How many time have you watched CBS’ popular travel reality TV show ‘Amazing Race’ and muttered to yourself “I could do that”! Well, here’s an intriguing opportunity, while steering clear of the exhausting tasks, weird food and drama queens that dominate the TV show.
Competitours is a 10 day team travel competition that features 12 pairs of teams zigzagging across mystery destinations in Western Europe while accomplishing daily surprise challenges in pursuit of up to $7,200 in cash prizes.
The challenges are structured to nudge you (gently, of course) out of your comfort zone. The challenges will bring out skill sets that until now, may have been unknown to you. But rest assured, Competitours challenges are about being creative, resourceful and impromptu, NOT about speed or fitness, so expect a level playing field with all ages well represented. More than 15% of teams are repeat customers.
Teams will participate in a mix of group challenges and a menu of individual challenges that each team selects to best reflect their personal interests and preferences. But all challenges have key common themes: to foster some personal growth and discovery about you and your teammate; and to provide you a fun, quirky and most importantly hands-on perspective on local history, culture, food and handicrafts. Plus, every trip has a mountain-based challenge activity as well as mind-bending scavenger hunts and labyrinths.
The destinations are unknown, but feature a mix of big cities, walkable villages, coastal hamlets and a jaunt through the mountains. The suspense is further heightened as destinations and challenge content revealed with just a scant 24-36 hours notice each day.
There is rivalry during the day, but revelry at night, as many teams enjoy bonding over swapping war stories of that day and appreciating that they are travelling with kindred spirits who enjoy the thrill of the unknown. The scoring is typically based on a mix of objective and subjective criteria. In most instances, more than 90% of the teams are in the running for the top 3 spots until the last day, for maximum suspense.
Each day has built-in downtime for teams to take a breather from the competition, to explore sights, shopping and dining on their own. Further, most days are structured so that the teams are responsible for their own local transport, which ensures teams rub shoulders with local folks. This trip avoids the pitfalls of being in ‘the tourist bubble’- No cooped up on tour buses, no waiting for stragglers, no being hostage to rigid schedules that force you to stay longer or leave earlier than you want.
Company owner Steve Belkin travels to Europe annually to negotiate the special arrangements or exclusive access or to find the remote location to ensure that no other company can replicate a Competitours experience. Belkin invests his customers’ trip fee carefully, emphasizing memorable and compelling activities that are done while awake. As a result, sleeping is typically arranged at solid 3-Star hotels since the only time you will be there is literally to sleep and shower.
As an added bonus, Belkin is an expert at playing the airline mileage game, so he offers his skills to help teams redeem miles for free tickets and to help generate miles for teams that need them, to mitigate airfare costs.
If the questions ’Where will I go?’, ‘What will I do?’, ‘How will I perform?’ give you the shivers, then this team travel competition may not be for you. But if these questions cause you shivers of delight, then Competitours might just be worth penciling in for those who find travelling to the unknown an awesome, not fearsome travel style. For more information see www.competitours.com.
Johnny’s take: ‘This is a cool idea and if I had time I would sign my wife and I up to see how we would do.”