Competitours – Bond the Family on a Challenge Tour of Europe
Are you a family who works and plays together? Do you feel part of a unit or do you find yourselves in separate rooms, on different screens, communicating only when you have to? If it’s the latter, one way to jolt yourself out the rut is to take on a team challenge. And what better challenge than racing across Europe together completing different skill tests? In this sponsored post we’ve been finding out about Competitours who organise team challenges across Europe where inter-generational family teams are especially welcome..
Do you like a different kind of holiday?
I always thought that we’d be a different kind of family. And for many years we were. Whether cycling across New Zealand on a year long adventure, canoeing around the Swedish islands on a month long adventure or hiking across Cumbria on a week long adventure, when we adventured together we always felt like a tight knit family unit. And then something happened. We stopped going for walks and hanging out together. We even stopped watching TV together. It happened so gradually we barely noticed it. Until I woke up one morning and realised that not only did we not have a good thing going any more, we didn’t really have a thing together at all. And then came the light bulb moment; to be a family you have to work at it. Together.
Over the years we have discovered a short cut to family bonding. The family team challenge. Something where working together is all that you can do. So when I start to feel like we’re all drifting apart and disconnecting a bit too much, Stuart and I try to dream one up that will get us all back doing something fun together, at least for a while.
Challenges help forge family teams
Over the years our challenges have grown more inventive. We biked across Europe learning to play the recorder and ended the tour by playing a five part arrangement of the Blue Danube outside the Vienna State Opera House. We put a cap out but we didn’t earn much but the point was never creative or financial success.
We paddled in seven Scottish Lochs in the Trossachs in the dead of winter, where our toes turned tartan and we were so cold we could barely stand upright. We tried again in the warmer waters surrounding Japan’s Mount Fuji, with a smaller five lake challenge in the sacred lakes of Fuji San, but that presented problems of a different kind. But that’s what a good challenge does.
Creative challenges bring focus and fun
Each time we take on a family challenge we are focussed. We work together. We are a team. We have fun. We are, once more, a good thing.
And it isn’t always physical; sometimes we get creative. Hannah’s Scottish winter scoot and video tribute to cyclist Danny MacAskill involved the rest of us working together as film crew, location scouts and vehicle support. It gave us a reason to get out in the freezing cold. And last year’s heart shaped tour of the Lake District required team navigation skills and an artist’s eye to cycle and create a heart shaped GPS map of our route. Despite the frustrations evident in the video, we all agreed (at least afterwards) that it was a fun thing to do.
The challenge of a challenge
However, setting a family challenge is quite time consuming and requires skill, imagination and knowledge of a location. And often the most taxing part of the event is coming up with good ideas or fun themes that everyone buys into. It also needs to be just the right balance of adventure and hardship. Too easy and they’ll get bored. Too hard and they’ll walk away.
If you’d like to take on a family challenge but the idea of planning and executing one has you all running for your bedrooms then you can sign up for an organised ‘competitive’ tour, with someone on hand to sort out all the logistics and hand out the transport tickets. Someone like Competitours.
Let Competitours provide the challenge
Competitours are experienced at turning a family into a team; every summer they set up European challenges and invite small teams to take part. This year the plan is to run an eleven team, eleven day zig zag across Europe. In this friendly competition, groups work together and against each other to get themselves to mystery destinations and tackle hands on challenges. The motivation? Not just hanging out together (because let’s face it, what teenager really wants togetherness?) but a cash prize. Up to $6600 in cash prizes in fact. Yes, real $$$$ for winners. Now that would get my sons out of bed!
Anyone can travel, play and win
The Competitour team challenges are inclusive and not about being fittest, fastest or most travelled. Every challenge has a different skill set that needs to be mastered. Some are easier for parents and others a doddle for the kids. Completing the challenges is more about creativity, commitment, perseverance and teamwork than specialist skills, knowledge or travel experience. And they take place as your journey unfolds across Europe. You don’t know where you are are going until around 24 hours before and each individual challenge is a complete surprise. And while the challenges are competitive, there are no eliminations and the scoring system used means all teams stay in the game throughout the trip, giving every team a chance of winning some of the cash prize.
Steve Belkin who masterminds this ‘amazing race for regular people‘ believes it’s a refreshing alternative to the all-inclusive or cruise tour. He says one of the main benefits is the ‘stealth bonding’ between group members. “The relationship morphs into a team-mate dynamic where parents and children have a whole new perspective on each other. While our trip attracts all kinds of configurations we always have a couple of inter-generational teams.” Past teams have included members from ages 11 to 74. In short, it’s packaged fun without being a conventional package holiday. A grand tour of Europe with a difference.
Competitours have been going for eight years and tours are custom made. Each year is unique, with different skill tests ranging from myths to mountains to mazes, with some taking place in unusual destinations which are not be easily accessible to regular travellers. Like all good challenges, the activities encourage you to get gently out of your comfort zone, giving you the chance to discover skills in yourself or your nearest and dearest that you never knew existed. Some challenges are about striving to be ‘the best’ while others are about being the ‘least worst’! And it’s all done in a spirit of fun and participation. You might find yourself learning a folk dance then making ice cream before coasteering down a mountainside. And that’s just before breakfast. Only kidding! There are just a couple of challenges a day…after all you still have to race across Europe by bedtime. Check out this video to get an idea of what teams faced in the 2015 European Competitour.
Interested? Find out more about Competitours?
Fancy it? Then get yourself to the Competitours website for more information and get a good thing going with your kids or maybe even your parents. Click here for details of pricing and what’s included. Or for more inspiration check out the Competitours YouTube channel and Facebook Page.
Disclosure Note: This post is brought you in a collaboration with Competitours who compensated us for the time and effort involved in researching and writing about this neat travel idea. We’ve not travelled with them but just love the concept, philosophy and the idea of winning a load of money for doing something that looks so much fun.