Would You Accept A Sponsored Trip Around The World?

by Dave on April 4, 2007 · 24 comments

If you were to win a contest where the prize was a trip around the world, would you accept it? Before you answer, there is a catch. You will be filmed for a TV show which will document your experiences, thoughts, and feelings. Oh, there is another catch, because the show needs to highlight certain destinations based on a book, and producers will need to adhere to a certain time line, and you’ll get to see these great places, however you’ll basically have to do what the producers tell you for 3 months.

The Travel Channel’s new 1,000 Places takes a newlywed couple through 13 countries, and 100 of the places mentioned in the book 1,000 Places To See Before You Die. The station found the couple through a typical search that was open to the public.

I watched the first episode, where we are introduced to Albin and Melanie Ulle as they tour Alaska. They seem like very nice people, experiencing extraordinary places. I have little knowledge of the production aspects of the show, however I’m going to make some assumptions.

  • The majority of their trip is paid for by the show (they pay for incidentals and souvenirs)
  • The most interesting and adventurous activities are scripted (they have little say in what they do, where they go)
  • They inherently act differently when being filmed (even if subconsciously)

The show has me wondering whether I would accept such a trip. On the plus side, I’d experience things I could not otherwise afford on a budget trip, such as the occasional five-star accommodations or a helicopter ride to a glacier. I’d gain some temporary fame as a result of being on a TV show, which could open up new opportunities. Just being on TV would be darn cool. On the down side, I’d lose the freedom of choice I love about independent travel – the ability to go anywhere I want, any time. I would have my travel experiences broken up by the need to share my thoughts in a video diary type format. Not having to pay for much, I would be lacking a sense of fulfillment because I didn’t really have to work for the money in order to make the trip a reality.

What would I do, you ask? I’d like to think, deep down, that I would have the strength to decline the offer, in favor of doing it myself. Now, after the first RTW trip is completed, all bets are off!

Would you accept a sponsored trip around the world? Leave a comment and let us know.

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Categories: Pre-trip

24 Comments

Mike April 5, 2007 at 9:30 am

I would have to decline. One thing that strikes me is recalling “outtakes” from Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations. He describes the irritatingly numerous takes he’s required to do to ensure his camera crew captures the perfect, TV-ready reaction to whatever he’s involved in at the moment.

So, not only would you be making a video diary that’s largely scripted by someone else, but you may need to “react” to seeing [fill in great world landmark here] for the first time in exactly the right, TV-perfect way every time. It wouldn’t end up being your trip. It’d end up being a monotonous, canned, reality TV version of the trip you’d hoped for.

After watching 1,000 Places to See Before You Die, I kind of get the feeling that I’m watching a B-movie version of a No Reservations. The couple doesn’t seem to be enjoying themselves and everything from the script to their mannerisms feels staged.

Just my $0.02.

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Stacy April 5, 2007 at 10:09 am

I would not like t.v. cameras following my every move. Yuck. It would be great to see some of the destinations, but with a strict itinerary, I don’t think you could really enjoy them. It wouldn’t be worth it.

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ianmack April 5, 2007 at 10:18 am

i’m with stacy. being held to a strict itinerary so you can ham it up for the cameras seems counter-productive to the whole reason for going on a RTW trip in the first place: to get out there, challenge yourself, see the world anew, etc…

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team gingerbread April 5, 2007 at 10:57 am

First off, I don’t know exactly how many people watch reality shows on the travel channel, but I don’t. I don’t know exactly how much ‘fame’ would come from this.

I would take the trip. You’re basically getting a free ride and you get to see things you otherwise might not be able to do. If you like a place you could always go back after the show or whatever.

When you travel with other people you sometimes have to go with what they want to do over what you’re inclined to do, so this isn’t really that much differnt except that there are cameras…

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Dave April 5, 2007 at 12:14 pm

Mike – it seems we watch the same shows! I’m a fan of Anthony Bourdain since reading Kitchen Confidential and A Cook’s Tour, and I’ve really enjoyed No Reservations.

I agree about your comments on the 1,000 places show – it seems like a not so dynamic experience (at least how it’s captured on tape). Perhaps they’re aiming for an older audience with it because the 5 Takes series is a little more our style of travel.

I’m going to watch the second episode I taped tonight – they hit Lake Como, Italy – a resort area where Versace and George Clooney hang out. I spent a few nights there in a bungalow during my ’98 trip.

Somehow I think their accomodations will be a little nicer!

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Lx April 5, 2007 at 12:30 pm

sounds good to me.

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Lx April 5, 2007 at 5:30 pm

sounds good to me.

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jv April 5, 2007 at 7:20 pm

No, for a very simple reason: I want my trips to be mine, and mine alone. I don’t want to sacrifice anything to TV cameras or outside agendas. Having someone pay for my trip might be nice, but the tradeoff seems too great.

Travel can be also be very personal and introspective. It seems being on TV would take away that aspect in large part.

In short, I see so many negatives, and only one positive: It’s free. I suppose I’d rather sell myself in other ways — before the trip — than potentially ruin the trip by making it “sponsored”!

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Stu April 6, 2007 at 8:09 am

there was a cool show back in australia where you pick 10 destinations and they give you a camera and you have to make documentaries on the way and each week pro film/tv people vote on the best one and the winner at the end gets to make a real doco or something (i forget) but the catch is you gotta do it all yourself. all you get is the camera and they send you to destination #1 and you get like 3 days or 5 days to make it then its off to destination #2 etc… you had to film+edit on the run. it was very cool.

When I hiked the appalachian trail I recorded everything and posted on http://trailjournals.com/cactus so my family back home could stay in touch. Another two on the trail that year were paid to film the entire thing for a doco, and it was pretty interesting. I had a pocketmail and would upload diary entries everytime we got to town etc.. I feel I could survive cameras in my face as I traveled the world to see amazing places, so my answer to your question would be yes!

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Dan April 7, 2007 at 11:56 am

Hmmm, good question, for all the bad points it would still be a free trip and as with most things if your open minded about it I think you could easily take plenty away from it, in fact it would really be a unique travelling exerience. There has been a similar concept called EndlessEurope, you might have heard or seen some of it as it was to be completely online, I’m not sure that they finished it, the official site has been inaccesable to me, probably because it no longer exists. Anyway the idea was the crew of 2 would follow 2 other backpackers around europe, the producer would make some decisions on destinations, it really didn’t take long for the trip to go off the rails and he almost completely murdered the original concept. It was more interesting watching the guy make a trainwreck of his own idea than to try to follow it as a travel show.

There are still clips out there on youtube and travelistic. I’ll have to write some more about myself, interesting idea, badly executed.

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Karl April 13, 2008 at 12:17 pm

I have watched every episode with complete green-eyed jealousy. As someone who loves travelling at every opportunity, I would never turn down any opportunity to broaden the horizons. If a tv camera crew thought I was interesting enough to be followed around and filmed then great!Whilst I have been to many exciting places, my travels have to be on a budget so to be able to do all the cool things they got to do would be fantastic. Helicopter rides, seaplane trips, skydiving etc are all things that are great to do whilst travelling, but things I could probably not afford to partake in. The chance to do all of these cool things would far outweigh the ‘burden’ of being followed by a camera crew. I’ll definitely be applying for the next part!!

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Karl April 13, 2008 at 7:17 am

I have watched every episode with complete green-eyed jealousy. As someone who loves travelling at every opportunity, I would never turn down any opportunity to broaden the horizons. If a tv camera crew thought I was interesting enough to be followed around and filmed then great!Whilst I have been to many exciting places, my travels have to be on a budget so to be able to do all the cool things they got to do would be fantastic. Helicopter rides, seaplane trips, skydiving etc are all things that are great to do whilst travelling, but things I could probably not afford to partake in. The chance to do all of these cool things would far outweigh the ‘burden’ of being followed by a camera crew. I’ll definitely be applying for the next part!!

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Antonio November 5, 2009 at 9:44 pm

I would take it in a heartbeat. I'm always jealous and upset at this Ulle couple who are extremely boring in their comments and have no personality. I would definitely way more pleasing.

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Dave November 7, 2009 at 10:41 am

Hey Antonio, yep the poor Ulle's keep getting knocked but they certainly got to travel a lot for free!

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Antonio November 7, 2009 at 11:33 am

Yeah. I guess that was mean. They are good, normal, people. I guess the problem is my expectation of them to be professional TV hosts. I guess the jealousy sometimes gets to my head.

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Dave November 8, 2009 at 8:46 am

Yep, better to beat up on the producers of the Travel Channel for picking the couple. :)

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mikeymike1833 January 27, 2010 at 5:47 pm

Ok people its not about the cameras, or the poularity one might gain from being on tv! Its about the experience one gains, about the culture and lessons learned in foreighn countries! I would not care if there were one million cameras following me its still an experience that most people would never be able to comprehend! To understand one must experience!

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mikeymike1833 January 27, 2010 at 11:47 pm

Ok people its not about the cameras, or the poularity one might gain from being on tv! Its about the experience one gains, about the culture and lessons learned in foreighn countries! I would not care if there were one million cameras following me its still an experience that most people would never be able to comprehend! To understand one must experience!

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Shaunalee Derkson January 31, 2011 at 11:41 pm

Travel is travel!!! You make every experience you encounter special and unique. The fact that it is sponsered is just a plus!! This would mean that you could return and explore more at a later date. Gaining knowledge of areas you may not have considered is part of the excitement. I would not hesitate to be part of tour!! My love for travel grows on a daily basis and any chance to travel is a gift!!

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Jeanette April 1, 2011 at 12:37 am

I can’t see a reason Not to accept such a trip. Traveling is my favorite thing to do and to experience brand new places and cultures at the expense of someone else sounds acceptable to me. If I would have to be a little inconvenienced with scheduling and cameras, that would be fine. I would go tomorrow. Where do I sign up!?

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Ankita S July 25, 2011 at 3:40 pm

I like the idea… The cameras taking the footage may in-fact record the trip for me and make my memories permanent….

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James November 7, 2011 at 7:09 am

I’m with most other people here. Travel for me is about freedom and that sounds more contained than working in an office.

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Brenna December 9, 2011 at 12:40 am

I’d accept it. It’s just three months. It’s like work only this time with pleasure.
I get to experience what I probably wouldn’t be able to experience without their sponsorship. Even if they’ll probably be controlling everything I do and giving me the reputation I may or may not want on television, well, after 3 months, it’ll all be over and I’ll still have the time of my life because I got to experience something new.

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Hijas Shrestha April 28, 2014 at 4:38 am

If I’m getting to see the best places of the world, with a management team looking after my accommodation, diet and trips, get all my memories recorded, become a part of reality show that most people won’t be watching; and all for free, would I accept?? Hell yeah! Can I get such offers?

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