We’ve outlined everything we think you might need to know about Contiki.

Most tour companies focus on older travelers, but Contiki Tours stands out for its dedication to younger travelers between the ages of 18 and 35. It has been offering tours since 1962, and today has more than 200 trips on six continents.

Contiki does things differently than most tour companies. Not only is it geared to a totally different demographic of young people, it shines for its affordability, dedication to sustainability, and LGBTQIA focus, not just as a welcoming space for travelers but in the stories it tells about the places it goes.

Financially, it’s a tour company for people who haven’t spent a lifetime building savings. Initial deposits are low ($200), payment plans are flexible, and most tours are priced for budget travelers. Also of note, if parents or others are helping cover the cost, they can contribute funds once the tour is booked via the Manage My Booking online.

Contiki has a bit of a party reputation, especially on trips in Europe (in its description of itself, Contiki says it offers itineraries “so fun it feels like all of your best Friday nights combined”. That said, past guests also report that the experience is truly what you make it, so it can be a good fit for lots of different traveler types, with experiences that range from meetings with locals, checking out hidden cultural gems, and taking cooking classes.

TourScoop Takeaways: Contiki

Young people on a Contiki tour in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
Contiki’s Europe tours are among its most popular (Photo: Contiki)
  • Countries: 200 trips on six continents
  • Tour Size Average: Trip sizes vary depending on the destination and the trip type, and range from 12 to 53 people. (More in the Tour Types section below)
  • Tour Type: Primarily Coach

How to Book

To book, you can book directly through Contiki, online, over the phone, or via the chat.

Credibility Check

Contiki has a Feefo rating of 4.7/5 based on over 2,000 ratings in the last year. On TourRadar, Contiki has a rating of 4.7/5 based on over 5,000 reviews.

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Tour Destinations

Contiki runs 200+ trips, with itineraries in Africa, Asia, Australia Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, New Zealand, and North America.

Europe is Contiki’s most popular region, and within Europe, the most popular trips include Greek Island Hopping, European Discovery, and Italian Escape.

Recently, demand for Asia tours has been on the rise, with particular interest in itineraries like Thai Island Hopper WestJapan in a Week, and the new South Korean Soul tour.

Tour Types

Contiki has more than two dozen tour types, and browsing by type in addition to by destination can be a great way to figure out what trip will be the best fit. The tour types are: Active, Adventure, African Safari, Beach, Christmas, City Breaks, Detour Mini Adventures, Festival Travel, Gap Year Travel, Hiking and Trekking, Island Hopping, New Year’s Eve, Plus+ Trips, Pride, Reunion, Sailing, Short Breaks, Ski & Snowboard, Small Group, Solo, Train, U.S. National Parks, Wildlife, Winter, and World. There are also specific trips for travelers between the ages of 27 and 35 (the elders of the Contiki universe).

That’s a huge list, so here are more details about a few of the trip types:

  • Detour Mini Adventures: These three- to eight-day tours focus on unique experiences in special places, rather than tours of countries or regions. Think: hiking national parks in Croatia and learning to be a safari guide in Kruger National Park. These trips are smaller, with a maximum of 16 travelers.
  • Short Trips & Festivals: These city-break style tours focus on big events like Hogmanay New Year’s celebrations in Edinburgh, St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland, and Oktoberfest in Germany.
  • Contiki Plus+: Contiki dubs its Plus+ tours as “same good vibes with a hint of fancy.” They cost a bit more, but come with slightly nicer hotels and rooms that max out at two people. If you are traveling with a friend or a significant other, you can room with them and won’t have to share.

Group sizes vary by trip. In popular destinations like Europe and New Zealand, groups range from 24 to 53 travelers. In regions like Asia, Africa, and Latin America, group size is usually between 12 and 30. Most small group trips max out at about 24, and Detour trips don’t exceed 16 travelers.

Tour Guides

Contiki calls its guides Trip Managers rather than tour guides. In Europe, the average age of Trip Managers is 26 years old, putting them squarely in the demographic they serve.

Contiki recruits Trip Managers who are calm and effective problem solvers and skilled communicators who love sharing adventures with other travelers. The company has an extensive training program that teaches both logistics and education about the destinations they lead groups to. Trip Managers in Europe take a 58-day immersive training trip across the continent that includes classroom training and on-the-road learning.

What’s Included on Contiki Tours

Young people at ruins in Sicily on a Contiki tour
Contiki tours include transportation, accommodations, a guide, and some experiences and meals (Photo: Contiki)
  • Transportation: Contiki tours include all on-tour transportation, which can include air-conditioned motorcoaches (tour speak for nicer buses), minibus, or 4×4 vehicles. Depending on the itinerary, it might also include trains, cruises, ferries and any flights that happen during the tour.
  • Accommodations: Tours also include accommodations, which really span the spectrum and include hotels, hostels, boats, camp sites, jungle lodges, and the company’s 16th century French Chateau. Tours also include all transportation (including internal flights) during the tour.
  • Guides: Your Tour Manager guide will get you safely from place to place, tell you interesting things, and generally make sure everything is working for everyone. Some tours also have local guides or guides specific to an attraction.
  • Some Experiences: Any activities marked “Included Experiences” on the itinerary are covered in the cost of the tour. Most tours have some free time, which gives you the chance to go out and experience a place independently and do what you want to do. (You can also pay Contiki to join free time tours if you want to stick with the guide.)
  • Some Meals: The number of included meals varies wildly by specific tour, but it’s pretty standard for many or most breakfasts to be covered (usually at the hotel/hostel), along with a few pre-arranged group dinners. For the other meals, Trip Managers usually have good advice about where to go to fit into your specific budget.
  • Wi-Fi: Most accommodations come with included Wi-Fi. Some buses have Wi-Fi (but it can be spotty, depending on where you are).
  • Some Tips: Gratuities that are covered by the cost of the trip include those at restaurants and hotels (most of the time; check your trip documents to make sure). See below for the gratuities that aren’t covered in the cost of your tour.

What’s Not Included on Contiki Tours

  • Getting There and Home: Flights before and after your tour. You can book flights through Contiki, but it’s not included in the base price of the tour.
  • Insurance: Comprehensive insurance isn’t included in the cost of the tour, but it is required. You can purchase through Contiki or separately.
  • Visas, etc.: Depeding on where you’re gong, you may need a visa to allow you entry into another country (only some countries require visas) will be provided by Contiki if you will need one for your destination, but it’s up to you to apply and pay for the visa.
  • Add-On Activities: If you see Free Time Add-On activities, those are the ones not included in the price of the tour. You can book these at an additional cost.
  • Some Tips: Tips for the Trip Manager, Motorcoach Driver, and Local Guides are standard (and based on what you can afford) and generally paid at the end of the tour. Gratuities are a big part of the way these folks make their living, so it’s good to budget some funds to thanking them.

Typical Travelers

Unlike most tour travelers, Contiki travelers skew young. The company creates and operates tours specifically for travelers between the ages of 18 and 35. That means there are a lot of college students, recent grads, and people in their 20s and early 30s.

The average age of a Contiki traveler is 28. In the U.S., nearly 70% of travelers are solo, and well over half are female. About a quarter of Contiki travelers from the U.S. are repeat guests.


Once you book, you can sign into My Contiki (on the Contiki homepage, look for the Traveler log in link at the top right) and see all your information. About three weeks before your departure date, Contiki will send you all your documentation via email.

Loyalty Program

If you’ve already traveled with Contiki, just check the “Past Passenger” box at checkout and you’ll receive 5% off.

Contiki also participates in the Global Tour Rewards program, which gives guests the chance to collect and spend rewards across all the TTC tour companies, including Trafalgar, Insight Vacations, Luxury Gold, Costsaver, and Brendan Vacations.

Ways to Save on Contiki Tours

Because Contiki is geared toward younger budget travelers, it has a lot of options to make travel more affordable. The deposit to reserve a tour is $200, and travelers can wait until 60 days before departure to pay the balance. There are no booking or change fees, and its Part Pay Program gives travelers interest-free options for paying.

Contiki has a handful of ways to make tours even more affordable. They include:

  • A multi-trip discount: When you book two tours that are seven days or longer each, you get a discount of 5% off the less expensive tour.
  • Return customer loyalty discount: Select tours are offered at discounts of up to 5% to people who have already traveled with Contiki.
  • Triple share discount: On some Europe tours, triple-share rooms are available at a 5% discount.
  • Book-with-friends discount: If you book the same tour with four or more friends, you all get 5% off.
  • Military discount: Members of the military (active and retired) get $100 off trips that are seven days or longer.

Sustainability Efforts

Contiki’s parent company, The Travel Corporation, selected 11 of the UN’s 17 global sustainability goals to power its five-year plan (known as How We TreadRight).

Contiki reports regularly on its progress toward sustainability goals like reaching net zero emissions by 2050, sourcing half of its electricity from renewable resources by 2025, halving food waste at hotels and on ships by 2025, boosting the amount of local and sustainable food products, reducing the amount of printed materials, reducing single-use plastics, and more.

Additionally, Contiki is a (very) active participant in its parent company’s MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Experiences program, which focuses on activities that are both educational and supports sustainability. These experiences, which Contiki is scaling up to be available on 50% of its itineraries by 2025, are aligned with those same UN Global Goals for sustainable development.

Health and Safety Practices

Contiki follows local health guidelines in each destination, and Trip Managers can help guests access medical care on trips. Contiki also takes personal safety seriously, and says it is “committed to providing a secure and safe environment for all our travelers regardless of their gender, sexuality, ethnicity or religious beliefs.” It has a zero-tolerance policy on harassment directed at travelers or team members.

Family Companies

Contiki is a part of The Travel Corporation’s family of brands, which also includes Trafalgar, Insight Vacations, Uniworld, and about a dozen other tour and travel companies.

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Christine Sarkis is the co-founder of Vacationist Media and editor-in-chief of TourScoop and She is the former executive editor of, a travel publication owned by Tripadvisor. Her work has been published in dozens of publications including Conde Nast Traveler and USAToday, and she has been quoted in print and online publications including The New York Times, Conde Nast Traveler, and People magazine. She has also offered tips for travelers on television and radio shows including Good Morning America, Marketplace, and Here & Now.