Europe with Contiki

Editor’s note — Hi, everyone! My little sister Rachel will be dropping by over the next few weeks with updates as she explores Europe with Contiki Vacations. Please do me a huge favor and show her some love & encouragement as she embarks on her very first solo travel adventure. She’s leaving for her junior year of college almost as soon as she returns from Hungary (OMG, I am going to have empty nest syndrome!), so this is her last hurrah before she really hits the books and gets into her advertising/PR major. Solid grown-up advice appreciated if you have any ūüėČ

Hey there, Angie Away friends! It’s me, Rachel!

Hey guys! I'm RaeRae!
Hey guys! I’m RaeRae!

Ange has been toting me all over the place as long as I can remember, so you’ve probably seen a zillion photos of our travels as The Jet Sisters. We’ve been to London, Paris, St. Thomas, The Bahamas, New York, Miami… we just opened the Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley at Universal Orlando Resort… and of course if you follow either of us on social media, you saw our #OrthAmerica Unminivan road trip in the Ford Transit Connect this past week. It’s been a busy month!

We just returned from Seattle today, and I’m in the process of emptying my suitcase and re-packing for my very first solo adventure in Europe. I leave in less than 48 hours!¬†

Exploring the West with Ford (and our brother!)
Exploring the West with Ford (and our brother!)

Actually, I should clarify — I won’t be all alone in Europe. ¬†I’ll be with a few dozen new friends on the 11-day Contiki Berlin to Budapest tour which covers Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary. My ancestors are from the¬†Bohemia region of Europe, so I have this idea that everyone there will look like me. We’ll see!

The Jet Sisters in Paris, 2009
The Jet Sisters in Paris, 2009

I’ve never been on a tour like this, so I’m really excited and a little nervous to get out there and meet everyone. From everything I’ve read and everything my sis has told me, tour groups are a great place to make lifelong friends and to get the hang of a country before coming back and experiencing it solo later. I’m hopeful there will be some new friends on the tour who love New Girl, puppies and Harry Potter as much as I do.

The Jet Sisters in Miami for the iHeart Radio Ultimate Pool Party, 2013
The Jet Sisters in Miami for the iHeart Radio Ultimate Pool Party, 2013

I signed up for about 5 different excursions during the trip, so I’ll be taking a bike ride, a ghost walk, a river cruise and a tour of a nuclear bunker, and I get to experience a Mozart concert in Vienna – how amazing is that?

Inside the Gringotts Bank lobby with Rachel
Inside the Gringotts Bank lobby with The Jet Sisters, 2014

As Ange mentioned above, I’ll be writing about the journey here on and you can keep up with me in real time on Twitter¬†@RachelDanae¬†&¬†@TheJetSisters,¬†and on Instagram¬†@RachelDanaeO.¬†I hope you will join me as I experience 5 new countries, make new friends & memories, and hopefully run into my¬†doppelg√§nger / long lost cousin on the streets of Prague.

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I’ll check in once I arrive in Berlin on Saturday! Wish me luck!


Angie here again! Thanks in advance for supporting RaeRae as she jaunts around Europe. I’m so proud of everything she’s accomplished in her young life! She’s the hardest working 20-year-old I know, so I can’t wait for her to share all her stories with us as she travels.¬†

Anyone have suggestions for little sis in Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Bratislava or Budapest? Movies she should download to watch en route, books to read on Kindle while traveling from city to city? 

4 thoughts on “Europe with Contiki”

  1. Good luck on your journey, Rachel! I did (50%) of the trek from Berlin to Prague and loved it.

    Some of the “off the tourist path” markets and shops in Prague had some of the most unique jewelry & accessories that I had seen! Beyond that, the touristy stuff (castle, historic old town in Prague) is absolutely gorgeous.

    Have a blast!

  2. I have been on six Contiki vacation tours all over the world from Europe to USA to the Middle East. You meet lifelong best friends from all over the world. It’s great fun! Get ready to party!! As you will be going out every night, sleep is over rated. Oh and be aware of the Contiki cough. It’s contagious as soon as one person gets sick and coughs the whole bus gets it. But it’s great fun. Never miss the bus because they will leave you behind! Really they will! Last piece of advice, have fun! No regrets! Do everything you can! My twitter handle is @aykate! Good luck and HAVE FUN!!

  3. Enjoy Rae Rae! As I’m headed off on my own Contiki adventure this summer, I very much look forward to following your journey. How lucky you are to have a big sis who encourages you to see the world! xo

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