Compete in an ‘Amazing Race’ Without Having to Audition and Quit Your Job

View from Eiffel Tower

2010 Update:
Competitours’ Amazing Race-style team travel competition is back for 2010. This year, the tours are 10-day trips from May through August, with a $9,000 USD prize pool (top 3 teams) per trip. Get ready to accomplish fun and quirky challenges based on creativity, not speed, while on a mystery European itinerary. Added bonus? If you sign up for a summer 2010 trip with the team name of “BootsnAll” and end up winning, Competitours will throw in two extra airline tickets anywhere in the continental US/Canada to your prize package!

If you’ve long dreamed of competing on “The Amazing Race,” but are too introverted or you’ve never been a part-time model, then you’ve now got your chance, sort of. A new company called Competitours is going to pit 20-or-so pairs of travelers against each other in a series of tourism-related challenges as they move from one European country to another, and the only hurdle is coming up with the entry fee, $2675 USD and includes almost everything except your meals. And if you do well and finish in top 3 teams, you’ll share a $9000 prize pool each trip.

How does the game work?
Competitours doesn’t seem to have licensed the name “Amazing Race,” but aside from that one detail this appears to be nearly identical to what we see on the show. Teams will arrive in a city, and they’ll have their choice of 8-10 different ‘competitasks’ of which they’ll have to complete their choice of 3-5. Since there is no camera crew and production team following you around, you’ll verify your accomplishments with your own video camera, and the company’s judges will pick the winners based on the creativity and personality of task recordings.

Competitask map

The price of the contest includes your airfare and hotel nights, as well as a Eurail Pass for each racer, so the Competitour will unfold in 4 or 5 different Western or Central European cities over the course of a week or more. You’ll only learn of your next destination half a day before you depart, so the itinerary remains a surprise to all the players, just as it is on “The Amazing Race” itself.

Sample challenges

  1. Head to the top of the Eiffel Tower and gather 15 tourists together to record them doing a 30-second version of the can-can.
  2. Find some graffiti on the remaining bits of the Berlin Wall, and record a 30-second critique of the “art” posing as a serious critic.
  3. Go to the Torture Museum in Prague, and record yourself explaining how 3 different torture devices could be used as normal household items.

The Competitours judges will declare the winners based on creativity and personality rather than on technical skills, so it would seem that any of the teams has a chance at winning. They’ve also devised a scoring system that will keep the standings somewhat bunched together through most of the trip, so no team will be in a hopeless position until the end of the game.

The rest of the trip

The game itself is scheduled to last for 8 hours each day, and even though the challenges sound like they’ll be good sightseeing opportunities themselves, Competitours has made it so after 5pm you’ll be able to hang out with other teams or do anything else you choose. This sounds like a great way to have all the fun of traveling without all the insanity that seems to come with the actual “Amazing Race” playing conditions. You’ll even be uploading your daily competitask videos to the judging website each day, so you won’t have to run back to a meeting point before you can begin enjoying the city on your own non-competitive terms.

The price of the Competitour

There are eight different contests scheduled for summer 2010. $2675 includes flights to Europe, all your hotels, a Eurail Pass for each racer, and all the elements of the contest itself, including the grand prizes to the winning team.

You could obviously invent your own version of this and spend a bit less money, but you’d lose out on the surprise of the different tasks and of the cities you’ll be visiting. If you have dreamed of playing “The Amazing Race” then this is as close as you’ll probably ever get, and for only a bit more than the price of a normal vacation that doesn’t involve videotaping fun tasks at famous landmarks.

The company isn’t trying to hide the fact that they are new at this, and aside from a planned dress rehearsal for travel insiders in March, this summer will be their first real go at a Competitour. But more good news comes in their guarantee that your credit card won’t be billed until four days after you get home and confirm that you received everything you were originally promised.

Photo credit: Eiffel Tower deck by TracyElaine on Flickr

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