The Ultimate ‘YOLO’ to change your life

As the great philosopher (or actor… whatever) Zac Efron once tattooed on himself – YOLO (You Only Live Once).

This month, STA Travel is encouraging people to fully embrace the saying we’ve come to know and love so much, and make the ultimate YOLO decision to book a Contiki trip during their amazing 2018 Europe Mega Sale!

Throughout the period of June 22 – 30, 2018 Europe Contiki deals will be cheaper than EVER before which means it’s the perfect time to just GO FOR IT and book the trip of a lifetime!

Contiki is the epitome of travelling – meeting new people, seeing new sites, making friends, making memories…it’s easily the best way to get around Europe. Most of us have done it (if you haven’t, check out the trips available right now at STA Travel and thank us later) and most of us have absolutely loved it. Travel does awesome things to people – helping them to find themselves and their passions, and allowing them to build lifelong relationships along the way.

But don’t take our word for it, what do we know (everything – we know everything)?! STA Travel has found three real life stories that show the benefits of Contiki and how it helped change their lives for the better. These Aussies stories are sure to get you right in the feels…and probably inspire you to get your butt to Europe on Contiki ASAP!


Sydney man Matt Richardson headed on the European Contiki trip of a lifetime in 2009 – with many, many memories made throughout 22 countries. He and his mate Mitch wanted “an affordable and easy way to traipse around Europe with few responsibilities as possible and little organisation needed”. Never in his wildest dreams did he think he’d leave Contiki with a lifelong best mate…enter: Melbourne man Tim Frazer.

Their first encounter is one of slight contention. Matt and (soon-to-be-BFFL) Tim Frazer, (who was travelling with mate Nathan) crossed paths – that much they agree upon – but the story Matt tells is that Tim took one look at him and said he looked like a “typical Sydney Wanker”. Tim of course denies this and said that it was his travel buddy Nath, and that he encouraged Nath to “give them a chance”. Something clicked after that, and as soon as Tim brought out his trusty Sherrin it was, as Matt says, “love at first kick”.

The bromance didn’t end with their Contiki trip, and still continues on stronger than ever today. Matt and Tim went on to live together in London in 2010 for five months, where they “perfected the art of scraping together Mexican themed meals for under 10GBP, launched a brief and wildly unsuccessful music career and terrorized the Elk Bar” remembers Matt.

Fast-forward a number of years and these best mates share an unconventional but unconditional best-friendship; they don’t see each other every week – in fact they see each other closer to every 3-6 months – and while Matt says it can be difficult, they’re in regular contact on the phone (yay for technology!!), which helps him “get though those lonely months” he jokes. The pair have enjoyed many joys together – Tim stood beside Matt as his best man when he married his beautiful wife in 2014 and will be flying up to Sydney to meet their first child together after its arrival in a few weeks time. We don’t know about you guys, but with a bromance this strong, we feel sorry for Matt’s wife…it sounds like she might be the third wheel here!


Caitlin Armstrong has taken the YOLO term and run with it. She has been travelling since 2014, after discovering a love for adventure and travel on Contiki. Wanting to see as MUCH of Europe as she could in the time that she had, so when it came to booking a tour, Contiki was a no-brainer.

In three weeks Caitlin travelled through ten countries at the hand of an incredibly experienced tour guide who was just as excited to show the group Europe as the group was to see it. One of the first people to inspire Caitlin to travel as often and as far as she could was her Contiki tour manager. “She spoke of places with such passion that it made you feel proud to be there. She had become a storyteller through the experiences she had and was living for each new day, and I knew that I wanted to be able to look back on my life with no regrets”.

Fast-forward three years, and Caitlin has clocked the UK, France, Italy, Monaco, Austria, Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Denmark and Greece on her Contiki tour, has spent four months working in the USA, a period of time in China teaching English, visiting friends in New Zealand, took a trip to Fiji and is currently spending three months in Vietnam working, where she has been able to explore some of the amazing culture south-east Asia has to offer.

Next up on her travel list? Canada or South America! Caitlin’s favourite part of travel is learning something new at every destination she spends time in – and the fact that each lesson is only something that you can learn from travel. She’s learnt that it can be hard to be away from home and that travelling tests your limits, but that home will always be there, there’s a big wide world out there to see and experience and, well, testing your limits is the whole point of it! She has learnt that language is not a barrier, and that you can teach and communicate no matter what language you speak. Caitlin’s biggest lessons from travelling so far have been that of resilience, knowledge, clarity and an understanding of how privileged she is to be able to do what she loves and experience what she does.

Her advice for people looking at booking a Contiki trip? “JUST GO FOR IT! Don’t think about the money. You can make money wherever you are in the world, but you only have NOW to create the experiences of a lifetime. I’ve never regretted a trip that I’ve taken – only the ones that I didn’t.” Caitlin goes on to explain, “The great advantage of Contiki is you are able to put a deposit on and pay it off as you save. Once it’s booked, you get a real savings plan in place and go from there”.


Sally Hankin and Craig Plumridge met on a Contiki trip through Europe five years ago. This coming January, they will say “I Do” in front of their family and friends and become husband and wife. Their love story is an international one, and it’s thanks to Contiki that they first locked eyes on each other. Craig had been on a solo expedition and wanted to join a group for the last leg of his trip, and Sal was on the trip of a lifetime with her best friend Stacey. “I noticed Sal on day one of our trip while meeting for the bus in London. She was wearing a blue dress, had a high ponytail and a backpack larger than her” Craig reminisces. However, it wasn’t until night two when the pair officially met at the Moulin Rouge. They both agree that sparks flew instantly, and from that night in Paris they were inseparable.

Sharing their first kiss on the streets of Florence, Sal and Craig share a deep love for travel (and of course, each other). Travelling is their favourite way to spend quality time together, share new experiences and go on exciting adventures.

Sal and Craig remember their time on Contiki with fondness – not just because they found each other and ultimately love on Contiki, but because they made amazing new friends from all over the world that they still see to this day. “Contiki provided us with a way to see all the amazing European sites with minimal responsibility and maximum fun. It really was a once in a lifetime experience for us”, Sal remembers.

Their advice to people considering a Contiki trip? “Do it. 50 new friends (and potentially your soul mate) await you.” Whether you’re looking for experience, love, friendship, companionship or to get away and be adventurous, Contiki is the perfect trip for you to take, and you will never find more affordable deals.

So, as Shia LeBeouf says…”JUST DO IT”. If these testimonies are anything to go by, you won’t regret it.

Travelling Solo provides travel inspiration and tips for those who Go Travel Solo.