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Heading out on your first big trip, or haven't traveled that much before? Starting your trip & getting organized can be stressful. We make starting out easy.

No matter how big, or how small, from the day you decide to start looking for your ideal trip, to the day you make your booking (& beyond), we're here for you. From the essentials, like how to get a passport, travel insurance, where to go for visas, to other important stuff like currency info & what to pack.

You can also visit our Travel Resources section of for more info, or visit our page on Facebook page & check out our tabs, post a question on our wall or tweet us @contiki_US for even more info.

Getting a passport
If you've chosen one of our awesome vacations outside the US, then you're going to need a passport to travel. There's nothing like getting new stamps in your passport as a cool reminder of where you've been. Luckily, getting a passport is easy if you start early.

Visit the US Government Website - there's lots of info about how to go about getting your first passport, including how much time it will take & what you're going to need, plus how much it will cost.

If you are applying for your first passport, you'll need to apply in person at a Passport Agency, Acceptance Facility, U.S. Embassy or Consulate. First time visas can cost around US140, but its key check online for the most up-to-date pricing. Submitting the incorrect amount when applying for your passport can significantly delay getting your passport on time, or result in your application being denied.

Depending on your travel destination, you may need to purchase a visa.  Visa requirements frequently change and vary depending on your nationality. Be sure to check with your consulate, embassy or a visa servicing company for the most accurate information. We recommend VisaCentral, where you can get the right Visa for the tour you're booked on.

Contiki Vacations isn't able to give advice on the need to obtain Visas, as this information is regulated by the government and is subject to change. This information is to be used as a guide only, contact the local embassy for the country to which you're travelling for up to date info.  

Travel Insurance
Loss of luggage, accident, injury or cancellations can ruin your vacation & Contiki strongly recommends that all our passengers have comprehensive travel insurance for cancellation, medical expenses, personal accident, personal baggage, money and liability before traveling.

If you are travelling on one of our tours in South America or Asia, it is mandatory that you have comprehensive travel insurance or you will be denied travel.

Travel insurance is relatively cheap and can be purchased through a number of channels, so it's easy to get coverage. Speak to Contiki or your Travel Agent about what’s best for you.

Money, money, money

Using & discovering new currencies when you travel is fun. Getting to know your Kunas from your Kronas, or your Francs from your EURO's & where to use them is easy.

In Europe, the most common currency is the EURO, with other regional currencies being used depending on the countries you're heading to. We recommend a pre-loaded cash card like Travelex, your regular Debit Card & a credit card & some cash so you're never caught out of money. ATM machines are readily available in Europe, so obtaining cash is un-likely to be an issue.

Each person is different, with different shopping habits & preferences, so how much you want to spend while you're on tour is up to you. On our trips, we recommend around 45 EURO per day, but this differs person to person.

This can cover meals that aren't included plus, shopping, drinks & anything else that's not included in our pricing. Don't forget about our Explore More optional activities - you can check out what optional activities are available on the tour pages, to help you plan for how much you might spend. Note: Explore More options can only be paid for in cash.

Hint: A good travel app to download on your iPhone or other smartphone is the XE App, so you can easily keep track of the conversion rates to USD while you travel. Check out our Travel Apps page for more info.

What do I need to pack?

Packing for a vacation can be tricky - what do you need to take & what's the weather going to do? We recommend the 'less is more' approach to packing, take lots of stuff that you can mix & match as well as lots of stuff that is comfy for all that exploring you're about to do.

On our trips, the amount of luggage you can bring is restricted to a max size of 73 cm x 50 cm x 25 cm. If you are a bit over, you'll be fine - this is a guide! However we are serious when we say it has to be less than 20kg/44lbs. This is something we enforce due to transport regulations.  When you're on-board the coach, please keep your hand baggage to a minimum - backpack, duffels & handbags are fine.

Here's a recommended guide for gear to take when you are travelling in Europe in summer. Keep in mind this is not a definitive list - everyone has individual fashion tastes, preferences, opinions, and styles in terms of what they want to wear &  pack.


  • 1 rainproof jacket/small umbrella
  • 2 or 3 shorts/skirts
  • 1 thick sweater
  • 1 or 2 Swimwear and a beach towel
  • 1 or 2 pairs of jeans
  • 2 or 3 T-shirts
  • Underwear & socks
  • 2 or 3 casual shirts
  • Slacks
  • Dresses
  • 1 set of going out clothes that you might wear for a nice dinner, or to a club


  • Comfy walking shoes
  • Flipflops/sandals
  • 'Going out' shoes for hitting the dance floor


  • Toiletry bag with all your favorite stuff
  • Aspirins/medications & prescriptions
  • Suntan lotion to keep out those rays
  • Handkerchiefs/tissues (so you don't get caught out)
  • Insect repellent to keep away the biters

Other stuff...

  • Travel alarm clock & a watch!
  • Sunglasses
  • Plastic bags
  • Sewing kit (just in case)
  • Pens and writing materials or a diary so you don't forget those special moments
  • Rechargeable phone card & spare memory cards for your camera
  • Power adapters (click here for more info)
  • Day bag (click here for more info)
  • Overnight bag (click here for more info)

For even more info click here

Ready to go? Find your dream vacation here today!



Visas? Money? Where to go? Chat to us about travel.