7 Fascinating Photos Reveal What A Contiki Tour Was Like In The 1970s & 80s

Imagine being asked to pack a travel clock and 2 coat hangers ๐Ÿ˜‚

Ask your parents what travel was like in the 1970s and 80s. Actually, don’t do that. You might find out you were conceived in the back of a Contiki Kombi van (yes, they actually existed)!

Things were different back then. Today’s tourist hot spots were quieter; transportation was minimalistic, moustaches and double denim were the height of fashion – oh, what a time to be alive.

So take a step back in time to Contiki’s early days and see what travel was like without selfie sticks or GoPros, but rather with new friends and great experiences – just like today’s 21st century Contiki tours.

NOTEAustralians Maria Dzopalic and Sue Bertram took most of these photos on Contiki tours between 1984 and 1979.

  1. 1 Backpacks were NOT allowed, but you were encouraged to pack a travel clock

    Youโ€™d be hard-pressed finding a traveller without a backpack these days, but back in the 80s Contiki actually asked you not to pack one!

    Other essentials included a travel clock, a sewing kit and two coathangers.

  2. 2 You could get away with drinking massive bottles of wine on board the bus back in the day

    While consuming booze on the Contiki bus is banned today, the rules were obviously more relaxed. Just check out the size of that bottle ๐Ÿท

  3. 3 Venice in 1979. Not a single iPhone or GoPro to be seen

    Imagine a time when you took in your surroundings with your eyes - not your iPhone. What kind of Sorcery is this? But here's proof that it can - and was done on Contiki tours back in the 1980s.

  4. 4 Quick! Everyone to the... Kombi

    For anyone who has complained about long days travelling in a luxury air-conditioned coach with free WiFi, spare a thought for the early Contiki passengers who did it in the back of a Kombi Volkswagen.

  5. 5 Thankfully, Contiki evolved and coaches were introduced in the 1980s

    The Contiki company was really taking off, and in the late 1970s and early 80s, the iconic Contiki coaches were hitting the streets of Europe in high numbers.

  6. 6 The double denim is about as shocking as an almost empty St Mark's Square, Venice

  7. 7 Keeping in touch wasn't as easy in the 80s

    You weren't Facebook friends in the 1980s; you were pen pals.

    And guess what? Hotel Edison where these letters were posted in 1987 is still in operation!

  8. 8 Feast your eyes & ears on this 1980s Contiki advert [sound on ๐Ÿ”ˆ]

    "Contiki holidays. As much fun as you can handle."
    "Contiki holidays. As much fun as you can handle."
    "Contiki holidays. As much fun as you can handle."

    Repeat x 10



I'm an Australian who has called London home since 2007. I enjoy travelling & inspiring travellers through my experiences.

  • I would love to do a contiki tour in the back of a Kombi van! ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿš

  • Avatar Amy says:

    Imagine what our kids will think of todays style of travel in 40 years from now…

    • Avatar Rusty says:

      I know right! I went on a Contiki trip around Europe in 2007 and Facebook was only just becoming mainstream. I remember using a friend’s Blackberry phone on the bus to sign up!

  • Avatar Joanne says:

    I showed my Mum this. She did a Contiki tour in the late 70’s. Ohh the stories she just shared ๐Ÿคฃ

  • User Rating: 3.27 (263 votes)

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