Sorry this post is coming to you a little bit later than usual, but I had something else planned for this morning's post until I saw all of your wonderful questions from my post yesterday about my New Year's Eve in Paris trip. I couldn't let all of your questions go unanswered, and so many of you had the same ones; I figured I'd do a post on how I made the trip happen.
For starters, I was in no way by myself at any point in my month-long trip - besides for flying to London solo and finding our hotel - let me explain. I, like many of you, have always been dying to travel. And although I had friends who talked a lot about it, none of them were really willing or able to go on a month-long trip to Europe. I wasn't going to let that stop me though. I researched group tours in Europe, and although I absolutely adore old people, I couldn't imagine spending a month touring Europe with them (you guys know what I'm talking about - most group tours are for retired people finally ready to see some of the world). Then I found Contiki. It's a tour company based out of Cali that specializes in vacations for 18-35 year olds.
I booked my trip with them - it was their Winter Wanderer tour of Europe. It was cheaper to have them set me up with a roommate, which I did, and let's just say we still keep in touch two years later and when I make a trip to LA she will be the first person I visit! The tour company had everything planned - hotels, tons of included dinners and tours, etc. We traveled country to country by bus (which actually was half of the fun!) with the same awesome bus driver, the same savvy tour guide, and the same awesome group. Some of the things in cities we did as an entire group, but for the most part we were always free to roam the city as we pleased. I never felt so comfortable getting lost in the small streets and canals of Venice or on the subway in Paris - if I needed help my tour guide and tons of other emergency contacts were only a phone call away. And we never needed help. Even on those ridiculously drunk nights. Let's just say I'm already planning my next trip for the little break I have after I finish my boards and before I begin my clinical rotations, and Contiki is who I'm booking it with! If you guys have anymore questions ask away! And if you're seriously considering traveling with Contiki send me a private message with your first and last name (as written on your passport) and email and I'll send you a referral that will get you $100 worth of additional trip stuff (tons of stuff is included with the tour price, but extra trips, like Gondola rides in Venice and dinner and a Mozart concert in Vienna are optional - the $100 goes towards these!).
It was definitely a whirlwind tour - a dozen or so cities in a month - but it was perfect! I got a nice taste of each city, and when I have more time to travel I can say "I'd love to see more of Paris," or "I've seen enough of Switzerland" (not necessarily my real thoughts, just examples). I always knew I wanted to travel, so I had been saving up money for about a year (once I figured out I'd be graduating early), and then put the rest on credit cards (not really recommended, but I don't regret it for a second). As a graduation gift my dad gave me some spending money, and then I was ready to go! I packed clothes that was all the same color palette so I could mix and match everything, bought a sturdy carry-on bag with a full zipper closure to prevent pick-pocketing (pick-pursing?) and an international outlet adapter thing that never actually worked. But that's the beauty of traveling with fifty other strangers - they will very soon become your friends, and then you can borrow their adapters.