Backpacking vs being a Holiday Rep

tenerife view from apt

View from my apartment in Tenerife

I am truly overwhelmed by the amount of reach that my blog “what is a holiday rep and what does that mean” has made across the world. It has pretty much gone viral at this point – from the UK to Russia, from Mexico to South Africa – everyone is connecting with a simple post that has so much meaning to people spanned across the globe.

I know that I wrote about what would seem to be the darker side of repping – but it is important to highlight the lighter side. The lighter side of being a holiday rep and even a club rep, far outweighs the tedious complaints, sore feet and long days. It is filled with endless sunshine, romance and above all it is filled with total security.

There are hundreds and thousands of people (young and old) who crave adventure. Who yearn to throw in the towel and jet off into the sunset forgetting about everything they left behind, in search of a new life on faraway shores. But not everyone has the nerve to do it because the idea is daunting and even frightening. The thought of having no control, no idea what to expect and the deep rooted fear of leaving security for insecurity.

Anyone who has backpacked off the beaten, or not so beaten path, will attest to the fact that it involves a lot of research and prep. You have to pour over Lonely Planet guide books, trawl the internet and talk to as many people as possible to figure out the best and most suitable options. It takes time to plan, budget and create a rough itinerary of where to stay, how to get around, where to go and where NOT to go. Once in your desired destination you then have to consider work options depending on the time of year – be it olive picking in Italy, fruit picking in Australia, teaching English in Burma or maybe bartending in Spain.  There are those who simply don’t care – they pack their bag and turn up in a country and pray that they can last for even a few months without calling home to beg for funds to return. Whichever category you may fall in, the one thing is sure, nothing you do is totally secure.

…That is why millions of people across the world go on holiday! They crave that adventure but they want to ensure that their every move is planned and they can be guaranteed that whatever they do, they are safe and comfortable.

I have to thank the Travel Gods for having the hindsight to tap into a market of creating holiday packages that provide that sense of adventure for the more discerning traveler. These Travel Gods tapped into an unlimited supply of human beings who crave the freedom to explore and engage, knowing that they are protected by the very company they have put their trust in.

These same Travel Gods then realized that there were even more eager and willing young people (and more mature), who wanted to experience this limitless freedom on a more permanent basis – hence, the birth of Holiday Reps!

Working under an already established company, with footholds in almost every part of the world, means that the options are vast, the freedom of movement is inhibited and more importantly – every basic need is met. As a rep you are provided with flight tickets, accommodation (NO BILLS), food, transport, phone (depending on your position), uniform and a little stipend each month. After that is established, it is then up to the rep to work hard (make more money), prove their worth, and take care of everything they are given. There may be rules and regulations – don’t chew gum, no drinking or smoke in uniform, don’t steal company money (duh!), wear the uniform correctly, be at work at least 15mins before start…and the list goes on. But it’s nothing that would be deemed as difficult to adhere to. One thing though… with all the rules, there is one thing they do promote – WORK HARD, PLAY HARDER! …And that has to be the singularly most awesome mantra you could tell a rep…believe me when I say, you will never find anyone as sociable and more fun loving as a rep! We know how to dance until sunrise and go straight to work – the key was always to fall asleep fully dressed in uniform (especially if you were only going to get an hour ‘nap’ before the morning shift started).

Even though we danced til sunrise and drank crazy concoctions like ‘Red Sh*t’ (you know who you are), we did everything as a unit…irrespective of the different companies out there. I had friends from so-called ‘rival companies’ – but there really wasn’t any rivalry. You had the few who were snobbish, maybe a little off-handish I guess, but all in all, we were in this madness together regardless of the uniform we wore. We were a team – a team that was responsible for the well being, safety and security of thousands of holiday makers that arrived into our hotels every week.

Being a rep teaches you a lot about yourself – who you are, what your strengths are, how you truly handle situations you are in, what you want out of the experience and where you see yourself in the future. When placed under extreme stress there are some who totally cave, give up and go home. They realize that they can’t handle being away from home and the home comforts. Some turn from meek and mild and become the most outspoken and vivacious character to ever grace the planet. Some realise their potential to sell just about anything – whether ice to Eskimos or Bob Marley to Jamaicans. Some discover they are dive enthusiasts – and go on to get PADI certified and spend the rest of their days teaching scuba diving in the Mediterranean. Some even move up the ladder within the company and become managers and area managers. For me, I tried my hand at everything – from scuba diving to being a team leader. I learnt about power point and how to use it, the fine art of public speaking, how to write articulate and engaging pitches, how to manage my time effectively, how to train and motivate team members and how to do accounting. Most importantly, I learnt that I am ideally suited to customer facing roles and I am unafraid of any challenge.

My holiday company made it part of their philosophy that there should be team bonding sessions in the form of what we called ‘jollies’. We had mid-season ones. We had end of year ones and we had tons in between. Jollies had many forms, from fully inclusive boat cruises to see dolphins to evenings out watching fabulous shows. Whatever the form, it was a chance for every rep to catch up – because depending on the resort we were placed in, we could guarantee that reps would be located in every corner and crevice of that resort. This meant that when jollies were had, it was a chance to come together, gossip and rekindle the friendship that was established from the first week of training. It was during these jollies that I witnessed romance blossoming between reps. Let’s face it, we are away from home, we weren’t supposed to interact romantically with our guests (yeah right *wink wink*), and we were human after all! The end result was that romance was inevitable – some lasted and some didn’t. But I know first-hand a bunch of reps that are now happily married – and it’s those love stories that make you realise that the gateway to travelling (whichever avenue you decide to explore) can be filled with a few potholes and a number of stumbling blocks, but it sure can lead to that possibility of the ‘happily ever after’.

So if you are currently feeling stagnant, looking for an adventure, hoping to have life changing experiences – all the while feeling secure and comfortable – check out your local travel company and apply to be a holiday rep… I guarantee that it could be the BEST decision you ever made.

Don’t just take my word for it – check out this article I found – http://www.gapyear.com/articles/90421/work-as-a-holiday-rep

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2 thoughts on “Backpacking vs being a Holiday Rep

  1. Hi there’s a photo on your blog with a Tui holiday rep called Michaela I think her name was is this you? X I used to work with her in Benidorm 2005 -2006 xxx

    Liked by 1 person

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