Contiki, the travel outfitter designed for 18-35 year-olds, is offering a new experience as part of its Berlin to Budapest by Train rail itinerary that gives travellers an empathetic look at the Syrian refugee crisis. Contiki Cares, the company’s philanthropic initiative whose three pillars focus on local people and traditions, ethical animal experiences and maintaining a sustainable planet, has partnered with Refugee Voices Tours in Berlin for a Syrian refugee-guided tour of the German city.
The tour is led by Heshm Moadamani, a Syrian man displaced from his native country along with 6.7 million of his fellow citizens, who travelled to Berlin during the migrant crisis. The tour makes parallels between Berlin’s dark history, with its wall built to separate east and west sides of the city during the Communist era, and the humanitarian horrors that have plagued the war-torn country of Syria over the past decade.
“We call it conscious travel—it’s an authentic connection to place and the people that call it home for a more enriching local experience,” said Dan Christian, Contiki USA CEO. “It’s a completely different perspective...it’s real, it’s raw—no filters.”
Christian goes on to say that Gen Z and millennials are looking to use their precious vacation days for deeper experiences that go beyond snagging that perfect Instagram shot. “We get this [type of] traveller because we are these travellers—it’s what we’re known for and we’re continuing to evolve along with them to create meaningful, immersive global experiences.”
Berlin to Budapest by Train is one of Contiki’s newest train trips, a nine-day adventure from Berlin to Prague, Vienna and Budapest. Other Berlin activities include a stay at the Moxy, one of the city’s coolest youth properties, drinks at traditional Bavarian beer hall Hofbräuhaus House and base flying off the Park Inn Hotel.
Contiki’s conscious travel also extends to other destinations and itineraries. “We are truly committed to making travel matter, encompassing everything from learning about endangered Cotton-Top Tamarin in Colombia, to supporting a local women’s co-op in Jordan,” says Christian. With the 25% discount running now through 31 October, Berlin to Budapest by Train costs US$1342 (€1227), and financing is available from US$120 (€109) per month. This price includes all transport (train and coach), an expert Trip Manager and local guides, eleven meals, all accommodations and unforgettable experiences.