A while ago, we posted about getting paid to travel and party, where Contiki Holidays was recruiting young, open-minded travelers to promote their brand at various music festivals throughout Europe. In return, participants would have the pleasure of traveling through Europe for 3 weeks, all expenses paid.

Following the appeal, hundreds of you applied from all over Europe. Six lucky winners made the cut – and fellow Travelette Marie and I were lucky to be invited to accompany the group, to document this incredible journey for you.

Top row: me (Germany), Elin (England), Muriel (Germany), Marie (Germany), Eline (The Netherlands)

Bottom row: Michael the “Team Captain” (Australia), Krissy (Australia), Linden (New Zealand)

First stop of the tour was Garance Reggae festival in Bagnols-sur-Ceze, Southern France. Upon arrival, it immediately felt like we’d landed in Jamaica: smokin’ hot weather, reggae and dancehall tunes blasting at full volume day and night and more people with dreadlocks than all of us had ever seen combined. Although the music wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea, we still had a few very pleasant days at Garance.

Straight from rags to riches we went, leaving behind the rough festival lifestyle for a short stay at the amazing Contiki chateau in the Beaujolais wine region. Apart from enjoying a wine tasting at 9am and lazing around by the poolside for countless hours, we also took a day trip to Lyon, the second largest city in France.

As if the luxury of living in a chateau hadn’t spoiled us enough already, our next destination was none other than the small town of Menaggio at Lake Como. Sadly, we didn’t catch a glimpse of George Clooney during our stay there (George owns a house here), but we met a handful of other very nice travelers at the hostel we stayed at. To relieve our guilty consciences after indulging in immeasurable quantities of French cheese and red wine, we went kayaking, mountain climbing, biking and of course swimming – all in one day! Needless to say our efforts were rewarded with a mouth-watering feast of homecooked Italian pasta, meat, vegetables and desserts that night.

By this time, some of us had already forgotten that we were actually on this trip to work. Nothing that we had done so far even roughly resembled the kinds of labour we usually took upon ourselves to pay the bills! So, as the minivan sped through Italy and Switzerland towards Austria, we were indeed quite excited to once again don our costumes and start promoting  – at the Szene Openair festival in Lustenau.

After hours, we always had a big family dinner (yes- by that time we had all become like family!) and headed off to the festival site to watch acts like Maximo Park, Chikinki, Parov Stelar, Beardyman, Marteria, Gentleman or Culcha Candela perform.

After a short stop in Innsbruck, we were able to check out another Contiki-owned residence: the Gasthof in Hopfgarten, Austria. During the winter time, visiting groups have access to one of the best skiing regions in Europe, but since we came in the middle of summer, the most we could do was marvel at the breath-taking landscape. My personal highlight of Hopfgarten was the teacup pig Arnie, owned by one of the Contiki staff members…

At nighttime, we had the chance to party it up with members of another Contiki group who were also staying in Hopfgarten. Unfortunately, the tight’n’ bright theme and the amounts of alcohol flowing from the bar that night did not make for any photos that weren’t particularely cringe-worthy…

We left Austria for Munich, where we managed to catch up on sleep and look back on two amazing weeks of roadtripping and partying. However, before we knew it, we were already back on the road and off to our last festival: SonneMondSterne in Saalburg, Germany.

SonneMondSterne was by far my favourite festival, not only due to the plethora of amazing electro, house and techno DJs that played at night but also because whilst promoting, we came across a lot of crazy unique and creative people. Together with our new-found friends, we spent the nights dancing away to the tunes of Swedish House Mafia, Mr. Oizo, Moby, Ricardo Villalobos, Chris Liebig, Carl Cox and many others. And as if to grant us a perfect ending to a perfect trip, the sun didn’t stop shining for the entire weekend.

The only downside of this 3-week adventure was constantly having to pack up and sit in the car for hours on end as we traveled from one destination to the next. That, and having to endure smelly porta-potties and malfunctioning showers for up to five days whenever we reached a festival, although I know there is no way of avoiding that, it comes as part of the package. Besides, a little rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle never hurt anyone, right?

To find out more about the trip, check out the blog Marie and I set up during our time with the Guerilla Army.

Also, keep an eye out for next summer, when Contiki will once again recruit soldiers for their Guerilla Army!

A little perk for our readers – should you be interested in booking a trip (minimum 14 days) with Contiki,  enter the code PPTRAV100 in the required field on http://contiki.com to get €100 off. (For all trips booked before October 25th, 2001 and scheduled to take place between August 25th, 2011, and December 31st, 2012).


*All photographs taken by Ina Fischer, Marie-Therese Pfisterer and Eline Postma of the Contiki Guerilla Army 2011.