Since first learning about Competitours in 2014, I’ve been following the company that offers Amazing Race-like mystery trips in Europe, where teams of two engage in friendly, competitive challenges with next destinations being revealed with just a few hours’ notice. Owner Steve Belkin has been offering these entertaining itineraries for eight years, tweaking the adventures along the way, and it sure sounds like he’s improved this year’s custom journey so that it’s close to perfection! Here’s how the plan for Competitours 2016 is shaking out:
- Eleven teams will meet at a “to-be-disclosed” European city at noon on June 25, 2016. For 11 days they will criss-cross through Europe, overnighting in seven or eight destinations in four different countries, with the adventure ending July 5, 2016.
- Along the way, teams compete in different challenges. In past years, those have consisted of scavenger hunts, cooking contests, dance performances, artistic endeavors, tricky mazes… teams earn points on how well they perform the challenges (sometimes winning when they are “least worst” of the bunch). Unlike the Amazing Race, no teams are eliminated, so most teams have a fighting chance at the prize money at the end of the trip: up to $6600 (from entry fees) will be split among 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners.
- All accommodations are pre-arranged, so teams don’t have to worry about where they’ll lay their heads at night. Same goes for all of the transportation while in Europe — whether that’s air, train or bus. You don’t have to figure out how to get from city (or town) to city, as those transport details are pre-booked. (However, as I said, teams don’t know where they are going next until 12 hours prior to departure — love the intrigue aspect! Remember my multi-day Midwest mystery trip? And I had a blast doing the clever A-MAZE-In Cabo Race.)
Hands-on owner and trip planner Steve Belkin stresses that Competitours is not for uber-competitive folks (i.e. “mega jocks, drama queens and type-A fanatics”), but rather for flexible, adventurous types who “enjoy the thrill of the unknown, who are eager to make new friends and who can easily balance the rivalry during the day with the revelry off the clock with other teams.” Teams who are crowned winners don’t need speed, fitness or prior travel experiences, but those who do best seem to embrace creativity, resourcefulness and spontaneity. Steve’s had participants ranging in age from 11 to 74 on his Competitours!
Past Competitours client and well-traveled, worldwide adventurer Will Tang says, “…this was hands down one of the most memorable travel experiences EVER.” Check out some of the videos he made with his teammate Sam last summer — they’re fun to watch and can give you a great glimpse into what might happen daily on this year’s Competitours itinerary.
I appreciate that in his blog post “Top Ten Reasons Why You Should Sign Up For Competitours,” former competitor Will makes clear that a Competitours “European vacation” is fast-paced, and there isn’t a lot of time for individual sightseeing. Sleep might be hard to come by (with early morning wake-up calls to get to the next destination or on to the next challenge), and hotels are not of the luxury nature.
If you’ve never been to Europe, and want to take your time in some of the major cities like London, Paris, or Rome, then it doesn’t sound like Competitours is for you. However, if you’re interested in getting to know some more off-the-beaten-path, smaller destinations (mountain towns, coastal enclaves), and you’re into being active and adventurous with like-minded travelers, then Competitours sounds like a winner to me!
The cost is $3975 per person, and includes accommodations, breakfast, inter-Europe transportation, and all of the non-replicable challenges and exclusive “sightDOING” opportunities that Competitours mastermind Steve Belkin arranges. The fee does not include airfare to Europe, but Steve is a pro at redeeming airfare for miles or credit-card points, and can help clients secure free or cheap fares.
Check out the Competitours FAQs for more information. I also loved reading some of Lynda and Viet’s descriptions of their experiences on last year’s Competitours adventure–especially their day conquering a via ferrata in Switzerland, which is one of my dreams!
Let me know if you book a Competitours this year. It sure sounds like a blast, and I’d love to follow along on your adventures!
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This post is sponsored by Competitours, which supplied the photos.