The Ultimate Contiki Survival Guide | TRAVEL

I'm a huge fan of doing trips with travel tour companies because not only is everything organised for you, it also works out cheaper/safer than doing it on your own PLUS you get to meet new people who you can share these new travel experiences with! 

So far, I've done a month-long New York - San Francisco cross-country camping trip with Trek America, I've Island Hopped in Thailand with Contiki and also explored England & Scotland with Contiki! This June, I'll be doing The Original Contiki trip, which is another camping style trip around Europe for 46 days! And I'm sure I will do many more trips in the future, I actually already have my eye on some other trips!

Contiki is a travel company that offers coach tours of Europe, Russia, Egypt, Australia, New Zealand, North America, South America and Asia for people aged 18-35. They're affordable, well-organised trips that allow you to explore the world on any budget!

Over the years, I've learnt A LOT when it comes to things that make travelling cheaper, easier & lighter. I quite often get asked for travel advice and end up writing an essay so I thought it's about time I write it all down into a blog! I'll even break it down into easy segments for you! 


Check the Weather

Before you pack for any trip check what the weather will be like in the countries/cities you will be visiting! And always bring a compact rain jacket and keep it in your day pack just in case!

Comfortable Shoes
No matter where you travel to you're going to be doing a lot more walking than you usually do. Even if you hate walking tours (me), you're probably still gonna do them. I would highly recommend investing in a pair of extremely comfortable sneakers and make sure you have worn them in prior to your trip! 

I wear the Adidas ZX Flux Core sneakers and they are honestly the most comfortable sneakers I have ever worn. I literally wear them every day at home and also when I'm travelling...and have done for over two years! Plus good news for you, use the code LITTLEK15 and you can get 15% OFF your online order from Transit Clothing! I also wear the Arizona Birko-Flor from Birkenstocks and they're so comfortable too!

Thongs/ Flip Flops
You will need to wear thongs/flip flops in the showers no matter where you are to protect yourself against fungal infections on your feet. It feels a bit weird to wear thongs/flip flops in the shower at first, but you'll get used to it.

Even if you don't usually wear pj's at home (me), you will 100% need them while you're travelling. It's one of those things I always forget to pack! Hotel rooms get very cold from the air con and hostels are just a given that you have to wear clothes so don't forget to pack pj's!

Ear Plugs & Eye Mask & Neck Pillow
You won't regret bringing these all for obvious reasons.

Zip Up Hoddie & Scarf
The bus can get pretty cold, so having a zip-up hoodie that you can chuck on and take off easily when you get off the bus is a life saver! Always pack a scarf too.

San Francisco

Packing Cubes
These little guys make packing so much easier and neater. You can get them online for pretty cheap or from outdoor shops like Kathmandu, Mountain Designs etc

You will need small padlocks for your bags and also a long-styled padlocks for if you're staying in hostels as you'll need to put a lock on your lockers to keep your stuff safe!

You need to be smart and aware of your belongings while travelling. Put a clip lock on your bag if it doesn't already have one to make sure you don't get pickpocketed! Straddle bags are the best option too!

Grand Canyon

Reusable Water Bottle
Buying bottled water is expensive, just bring your own water bottle and refill it wherever you can! 

Backpack or Suitcase
I've found for camping trips or any trip to Asia, backpacks have been the best option, however, It's really up to personal preference what you choose to bring! If you choose to bring a backpack try to get a backpack that is front opening and NOT TOP LOADING. You'll thank me later, trust me. If you choose to bring a suitcase, try to get a 4 wheeled suitcase as they don't fall over and are easier to push/pull around.

Front Opening Backpack

If you get sick while you're overseas (which is very likely to happen) you don't want the stress of having to find a pharmacy and spend extra money on stuff you could have just bought with you from home with you! I always carry the following items on me and they have all proven to be lifesavers in the past! I never travel without these, ever. 

  • Cold & Flu Tablets- you will get sick being surrounded by so many people
  • Hydralite Tablets- for hangovers or dehydration 
  • Imodium Tablets- for diarrhoea relief 
  • Ural- for UTI's
  • No Doz- these are caffeine tablets 
  • Gaviscon- for heartburn
  • Painkillers such as ibrophen, panadol & aspirin 
  • Vasoline- for basically everything
  • Bandaids- for blisters
If you're on the pill, make sure you have enough packets & more on you. No matter what contraception you're on, you still NEED to use condoms while you're abroad because sexually transmitted diseases are a real thing. Just be smart and careful. 

Makeup is heavy af (y tho) so try to pack minimal products or products that have more than one use! I also find I much prefer to wear BB cream while travelling instead of foundation, double win if it doubles as sunscreen! These following make up products are my faves to travel with!

My Fave TooFaced Travel Products

Bring a decent face moisturizer, your skin will behave differently overseas (different temperatures, air con etc) than it does at home. Especially if you're travelling in winter!

Solid Products
I believe in the saying 'No Liquid, No Leak, No Worry'. I've recently started using Lush's solid versions of liquid products and it's a straight-up game changer! Lush have- 

It's so much easier and lighter to use these solid products plus no leaking is amazing too!  If you're super game, they also have solid deodorants & tooth tabs (toothpastes)!

Washing Powder Sheets
Washing powder is super expensive to buy while you're travelling!! And bringing your own in a ziplock bag isn't the worst thing in the world but it is heavy to carry around / can spill and make a huge mess. Buy a pack of Pocket Laundry Sheets instead. They're small and can easily be thrown into a washing machine! Saves so much space!

Portable Power Bank
Do not buy a cheap power bank because it will die after a few uses! It's really worth investing in a decent power bank because it will last for a lot longer and actually give you a decent amount of charges! I only use my power banks in absolute emergencies and I recommend you do too! I mean, after all, that's the point of them! The Contiki buses do have USB ports on the bus which is helpful but I still always travel with a power bank.

I recommend and use- 

Cygnett ChargeUp Powerbanks

Sim Cards / Moblie Data
The cheapest option for using your phone abroad is to buy a 'data only sim card' when you arrive at your location. Don't bother bringing your sim card from home, you'll just be asking for excessive fees and trouble. Data abroad is a lot cheaper than it is in Australia. 

Make Space on your Phone
Before any trip, I make sure to take all my photos off my phone and delete any unnecessary apps to free up as much space as possible on my phone. More space = more room for photos! 

Travel Adaptors 
As well as bringing a travel wall plug adaptor, bring a small power board also so you can charge/use multiple things at once. It'll be a lifesaver!

You'll spend a lot of time on the bus, and most of the time you'll be chatting with people. But there is also times were everyone is asleep so make sure you bring some headphones or a book/kindle.

I've previously done a blog called 'Travel Apps You'll Actually Use' so just click here to view that! However, here are my favourites / most used travel apps!

TripIt is an app that organises all your travel plans into one. This is how I organise my trips and keep all my details together. It allows you to email any flights, accommodation confirmation etc to the app and then it compiles it into a handy trip for you. You can also manually enter in details of flights, accom, tours, activities and much more. You can export your trip and share it with your family so they know where you are in case something goes wrong! 
(click here to download tripit)

Postcards by Aus Post
This app allows you to create a postcard using your own photo and it then sends a hard copy to whoever you want for $1.99 to Australian addresses and $2.99 to international addresses. I use this app so often and love to be able to use my own photos as postcards. Plus it works out a lot cheaper/easier than buying physical postcards, finding a post office, buying and stamp and posting it!

If you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. This is the company I always purchase my travel insurance from. I love the app because it stores all your insurance policies, gives you pre-departure information and country-specific safety!

Spending Money
There is an amazing website called and it gives you a break down of how much stuff costs on average in different countries. If you're worried about how much money you'll need I highly recommend jumping on this website and having a look to get a rough idea of how much money you should bring. 

Velocity Global Wallet
I swear by my Velocity Global Wallet, it is the easiest way to manage my money while I'm travelling. And the fact that you earn velocity points everytime you use your card is amazing and a win-win. I also love that no matter where you use your card, It recognizes what currency it is and takes it out of that total. So for example, if you're in London, It will automatically know to pay using pounds. These are the currency it holds-
  • Canadian dollars (CAD)
  • Euros (EUR)
  • British pounds (GBP)
  • Hong Kong dollars (HKD)
  • Japanese yen (JPY)
  • New Zealand dollars (NZD)
  • Singapore dollars (SGD)
  • Thai baht (THB)
  • US dollars (USD)
  • South African rand (ZAR)
  • Or you can choose to keep it as Australian dollars (AUD)
Here is some additional information about the Velocity Global Wallet from If you want to compare your other options for Travel Money Cards, is amazing and makes it super easy to compare them all!

Optional Add On's
There is no pressure to do all the optional add on's. It's your trip and your choice to what to decide to do or not do!

Drinking / Partying
Again, there NO PRESSURE to go out and drink/party if you don't want too. Every trip I've been on, there has always been other people who aren't huge drinkers/partiers either. I don't really like to have heaps of big nights while I'm travelling because I hate being hungover, plus I'd rather spend that money on other things. It's up to you how much you go out or stay in!


If you're single, travel. If you're in a relationship, travel with your partner or travel by yourself. It literally does not make a difference if you're in a relationship or not- you're still going to have an amazing time. 

Travelling Alone
It's normal, a lot of people do it, you will make friends and you'll never be alone! Don't let the fact you have no one to travel with, hold you back from doing what you want!


It is not compulsory to tip your Contiki tour guide at the end of the trip and don't let anyone pressure you into thinking it is compulsory. Tipping your tour guide is HIGHLY encouraged by Contiki, so if you have a really great tour guide who actually does their job well- feel free to tip them. But It's completely up to you!! 

Service Stations
Food/drinks from service stations are very expensive. I always carry museli bars with me so that when you have stops you don't have to fork out for service station food. I always take some fruit from breakfast too, to eat throughout the day to save money.

WIFI on the bus
Don't buy it, it's expensive. Buy a 'data only sim card' for your phone instead.

Weight Allowance
The Contiki weight allowance for your luggage is 20 KGS. Be aware of this!

Arrive Early

I always plan to fly in a few days before my trip starts, especially for trips where I have to take a long haul flight! Arriving a few days early allows you to get settled with your surrounds and combat jetlag. Also it's extra time for you to explore! For European trips that start in London, you don't get a day included in your trip to explore London. Keep that in mind!

Girls Love Travel (click here to join)
There is an AMAZING facebook group called Girls Love Travel that you should join and then you can use the search bar within the group to search for what you need to know. There are over 571,000 women in this group and it is FULL of information about all things travel! I use this facebook group all the time when I'm looking for recommendations for anything travel related!  

Dropbox / Google Drive
Before I go on any trip, I make sure I have digital copies of all my travel documents backed up into either Dropbox or Google Drive. This is a good thing to do because no matter where you are, you'll be able to access your documents online!

Long Haul Flights
Living in Australia, it takes a long haul flight to get basically anywhere! I have previously done a blog called 'Carry On For Long Haul Flights' and in this blog is heaps of tips on how to make these long flights a lot easier! Click here to read that blog!

Yosemite National Park

Until next time,
Chels x
Instagram- @littlek
Twitter- @littleksnap


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