Recently I was introduced to a European touring company that is designed to be a team travel competion. It’s like the show Amazing Race except there are no cameras following you and you can choose which challenges you want to do based on your interests. That company is called Competitours. Check out their website and you’ll get a better idea of how they have it set up.
This idea of seeing multiple countries in a fun, competitive way seemed like something that would work here, but instead of staying at different hotels tourists would stay at your camp and other camps along the route. By getting together with other camps in your state, as well as adjacent states, this type of vacation would give tourists a wonderful look at local life as well as famous tourist spots. Whether it’s an East Coast tour, West Coast tour, Tour of the South, or any other combination of states it would be a blast to participate in, or to be a part of the design team.
Transportation could be anything from rental cars, buses, trains or bicycles. Admission to certain attractions and lunches would not be included in the package price. Lodging, transportation, dinners and breakfasts, and evening entertainment would. I would ensure that all camps had private rooms for each couple. Shared group cabins with bunk beds would not seem appropriate for this type of program.
Since I am on the West Coast here is a sample of how I might put this together if I were going to do it:
Day 1 – Everyone arrives at a camp a short drive from LAX, maybe one of the Malibu camps. They would be fed dinner and there would be a get to know you reception. The rules of the competition would be explained and all questions answered.
Day 2 – Breakfast is served and Mission Packets are distributed to the teams. Teams have one hour to choose their Los Angeles challenges. They would then drive themselves to the challenges. After each challenge they would need to send in a 30-60 second video of them completing each challenge via their smartphone. Challenges might take them to the Garment District, Venice Beach, Universal City Walk, a museum, the Staples Center, etc. After completing their chosen challenges they would return to the car rental agency and then board a coach bus to San Diego. Once there they would have dinner and s’mores around a campfire.
Day 3 – Breakfast is served and Mission Packets are distributed. After teams decide on their challenges and routes they would be bused to downtown and from there must use the public transportation system including the trolley and buses. Challenge locations may include Petco Park, Old Town, Sea World, Ocean Beach, etc. At the end of the day teams go out for dinner and a show.
Day 4 – Teams would take part in on-site camp competitions including a treasure hunt, sailing, archery, ropes course challenges, rock-climbing, puzzle solving, horseback riding, skit performing, etc.
Day 5 – Teams are bused to the train station and are taken by train to the Bay Area. From there they are bused to a camp close to San Francisco. Transportation is available to go into S.F. for dinner and some night life.
Day 6 – Challenges are all in and around San Francisco. They may include tasks on Angel Island, a visit to Alcatraz, a Segway tour of S.F., taking the trolley to different locations, etc. Then back to camp for dinner and a movie.
Day 7 – Transportation day via bus to Portland, Oregon, with a stop in Napa Valley for some wine tasting.
Day 8 – Challenges in Portland and the surrounding areas.
Day 9 – Transportation to Seattle, Washington, with a couple of stops along the way for some impromptu challenges.
Day 10 – Challenges in Seattle and the surrounding areas. The winning team is announced and there is a camp feast.
Day 11 – Everyone is bused to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and our tour is over.
With a partnership of several camps and some planning this is something that can be very doable. Of course, it doesn’t have to be 11 days and cover the whole coast. This was just an example, but in times when many camps are looking for creative ways to keep their doors open, this is another option.
If you were to do something like this you would need a website and brochures sent to as many travel agents as possible. Take a good look at the info on Competitours website for other ideas on designing a tour of this nature.
I think it would be a lot of fun coming up with challenges. They could be anything from kayaking in a cavern to playing a board game to street performing. The tough part would be keeping everyone honest if you couldn’t have someone at each challenge to verify that they did it. That’s why a smart phone video upload is necessary. Also, you would need clues at each location unless you sent each team their clues via text, photo and/or video to their phones.
It would definitely take some organization but if there are 5-6 camp directors getting together to plan this out it should be not only possible but fun.