Travelling is good for the soul – we truly believe that; you choose to leave your comfort zone behind and try something new. Travelling the world means that you’re experiencing new languages, cultures, food and environments – you’re taking the time to learn how other people live and experience it for yourself. However, some would say it’s just that: for yourself. Travelling is generally about your experiences, what you want to do and what you choose to see – but it doesn’t have to be.
Contiki offers a travel experience like no other, with unforgettable sites, great transportation, exceptional service and daily experiences that will blow your mind. However, they also offer trips that allow you to give back while you travel. These Contiki trips allow you to tread lightly in foreign countries while truly immersing yourself in a new culture, respectfully and mindfully. Perhaps you’re more interested in seeing social change, or you’re passionate about environmental projects; Contiki provides a range of trips where you can make your travel really matter.
If the option’s there, why not travel sustainably in 2020, doing something that you’re truly passionate about while you’re on a new adventure? Here are just a few examples of the experiences Contiki offers where you too can give back:
Berlin Refugee Voices
In 2015, one of Contiki’s Trip Managers noticed a growing interest in the issues surrounding refugees from her groups. This led to the creation of this particular experience – unique walking tours led by Syrian refugees. On these walking tours, travellers are guided around Berlin to places of historical significance as the refugee draws parallels between European history and what happened in Syria more recently. This not only teaches the travellers about both European and Syrian war history, but frames it from the perspective of someone who has lived through the struggles of displacement and starting over in a new country.
Me to We, Ecuador
If you’re looking for a trip where you can get your hands dirty, this is the one for you. On this experience, travellers have the opportunity to volunteer on a development project in partnership with the ME to WE organization, deep in the heart of the Amazon rainforest. Working alongside the Teh Mazin community, you will support them in whichever project they are currently working on, whether it’s a new building’s foundation or a new schoolroom. This three-day experience is so remote, you will complete the final leg of the journey by boat, staying in the stunning Minga Lodge upon arrival. Get ready to test your bravery with an Amazonian night walk after a hard day’s work.
Haukadalur Valley Reforestation, Iceland
If you’ve never been to Iceland, look up some photos now, because this country is simply breathtaking. Gorgeous lakes and waterfalls seem to pop up everywhere, but the forests are sparse. Iceland suffered intense deforestation throughout history, so travellers have the opportunity to reduce their carbon footprint through this experience. Each traveller will plant five trees in the Haukadalur Valley, a geothermal wonderland on the popular Golden Circle route. Just Google it – you’ll see why it’s so important that we protect this stunning landscape.
Shark Savers, Galapagos Islands
Known scientifically as one of the most biodiverse places on earth, not many people can say they’ve been to the Galapagos. Here you’ll find a wide range of both plant and animal species, but Contiki focuses on the shark population. With hammerheads, whale sharks, blacktop reef sharks and the Galapagos bullhead shark, all you shark lovers will go crazy for this experience. Part of the Sharks Count Program, travellers are encouraged to snorkel and dive while counting and identifying each shark they see on their excursion. This is an initiative that Contiki has been supporting since 2013 and there’s only one word for it – indescribable.
This is just a taste of the sustainable travel options that Contiki offers on their worldwide experiences. If you’re interested in travelling the world just a little bit differently in 2020, visit Contiki Cares.
Kelsey is the Editorial & Events Manager for Date Night. Monday-Friday she works as an independent Marketing & Communications Contractor, providing writing, editing and digital marketing services for small businesses here in YYC. When she’s not busy writing about our city, you can usually find her trying the newest fitness studio, exploring the Rockies or chasing the sun – whether here in AB or halfway across the world.