Since it’s inception in 2001, 30+ seasons of the Amazing Race has spawned a cult-like following of intrepid travelers dreaming of continent hopping and competing to prove they’re savviest globetrotters on the planet. Unlike other reality show where the focus is on big personalities and manufactured drama, the Amazing Race is all about street smarts and cultural challenges, navigating your way through unfamiliar situations and destinations. While we may not be able to offer you your five seconds of fame with Phil Keoghan, we can suggest a few alternatives if you’re fascinated with the idea of traveling into the great unknown.
Whether you like the element of surprise, are tired of trip planning, or simply are sick of going on the same old type of vacation, mystery tours are all the rage.
A Magical Mystery Tour
If you like the idea of heading to a surprise destination, but not necessarily the competition aspect, Magical Mystery Tours will simply send you off to a secret destination. You’ll provide parameters like trip length, budget and be given a lengthy survey to determine your travel style, but that’s the extent of your planning. You’ll get a weather report a week before you leave so you know how to pack and they’ll mail you a packet with all the details a few days before departure. Whether you wait until you’re at the airport to reveal the destination is up to you.
“The Amazing Race for Regular People”
Competitours is a unique trip to 11 mystery locations in Europe that’ll have you and a partner competing for the chance to win a cash prize. Billed as “sight-doing” rather than sightseeing, teams of two will be participating in a variety of challenges to rack up points over 11 days. Held once a year in the summer, speed is not the goal, as this trip is all about offering cool, local experiences. Past activities have included cook-offs, via ferrata climbs, dance challenges, puzzles, and citywide scavenger hunts. Even if you’ve been across the pond, the itinerary includes a mix of iconic cities, medieval towns, mountain hamlets, and small coastal enclaves where at least a few stops will be new to you. The prize pool consists of $6600 that is split between the top three teams.
The Mack Daddy
Vying to win the title of the World’s Greatest Travelers, the Global Scavenger Hunt is where teams circumvent the globe to 10 undisclosed countries on what they call a “Blind Date with the World™”. Held annually each spring since 2002, GSH has been called the Olympics of travel as it’s all about creativity, getting out of your comfort zone, spontaneity, serendipity, and trusting strangers in strange lands. Broken up into legs like the Amazing Race, teams are given a set of challenges to compete at each location. You can do as many of the tasks as you’d like in the given time frame. Due to the nature of the event, there are very stringent entry requirements, as you must be able to travel continuously for three weeks and fund the hefty $25,000 price tag (per team of two). The winners receive free entry into next year’s race to defend their title, in essence winning another trip around the world.