Your choice to make ev­ery mo­ment count

The Sunday Mail (Queensland) - Escape - - NEWS -

You only live once but you can al­ways go on an­other Contiki tour to do it all again with like-minded fel­low trav­ellers, writes Alexan­dra Burnie

JACK Black once said: “I’m fairly cer­tain that YOLO is just carpe diem for stupid people.”

While I en­tirely agree with that sen­ti­ment, one can’t help but adopt the “You only live once” motto while trav­el­ling on a Contiki tour.

From sky­div­ing, to skin­ny­dip­ping, chug­ging beer and chuck­ing up in the Great Bar­rier Reef, if you’re not #YOLO-ing, you’ll be feel­ing mas­sive #FOMO (fear of miss­ing out).

If you’ve heard about Contiki, you’ll cer­tainly have some mis­con­strued ideas about it, such as: Contiki is a party tour. While it’s true that there’s no party like a Contiki party, it’s your choice whether you drink ev­ery night un­til you for­get what coun­try you’re in. You might feel mas­sive FOMO but if you want to save your en­ergy for a day of ex­plor­ing the next day, then that’s your choice.

It’s only for sin­gles who want to sleep around.

Contiki is good for all traf­fic lights: green (sin­gle and ready to min­gle), or­ange (it’s com­pli­cated) or red (no, you can’t sleep in my bed tonight). It’s not about sleep­ing around but you cer­tainly can.

It’s about trav­el­ling and meet­ing new people from across the world. You have to be out­go­ing.

Contiki en­cour­ages you to be a Tig­ger and not an Eey­ore but it’s def­i­nitely OK if your thing is ex­plor­ing mu­se­ums and botan­i­cal gar­dens.

I re­cently trav­elled on a twoweek Contiki Beaches and Reefs Tour that be­gan in Cairns and ended in Syd­ney. It was my sec­ond Contiki, my first be­ing a Euro­pean tour in 2011.

Each tour is dif­fer­ent, so no mat­ter how many you do, you’ll al­ways have new ex­pe­ri­ences.

So what’s a Contiki tour re­ally like? Who goes?

Contiki is for 18-35 year olds. My tour had Cana­di­ans, Brits, Amer­i­cans, a Ger­man, a Brazil­ian and a Kiwi.

The aver­age age was mid20s, with jobs such as nurses, fire fighters, a so­cial worker, a den­tist and other em­ploy­ment.

Most were sin­gle, with one mar­ried cou­ple on the tour.

Make sure you ar­rive at the start­ing des­ti­na­tion the day be­fore. Ex­plore the city – in this case Cairns – by day, and then meet up with your Contiki crew at night.

Find out you’re in a room with three friendly Amer­i­cans, only to of­fend them when they tell you they were Cana­dian.


An op­tional tour to the Great Bar­rier Reef. Board a cruise in the morn­ing, travel to the GBR,

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