Whether you're a solo traveller or planning a getaway with friends, here's why you should sign up with a global youth travel company that makes its Mumbai launch next week
Are you a 20-year-old bitten by the travel bug but unable to figure out a budget trip to Australia? Or a 25-year-old culture enthusiast looking to connect with like-minded travellers over the architecture of ancient Pompeii? You might want to look at bunch of options on Contiki, a popular international travel company that launches in India next week. Established in 1962, the online portal has curated over 270 trips in Europe, Australia, North America, New Zealand, Asia and Latin America. Catering only to travellers between 18 to 35 years of age, the company intends to tap into the burgeoning young traveller market in India, with its launch here. "Over the last year, we have witnessed a growth of 30 per cent among Indian travellers, who signed up for trips with Contiki. The idea behind launching in India is to tap into the Indian millennial traveller market further and also, partner with local agencies to facilitate more Indian travellers to join us," informs Singapore-based Sam Morrah, director of sales and marketing for Contiki Asia.
During European sojourns, travellers can opt for an exclusive stay at a Contiki-owned 16th-century Chateau in France
For the Indian traveller
Take a historical tour in Rome, sail the Croatian islands, tour the Tsukiji fish markets in Tokyo, camp out at Oktoberfest in Germany or sign up for a road trip in Australia — the company offers a range of all-year round trips that cater to
different personalities. For instance, the high-energy European Highlights tour, packing in seven regions (France, Monaco, Italy, Vati-can City, Austria, Germany, Nether-lands and Belgium) might work for a see-it-all traveller while the take-it-easy tours, offer more ‘me time’ for the laid-back variety.
The trip managers
While previously, Indian travellers were required to book directly on the portal, now, they can also avail of the tours through agents like Thomas Cook, SOTC, Travel Tours and Flight Shop. "They are our preferred travel agents, who will facilitate all the bookings. Soon, we are also going to tie up with online travel agencies," says Morrah.
The portal also features discounts, including early bird deals and last minute offers. While presently, all the trips are calculated in US Dollars, the company intends to pitch its tours in the local currency based on the response. "For the Singapore market, we are already selling tours in Singapore Dollars. With the growth projection that we’re seeing in India, we may sell in the local currency down the line," he adds.
Go solo in a group
Love travelling solo but get bogged down by the logistics? Booking via Contiki may help as their tours, comprising 25 travellers, includes trip managers, drivers and local guides, who take care of your hotel bookings and finding the best dinner spots even in a small town where no one speaks English. Plus, many of the tours also offer a chance to stay in Contiki-owned properties and VIP access to landmarks like Eiffel Tower in Paris and Italy’s Colosseum. "Most individuals, who join the trips are independent travellers, so it’s a good way to make new friends and share experiences. Also, touring as a group leads to reduced travel and accommodation costs. Hence, it turns out to be a completely no-regrets, value-for-money travel experience," he signs off.
Log on to: www.contiki.com for more trips
>> Sign up for a five-day trip (starts and ends in London) during the Oktoberfest where you get to sleep in one of the festival tents in Munich and explore places like central Marienplatz (market square), Hirschgarten (8,000 seat beer garden) and the Olympic Park, home to the 1972 Olympic Games.
Cost: US$485 (approx Rs 32,713) onwards (inclusive of accommodation, breakfasts and walking tours)
>> Enjoy an eight-day, easy-paced Bali Island Hopper tour that includes diving in Gili Trawangan (considered more beautiful than any other Gili islands) and a surf lesson on the beaches in Senggigi.
Cost: US$749 (approx Rs 50,520) onwards (inclusive of accommodation in three-four star hotels and meals)