A Contiki Legend: The Legendary Dollar Store Poncho

Guest Post by McKenna Marshall, Contiki Marketing Intern

During Roman summer, it is hot and humid. Where I’m from, rain and heat don’t really go hand in hand, but apparently in Italy they do!


It was so hot in Rome that none of us expected a downpour while walking to the Colosseum! It honestly probably was above 100 degrees and just started to pour out of nowhere; I was baffled. We’re not used to rain where we are from, especially hot, humid rain! All the girls looked so cute, none of us wanted to get drenched.

Luckily one of my best friends, Lindsay, happened to have a one dollar poncho from the dollar store in her purse that her mom made her bring on the trip! Shout out to Lindsay’s mom who saved us from becoming completely drenched. Two of us took the arm holes and Lindsay got the head hole, which kept us nice and dry.

This would be my Contiki Legend. #sharethewealth

Guest Post: Discovering Australia On My Own

0395AUSD2013This week, we’re celebrating all things Australia as part of the Contiki #NOREGRETS Adventure Challenge – and we just launched our new Contiki Australia and New Zealand brochure! 

What better way to showcase the Land Down Under than by welcoming our new US Marketing Coordinator, Christy, to the team!  She recounts her first trip abroad sans parents and tells you what you should keep your eye on when you travel to Australia.

Check it!


Guest Blog Post by Christy, Contiki Marketing Coordinator

“FREEDOM” is the initial thought when embarking on your first trip without your parents. While the adventure is unforgettable, you soon realize buying things for yourself can be expensive. During the summer of 2006 at the ripe, rebellious age of 15, I went to Australia for a month on a student ambassador program. As it turns out, traveling with counselors instead of your parents is not as “free” as I thought (tape on hotel room doors is a real thing). Representing America in a positive light was a challenge, especially when the hit song of the time is Petey Pablo’s Freek-a-Leek and you catch yourself singing it in public… whoops! Aside from these personal problems, it was a great experience!


Australia is the perfect trip if you want to get your feet wet about traveling alone. Accents aside, even though they are a completely justifiable reason to visit Australia, it’s a country as diverse as the United States. It offers the comfort of the same language and cultural similarities, but has enough differences to be very exciting and adventurous. The realization that I was going to be visiting during Australia’s winter may have crushed my dreams of returning a bronzed goddess, but that by no means meant my trek from Cairns down to Sydney wouldn’t be the ultimate summer holiday.

The month-long ambassador program gave me the opportunity to see the incredible sights from a tourist’s point of view while also feeling like an Aussie. From farm stays where I learned to milk a cow, crack a bull whip, and jump in a river (which I later found out was teeming with crocodiles), to home stays where I saw what the school experience is like. I was able to sample the culture of Australia as well as enjoy some of the more adventurous cuisine- crocodile, kangaroo, emu…oh my!

Here is my Top 7 “Must See” list of the East Coast of Australia:

1. Great Barrier Reef (on Contiki’s Snorkel to Adventure)

145AUSD2006Nemo’s been found, but you can still find some of his relatives and friends while seeing one of the top sites in the world! Beware of the jellies!

2. Whitsunday Islands (on Contiki’s Island and Rainforest)

WhitsundaysA wonderful and picturesque place to take a breather after a few days of intense travel.

3. Surfer’s Paradise (on Contiki’s Sun Seeker)

138AAUSD2006Gorgeous surf and people, entertainment center of the Gold Coast, all around great city.

4. Sydney Opera House (on Contiki’s City to Surf)

1355AUSD2013Touring the Opera House is a great experience, but try to go to a concert there to fully appreciate the acoustics.

5. Sydney and Sydney Harbor (on Contiki’s Sydney New Year)

 1275AUSD2013Take a tour on a boat through the harbor and then wander the city.

6. Bondi Beach (on Contiki’s Reefs and Rainforests)

0612AUSD2013The quintessential Australia beach.

7. Aboriginal Sites of New South Wales (on Contiki’s Rock and Red)

 alice springs

Every trip needs history and what better way to learn it than testing out a didgeridoo and throwing a boomerang?


210849_10151061799634001_524690529_oI embarked on my trip with more than 30 strangers. I returned utterly knackered with “thong” tans (not what you think), a new vocabulary, and 30 friends. I’m looking forward to my next trip, when I can drink with the locals and shout “Aussie Aussie Aussie, oi oi oi!”

About Christy

Christy is Contiki’s Marketing Coordinator and hails from Lake Arrowhead, Calif.  She graduated with a BA in Communications and a minor in Spanish.  Her great loves include traveling, Disney, pop-punk, food, craft beer, snowboarding, and the San Diego Super Chargers